Lulu’s Destin: Brandcation #FinalDESTINation15

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photo courtesy of Lulu’s Destin Website

Lulu’s, in Destin, is owned and operated by Lulu Buffet, sister of the famous Jimmy Buffet. The original Lulu’s Sunset Grill was located at Weeks Bay, Alabama for five years from 1998 until 2003, when the state of Alabama decided not to renew her lease there. Lulu decided to move the entire operation to Gulf Shores on a barge! She opened the doors to the new place there at Homeport Marina on Fat Tuesday in 2004.

Our group. We had a blast!

Our group. We had a blast!

Our group of almost 30 bloggers visited Lulu’s Destin for lunch on Saturday, September 12. The menu at Lulu’s Destin is wonderful, filled with delicious appetizers, salads, sandwiches, seafood, and the famous Cheeseburgers In Paradise. There truly is something for everyone, even if you are gluten free, have allergies to shellfish, seafood, soy, dairy or eggs.

Fried Crab Claw appetizers. There was plenty for 4 people to share.

Fried Crab Claw appetizers. There was plenty for 4 people to share.

The girls at our table decided to order some Fried Crab Claws and some Fried Green Tomatoes for starters. Both of these, while not gluten free, tasted soooo good! Yes, I did.  My entree was a Half and Half platter of Fried Shrimp and Fried Oysters. The seafood was cooked to perfection! The breading was light and fluffy, and it did not overwhelm the shrimp. And oh! my goodness, it tasted like heaven! There were hushpuppies, fries, and slaw to round out the meal.

Fried Shrimp and Fried Oysters at Lulu's Destin

Fried Shrimp and Fried Oysters at Lulu’s Destin

I was a really good girl, and had half sweet iced tea for my drink, but if I had chosen to go for an adult beverage, the Cruzan Infusion Bucket, which is a 32 oz rum drink, would have quenched my thirst all day!

Cruzan Infusion Bucket. photo courtest of Denise Hoyle

Cruzan Infusion Bucket. photo courtesy of Denise Hoyle

Lulu’s Destin is a family restaurant. There is live music every night, and a playground with sand and picnic tables out back. Next time you’re in Destin, make it a point to go there. You will not be disappointed.

Located at 4607 Legendary Marina Drive, Destin, Florida, US. (850) 710-LULU (5858)

Find them online at  Facebook    Twitter   Instagram

#Brandcation #FinalDESTINation15 #Emeraldcoasting

HarborWalk Village in Destin, Florida: Brandcation #FinalDESTINation15

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I told y’all about the fabulous condominiums, Emerald Grande at Harbor Walk Village, where our accomodations were for Brandcation: #FinalDESTINATION15. Emerald Grande all by itself would be a wonderful place to stay, but when you add in Harbor Walk Village, it becomes a grand vacation. You don’t even have to leave the resort: They have everything to do to keep you busy whether you are two or ninety-two.

There was a great view at Margaritaville at HarborWalk Village

There was a great view at Margaritaville at HarborWalk Village

After I got checked in, I was hungry for some seafood, so a couple of the other girls and a I went over to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant at HarborWalk Village. It is just a short walk from the Emerald Grande lobby. We soon had too many people for our table for four, so we moved to a bigger spot. I had a  delicious Last Tango In Paris drink, that was made with mango and rum and some other things. It didn’t last long!

Last Tango in Paris drink at Margaritaville at HarborWalk Village

Last Tango in Paris drink at Margaritaville at HarborWalk Village

For lunch, I ordered the Shrimp Louis Wedge Salad. A great combination of wedges of lettuce, grilled shrimp skewers, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, capers and hard-boiled eggs served with paradise island dressing. It was more than I could possibly eat, and I tried really hard to eat it all, LOL!

Shrimp Louis Wedge Salad

Shrimp Louis Wedge Salad

With a wide variety of salads, burgers, desserts, and entrees, you are sure to find at least one of your favorites on the menu at Margaritaville.  They have a pretty nice Gluten Free and Vegetarian Menu as well.

Margaritaville is not the only restaurant at HarborWalk Village. There are several more, including 10 On The Harbor; Crab Island Cantina; and LaFamiglia On The Harbor. For a complete list of places to find food and drink at HarborWalk, check out the list here.

Leaving the boardwalk at HarborWalk Village

Leaving the boardwalk at HarborWalk Village

I wish we had had time to do more activities because there are so many things to do at HarborWalk Village. Whether you want to rent a kayak, laying the sun on a private beach, splash in a swimming pool, get a temporary tattoo, go deep sea fishing or on a dolphin cruise, you will find a place to do that, and more. And of course there are many shops to explore if your favorite pass time happens to be shopping. We did get a chance to visit the private beach. We took a shuttle boat over to there. The view was fantastic!

The private beach at HarborWalk

The private beach at HarborWalk

There were beach towels and cold drinks available on the boat, and beach chairs and umbrellas set up waiting for us on the beach. It was really nice to have this service available. For someone like me, who has never been to a private beach, it was so fun. Here I am at sitting in a lounge chair enjoying the day:

Sitting in my lounge chair at the beach, enjoying the lazy hour or so.

Sitting in my lounge chair at the beach, enjoying the lazy hour or so.

The shuttle boat runs every half hour from the time the beach opens in the morning until it closes at night. Check at the dock for times. I was able to stay about an hour or so, before the sky threatened to fall on us. We took the boat back to HarborWalk, and had time to take a shower and a very short nap before our next adventure.

The shuttle boat came back all too soon.

The shuttle boat came back all too soon.

What activities would you plan to do if you were going to Emerald Grande and HarborWalk Village in Destin?

I’m In Destin, On The Florida Emerald Coast, For Brandcation #FinalDestination15

This post is brought to you by Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village in Destin, Florida.

I’m spending the weekend getting to know some really great bloggers in person. I have been talking to these women online, in the Momdot Forum, for several years, I can’t remember how many it has been. The event planner, Trisha from Momdot, decided to host a giveaway for one of the tickets, and to my surprise, my name was chosen as the winner! I was so excited to be able to come to Destin, Florida, on the Emerald Coast, to finally meet my mentors and friends.

Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

I will be writing several more posts about the weekend, including about the lodging, the food, the activities, and more. But, I couldn’t wait to show you the fabulous Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village, where we are staying.

The living and dining area.

The living and dining area.

When you open the door to this three bedroom, three bath condo at Emerald Grande, the first thing you see is the huge dining and living area. There is a dining table for six, a couple of desks, a sofa and chairs, and a large TV. A sliding door leads out to a balcony with a great view.

The comfortable living room,

The comfortable living room,

The living room furniture is both beautiful and comfortable. This common area is great for catching up with friends or family members after a day spent out and about at HarborWalk, taking in the sights, or relaxing on the beach.

The dining area.

The dining area.

There are several restaurants on the property, and many many more in the town of Destin, but if you want to eat in, the kitchen is furnished with everything you would need to cook a nice dinner. The dining table seats six, and if you have friends over to eat with you, there is seating for a few more at the kitchen bar.

The kitchen is beautiful.

The kitchen is beautiful.

There is a huge side by side refrigerator with an ice maker; a microwave; a full size range with oven; a dishwasher; a coffee maker; and a toaster. A double sink over by the wall, and a bar sink too!

This kitchen is huge too!

This kitchen is huge too!

And look! a wine rack built in. This place has thought of everything!

The first bedroom. It is the smallest of the three, but has a closet with a light, a ceiling fan, a chest of drawers, and a chair. The bed is just as comfortable as the larger one in the Master Bedroom.

The first bedroom.

It is the smallest of the three, but has a closet with a light, a ceiling fan, a chest of drawers, and a chair. The bed is just as comfortable as the larger one in the Master Bedroom.

That chest of drawers will hold enough changes of clothing for two children for a week!

That chest of drawers will hold enough changes of clothing for two children for a week!

Or enough for one blogger for a weekend!

Did I mention that this is a three bedroom, three bath condo? This bath is shared with the small bedroom and the living area, and has a walk in shower.

Did I mention that this is a three bedroom, three bath condo?

This bath is shared with the small bedroom and the living area, and has a walk in shower.

Bedroom number two has a queen bed, a dresser, and a chair. There is a door leading to the balcony.

Bedroom number two.

It has a queen bed, a dresser, and a chair. There is a door leading to the balcony.

Bathroom number two is private, and has a walk in shower.

Bathroom number two.

This is a private bathroom , and has a walk in shower.

A nice comfy chair, with a side table completes the furnishings in this bedroom.

A nice comfy chair, with a side table completes the furnishings in this bedroom.

All of the rooms have beautiful artwork on the walls. It makes the whole place seem homey, and comfortable.

Bedroom number 3, the master bedroom.

Bedroom number 3.

The master bedroom. All of the bedrooms have ceiling fans, a chair, and a side table. In this room there is a full length mirror on the wall.

There's a king size bed, two night stands, a large dresser, and a side chair with a table. I could live here forever!

There’s a king size bed.

Two night stands, a large dresser, and a side chair with a table. I could live here forever!

Another view of the bed. Isn't it gorgeous?

Another view of the bed.

Isn’t it gorgeous? The most important part though, is the comfort.

Holy Moly, look at that bathroom! I wish I could pack it up in my suitcase and take it home with me. The walk in shower is exactly what I want in my house. And the garden tub would be so nice for a bubble bath! And unlike so many hotel bathrooms I have been in, there is plenty of room to move around in there.

Holy Moly, look at that bathroom!

I wish I could pack it up in my suitcase and take it home with me. The walk in shower is exactly what I want in my house. And the garden tub would be so nice for a bubble bath! And unlike so many hotel bathrooms I have been in, there is plenty of room to move around in there.

There are even two sinks, so you and your hubby can get ready for the day at the same time.

There are even two sinks.

You and your hubby can get ready for the day at the same time. Or not. But, having such a huge counter space means you can put all your toiletries out and not be crowded up.

I have been impressed with the Emerald Grande so far, and I haven’t even slept here yet. I love that it has separate bedrooms, and that you can shut your door if you don’t want to be disturbed by your roommates, or leave it open to invite them in. There is just so much to like about it.

To find out more about Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village  in Destin, you can read more about their accommodations here.  They are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too.

Re-Create The Recipe: Chicken With Cannellini Beans

Chicken with Cannellini Beans

Chicken with Cannellini Beans

I enjoyed this dish so much at BarZin that I decided to make it at home last week. As you know, I live out in the boondocks, in the woods, near the Georgia-Alabama line. The grocery stores around here don’t have a lot of “fancy” stuff like chard and pancetta. So, I had to make do, and used some chopped turnip greens and bacon instead. While it did not taste exactly like the dish I had at BarZin, and mine was a bit drier than what I had at the restaurant, it was good.

Chicken with Cannellini Beans Recipe

4 chicken thighs

tenderizer

seasoned salt

Rinse and trim the chicken thighs, and sprinkle with tenderizer and seasoned salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes, or until done.

2 slices bacon

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 16 oz can cannellini beans

1 cup chopped greens (I used turnip greens)

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup chicken drippings

Chop the bacon and garlic, and place in a skillet with the olive oil. Cook and stir on medium heat until bacon is browned. Add the beans, chopped greens, italian seasoning, and pepper, stir to mix well. Cover, and cook on medium heat until most of the liquid has evaproated. Stir in the chicken drippings, cover, and simmer a few more minutes. Serve in a bowl with chicken. Makes 4 servings.

Amelia Island Restaurant Week: BarZin Bistro & Wine Bar

BarZin

BarZin

After our tour of Fort Clinch, I was exhausted, so we went back to the Residence Inn to rest and take a nap until it was time to go to dinner. Our dinner the last night in Amelia Island was courtesy of the owner of BarZin.

BarZin's Restaurant Week Menu

BarZin’s Restaurant Week Menu

BarZin is a discreet place with low lights. Hushed conversations, and laughter were heard all around us. The owner came to our table to greet us, and welcome us to his establishment. Then our waiter, Daniel, brought menus. There was a Restaurant Week Menu, and the regular menu, but we were told we could order whatever we wanted.

Fabgrandpa and I both ordered appetizers from the Restaurant Week menu. He had the Warm Beets Hearts of Palm Salad, and I had the Crab Cakes (no surprise there, I am sure). But before the appetizers arrived, we started out with a glass of Riesling, my favorite of wines. It was delicious!

At BarZin enjoying a glass of Riesling before dinner.

At BarZin enjoying a glass of Riesling before dinner.

When the appetizers were served, conversation ceased. Fabgrandpa loves beets. He said his salad was very good. I could tell that he liked it because it disappeared from his plate.

Warm Beet and Hearts of Palm Salad

Warm Beet and Hearts of Palm Salad

My Crab Cakes were delicious also, and were served with a rooster remoulade sauce:

BarZin Crab Cakes with Rooster Remoulade

BarZin Crab Cakes with Rooster Remoulade

For his entree, Fabgrandpa chose the Scallop Shrimp Pasta with Saffron Broth. It was a generous serving and very good. The broth was lightly seasoned, and the seafood cooked just right with luscious jumbo shrimp and large scallops.

Pasta with Scallops and Shrimp with Saffron Broth

Scallop Shrimp Pasta with Saffron Broth

I ordered the Chicken with Chard, White Beans, and Pancetta. It was like a bean soup with chard, pancetta, and rosemary, with a piece of roasted chicken served in the bowl. I will be making this one at home soon! It was very good.

White Beans with Chicken and Chard

White Beans with Chicken and Chard

We were both almost full, but this time we did save room for dessert. Daniel brought out a piece of cheesecake, and a piece of chocolate cake. We shared them both, and I almost did not get a picture of them before they were gone!

The chocolate cake and cheesecakes were both delicious!

The chocolate cake and cheesecakes were both delicious!

We really enjoyed our dinner at BarZin!. If you love a good glass of wine with your meal, this is the place to go in Fernandina Beach. There is a varied selection of entrees on the menu, too. In addition to the ones we ordered, there is Potato Asiago Gnocchi, Blackened Shrimp with spicy sausage in a cream sauce, Fresh Catch, Butchers Selection, and more.

BarZin is located at 4924 First Coast Highway, Suite 10, Fernandina Beach, Florida. You can reach them at 904-310-6620. For information on hours and directions, click here.

 

Re-Create the Recipe: Crab Cakes with Cranberry Chutney

Crab cakes with Cranberry sauce

Crab cakes with Cranberry sauce

As soon as we left Cafe Karibo, I knew I was going to try to re-create those yum-a-licious crab cakes they served us. The ones with the Cranberry Chutney and Brie. Except that I live in a tiny little town, where the only grocery store has never even heard of brie, so I had to improvise and use cream cheese.

This is not the first time I have gone home and re-created the meal I had in a restaurant. I have done it many times. There are recipes scattered all over my blog where I have figured out how they made it in a restaurant, and tried to make it at home. There is the Mexican Seafood Soup. That one took me forever to get it right.  Then there was the Shrimp Stuffed Avocado, and The Black Bean and Shrimp Nachos.  I think that this is the sincerest form of flattery there is for a chef–when a person loves what they made so much that they will try to make it at home. Now I know I won’t ever be as good as the chef at the restaurant, but I can try to emulate them so I can have better food at home. So, it’s not a new thing for me to come home from a restaurant and start trying to make the things I ate there.

My version of the crab cakes turned out very good. For the crab cakes, I used a recipe with no bread fillers that I got from a restaurant proprietor in Virginia several years ago. Then I googled Cranberry Chutney recipes, and adapted to the ingredients I had on hand. Here ya go!

Gluten Free Crab Cakes Virginia Style

1 lb crabmeat, picked over for shells (I used a steamed Dungeness crab from the Kroger Seafood counter

1 beaten egg

4 Tablespoons mayonaise

2 teaspoons mustard

1/8 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

2 slices of gluten free bread, processed into fine crumbs

1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

Mix all ingredients except for bread crumbs in a bowl. Stir the mixture gently to prevent breaking up the crabmeat lumps. Heat oil in skillet. Gently shape two tablespoons of the mixture into patties about 3/4 inches thick. Place the bread crumbs in a separate small bowl. Roll each crab pattie in the bread crumbs, then place in the hot skillet. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Makes 7-8 crab cakes.

Cranberry-Peach Sauce

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup suger

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 frozen peach slices, diced

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. When the mixture boils, turn heat to medium low, and cook until cranberries pop and sauce is thickened a bit. Stir frequently. Serve over crab cakes.

I served my crab cakes with cranberry sauce and cream cheese over mashed potatoes.