My 3 Favorite Summer Food Traditions

by June 20, 2012 • 7 comments

Every summer brings a break from school, warm days at the beach and good food. Really all of these things can be enjoyed year round, but they seem to be more savory during the hot months of summer.

Fresh Seafood

One of the clear luxuries of life at the beach is fresh gulf seafood. There is something extremely satisfying about knowing your meal was just caught that day.

There are tons of great seafood markets all over Panama City Beach but the one I seem to frequent the most (because it’s close to home) is Buddy’s Seafood Market on Highway 79. I think they are open until 6 every day and reckon they start pretty early.

Map link

I’ve enjoyed a variety of fresh fish but my favorites this summer are grouper and flounder.

My wife loves the light flavor and flakey texture of the flounder and large, thick grouper steaks just make my mouth water writing about them.

How I prepare the fish

If you’ve never prepared fresh seafood yourself, you’re really missing out. Not only is it cheaper, the chances of you getting an overcooked piece of fish are much less. 🙂

This is what I do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Lay out as many pieces of foil as you have fish on a baking sheet. Make the foil sections large enough to wrap up the edges a little.  This will keep the juices in.
  3. Put a few splashes of olive oil on the foil to help prevent sticking.
  4. Lay the individual pieces of fish on their piece of foil.
  5. Put a few plops of butter on the fish.
  6. Squirt a few dashes of lemon juice on each fillet.
  7. Sprinkle some Lawry’s salt on top.
  8. Bake flounder for about 5 minutes and check for flakiness.
  9. Grouper will probably need longer but it depends on the thickness.
  10. I generally check every five minutes or so, then every minute once I think it’s close.
Thomas’ Donuts

I wouldn’t say necessarily that I’m a donut connoisseur, but my tongue test results say these are the best donuts I’ve ever had. They are a delicacy that you have to have while you’re at the beach.

They are located right on Front Beach Road just past the Laguna Beach area.

Map link

Pro-tip: get there early and pick up a few red velvet before they sell out. If you want to make them a little more delicious, microwave one for about 7 seconds.

Fish Tacos

True, fish tacos could fall under the ‘fresh seafood’ category, but for me, it’s a totally separate tradition. There are a variety of places that serve fish tacos with a variety of types of fish. And while Finns was my favorite at one point, my new favorite is at Hook’d.

They have two options: catfish or snapper – in which catfish isn’t really an option for me. The snapper is well worth the extra $3. They serve them with this slaw that has a flavor that, when added to the tacos, makes the flavor of the tacos really pop. They are really amazing.

But, lately, I’ve actually been into their shrimp tacos. I love the texture of the shrimp and the same sauce that graces the fish tacos makes the shrimp tacos just as delicious. Reminder, make sure to put the slaw ON the taco – it really sets you up for a party in your mouth.

Hook’d is located at the foot of the Russell Fields Pier (across from Pier Park) in Panama City Beach.

Map link

What are your favorite summer traditions?

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1 Amanda Richardson June 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Raw oysters at Dusty’s, Thomas’s Donuts, and Blitz Burger and Blizzard from Dairy Queen! Okay so that is 4 but Dairy Queen counts as 1! Looking forward to July to enjoy all my summer favorites!

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2 Rob Smith June 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

I like Buddy’s too, but wish they sold crab meat. I’m from Baltimore and would love to make some good MD-style crab cakes.

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3 Phil Work June 21, 2012 at 9:35 am

Rob,
You are right about the crab, but there’s still nothing like Phillips’ crabcakes. We own a few properties in PCB, but we’re headed to Ocean City for our annual stay in a few weeks (wife is from B’more) and our Phillips’ “fix”.

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4 CATHY HENSON June 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hellooooooo… I’m in PCB Fla. right now & enjoying some awesome foods!
The Back Porch… Pier Park (Fantastic Meal)
The Wicked Wheel….. Jason, you were right on the money about this place, wonderful fried chicken & fixins, clean, and fast!
Pineapple Willie’s…. What can I say it’s just GOOD!!!
Ooooh me…. just two more days & I have to get to Thomas Donuts!
Have a good one….. I sure am!
Cathy/Tn in PCB Fla. 🙂

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5 Cathy Henson June 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

Last night we drove up the beach and found Thomas Donuts….. it was closed. 🙁
I did see a sign that said closed at 3 pm each evening and closed on Wednesday too.
Well, I know where it is now & when I’m back in Sept. I will visit & hopefully get to eat some of these delishous donuts ya’ll keep telling me about.
Cathy/Tn. in PCB

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6 Jerry Eyler June 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Buddy’s seafood is hard to beat!

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7 Mona June 25, 2012 at 3:37 am

I recognized that seafood counter the second I saw it: Buddy’s! Best seafood place in PCB! Go there every year when we’re in town visiting my folks! Love it! Also tried the oysters at Mike’s Diner/Cafe on Front Beach Road this year. Loved it as well! Hoping y’all don’t get too pounded by this storm!

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