Friday, June 24, 2011

Ozello and Cedar Key June 2011

Recently we took a road trip up the west coast of FL about 2 hours north of Hudson. We first stopped in Ozello at Pecks Old Port Cove restaurant and blue crab farm. We each had the soft shell crab appetizer as we knew that was just the first of many stops on the agenda for the day. I must say it was a little weird for me to eat the crab that was fried in the shell, but it tasted pretty good. Before leaving for our next destination, we checked out the blue crab farm. Owen had a fleeting thought that it may be his next vocation, but decided against it. ;)
Next, it was on to Cedar Key, which we felt like it took forever to get to! It's 25 miles off the highway down a two-lane road, and easy to feel like you're lost. On the way, we passed through Rosewood, FL which has a very tragic past and is the subject of much controversy. That sparked quite a philosophical conversation on the culture of the south.
Finally we made it to Cedar Key, where Owen had researched some great spots to try the local fare. The town is known for its farm-raised clams, and to be a quaint spot for artists to do their thing. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the "downtown" area, the artsy shops had closed for the day, which left us with only 2 things to do: eat and drink. Albeit, they are the two things we are best at, so Bonus! The first stop was the Rusty Rim Pub where Owen had "probably the best raw oysters he's ever had", and I had the blue crab and jack steamed oysters, which were absolutely delightful! From there, we mosied across the bridge from Dock Street toward Tony's to sample the now 3X World Champion Clam Chowder. Which, we both agreed was tasty, and probably award winning. But, my absolute favorite chowder is from Shells. After Tony's we meandered down the street, admired the yard art and mosaics that are located on 2nd St., and peeked through the windows of some of the quirky shops downtown, wondering why they close so early on the weekend (5 pm) for being a tourist town.
Once we made it the 2 blocks back to Dock St. we had worked up quite a thirst so we stopped in the Black Dog Cigar Bar which boasts 99 beers on the wall, and an eclectic style of decorating, with an old fashioned barber's chair amidst several other pieces of furniture. They were busy planning for the night's show featuring McKinley and Beggs. The barmaid, who was quite friendly, was talking it up and said that it was going to be a great show. We didn't feel we had it in us to wait 3 more hours for it, so we passed.
We had been in Cedar Key for several hours and still hadn't had any of the infamous clams, so we set off in search of them. We found them at Steamer's, a lodge-type place with the entire back wall overlooking the Gulf. It was also decorated with driftwood art and even some repurposed pieces of art, which intrigued me. Anyone want to get rid of some old cds? I know what to do with them now! We settled on the Classic (garlic and wine) clam pot. They were served with two huge rolls for dipping, yum!
So, with our belly's full, and having seen all there was to see that was open in Cedar Key, we wrapped up the day and headed back south. Our overall opinion of the town, that it is quaint, and sleepy (maybe a little too sleepy for our tastes), and a nice little getaway if you had a boat, and/or were looking for some quiet.

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