Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Our First Anniversary : Honeymoon Island & Sea Salt

On day two of our first wedding anniversary festivities (catch up on day one here), G and I journeyed north to Dunedin to visit Honeymoon Island. I had heard it was one of the best beaches around, not to mention its romantic name seemed perfect for the occasion. 

While it was a beautiful beach,  the shoreline was a bit narrower than I had imagined and much, much rockier. The strip of sand was also surprisingly busy for a Tuesday. (Though, the beachgoers were mostly senior citizens, I'll admit. That's Florida for you!) While lounging on chairs in the shade, eating our Firehouse Subs picnic, I noticed that everyone seemed to be wearing sandals or water shoes while slowly, carefully tiptoeing into the surf. And for good reason we learned, when we finally got up to go in. The hubs and I did the eee-ahh-ooh-ouch dance as we stepped into the Gulf Coast waters. Nevertheless, we still had a good time together. Honeymoon Island is a beautiful place and absolutely fantastic for shelling. I could have stayed for hours and hours with my head down, just looking at the sand and picking up interesting shells and stones. (A favorite pastime as a child and still as an adult!) My husband basically had to drag me away.

After checking on the dogs at home and freshening up, we cruised over to downtown St. Pete for an early but long and leisurely dinner at Sea Salt, a new restaurant G and I had visited once before for appetizers (oysters!) and drinks. This time we got the whole experience, starting with a salt tasting. 

A trio of salts was served with the bread and olive oil. Our server explained each salt, including which one to only taste in small amounts because of its incredibly potent flavor, reminiscent of hardboiled egg. (Seriously.) G favored the mild pink Himalayan sea salt while I quite liked the weird egg-y one, as well as the mellow, red Alaea Hawaiian sea salt. 

Since we enjoyed the oysters we tried last time (our first time giving them a go!), we decided to be adventurous yet again and ordered a half-dozen of the sommelier’s choice. The oysters were larger this go-around, a little more imposing for us newbies, but they were still good. After mentioning my observation to our kind server, we learned the selection was from East Coast waters, whereas the smaller ones we had last time were harvested from the West Coast. 

We were presented with a complimentary farro-based amuse bouche before we enjoyed our entrees: the Black Grouper for me, with fava beans, smoked salt fingerling potato, raisin tomato and a black truffle butter sauce that I couldn’t get enough of. G had the Ora King Salmon served with black cyprus sea salt barbecue and chorizo-beluga lentil ragu. The orange-glazed fish looked stunningly beautiful set against the inky lentils.

Before we could even contemplate what to order for dessert, out came a giant cloud of cotton candy. After seeing a few other surprised guests receive a bowl of sugared air, we realized it must just be Sea Salt’s thang. Cotton candy for everyone! But, moments later, another dessert arrived at our table, just for us: a decadent orb of fudge topped with sea salt, of course, and caramel sauce, with the words “Happy Anniversary” written out in chocolate.

Yep, it was a sweet night with G for sure. And I wouldn’t want to share all these adventures (culinary or otherwise, fuzzy selfies included) with anyone else.

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