Since we’ve returned to Crystal River last month we have wanted to take a drive up to Cedar Key for a look/see. The last time we visited there was a few years ago. Since then the pier has been rebuilt and a few new eateries and watering holes have opened. Then when Howard and Linda, from RV-Dreams, a blog we follow daily of their rving adventures, wrote of their stay in the Cedar Key area recently, that did it. We planned to go today. There were two establishments we knew were must stops this trip: 1) Tony’s Seafood Restaurant and 2) Black Dog Bar & Tables. We were thrown a curve today as the weather forecast was calling for a cloudy day with a strong chance for showers. Nevertheless, we had planned for today so we went. The weather went south about the time we arrived in Cedar Key. It started drizzling then, about 2:00pm, and didn’t stop until about 6:30 and we were pulling back into Crystal River.
On the way in to Cedar Key, we first drove through a new campground, Cedar Key RV Resort. This resort is new since our last trip to Cedar Key and is six miles from Cedar Key. It not only rents sites for any time frame but also sells sites. The website is worth a visit. There are great photos of the resort as well as the Cedar Key area on their website. Since the rain was starting to come down we did not stop in the clubhouse or office for info. We’ll do that on our next trip to the area.
Our first stop was Tony’s Seafood Restaurant. We had discovered some time ago that Tony’s serves a “World Champion” clam chowder. Not just once, but a 2 time champion in 2009 and 2010. Both Barbie and I love New England style clam chowder so we knew this had to be a stop. Tony’s history is worth reading. Click on “Tony’s” for how the restaurant came to be and all about the chowder---except the recipe. Oh, YES, the clam chowder is truly outstanding. We even brought a quart “to go” with us. You can order it and have it shipped to you. It’s all on the website. Barbie had chowder and a tossed salad. I had chowder and some onion petals. Everything was terrific. We’ll go back for a full meal next trip.
After our “lupper”, late lunch-early supper, at Tony’s, we drove over a couple of streets to Dock Street, to Black Dog Bar & Tables. This place is one-of-a-kind. It is a wine, beer and cigar bar. They do not serve food (except for the peanuts in the shells served with the beers) but you can get that upstairs, next door, across the street or at one of the many eating establishments within 100 yards on Dock Street. Next month, BD&T will celebrate it’s first anniversary of opening. There is an enormous wine and beer list. And I’m not talking about all Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Company beers. The place is right on the water and the outside deck would be a great place to have a cold one and smoke a fine cigar. There is a big screen tv, dart board, chess set-up and comfortable chairs besides the bar itself. Jay and Connie the owners made us feel like regulars, not first timers. They are most hospitable and a pleasure to talk with. We honestly were a bit disappointed when we first went in, no, not with the beer selections or anything like that. You see, Otis, as in “Black Dog”, had not come to work with Connie and Jay this afternoon.
Since we had inquired about Otis in our conversation with Connie, much to our delight, she asked a “regular”, who came in later, if he would go to their home and get Otis. So, after all, we did get to meet the adorable labradoodle who obviously runs this place. As other regulars began trickling in we ended up having a great conversation with with a gentleman who lived, went to school and worked in the Brandon area where we lived. He even knew or had for teachers some of our former colleagues. Small world, I’m telling ya. It was truly a great afternoon at Black Dog & Tables. We WILL be going back. Oh yeah, in case you are interested Barbie sampled “Well’s Banana Bread Beer”, and “Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale.” Huh, you say??? I’m telling ya they both smelled exactly as their titles. And, Barbie said they tasted that way as well. I, on the other hand, had an “Orange Blossom Pilsner” and a “Raging Bitch Belgian-Style India Pale Ale.” The Raging Bitch “jumps out of the glass and nips at your taste buds with its delicate hop bitterness. At 8.3% ABV, that would be alcohol by volume, this bitch is dangerously drinkable.” I wasn’t wild about the Raging Bitch. Orange Blossom Pilsner (OBP) claims right on the bottle that it is "Florida's Honey Beer," and you shouldn't let the fact that it is brewed in South Carolina turn you off to the idea that it is a product of Florida. From a review, “OBP, by its very name, is a pilsner, and the central taste is clean, light, and crisp. The smell is pleasant, and the appearance is a lovely straw color. I've found some pilsners to be a little watery or skunky, but neither of those issues bothered me here. What sets OBP apart from other pilsners, however, is the fact that it is brewed with 2.3 tsp of honey in every serving. Keep in mind, the beer is not sweet by any means, as all the sugar ferments into alcohol, and the fermented honey instead gives the beer a nice, dry finish.” That review said it all. I really did enjoy the OBP.
I guess you can tell, we really enjoyed BD&T. And so my friends……
“Til next time……