Back at it at the Beach

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Update from my Pre-Covid 19 post about local hot spots.

Unfortunately, my favorite British pub is now permanently closed. Temperley’s owner has been stuck in London since right before all travel shut down while waiting on his visa. Knowing how difficult it is for a small business owner to stay afloat in normal operating conditions, I can only imagine how heart-breaking this has been for the Temperleys as their thriving business remained shuttered for the past few months with no foreseeable relief. I did read that he has a potential buyer so keeping fingers crossed the concept stays the same. I will miss going in there evenings and seeing Mr. and Mrs. Temperley cooking and pouring beers. They were a great addition to this community, and I fear they won’t be the last closure.

In a bit of good news, we finally found an amazing Indian restaurant, Holi Grill. They have remained open with curbside pickup all the way through, and the owner is often the one who cooks and brings your food to the door. His Instagram showcase not just the delicious food, but also cultural trivia. Glad to support this gem!


 

Landed back in PCB a few weeks ago and started the rounds of restaurants to check out all the new venues. So far, the scene is very promising! Below are a few, but lots more to come 🙂

Best Sushi imo Shan Kishi: (UPDATE They are still doing curbside pickup and so friendly!)

Just moved back and our first order of business was to go out for a sushi tasting night, we went to four establishments and Shan Kishi was by far the freshest, best variety and friendliest service. In fact it was so good when our kids came for the holidays, we took them all to dinner and they went two more times for lunch!

The fish is very fresh (we eat sashimi so basically just fish) and there were 3 pages of rolls. Granted some of the rolls seemed similar, but the Yankee, Ocean, spicy tuna and spicy salmon were delicious! Best deal is to order the trio of sashimi on entrees- 18 pieces of fish plus soup and salad for $25. The pieces ate enormous! If you go in solo or just a couple people, sit at the sushi bar, it is worth it. This is our go-to for all things sushi here in the panhandle.

Brunch with a View- Pescado:

Pescado hands down has the best seat in Rosemary Beach. Sunday brunch is open seating on the deck with an ala carte menu. We sat at the front rail and tables were roomy with a direct view to the ocean.

My husband ordered the Benedict with Tasso hollandaise. The eggs were perfectly poached, pork was tender and the Tasso ham added just the right spice. He also ordered a side of breakfast potatoes which were also delicious! They were sautéed with caramelized red onion and red pepper. Very tasty side! I indulged in the challah french toast with poached pear and Amaretto mascarpone. It was enormous and ridiculously decadent in a really good way! I also got a side of bacon. Take it from me, do not miss the bacon- thick cut, perfectly cooked and huge portion. All told we ordered too much. The portions are not small, but everything we had was scrumptious!

The only miss for us was the bloody mary. It had good spice and abundant garnish, but it was fairly small and heavy on ice for $15. The food was all a great value with entrees between $12-$18 and sides $2-$5. The view was spectacular and worth difficulty finding a parking spot in Rosemary. Pescado will be on regular Sunday brunch rotation for us.

As an aside, we went as a couple, but there were 3 families with small children (high chairs) dining on the deck. Not sure about children at dinner, but brunch is definitely accommodating.

 

Best Italian imo- Amici 30A:

Finally found great Italian on the panhandle! We sat at the chef’s counter and it was such a good choice! Chefs were friendly and fun to watch. It was maybe one of the cleanest operations I have ever seen dining or working in kitchens. Ingredients were fresh and portions were ample.

We split the Caprese to start which was made completely with heirloom tomatoes and had some bright lemon zest over top for added zing. We then ordered the spaghetti and meatballs and the mushroom ravioli with caper browned butter sauce. We could have split one entree, but choosing would be hard. Their “gravy” which is what they call their tomato sauce had lots of depth and the meatballs were moist and well-seasoned. The caper browned butter sauce was rich and briny in all the right places. The bread was rustic and served with herbed olive oil. It was all delicious!

We finished with the tiramisu just because of presentation. We were so full, but when we saw the mason jars, we were all in!

Everything was wonderful and we will be back…often!

Hidden Gem- Temperley’s:

Been to Temperley’s a number of times since moving back and it is yummy every time! This time we took our kids who are visiting and they sampled some of the fantastic British fare we raved about.

At the table we had fish and chips(we prefer the cod, but haddock is tasty as well), the bangers and mash and 2 Shepherd’s pies. All were hot and delicious! I have also tried the chicken pot pie pasty, as well as the apple and peach dessert pasty.

They have beer and wine available and everything is ordered at the counter. It is an unpretentious, local fave we go back to over and over!

Remote Work Hangouts

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Remote work can be the most satisfying and freeing choices for your career, but it can also be lonely. I have a lovely home office/library space. The furniture is comfy, there are plants and lots of sunlight- very inspiring. Sometimes though, I need some human interaction.

Enter coffee shops.

They have been the offices of many remote workers as our jobs move more online. There is enough noise, some people you can talk to or not, fresh coffee and usually some baked goods. The catch though is the space needs to be remote work friendly- solid tables, light, wifi and most importantly, lots of outlets! Remoters published an article that gives a great overview of all the pluses and minuses or remote work, as well as a glimpse into what the future of remote work could be. If you are currently freelancing or even working remote for a company, Remoters has some exceptional resources.

Local Options

Over the past two weeks I visited all the possibilities between Panama City proper and Grayton Beach, Fl. (my new home turf). Below is my roundup best to last, but let me say I did not go anywhere that did not offer food in some way- got to have a snack when you are working for hours staring at the screen. There may be more out there…drop me a message if you think I missed one of your faves.

#1 Black Bear Bread Co.

This one is the furthest from my home, but so worth it. There are many comfy seating options from the cushioned banquettes in the bakery are to the bar and couches in the bar room. It is busy. Always. Find your table first and then get in line to order. They give you a number and bring everything to you. The people who work there seem very happy- always smiling, chatting and refilling your coffee. The baked goods are really, really tasty. Did I say really tasty? They are! Everything is baked fresh and when they run out, they are out.

I usually order a large cup of Stumptown Coffee– the richest brew I have sampled from any of the shops. I am kind of hooked on their french toast, but I have tried croissants, pop tarts and grain bowls as well. There are outlets everywhere! Literally, every seat has an outlet right near it including the bar seats- it is a remote worker’s mecca! I stay usually 2-3 hours and nobody interrupts me except to fill coffee or pass a kind word of greeting. I never feel pressure to get out and the buzzy, hip vibe is perfect for writing. I frequent here 1-2 times a week even though it is 35 minutes from my house.

#2 The Pour

I passed this place many times before I ventured in because I was afraid it would be too faith-based. I was wrong. It is a Christian-based coffee shop, but it is so much more. They believe in their community and supporting it with transitional housing and other initiatives- they are a certified non-profit. There are some religious pieces of art on the wall, but there is also a plethora of comfy seating from couches to chairs to more traditional work tables. The decor is a mix of upcycled lighting, rugs and furniture.

I stayed for an hour my first time and it was so relaxing. It is a large space with tons of outlets. I counted eight remote workers when I first entered (always a good sign). The music is indie/folk. The staff is friendly and efficient. I had a coffee, which was nothing special just Community coffee and a pancake muffin which was really special. Baked products are house-made and pretty yummy. They also have a couple of breakfast options, but not a huge selection. This spot exudes good vibes and is a nice change from the home office.

#3 Amivida Coffee

I visited both locations, Rosemary Beach & St. Andrews, and much prefer the St. Andrews location. Rosemary Beach is a fun area, but the cafe itself is rather small and not conducive to remote work- no space to really spread out and plug in.

The location in St. Andrews is large, tons of different types of seating and outlets everywhere. The couple of times I visited, there were numerous remote workers on their laptops and conducting meetings. It is extremely remote worker friendly. There is also this independent spirit in the cafe that appeals to my own independent spirit. I love everything about this place except the food and coffee.

I worked uninterrupted for hours catching snippets of conversation about the community rebuilding after Hurricane Michael and all the new upstart businesses setting up shop. There is a fiercely proud quality to St. Andrews evident in their tagline #keepstandrewssalty and their deep support of locally-owned businesses. All of this makes me want to go here often, but the coffee was bitter both times and the two food items I tried- Spelt breakfast sandwich and muffin were dry and not very tasty. I plan to go and try ordering tea to see if that is more to my liking because I want to love this place and support it. So, in the end this places rocks for getting writing done, but the food and coffee were not as rocking.

#4 Cafe Aroma

This one is by far the closest to my house. I had really high hopes, but it was just okay. To be fair, I went thinking good coffee and a breakfast, but it was more good coffee and a donut.

They serve Lucky Goat coffee which is pretty good, a little bitter. They are really more of a lunch/deli location than breakfast. The sandwich I got was okay, but not great. The blueberry cake donut was fantastic! The space is quite large, but not many tables. This is a miss I think, at least for my purposes. There are outlets by the 7ish tables they have, but it is just not very comfortable. The space itself is a little stark and could use some cozying up. I went here twice, but did not stay for more than an hour. I think there is potential for remote work here, but it is not there yet and maybe they are catering more to the just walk in, get your coffee and donut, and leave crowd.

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#5 & #6 Sunrise Cafe & Bakery & Loaf Cafe & Bakery

I lumped these together because I would not consider remote working from either one.

Sunrise Cafe is super cute inside with a very beachy vibe. Loaf has that European minimalist thing going on. Both are comfortable spots with plenty of seating. But, my major requirement of outlets are basically non-existent.

I also did not feel their breakfast and coffee options were anything to write home about. Sunrise has a limited breakfast menu, but the ingredients were just kind of mediocre (American cheese etc.) and the coffee was the run of the mill Community Coffee. I did order a latte to see how their espresso drinks were and it was weak.

Loaf has an extremely limited menu, but their baklava is outstanding. I also love their community bookshelf where you can drop a book off or pick one up. Both have their good points (European menu options for lunch etc.), but they just were not sufficient for telework.

Honest seafood without the Tourist Trap

When I am out of town, at the beach, I am looking for a good seafood restaurant that does not fry everything or charge $30 for a basket of oysters. Not that I am unwilling to dine expensively, if that is what I am in the mood for, but when I come off the dive boat and am ravenous at 3:30 in the afternoon, I want some fresh, honest seafood prepared well. Dee’s Hangout provided that!

We moved away from PCB a number of years ago and come back frequently to visit friends. we are always on the lookout for a new place to try out. We went to Dee’s based on their Urban Spoon rating and we were not disappointed.

Our server, Tim, was friendly and honest about the menu. He steered us to their smoked tuna dip appetizer. It was a huge portion full of smoked tuna. It was dense and not mayonnaisey- just like we like it. We also ordered the cajun platter, the blackened lunch grouper and blackened fish tacos. All were delicious and enormous. Come hungry! We especially liked the blackened grouper with sweet potato fries. The fish was flaky and had a nice crust of blackening spice coating it. The sweet potato fries were obviously fresh and that perfect consistency of crisp outside and soft inside. Everything we tried was tasty though so have at the menu.

I wish we would have known about this place sooner in our trip; we would have gone more than once- it was that good. It is definitely on our list for future trips. The location and interior are not fancy, but it was one of the best meals we had on this trip!