St. Pete area--Stone Crabs in season? Where?
We're visiting relatives in St. Pete Beach during the first week of June. Are stone crabs still available then? If so, do you have suggestions? Any other recommendations of local specialties (seafood, Cuban, etc.) is appreciated.
You will just be able to catch them as the open season runs from October 15 to June 15 each year. Personally, I get my stone crabs at Mid-Peninsula Seafood on 49th St. S. in St. Pete.
On cuban, I would go to the Habana Cafe in Gulfport.
I will let some of the other hounds chime in with their recommendations.
Sorry to say but stone crab season actually ends May 15th...however, Billy's Moorings in Tierra Verde *may* have some on hand, of course they would be frozen. Which is not such a bad thing IMHO - stone crab claws are "sealed" if harvested properly. In other words the shell can remain uncracked, thus preserving the crab nicely. Billy's is a good tourist stop because they have a rooftop tiki bar overlooking the water, and during daylight hours they have a free boat ride over to the local sand spit, "Shell Island" where you can walk around and explore for awhile after your meal.
Didn't you know that I signed a proclamation just this morning extending the season. The news must not have gotten down to you yet.
Just kidding. I guess my wishful mind was trying to stretch the season a little bit.
Hey, I want to know what "Wild Grouper" is. Is that a grouper that gone over the edge?
Mid-peninsular is a great place, good prices, honest-to-goodness fresh seafood. You might also give a try to Grouper's on Blind Pass Road on the St. Pete Beach side at Blind Pass (the pass btwn St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island).
I had a Cuban sandwich yesterday at The Floridian on Treasure Island. It was very good, very meaty. That said, the best Cubans IMHO will be found in Tampa at La Ideal Sandwich Shop on Tampa Bay Blvd (caution this place is a dive but don't be scared away because the food is well worth it). Another favorite is Castellano and Pizzo at the corner of Lois and Henderson in Tampa. They cook their own lunch meats on the premises (which are available at the deli).
Without a doubt, the best blackened grouper around is at Dockside Dave's in Madiera Beach (bayside at the southern end before John's Pass). A friend recently complained to me that the place smells -- that could be because the kitchen is open to the rest of the restaurant. So you might want to look for a table in the back to separate yourself from the cook. And have the onion rings too, with the horseradish mayo sauce.
Have a great time.