I decided that the best way to get from St Pete’s to Miami was by renting a car and driving. I looked at the map and saw it was a 4 hour drive and tried to see what adventures could be found along the way. I would be driving through the Everglades, but knew I’d have to invest more than a few hours to get a flavor for it. Maybe it’s my aversion to motorized boats, but nothing about the air boat tours they offer sounded appealing to me.
In doing research for this trip, I realized that stone crab season was starting a few days before my drive and that I could go right to the source in Everglades City. Much to my delight, the detour to Everglades City would take me off the main highway and my hopes were that the long drive, made longer with this detour, would at least be more scenic.
Everglades City is 3 hours south of St Pete’s and an hour west of Miami and it seemed like the perfect place to break up the road trip.
When I started planning for Florida, I was eager to try Stone Crab but didn’t really want to go to Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami if I could help it. Yes, I know it’s an institution, but the long wait/no reservation/large mark-up thing didn’t sound appealing to me.
Stone crab season is Oct-May every year but the last few years have yielded low harvests. One of the most fascinating things I learned about stone crab is that only one claw is harvested and the rest of the crab is thrown back to live on and regenerate. Seems like a more ethical and sustainable fishery, which is always appealing to me.
Crab is one of my favorite foods and I was very hopeful I’d get to try it on this trip.
My original choice once in Everglades was City Seafood, but when I arrived there, I was grumpily told that they didn’t have any stone crab to sell. Lucky I was wirelessly connected because I was led to Triad Seafood just down the road.
At Triad, I was greeted warmly and treated to some good old Southern hospitality. After the drive, it was nice to be out of the car and in the fresh air overlooking the river.
Of course I was there for the stone crab but was interested in the other Southern items on the menu as well. And when I see fried okra on the menu, I just had to order it!
Lightly battered, perfectly cooked and wonderfully sticky I couldn’t stop popping pieces into my mouth.
Each stone crab meal comes with a choice of sides. I couldn’t care less about the sides (I was too enthralled with my okra), but the fries were also good and the beans were way better than they looked.
The star of the show arrived and I gave it my full attention. Stone crab, which some compare to lobster is densely meaty, super sweet and melts in your mouth tender. It’s not like lobster, it’s better than lobster. Stone crab is served cold with a mustard sauce on the side. But to be honest, that mustard sauce just takes away from the crab.
Driving away from Everglades City I was happy to have made the detour. It was so different from the Florida I had just left and made me look forward to what Miami would have to offer.
Triad Seafood Market and Cafe: 401 School Dr, Everglades City, Florida