On the Road: The Great Southern Cafe (Summer Brunch 2013)

This summer I got the opportunity to go back to one of my favorite restaurants. The Great Southern Cafe in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. This time the trip was during brunch, so my go-to favorite the “Soul Rolls” wasn’t on the menu. (See my original post about The Great Southern Cafe¬†from 2010) but, I wasn’t deterred. I was just happy to have the opportunity to go back to a place that I thought I would probably never see again. To be quite honest, I had been thinking about it ever since I learned that we’d be going back to the Destin area for a family vacation, months before.

Maybe I was setting myself up…

This time, the trip was lackluster at best. The waitstaff was mediocre and just seemed confused about everything they were doing (never a good sign.) The food was hit-or-miss. Polling the family I got results that spanned the line from delicious to dreadful. I’m not really sure what went wrong. Maybe only the new folks work Sunday brunches, I don’t know. The overall impression I got was that no one really cared.

I really hope that this restaurant isn’t on some downward spiral. I hate it when good places go bad. I’m holding out hope that it was just an “off” day. Every place has those. Sometimes when something little goes wrong it drags everyone down with it. (Ever seen a newscaster flub up on live TV? Watch the rest of them, they’ll all start screwing up after that. It’s a domino effect.)

That being said, if I ever get the chance to go back, I’ll probably skip brunch.

The Great Southern Cafe

83 Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

850-231-7327

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Outside the restaurant

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Inside near the bar. The restaurant is only partially enclosed. The bar and half of the seating area are on a covered patio.

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Brunch menu. Summer 2013

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My son was not as excited about the restaurant as the rest of us were. Well, that and he really likes to play educational games on my wife’s phone.

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Mickey Mouse pancakes for my son. He was delighted.

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I had “The Fisherman.” Which, to be honest, was sub-standard. The fish was dry and underseasoned. The hollandaise was thin and flavorless (how can hollandaise have no taste of butter nor lemon juice?) The eggs were, well, eggs.. but the gouda grits and biscuit were delicious. I should have nosed further into the menu, but I really had a hankering for a nice piece of fish. Unfortunately they dropped the ball (even if it was a “service” menu item purely to make vacationers happy.)

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The winner of the day was my wife’s crab cake and fried green tomato benedict. It had the same bland hollandaise, but the crabcake and fried green tomatoes made up for it.




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Snapshots From Summer

Here’s a few snapshots from this summer. No photoshopping, fancy angles, or tilt-shifts. Just snippets that were documented for the sake of minutiae.

20120930-232637.jpgMuscadines

20120930-232756.jpgIrish, Red, and Yukon Gold potatoes

20120930-232838.jpgMy Uncle and son sitting on one of the tractors

20120930-232907.jpgParadicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes pepper. Also called the “Hungarian Pumpkin Pepper.”

20120930-232923.jpg“Exotic” peppers for this season. Pasilla Bajio, Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes, Shishito & Friariello Di Napoli

20120930-232939.jpg“Family-sized” sweet potato.

20120930-232954.jpgA beautiful flower that I have no clue how to identify.

20120930-233011.jpgMore unidentified flowers. (My grandmother will kill me for not knowing what all of these flowers are.)

20120930-233105.jpgMy grandmother’s stove. Inspiration for “The Southern Table.” We were having an afternoon fish fry. My grandparents did a traditional cornmeal batter. I went with a beer batter. My grandfather and I fried the fish in the outside cooker. The hush puppies were done by my grandmother in the skillet you see here. “Why?” You may ask. She doesn’t think my grandfather or I will cook them right. So, naturally, we drew “fish-duty.”

20120930-233126.jpg My stove. Where “The Southern Table” becomes a reality. This particular morning, my son and I decided to cook breakfast while my wife slept in. He’s out of frame, to my right, in his high chair.