I'm a nester; I don't travel much. But when I do, I always search out a special place to eat, and on the Space Coast of Florida, that would be Grill's Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar.
The name is unfortunate, yes. But the food is exactly as the name implies -- all grilled, all seafood, all the time. The atmosphere? Well, there are pelicans, quite curious, fearless, very tall and intimidating brown pelicans. Let me explain.
Grill's sits on a dock at the port, directly across from where Disney World cruises (others, too, I imagine) depart for Bermuda, the Bahamas (the photo, above, offers a glimpse). It's also where fishing charter boats tie up, and their catches are cleaned at dockside. Hence the draw for pelicans.
Have you ever seen a brown pelican up close? He/she can stand waist high to a 5-foot-4 woman, and the port's brown pelicans wander right into Grill's if the staff lets them get away with it. The day we were there, one waddled up to the outdoor bar, and the bartender had to shoo him/her away with a rolled-up newspaper.
The waitress had barely set down our food -- pepper seared tuna sandwich, bacon-wrapped scallops, coconut shrimp, cheese bread, conch fritters and new potatoes -- when something bumped my shoulder from the other side of the push-out West Indies shutters.
I turned and found myself eye-to-eye with a rude but hungry brown pelican determined to get a bite of my sandwich. Too much like Wild Kingdom? Maybe, but it's worth the trip over from Orlando if you happen to be planning to visit The Mouse there (maybe an hour east on the BeeLine).
Can't get there? Mark time with this recipe from "Crazy Sista Cuisine," a fabulous cookbook from Jimmy Buffett's sister Lucy Anne. Visit her restaurant, Lulu's at Homeport Marina in Gulf Shores, Ala., or visit her Web site to order the cookbook.
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