Food

Focus On Florida: Florida Seafood

By
Marinalife

Florida Stone Crabs

About: Unlike the blue crab, you only eat the claws of Florida stone crabs, which are considered a delicacy. Fishermen take only the claws and return the crab back to the water where their claws regenerate the next time they molt.

Best Time to Get Them: Stone crabs are only legal for harvest from October 15-May 15, with ninety-eight percent of them coming from Florida. The Florida stone crab is usually fished near jetties, oyster reefs and other rocky areas.

Best Places to Eat Stone Crabs:

  • Joe's Stone Crab, Miami (305-673-0365, joesstonecrab.com) As the top buyer of stone crab claws, Joe's Stone Crab started with humble beginnings in 1913 as a small lunch counter in Miami Beach.
  • Stone Crab Festival, Naples (stonecrabfestival.com) As the 8th annual Stone Crab Festival draws near, the Old Naples Waterfront prepares with plenty of fresh stone crab claws, music, events and activities for all ages. (held October 27-29)

Florida Lobsters

About: Just the opposite of the Maine lobster, the Florida lobster is smaller in size, does not have large front claws, and is described as "spiny." Florida lobster is also considered a warm water crustacean and is well known for its delicious tail meat.

Best Time to Get Them: There are two Florida lobster seasons; the 2-day mini season (the end of July) and the 8-month regular lobster season (August-March).

Best Places to Eat Florida Lobster:

  • Keys Fisheries Market & Marina, Marathon (305-743-4353, keysfisheries.com) As the Middle Keys most popular restaurant, seafood market and wholesale fishery, they serve up some great seafood. The renowned Lobster Reuben consistently keeps Keys visitors migrating to this seafood hot spot.
  • A&B Lobster House,  Key West (305-294-5880, aandblobsterhouse.com) Combining a stately atmosphere, stunning views, and locally caught lobsters, A&B Lobster House offers several different takes on Florida Lobster. It's no wonder that A&B has been a tradition for Key West visitors since 1947.

Florida Oysters

About: It's been said that oysters are like wine, in that they draw their unique flavors from their environment. Ninety percent of Florida's oysters are produced in the 30 miles of Apalachicola Bay on the panhandle. Apalachicola is also the last place in the U.S. where wild oysters are still harvested by tongs from small boats.

Best Time to Get Them: Florida oysters are available year-round, but harvest ramps up in the fall months as temperatures begin to drop the cool months are when Florida oysters taste the best.Best Places to Eat Florida Oysters:

  • The Owl Cafe & Wine Room, Apalachicola (850-653-9888, owlcafeflorida.com) In the heart of Apalachicola, The Owl Cafe has an Old Florida vibe, offering local seafood, unloaded at the docks just a stone's throw from the kitchen.
  • Up The Creek Raw Bar, Apalachicola (850-653-2525, upthecreekrawbar.com) Directly along the Apalachicola River sits Up The Creek Raw Bar. Known for keeping up with culinary trends, Up The Creek is not just your father's oyster bar with both raw and cooked oyster creations.
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Rum, Reggae & Spies!
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The beach at Fleming Villa | Source GoldenEye

In my quest for the best Caribbean Rum, I’ve sampled a few. From Appleton to Ron Zacapa rum, my tastebuds have celebrated the luscious flavors borne from fermenting sugarcane into smooth amber elixirs.

In the pursuit of rum perfection, I’ve noticed that a well-designed label can give clues about what awaits inside the bottle. Many simply present the distiller’s name and location where a rum derives its unique flavors. But it’s hard to resist the image of a crusty old captain, pirate ship or sassy sea wench when pouring a hefty splash into a tumbler.

Curious rum aficionados like myself are always eager to hear the back story behind the libation in our hand. Like a slice of pineapple or lime wedged upon the rim of a glass, the history of a rum’s journey from the Caribbean to our lips can make a cocktail taste even sweeter.

I recently stumbled upon the extraordinary tale that intertwines Jamaican rum, world- class musicians and James Bond. To fully appreciate this unique saga, follow my lead and shake up a GoldenEye Cocktail (see recipe below) to sip while the story unfolds.

THE SPY WHO LOVED JAMAICA

James Bond Dr No Poster Credit Flickr

Our story begins in 1939, when a London journalist named Ian Fleming joined the British Navy Intelligence Service. His unit specialized in military espionage and covert plans to thwart German aggression in Europe and the Caribbean.

During World War II, Fleming was engaged in Operation GoldenEye, and in 1942 he was sent to investigate suspicions about Nazi submarines in the Caribbean. During this deployment, he became enamored with Jamaica and vowed to live there some day.

When the war was over, Fleming returned to Jamaica and bought 15 acres of plush land that was once used as a donkey racetrack. In 1945, he built a house not far from the banana port town of Oracabessa Bay, and the seaside property became Fleming’s tropical sanctuary where he could focus on writing and the discrete task of taking previously tight-held secrets into a public, fictional genre.

He named the estate GoldenEye as a tribute to his Navy service and began working on a book that evolved around the dashing spy and Special Agent 007, James Bond. This protagonist would emerge as the amalgamation of agents he’d met during his maritime service. As an avid birdwatcher, Fleming took the name for his lead character from American ornithologist James Bond, an expert on Caribbean birds, who wrote the definitive field guide, Birds of the West Indies.

Fleming’s first spy novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1952. This book and all 13 in the James Bond series were written in his bedroom at GoldenEye. Three of them — Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun — take place in Jamaica.

STIR IT UP

Chris Blackwell | Credit GoldenEye

Not only did the breezy island life at GoldenEye inspire Fleming’s novels, but so did his fetching neighbor, Blanche Blackwell. She was the muse who helped spark his creative drive. The Blackwell family had lived in Jamaica since 1625, exporting bananas and coconuts and crafting a distinctive brand of rum.

Blanche’s son Chris Blackwell grew up between England and Jamaica, and in his childhood spent a good amount of time with Fleming. In 1954, after Blackwell got booted from an elite British school for rebellious behavior, he came back to the island to get involved in the family rum business. Contrary to plan, he followed his instincts and made a career choice that would dramatically alter the global music scene.

For a while, he kicked around working as the aide-de-camp to the governor and as a waterskiing instructor. But after hearing the blind pianist Lance Heywood play at the Half Moon Resort, Blackwell recorded the musician, and in 1959 he launched a music studio called Island Records. In sync with his unconventional style, it became known for discovering and nurturing innovative performers who had been shrugged off or overlooked by bigger record labels.

Island Records introduced the world outside of the Caribbean to Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jamaican reggae music, showcasing island culture and universal struggles of indigenous people. It launched British bands such as Traffic, Bad Company, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Fairport Convention. It also cultivated artists such as Cat Stevens, Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits and the Irish band, U2.

Throughout his success in the music industry, Blackwell remained in contact with Fleming and his projects. When the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica in 1962, Blackwell was hired as a location scout and consulted on the soundtrack. Sir Sean Connery, whom Blackwell had met during the filming of Dr. No, remained a friend until his passing in 2020. Using a family recipe, Blackwell launched his boutique rum in 2008 that is distributed around the globe.

Live and Let Die was filmed in 1973 on the Blackwell Estate, which now includes The Fleming Villa. Scenes from the movie were shot near GoldenEye, Blackwell’s luxury hotel in Jamaica. The latest Bond flick, No Time to Die, returns to the exquisite Jamaican backdrop of GoldenEye, and the production team was treated to a supply of Blackwell Rum for inspiration while filming.

TO CELEBRATE 60 YEARS OF JAMES BOND, a special bottle of Blackwell Rum has been released, along with a new memoir by Chris Blackwell, The Islander: My Life in Music and Beyond. If you’re cruising around Jamaica this winter, cue up some Bob Marley tunes, open a bottle of Blackwell’s 007 Rum, and shake it (don’t stir) with pineapple juice and ice to create the GoldenEye Cocktail. And if you’re nestled in at home in a colder climate and dreaming about the Caribbean, we suggest watching a Bond flick and warming up with the Toasted Toddy.

GoldenEye | Credit GoldenEye

GOLDENEYE COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS:

-1 part Blackwell Rum

-1 part pineapple juice

-Lime or pineapple wedge

INSTRUCTIONS:

Shake together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime or pineapple wedge

Toasty Toddy | Credit GoldenEye

TOASTY TODDY

INGREDIENTS:

-3 parts Blackwell Rum

-2 teaspoons brown sugar

-1 1⁄2 parts fresh lemon juice

-6 parts boiling water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add all ingredients to a mug, except for the water. Pour in the boiling water, Stir well to blend

Read More
Holiday Cocktails for Any Time of Day
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If you can’t decide which cocktails to make for your holiday party, or simply need a little cheer to get you through the mayhem of family, friends and festivities, Marinalife has got you covered! 

Check out our favorite seasonal cocktail recipes to help you reduce the stress and enjoy this holiday season all day long.

BREAKFAST

close up view of a red drink
Christmas Morning Punch | Credit Kozak-Salo, Getty Images

Christmas Morning Punch

A sweet treat to get your day started

Ingredients:
4 oz. raspberry vodka
2 cups orange juice
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup ginger ale

Instructions:
Combine ingredients in a pitcher, stir and serve cold.

LUNCH

Christmas Margarita

A zesty fun drink for any festive occasion

red drinks and red cranberries surrounding the cup
Christmas Margarita | Credit Chernishev, Getty Images

Ingredients:
2 oz. gold tequila
½ oz. orange liqueur
3 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. pomegranate juice
½ oz. Key Lime juice
2 tsp. simple syrup

Instructions:
For a salted rim, fill a small plate with simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of margarita salt and fill your glass with ice. In a separate cocktail shaker, fill with light ice and the ingredients. Shake and strain into your glass and garnish with a lime or orange. 

DINNER

blue drink in a small glass with lemons on the side
Jack Frost | Credit bhofack2, Getty Images

Jack Frost

A creamy delight to enjoy in your PJs when the kids go to bed

Ingredients:
½ cup light rum
½ cup Blue Curaçao liqueur
½ cup cream of coconut
1 cup pineapple juice

Instructions:
For a coconut rim, fill a small plate with light corn syrup or simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of coconut flakes. Use a blender or fill a shaker with ice and ingredients and shake well for foamy results. Strain into glass and enjoy!

Read More
Nautical-Inspired Cocktails for Fall
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As the leaves fall and turn to brown, our palette changes from strawberry and watermelon summer flavors to more autumnal pumpkin and apple-flavored treats. Spiced rum is a perfect spirit to enjoy this season, so we chose Captain Morgan as the main ingredient for two cocktail variations. Whether you wrap up in a cozy blanket or entertain friends on your boat, you can drink like a ship captain with the following fall recipes.

A red cocktail with seasonal fruit
Fall Cocktail | Source Veselova Elena from Getty Images

The Captain Cider

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1.5 oz Cranberry juice
1.5 oz Hard apple cider

Instructions:

Fill a rocks glass with ice and combine all ingredients. Gently stir and garnish with a cranberry and apple slice.

Hot apple cider in a glass cup on a tree stump
Hot Apple Cider | Source Wendy Melgar from Getty Images

Hot Captain Cider

Ingredients:

2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
6 oz Fresh apple cider

Instructions:

Combine the rum and apple cider in a small pot and microwave or heat over a stove. Carefully pour drink into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Read More

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