Monday, November 9, 2009

GA/FL, Friday: Anything deep-fried tastes good

Late-night dance parties often result in next-morning headaches. While I make it a point to limit drinking (and dance parties, for that matter) on "school nights", the Georgia-Florida week is clearly an exception. So, mustering my best self-medication, I arrived at fried food and a cold drink to assuage the cobwebs and jackhammers in my head.

Some friends and I found a little waterside seafood shack just north of St. Augustine called Cap's on the Water. We plopped down on the huge, heavily-shaded deck, looking out over the intercoastal waterway...beautiful view of the water and those fortunate souls arriving for lunch via boat. I don't think I've ever arrived anywhere via boat. Does an innertube count?

The menu at Cap's was pretty typical for this part of the world: fried shrimp, raw oysters, grouper, mahi, and flounder sandwiches...all staples if you're visiting the Atlantic coast from the Carolinas down to North Florida. Good stuff. But I opted for something pretty regional: fried alligator tail. Not only is it tasty (think chicken nuggets), but I always feel like I'm striking deep at the heart of the infidel when about to play Florida. Their mascot is a gator (a vile and disgusting creature, by the way), and I'm eating gator. It's like I'm eating their mascot. Who can maintain high morale with a mascot recently consumed by the opposition's fan base?

Yeah, this is how my brain works. Pretty f-ed up, huh? Anyway, I paired the crunchy gator nuggets with a cold draft Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The crunchy, salty batter, the tender meat (which can be difficult with generally-tough gator tail), the sweet-spicy sauce, and the cold, hoppy-bitter beer knocked it out of the park. And the combo also ate my hangover. I eat the gator, the gator eats my hangover. Circle of life, my friends.

Now, one would expect fried seafood and cold beer at a "fish camp" restaurant. One of the most surprising things about Cap's, though, was the wine list...over 400 selections. In fact, Cap's has received the Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Though I didn't have any wine, I was pretty impressed with the list. Gotta say it: many restaurants are all about a "consistent theme" in decor, menu, and wine list, but I really love that a place like this; one that you'd never expect to be a wine mecca, decided to bring the funk with a killer wine list. Another victory for the so-called "democratization of wine". Well done, Cap's. I shall return.

I'd go on to tell you about the rest of the day, but you can just read my previous posts. I wanted to give Cap's on the Water a proper "tip o' the cap" (pun intended...zing) anyway, and not dilute the post with more- excessively more- stories about wine in a can.

So I'll raise my glass to good snacks, a love of wine, and any psychological advantage for my team I can conjure: Cheers, Sláinte, L'Chaim, Salud, Prost, Skål, Konbe, Kampai, and Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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