I can’t say how good it feels to back to blogging. This site, which has been very near and dear to my heart, is turning 6 in April. After almost a two year hiatus, I am celebrating this milestone with a new design and going back to my blogging roots by featuring places that make my heart melt like a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Last week I visited my new favorite spot South of Gandy and also walking distance from my house…..Big Ray’s Fish Camp.
Stationed on Interbay next to the iconic “Green Store,” Big Ray’s has been reeling in the crowds with their small-town charm and big flavors. I made three visits last week and on my first trip I enjoyed a Blackened Grouper Sandwich with their incredible garlic Parmesan fries. Seasoned just right, flaky and tender, each bite of the grouper sandwich made my heart skip a beat. I would venture to say that its the best Grouper Sandwich I’ve had since moving to the Tampa Bay area in 2003. Do not get me started on the fries. Served piping hot and topped with fresh garlic, Parmesan and parsley, the remind me so much of the garlic fries back home. I ate every single morsel and somehow managed to save room for dessert.
As full as I was, I could not resist a slice of deep fried key lime pie. Having missed the Florida State Fair yet again, I felt I was deserving of something decadent a deep fried. As soon as I stuck my fork into the pie, steam arose from the shell and the sweet, luscious key lime custard oozed right out. I don’t think I stopped smiling for the rest of the day.
Four days later I was still thinking about that grouper sandwich and decided to treat myself to a late lunch again at Big Ray’s on a Saturday afternoon. My heart had been set on one of their epic lobster corn dogs but by the time I arrived around 2 pm, they were sold out. I went with my next choice, a Shrimp Po’ Boy. As I looked the place was packed and they were running a twenty minute wait for food. I didn’t mind because I love seeing such a great place attract so much attention.
I sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather while waiting for my sandwich. The vibe from the outside patrons was just overflowing with pure happiness. Everyone was smiling and I could hear multiple people raving about their food. As my sandwich was delivered to me, the first thing I thought was how in the heck was I going to fit that into my mouth. Ha ha. Yes, my po’boy was huge but it was not my first time at the rodeo and I managed to devour it just fine. Do not get me started on the bread, as it perfectly encased the flash fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato and sweet tartar sauce. I left with a such a great feeling of satisfaction that I went home and took a blissful nap and felt peaceful the rest of the day. Food this good could really solve all of the world’s problems.
Not even 24 hours went by and I was ready to go back for more. My heart was set on that lobster corn dog, but after spending the day running errands, it was again sold out when I arrived. Damn, I know next time to go as soon as they open so I can experience what everyone has been raving about with the lobster corn dog. Never one to get discouraged, I went with their Oyster Po’Boy and was once again blown away. This time, my kids came along and my son, a.k.a. “The Nutella Fella,” will be sharing his love for Big Ray’s on his little food blog. very soon.
Since my kids were with me, I just HAD to get another dessert. We tried their version of crounuts and they really capped off our afternoon on a beautiful note. Warm and sweet, they melt in your mouth and will put a smile on your face.
If you are in the area or just feel like experiencing food made with love and passion, head on over to Big Ray’s Fish Camp. I would love to see your food photos, so please share your food pictures on Instagram and tag #SogEats.[?]