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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Waterfront-ish Dining at Miller's

A vacation near the beach somehow indicates that at least one meal will be eaten "waterside."  Though the term could be further defined as either bayside or oceanside, but in this case I can appreciate the broader, "waterside."

We'd been past a row of restaurants which seemed to fit the bill and so I made a crude list using, yes - pen and paper then when we were back at our vacation house I dragged out the ever-faithful laptop and looked up menus.  The next generation would likely Google search on the fly with their smart phones or use the mobile app, "Urbanspoon" which I myself do contribute to and utilize but for some reason I went with the method I described.

The list narrowed by price (too expensive) and menus with limited non-seafood items (I'd felt enough guilt about my mom eating chicken tenders) and so the choices were down to three.  Although I hate to admit, I also judged the restaurants by their website layout/design and names.  Yes, I know I shouldn't base my culinary choices on an owners inability to approve or create a decent web presence, but in all fairness, wouldn't you?  

If I were a restaurant owner, I would want every detail about the business from the name and decor to menu offerings to be inviting and welcoming to potential patrons.  I would want it to scream with clear personality.  I would insist the website and Facebook page be current, updated, etc.  And so, yes, I do rule out the boring, old, and tired because I do assume the dishes will be as well.  Whew.  I said it and I feel better for admitting it.

The ironic part is, my first choice on the list, well, we passed it in the car and so I said the next one would be fine and that is the real back-story to how we ended up at Miller's.

A line of waiting beach folks stretched a mile ahead of us and included at least two crying little girls. My mind raced, "Should we leave?"

I spoke with the hostess and said we were a group of 6 and she felt the wait would be minimal and smiled when I asked if I had to sit next to Little Miss Sunshine?  I also wanted to sit by a window. It seemed my Genie could only grant 2 wishes that night.  We were seated within minutes, not near the lovely lil miss meltdown, but were quite a distance from "waterside."  I put on my brave big girl face and took what I could get.

A crisp cool Cosmopolitan smooths everything over.  I barely notice the lack of lime wedge.

Hush puppies.  These are I have to admit the sweetest and crispest outer edge version we have had to date.  They can almost be compared to a donut hole or munchkin.

Another lesson learned when dining out with more than 2 opinions, it can be a challenge to please everyone, every time.  I opt for a simple lobster roll with fries and honestly, it was a good choice for the restaurant.  It was not overly dressed, it was flavorful and I chose to eat the filling with a fork rather than as a traditional sandwich which allowed me to cast the roll to the side though it was toasty and I'm sure tasted just fine.

Crab seemed to be on the mind of my men.  For younger son, the crab legs.  He thoroughly enjoyed the flavor and the cavemanish behavior attached to his food.  He broke apart each limb with patience and rejected his father's offer of help in pulling the meat from the shell.  This was his experience and he would not be denied, coddled or interfered with during his meal.

The Mr. has few food fantasies, but I can assure you one might involve him being able to have soft- shelled crab anytime he has the urge.  His eyes light up as he orders 3 (yes, the regular order is two but just $4 more he can have a third) and I smile at his sincere excitement with both the choice and the bargain.

Our older son opts for a surf and turf choice of steak with soft-shelled crab.  If Dad loves it that much, he must reason it is something he should try.

I am able to taste the crab legs as well as soft-shell and though I was initially upset the entire experience wasn't PERFECT (what is), the meal turned out well.  When we are done I ask the waiter if we can walk out on the pier at the rear of the restaurant and he responds with the most serious face, "No, we just want you to get the hell out," then smiles.  Ah, he won us over with sarcasm.  We walk out to the gazebo at the end of the pier and listen to the singer/guitarist perform for a few minutes, take some touristy pictures and head out.  Another child is crying and one lost a beloved sippy cup into the water.  I remember how hard it is to travel with young children as a take the only photo of my sons on the trip then I have one taken with just me and my mommy.

The evening provided more than a meal as many gatherings with food are about more than nourishment.  We are three generations, traveling together, with and without levels of understanding about technology, but together we are always Fed Well.

Miller's Waterfront Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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