Before leaving Florida, we took a couple of day trips to visit the communities along 30A. 30A is a scenic state road that parallels Highway 98 in South Walton between Destin and Panama City. For more of our time spent in the Florida panhandle, check out my previous posts: Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, and Destin.
Our first stop was in Seaside. About 30 miles east of Fort Walton Beach (about an hour drive with traffic), Seaside is a small planned town founded in 1981. It is best known as the filming location for The Truman Show. I still have not seen the movie, but probably need to now to see if I am able to recognize any of the sites. Definitely take time to notice the styling of each of the buildings. The houses in the community are required to be unique from one another.
Finding a parking spot in the towns along 30A can be difficult at times, especially during the summer. Traffic may also get congested at times. Many people get around by walking or riding bicycles. In Seaside, some parking is available along the center loop between the businesses and amphitheater, but this area can be hectic and comes with a time limit. We found plenty of parking available in the outer loop behind the main businesses.
We started the day with breakfast at The Great Southern Cafe. This was Chad’s favorite part of 30A. The restaurant is very kid friendly, with paper covering the tables and crayons to keep Evan occupied. They are also open for lunch and dinner.
We shared a plate of Beignets, which disappeared quickly. Chad ordered Eggs Sardou- a southern version of Eggs Benedict with a gouda, collard, and artichoke heart sauce. I had the pancake plate (vanilla scented pancakes) with scrambled eggs and chorizo sausage patties. Evan shared from both of our plates (though I think he stole most of my eggs).
There are many little shops and restaurants to explore in the center of Seaside. Duckies was Evan’s favorite store. He was completely enamored by the large rubber ducky by the front door and could have spent hours exploring inside.
Another interesting shop was the Modica Market. This small gourmet grocery store is a great stop for those staying in the area.
The shops in Seaside surround a large grassy amphitheater. This area houses special events throughout the year and is a great spot to relax. Evan enjoyed playing with his new frisbee from Duckies here.
The Seaside Farmers Market runs year-round on Saturdays. You can find an abundance of baked goods, vegetables, spreads, sauces, honey, and other homemade items. I was particularly fond of Nativa’s booth featuring Argentinian pastries. If you miss the market on Saturday, Rosemary Beach (closer to Panama City Beach) also has one on Sundays.
Along 30A in Seaside, you will see a row of Airstreams. These offer a variety of options for a quick bite. Raw and Juicy offers organic raw vegan food and a juice bar. Chad and Evan enjoyed a smoothie from here.
Frost Bites– It had been a really long time since I enjoyed shaved ice. This was a wonderful afternoon treat, especially with the high Florida temperatures. I definitely recommend adding the custard or cream.
I am glad I got the opportunity to try out the newest Airstream in Seaside. Song opened in July and offers Southeast Asian inspired street food. Evan was a huge fan of the Vietnamese Sandwich.
Seven miles east of Seaside is the beautiful Alys Beach (17 miles west of Panama City Beach). I parked next to the Amphitheatre and everything in the town was within walking distance.
Evan and I stopped by Fonville Press for breakfast during one of our day trips. There is a selection of breakfast items, pastries, beverages, books, and magazines to choose from. I tried a Sfogliatelle, an Italian pastry of crisp layered dough with ricotta, orange, and cinnamon.
Behind Fonville Press is a playground and large hill. The area looks a bit worn compared to photos I viewed online, but Evan still had fun running off a little energy.
Gulf Green is one of the access points to the beach. Evan loved running up and down the stairs and across the green. Each of the towers houses a bathhouse.
Charlie’s Donut Truck is parked next to the Amphitheatre and features homemade donuts from 6:30 until they sell out and yogurt in the afternoon. They were sold out by the time we got to Alys Beach at 9:30, so we didn’t get to sample. Get there early to snag one.
The Amphitheatre is in the town center. It houses special events and a splash pad during the summer. Alys Shoppe is in the background of the photo and is the first retail shop in Alys Beach.
My original intention was the recreate the Banh Mi Sandwich I tried from the Song food truck. First trimester food aversions got in the way, so I decided to make a batch of Vanilla Bean Pancakes instead. I topped them with extra strawberry sauce from the Vanilla Bean Crepe Trio. You can also top the pancakes with butter or maple syrup. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Pancakes
Adapted from Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, divided
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 vanilla bean
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Divide the egg yolks and whites into 2 separate medium bowls. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat the egg yolks until foamy, then mix in the buttermilk and canola oil. Split the vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and no lumps remain. Lightly fold in the beaten egg whites.
Place a large skillet over medium low heat. Lightly grease with oil or butter. Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter onto heated skillet and cook until lightly browned and bubbles form on top. Flip and cook until other side is golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with butter or syrup.