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VOL. 12 NO. 5






coast OF THE



OCT-NOV 2011

A product of Rowland Publishing, Inc.



Delicious secrets from the sea to our tables

TRUE BLUE ANGEL Finding adventure and team spirit in the sky


Four new microbreweries tap the Emerald Coast October–November 2011


4 October–November 2011


THE BALLOTS ARE IN! The 2011 Best of the Emerald Coast Awards Ceremony

October 15th | 6–9:30pm Brought to you by Emerald Coast Magazine to benefit the Junior League of the Emerald Coast. The 2011 winners will be on display at Grand Boulevard The public is invited to an evening of food, fun, fashion, and entertainment — inclucing food, beer, wine and drinks from the winning restaurants.

Tickets can be purchased at $25 in advance ($35 day of event)

To Benefit:

Sponsored by: October–November 2011



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The Emerald Coast Magazine October + November 2011


in the e.c.

48 Bringing the Sea to your Table 56 The Best of the Emerald Coast 2011

Six of the top Emerald Coast chefs share their stories and flavor secrets. By Susan Benton

Your vote for the top food and beverage, shopping, entertainment and services on the Emerald Coast. By Wendy O. Dixon

17 Snapshot Take a stand and paddle your way to land-loving fun. 18 Well Worded Children’s book author Maryann Makekau has got quite a read on kids. 20 What’s Haute? Local shops are getting “dolled up” with Escentuals from the sea … and more. 22 Personality Artist Andy Saczynski is not wasting any time … or talent. 24 Historicity A Florida boy grows up to find adventure in the wild blue as a Blue Angel. 31 Chat Meet one Destin man planting seeds of hope, making a global difference.

happenings Photos by Kansas Pitts (sea to Table), Shelly Swanger (Grayton Beer), ANd Courtesy of MAryaNN Makekau (MAryaNN Makekau) And Steven Brooke Studios (Grand Boulevard)

35 Spotlight Enjoy a slice of Americana with your symphony this season. 36 Calendar We’re falling for this season’s fabulous special events. 38 Social Studies Did you attend July 4th festivities, YOLO competitions and charity concerts? Find out who did!

the good life 83 Eudaimonia A hot new health trend proves to be pretty cool. 84 Habitat Expert tips for holiday home decorating. 88 Mind + Body Being vulnerable can make you stronger: Billie Chappell shares her story. The bounty of the Emerald Coast’s Gulf waters serves as a tasty muse for these talented chefs passionate about serving up inventive dishes with only the freshest of ingredients.


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90 F  YI The “social” experts call out the latest apps. 92 F  lavor What’s brewing along the Emerald Coast? 96 D  ining This guide to dining along the Emerald Coast has just what you crave.

A word with You 10 12 14 15 102

F rom the Publisher Editor’s Note Contributors Feedback The Last Word October–November 2011


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8 October–November 2011

Vol. 12, No. 5 October–November 2011 The Emerald Coast Magazine

Publisher Brian E. Rowland Editor Zandra Wolfgram Associate Editor Wendy O. Dixon Designers Lawrence Davidson, Jennifer Ekrut, Laura Patrick STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Scott Holstein Staff Writer Jason Dehart Contributing Writers Susan Benton, Jason Dehart, Wendy O. Dixon, Angela Howard, Jennifer Howard, Lis King, Ann McQueen, Thomas J. Monigan, Mary Syret, Zandra Wolfgram Contributing Photographers HBB Photography, Kansas Pitts, Howard Robinson, Shelly Swanger, Jacqueline Ward TRAFFIC Coordinator Lisa Sostre sales executives Rhonda Simmons, Chris St. John, Tracy Mulligan facebook: emeraldcoast, twitter: emeraldcoastmag



The Market Shops at Sandestin


• Harborwalk Village • Destin Commons

President Brian E. Rowland Creative Director Lawrence Davidson Production DIRECTOR Melinda Lanigan Director of Editorial Services Linda Kleindienst Manager of Finance and HR Angela Cundiff Manager of Integrated Sales Dan Parisi Administrator of Sales and Events McKenzie Burleigh Client Service Representative Caroline Conway Assistant Creative Director Saige Roberts Editorial Designer Jennifer Ekrut Graphic Designers Laura Patrick, Daniel Vitter Magazine Ad Builder Patrick Patterson Network Administrator Daniel Vitter Receptionist Amy Lewis,

Editorial Office 1932 Miccosukee Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32308 Customer Service & Submissions EC Magazine and Rowland Publishing, Inc. are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photography or artwork. Editorial contributions are welcomed and encouraged but will not be returned. EC Magazine reserves the right to publish any letters to the editor. Subscriptions & Availability $30 a year (six issues). To subscribe, call 850-878-0554 or visit EC Magazine can be purchased at Barnes and Noble in Destin and Books-A-Million in Destin and at Sun Plaza in Mary Esther. Copyright October 2011 Emerald Coast Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Proud member of the Florida Magazine Association October–November 2011


from the publisher (Not Quite) Up in the Air

10 October–November 2011


the best of emerald Coast 2011 revealed. Art by Laura Patrick and Saige Roberts

The emer ald CoasT maga zine


best 'BEST OF' 2011 aWard WINNErS


coast OF THE

— BriAn roWlAnd brOwlaNd@rOwlaNdPublishiNg.COM

on the cover

Vol. 12 No. 3

Traveling a couple times this year, I found myself with time to kill at what I call one of the major crossroads of the planet Earth, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport — a place people flying most anywhere must pass through in order to get where they’re going. It is a place of constant movement for about 20 hours a day and hosts the souls of about 240,000 people each day, or 87.6 million people a year, with an average of 2,700 flights arriving or departing daily. On this particular departure and return, I had a four-hour wait and a two-and-a-half-hour wait, respectively, and decided to take the opportunity to be clearly aware and observe all that transpired around me, and to engage as many people as possible. On the departure leg, the airport on a Monday morning was teeming with adolescent groups of teens moving quickly, yet unsure of where to go. They clustered in packs and engaged in nonstop nervous, excited chatter about their first journey overseas — the beginning of their understanding that there is a life going on beyond the halls of their high school and the walls of their home. This passage to their first worldly experience will change most of their lives forever by expanding their consciousness and fostering a maturing process only travel can bring. These very lucky kids should forever thank and appreciate their parents’ wisdom, courage and financial sacrifice to encourage their little birdies to test their wings and fly. Next was the old “stuck on the plane” experience and the myriad feelings it gave rise to — namely frustration, anxiety and helplessness. We made it to the runway for takeoff only to be called back to the gate for an “issue” — a valve that wouldn’t close. For two hours, 170 of us sat fidgeting in the plane, not getting much information or even water. I was allowed to get off the plane and stand in the air bridge when my legs cramped up. Four ace mechanics worked diligently in 100-degree heat outside, returning often to look at the 700-page manual they had placed on the floor near where I stood. Back and forth they went, finally returning with a carburetor-like part in their hand — the piece with the stuck valve. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, they then proceeded to force the valve open and return it to the plane. More information than I needed to see and certainly something the 169 onboard should not know about. I asked if the plane would go to maintenance that night … . “No,” they responded, “it might be a week before it does.” They assured me the part was not critical to flight operations. Hmmm, I thought. Then why did we get called back to the gate for a three-hour ordeal? Since I am composing this, you know that all transpired fine. Last, and most notable, was my Saturday return. The airport was filled with traveling soldiers — an inordinate amount of them. Guess that is a good travel day for military between the business week and Sunday leisure return day. I engaged a dozen in conversation and learned all were deploying over the pond for combat duty. They, too, were nervous and anxious — but in a much different manner. Their responses were short and tight-lipped, yet polite. I asked them about the kind of reaction they get from the American public when they’re passing through airports. Overall the responses were quite similar. They all felt like invisible persons. “People look through me,” one responded. “People look away or down (instead of) making eye contact,” said another. “There is often an awkward silence when in close contact on the tram,” and, “Some people glare with a sense of disdain.” They unanimously said kids were the ones who engaged them, saluted them and looked up to them. I was so embarrassed and ashamed to hear the comments of these soldiers, leaving for a war zone and putting their lives on the line to protect people who are unable to just say a few words of support and appreciation. I wished each of them a safe journey and return and sincerely thanked them for what they are doing to protect the way of life many of us take for granted.


Oct-NOv 2011


FresH cHeFs

Delicious dishes from the sea to our tables

trUe BlUe aNgel Finding adventure in the sky

Beer Here!

Four new microbreweries tap the Emerald Coast

Photo by Scott Holstein October–November 2011


editor’s note Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I have wonderful childhood memories of “turkey day” and, as it turned out, met my husband at a Thanksgiving dinner party. We can all be thankful for our enviable location on the Emerald Coast. We locals know that the Gulf Stream’s proximity mere miles off our shore means we enjoy the bounty of all of kinds of fresh seafood. In this issue we celebrate our seafood harvest with a spotlight on the 34th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo, an event that proves once again why Destin is the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village. And, one year after the BP oil spill incident, we know just how lucky (and resilient) we are. Cooking up our local seafood are celebrities in their own right — the chefs of the EC. Writer Susan Benton serves up a tasty feature story showcasing six of our talented local chefs who share their secrets on dishing up a veritable organic feast. Alice Waters may have launched the “farm to table” movement, but we’re confident our very own EC chefs have the Sea to Table movement covered, or uncovered, depending on their specialty. While we are filling our bellies with some of the most inspired food in the world, it’s important to remember those that are empty. Not only do many of the world’s children go without clean water and food, but they also lack the basic medication needed to properly digest the simple foods they do receive. At 29, Aaron Jackson has already become a well-schooled student of the world. This Destinite clearly reminds us through a conversation in Chat that sometimes less is much more. Find out how you can change the world for the cost of a coin used for well wishing. October 2011 is the 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are many strong women like Billie Chappell, a four-year cancer survivor from Fort Walton Beach, who for the first time shares her journey through cancer in Mind & Body and inspires us to live deliberately. This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the many Emerald Coasters who make the world a tastier, prettier, healthier place simply because of who they are. If you are feeling grateful and in the giving spirit, remember just how much we have — and please give generously.

12 October–November 2011

— Zandra Wolfgram

Photo by Allison Yii

editor’s picks Horsing Around We were looking for a fun way to celebrate a birthday and found it at Gulfside Trail Rides ( Owned and operated by the Arnett family, the lovely 20-acre horse farm provides stables, campgrounds and trail rides that meander through 13,800 acres of Point Washington State Park. Be sure to stop by the barn to say hello to the miniature horses, ponies and, our favorite, Frank the mule. Look for the horse-shaped mailbox on scenic Highway 393. Bridge Over Troubled Waters When a loved one is ill it’s difficult. When they are located far from you it can be even tougher. We have heard great things about This website puts the patient in control of communicating their care to friends and family. The site offers a free blog service that allows the patient to post pictures and provide updates in their own words and set the options so that you control who can view your site. This site has us feeling better already. Newsy Neighbor Kathy Marler Blue, associate director of the Destin History & Fishing Museum and a legacy of one of Destin’s founding families, has taught our elementary aged children at Destin Elementary (which her great uncle founded) for decades. Now, she’s teaching all ages through her homespun weekly webcasts on NeighborVision/com/museum/ subject.html. Ms. Blue has created “the missing link” to Destin’s rich history. Let’s Go LEGOLAND Florida opens Oct. 15 in Winter Haven, Fla. The 150-acre park, geared toward kids ages 2 to 12, will include attractions, rides, shows, restaurants, shopping, the first-ever online world where players from all over the globe can build, play and explore with their friends. And, of course, lots of LEGOS!

GulfSide Trail Rides Photo Courtesy Zandra Wolfgram

Making the World Tastier, Prettier, Healthier October–November 2011



Susan Benton


A Gulf Coast native who now calls 30A home, Susan Benton spent much of her childhood traveling the world as the daughter of a Naval officer. She is known for her connection to farmers, and her passion for promoting local businesses and artisans through her website ▪ Susan’s feature on local chefs is fresh indeed.

Jennifer Howard


Howard Robinson

Photo g r a ph e r

Howard Robinson has been shooting lifestyle, commercial, architectural and product advertising for more than 24 years. He tells us he loves rock ‘n’ roll, has a big imagination and believes there is always more than one way to do things. ▪ Here’s to Howard’s crafty microbrewery shots for Flavor. 14 October–November 2011

Photos Courtesy Contributors

Writer and blogger Jennifer Howard’s personal motto is, “live creatively,” which best explains her day job as a realtor, her passion for writing and her 25 years in this area. She prefers to work on her Santa Rosa Beach front porch swing whenever possible. ▪ Jennifer “paints” beautiful a story in this issue with Personality.


Have a thought? let us know what you think at, emeraldcoast or

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article on the arts in our area in the latest issue of EC Magazine. Thank you for doing such a great feature story!

JoleigH JArvis NiCeVille

i can’t thank you enough for including the destin Charity wine auction foundation in your recent EC Magazine article on volunteerism. thomas Monigan wrote a wonderful article that provided great awareness for the dCwaf. i love the new look and feel of the magazine. you’ve taken it to another level. Congratulations! Todd vuCoviCH, eXeCutiVe direCtOr destiN Charity wiNe auCtiON fOuNdatiON your article on vaccinating by andi Mahoney [“are you Vacillating on Vaccinating,” aug/sept ] was the worst example of journalism i have seen. you didn’t even check your sources. the statement that there was a  percent childhood death rate prior to vaccines was absurd. that may have been the case in the year  but certainly wasn’t the case in the s when the largest boost of mandated vaccines occurred. you were purposefully making the connection that vaccines are responsible for childhood deaths going from  in  to the current death rate. get a reputable source and stop the propaganda. regen miller bOard Certified faMily Nurse PraCtitiONer Ms. Miller: We thank you for emailing in your comments. We stand by our writer, Andi Mahoney, and her source for this story, Dr. Lalitha Vadlamani-Simmers, a board-certified pediatrician for White-Wilson Medical Center. Dr. Vadlamani-Simmers says, “There is plenty of evidence-based medicine out there showing how important vaccines are and how they have decreased childhood death rates for each preventable disease. The bottom line is that the benefits of immunizations far outweigh the risks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined the benefits at the following link:” ZAndrA WolfgrAm, editOr


the beautiful art pictured in “spotlight” (aug/sept issue, p. ) for the destin festival artist home tour was created by Margaret biggs. the Odgen Museum at waterColor and eileen west gallery mentioned in “the arts are alive” (aug/sept issue) are closed, but you can visit the virtual eileen west gallery at EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


16 October–November 2011

in the e.c.

PeoPL e + ST y Le + H y P e


One If By Land …

Hey, moon doggie, paddle right this way for fun in the sun. Beach Mountain Land Paddles (, owned by David Box of Alys Beach, has a new way to cruise the Emerald Coast — a land paddle. Variations of land paddles have been around since the ’70s, according to Box, who started working on his Santa Rosa Beach shop’s prototype in 2010. But this exciting new sport incorporates a longboard cruiser skateboard and paddle poll that the rider uses to push off the street to gain speed. Similar to stand-up paddling (SUP), this sport “is great for cross training and provides an intense core workout.” Box should know. He was a skateboarder through the ’80s, a surfer in the ’90s and now he “loves to SUP.” The four-foot boards are great for kids; adults should consider a five or six-foot board (priced from $199). Land a paddle at Box’s shop or at SK8 30A Board Shop in Blue Mountain Beach. Land ho! — Zandra Wolfgram

Photo by Scott Holstein

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


well worded

In the Pink Maryann Makekau inspires hope with children’s book series By ann MCQUeen


hen Maryann Makekau’s dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to help, and she knew hope was the way to do so. It was through this journey that a series of educational books was born to help children and adults alike understand the battle with breast cancer and win. Makekau’s friend, Vicki Kennedy, was a teacher when she learned of her diagnosis and decided to keep working while she fought her battle. Makekau, who retired in Fort Walton Beach with her husband, searched for the right book to explain the process to Kennedy’s second-grade class. She could not find anything. “I had a pastor, Pastor James, who always said, ‘If you see something missing, it’s God’s way of showing you what to do,’” Makekau said. So she sat down and created what became the first title in her Little Pink Book series, “When Your Teacher Has Cancer.” Written on pink paper for elementary-aged children and bound at Kinko’s, she presented it to her friend with no intention of publishing it. The book leads readers through the process of understanding cancer and its treatment. It also addresses the emotional aspects of the journey, like the array of feelings people have when a loved one has cancer, how to cope with changes in appearance, how to ease fear through asking questions and how to support the patient. Makekau was struck by the fact that every student there had been impacted in some way by cancer. She was also inspired by how well the book was received by those who heard the presentation. She realized she had a mission. Makekau queried publishers and received an offer, but the terms were not what she had hoped for. “I thought to myself, if I’m going to do this, it’s got to give back and help win the fight. I wanted the benefit to go to the core of the disease,” she said. Her son, Derek Makekau, a graphic designer and owner of 20/30north Studios, created the book’s affable stick characters. He also designed it. The self-published piece was born, and Makekau decided to donate the proceeds

18 October–November 2011


Mary Makekau speaks to the child in us all.

to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Contagiously motivated, she found herself sharing the book with support groups and other audiences. It is here that she found the inspiration for the next two titles in the series, “When Your Mom Has Cancer” and “When Mom’s Cancer Doesn’t Go Away.” In fact, she gets to know her audience, since it is through survivors’ experiences that she gains insight into the coping and healing process. Expertise gleaned from a career in research and psychological testing helps her ask the right questions. Though her books are written with elementary school-aged children in mind, they speak to the children in all of us and appeal to audiences of all ages. Two more titles are in the works. “When Your Grandma Has Cancer” addresses issues of coping with a grandmother’s cancer. “When Your Grandma Forgets” offers understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. No release dates are available yet. Portions of proceeds from the sales of these books also support various organizations. Makekau, who is also an Air Force veteran, created a second series called the Little Patriot Books that helps children cope with deployment. When she is not writing, marketing and distributing her books or addressing cancer support groups, hospices and other audiences, she finds respite in cooking, swimming her daily mile and spending time with her family. ec

Excerpt from “When Your Teacher Has Cancer”: “When someone you love is sick, it can make you feel confused and not sure about what to do. It can also make you feel sad because you can’t fix it or make it go away. There are other things you can do that are helpful though.”

UPCOMING EVENTS second annual Event with Buffalo Wild Wings Uptown Station, Fort Walton Beach, Oct. 6, 6:30–9 p.m. Coffee for a Cure Starbucks at Uptown Station Fort Walton Beach Oct. 7, 2–6 p.m. a taste of Wellness with a little Pink Book Aunt Martha’s Bed and Breakfast, Fort Walton Beach, Oct. 8, 6:30–8:30 p.m. For more information on any of these events and to order Little Pink Books, visit BecauseHopeMatters. com.

Photo Courtesy Maryann Makekau October–November 2011


what’s haute Look Who’s All Dolled Up

The MARKET SHOPS are getting dolled up, too. They have opened AMERICAN DOLL, which features reasonably priced 18-inch friends for your American Girl and Bitty Babies dolls. They offer an extensive selection of doll clothing, footwear and accessories priced at up to 50 percent less than American Girl lines. “Dorothy” costume, $31.99; cheerleader outfit, $16.99, shoes $2.99, socks $2.99; oriental ensemble, $39.99. All dolls are $39.99 each.

Lassie, Come Home

Time for a Mood Swing We’re having ’70s flashbacks with all of the “moody” accessories around town. Popularized by Joshua Reynolds, a mood ring contains a thermochromic element that makes it change color in response to the wearer’s body temperature. Some believe the color of the ring indicates the emotional state of the wearer, hence “mood” ring. MOOD WATCHES (So Silver-Tone Butterfly Rainbow, Kohl’s, $19.99), MOOD NAIL POLISH, LIP GLOSS AND MOOD RINGS (Claire’s, from $5) are telling all this fall.

20 October–November 2011


The SECURAPAL (Pet Automated Locator) gives pet owners the ability to get instant alerts and track their pet from any computer or mobile phone. The 2.5-ounce device, which attaches to a collar, helps you locate your Fido quickly if he has gone missing. The pet’s whereabouts can be relayed to you through the SecuraTrac network website or by instant email or text message, either automatically or on-demand to your computer or smartphone. The pet device ($197.78) is available at and the website tracking fee is $6.99 per month.


BARE ESCENTUALS, a new outlet store at SILVER SANDS FACTORY STORES, will feature the brand’s award-winning bareMinerals makeup, BUXOM makeup, an assortment of brushes, gift sets and RareMinerals skin care. A boutique beauty brand that began in San Francisco back in 1976, Bare Escentuals, has been breaking the rules of beauty since its bareMinerals makeup line earned the company a reputation as a beauty pioneer. Big & Bright Eyeliner by bareMinerals in plum, $14. MATTE SPF 15 Foundation, $28. 100% Natural Lipgloss, $15.

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


personality Andy Saczynski puts some funk into his “junk” art at World Six Gallery in Rosemary Beach.

Inspiration Found Artist Andy Saczynski doesn’t brush off what others throw away By Jennifer HowarD


rtist Andy Saczynski does not like to see anything wasted. From the recycled musical instruments and other objects in his painted pieces to what the Destin resident chooses to do with his time, squandering any resource clashes with the larger work-in-progress of how he lives his life. Saczynski has recently risen to prominence as one of this coast’s most exciting young talents. He describes his artwork as outsider/folk art, the slash hinting broadly that his work is not easily categorized. The “folk art” description is apt due to the artist’s use of color and his penchant for local beach and tropical subjects. The “outsider” moniker works well to define Saczynski’s inclusion of recycled objects, particularly old musical instruments, in his work. Describing his art, he tugs at his short mahoganycolored beard and says, “I turn junk into funk,” then immediately apologizes for answering in a sound byte. “I can take stuff that would probably go to a landfill, make art and people dig it,” he elaborates. “I hate anything going to waste.” Although Saczynski has a life-long passion for art, it was as recently as March 2010 that the possibility of transitioning from art-as-a-hobby to art-asa-career became possible. He exhibited some of his work at that year’s Art in the Park event held at the WaterColor resort community on 30A, and immediately claimed a spot among popular local artists. He has continued to participate in various art festivals, even earning the “People’s Choice Award” for his works on exhibit in the 2010 Destin Festival of the Arts a mere five days after the birth of his fifth child.

22 October–November 2011

Saczynski’s family lived around the globe because of his father’s military career but settled in Niceville when he was in the third grade. He and his wife, Lori, were high school sweethearts at Niceville High School. On New Year’s Day 1993, Lori announced that they would one day marry. Saczynski says that at the time he was more into surfing and skating than looking toward the future. But the couple made good on her prediction.

In 2004, seeking inspiration in change, they literally pulled out a map of Florida, closed their eyes and pointed to a spot. Jacksonville was the town under their index fingers, so they packed up and moved. But the change did not particularly do them good. “It was one of the weirdest times in my life,” Saczynski says. “I was wasting my life, not pursuing what I am passionate about.” It wasn’t long before the couple returned to this area and settled in Destin. Photo by Scott Holstein

Saczynski went into the landscaping business, which he still relies on for some income. “I love the creative side of landscaping, but not mowing,” he says. “I am trying to slowly phase out of landscaping, and figure out how to make [art] work and provide for my family. That’s my goal for this year.” Artists often have an unconventional way of seeing their surroundings, and Saczynski is no exception. When he returned to the Emerald Coast from Jacksonville, he found he was inspired by the architecture and new development along County Road 30A. The new beach towns that had sprung up in familiar settings intrigued and moved him


I turn junk into funk ... I can take stuff that would probably go to a landfill, make art and people dig it ... I hate anything going to waste.” — Andy Saczynski to create. Rather than decry development, Saczynski discovered an inspirational side. Some of Saczynski’s best known works include “found” musical instruments, or instruments that have a way of finding him. Musician friends or someone seeing his work at a festival will hand off old guitars or cymbals, and the artist gives them a new life among bright colors and clever presentations. He cites music as a main source of his artistic inspiration. Saczynski works in his home’s garage/studio, where he admits he has painted every surface from the walls to the telephone. “I can’t paint without music,” he says. “When I am really focused, I start playing music and really go with it.” Among his inspirational favorites are Soul Life, Michael Franti and Spearhead and reggae. The young artist has learned a tough lesson about how to best use his time from his father, Jerry, who has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “My dad didn’t really get to fulfill his dreams,” Saczynski says. “He worked until he was 67; he worked really hard. He says he wants to see me succeed in art before he passes. That’s one of my driving forces.” Even as he speaks about his life and his work, the artist’s blue eyes seem to look beyond the conversation to his next piece, his next step. Time is not to be wasted. ec

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historicity lt. Cmdr. James “zesty” tomaszeski flies an F-16 named “gertrude,” whom he calls a classy old lady.

Come Fly With Me Meet Lt. Cmdr. James Tomaszeski, a true Blue Angel


e wanted to find adventure. Like many kids after watching the movie “Top Gun,” he dreamed of landing a sleek jet on an aircraft carrier just like Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick. It seemed “dangerous and exciting” and this Orange Park, Fla., boy loved the idea of that. After graduating from Florida State University in 2000, he reported to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for officer candidate school. Now 32, he’s a decorated officer in the United States Navy marking his 11th year of service. After making 271 carrier-assisted landings, is the Navy still as adventurous and exciting as this “adrenaline junkie” thought it would be? You bet.

24 October–November 2011


Meet Lt. Cmdr. James “Zesty” Tomaszeski: a proud husband, father of a 23-month-old, modest naval officer and “right wing” of the Blue Angels squadron, flying “Gertrude” as part of the Navy’s elite flight demonstration team, based right here on the Emerald Coast in Pensacola. The Blue Angels first performed in 1946 and are currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team. The squadron’s six demonstration pilots fly the F/A-18 Hornet in more than 70 shows at 34 locations throughout the United States each year and still employ many of the same practices and techniques used in their 1946 aerial displays. Since their inception, the “Blues” have flown a variety of different

aircraft types for more than 427 million spectators worldwide. We spoke with Tomaszeski while he was in Rhode Island, between air shows, on a Monday — his day off. When the airshow comes to Pensacola Nov. 11–12, it marks Tomaszeski’s final demonstration. After two years as a No. 2 Diamond, he will pass on his Blue Angel parking spot to another pilot and take a new assignment on an aircraft carrier.


By ZanDra woLfGraM

EC: What has being a Blue Angel meant to you? The whole Blue Angels experience means you’re joining something bigger than yourself. It’s been around for 65 years, so it’s never been about one person. They have a saying: “Once a Blue Angel always a BA,” because you could be called back into service, so you’ll never be far from the team. EC: What does it take to be a Blue Angel? It takes the right amount of humility, motivation and, honestly, skill to get the job done. The key to being a successful Blue Angel is built around teamwork. EC: What is the selection process like? We get to hand pick our squadron. To try out you have to be a qualified individual. For a pilot, it requires 1,250 flight hours, which equates to eight or nine years of flying. We typically have 50 applications for three F-18 spots. Candidates create a resume package; it’s reviewed, and then you come to two to three air shows out of your own pocket and spend time with the team. There are no fly tryouts. It’s all based on fleet reputation. We’re trying to find the best fit for our team. We are not looking for a show boater; we’re looking for career-oriented officers.


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EC: How do the Blue Angels help with recruitment efforts? The Blue Angels personifies working together and being a team and a greater purpose. We try to demonstrate the pride and professionalism our service men and women use on a daily basis. The Blue Angels are just six pilots, but there are 130 team members that make this squadron run. It’s just a small example of everything going on across the globe, and all of it is based on teamwork. EC: How long did you spend in training? We’ll have 120 training flights in California – two to three times a day, six times a week for about two-and-a-half months. We start with the basics: turning the smoke on and off simultaneously. Then get into loops and rolls and build up to an airshow. EC: Give us an insider tip to enjoy the Blue Angels air show to the fullest. I jump right into that jet and start it up, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a dozen people just to make that happen … . We hope you appreciate the focused, challenging flying. If it looks easy, we’re doing our job well. EC: Describe what it’s like in that cockpit. You wear a lot of gear. You strap yourself in tight to an ejection seat. October–November 2011


historicity We wear flight suits instead of G-suits, not for looks but because the F/A-18 is such an advanced piece of equipment it’s easier to fly without them. We actually “dummy down” the airplane to manually control the 40-pound spring in the flight stick. To operate it, we brace our arm against our thigh. During the 45-minute demonstration, you feel everything the aircraft is doing. In the end, there is sweat rolling off our backs.

EC: How do you prepare for such intense flying? We spend six days a week in the gym. We focus a lot on core strength and maintaining a healthy diet. EC: What is the most difficult maneuver? The most challenging for everyone to do at the same exact moment is the LoopBreak-Cross. We break into separate directions for about three miles; and then loop, roll and meet back at the center of the

stage at the same time. You have to calculate and make adjustments to a millisecond. If we nail that, that is the epitome of what we try to demonstrate — that precision, max performance and teamwork all coming together. EC: How do you feel about “retiring” your Blue Angel wings? It’s a rare opportunity to do things you wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to do. Hopefully you use that time to reach out and interact with folks who want to join the military and get involved in the community. It’s really a great experience, but I didn’t join the Navy to be a Blue Angel. I joined to fly on aircraft carriers. I will carry this experience with me the rest of my life, but really I am ready to get back to flying gray airplanes. EC: This is a prestigious, high profile achievement for a pilot. How will you top this? The Blue Angels is a part of my life that is always going to be something easily recognized, but I’d like to go on with a great Navy career that is just as fulfilling. I joined the Navy to serve my country. I’ve loved being a Blue Angel, but I hope it doesn’t define me I hope the qualities we look for and that I possess is what defines who I am throughout my career. EC: 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of Naval Aviation. As a proud naval officer, what should we know? The space program is paramount to me. The first man on the moon was a naval aviator, and when the capsule re-orbited it was picked up by a Navy helicopter, which landed on a Navy ship. ec

Did you know?

» The original team adopted the nickname Blue Angels in 1946, when one of them came across the name of New York City’s Blue Angel nightclub. » Blue Angels are both officers and enlisted from the ranks of Navy and United States Marine Corps (USMC) units. » The demonstration pilots and narrator are made up of Navy and USMC Naval Aviators. » To date, there have been 242 demonstration pilots, and 34 flight leaders/commanding officers. » The Blue Angels currently have 10 jets: two single seat F/A-18 A models, five single seat F/A18 C models, one 2-seat F/A-18 B and two 2-seat F/A-18 D models. » During the airshow, the F/A-18s reach speeds of 700 m.p.h. (just under Mach 1). They fly up to 15,000 feet and as low as 50 feet. » During the Diamond 360 maneuver the jets are just 18 inches apart. » F/A-18s are official fighter aircraft and can be “combat ready” in 72 hours. 26 October–November 2011 October–November 2011


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Centennial (1911-2011) of Naval Aviation History Highlights Jan. 18, 1911 — Civilian pilot Eugene Ely becomes the first person to ever land an aircraft on board a ship, flying a Curtiss pusher onto a makeshift wooden platform constructed on the armored cruiser Pennsylvania in San Francisco Bay. Jan. 26, 1911 — ­­­­ Glenn H. Curtiss makes the first successful hydroaeroplane flight in San Diego, demonstrating the application of airplanes for naval purposes.

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May 8, 1911 — Capt. Washington Irving Chambers prepares contract specifications for the Navy’s first aircraft. This date is later designated the birthday of U.S. Naval Aviation. Sept. 24, 1918 — Lt. j.g. David S. Ingalls shoots down his fifth enemy aircraft over the Western Front, becoming U.S. Naval Aviation’s first fighter ace. May 27, 1919 — The NC-4 flying boat lands in Lisbon Harbor, Portugal, completing the first transatlantic crossing by air. March 20, 1922 — The U.S. Navy commissions its first aircraft carrier, Langley. May 7-8, 1942 — U.S. Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers square off in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the first naval engagement in which ships of the opposing forces are not within sight of one another.

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July 16, 1957 — Maj. John Glenn, USMC, broke the transcontinental speed record in an F8U-1P Crusader at an average speed of 723.517 miles per hour. This was the first upper atmosphere, supersonic flight from the West to the East coast. Feb. 20, 1962 — Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr., USMC, becomes the first American to orbit the earth. June 17, 1965 — Flying F-4B Phantoms, Cmdr. Louis C. Page and Lt. Jack E. D. Batson, intercept four MiG-17s and each shoot down one, scoring the first U.S. victories over MiGs in Vietnam. July 21, 1969 — Astronaut Neil Armstrong, a former naval aviator, becomes the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon. Feb. 22, 1974 — Lt. j.g. Barbara Ann Allen becomes the first woman to be designated a naval aviator. Source:

28 October–November 2011 October–November 2011


well worded

30 October–November 2011


Aaron Jackson is Planting Peace Destin activist harvests hope one child at a time By ZanDra woLfGraM


t 29, Aaron Jackson has 102 stamps on his passport. But if you ask him, he’s only just begun his journey. The president of Planting Peace, a non-profit organization formed to help impoverished countries through sustainable initiatives, is relentless in his grass-root efforts to make the world a better place. When a college degree in golf management did not pan out for the Fort Walton Beach High School graduate, he slung on a backpack and set out to see the world. It didn’t take him long to see “not everyone grows up on a beach resort.” After learning the ropes at Homeless Voice, the largest nongovernment funded homeless shelter in the United States (based in Orlando), Jackson teamed with Pensacola physician Chuck Presti to provide medical care in Haiti. While there, he met John Dieubon, the co-founder of Planting Peace, and soon after, they formed a charity in order to open a children’s center for Haitian street kids. That was 2004. Seven years later, the philanthropic duo has established nearly a dozen orphanages, planted more than a million trees and dewormed tens of millions of children in Haiti. We spoke with Jackson at his Miramar Beach home office about his passion for “planting” world peace.


EC: How did you fund your first philanthropic project? As a new charity and being young and hippy looking, no one wanted to give me any money. So I had to get a job as a golf caddy and used those funds for the first orphanage. EC: Did you eventually get funders? About a year into the charity, we started a home for kids with HIV. We lost the sponsor, so I was faced with closing it or give up my

house. So I gave up my house and moved into the homeless shelter. I lived there about six years. EC: Where does Planting Peace stand today? Next month we will open our seventh orphanage. We have four in Haiti and three in India. (They also opened four others in South America.) We have a school in Haiti. EC: But helping children isn’t all you do, is it? No, we have a rainforest conservation program in which we buy land and preserve it. We have a 50-acre rescue farm outside Orlando for abused farm animals. We are also re-launching our environmental cleanup program. But the deworming is what people know us for. For about a penny a pill you can deworm a child of parasites. We’ve dewormed seven million kids this month alone. EC: How can locals help your cause? Our goal is to buy one million doses for $10,000. We’d love to find 100 people to give $100 a month to that fund. EC: Why do you think you’ve engaged in Planting Peace with such an “all in” passion? I guess it’s just my calling. And I think it’s common sense. Kids are dying from of starvation, so let’s help them. Why go off and get a golf degree when kids are dying of the most basic things? EC: What kind of advice do you have for someone who would like to make a difference? I think people always over complicate something. To open an orphanage, it literally took flying over there, finding a house and going grass roots with it. I just thought of it as making my own home. We started out small. EC: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered? You hate with anything to see resistance. Right now Haiti is one of the hungriest countries in the world, where 80 percent of the population has intestinal parasites, and we’re struggling to get the medicine in to correct that. If anything, the government should be calling us and asking us to come in. Instead, they don’t call us and give us hell at the border. We could be deworming a lot of other places if it weren’t for that. EC: Do you have a philosophy you live by? Where there is a will there is a way. ec aaron Jackson (left) with some of the Haitian children who call his orphanages home.

Photo by Scott Holstein (Aaron Jackson)

For more information on Planting Peace, visit

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011



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32 October–November 2011

scene Here are a few things we’ve heard about on the EC scene … NEW NEWS …


▪ Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and Carmike Cinemas, Inc., plan to bring the “silver screen” to Miramar Beach in summer of 2012. The Montecito 10 will feature ten screens, a state-of-the-art “BIGD” auditorium and a VIP area called the Ovation Club that will feature luxe seating and serve food and beverage.

▪ As a token of appreciation and gratitude for its $10,000 donation to assist victims of the devastating May tornadoes, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley presented the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa with a Humanitarian Award on behalf of the Alabama Dermatology Society, one of the resort hotel’s longstanding clients. The plaque was presented to Frank Flautt, co-founder of Sandcastle Resorts & Hotels, which manages the Hilton Sandestin Beach, and Robert Kamm, Sandcastle’s president and CEO, at the Society’s Summer Symposium held at the Hilton.

Photos by Scott Holstein (Dave Rauschkolb ANd Matthew Jones & Hawkins), courtesy The Boys & Girls club of the Emerald Coast (The Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Coast), Michael Granberry (Wise-Coble), Navarre Properties, Inc. (Les and Jodi Nichols), Lovelace Interiors (Joey LaSalle)

▪ The Emerald Coast is a growing wedding destination. The Destin Bay House, located at 127 Calhoun Avenue in Destin, opened as a new venue for weddings and special occasion events. ▪ The local Emerald Coast scene is going mobile. Joining 30A and Destin Shines is the largest resort on the Emerald Coast: Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Sandestin launched a new, free app designed for Apple and Android mobile users. The “Sandestin app” features resort events, activities, daily news, interactive photo galleries, streaming videos, integrated Google mapping, real-time weather and even the ability to share event and restaurant information on Facebook.

  ▪ The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast broke ground on what will be a 32,000-square-foot South Walton Club behind the Santa Rosa Library and is slated to open in fall 2012. The existing club serves kids ages 5 to 12. The new construction will add a youth center for youth ages 13 to 18, as well as a ball field. The renovated center will serve 100 children.

The Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Coast

▪ The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Northwest Florida Chapter honored Dave Rauschkolb, owner of Bud and Alley’s restaurant in Seaside, as its first-ever recipient of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Northwest Florida Chapter “Local Hero Rauschkolb Award.” ▪ Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast recently recognized Paul Schreiner of Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Destin for his outstanding commitment to the hospital. NEW FACES … ▪ Amy Wise-Coble, formerly of Cottage Rental Agency Seaside, launches a new vacation rental company, Escape to Northwest Florida.

while Jodi takes on the role of chief operating officer. Les and Jodi Nichols

▪ Lovelace Interiors is proud to announce the expansion of its professional team of Interior Designers with the addition of Designer Joey LaSalle. LaSalle comes from Nashville, Tenn., where he owned and operated his own interior design firm. Inspired by the beautiful Emerald Coast, LaSalle’s passion for the beach extends from childhood.  He says he is “living his dream” by relocating Joey LaSalle to Destin. ▪ Michael Jones, a personal injury attorney, has joined Dana C. Matthews and John W. Hawkins to form Matthew Jones & Hawkins law firm. What began as the first law practice in Destin now operates out of offices in Destin, Niceville and DeFuniak Springs. ec Matthew Jones & Hawkins


▪ Husband-wife team, Les and Jodi Nichols, are partnering with Laurie Gallup of Navarre Properties, Inc. Les will serve as the new chief executive officer and general manager of the vacation rental/sales company, October–November 2011


34 October–November 2011



A Delicious Slice of Americana

the sixth season of sinfonia Gulf Coast is keyed up to transform seagar’s prime steaks and seafood into a swank supper club with delicious entertainment by worldrenowned jazz guitarist John pizzarelli and his quartet on tuesday, oct. , beginning with cocktails at : p.m. hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “madly creative” and “the genial genius of the guitar” by The Toronto Star, Grammy award-nominated pizzarelli has established himself as one of the prime interpreters of the great american songbook. according to the maestro, demetrius fuller, americana is the theme for this year’s symphony season. inspired by performers such as nat king Cole and frank sinatra — and a variety of composers ranging from George Gershwin to John lennon — fuller says pizzarelli’s emerald Coast debut will “infuse his amazing voice with the cool jazz flavor of his brilliant guitar playing.” the evening includes a champagne toast and fourcourse dinner capped with seagar’s decadent Chocolate piano dessert. tickets are $–$ and include all food, wine, gratuities and the performance. to purchase tickets, visit or () -. — Zandra Wolfgram

Photo Courtesy Jimmy Katz

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


thecalendar october + nobvember

+ events

“Best of the Emerald Coast” Awards Celebration

Oct. 15 Each year, readers of EC Magazine cast their votes for the finest food, services and places our region has to offer. The awards celebration showcases the area’s best as the winners are honored and ticketholders taste the winning treats. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Junior League of the Emerald Coast. $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Miramar Beach. 6–9 p.m. (850) 862-2665,

+ events

Wish Upon a Car Fundraiser October 21 The annual Wish Upon a Car Winter Charity Event treats children from underprivileged children within our local neighborhoods to a day of holiday festivities enjoyed throughout the Emerald Coast with first-class transportation via what else? A limousine. “Our goal is to give these children and their families a holiday to remember,” says David Haim of 654LIMO, the event organizer. During the holiday, 80 children and chaperones will enjoy lunch, shopping, ice-skating, dancing, hot cocoa, holiday sweets and a visit with Santa Claus. Sponsorships are $100 for one child; $500 to sponsor an entire family. Donated products and services are also welcome. A fundraiser hosted by Destin Cigar Club is set for Friday, Oct. 21 at Sago restaurant located at the Palms of Destin. For more information, call (850) 259-2573 or visit

36 October–November 2011


+ events

Rosemary Beach Uncorked Oct. 22 The only thing more delightful than the food and wine pairings at this wine event is the delicious backdrop — and perhaps the fall weather. Stroll the quaint cobblestone streets and explore the diverse culinary styles of eight Rosemary Beach restaurants. Each location will offer its signature dishes paired with boutique wines for an extra– special taste of the beachside town. End the experience with Amavida’s chocolate and coffee pairing … mmm. Tickets are $75 per person. To reserve tickets, email info@, call (877) 461-6037 or visit 1-5 p.m.

Compiled by Zandra Wolfgram For more events in the EC, visit

The Best of the Emerald Coast is presented in style at lovely Grand Boulevard at Sandestin for the first time this year.

Oct. 1–2

4th Annual Art and Wine Weekend Enjoy wine tastings and local art as you’re transported by trolley across the island. FREE. 735 Pensacola Beach Blvd., Pensacola. (850) 932-1500, Oct. 1–2, 8–9, 15–16 and 22–23 Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides Pumpkin Fest A family-friendly fall harvest event with pony rides, a jump house, hayrides, face painting and pumpkin painting. Meet the mini-horses and the mini-mule, Frank. FREE admission with small fee for some activities. 316 S. County Road 393, Santa Rosa Beach. 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (850) 208-3114,

Oct. 4

Crestview Main Street: Then, Now & Future Ryan Arvay, director of the Main Street Crestview Association, will discuss the history and creation of the national Main Street program and the economic role it plays in the local community. FREE. Crestview Public Library, 1445 Commerce Drive, Crestview. 10 a.m. refreshments; 10:30 a.m. program (850) 682-4432,

Oct. 4

Free A to Z Acrylic Lecture Demo Kevin Tobin from Golden Paints will demo Digital Grounds, a new line of “open” acrylic paint FREE. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach. 7:30–9:30 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Oct. 5

You Can’t Really Swing, If You Ain’t Got That Bling Create and explore with interesting uses for iridescent and interference acrylics. Artists may want to bring a brush, palette knife, a small bucket for water and a roll of paper towels. $40. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach. 3–5 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Oct. 5–6

Using Golden Paints Workshop Kevin Tobin from Golden Paints will demonstrate the use of their products during an art workshop series beginning Oct. 5. All attendees will receive sample paints. $235 for entire workshop; $85 per individual class. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach. Call for workshop times. (850) 244-1271,

photo Courtesy Steven Brooke Studios (“Best of EC” Grand Boulevard)

Oct. 7

Swing for the Arts This charity golf tournament benefits art, music and education. $100 per player or $500

corporate team. Emerald Bay Golf Club, 4781 Clubhouse Drive, Destin. 11a.m. registration; 1 p.m. shotgun start. (850) 650-2226,

Oct. 7

First Friday ArtWalk Enjoy live music and view beautiful works of art and artist demos at the galleries and shops of Ruskin Place and select Central Square merchants. FREE. Ruskin Place and Central Square, Seaside. 5–8 p.m.,

Oct. 7

Catholic Charities 2011 Starfish Charity Gala
 Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida will host Father Benedict Groeschel for this semiformal event. The gala will feature a threecourse seated dinner. $100 per person. The Soundside Club, 107 Kissam St., Bldg. 90910, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base. 6 p.m.
(850) 244-2825,

Oct. 7–9

Friends of the Crestview Library Book Sale Purchase an array of gently used library books. Fri 5–8 p.m. preview sale $2 admission for non-friends, Sat–Sun 9 a.m.– 4 p.m. FREE. 1445 Commerce Drive, Crestview. (850) 682-5759

Oct. 7–9

Ladies Team Challenge (Level 3 and Level 8.5 Combo) Ladies’ tennis teams can enjoy a weekend of tennis, beach and fun. Packages range from $300–$400. Sandestin Tennis Center, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Miramar Beach. Times vary. To register, call David at (850) 267-7114 or email

Oct. 7–9

Franklin County Oyster Festival The three-day Franklin County Oyster Festival highlights the county’s proud seafood heritage. The event is filled with educational displays, demonstrations, a shucking tournament, 5K race, fishing tournament and children’s games. Seafood will be served throughout the weekend. FREE. Eastpoint and St. George Island, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. (850) 927-7744,

Oct. 10–11

Sharon Long Watercolor Workshop Learn about paper, brushes, how color moves, glazing, shape, how to apply them to paintings and many other watercolor techniques. No drawing skills required. All levels of watercolorists are welcome. $180. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach.  9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

+ events

63rd Annual Destin Fishing Rodeo Oct. 1–31 This family-friendly fishing rodeo welcomes anglers of all ages to try their luck. The festival is free to anyone on a boat registered for the tournament. Pier fishing is free for rodeo participants ages 14 and under; $25 for ages 15 and up. Whether you’re trolling inshore for king mackerel, offshore for marlin and sailfish, or fishing the deep bottoms for red snapper and grouper, you’ll be in the running for $100,000 in prizes. Weigh-ins will be held daily between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on the dock at AJ’s. For more information, visit, email or call (850) 837-6734. October–November 2011



terri schmidt-felner with sophie

Jennifer naddy

ella rutledge

July 4, 2011 Annual South Walton Fourth of July Parade

daniella, Mike and angela denton

olin Wolfgram, destin Bass, ora Wolfgram

Patriotic friends, neighbors, locals and visitors gather to watch vintage fire trucks, decked out bicycles and bedazzled golf carts file down 30A in celebration of Independence Day. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

erica pierce

July 2, 2011 Smoke on the Coast Independence Day heats up at the inaugural Smoke on the Coast barbecue cook-off at Destin Commons. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

trisha Quackenbush and Mark owens

Chad Mclain and Jayson evanchyk Chris, payton, Chloe and Carol Beason

Julia holliman, Bianca strong, laney holliman

38 October–November 2011


Oct. 13

Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Allow Prince Charming, Fancy Nancy, Dr. Seuss, Little Red Riding Hood and many more of your favorite children’s book characters to serve you lunch! Local business “celebrity” waiters dressed as children’s book characters help raise funds for All Kinds of Art, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s educational outreach program. $20. Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Silver Sands Factory Stores, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Miramar Beach. Seatings at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (850) 650-2226,

Oct. 14–16

Back to Nature Festival This festival offers visitors and locals a chance to explore the natural beauty of Walton County beyond our magnificent beaches. Kayak the dune lakes, take a river safari, go on an ecology walk or bring the family to Seaside for a day of family fun. Fri­–Sun, times vary each day. Most events are about two hours long and cost $10 unless otherwise noted. Events are held throughout Walton County. Registration required for some events.

Oct. 14–Nov. 5

Mystical, Magical, Mysterious Opening reception for the Arts and Design Society’s gallery show this month will honor Halloween with the works reflecting the supernatural side of our nature. Opening reception Friday, Oct. 14 from 5–7 p.m. FREE. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach. Gallery hours are Tues–Fri noon–4, Sat 1–4 p.m., (850) 244-1271,

Oct 15.

Shalimar Holly Fair More than 80 regional exhibitors display their exclusively handmade items at Shalimar United Methodist Church. Morning scones and coffee will be available in the Coffee Shoppe, gourmet lunch in the Holly Berry Tea Room and hamburgers and brats from the grill outside. All proceeds benefit church missions and local charities. FREE. Eglin Parkway and Old Ferry Road, Shalimar. 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. (850) 651-0721,

Oct. 15

Dog Daze Promenade your pooch and enjoy a packed schedule of fun events for your furry friend. $3/ dog. Fort Walton Beach Landing, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. (850) 244-8191,

Oct. 15

Back to Nature Family Fall Festival Celebrate the fall season with a family friendly, fun-filled day designed to get everyone into the autumn spirit. Gather for an outdoor movie on Friday evening in the Seaside Amphitheater. FREE. Seaside Amphitheater. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Oct. 15.

Destin Car Club-Euro Exotic Car Show As part of Motorfest 2011, come out and see more than 100 exotic European cars on display. Don’t miss Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 car, compliments of Pepsi Max, plus luxury boats from Legendary Marine. Enjoy a performance by Grammy Award winner Ricky Lee Phelps and his band Lektric Mullet. FREE. HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin. 11 a.m.–8 p.m. (850) 424-0600, October–November 2011


thecalendar Oct. 15

Silver Sands Autumn Tides Artist Signing Reception During October redeem $300 in same-day receipts to Silver Sands Shopper Services, located between Juicy Couture and Michael Kors, and receive a complimentary, limited-edition 10th Anniversary Autumn Tides print. Meet local artist Donna Burgess and have your print personally signed at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH. FREE. Silver Sands Factory Stores, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin. 1–4 p.m. (850) 654-9771,

Oct. 15

Forgotten Coast Bear Festival The festival is an opportunity for Floridians of all ages to learn about wildlife and the environment around them. “Procession of Species” parade, exhibits, live music, food and crafts fill this endearing annual event. FREE. Sands Park, Carrabelle. 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. For more information, email or visit

Oct. 21

Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade & Costume Contest Bring your four-legged friend to Fonville Press for the fifth annual event benefiting Alaqua Animal Refuge. Pumpkin painting, face painting and costume contests. FREE. 147 LaGarza Lane, Alys Beach. 4–6 p.m. (866) 481-8391,

Oct. 21–23

Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival Named one of the Top Food Festivals in the USA by Parade magazine, this hometown festival celebrates the mullet fish. Enjoy food concessions, arts and crafts, exhibits, carnival rides, clowns and national headline country music acts. $10–$15. Mullet Festival Grounds, State Road 85. N. and College Blvd., Niceville. Fri 11 a.m., Sat 9 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.

Oct. 22

Vettes in the Village In concert with the Baytowne Beer Festival, area Corvette clubs bring “America’s Sports Car” to The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin. FREE. The Grand Sandestin Grand Lawn, 9100 Baytowne Blvd., Miramar Beach. Noon–5 p.m. (850) 267-8186, Baytowne Wharf Beer Festival Beer lovers will sample hundreds of specialty, seasonal and not-yet-released domestic and international beers during this popular festival, featuring on-site craft brewers, seminars and live music. $20 per person, plus tax. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 9100 Baytowne Blvd., Miramar Beach, 2–6 p.m. (850) 267-8186,

Oct. 28

Noche de los Muertos Costume Party at Caliza Pool An over-the-top adult costume party and contest at Caliza Pool in Alys Beach. $40 online advance tickets; $50 at the door. Cash bar. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Children’s Volunteer Health Network. 23 Nonesuch Way, Alys Beach. 8–11:30 p.m. (866) 481-8391,

Oct. 28–29

4th Annual Haunted History Tours The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & 40 October–November 2011



Oct. 22

Cultural Center presents guided twilight walking tours of historic sites by costumed actors. $8 adults, $5 children. Pre-sale tickets sold at the Indian Temple Mound Museum. Purchase tickets on tour nights at 6 p.m. at the museum entrance where tours will begin. Cash only. 139 Miracle Strip Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach. Tours are at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. (850) 833-9595, index.php/museums.html

Oct. 29

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K run/walk through Destin beginning at Village Baptist Church. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. Donations appreciated. Teams that raise $100 receive an official T-shirt. 101 Matthew Blvd., Destin. 8 a.m. registration; 9 a.m. race. (850) 244-3813,

Oct. 29

Pumkinpalooza Children can trick or treat with the Village merchants during business hours all day, with pumpkin decorating, free crafts and face painting from noon– 4 p.m., a children’s costume contest at 2 p.m. and an adult costume contest at 9 p.m. FREE. 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin. (850) 424-0600,

Oct. 29–30

16th Annual Destin Festival of the Arts Fine art show featuring more than 100 artists, live music, Kid’s ArtStop, bistro food court and collaborative community art exhibit. Free festival parking at Emerald Coast Centre with free motor coach shuttle service. $3 adult admission; kids under 12 FREE. Henderson Beach State Park, 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin. Sat 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.­–5 p.m. (850) 650-2226,

Oct. 31

Trick or Treat in Seaside It’s time for ghosts, goblins and princesses to go door-to-door collecting candy from the Seaside merchants to feed their sugary appetites. Hop on the haunted hayride provided by Cottage Rental Agency, hear spooky stories read by the Seaside Repertory Theatre and do the monster mash with terrifying tunes from 30A Radio. FREE. 4–6 p.m.

Oct. 31

Trick or Treat Street Friends, fireworks, and frights! Come experience this family friendly Halloween event. Trick or treat through the Village streets and hang around for a spooktacular fireworks show. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 9100 Baytowne Blvd., Miramar

Beach. Trick or Treat 6–8 p.m. (850) 267- 8186,

Nov. 1

Powwow Dance with Kirby Locklear, Thunderbird Intertribal Council Locklear will demonstrate various powwow dance steps, as well as discuss native costumes, storytelling, drumming and singing. This program is appropriate for older elementary school students through senior citizens. FREE. Crestview Public Library, 1445 Commerce Drive, Crestview. 10 a.m. refreshments; 10:30 a.m. program. (850) 682-4432,

Nov. 3

Winemaker Dinner Bud & Alley’s proudly announces its annual Fall Wine Dinner, to kick off the Seeing Red Wine Festival weekend. $125 per person. Bud & Alley’s on 30A in Seaside. 7 p.m. (850) 231-5900

Nov. 4

First Friday ArtWalk Enjoy live music and view beautiful works of art and artist demos at the galleries and shops of Ruskin Place and select Central Square merchants. FREE. Seaside. 5–8 p.m.,

Nov. 4

Al Fresco Wine Walkabout Enjoy an elegant evening sampling rare, exclusive wines paired with superb hors d’oeuvres from Chef Jim Shirley — all complemented by live music. Learn first-hand about terroir, climate, viticulture, varietal composition and food pairings. $145 per person. Ruskin Place, Seaside. 6–8 p.m. (866) 976-7990

Nov. 4–5

Florida Seafood Festival The Florida Seafood Festival is a two-day event drawing thousands of visitors to the historic town of Apalachicola in scenic Franklin County. The festival features a 5K road race, arts and crafts exhibits, seafood related events and contests, musical entertainment and, of course, plenty of seafood. FREE. Battery Park, Apalachicola. Fri 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.–11 p.m. (888) 653-8011,

Nov. 4–6

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival Browse more than 200 fine art and handmade craft exhibitors from around the country in Pensacola’s historic Seville Square. FREE. 300 S. Alcaniz St., Pensacola. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (850) 434-1234,

Nov. 4–6

Ladies Team Challenge (Level 3.5) Bring your team to Sandestin Golf and Beach

Resort for a weekend of tennis, beach and fun. $300–$400. Sandestin Tennis Center, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W. Miramar Beach. Times vary. To register call David at (850) 267-7114 or email him at

Nov. 5

Race for the Arts Participate in a 5K walk/run and 1-mile kids fun run through Destin to support the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. $20 early registration; $25 after Oct. 1. Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, 4323 Commons Drive W., Destin (behind Grace Lutheran Church), 8:30 a.m.

Nov. 5

Seeing Red Grand Tasting Join us for an intimate afternoon of great wine, food and music in the tranquil beauty of Seaside. Explore, sample and expand your knowledge about the latest trends in wine from aficionados who are waiting to meet and educate you.  $120 per person. Seaside. 1–5 p.m. (866) 976-7990

Nov. 5–6

Telluride Mountain Film Festival & Wine Tasting Celebrating its 10th Anniversary at WaterColor, the MountainFilm Festival is a two-day, multisensory experience of art, adventure, culture and nature. WaterColor Marina, 238 Watercolor Blvd., Santa Rosa Beach. 5 p.m. To purchase event tickets, visit

Nov. 5–11

Art Week — Celebrate the Visual Arts Arts and Design Society will be offering classes in painting in acrylics, oils, watercolors and encaustics and found-object sculptures. $25 for the first class; $20 for each additional class. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach. Classes are held at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The week will end with an Arty Party on Friday 5–7 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Nov. 6

A Celebration of Bubbles Join the Great Southern Café for a celebration of bubbles featuring sparkling wines from around the world, accompanied by great music and perfectly paired eats. $50 per person. Great Southern Café, 83 Central Square, Seaside. 11 a.m. (850) 231-7327,

Nov. 11–12

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show With Pensacola as their home base, the elite Blue Angels demonstrate challenging and exciting air maneuvers during the season’s final show at Naval Air Station Pensacola. FREE. 1750 Radford Blvd. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. (850) 452-2583,

+ events

Taste of The Beach Nov. 4–6 Wine, dine and donate during this three-day culinary and cultural celebration benefiting children’s charities based on Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. This year’s tempting schedule of events includes: Taste of The Harbor, Taste of Bay Wine & Food Experience, Al Fresco Reserve Tasting at Ruskin Place, Seeing Red Wine Festival, a wine maker dinner at Seagar’s Prime Steak and Seafood and the Taste of The Beach & Charity Auction. A collaboration between the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce and Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), Taste of The Beach combines new and established food, wine and artistic events featuring prized vintners and renowned chefs. Tickets range from $35 to $145 per person. Events will be held all along the Emerald Coast from Pensacola to Panama City. Visit the event website for a complete schedule of events. October–November 2011


thecalendar (See Historicity in this issue for a story on the Blue Angels’ “Right Wing” Lt. Cmdr. James Tomaszeski.)

Saturdays Nov. 12–26

Seaside Farmer’s Market Fill your basket with fresh produce, baked goods, dairy products, native plants and fresh treats, while enjoying special cooking demonstrations and more. FREE. Seaside Amphitheater, behind Raw & Juicy. 9 a.m.–1 p.m.,

Nov. 12

Blues, Brews and BBQ The Northwest Florida chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) will host a craft beer tasting and creative barbecue competition. All proceeds benefit FRLA educational foundation, supporting the next generation of hospitality professionals. FREE. HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin. Noon–4 p.m. (850) 424-0600,

Nov. 12–13

Flutterby Arts Festival Named to celebrate the annual migration of the Monarch butterfly through the area, this festival features a student art show, storytelling, puppet shows, crafts, face painting, games, music, food and the making of butterfly wing masterpieces for the butterfly costume parade. FREE admission. Some activities require $1 tickets. Rosemary Beach’s South Barrett Square, Main Street and Western Green. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.,

Nov. 17

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau Goes Graffiti A celebration of the first harvest of Beaujolais featuring Destin’s top chefs serving a French-inspired menu. Restaurant teams will compete for the “People’s Choice Award” in a live-art Graffiti competition. A celebratory Nouveau toast to kick off the new vintage will include Cru Beaujolais Wines from Georges Duboeuf. $50 per person. Tickets sold at Wine World locations. Wine World in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. 5:30–8:30 p.m. (850) 650-2226,

Nov. 18.

Gallery Night Enjoy an evening of arts and culture by touring downtown art galleries. FREE. Palafox Place, Pensacola. 5–9 p.m. (850) 434-5371,

Nov. 18–30

Christmas Art Market Arts and Design Society will celebrate the Christmas season with original artwork from its artist-members. The work will include paintings, sculptures, ceramics and cards — all for sale at great prices. Gallery hours are Tues–Fri noon– 4 p.m., Sat 1–4 p.m. FREE. Arts and Design Society Art Center Gallery, 17 First St. S.E., Fort Walton Beach. (850) 244-1271,

November 19 & 20

The Nutcracker Northwest Florida Ballet presents its 31st annual

production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. $25 adults, $12.50 children (12 and under). Mattie Kelly Performing Arts Center. 100 College Blvd., Niceville. Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2:30 p.m. (850) 664-7787,

Nov. 20

Silver Sands Sixth Annual Evening of Giving Get a jump start on your holiday shopping while helping local charities raise money. The event includes live entertainment, in-store fundraising events, special discounts, refreshments and more. $5. Silver Sands Factory Stores, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin. 3 p.m. (850) 654-9771,

Nov. 20–Jan. 1

Silver Sands Holiday Lights in Concert This visually spectacular presentation features an amazing display of colorful lights synchronized to your favorite Christmas songs and will run nightly through the holiday season. FREE. Silver Sands Factory Stores, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin. 5–9 p.m. (850) 654-9771,

Nov. 25

Elf Parade Kids dress up and parade five blocks from the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum to the Saenger Theatre, caroling along the way. FREE. 330 S. Jefferson St., Pensacola. 5 p.m. (850) 434-5371,

Nov. 25

Central Square Cinema Holiday Movie Night Enjoy the start of the holiday weekend with a

Mark J. Katzenstein, M.D. FACC, FSCAI

Michael L. Yandel, M.D. FACC, FSCAI

for all of life’s occasions

Joseph A. Pedone, M.D. FACC, FACP, FSCAI

Juan Carlos Zarate, M.D. FACC, FSCAI

Marcello A. Borzatta, M.D. FACS

fine art • events • commerical

people, places, things Santa Rosa Beach, FL • 850.502.9124 • 42 October–November 2011


129 E. Redstone Ave., Suite A Crestview, FL 32539 850-682-7212 1032 Mar-Walt Dr., #110 Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32547 850-862-1753 552 Twin Cities Blvd., Suite A Niceville, FL 32578 850-279-4426

Quality Heart Care Since 1991

socialstudies July 2-4, 2011 HarborWalk Village July 4th Extravaganza Live concerts, eating contests, vintage flyovers and festive fireworks got thousands into the patriotic spirit. Photos by Kay Phelan

dave’s dogs hot dog eating Contest Winners: steve atkinson, lou longo, Chad Betts (first place winner) and Brennan Beams


Jason Castro, american idol finalist

Mary Jane nowell and Jane solomon

July 24, 2011 Share the Shelter Music Fest Dread Clampitt, Heritage, Kelsey Anna and others shared their voices at a benefit concert to give a voice to two local causes: Shelter House Domestic Violence Center and Alaqua Animal Rescue. Photos by Alaqua Animal Refuge and Shelter House Domestic Violence Center

sue and scott nelson

steve and Joan Carter

Shake Shanty Grand Opening Kitty Whitney, president of the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber’s Ambassadors officially cut the grand opening ribbon for The Shake Shanty at The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Photo by Jessica Proffitt EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


movie under the stars. Don’t miss “Fred Claus,” the hilarious Christmas comedy featuring Vince Vaughn. FREE. Seaside Amphitheater, Seaside. 7 p.m.,

Nov. 25


Alys in Winter Wonderland Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for cookie decorating and holiday cheer. Bring an unwrapped gift to donate to children in the local area. FREE; Unwrapped gifts for children encouraged. 147 LaGarza Lane, Alys Beach.10 a.m.–noon, (866) 481-8391,

Nov. 25

Silver Sands Midnight Madness All 100 stores will open at midnight on the day after Thanksgiving. Shop early at your favorite designer names for incredible door buster sales and promotions as well as giveaways and incentives. FREE. Silver Sands Factory Stores, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin. 12 a.m.–9 p.m. (850) 654-9771,

Nov. 25–26

Holiday Celebration A holiday celebration filled with kids’ activities during the day and the annual Village tree lighting and choreographed light show in the evening. Enjoy the holiday lantern parade, a showing of “Miracle on 34th Street” and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 9100 Baytowne Blvd., Miramar Beach. Friday festivities begin at 6 p.m. with movie at 7 p.m. Saturday festivities continue from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. (850) 267-8186,

Nov. 25, Dec. 3, 9, 16–18

Winterfest Trolley Tours Trolleys act as theaters taking passengers to a series of interactive performances along a twomile route in Historic Downtown Pensacola. $12 for children; $18 for adults. 400 S. Palafox Place, Pensacola. 6 p.m. (850) 435-0914,

Nov. 26

Turn on the Town A traditional holiday parade along Scenic Highway 30A ends in Seaside where a holiday party begins in the amphitheater starring the jolly-bearded one. After a rousing round of “Jingle Bells,” the countdown begins in unison to “turn on the town.” FREE. Along 30A and in the Seaside Amphitheater, 4 p.m.,

Nov. 29

‘My Fair Lady’ “My Fair Lady” is a triumphant musical spectacle. It’s no wonder everyone — not just Henry Higgins — falls in love with Eliza Doolittle. $20 youth; $25 adult. Mattie Kelly Arts Center, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6000,

Regional Save the Date

Dec. 9–11

League of Tallahassee’s Jingle Jubilee Check off all of the names on your list at this holiday shopping extravaganza hosted by the Junior League of Tallahassee. Admission is $5 per person, $10 for the entire weekend. 505 West Pensacola St., Tallahassee. Fri Noon –9 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (850) 224-9161, ec 44 October–November 2011


donna Bandy, Bernadette leach, dave leach, Gina seton, Bob seton

Mary Maitland

Mike ingram and Bradley fenn

May 28, June 24, July 23 and Aug. 13 YOLO Mileage Builder Series

parker Carroum

amy Buchanan

The 2011 YOLO Board Mileage Builder Series consists of four endurance-building races that began with one mile and culminate with a four-mile course and the bragging rights to the champion of the 2011 YOLO Board Mileage Builder Series. Photos by Chandler Williams of Modus Photography

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


Gulf Coast dunes

Forgotten Coast BY JASON DEHART

Franklin County has a lot to offer anyone who just wants to get away from it all. Along the bays, beaches and byways there are many opportunities to slow down and take it easy. The area is well known for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, beachcombing, swimming, golfing and even bird watching. Perhaps the greatest natural attraction is the 202,000-acre Tate’s Hell State Forest, which is called home by many species of wildlife like the Florida black bear and red-cockaded woodpecker. There are 35 miles of rivers and streams for canoeing and boating, and primitive campsites are scattered throughout the woods.

But even loafers need a break. The mealtime fare here is more than fair, and surf ‘n’ turf restaurants are tucked away on the back roads and beaches, just waiting to be discovered. Oysters and shrimp are the two most important food groups in places like Apalachicola and Eastpoint, where commercial fishermen still work hard to bring in fresh seafood. Had enough eco-tourism? Then try “histotourism.” Visit the Crooked River Lighthouse in Carrabelle and the newly restored St. George Lighthouse for a taste of the coast’s maritime heritage. The Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum will take you back to the days when thousands of troops trained to take on the Axis powers. And the humble John Gorrie Museum in Apalachicola focuses on the 19th century physician whose refrigeration machines paved the way for modern air conditioning. Tired from a day of loafing? Then stay the night and enjoy some quiet downtime at the Coombs House Inn or the Gibson Inn, both in Apalachicola. For a longer stay, check out the many vacation rentals on St. George Island, or get a room at the beachfront Buccaneer Inn. You may fall in love with Franklin County and decide to come back soon. ec 46 October–November 2011

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


sea bringing the

to your



In honor of national Food Day (Oct. 24) we dish up a story centered around the one food that gives the Emerald Coast its “salty” sense of place with every single serving — seafood. It’s no surprise that a large part of the area’s livelihood, tourism and any number of annual events hinge on this versatile protein. Alice Waters, of famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., may have gotten the simmer going on the national “farm-to-table” movement, but here on the Emerald Coast, thanks to an emerging fraternity of fresh chefs, we are certain that the “sea-to-table” experience enjoyed in our restaurants is a recipe of our own — and, thankfully, not a secret one. Here is a sampling of some of the Emerald Coast’s top chefs who are passionate about the seafood they serve and the fresh ingredients they get from our local farms, markets and gardens to create mouth-watering delicacies for their patrons, families and friends, along with some tasty tips that you can use to bring a fresh perspective to your dining table. ec

48 October–November 2011


Photo by Kansas Pitts

Chefs Left to Right

Phillip McDonald, Table Five Personal Chef | David Cunningham, V Seagrove | Dan Pettis, One 20 A Modern Bistro John Jacob, Vintij Wine Boutique and Bistro | Dan “Dano” Dunn, H2O Pensacola Beach | Bruce McAdoo, Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood October–November 2011



Vintij Wine Boutique and Bistro For more than 20 years executive chef John Jacob, coowner of Vintij Wine Boutique and Bistro in Miramar Beach, has satisfied even the most discriminating of celebrity palates, including the likes of Emeril LaGasse. The 43-year-old hails from Westfield, N.J., and cut his teeth in the food industry by working in an Italian fish market. He later worked in New York, Maine and Washington State, where he fell in love with salmon. Jacob found opportunity in moving from colder northern climes to the Gulf, mentoring with Irv Miller (now of JacksonsPensacola) and developing his love of fresh seafood. His Gulf favorite, and a popular restaurant choice, is flounder. “I stuff it with shrimp, crab and scallops and serve it in a fish broth fume,” he explains. Jacob builds his menu around seasonal ingredients, the freshest catch of the day, as well as customer favorites such as his molasses smoked salmon. He prides himself on searching for the best ingredients and uses a local fisherman at Harbor Docks for his seafood. He has a personal friendship with the owners of Dragonfly Fields and adds that he is first in line to buy anything local. When asked his cooking style, he says, “I cook unpretentious comfort food, paying attention to detail, and what is on my menu is what I love.”


At 44, Chef Dan Dunn of H2O in the Hilton Hotel, Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, is a surfer and a chef. He admits his passions lie equally with both, and without one there would not be the other. As we spoke, Dunn was in the restaurant kitchen at H20, deboning the ribcage and backbone from a whole hog he was stuffing in preparation for that night’s dinner. He describes his cuisine as Asian-Cajun and says that most of his inspiration is drawn from the Gulf. One of his menu specialties, staying with him through his career, is a filet mignon with General Tso’s-style fried lobster and shrimp, wild mushrooms and baby bok choy. Another signature dish is his fresh filet of snapper, stuffed with his award-winning crab cakes, pan-seared and finished with a cognac butter cream sauce. Dunn gets his local seafood from Maria’s in Pensacola and says he “tries to keep things simple and let the flavor of the proteins speak for themselves.” He has been with H2O for the last four years and calls it, “A crazy ride, complete chaos and awesome to be on the beach.” He recently returned from the Pensacola Celebrity Chef tour, where he was one of five chosen, along with Irv Miller, Jim Shirley, Gus Silvos and Frank Taylor, to represent the city of Pensacola and the seafood industry at the famed James Beard house in New York. It is a far cry from his humble beginnings as the local IGA “chicken boy,” a position he took at the age of 14, cleaning and deboning chickens. 50 October–November 2011



H2O Pensacola Beach

corner on the Market When shopping for the same superior quality local ingredients that award-winning local chefs use in their creations, look no further than the Emerald Coast. Below are just a few places you can pick up the freshest seafood, highest quality meats, artisan breads, vine-picked produce or a meal to go. Destin Ice Seafood Market & Deli  Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, () - Cool Fish Seafood Market  Redwood Avenue, Niceville, () - Maria’s Seafood Market  East Cervantes, Pensacola, () - Joe Patti’s Seafood and Specialty Food Market South A Street and Main Street, Pensacola, () - Off the Vine  Eglin Parkway North East, Fort Walton Beach, () -


V Seagrove

David Cunningham, 40, is the executive chef at one of the newest additions to the 30A scene — V Seagrove. Cunningham specializes in Gulf Coast cuisine and builds his menu based on seasonal ingredients, balancing them to the clientele’s tastes. When asked what seafood dish is most requested, he says, “a sexy poached grouper with jumbo lump crab in a morel cream, with phyllo pastry on top.” Cunningham comes to the V Seagrove from the former Commander’s Palace in Destin, where he was the executive chef, and prior to that, Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, where he worked under his mentor, the famed Jamie Shannon. Under Shannon’s tutelage he learned devotion for fresh local products and farming techniques. “The best products and the best meals come right out of your own back yard,” he explains. “The food should not be intricate, but clean, local if possible, and the food should present itself.” Some of the showcase plates at the V Seagrove incorporate Water Street Seafood Apalachicola oysters, Mac Farms heirloom tomatoes and C&D Mill’s stone ground grits. (“The great thing about C&D is they don’t grind them until I call!”) Cunningham hopes that in the near future the supplier will be the customer, on the V’s charter fishing boat, returning with their catch of the day. When asked about buying seafood he says, “I refuse to buy anything imported. I refuse to buy frozen fish or crab. If it’s not fresh, it’s not on my menu.”

Panhandle Fresh Community based food system model assisting farmers in pooling their resources to sell to a larger market. Sign up online. Ever’mans Pensacola  West Gadsen Street, Pensacola, () - Dragonfly Fields  County Hwy , Defuniak Springs, () - Mac Farms Santa Rosa Beach Seaside Farmer’s Market A in Seaside

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011



One 20 A Modern Bistro


Table Five Personal Chef “The beautiful thing about living on the Gulf is that our seafood is certified organic,” says Chef Phillip McDonald of Table Five Personal Chef. He is a Florida native who grew up in Destin, where his father ran the local marina, eating fresh fish, fried shrimp and fresh oysters on a daily basis. McDonald, 35, contends he became a chef by default after he “started cooking on a whim.” He worked at many of South Walton’s finest restaurants, such as Cuvee Beach, Criolla’s, Fish out of Water and Onano until he came into his own. He credits mentor Steven Vanderpool, now the executive chef of Brenner’s on the Bayou in Houston, with teaching him clean simple flavors. “Steven values cleanliness and simple straightforward food. If you are not going to eat it, don’t put it on the plate,” McDonald says. Last summer, with tourism down due to the BP oil spill, McDonald took a culinary sabbatical and worked at some of the country’s premier restaurants in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. He draws his menu inspirations from the Gulf of Mexico, local farms such as Mac Farms, his customers’ tastes and the five senses. At Table Five, McDonald brings a fresh perspective to the food by catering an authentic dining experience right in your own home. “We provide the simple luxury of staying in for the evening, leaving you to take pleasure in all the senses while you linger at the table in good company. The focus is on flavor, not trends,” says the young chef. 52 October–November 2011



Dan Pettis of One 20 A Modern Bistro in Niceville, knew early on that he wanted to be a chef. As a young teenager, he apprenticed at Marina Café, Creehan’s Market and the original Beach Walk Café under local chef Tim Creehan. He gives the nod to Creehan as his mentor, who taught him the most about cooking. Later, after culinary school, he learned Southeast Asian and Pacific Rim styles, as well as sushi skills, from Chef Roy in Palm Beach. Pettis, 31, draws inspiration from “daily life, what is fresh and what is local.” The Florida native describes his style as a mix of “South Florida, Pacific Rim and Southern roots.” The seafood dish that is his favorite of late is a B-liner Snapper. It is prepared whole, fried Vietnamese style, stuffed with citrus and topped with chili lime oil. Pettis and his stepbrother, Tim Marion, also a chef at One 20, share a bountiful garden that is bursting with fresh herbs, thyme and kaffir leaves. He is passionate about keeping his food local and his newest venture, a farmers market located on the side of his restaurant, proves this. His mantra is, “Know your Roots, Eat Local at the Niceville Farmer’s Market.” Pettis envisions a European style of market where crafts are sold, street food is prepared, artisan breads and fresh flowers are available, and his purveyors are welcome to sell.


(Pontchartrain denotes the use of soft-shell crab; if unavailable, the dish is simply referred to as Pompano Amandine)



Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood Executive Chef Bruce McAdoo of Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, located in the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Miramar Beach, is a classically trained French chef who grew up traveling the world in a military family. His father, an F-4 Navy fighter Chef Bruce mcadoo with tommy pilot, met and married his Engsundy of adams Produce. lish mother, and travel is where McAdoo, 42, found his interest in cooking. He was a chef in England, West Virginia and Georgia before settling on the Emerald Coast at Seagar’s and says, “I cook the very best, most pristine food I can.” An avid fisherman, he says his favorite seafood to prepare would have to be grouper, amberjack and red snapper. Customers love his whole baked Pompano Almandine topped with an Apalachicola soft shell crab, but these seasonal ingredients are not always available. McAdoo stresses he uses only seasonal ingredients and builds his menu to be “exciting and exhilarating” with the customers in mind. “Food is supposed to be fun and create great conversation,” he says. Local sources include Destin Ice Seafood Market & Deli, Crestview Produce and Bon Appétit, where McAdoo buys breads from an Armenian baker and his wife. “People come to Seagar’s and while they are here, they trust us for a great meal. After 13 years, I have the challenge to serve them the best.”

 - ounce Pompano filets (or any seasonal fish of your liking)  whole eggs, whisk with  tablespoon of milk for an egg wash Seasoned flour Sliced blanched almonds  whale live soft-shell crabs (optional or can be substituted with sautéed jumbo lump crab meat) ¼ cup of sautéed spinach (per person)  shallot diced

 cups of cooking white wine ½ pound unsalted butter Juice of  lemons ¼ cup heavy cream  tablespoons of capers (drained of liquid)  Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced ½ cup milk  cup heavy cream ½ pound butter and salt and pepper to taste  whole lemons (slice and use for garnish) Micro-beets (optional for garnish)


Read this recipe then prepare all of your ingredients and work through according to your time for dinner. Start with the butter sauce. Sweat  diced shallot in a teaspoon of olive oil over a medium heat, cook until translucent, do not burn. Add  cups of white wine. Reduce this down to approximately  tablespoons of liquid. Add ¼ cup heavy cream and reduce by half. Add lemon juice. Turn heat to low and start to add butter in small amounts. Make sure to incorporate the butter as you add it. Adjust the seasoning with the salt and pepper and keep this sauce in a warm location. Prepare the potato puree next. Take the  peeled and diced potatoes and start them in salted, cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Remove potatoes from liquid and place back in pot with butter. Mash them up and add ½ cup milk and  cup heavy cream as you whip them until creamy. Adjust seasoning. Now peel the asparagus, brush with olive oil and either sauté or grill until tender and set aside.

Take your Pompano filets (or any seasonal fish of your liking) and dredge them in your seasoned flour, then into an egg wash, then into sliced blanched almonds. Place in a sauté skillet over medium heat, add oil to pan, turn your oven to °. Place fish filets almond side down once pan is hot. Depending on size of skillet you might have to do this process twice. Once they are golden, place all  filets on a baking sheet pan, then place in oven to cook. Once the filets are cooked through, but still moist, you are ready to serve them. Place the potato puree in the center of the plate, place the asparagus in the ,  and  o’clock positions. Place the Pompano filets over the asparagus. Sauce the dish with the lemon chive butter sauce. Garnish with lemon. Pair with a  Russian River Chardonnay, serve and enjoy.

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood is a 2011 winner for Best Fine Dining and Best Service. 54 October–November 2011

ES B T of the Emerald Coast



By Wendy O. Dixon

ou have spoken, the votes have been tallied and the results are here. In this annual Best of the Emerald Coast issue, we recognize the fabulous work your favorite restaurants, shops and service providers do for you. The Best of the Emerald Coast Awards is still one of the most popular events of the season. After all, it showcases the best food and beverages, shopping, entertainment and services available along the Emerald Coast. Are your favorites among the winners? We hope so. Celebrate with them at the annual Best of the Emerald Coast Awards ceremony Saturday, Oct. 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Grand Boulevard. The event, which is open to the public, promises an evening of food, fun, fashion and entertainment. Enjoy complimentary food and beverages and sample products and services from many of the winners. Â Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door; proceeds benefit the Junior League of the Emerald Coast. To purchase tickets, visit for a list of ticket locations. We congratulate the 2011 winners of The Best of the Emerald Coast and thank them for making our region the best destination ever. October–November 2011


BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 FOOD AND BEVERAGE Best Appetizer | Bonefish Grill Again this year, Bonefish tops the list of favorite appetizers with its famous Bang Bang Shrimp tossed in a creamy spicy sauce. Also, try the Wagyu Beef and Ginger Dumplings, handmade with Americanstyle Kobe and pan-seared with crispy shallots, Thai peppers and soy sauce. Destin and Pensacola. Best Bagel Shop | Not Just Bagels With two dozen flavors of fresh gourmet bagels, breads and pastries, as well as a variety of cream cheeses, Not Just Bagels will have you in comfort-food heaven. All toppings and fillings are also made fresh every day. And as the name implies, Not Just Bagels serves sandwiches too. Try the delicious chicken salad on a savory Swiss bagel. Destin. Best Bakery | Panera Bread Panera’s cozy cafes are everyday gathering places for casual work meetings, quiet chats with friends or some alone time to enjoy free Wi-Fi with a morning pastry. You can’t go wrong with the fresh Pecan Braid, a pastry dough twisted and braided with buttery ground pecans and sugar syrup, but other yummy possibilities include the Sesame Semolina and Three Cheese artisan breads. Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Best Barbecue | Jim ’n Nick’s Bar-B-Q It’s official. Jim ‘n Nick’s is the boss of the sauce. The restaurant refuses to cut corners, instead smoking meats for 14 hours in hickory. The result? Dishes such as slow-smoked baby back and spareribs, hand-pulled pork and sliced Angus beef brisket are definitely vote getters. Destin. Best Bloody Mary | Red Bar A favorite among locals, visitors and celebrities, The Red Bar is a must-visit when in Grayton Beach. Come for lunch or dinner (or a little later) to kick back on the funky furniture and listen to live music while enjoying great food and cocktails — especially the awardwinning Bloody Mary. Grayton Beach.

selection of baked goods and desserts, made fresh every day by the staff. Destin.

Best Buffalo Wings | Buffalo’s Reef Famous Wings At Buffalo’s Reef, they don’t start cooking until you order, so relax and have a beer. Savor something sweet with the honey barbecue sauce or something zesty with the garlic Parmesan wings. Like it spicy? The hot ‘n’ spicy wings are for you. But if you order them super hot, you’d better be prepared. Fort Walton Beach. Best Cajun | Louisiana Lagniappe As the name suggests, this New Orleans dining experience serves up “a little something extra.” Louisiana Lagniappe (Lan-yap) features authentic Creole cuisine such as lobster tail, shrimp étouffée and Cajun seafood gumbo, as well as steak entrees. Enjoying a beautiful sunset while you dine makes for a memorable occasion every time. Destin. Best Catering | Sarah K’s Gourmet Sarah K’s Gourmet earned recognition as one of the Top Five Destinations for Crab Cakes in Taste of Home magazine. Sarah’s gourmet shrimp dip was featured in Woman’s World magazine. And her chefcrafted ready-to-heat cuisine has earned her the Best of the Emerald Coast award six years running. Destin. Best Chef | Clovis Da Silva, Fat Clemenza’s He’s been in American kitchens for 19 years, and Clovis Da Silva brought his Italian “chops” to Fat Clemenza’s three years ago. Though all his dishes are delicious, the executive chef’s fish and steak dishes are especially popular, as is the lamb with porcini mushroom sauce. Save room for Da Silva’s dessert. Try the popular orange chocolate carrot cake or decadent pineapple cheese cobbler. Miramar Beach and Fort Walton Beach. Best Chinese | P.F. Chang’s China Bistro From its famous Ginger Chicken Stir-fry Romaine Wraps to the Shanghai Noodles with Grilled Rib Eye and Broccoli, P.F. Chang’s

Another Broken Egg is a 2011 winner for Best Breakfast.

Best Brunch | Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club Overlooking tranquil Lake Regatta and surrounded by rolling greens and sprawling trees warmly lit in an emerald hue, Regatta Bay’s talented culinary team create a balance of flavors and textures that is matched only by the artistry of its presentation, making every meal as special as a weekend brunch. Destin. Best Buffet | Golden Corral Family Steak House With selections of meat, pasta, pizza, fresh vegetables, a salad bar and a meat-carving station, this family-style chain restaurant offers the biggest and best buffet in town. Be sure to save room for the large 56 October–November 2011


Best Breakfast | Another Broken Egg Café Earning Best Breakfast for the 11th year in a row, Another Broken Egg Café boasts the most coveted breakfast in town. The café offers more than 130 delicious, home-cooked breakfast, brunch and lunch foods in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Destin, Miramar Beach and Grayton Beach.




0 & 201 01



12273 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Ste 108 Miramar Beach, FL 850.650.7539



296 South Holiday Rd. Miramar Beach, Fl 32550 (telephone) 850.650.1039 (Fax) 850.650.0938 October–November 2011


BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 Best Grocery Store | Publix From the butchers to the bakers, and from the clerks to the baggers and stockers, the staff at Publix puts on a friendly face every day, making shopping for everyday items a bit more pleasant and keeping customers coming back again and again. Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Best Hamburger | McGuire’s Irish Pub An award-winning steakhouse with traditional Irish food and inhouse brewery, McGuire’s offers 25 different trimmings for its giant, custom-ground steak burgers. Try the Big Daddy burger with bacon, cheddar and jalapeno or the Terrible Garbage Burger, which piles on some of everything. Destin and Pensacola.

strives to create great craveable foods you can’t get anywhere else. Each dish on this restaurant’s extensive menu is prepared to order using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients. Miramar Beach.

Best Coffee | Starbucks Coffee Starbucks figures that putting people before products makes good sense. Its relationship with farmers yields the highest-quality coffees, and the connections it makes in communities creates a loyal following. Serving the finest coffees in the world with friendly service, Starbucks Coffee is a local favorite. Destin, Grayton Beach, Miramar Beach and Fort Walton Beach. Best Dessert | The Melting Pot For a truly memorable meal experience, save room for dessert and dip strawberries, cake and marshmallows into the warm heavenly chocolate delight at The Melting Pot, renowned for its chocolate fondue portion of the four-course meal and earning it Best Dessert yet again. Miramar Beach. Best Fine Dining | Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood A five-star dining restaurant specializing in the finest prime beef and freshest seafood available, Seagar’s offers the most elegant table on the Emerald Coast. With private dining facilities and a wine list featuring more than 800 labels, Seagar’s continues to be extolled by critics as one of the best restaurants around. Miramar Beach. Best French Restaurant | Bistro Bijoux Located in The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin, this romantic French bistro serves perfectly seasoned dishes made from the freshest ingredients and presented like a work of art. Try the pan-seared diver scallops nestled in a saffron cream with crispy rice cakes and curried peanuts. Miramar Beach. Best Gourmet/Food Shop | The Fresh Market Need inspiration for dinner tonight? With fresh food, seasonal selections and an abundance of hard-to-find gourmet items, The Fresh Market makes shopping a convenient and delicious shopping experience. Destin. 58 October–November 2011

Best Hibachi | Osaka Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse and Sushi Bar For an enjoyable and memorable dining experience where dishes are prepared at your table, Osaka is your place. The Japanese steak house offers an amazing and entertaining show as your meal is prepared right in front of you. Destin. Best Ice Cream Shop | Cold Stone Creamery Cold Stone Creamery’s unique ice cream creations, smoothies, cakes and shakes win again thanks to the creativity that goes into each dessert. Choose your favorite topping and watch the staff hand-mix your treat on a frozen slab of granite. It’s the ultimate ice cream experience. Destin. Best Italian Restaurant | Fat Clemenza’s Brick-Oven Pizzeria In its fifth season, Fat Clemenza’s maintains the same quality and consistency as the first day owner Dominic Damiano opened its doors. The checkered tablecloths and old family photos on the wall create an atmosphere of a throwback to an Italian neighborhood restaurant in any big city. Miramar Beach and Fort Walton Beach. Best Locally Owned Restaurant | Callahan’s Restaurant and Deli A multi-year Best of award winner, Callahan’s aims to please with its custom-cut meats and generous portions of delicious food. In addition to the fresh sandwiches, pastas and salads, the restaurant offers nightly dinner specials. Try the New York Strip — and save room for Key Lime cheesecake for dessert. Destin. Best Margarita | Cantina Laredo This authentic Mexican restaurant’s margaritas are made from freshly squeezed lime juice, as well as an impressive line of tequilas that include triple-distilled and aged brands that, once again, make the margaritas fabuloso. Miramar Beach. Best Martini | Bonefish Grill Just like the delicious food, the Bonefish Martini, made with Stoli vodka, cranberry and sparkling Prosecco, is a good reason to stop at Bonefish. And the Fresh Watermelon, Ocean Trust, Lemongrass,


The Red Bar is a 2011 winner for Best Bloody Mary.

Best Happy Hour | Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar Raising a glass with family and friends is easy at island-inspired Tommy Bahama’s in Grand Boulevard, where people can sip, mix and mingle. Try the Tommy Bahama Kentucky Mai Tai, featured this fall. The combination of bourbon and Southern Comfort with the orange and lime juices gives it quite a kick. Miramar Beach.

Coastal Cuisine with a New Orleans Flair

Espresso and Chocolate are just a few of the martinis that draw locals and visitors alike to this hopping restaurant and bar. Destin and Pensacola.

Best Mexican/Latin American Restaurant | Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant This authentic Mexican restaurant once again earns a spot on our “Best of” list because the restaurant’s delicious and healthy Mexican dishes are made with only the freshest ingredients. Destin and Niceville. Best Outdoor Bar | Poppy’s Crazy Lobster Bar & Grill Serving drinks called the Crazy Lobster Cooler (made with vodka, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice and cranberry juice) and the Harbor Sunset (with Bacardi Rock Coco, citrus vodka, melon liquor and pineapple juice), Poppy’s Crazy Lobster earned top outdoor bar for serving drinks inspired by the Emerald Coast. Destin. Best Outdoor Dining | Harry T’s The circus memorabilia on display at Harry T’s adds to the fun atmosphere at the restaurant, but the boathouse is a favorite place for feasting on fresh seafood, burgers and steaks while enjoying fantastic views and a coastal breeze as well. Destin. Best Pizza | Fat Clemenza’s Brick-Oven Pizzeria Once again, this quaint pizzeria wins Best Pizza for its pizza made with homemade dough and pizza sauce. Each pizza is hand-tossed and wood-fired to perfection. Miramar Beach and Fort Walton Beach. Best Romantic Restaurant | The Melting Pot Celebrate your love as you indulge with your significant other in the Melting Pot’s signature fondue cheese appetizers and entrées. Then top off your romantic rendezvous by dipping strawberries, cake or marshmallows in warm chocolate fondue and you’ll see why this casual do-it-yourself restaurant wins Best Romantic Restaurant again this year. Miramar Beach.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf™





Best French Restaurant


Best Sandwich Shop | Lenny’s Sub Shop At Lenny’s you really get it your way as you build your hot or cold deli sandwich or salad. The menu features fresh Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, garden toppings and Lenny’s signature pepper relish, as well as fresh baked bread. Destin, Mary Esther, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview. Best Seafood Market | Destin Ice Seafood Market & Deli Destin Ice Seafood Market & Deli offers the freshest selection of what the Gulf has to offer. Pick up some ready-to-eat or cook-at-home fish, Buckhead meats, decadent desserts and a bottle of wine. Destin. Best Seafood Restaurant | Dewey Destin Seafood Situated in an old beach house overlooking the romantic Destin Harbor, Dewey’s is a great place for family dining or a romantic date. At the original location, you can enjoy fresh seafood as you sit at rustic tables along a dock overlooking the bay. Taste more than 100 years of Destin history as you bite into a delicious grouper sandwich or dig into the famous smoked tuna dip. Destin. Best Service (Food and Beverage) | Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood The meals are exquisite. The atmosphere is elegant. The wine list is extensive. And the service is exceptional. At Seagar’s, guests enjoy



decorating nirvana • 850.654.1484 Located on Highway 98 at Holiday Road (midway between Destin Commons and Sandestin) Monday – Saturday 10 am – 6 pm Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm

Thanks for voting us “Best Antique Store” for 12 Consecutive Years! October–November 2011





Located at the Baytowne Marina in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort 850.650.2519


60 October–November 2011

BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 an intimate five-star dining experience that spoils it for other venues. Miramar Beach.

Best Sports Bar | Johnny O’Quigley’s Ale House There’s not a bad seat in the house at neighborhood-style Johnny O’Quigley’s. The 48-inch big screen televisions lining the walls offer some of the best sports viewing in town, along with plenty of good food, wine and beer. Touchdown! Destin. Best Steakhouse | Fleming’s Prime Steak House & Wine Bar Sandestin’s neighborhood steakhouse comes to life with a celebration of great food, wine and memorable times. Fleming’s serves the finest in USDA Prime beef — corn-fed, aged up to four weeks for flavor and texture, then hand-cut daily and broiled at 1600 degrees to seal in all the juices and flavor. Miramar Beach. Best Sushi | Harbor Docks Though Harbor Docks is a seafood restaurant, the eatery features a large sushi and sashimi selection made fresh daily by master sushi chefs. Inspired by Asian influences, Harbor Docks also serves fresh seafood served fried, sautéed or boiled. Destin. Best Thai | Royal Orchid Sink into silk pillows around a traditional sunken Thai table or dine American style at a table or booth as you feast on delicious dishes like crispy duck, pad-thai, moo-yang and all sorts of curries. The family-operated business offers exceptional service and a just-right touch of Asian ambiance. Miramar Beach. Best Wine List | Vin’tij Wine Boutique Its remarkable list of some of the finest wines from the most respected vineyards in the world made Vin’tij Wine Boutique the top choice of the Emerald Coast’s wine lovers. The vibrant restaurant, filled with local art, also serves lunch and dinner with impeccable wine pairings from its extensive collection. Miramar Beach.

SHOPPING Best Antique Store | Smith’s Antiques Mall & Interiors Market Receiving rave reviews since it opened its doors in 1993, Smith’s Antiques’ 25,000-square-foot showroom is full of antiques and interior wares from 90 different dealers located throughout the country, and continues to be an antique lover’s favorite spot. Miramar Beach. Best Bath and Body Shop | Bath & Body Works With scents like Sparkling Mojito and Passion Fruit Colada, Bath & Body Works’ shower gels, lotions and hair-care products make you feel like you’re on an island retreat. The Salty Caramel- and Apple Crumble-scented candles add a comfortable coziness to any room in the house. Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Best Beachwear Retailer | Sporty Lady of Destin A beach-lover’s dream, Sporty Lady of Destin offers expert sizing advice, as well as the perfect suit (or two or three) for all sizes and shapes among its 10,000 swimsuits in inventory, and has been winning customers over for more than 30 years. Destin. Best Children’s Clothing Store | Hugs and Hissyfits An eight-time Best of winner and brainchild of owner Lisa McKee, Hugs and Hissyfits offers the best in children’s boutique clothing by October–November 2011




THANKS for VOTING US BEST SANDWICH SHOP 2 YEARS IN A ROW! Beal Pkwy. FWB 863-2015 Elgin Pkwy. FWB 864-1004 Mary Esther 664-9000

62 October–November 2011

Bluewater 897-0282 Destin 269-1152 Crestview 689-0202

BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 designers that include Little Mass, Miss Me, Mimi and Maggie and Bailey Boys, among others. Hugs’ motto is “if we don’t love it, we don’t buy it.” Destin and Fort Walton Beach.

Best Consignment Shop | Ava’s Attic The second time’s a charm at Ava’s Attic. This adorable boutique features an extensive selection of designer fashions, beautiful furniture, home accessories, bedding and clothing and accessories for women and children at great prices. Miramar Beach.

Best Gift Shop | P.S. Gifts Need help finding the perfect gift for any occasion? The staff at P.S. Gifts helps customers find that special something that’s just right — and also offers free gift-wrapping — and will deliver your gift with a smile. Fort Walton Beach. Best Jewelry | McCaskill & Company Owners Bill and Elizabeth Campbell and their staff offer expert guidance, suggestions and advice as they strive to make each visit to McCaskill & Company a special occasion. Some of the world’s most exclusive jewelry and watch designers, including David Yurman, Tag Heuer and Paul Morelli, mean you get the best fine jewelry selection in the Emerald Coast. Miramar Beach.

-2 004 01


Best Furniture Store | Sandcastle Designs The experienced design staff at Sandcastle offers expert advice in the area’s largest furniture showroom, as well as custom window treatments, professional white glove delivery service and much more to satisfy all tastes. Miramar Beach.


Best Eyeglass Store | Pearle Vision For the optimal optical treatment, Pearle Vision offers eye exams, eyeglasses, prescription sunglasses, designer eyewear and contacts, all in the most fashionable and contemporary styles, in its office at the Shoppes at Paradise Key. Destin.



Best Locally Owned Retailer | Sporty Lady Women all over the Emerald Coast are sporting swimwear and sportswear from this family-owned retailer. The shop strives to give its customers a vast selection of styles in a wide variety of sizes in its 4,800-square-foot store in the Shoppes at Paradise Key. Destin. Best Men’s Clothing | Jos. A. Bank For the resort, golf course, business meeting or charity ball, Jos. A. Bank is the expert in men’s apparel, offering business dress, business casual, sportswear styles and formal wear. It’s voted tops by Destin-area men who care what they wear. Destin. Best Sporting Goods Store | Bass Pro Shops For the outdoors man, woman or child who loves fishing, hunting, camping and boating, the 50,000-square-foot sports center features an exhaustive selection of gear and gadgets to suit every outdoor lover. Destin. Best Toy Store | Learning Express For the best selection of unique, educational and age-appropriate toys, Learning Express offers it all. The self-proclaimed “neighborhood toy store” is a hub of activity, a meeting spot for kids and families and a one-stop destination for toys that help raise smart, healthy kids. Miramar Beach and Destin. October–November 2011


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66 October–November 2011

BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 Best Wedding Shop | Simply Elegant Bridal Celebrating every bride’s special day, Simply Elegant wins again for offering the largest selection of bridal and bridesmaid gowns. This wedding boutique also offers the best selection of tuxedoes for the groom and his groomsmen. Fort Walton Beach. Best Women’s Accessories | Private Gallery The friendly staff makes each guest feel as if they are in their own private gallery, hence the name. Serving a niche market with an eclectic mix of jewelry, handbags, shoes and clothing, the boutique features top names, as well as up and coming designers. Destin. Best Women’s Clothing | Today’s Boutique Celebrating 30 years in business and its 11th Best of win, Today’s offers exceptional service and a large selection of the latest trends in the Shoppes of Paradise Key. Check out the store’s website for the latest trend report, or just stop in for expert advice from the staff. Destin. Best Women’s Shoes | Sunset Shoes Inspired by the beautiful beaches and relaxed atmosphere of Northwest Florida, comfort and easygoing style are the hallmark of Sunset Shoes’ footwear collections. With four locations between Destin and Panama City Beach, Sunset Shoes has become the Euro-comfort headquarters on the Emerald Coast. Destin, Miramar Beach and Panama City Beach.

ENTERTAINMENT Best Art Gallery | The Zoo Gallery This favorite shop for locals and visitors alike offers an eclectic mix of arts and crafts, including framed art, pottery, jewelry, furniture, accessories and apparel. The casual gallery is always a winner in the Best Of competition. Destin, Miramar Beach and Grayton Beach. Best Golf Course | Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club Positioned among nature preserves along Chocawhatchee Bay, this par-72 course is a true escape into a golfer’s paradise. Designed by Robert C. Walker, Regatta Bay was selected as one of Golf Digest’s “Top Places to Play in North America.” Destin. Best Local Attraction | Florida’s Gulfarium The state’s oldest marine park dates back to 1955 and features live animal shows daily, the Living Sea and one-on-one interaction opportunities with the African Spur Tortoise and the Lesser Cockatoo. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy an even better dolphin show at the renovated 600,000-gallon tank, with a center stage and a floating dock system. Fort Walton Beach. Best Musicians/Vocalists | Heritage It all started in 2007 with three guys in a backyard playing a ukulele and a set of bongos just for fun. Rising from the back yards of Okaloosa County, Heritage broke into the pop/reggae scene in 2009 with their debut album, Natural High. Now the group is gaining ground throughout the U.S. Best Place To Be Seen | AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar Enjoy watching the view from Destin Harbor, and expect to get some attention yourself while dining on fresh char-grilled oysters on the deck. Or, stop in for a cocktail at happy hour. Whatever you do, expect to have a blast at this trendy hot spot. Destin. October–November 2011


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BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 Best Place To Go Dancing | John Wehner’s Village Door Owner John Wehner created this hot spot to offer the same eclectic and electric style as his other nightspot, the Famous Door on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street. The Village Door is Destin’s hottest live-music dance club. Linger at the lively bar, grab a table to watch the crowd or hit the dance floor to party the night away. Miramar Beach. Best Place To Take the Kids | Big Kahuna’s Thrills, chills and spills await you and your family at the destination for family fun. With more than 40 water attractions and an adventure park, Big Kahuna’s offers something fun for everyone. Featuring dozens of slides and the biggest manmade waterfall in the world, your family is sure to have a blast. Destin. Best Place To Watch a Sunset | HarborWalk Village Though there are plenty of gorgeous spots along the Emerald Coast, nothing beats HarborWalk Village at sunset. Overlooking Destin Harbor, it’s the perfect place to celebrate life in paradise. Destin. Best Radio Personality | Woofy, 99 Rock He’s been a fixture on Emerald Coast radio since the early ’90s. And Woofy’s listeners have seen him grow from a single man into a husband and father of two who works to make his community a better place for everyone, earning loyal fans year after year. Fort Walton Beach.

4 Seasons

Nail & Spa • • • • • • • • • • • • •



Best Nail Salon

Thank You for voting us Best of Emerald Coast two years in a row! Appointments and Walk-ins welcome. All implements sterilized. We believe in Quality.

850-654-4100 Mon.–Sat.: 9–6, Sun 12–5 4463 Commons Dr. W., Ste. 110 Destin, FL 32541

Best Resort | Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort The 2,400-acre resort featuring 30 charming village neighborhoods with stunning beach and bay property offers a complete resort experience for the entire family. With championship golf, a vibrant village, a full-service marina, water sports, tennis and recreation programs, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Miramar Beach.

SERVICE PROVIDERS Best Air Conditioning/Heating | Gulf Shore Air Conditioning & Heating Serving the Emerald Coast since 1995, Gulf Shore strives to exceed the highest standards for service and training. The company specializes in custom system design, ensuring you’ll be keeping cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Niceville.



Best Accounting Firm | Carr, Riggs & Ingram Among the nation’s most technologically advanced accounting firms, CRI provides its professional staff with continuous technical training. That dedication to technology translates into its clients partnering with the most current and informed accounting professionals, and earned the firm top honors among accounting firms. Destin, Niceville, Mary Esther and Crestview. Best Acupuncture Clinic | Tortoise Clinic Every patient at Tortoise Clinic receives not only their specific acupuncture but also dietary advice based on 3,500-year-old Chinese dietetics, as well as hot and cold therapy. The clinic also makes its own pain relief liniment based on a 600-year-old formula. Miramar Beach. October–November 2011



Thank You for Voting us the BEST MEDICAL PRACTICE on the Emerald Coast! ALSO VOTED FINEST WEIGHT LOSS CENTER New Location Servicing Destin

(850) 424-7320 155 Crystal Beach Drive #121 Destin, FL 32541

(850) 534-4170 45 Sugar Sand Lane, Suite A Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

(across from Bass Pro Shops, behind Resort Quest)


General Medicine • Hormones • Weight Loss • Holistic Medicine 70 October–November 2011


BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 Best Aesthetician | Tammy Binkley, Avantgarde Salon Spa Whether you want a thorough facial and body experience or an express facial on your lunch break, Avantgarde Salon Spa’s Tammy Binkley, licensed aesthetician and skin care specialist celebrating her 10th year at the salon, provides facials, chemical peels, Brazilian bikini wax, eyebrow shaping and eyelash tinting. Destin. Best Architect | Matthew Savoie, Savoie Architects Keeping the client as an integral part of the design team, Matthew Savoie and Savoie Architects pay particular attention to the client’s needs and desires, creating a solution that is personal in function and design while respecting the natural beauty of the site and environment. Santa Rosa Beach. Best Automobile Dealership | Sam Taylor Buick Cadillac One of the largest volume Buick and Cadillac dealers along the Gulf Coast, Sam Taylor Buick Cadillac is dedicated to its customers. It must be working. The staff’s attention to customer service has earned the dealership a return spot on our Best Of list for the fourth year in a row. Fort Walton Beach. Best Boat Sales and Service | Legendary Marine One of the top boat dealers in the country, Legendary Marine caters to the needs of the discriminating buyer and offers an array of services, from new and pre-owned boat sales to a parts and service department and boat service. The dealership’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction has made it a local favorite. Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Best Builder/Contractor | Dixon Kazek Construction Having won first place in the Parade of Homes seven times, as well as the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) Realtors Choice Award and the Building Industry Association Builder of the Year award, Dixon Kazek Construction proves that quality construction is the heart of the company’s philosophy. Miramar Beach. Best Car Service | Porsche of Destin All Pro service technicians go through detailed and demanding factory training at dedicated Porsche technical centers. The Porsche certified service team experts provide unrivaled expertise in all aspects of maintaining and servicing Porsche vehicles. Destin. Best Charter Boat/Watersports | Destin Vacation Boat Rentals Enjoy all that Destin has to offer, Destin Vacation Boat Rentals makes it happen. Providing fishing, pontoon or powerboat rentals (including fishing and snorkeling gear) and jet skis, they allow you to have fun in the sun and make the most out of life on the Emerald Coast. Destin. Best Chiropractic Practice | Payne Chiropractic Wellness Center Dr. Alan Payne and his team at Payne Chiropractic Wellness Center can help get your body back into proper alignment and strive to give people of all ages optimal health through natural chiropractic care. The state-of-the-art healing facility’s services include massage, clinical nutrition with the BioMeridian assessment tool and Aqua Chi hydro-therapy device. Destin. Best Cosmetic Surgery Practice | Destin Plastic Surgery Dr. William R. Burden and Dr. Scott Ennis are known for their experience and dedication to staying in the forefront of leading technology in plastic surgery. They are recognized for their endoscopic incision surgery of the face, breast and body. Destin Plastic Surgery and its


...on the ha

ing uneiqnuues Featurh nig tly m



Full Bar • Outdoor S ea

Lunch menu available 11AM-3PM


Open at 11AM • Closing hours vary by season 202 Harbor Blvd., Destin • 837-7525

ts bo • Sandwiches • Steamed Seafoo d • Fried Seafood Baske Gum

...overlooking Crab Island

Open 7 days a week • 11AM -‘Til 9 Calhoun Ave., Destin • 837-7575 BOATERS WELCOME! October–November 2011


72 October–November 2011


Thank You for Voting Us the Best Lighting Store Again!

of the Emerald Coast

2011 affiliated Anti-Aging Skincare Clinic also specialize in the most popular, non-surgical procedures, including Botox, fillers and medicalgrade skincare products. Destin.

Best Customer Service | Sam Taylor Buick-Cadillac Since 1974, carrying on the family tradition means ensuring that 100 percent of Sam Taylor customers are satisfied 100 percent of the time. The dealership’s total customer satisfaction approach is the guiding principal that distinguishes it from other dealers in the area. Fort Walton Beach. Best Dental Practice | The Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry Led by Dr. Dennis Lichorwic, who was just elected president of the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and Dr. Fred Tepedino, the Center offers family dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, as well as the Zoom Advanced Power laser teeth whitening system and Invisalign and Invisalign Teen invisible aligners, earning the practice its ninth Best of the Emerald Coast award. Destin and Panama City Beach. Best Dry Cleaner | French Laundry Having recently spent $100,000 on an environmentally friendly dry clean machine, French Laundry avoids harsh chemicals. They also clean wedding gowns, provide wash-dry-fold services, and even clean military and band uniforms at a discounted price. No wonder they were voted the best. Miramar Beach and Santa Rosa Beach.

Beautiful Lights



Lighting & Design Consultation | Residential & Commercial Lighting Lighting to meet any budget

Shops of Destiny

36236 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite C2 | Destin, FL | (850) 650-9417

Best Electrician | MetroPower With the best commercial electricians servicing Northwest Florida, MetroPower’s light is bright. The company’s focus is on safety while providing high-quality electrical and mechanical service and construction to its customers. Destin. Best Event Planner | Eventful Planner Tammy D’Agostino, the company’s head chef and designer, started her company in Los Angeles, Calif., and brought her bubbly personality, creative flair and passion for perfection to the Emerald Coast. Tammy and her creative team strive to put all the pieces together for a truly amazing event your guests will never forget. Destin.


Best Eye Doctor | Grace Zhang — White-Wilson Medical Center Specializing in ophthalmology, Dr. Grace Zhang performs eye surgery and medical care for adults and children. In addition to her expertise, Dr. Zhang gives individualized care and gets to know her patients for personalized service. Fort Walton Beach and Niceville. Best Flooring | Infinity Flooring Once again, Infinity Flooring proves it values its work and its customers. The flooring company offers quality hardwood flooring, tiles, vinyl and carpet products at reasonable prices while schedules are kept and customer concerns are promptly taken care of. Miramar Beach. Best Florist | GG Bloom Like an Old English garden filled with wonderful and unique aged pottery, beautiful flowers and home and garden accents, GG Bloom has a unique flair for creating amazing flower arrangements and gift baskets. And if you prefer silk flowers that fool anyone, GG Bloom designs arrangements that will stand the test of time. Destin. Best Gym/Health Club | Destin Health and Fitness Club The Emerald Coast’s first-ever upscale health and fitness center


Located at Marbella Yacht Club on the Destin Harbor


destin October–November 2011







74 October–November 2011

BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 offers the ultimate workout experience in its state-of-the-art facilities. With a wide range of classes, including the new TRX class — a body weight suspension class — as well as new equipment coming in constantly, no wonder it ranked No. 1 with our readers. Destin.

Best Hair Salon | Avantgarde Salon Spa With its AVEDA lifestyle salon, artistic ambiance and talented stylists, Avantgarde Salon Spa also features Best Aesthetician Tammy Binkley and Best Massage Therapist Neal Senn. Avantgarde Salon Spa is the place to go not only for the latest hairstyle but for a full day of rest and relaxation within the salon’s two locations at Emerald Coast Parkway and Destin Commons. Destin. Best Home Repair | Roessler’s Remodeling Professionals Your dream home is within reach with Roessler’s quality contractor services in certified stucco repair, full-scale remodeling and new home additions. Serving the Emerald Coast for more than 10 years, this award-winning local company is committed to customer service and it shows. Destin. Best Interior Designer | Ashley Harkins, Design Avenue Ashley Harkins, a design specialist with Design Avenue, pulls from her 13 years of professional experience to provide great customer service and great design. Her friendly personality and eye for design earns her praise from loyal customers. Destin.

BOW WOW MEOW PET COMPANY caters to the dog and cat aficionados. We provide a selection of healthy and organic food as well as pet gear for both dogs and cats. In addition to our product line, we have two private self-washing rooms for your loving dog.




Best Interior Design Firm | Design Avenue A full-service interior design center, Design Avenue is also a unique destination for fun gifts. Led by Best Interior Designer Ashley Harkins, Design Avenue provides help with every stage of the design process. Destin. Best Landscaping/Lawn Service | Barefoot Lawn Care & Landscape Barefoot has serviced the 30A area and Destin since 1997, providing professional irrigation services, sodding, seeding and mulching, and even fountains and water features. Trying to sell your home? Barefoot can improve your home’s curb appeal and value. Santa Rosa Beach. Best Law Firm | Matthews, Jones & Hawkins LLP By recently expanding services to Niceville and DeFuniak Springs, and with the addition of Michael Jones to the firm formerly known as Matthews & Hawkins, MJ&H proves client service is key. More than a traditional provider of legal services, the firm strives to find innovative and practical solutions to client problems. Destin, Niceville and DeFuniak Springs. Best Lighting Store | Beautiful Lights Fitting every need, every whim and every budget, Beautiful Lights has provided impeccable service, from selection (or a custom design) to installation, for four years. The shop works with residential and commercial clients to customize perfectly beautiful lighting for all. Destin. Best Limo Service | 654 LIMO Since 2003, 654 Limo has been the premier luxury ground transportation on the Emerald Coast. Arrive in style in one of Florida’s premier limousine rental vehicles. Or enjoy a luxurious chauffeured ride in a stretch Hummer, Navigator or Escalade and see why the company is tops in limo service. Destin. October–November 2011




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BEST of the Emerald Coast

2011 Best Massage Therapist | Neal Senn, Avantgarde Salon Spa Once again, Neal Senn proves he has the magic touch. The four-time Best of the Emerald Coast winner offers a variety of massages including Swedish, stone, deep tissue, elemental nature, pregnancy and couples massage. And he’s the only massage therapist in the area to offer scar tissue removal for patients recovering from surgery. We feel better already. Destin. Best Medical Provider | Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast This state-of-the-art medical center continues to accomplish its mission to improve the health of the community with a wide range of medical and surgical services, including intensive care, general and orthopedic surgery, cardiology, cancer care, comprehensive radiology and laboratory services, rehabilitation, 24-hour emergency care, women’s health and maternity care. Miramar Beach. Best Medical Practice | Dr. Bawa & Associates Bio-identical hormones and weight loss are Dr. Nitin Bawa’s passion, keeping him busy with patients who feel better and have lost weight with his help. He uses medications, hormone adjustments and lasers to help with weight loss and is constantly researching which options have scientific merit. Santa Rosa Beach. Best Nail Salon | 4 Seasons Nail & Spa Nail down a date soon for some “me” time at Destin’s favorite place to be pampered — 4 Seasons Nail & Spa. A staff of four certified technicians will spoil you with your choice of pedicures, manicures, artificial nails, eyebrow waxing, eyelash tinting and more. Located next to Marshall’s, 4 Seasons is ready to spoil you year-round. Destin. Best Pet Care | Bow Wow Meow Pet Company Newly opened this year, Bow Wow Meow offers a healthy selection of foods for dogs and cats. When owners John and Natalie Scanlan’s dog, Buddy, experienced digestive problems, they found natural and organic dog and cat food made in the United States and made it available at their shop. A bonus: the self-wash rooms allow pet owners to rinse sand-covered paws. Paws up on that. Seagrove Beach. Best Photographer | Pure 7 Studios Take one look at their photos and you immediately see how the photography team at Pure 7 Studios captures the humanity and emotion of their subjects. The images capture the wonderful moments in life with a passion only true artists can attain. Destin. Best Pool Building/Service Company | Cox Pools A family-owned business that has been serving Northwest Florida for more than 50 years, Cox Pools provides personal pool-design assistance, as well as a full line of pool maintenance accessories. The Pool Wish List on the company’s website lets you design your pool online, what fun! Destin. Best Rug Retailer | Rug Décor More rugs, more help, more service — that’s what the friendly and knowledgeable design staff offer as they assist in selecting just the right rug from the industry’s best names in traditional, modern and contemporary area and accent rugs, all shipped at no cost to you. Destin. Best Spa Services | Serenity by the sea Spa Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Serenity wins again for its full-service spa, salon and fitness center located at Hilton Sandestin October–November 2011


Thank you for voting us the


BEST Italian Restaurant, Pizza Chef on the Emerald Coast.





(850) 259-8924 56 Talon Ct.

Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Nicky Capobianco

78 October–November 2011

BEST of the Emerald Coast


Fall for Today’s

Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Treat your mind, body and soul in total comfort and have your wellness needs met in a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere. Miramar Beach.

Best Surgery Center | Destin Surgery Center Destin Surgery Center is known for offering a high-quality, service-oriented environment for your surgical procedure. Its stateof the art equipment allows surgeons to perform procedures in the specialty areas of: general surgery, gastroenterology, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedic, pain management, plastic surgery and podiatry. This state-of-the-art facility is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care; licensed by the state of Florida and Medicare certified. Destin. Best Vacation Rental Service Firm | ResortQuest With superior accommodations, unmatched customer service and exceptional value, ResortQuest earns top ratings from customers. The firm has the largest selection of condos and vacation homes to fit your lifestyle and budget. Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Best Veterinarian | Airport Veterinary Clinic Consistently rated a five-star clinic, the practice’s veterinarians, Dr. Kelly Haeusler, Dr. Victoria Lyon and Dr. Misha Ratcliff, offer kind and attentive care to the furry members of the family, as well as excellent customer service, making this full-service clinic a top-ranked service provider among locals. Destin.


Best Wedding Planner | Shelby Peaden Events She studied interior design and fine arts, but Shelby Peaden loves designing events and, in particular, weddings. With attention to the smallest details and a personal oneon-one approach, Shelby Peaden Events helps brides and grooms create a magical memory of their special day. Destin. Best Wedding/Reception Venue | Solaris, SunQuest Cruises What’s better than saying “I do” on a cruise at sunset? Sunquest Cruises offers the Solaris, an elegant yacht, as well as a full-service bridal consulting team specializing in romantic weddings on the water. Dine, dance and cruise as you celebrate love on the Emerald Coast. We do! Miramar Beach. ec


850.837.5565 Located Across From The Destin Commons, Next to Publix October–November 2011



HOSPITALITY HEROES Above and Beyond Service Award Program Recognizes Stellar Service


ou might know your way around Emily Post’s dos and don’ts, but hospitality professionals are not mild mannered when it comes to providing exceptional service. Their gold standard is simple: exceed expectations … every time. And there is a lot at stake when it comes to pleasing others in Florida. Tourism helps the Sunshine State outshine many others. In 2010, 82.3 million visitors came to Florida and spent $62.7 billion dollars. Northwest Florida is an integral part of this thriving service industry. Nearly 25 percent of the Walton County labor force works in the hospitality eld. Thousands of servers, concierge, tour guides, bellmen, reservationists and many others roll out the red carpet to 2.8 million visitors who ock to the area annually. But this year, three people went above and beyond what is expected of them to demonstrate exemplary customer service. What do an eco-tour guide and a pair of property managers have in common? A lot, according to their nomination forms. These guest service gurus are: friendly, efcient, reliable, knowledgeable, easy-going and welcoming. Nominators said these particular qualities are why the daily diligence of these particular service professionals should not go unnoticed. The Above & Beyond awards program, now in its fourth year, recognizes individuals who work hard to keep millions of visitors coming back by providing exceptional customer service. A panel of judges, comprised of local professionals and South Walton Tourist Development staff, had the daunting



80 October–November 2011


task of selecting the winners. Nominations were accepted from May through July and were judged on their attitude, ability to create an exceptional visitor experience, encouragement of repeat visitation and compelling third-party endorsements from colleagues and visitors. This year Ken and Lorraine Sloan, owners of Getaway Assist, earned the Above & Beyond lodging award, while Murray Balkcom, owner of Walco Eco Tours, is the winner for the non-lodging category.

of southern hospitality. “Our lodging partners, shops and restaurants, and local attractions are all committed to providing an outstanding guest experience. I believe that commitment to excellence is as denitive as our sugarsand beaches in the minds and hearts of our visitors, and the primary reason they return to our destination time and again. We are delighted to recognize the best of the best with the 2011 Above & Beyond Award.”

The winners get a chance to play tourist and enjoy services and experiences provided by local businesses including: Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, Cantina Laredo Gourmet Mexican Food, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Fusion Spa Salon AVEDA, YOLO, Fish Out of Water at WaterColor Inn & Resort, Serenity by the Sea Spa at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa and Silver Sands Factory Stores. Located along a 26-mile stretch of Northwest Florida’s coast, South Walton encompasses a strand of 15 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its own charm and style. South Walton is renowned for natural scenic beauty, turquoise waters and sugar-sand beaches, yet South Walton TDC visitor tracking studies show it is the “excellent” level of Southern hospitality visitors receive that keep 82 percent of them coming back to this destination year after year. When it comes to serving up a great experience, TDC Executive Director Dawn Moliterno says the organization is fortunate that local businesses understand and embrace the importance of South Walton’s unique brand





KEN & LORRAINE SLOAN Owners of Getaway Assist, a vacation rental service company Length of Service: 11 years Nominators: Gordon and Jane Ashdown, Sara Johnson, Gillian Lee, Jane and Mike Whittle Excerpts from the Nominations: “People recognize Ken and Lorraine’s openness and generosity, and




2011 Above and Beyond Partners

Each of these winners will receive a customized package to reward them for their exemplary service. Thanks to the following partners who made these gifts possible: trust them to take care of things. They are honest and reliable and have a welcoming attitude.”

Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard

“Ken and Lorraine offer friendly, efcient service.” “They are honest and reliable people, and people sense their commitment to providing an excellent service.”

Cantina Laredo Gourmet Mexican Food

“They have lived in the area for many years and are committed to the community.”

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

“We are always impressed with how many times Lorraine’s name is mentioned in our Guest Book as someone who genuinely made a difference during a guest’s visit to the area by going above and beyond.”

Fusion Spa Salon AVEDA “Murray’s warm personality is engaging and welcoming, and everyone young and old truly seems to enjoy being around him and learning from his wealth of knowledge about our area.”

“One of the reasons we came back to 30A for a number of years was because of the wonderful experiences we had renting from Ken and Lorraine.”

“His guests get to have a truly eye-opening and educational experience.”


“When they wrap their heads around how very unique and special our dune lake ecosystem truly is, they have an even stronger buy-in to our area.”

MURRAY BALKCOM Owner of Walco Eco Tours, featuring guided hands-on eco tour experiences Length of Service: 5 years Nominator: Morgan Lemly

“Our kayak eco-tour was the highlight of our South Walton vacation.”

Excerpts from the Nomination:

Emerald Coast Magazine is proud to support Vist South Walton’s 2011 Above & Beyond Awards.

“Murray’s tours denitely create the ‘wow’ factor for visitors. I participated in one of his eco-tours and was constantly nding myself amazed at the history and information he shared with us.”






YOLO Fish Out of Water at WaterColor Inn & Resort Serenity by the Sea Spa at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Silver Sands Factory Stores


1 - 8 0 0 - 8 2 2 - 6 8 7

October–November 2011 81



18 Hibachi Tables Sushi Bar • Private Dining Sushi Take Out Authentic Japanese Cuisine 850.351.1006 Located in the Village of Baytowne Wharf ™ 82 October–November 2011


850.650.4688 or 850.650.4689 34745 Emerald Coast Parkway / Destin

the good life FOOD + TRAVEL + HEA LTH + HOME


A Cool Cure

Cryrotherapy is a hot new cold treatment Imagine standing in a machine that lowers your skin temperature to near freezing. Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, it’s not. It’s cryotherapy. If the word sounds foreign, it is. According to Wikipedia, cryotherapy comes from the Greek term cryo, meaning cold, and therapy, meaning cure. Now, this “cold cure” is available in our area. “It looks a little like a space cabin, but it’s designed for cold therapy,” said Barbara Ochal, co-owner of Igloo Cryosauna in Miramar Beach. “It helps your body improve [your] immune system, muscle pain, joint pain. It picks up your energy. It helps with stress and releases stress.” It’s even been featured by Dr. Oz, whose daily onehour television show focuses on medical issues and personal health. The technology was brought to the U.S. in 2008 by Millennium ICE. It’s designed to burn calories, boost endorphins and speed healing and has been used by athletes and average Joes alike. It’s likened to an ice bath but with one big difference. “We use dry gas. Your body is not wet, you feel cool, not cold,” said Igloo co-owner Aga Guzik. So hop in and give it a try. You may warm up to the idea of cooling down for your health. — Angela Howard

*happiness is ...

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011



ronda Williams with decorating design in Panama City will transform your home into a sparkling winter wonderland. 84 Octoberâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;November 2011





ever mind those Scrooges who satirize holiday light displays as symptoms of suburban oneupmanship. The rest of us love this once-a-year license to go all out following our whims, be they for palm trees wrapped with strings of light, wired reindeer, Christmas trees with fiber-optic needles or garlands and wreaths blinking in the night. Some of us keep it simple, others go for exuberance, but either way the light shows are festive symbols of the holiday spirit. “Even if money is tight, people are eager to celebrate,” confirms Dorothy Creamer, editor of Selling Christmas Decorations, a trade magazine that tracks holiday products and trends. “They want some fun. Therefore those vibrant seasonal displays.” Katie Powell, owner of Beautiful Lights in Destin, loves holiday lighting so much that she organizes an annual cavalcade of cars to cruise the best-lit neighborhoods in the area. “A few weeks before Christmas, we pile into a bunch of SUVs, appoint a designated driver, open some bubbly and go light-gawking,” she tells. So what about those trends in holiday lighting? “Lately, it’s all about motion,” Creamer says. “Falling snowfall lights, also called ‘chasing lights,’ were hot sellers last year and are expected to be so again this year. Lights that dance to music are also big sellers. Colored bulbs are making a comeback, although white mini lights are still enormously popular. That’s because white lights transcend religious connotations and also suit wintry themes.” Along the Emerald Coast, aqua lights are favorites, according to Mary Romair, owner

of GG Bloom florist in Destin. “They’re perfect for our area, and when you combine them with bling they become even better,” she says. “Copper goes especially well with aqua.” Creamer mentions another trend: The holidays are no longer just for those celebrating Christmas. “It has become much more common for Jewish homes to have both Menorahs and Christmas trees,” she tells. “You can now buy Hanukkah tree toppers and there are strings with lit-up dreidel tops. In fact, manufacturers now offer something for every spirituality.”

lEd lights are a beautiful and affordable lighting trend.

LEDs Light The Way Bob Craig of The Lighting Company, Freeport, calls LED (or light emitting diodes) technology the most important new factor in holiday lighting. “LEDs are remarkable,” he says. “They use about 10 percent of the energy of an incandescent bulb, their colors are brilliant and they’re nearly indestructible. They’re also cool to the touch, so you don’t burn your fingers handling them. So I can see them taking over for the incandescents, even though they cost twice as much.” Creamer says this is already happening. LED holiday lights are catching on in homes everywhere. With the White House and Rockefeller Center lighting the way with their iconic Christmas trees, retailers expect last year’s brisk sales to skyrocket this season. Home Depot, for example, posted a triple-digit increase in LED holiday light sales in 2010, and Christmas Lights Etc., an online retailer, announced a 200 percent increase over the previous year.

Decorating Help Santa is not the only one who needs helpers. Some people are just too busy to proclaim Christmas inside and out, or they don’t like climbing around on roofs and ladders. That’s where landscapers, florists, interior designers and concierge services come in handy. Romair, for example, has clients who count on her help every Christmas. “Some want us to do everything, indoors and out,” she tells. “Others just want us to do the Christmas tree. But it doesn’t end there. Holiday decorating isn’t just about the month of December. We take down the decorations after the holidays, store whatever has to be stored, and make lists of what’s broken and has to be replaced. “Then I go to the huge holiday market in January and stock up on whatever items will make my clients’ next Christmas brighter. At some point, way before the holidays, I meet with those clients to discuss what they

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011



want to add or subtract. For example, they might have redecorated their house during the year, so we may have to come up with a different color scheme for the holiday finery. Or they might decide that this year they want to do more garlands or light up more of the shrubbery. And for new clients we go to their house to make sure they get holiday decorations that’ll complement their rooms and yards.”

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‘Tis the Season … All Year To Bob Craig, whose company is behind some of the most spectacular municipal, commercial and residential light shows along the Emerald Coast, holiday decorating is absolutely a full-time endeavor. “Designing, installing, dismantling, storing and renewing the light shows plus keeping up with what’s new and exciting in the field does occupy every month of the year,” he tells. “We meet with most clients in the spring and certainly no later than June-July to review their plans for the holiday season. That’s how long it takes to get ready for the December shows. Some of them require a lot of planning. Last year, for example, we did a spectacular for The Village of Bay Towne Wharf. We set up three shows a night three nights a week. The lights were animated in tune with a musical program. It was a great success, but also a lot of work.” Hiring holiday decorators can cost a pretty penny. For example, area florists might charge more than $2,000 for a tall artificial tree decorated with ornaments and lights, but they point out that you’ll have a gorgeous focus for your holiday celebrations,

the tree won’t set your house on fire and you can use it again next year. However, Katie Powell likes to see homeowners putting their imagination to work and do at least some of the decorating themselves. “Even if it’s just the chandelier over the dinner table that you tackle, it’ll get you into a festive mood,” she says. “If it’s a candlelight chandelier, think of tying a ribbon around each candle, or let ribbons hang from its arms. Or wind a garland around its arms. Or put in some colored bulbs.” ec



Holiday Lighting Safety Tips Use lights that bear an Underwriters’ Laboratories tag. Lights rated for only indoor use carry green labels. Those carrying red labels are rated for both indoor and outdoor use. When unpacking last year’s lights, check for cracks in sockets and wiring before plugging in. Don’t use any string where the wiring is exposed through the insulation. If you plug one string into another, check string tags for information about the maximum number of allowable connections. If in doubt, don’t connect more than three strings of small lights with push-in bulbs or 50 or more of the larger, screw-in bulbs. If you use extension cords, avoid overheating and fire hazards by choosing higher wattage ratings than those of the light strings. Outdoors, use extension cords rated for exterior use.



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mind + body



n honor of the th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) we introduce you to a private woman who found hope by being open with others, a strong woman who gained even more power through knowledge and a grateful woman who admitted she lives more deliberately, perhaps because she was diagnosed with a disease that will strike one in every eight women. Meet Billie Chappell, a four-year cancer survivor from Fort Walton Beach, sharing her cancer journey for the first time.

My story starts in the summer of 2007. I was 52 and had detected a lump about the size of a lima bean from a self-exam, and was promptly in denial for three or four months. Maybe because I found a lump before, but it was from drinking too much caffeine, so I thought it would go away. It didn’t. I volunteered to collect door prizes for a leadership symposium at the Northwest Florida State College. So I went to Angel Williamson Imaging Center for a

88 October–November 2011


door prize. Ironically, they ended up doing my biopsy, which showed it was malignant. My husband was there when we heard the news. Because of the size of the lump, my breast cancer was determined to be “stage II.” There are four stages.

Know the Symptoms

It is important to get any breast changes checked promptly by a doctor. according to the american Cancer society, any of the following changes in the breast can be a symptom of breast cancer: swelling skin irritation or dimpling Breast or nipple pain redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin nipple discharge (other than breast milk) a lump in the underarm area

Photo by Scott Holstein

All of us know we’re going to die, we just don’t know when. When you have cancer you realize it could happen now. I was what is called a “triple negative receptor,” which means they don’t know what triggered my cancer. So they wanted to give me the strongest and worst chemicals for chemotherapy. You could say they did an atomic bomb attack versus little piles of dynamite. I am the first person in my family to have breast cancer, and I was healthy. Other than a multi-vitamin, I had never taken any medication. Cancer can happen to any of us. When you’re told you have cancer your world stops, and you realize you’re going to die. You think, “Oh my God, it’s happening to me. Everything I’ve read about that happens to other people is going to be a part of my life, and I’m going to die.” The doctor who gave us the results of the biopsy said, “You know, breast cancer is not a death sentence. It is curable, there is treatment, so don’t look at it that way.” Well, that’s easy for a doctor to say, isn’t it? Everyone has a path to take. You can go to the left and be negative or go to the right and be positive. My upbringing raised me to be optimistic, so I tried to take that path through this process. The day I got my results, I had a commitment to attend a fundraising gathering, which was at a woman’s house on the patio. After getting the news, I thought about not going, but something inside me said, “You need to go.” I was very emotional, so I didn’t go back to work, but my boss was at the event and expected me, so I went. I’m a pretty private person, so I wasn’t going to tell anyone. You think you can handle it on your own. I am a strong woman who has never really asked anyone for any help, but as soon as I walked into the room of 60 women, I saw a dear friend. So, I just walked up to her and said, “I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer and you are the first person to know.” After I said those words it was a release. I felt a sense of sisterhood. I felt she could relate to the fear, anxiety and all of the emotions I was feeling at that time. Once I got it out, I thought, “I can hold on to this.” But then I sat with my boss and told her, “I’ve got the news, it’s not good, I’m going to get a glass of wine and have a seat.” I was with a group of amazing women. And, fortunately for me, one of them who had gone through cancer gave me immediate hope when she said, “You can get through

this.” I didn’t even know this woman, but I connected with her. When you express it, it becomes more and more real. You realize cancer is in other people’s lives as well. Being a private person, I struggled with what to do, but ultimately, the decision to share my news was a positive one, because it opened communication with women and support groups that really helped me. I could not have made it through everything on my own. I was diagnosed Oct. 23, 2007. I had a lumpectomy Nov. 23. My chemotherapy treatments began in January of 2008 and continued to the end of May. Then in June, I started daily radiation treatments five days a week. I continue to help with my services with American Cancer Society in Making Strides with Breast Cancer, because when my hair fell out and I was as bald as a cue ball, I was able to go to a “look-good, feel-good” service provided by the American Cancer Society, where you are able to become beautiful again. That service made such an impression on me I decided I wanted to give back. You start this journey and become very open to the fact that you can die at any point, and your life becomes very finite. You realize your attitude; your trust in God, and in fellow women, men and family is what guides you and continues to give you strength. There is strength in numbers in anything. And it’s the same with cancer. There is also power in knowledge. I always carried a notebook to record my thoughts and make notes. The more information I had, the less scared and fearful I felt. I continued to work fulltime, help my 90-year-old father, and be a wife and mother. The maintenance of a “normal” work schedule and lifestyle was very stabilizing. It gave me purpose. We women are so strong. We just don’t know it until we’re challenged. You are the same person you always were, but you take every day more seriously. You have more appreciation for everything, and you try to pack in more life than you ever did before. You simply live your life every day. ec

Did you know?

breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women behind lung cancer right now there are about .5 million breast cancer survivors in the United states Sources: American Cancer Society and

Is It Worth the Risk? A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of developing breast cancer. Many are beyond our control, while others, if reduced or eliminated, may mitigate our level of risk. We know there are risk factors you can control, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, using oral contraception and reducing stress. But research indicates there are emerging risks to be aware of: Low Vitamin D Levels — Women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of breast cancer. Light Exposure at Night — Women who work at night — factory workers, doctors, nurses and police officers, for example — have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who work during the day. Exposure to Chemicals in Cosmetics — Some of the chemicals in cosmetics may contribute to the development of cancer. Exposure to Chemicals in Food — Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used on crops and livestock may cause an increase in breast cancer risk. Exposure to Chemicals for Lawns and Gardens — Certain exposure levels to some of the chemicals in lawn and garden products may cause cancer. Exposure to Chemicals in Plastic — Some of the chemicals in plastic products, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may cause cancer in people. Exposure to Chemicals in Sunscreen — Certain exposure levels to some of the chemicals in some sunscreen products may cause cancer in people. Exposure to Chemicals When Food Is Grilled/Prepared — Women who ate a lot of grilled, barbecued and smoked meats and very few fruits and vegetables had a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who didn’t.

EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011



Now Taking Applications The “sOCIaL” eXPerTs aPTLy WeIgh IN ON aPPs



ith “app” aptly named Word of the Year for 2010 by the American Dialect Society, it should be no surprise that smart phone apps (short for applications) have made their way to the social media scene of the Emerald Coast. We said they were smart. Apps originated from the Apple App Store, which enables users to download applications to an Apple device such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Mac via the iTunes Store. Depending on the application, they are available either for free or at a cost ranging from 99 cents on up. Now Apple’s competitors offer similar services on non-Apple devices as well. In January 2011 the 10 billionth app was downloaded at the Apple App Store. With more options arriving on the social media scene each day, you may not know a good app from a black hole in the cyber space wall. (Although chances are there is an app that will help you to figure it out.) We were curious what locals were “app” to, so out of the 500 million active social media users, we narrowed our search to those we felt were the true “social” experts on our local landscape — public relations professionals — and polled several members of the Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association to find out what apps they love and why.

I like to keep up with international news, so I love the associated Press app. you preselect the type of news you want to get and before it goes mainstream, you get headline news on your phone. I also love Trapster, it warns you about upcoming speed traps. and it has been very accurate I must say. FRANK BERTE', Owner, Destin Interactive I came across this really cool shopping app called Pose. you can snap shots of yourself wearing potential purchases and share them with a group of predetermined friends for fast feedback before saying yay or nay. surely, a woman developed this. KATIE JOHNSON, Public Relations Manager,

Silver Sands Factory Stores

I love Pandora for listening to music. It allows you to customize your own radio station and learns your preferences. My husband and I play it over our patio speakers when we are entertaining outside, I plug it into the home stereo system when I am cleaning and listen from my phone when I 90 October–November 2011

get ready in the morning or go for a walk. It’s amazing. There is also a dieting app that I love called Lose It! It counts your calories, tracks weight loss and factors in exercise. ANDI MAHONEY, Marketing/Communications, White-Wilson Medical Center

Destin shines is a fabulous platform for local events, restaurants, shopping, nightlife and more. It keeps locals and tourists on top of everything that’s going on in Destin with just the click of a button. JESSICA PROFFITT, Owner, Proffitt PR I like the Qr code reader (barcode scanner on my T-Mobile android) and TipNsplit tip calculator. I’m really having fun with the barcode scanner. you never know what information might be embedded in the new Qr codes (mostly the company or organization’s website). Of course, I couldn’t do without the android Facebook and Twitter apps for my cell phone. Those are staples for me for personal and business use. LORI SMITH, Communications Manager, Florida’s Great Northwest ec


of The ToP  free aPPs, These are our ToP five PiCks: LIFESTYLE Groupon Now – allows small business owners to offer consumers deals for specific times and locations. PRODUCTIVITY Digits Calculator – Transforms your iPhone or iPad screen into an easyto-use calculator. REFERENCE Google Translate – Translate words and phrases between more than 50 languages. BUSINESS Dragon – Dictate voice messages, which you can email, text or paste to your clipboard. NAVIGATION YP – The yellow Pages for iPhone

of The ToP  PaiD aPPs, These are our ToP five PiCks: EDUCATION Star Walk – astronomy guide showing stars, satellites and tracking santa Claus. $. BUSINESS Business Card Reader – reads business cards and invites contacts to Linked In. $. HEALTH Nike+ GPS – Map runs, track progress and get motivated with cheers from fans. $. FINANCE Debt Free – helps you organize, monitor and pay off debt. . MEDICAL Pillboxie – Prompts you to take your medication. . Source:

the Hilton sandestin Beach golf resort & spa is the  recipient of Hilton’s “Best social media Engagement” brand award in the americas region. the award recognized the hotel’s strategic and creative use of social media to engage with existing and potential guests, industry peers and partners, media and other such stakeholders. the social media program at the Hilton sandestin is led by communications manager Valeria lento. We spoke with lento to put apps in perspective within the ever changing social media world. eC: what role do you see apps playing in the social media space? vl: applications facilitate the distribution of information via centralized channels, which becomes particularly useful when that information may be difficult to obtain otherwise — for example, while traveling, during a meeting, not having access to a computer. apps facilitate the sharing of greetings, photos, posts, pokes, tags, geographic location. The options are endless — exciting and frightening, all at once. eC: Does the hilton hotel promote any particular apps to its guests? vl: hilton hotels & resorts offers a free app that allows users to book over 50 worldwide hilton locations. The app includes full website integration, providing users with all the benefits of being online — right on their phone. Other benefits include: eCheck-in, hhonors account access, access to hotel specials, gPs services and mobile map integration, and requests Upon arrival. eC: what kind of apps are you working on at the hilton sandestin? vl: This year, we began to include Qr codes on our popular social media cards. These codes — which are readable by Qr barcode reader apps via camera phones — link users directly to our website, creating instant contact with the brand and access to its proprietary social media links, which include Facebook, Twitter, youTube and our new blog. eC: as an award-winning social media team leader, which apps do you recommend? vl: a few of the apps that particularly stand out in the hospitality/travel sector include: hilton hotels & resorts, southwest airlines, google, The Weather Channel and World Lens — point your camera at a sign in another language, and the app will translate it in context! eC: Do you use any “local” apps in particular? vl: I really like the 0a app for its ease of use, relevance and aesthetic appeal. I use it to find local event listings and to see what’s going on, because it provides some great up-to-date snapshots. EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


flavor rigHt: Here's to the kings and queens of beer at Pensacola Bay Brewery. (at right) rogers Conolly and sean Papillion (below) Founders Elliott Eckland and mark robertson (behind the bar) with bar mates lauren Peeler, Christina sherry and Clint Horton. Bottom: lauren Peeler serves one of nine brews on tap.



erhaps it’s just been a matter of time, but in recent years Americans who love beer have proven that they are finally “catching up” with wine enthusiasts when it comes to truly appreciating just how much goes into the process of making and enjoying a favorite adult beverage. Surely by now you’ve been introduced to “craft beer” in some form. And you know there are brands with regional identities: Sweetwater in Atlanta and Terrapin in nearby Athens, Ga. Or maybe Rogue from Oregon, or Lagunitas from California. According to a national organization known as the Brewery Association, an American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Until recently, finding a locally brewed craft beer has been confined to McGuire’s Irish Pub in either Pensacola or Destin. But that has begun to change. Just in time for Oktoberfest, we offer you just a taste of what’s on tap along the Emerald Coast.

Pensacola Bay Brewery

Two years ago locals Elliott Eckland and Mark Robertson opened Pensacola Bay Brewery off Seville Square near 92 October–November 2011

downtown Pensacola. Eckland said he has been home brewing beer for 12 years, and Robertson has been a home brewer for about 16 years. But going into business was something else again. “We took a rundown building that had been vacant for eight years or longer,” Eckland said, “and within the first four months we outgrew it. We’ve got 3,200 square feet, and we’re crammed in like a shoebox.” Eight tanks were producing about 1,800 gallons of beer every two weeks at that point, but three more were being added, which would mean another 2,700 gallons. Pensacola Bay Brewery is not a restaurant or a pub, but you can get chips and a cheese platter if you visit the tasting room. As of last summer, it was producing nine varieties of brew. Among them: Conquistador, a seasonal dopplebock; DeLuna, an extra pale ale; Lighthouse porter; and Riptide amber. Kegs are being sold through local distributors from Pensacola to Tallahassee, and the goal is to sell in an 180-mile radius. Meanwhile, you can visit and tour the brewery seven days a week. “We get a lot of tourists because we’re in the historic district,” Robertson said.



We took a rundown building that had been vacant for eight years or longer ... and within the first four months we outgrew it. We’ve got 3,200 square feet, and we’re crammed in like a shoebox." — Elliott Eckland

PhOTOs by hOWarD rObINsON


“We see Germans, English, Canadians and Chinese. In the average week we see about 1,000 people. And the locals are elated, and they’re very, very supportive.”

Grayton Beer

Jamey Price radiates energy and personality. A software salesman by trade; he’s someone who’s comfortable with numbers and details. By his own account, he spent 12 years “figuring out how to own a business.” Now, he’s pouring his passion for business into his love for beer, and the result is his Grayton Beer Company. Price and his wife, Candace, have been living in Rosemary Beach for the past five years. They have one young son and another child on the way. In order to break into microbrewing, Price said he conducted about two years of research, which October–November 2011


Grayton Beer's Indian Pale Ale (IPA) and Pale Ale (left) are now on tap along the Emerald Coast. Jamey Price (right) plans to open a brewery with a tap room in South Walton County.

“In the ’80s and ’90s we saw a huge explosion of craft beer,” said the elder Billy Eberhart, who goes by the title Sir William instead of Billy Sr. “And it has taken its time circulating the country. But really the South has been wholly underdeveloped.” If they fulfill their master plan, 30A Brewing Company will be a freestanding brewery with a tasting room. Once again, the natural attraction of the area has drawn people who were not born here and inspired them to create something they believe is unique. “We just want people to know that this is a locally grown project,” Boyle said. “We want to add one more special element to an already amazing place.”

— Jamey Price showed him that while the market is upscale and discriminating, no one had “capped” a recipe for a upscale local brew — until now. “The local food and beverage folks have welcomed us with open arms and told us what they’ve been doing since day one,” he said. “It didn’t take real long to realize that if I had to choose an industry, this was the one.” Price’s product is Grayton Beer, which made its debut last summer selling two styles of craft beer, Pale Ale and India Pale Ale, which are being produced under contract by a third-party brewer. It is being distributed in bottles from Pensacola to Apalachicola. But by the end of this year, he plans to have his own brewery and tap room up and running in South Walton County. “We want to start with 15,000 square feet under roof and the ability to produce 5,000 barrels a year,” Price said. One barrel contains 31 gallons of beer. 94 October–November 2011

“Our brewery would contain a tap room, sort of an ultimate man’s room, so we can just make it comfortable for people to come and taste the product and meet the people who make it,” Price added. “And you either grow horizontally or vertically, so we would like to have the ability to grow to 50,000 square feet.” Price said he has no doubts about a local brand succeeding on the Emerald Coast. “We get asked all the time what the local beer is here,” he said, “and we believe this will be a natural bridge from a sleepy fishing village to the sophistication people are looking for when they go on vacation.”

30A Brewing Company

30A Brewing Company is a venture between Kevin Boyle, a father and son both named Billy Eberhart, and a brewmaster named Hank Standridge. As of late July they had raised more than $1 million worth of investment and were trying to decide on one of three light industrial sites in south Walton County. Beer and the love of making it is what brought this partnership together. “I would say that for all of us as a company, we’re all just guys who live at the beach who want to brew great beer,” Boyle summarized. “We just want to add one more special element to an already amazing place.” 30A Brewing plans to serve up five staples and one seasonal brew. Among them would be Hank’s Blonde, a summer seasonal, and a signature flavor called 30APA, an American Pale Ale.

Props Craft Brewery

Air Force pilots Nathan Vannatter and Michael Kee fly C-130s out of Hurlburt Field, and in late July they signed a deal to bring Props Craft Brewery to the Shoppes at Paradise Pointe, located on the Fort Walton Beach side of the Brooks Bridge on Highway 98. (At press time, they had targeted late 2011 for their opening.) Vannatter and Kee plan to brew craft beer on the premises at Props, which involves about 2,500 square feet of space and about 90 seats. As for the craft beers themselves, barkeep Vannatter says he hopes to start with four “flagship” brews and two seasonals. Their brown ale would be named “Broken Prop,” and the India Pale Ale would be “Flying Coffin.” Names for an American Pale Ale and a seasonal brew are still “fermenting.” As Air Force pilots, Vannatter and Kee are familiar with challenges, and they’re excited about this choice of mission. “We’ve been making beer for our friends for years,” Vannatter said. “We know that this is a niche that we can fill ... and with a little bit of professional help, it’s something we can make a run at.” And even with their military background, “fun loving” is how Vannatter describes his business partner and himself. “We’ve never really grown out of the college mentality of enjoying ourselves, but we do take commitment seriously. Above all, we’re professionals at what we do,” he said. ec

Photos by Shelly Swanger

The local food and beverage folks have welcomed us with open arms and told us what they’ve been doing since day one ... It didn’t take real long to realize that if I had to choose an industry, this was the one. " Octoberâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;November 2011



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The restaurants that appear in this guide are included as a service to readers and not as recommendations of the EC Magazine editorial department, except where noted.

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B l D

best of the emerald Coast 2011 Winner breakfast Lunch Dinner Outdoor Dining Live Music

$ Inexpensive $$ Moderately expensive $$$ expensive

alys beach GeorGe’s aT alys BeaCh american. seafood, burgers and sandwiches at the perfect beachy-casual spot. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. 30 Castle Harbour Dr., 850-641-0017. $$ l D

blue Mountain beach BasmaTi’s asian. asian/asian-inspired meat, seafood, poultry and vegetarian dishes. Open Mon–sat 4 p.m. for sushi, 5 p.m. for dinner. 3295 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3028. $$$ D GreCian GarDens resTauranT mediterranean. Traditional greek cuisine served in an open-air atmosphere perfect for special occasions or parties. Open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 3375 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3011. $$ l D

Destin aeGean resTauranT greek. sip an ouzo at the beautiful stone bar before savoring the flavors of the Mediterranean at this authentic greek restaurant. breakfast 8–11 a.m. Lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Dinner 4–9 p.m. 11225 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-460-2728. $$ B l D aJ’s seafooD & oysTer Bar ★ seafood. Choose from fresh local seafood, sandwiches, pasta, chicken or specialty dishes like the oysters eugene or rockefeller. Open daily 11 a.m. 116 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-1913. $$ l D anoTher Broken eGG Café ★ Breakfast. breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open daily 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Mondays. (Open Memorial and Labor days.) 979 E. Hwy. 98, Suite F, 850-650-0499. $ B Bonefish Grill ★ seafood. Daily seafood specials cooked on an oakburning wood grill. bang-bang shrimp is a crowdpleasing appetizer. Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m. Fri–sat 4–11:30 p.m. Daily happy hour 4–7 p.m. 4447 E. Commons Dr., 850-650-3161. $$ D CaBana Café american. This eatery, boasting specialty coffee and ice cream, was voted best New business in 2008. Open daily 11 a.m.–2 a.m. 112 Seascape Blvd., 850-424-3574. $B l D Callahan’s resTauranT & Deli ★ american. Voted best Locally Owned restaurant of 2008, Callahan’s serves up great sandwiches, seafood specials and prime rib. Mon–sat 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 791 Harbor Blvd., 850-837-6328. $ l D CaPT. Dave’s on The Gulf seafood. enjoy delicious fresh seafood dishes. Open daily 4:30 p.m. 3796 Hwy. 98, 850-837-2627. $ D CarraBBa’s iTalian Grill italian. Carrabba’s blends warm Italian hospitality with family recipes handed down for four generations. Mon– Thu 4–10 p.m. Fri–sat 4–11 p.m. sun 11:30a.m.–9 p.m. 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-837-1140. $$ l D

96 October–November 2011


Ciao Bella Pizza Da Guglielmo Italian. Authentic Italian pizza, pasta, salads and more. Open daily 11 a.m. 29 E. Hwy. 98, Silver Sands, 850-654-3040. $$ l D The Crab Trap Seafood. Offering fresh seafood, steaks, salads and soups beachside. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.– 10 p.m. 3500 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-2722. $$ l D Dave’s Dogs American. When only a hot dog will do, Dave’s serves it up right, grilling the bun on each side. Open Mon–Thu 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Destin Commons, 850-240-3353. $ l D Dewey Destin’s HarborSide ★ Seafood. One of Destin’s most popular restaurants serves up charm and award-winning seafood in a quaint house overlooking the scenic Destin harbor. Open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m. 202 Harbor Blvd., 850-837-7525. $$ l D Dewey Destin Seafood Restaurant & Market Seafood. True local charm in an outdoor setting and some of the freshest seafood around. Open 11 a.m.– 8 p.m. 9 Calhoun Ave., 850-837-7575. $$$ B l D Donut Hole Bakery Cafe American. Head to the Donut Hole for an out-of-thisworld breakfast or savory lunch — don’t forget the cinnamon raisin bread. Open 24 hours. 635 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-8824. $ B l Emerald Grande Resort Grande Vista bar and grill Seafood. Fresh seafood, steak, pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Full bar. Open daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Located in HarborWalk Village. 10 Harbor Blvd., next to the Marler Bridge, 850-337-8100. $$$ B l D Fishbar American. Wide array of seafood, steak and chicken dishes. Daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday Brunch 10:30 a.m.– 2 p.m. 414 Harbor Blvd., 850-424-5566. $$ l D Fudpucker’s American. Burgers and sandwiches, and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-654-4200. $$ D Graffiti Italian. Traditional Italian favorites and house specialties like seafood pizza. Sun–Thu 5–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 5–10 p.m. 707 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-2764. $$ D


Harbor Docks ★ American. This surf-and-turf restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open daily 5 a.m.–11 p.m. 538 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-2506. $$ B l D Hard Rock Café American. Rock ’n’ roll, great drinks and mouthwatering menu. Open daily 11 a.m. 4260 Legendary Dr., Destin Commons, 850-654-3310. $

l D

HARRY T’S ★ Seafood. Lounge on the beautiful patio and watch the passing boats as you enjoy an endless variety of delicious dishes. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 46 Harbor Blvd., 850-654-4800. $$ B l D Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q ★ Barbecue. Southern smokehouse barbecue. Beer and wine. Open daily 11 a.m. 14073 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-351-1991. $ l D Johnny O’Quigley’s ★ American. Award-winning steak, seafood and barbecue in one of Destin’s favorite sports bars. Mon– Thu 11 a.m.–midnight. Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Double Happy Hour Mon–Fri 3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–close. 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-837-1015. $ l D Louisiana Lagniappe ★ Cajun and Seafood. View the Old Pass Lagoon while dining on steaks and a wide variety of fresh seafood. Open daily 5–10 p.m. 775 Gulf Shores Dr., 850-837-0881. $$ D Lucky Snapper Seafood. Family-style, open-air overlooks Destin Harbor. Open daily 11 a.m. 76 E. Hwy. 98, Destin, 850-654-0900. $$ l D Marina Café American. Gourmet pizzas, Creole and American October–November 2011


dining cuisine. Open daily 5–10 p.m. 404 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-7960. $$ D mCGuire’s irish PuB ★ irish american. Drinks, steaks, burgers and fries and Irish fare. Open daily 11 a.m. 33 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-0567. $$ l D

noT JusT BaGels ★ american. bagels, breads, pastries, salads, soups and sandwiches. Mon–Fri 6 a.m.–3 p.m. sat–sun 7 a.m.– 3 p.m. 4447 E. Commons Dr., Suite 112, 850-650-0465. $B l osaka Japanese. Known for its sushi, but serves a variety of dishes including chicken, steak and seafood. Lunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner 5–10:30 p.m. 34845 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-650-4688 or 850-650-4689. $$ l D Panera BreaD ★ american. Fresh-baked breads and pastries, sandwiches and salads. Destin Commons and sandestin. Mon–Thu 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–sat 7 a.m.–10 p.m. sun 7 a.m.–8 p.m. 850-837-2486. $$ B l D PePiTo’s ★ mexican. Voted best Mexican on the emerald Coast, locals love Pepito’s for its authentic Mexican cuisine and mouthwatering margaritas. happy hour specials all day Mondays, including small rocks margaritas and all beer and well drinks for $1.99. Open daily 11 a.m.– 10 p.m. 757 E. Hwy. 98, 850-650-7734. $$ l D PoPPy’s Crazy loBsTer ★ seafood. relax with us on the beautiful Destin harbor and enjoy the best seafood in town. Toast the setting sun with a Crazy Lobster Cooler or any number of fun cocktails. Open daily at 11 a.m. HarborWalk Village, Destin. (850) 424-6744 l D reGaTTa Bay Golf anD CounTry CluB ★ american. Located inside regatta bay golf & Country

98 October–November 2011

Club. Open to the public 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Variety of salads and sandwiches. Full bar. specializing in on- and off-site catering including weddings, receptions and special events. 465 Regatta Bay Blvd., 850-337-8888. $ B l D ruTh’s Chris sTeak house steak and seafood. New Orleans-inspired appetizers, desserts and award-winning wines. Mon–sat 5:30–10 p.m. sun 5:30–9 p.m. silver shells resort. 1500 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-337-5108. $$$ D sarah k’s GourmeT ★ gourmet take-out. Chef-crafted, ready-to-heat cuisine. Jumbo lump crab cakes and fresh chicken salad are the house specialties. Open at 11 a.m. 34940 Hwy. 98, 850-269-0044. $ l D The sheD BarBeQue & Blues JoinT Barbecue. award-winning Pecan wood-smoked barbecue in a no fuss, casual atmosphere overlooking the Destin harbor. Open sun-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-sat 11am-11pm. 100 Harbor Blvd., 850-460-2271. $$ l D zoËs kiTChen american. healthy sandwiches and salads. Mon–sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m. sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Destin Commons, 850-650-6525. $ l D

Fort Walton beach

Bay Café French. Traditional French bistro café with seating overlooking the water. Lunch daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner Mon–sat, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. 233 Alconese Ave. SE. 850-244-3550 $$ l D BenJaronG Thai Cuisine & BBQ thai and Barbecue. barbecue, chicken, ribs, steak and spicy Thai food. Lunch and dinner Mon–sat 11 a.m.– 9 p.m. 251 Mary Esther Blvd., 850-362-0290. $$ l D BiG CiTy ameriCan BisTro ★ american. This little gem has big charm, a vibrant vibe and amazing food, not to mention great service. big City is open for lunch and dinner and serves an award-winning brunch on sundays. Lunch Tues–sat 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner


Tues–sat 5 p.m.–close. brunch sun 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 171 SE Brooks St., 850-664-0664. $$ B l D The BlaCk Pearl steak and seafood. Dig into some coconut shrimp and a juicy steak while enjoying a lovely view of the gulf. Located in The boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. Open daily 4 p.m. 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-833-3016. $$ D Buffalo’s reef famous winGs ★ american. This restaurant is famous for hot wings and cold beer. ask about the daily specials. Tue–sat open at 10:30 a.m., sun open at noon. 116 Eglin Pkwy. (850) 243-9463 $ l D faT Clemenza’s ★ italian. Feel like part of the family as you enjoy homemade classical Italian cuisine. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner Mon–Wed 5–9:30 p.m., Thu–sat 5–10 p.m. 99 Eglin Pkwy. (850) 243-0707 l D fuDPuCker’s american. burgers, sandwiches and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). Open daily 11 a.m. 108 Santa Rosa Blvd., Okaloosa Island, 850-243-3800. $$ l D maGnolia Grill steak, seafood and italian. steak, seafood, pasta, soups, salads and desserts. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.– 2 p.m. Dinner Mon–sat, open at 5 p.m. Closed sun. 157 SE Brooks St., 850-302-0266. $$ l D olD Bay sTeamer seafood. Fresh, steamed and grilled seafood served in a lively atmosphere. Dinner served daily from 4 p.m. No reservations. 102 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-664-2795. $$$ D PanDora’s steak and seafood. early evening specials weekdays 5–6 p.m. happy hour weekdays 5–7 p.m. Weekdays 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 1226 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-244-8669. $$$ D Pranzo iTalian risToranTe italian. The Montalto family has been serving classic and contemporary Italian cuisine in Fort Walton beach

(850) 424.6215

on the menu 2011




all is here and these tasty temptations we sampled recently will definitely warm you.

Breakfast have a hankering for your ma’s cookin’? Okay, we never called our mother “ma” either, but we’d call her whatever she wanted us to if she served the DONUT HOLE’S FLORIDA TOMATO. This dish is centered around a simple ripe garden tomato diced and mixed in chicken gravy then served over homemade buttermilk biscuits. yes ma’am, that’s good. $5.50 Lunch Don’t let THE SLIPPERY MERMAID

slip your mind as a delicious dining option. Located one-half mile east of the Navarre bridge in an adorable Florida Cracker Cottage, this sweet sushi bar is not to be missed. Come for the view of the santa rosa sound and stay for a CHEF ROLL, a unique creation by the chef there that day, using the freshest ingredients as well as his/ or her imagination. The result is an amazing roll priced between $0 and $ depending on the number of seafood items introduced in the roll. We actually love it for lunch.


Dinner soup’s definitely “on” at LA PAZ


RESTAURANT & CANTINA in Destin. We were looking for something light with a kick and this is it. The TORTILLA SOUP’S spicy broth is filled with chiles, tomatoes, onion, chicken, avocado and fresh lime. The soup is served with crisp tortilla strips. Olé! $5.99

Dessert We met a european couple that had just visited Navarre, asked them what they liked most and they said, the CHEESE PILLOW at SAILOR’S GRILL. We were so intrigued we had to give it a try. and you know what? They were right. The light, flaky pastry is filled with sweet cream cheese. If you could bite into a cloud, we’re pretty sure this is what it would taste like. heavenly. $2.75 EmEraldCoastmagazinE.Com October–November 2011


dining for nearly 30 years. Dinner Mon–sat, 5 p.m. 1222 Santa Rosa Blvd. 850-244-9955$ D sealanD steak and seafood. serving american cuisine as well as Thai offerings in a homey atmosphere. Lunch sun 11 a.m. until. Dinner Tues–sat from 4:30 p.m. 47 SE Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-244-0044. $$$ B D sTaff’s steak, seafood and Pasta. In operation for more than 100 years, staff’s is the oldest family-operated Florida restaurant and a local favorite serving homemade american cuisine in a casual, rustic atmosphere. Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m. 24 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-243-3482. $$ D

grayton beach anoTher Broken eGG Café ★ Breakfast. breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Mondays. (Open Memorial and Labor days.) 51 Grayton Uptown Cir., 850-231-7835. $ B fire american. With New Orleans natives in the kitchen, it’s no surprise that this casual fine-dining restaurant is hot. Lunch Thu–Fri 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner Mon–Thu 6–9 p.m., Fri–sat 6–10 p.m. brunch sun 11 a.m. 55 Clayton Ln., 850-231-9020. $$ l D PanDora’s steak and seafood. Warm, traditional steakhouse with early evening specials. Weekdays 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 63 DeFuniak St., 850-231-4102. $$ D PiColo’s resTauranT seafood. Dine on delicious fresh seafood while listening to live music. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. 70 Hotz Ave., 850-231-1008. $$ l D

reD Bar ★ american. a favorite among locals, visitors and celebrities and a must-visit when in grayton beach. Kick back on the funky furniture and listen to live music while enjoying great food and cocktails — especially the award-winning bloody Mary. breakfast 7–10:30 a.m. Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner 5–10 p.m. bar open 11 a.m.– 11 p.m., Fri–sat 11 a.m.–midnight. Cash or check only, no credit cards. 70 Hotz Ave., 850-231-1008. $$ B l D TraTToria BoraGo italian. enjoy a balsamic-laced pork tenderloin or panseared grouper from the open kitchen. Open 6 p.m. daily. 80 E. Hwy. 30A, Grayton Beach, 850-231-9167. $$ D

Miramar beach anoTher Broken eGG Café – on The Bay ★ Breakfast. breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open daily from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-622-2050. $ B Beef ‘o’ BraDy’s family sPorTs PuB american. Wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers. 24 TVs, plus a kids’ game room. Open Mon–sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. sun noon–10 p.m. happy hour Mon–Fri 3–7 p.m. 9375 E. Hwy. 98 (The Market Shops at Sandestin), 850-837-9710. $$$ B l D BisTro BiJoux ★ steak and seafood. Coastal cuisine with a New Orleans flair. Fresh seafood daily. Featuring our signature dish — “black skillet” filet mignon topped with a tempura-fried lobster tail. Open daily 5–10 p.m. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-622-0760. $$$ D CanTina lareDo ★ mexican. boasting a contemporary décor and fiery flavor, the new addition to grand boulevard offers gourmet twists on Mexican favorites. save room for dessert, and check out the sunday brunch. sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 585 Grand Blvd., 850-654-5649 $$ B l D


100 October–November 2011


CarraBBa’s iTalian Grill italian. Flavorful dishes, including calamari, chicken Marsala, fresh fish, seafood and grilled steaks. Open sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m. Fri–sat 4–11:30 p.m. 10562 W. Hwy. 98, 850-837-1140. $$ D faJiTas Grill mexican. The freshest ingredients and best-tasting Mexican food in Northwest Florida. Try one of our many flavored margaritas. Open sun–Thu 11 a.m.– 9:30 p.m. Fri–sat 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. 12889 Hwy. 98., 850-269-7788. $ l D faT Clemenza’s ★ italian. Feel like part of the family as you enjoy homemade classical Italian cuisine. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner Mon–Wed 5–9:30 p.m., Thu–sat 5–10 p.m. Holiday Plaza/Hwy. 98, 850-650-5980. $$ l


finz BeaChsiDe Grille american. Wide range of seafood and american dishes. Catering available. Open seasonally. Call for hours. Beachside at Sandestin, 850-267-4800. $$ l


fleminG’s Prime sTeakhouse & wine Bar ★ steak and more. This award-winning restaurant offers prime steaks, chops, chicken, seafood, fresh salads and a variety of unique sides and desserts served in a comfortable but elegant atmosphere. Featuring 100 wines by the glass. Open Mon–Thu 5–10 p.m. Fri–sat 5–11 p.m. sun 4–9 p.m. 600 Grand Blvd., 850-269-0830. $$ D Johnny roCkeTs american. enjoy a smooth milkshake with your burger and fries as you jam to the tunes on the jukebox. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m. sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 625 Grand Blvd., Suite 107, 850-650-3100. $ l D lillie’s on PiGs alley Barbecue. For lip-smacking good barbecue, try Lillie’s sandwiches, ribs, beef or chicken. The restaurant won the barbecue World Championship in Memphis in 2007. Open Tue–sat 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 9848 W. Hwy. 98, 850-654-3911. $ l D

Lin’s Asian Cuisine Asian. Chef Qun Lin whips up steaming portions of your favorite Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes. Open Mon–Thu 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 10:30 a.m.– 9:30 p.m. Sun noon–9 p.m. 130 Scenic Gulf Dr., Suite 5B, 850-424-5888. $ l D Marlin Grill Steak and Seafood. Fresh seafood, steaks, salads and appetizers served inside or outside. Open nightly at 5 p.m. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-351-1990. $$$ l D The Melting Pot Fondue. Dip into something different and enjoy an interactive, hands-on, four-course dining experience with a cheese fondue, salad, entrée and chocolate fondue dessert. Open Sun–Thu 5–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m. 11394 Hwy. 98., 850-269-2227. $$$ D Mitchell’s Fish Market ★ Seafood. Chef-driven dishes such as Cedar Roasted Atlantic Salmon or Hoisin-Glazed Yellow Fin Tuna. Lunch Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner Mon–Thu 4–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 4–11 p.m. Sun 3–9 p.m. Grand Boulevard Sandestin, 850-650-2484. $$ l D P.F. Chang’s China Bistro ★ Asian. Sample crunchy lettuce wraps or Chinese favorites like Kung Pao Chicken in a chic atmosphere. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 10640 Grand Blvd., 850-269-1806. $$ l D Poppy’s Seafood Factory Seafood. Enjoy fresh seafood, steak and poultry dishes with a view of the bay. Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-351-1996. $$$ l D Royal Orchid ★ Thai. Escape to Thailand at this authentic Thai restaurant. Sink into a traditional sunken table surrounded by pillows or dine American style at a table or booth. Thu–Tue 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Closed Wed. 11275 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-650-2555. $$ l D Rum Runners American. Caribbean/coastal/Mediterranean menu with sandwiches, seafood, steaks, chicken and pasta. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-267-8117. $$ l D Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood ★ Steak and Seafood. Premium steak, fresh seafood and caviar. Open 6 p.m. daily. Hilton Sandestin. 4000 S. Sandestin Blvd., 850-622-1500. $$$ D Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar ★ Caribbean. Get a taste of the islands with jerk spices, fresh fish and the best desserts on the coast, as voted by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight. 525 Grand Blvd., 850-654-1743. $$ l D Vin’Tij Wine Boutique & Bistro ★ American. Traditional favorites and unique house dishes. Open daily 11 a.m.–midnight. 10859 W. Emerald Coast Pkwy., Suite 103, 850-650-9820. $ l D

Niceville Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pub American. Wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers. Open Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun noon–10 p.m. Happy hour Mon–Fri 3–7 p.m. 4540 E. Hwy. 20, 850-897-3964. $ l D Giuseppi’s Wharf Seafood. Proudly serving steaks, pasta and sushi. Newly remodeled. Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 821 Bayshore Dr., 850-678-4229. $$ l D Trade Winds Italian. Fish, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels combined in a marinara or white wine sauce with pasta; thin-crust pizzas. Open Tue–Sat 5 p.m. 205 Government St., 850-678-8299. $$ D

Santa Rosa Beach

98 Bar-B-Que Barbecue. Four generations have perfected Southern barbecue served with your favorite sides. Lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon–Sat. 5008 W. Hwy. 98. 850-622-0679 $ l D

Basmati’s Asian Cuisine & Sushi Asian. Asian dishes and full sushi bar. Open 4 p.m. daily. 3295 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3028. $$ D Café Tango American. Seafood, poultry and pasta served with specialty sauces. Homemade desserts. Open Tue–Sun 5–10 p.m. 14 Vicki St., 850-267-0054. $$$ D Fish Out of Water Restaurant Continental. Southern coastal cuisine with an Asian flair: tuna, crab cakes, shrimp and scallops. 5:30–10 p.m. daily. Located in the WaterColor Inn, 850-534-5050. $$$ D Louis Louis American. The only thing that isn’t over the top at Louis Louis is the menu pricing. The Moulin Rougeinspired interior décor is outrageously wonderful. Dine outside or in. The menu has six tasty items, from crab cakes, panned chicken, blackened fish and a few pastas. Mon–Sun 5–10 p.m. 35 Mussett Bayou Rd., 850-267-1500. $ D Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club American. Seafood, beef, poultry, lamb, veal, pastas, soups and bisques. Open Tues–Fri 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Wed–Sat 5–9 p.m. 4801 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-2305. $$ l D

Seaside & Seagrove Beach Angelina’s Pizza & Pasta Italian. Authentic homemade pizza pie and Italian dishes in a casual atmosphere. Lunch and dinner daily: 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. 4005 E. Hwy. 30A. 850-231-2500 $lD Bud & Alley’s Restaurant American. Serving fresh seafood, steak and vegetarian options. Open 11:30 a.m. Mon–Fri. Roof bar open 11:30 p.m.–2 a.m. in summer. 2236 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-5900. $$$ l D Café Thirty-A Seafood. Seafood, lamb, duck, filet mignon and pizza. Open daily 5 p.m. 3899 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-2166. $$ D Crush American. Crush features an extensive wine menu, sushi and small plates. Open daily for lunch and dinner, noon–10 p.m. 25 Central Sq., 850-468-0703. $$ l D Gravel Road American. Cozy bistro serving chicken, fish, beef and pasta. Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon–Sat. Dinner served at 5 p.m. 4935 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-534-0930. $$ l D Great SOuthern Café Southern. Jim Shirley serves up Southern comfort food with a twist. Open daily for breakfast 8–11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m., dinner 4–11:30 p.m. 83 Central Sq., 850-231-7327. $$ B l D La Botana Tapas. Small plates of  Latin-inspired cuisine served in a casual but elegant atmosphere. Wine bar. Lunch and dinner Mon–Fri 4–11 p.m., Sat–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 4281 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-0716. $$ l D La Cocina Mexican Grill & Bar Mexican. Traditional Tex-Mex with a coastal twist. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Bar open until 10 p.m. 10343 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-4021. $$ l D Old Florida Fish House and Bar Seafood. Rustic seafood restaurant featuring a new take on old seafood favorites. Full bar. Dinner daily 5 p.m. 5235 Hwy. 30A. 850-534-3045 $$ D Seagrill American. Seafood, steak, and sushi. Happy hour 5–7 p.m. & 9 p.m.–close. Tues–Sun 5–10 p.m. 10343 E. Hwy 30A, 850-231-4050. $$ D Seagrove Village Market Café Steak and Seafood. Enjoy surf-and-turf and a glass of wine, then shop for gifts and souvenirs in the adjacent gift shop. Open 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. daily. 3004 S. County Rd. 395, 850-231-5736. $$ l D ec

rench The T

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A Dry Cleaner and More 2011


Come Smell the Difference! We use Eco-Friendly Green Products

Same Day Service! Free Pickup and Delivery

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Grand Blvd.

8:00 AM-5:30 PM Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-1:00 PM Saturday 850.269.0006

393 @ Shannon Ln. 7:00 AM-5:30 PM Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-1:00 PM Saturday 850.622.0432

email: October–November 2011


the last word



In 1961, Frenchman Pierre Lemoigne modified a round parachute to allow it to ascend when pulled behind a car. This activity was called “parascending.” It was developed to train novice parachutists by towing a modified parachute to a suitable height and then releasing it. In 1962, parascending took another turn when an individual wearing a modified parachute was towed behind a boat and then soared off into the wild blue yonder. The participant was strapped into a body harness and given instructions to run along the beach while a towboat lifted him aloft.

How to Parasail

A preflight inspection of all the necessary gear ensures flight readiness. Takeoff should be into the wind. When all is ready, the parasailor hooks into the parasail. The boat then idles out until the towline is completely extended. The flight crew holds up the canopy of the chute on both sides. The signal is then given to hit the accelerator. The parasailor resists the forward aerodynamic pull in a tug-of-war to keep the line taut. After one to three steps, liftoff occurs. Parasailors ascend from a small platform located at the stern of the boat. Once in the air, flyers get comfortable in the harness by sitting down in it. Altitude is controlled by boat speed.

102 October–November 2011


My First Flight

On a delightfully warm summer day, I found myself airborne by design, having been launched into the void behind an outboard with a 200 horsepower engine in the name of fun and an adrenaline rush. I had a swatch of silk flying over me, connected by a tangle of paper-thin lines, while unruly breezes buffeted my body. My first flight was alternately horrifying and inspiring. I hadn’t been in charge, my boat driver told me afterwards. The winds had been in charge of me. No kidding. I could have told him that when the first thermal flung me skyward, and I realized then I was where humans, anatomically speaking, shouldn’t be. In a short 60 seconds, I learned that parasailing, just like downhill skiing, demands full concentration. Also like downhill skiing, the ride seems too short only after it’s over. By then, the fear has faded enough that you’re eager to go back up. One concept crucial to parasailing is remembering that speed is safety. Parasails are meant to fly, not float. Stalling destroys the delicate relationship that exists between the air and the shape of the wing that allows flight. But in August of 2010, being at the mercy of the winds was something new to me, so unnerving that at first I fought their bullying influence. But that was missing the point. A great parasailing flight means achieving a state of grace, not by fighting wind conditions, but by working with them. When I finally stopped resisting, I learned that the winds were not such bullies after all, and that the air was actually calmer than I had thought. The zen of parasailing. In the beginning, mankind could fly no better than rocks. People endured this seemingly unalterable feature for eons, even as they dreamed of sprouting wings and taking off. But along came the 20th century, and now a relatively simple arrangement of cloth and cable — plus a dash of daring — allows most anyone to soar high over water. Those who have tried parasailing endorse the activity as the best high around. ec

ILLUsTraTION by MarC L. ThOMas


t begins in my dreams. I race along the beach, flap my arms and before I know it, I’m aloft, high over water, feeling euphoric. Then I wake up. Only now, I’m closer to making my dream become a reality — because I’ve taken up parasailing. Although parasails launched from land have been around for more than 30 years, with the swing in the boat market toward multiple sporting activities, increasing numbers of people are out to have fun high over water. If you’ve never parasailed, the freedom of flight awaits you.

VOL. 12 NO. 5






coast OF THE



OCT-NOV 2011

A product of Rowland Publishing, Inc.



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TRUE BLUE ANGEL Finding adventure and team spirit in the sky


Four new microbreweries tap the Emerald Coast

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Capturing the essence of Florida’s thriving Emerald Coast with award-winning writing, bold layouts and stunning photography, Emerald Coast M...