Great Food

Great Food
After a long day on the water, nothing beats a good meal. You know, after sweating all day in the sun and after a sack lunch, a person needs some substance. Over the years I have learned that some of the best restaurants to be found are usually within a very short distance of some of the best fishing holes.

I can still remember, way back in the early 80's, the first time I visited Seadrift, Texas. We hunted ducks that morning, had sandwiches out on the boat, caught some redfish that afternoon and then that evening visited Barkette's Restaurant for the first time. Back in those days I was a young high school football player trying to put on weight so the chicken fried steak seemed appropriate. I did not have much sense back then.

Sadly enough, not much has changed except for the fact that I now reside in Seadrift and visit Barkette's regularly after a long day of poling sports around the flats casting flies to cruising redfish. And, I still have no sense. Chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, gumbo and crab fingers- nothing is safe when I walk in the door. Oh, and did I mention my obsession with their fried pork chops.

I of course have a couple of other favorites that I visit if not weekly, at least monthly. I truly have a hard time staying away from Toasties Sub Shop in Port O'Connor and, in the rare event that I kill a fish for a meal, if I am feeling too lazy to cook for myself, I drive the fifteen miles or so up to Carmine's Cajun Kitchen and have it friend up about as perfect as it can get. And, for the days that I get rained out or it is just too damn windy to even put the boat in the water, there is the Pelican's Perch overlooking a harbor full of shrimp boats and San Antonio Bay in Seadrift. They do it up right.

Back up near my hometown of Lake Jackson, we are not too far from Christmas Bay and the San Luis Pass surf. Many of days I have headed down to do a little fishing and stopped by Surfside Beach's Red Snapper Inn for some gumbo and crabs at the end of the day. The food there is fantastic although it is a pretty nice place. By that I mean, it is alright to visit there after a day of poling the flats on a skiff but might not be the place to go if you have spent all morning standing waste deep in the surf casting to trout. For that occasion, let me tell you about one of the best burgers to be found anywhere. Last August, some of my buddies and I, at the recommendation of a friend, stumbled onto the little burger stand at the Bridge Harbor Yacht Club after a day of wade-fishing. Let me tell you- that is one heck of a burger. Add in a Corona or two and all that is left to do is take a nap. The only bad thing is that they are only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Of course, I have eaten at restaurants all along the Texas Gulf Coast and have found several others that I really like but, I have to say, some of the best meals that I have had after a day on the water have been when I am abroad. Over the years I have been very fortunate to be able to travel all over not only sampling the fishing but also the wonderful cuisine to found in different parts of the country.

One of my favorite places to eat is back at my home away from home- the Everglades. The Rod & Gun Club in Everglades City not only has an insane grouper sandwich, but is very rich in angling history and it is an absolute pure joy to visit. Nothing is quite like sitting there waiting for a summer storm to pass, having lunch and reliving the excitement of leaping tarpon from earlier that morning.
Then there are places that the food was so memorable but, I cannot, for the life of me tell you the name of the restaurant. But, I bet I could get you back to the table I sat at. For example, I know where the marina is that my buddy ties up his boat on Staten Island and I know there is a little pizza parlor there that serves these huge slices of the best hand-tossed pizza I have ever had. Then there was the little pub next to the hotel I stayed at while fishing up at Cape Cod. They served a clam chowder that could warm the saltiest of souls. It was so good that I ate lunch there every day for an entire week. I did not have to look any further not to mention, it had one heck of a view.

And, I just cannot mentioned all of these places without talking about the meals that I have had at a couple of lodges here at home that I have been fortunate enough to be guests at. If a person is all about the groceries, I suggest saving some pennies and booking a stay at either the Redfish Lodge in Rockport or the Falcon Point Lodge in Seadrift. I do not have the words to even begin to describe how wonderful those meals were.

Anyway, there just is not enough room for me to tell you about all the great meals that have accompanied great fishing that I have been lucky enough to enjoy over the years. I can say, however, that while I have had some wonderful meals all over, I always seem to end up sitting at Barkette's.

A friend once said to me, "You didn't move to Seadrift for the fishing. You did it for the food." You know, he might be right.