Hilltop Deli and Country Store: A good deli near Miccosukee? Believe it!
There are really NO restaurants or cafes in Miccosukee. We do have a small grocery store, and they sell smoked sausages and such. But... the closest real eating place is about six miles away on US highway 90.
The Hilltop Country Store and Deli is a great place. They have wonderful deli sandwiches, as well as terrific barbecue and hamburgers. Fried chicken, too. All good.
If you call ahead, they'll have your sandwiches ready to go.
The Hilltop also has a lot of nifty local delicacies. One of my favorites are the amaretto chocolate dipped pecans, that come from nearby Monticello, Florida. I've shared these with friends far and wide to great acclaim. Guys, these are good enough to give to a woman you love, if you know what I mean. : )
Going to the Hilltop is like visiting a place in the Andy Griffith Show. Everyone knows everyone and they're all friendly.
Be sure to ask for and say hello to the lady who runs the place. I don't actually know her real name... she goes by the moniker of "Calamity", as in Calamity Jane. Tell her Pete said hello. She may give you an extra pickle for free. : )
Hilltop's official address is 14807 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32309
Their phone number is 850.906.0752
(from Miccosukee) Drive south on Veterans Memorial Drive (County Rd 59). When the road dead-ends at US90 East (Mahan Drive), turn left. Drive about 2 miles and Hilltop will be on the right... not surprisingly at the top of a hill. :)
Drive east towards Monticello on US90 (Mahan Drive). Drive past Cap Circle, and the Interstate highway 10 on ramp. About 10 miles beyond the interstate intersection, you'll see Hilltop on the right.
The Cross Creek Creekside Grill: The closest actual restaurant to Miccosukee
It's still about an 8 mile drive, but THE closest sit-down restaurant to Miccosukee is the Creekside Grill. The Creekside is one of those "sometimes OK but sometimes really good" places. It really depends on the people working the kitchen and your server.
They have a wide variety of menu items, including fresh seafood, steaks, chicken and such. There are usually a nice selection of fairly average desserts, and you can also enjoy wine or a cold beer with your meal.
Generally, meals are unhurried at Creekside, so don't go here for dinner wanting to leave in 35 minutes.
In the vicinity of the Creekside, there is also a small motel (The Seminole Inn), a convenience store (the Citgo Express), another smaller eatery (the ubiquitous Waffle House) and small "driving range, par 3" golfing facility.
If you visit Creekside on a night when the service is slow, you might have time to play the par 3 a few times if you can stay somewhere near par. ; )
Favorite Dish: Like I say, the food can be OK or very good. One particularly good night had some fresh catfish fillets available, and they were very tasty. I had mine fried, of course...adding a baked potato.
Dinner salads are, at best, very average. I'd go for cole slaw if offered.
There have also been visits that found very good southern fried chicken. I've had many friends tell me of excellent steaks at Creekside, but the one that I had (a NY strip) was pretty average. In retrospect, it was a bit overcooked.....
Anyway, this is not a highly recommended place from me. But if you find yourself in MIccosukee, and can't find your way to my house for some damn good food, you can take your chances over at Creekside.
It's reasonably priced, if nothing else. : )
seasoned pork chops with squash and onions: SEASONED PORK CHOPS and SQUASH, recipe/information
This is another simple recipe that will produce a tasty little southern meal. AND.... you can do it all in one electric skillet....very little kitchen mess.
4 boneless butterfly pork chops
pounded to tenderize
6-7 average sized yellow squash
cut into 1/4 inch "coins"
1 medium onion, sliced thin and separated
4 TBsp cooking oil, approximately
salt and pepper
Make a seasoned flour mix, adding salt and pepper to taste. In separate containers, dust both the pork chops and squash in the seasoned flour. Do not wet or dip into any other mixtures....the coating needs to be very light.
Heat the oil in an electric skillet, set at about 350 degrees. When at temp, place the pork chops into the oil and sear quickly on both sides. Then, allow to cook until lightly browned on both sides. At this point, put the lightly floured squash in the other side of the pan. (Keep monitoring the pork chops and cook until done/golden brown) At the same time allow the squash to light brown and then make a "stir fry" action with a wooden spoon to stir them around. At the point that they're almost as tender as you'd like (and lightly browned), add the thin onion rings to the squash. Cook until the squash is tender but not mushy, and the onions are limp. Correct salt and pepper seasonings.
Serve hot and enjoy.
Southern-style skillet corn: SKILLET CORN, recipe/cooking information
This is one of the recipes I remember loving from my grandmother's kitchen....
Southern Skillet Corn
8 ears of shucked and cleaned fresh corn
(still on the cob)
1 cup of butter (two sticks)
1/2 cup of whipping cream or buttermilk
1 large sweet onion, diced
salt, pepper and Louisiana hot sauce
OK, this isn't really a recipe, folks. I'm just telling you how I make skillet corn.
First, use a sharp knife and cut the corn from the cob. I'd cut it in such a way as to let it fall into a large pan, which will catch the kernels. In addition to cutting the kernels off each ear, take the edge of the knife and "scrub" the cob to release the extra liquid constarch from the remaining portions of kernel. This will make a nice consistency to your corn when you cook it.
Now, THAT was the hard part. :)
Favorite Dish: Put 1/2 cup of the butter (1 stick) into a large, deep skillet and warm to melt the butter. Do not overheat.. just melt it.
When the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and fold the corn into the butter. Stir and cook gently, medium to medium high heat, doing your best to get the butter evenly distributed throughout the corn. As you go, you will want to add more butter to the mix. That's the purpose of the other 1/2 cup (stick). Add the butter in increments to insure the corn is moist, but not dripping in butter. It usually takes anywhere from a total of 1 1/2 to the full 2 sticks. When you feel that you've moistened the corn so that there are not any dry pockets in the pan, salt, pepper and hot sauce the corn to taste. I go heavier on the black pepper, because I like it. Watch yourself on the hot sauce, it's an acquired taste, and the heat will sneak up on you. : )
After seasoning the mix, add the diced onions and turn the heat up to high. At this point, you are basically "stir frying" the corn.... Keep stirring and let the corn become more tender as the onions become limp. You may have some slight browining that occurs on the corn in places, and this is all right. Just don't burn it. When the corn is pretty much tender to your satisfaction, turn the heat down to low and stir in enough of the whipping cream or buttermilk to make a nice thick "creamed corn" consistency. Leave the heat on low long enough to allow the milk or cream to warm up and then take the corn off the heat.
Serve right away.
Especially good with southern wonders like fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, okra, homemade cornbread, fried fish, etc.
This should serve 5-6 people. We are now, at home, only 3 people, but I always make the larger amount because it's really good reheated the next day.
quench that hot southern thirst!: MICCOSUKEE ICED TEA, recipe/preparation info
I love iced tea. It's my drink. And unlike many in the south, I choose to drink mine unsweetened. Many southerners have been raised on "sweet tea" and it's fine. But to me, it just doesn't quench my thirst.
I'd spent years searching for the perfect glass of iced tea, much in the same way that I still search for THE perfect fried chicken breading. And although the chicken thing remains unfulfilled, I've hit on the perfect drink for hot days, a concoction I've christened as "Miccosukee Iced Tea".
I have shared this recipe with a few folks, and it's played to rave reviews. In fact, I'd like to thank karenincalifornia for the picture that accompanies this tip. She made my recipe and loved it enough to make a pitcher of Miccosukee tea the featured photo on her homepage. I am quite honored to have big-city friends paying homage to my simple country boy creation. Thanks KCC.
Read below for preparation instructions....
Favorite Dish: I use a plain old "Mr. Coffee" coffeemaker to make my Miccosukee tea. But, you can also use a saucepan. I do not recommend making Miccosukee tea via the "sun tea" method. It just doesn't quite taste the same. Fine, mind you.... but just not the same.
here are the secret ingredients... there are two types of tea bag that I use. One is readily available world-wide. The other is pretty much confined to Dixie.
For each "pot" of Miccosukee tea, you'll need
2 Twinings Black Currant-flavored tea bags
1 QUART/family sized Luzianne tea bag.
(get the regular stuff. For some reason the caffeine free Luzianne brew up WEAK)
The Luzianne tea is the product that you'll perhaps not find outside the south. Luzianne tea is specially blended to make iced tea... it doesn't cloud up when chilled in the fridge.
If you're using a coffee maker, put the teabags in the filter area.
Pour 8 cups of water (a full pitcher) into the coffee maker, or place that approximate amount in a saucepan.
Turn on the coffee maker. If using a saucepan, bring the water to a gentle boil, and then take it off the element or fire. Put the bags into the water after you take it off the element, if using the saucepan. If using the saucepan method, let the tea "steep" with the bags in the water for about 20 minutes and then remove.
In either method, allow the tea to cool completely to room temp. Transfer to a pitcher and add another 4-6 cups of water. (Make the tea as strong or weak as you like)
Chill thoroughly and enjoy.
I have found that Miccosukee tea keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. After that, I pour out any that is inexplicably left over (a rare case) and make some more.
That's it, folks. Enjoy.
A classic southern gulf-coast dish: FLORIDA CRAB CAKES, recipe/cooking information
Florida Crab cakes are seriously good, folks. Good eatin' in the deep Gulf south, and a perfect meal to have if you're visiting someone in Miccosukee.
Florida Crab Cakes
1 lb lump crabmeat (trap caught! : )
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or onion
1 tsp "Old Bay" seasoning
2 or 3 eggs, well-beaten ( I use 3)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 TBsp Dijon or Creole mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 TBsp chopped fresh parsley
cooking oil, to a depth of about 1/2 inch
(I prefer olive oil, although many southerners swear that it HAS to be peanut oil. Anything works!)
(1) Put the crabmeat in a mixing bowl and add 1 1/2 cups of the bread crumbs. Add the eggs, mustard, worcestershire sauce, parsley, scallions, Old Bay seasoning and mayonnaise. Blend well, but leave the crabmeat in nice lumps.
(2) Shape the mixture into 10 portions of equal size. Shape each portion into a flat patty about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.
(3) Coat each patty with the remaining breadcrumbs. Chill until ready to cook.
(4) When ready to cook, fry the cakes in approximately 1/2 inch of your chosen oil, at a medium-high heat. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until nice and golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
I recommend using an old fashioned iron skillet, and you'll have to fry the cakes in a couple of batches. Keep and serve the cakes warm, with lemon wedges and tarter sauce. Or, if you're in the mood to light things up, use Louisiana hot pepper sauce, a few drops on each cake.
For garnish and accompaniment:
Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce
Also good with garlic butter!
Favorite Dish: BTW, as far as the crabmeat goes, my dear,dear friend karenincalifornia insists that I should only buy crab that is caught in a trap. (not in a net)
SO, I asked the man at the store if the crab was net or trap caught. He smiled and said.. "better than that, brother. We talked these crabs into just giving themselves up peacefully". Good enough for me, and the crab was sweet and tasty. : )
FRIED OKRA, this is how it's supposed to look...
OK, this isn't much of a tip. But for any of you who've read my previous tip on frying up okra, I thought you might like a look at the finished product.
And, after we took this photo (admittedly, THE first time I'd ever considered taking a picture of a plate of okra), we finished it off...
And, it was GOOOOOOOOOD.
And, I loved the look on my sweet daughter's face when she saw me photographing a plate of okra.
Southern Fried Okra. Damn, that's good stuff!: FRIED OKRA, recipe/cooking information
How many of you non-southerners have ever eaten fried okra? Well, if not, you've missed the feedbag, folks.
Okra is a pod-like vegetable grown throughout the southern US and parts of Latin America. It was imported into the south and put into use from Africa, during the sad days of slavery.
OK, here's how you make it..
Get yourself a "mess" of okra. A "mess" is enough to fill up everyone who'd going to eat it in one sitting. Fried okra stinks upon being reheated.
Slice the top part of the okra off and cut each pod into approximately 1/8th inch "coins". Put these coins into a plastic bowl with a sealable top. Salt and pepper the okra liberaly, and then dump in about a cup of plain flour. Shake it like mad and get the pod coins coated well.
Then, take one egg and add about 1/2 cup of water or milk. Beat well. In another bowl, mix up another batch of seasoned flour, seasoned to your personal taste... basically, flour, salt, pepper, and whatever else. I suggest a little cayenne pepper, or perhaps adding garlic salt.
Take the okra coins out of the first bowl, drench them in the beaten egg. Then pitch them into the second seasoned flour mixture, coating WELL.
Heat cooking oil, poured to a depth of at least 3/4 inch, in a frying pan to medium-high heat. Test the heat of the oil by putting one coin into the oil. It should fry excitedly, but should not turn brown-black too quickly. When the heat is right, put all the coins in the oil. And as we say here in the south, "Fry the _ _ _ _ (* insert your favorite four letter word) out of the okra" until it is golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels in a plate or bowl and serve hot.
Don't go screwing it up with any dip or ketchup type stuff. Okra is eaten hot and plain.
Favorite Dish: I adore frying the _ _ _ _ out of a mess of okra for a non-southern visitor. : )
It ain't breakfast if you don't have some grits...: HOMINY GRITS, recipe and cooking information
Grits are a mainstay of southern cooking, especially for breakfast. Made from coarsely ground hominy, they cook up into a filling and very satisfying little cereal-like dish. Some folks will tell you that they are similar to Cream of Wheat, but I vehemently disagree. I hate COW and love grits.
Cooking grits is very easy, and you should just follow the basic directions on the box. One note....
You want to buy QUICK grits, but never never never INSTANT grits. You can buy regular grits, but they take longer to cook. QUICK grits still have to be cooked, but they only take about 5-6 minutes to prepare. INSTANT grits are an atrocity that you pour into a bowl and add boiling water to prepare. Awful consistency and taste. NEVER buy instrant grits. They're not even good enough for Yankees. ;)
One important note.... SALT your grits. Do not cook them sans salt with the attitude that people can just "add it if they want it". You cannot add enough salt AFTER cooking to made grits taste right. Trust me, this cannot happen. If I were on a salt-free diet, I'd just eat something other than grits. (Truthfully, if I were told to go salt-free, I'd probably try hemlock, but that's just me) SALT them during the cooking process or you will hate them. Trust me.
Add butter liberally if desired. Other great additions are cheese or maybe a bit of cream, added in the final stages of the cooking process. Pepper is also nice. One great idea is to substitute garlic salt for regular salt. My favorite grits are garlic-cheese grits. These are often found at fish fry events in the south. Political fundraisers in the deep south are often held at paper-plate fish frys. Often, it's the only thing worth swallowing at such an occurence. ; )
Anyway, there's nothing like grits for breakfast, with some bacon, sausage or salty country ham. Add some scrambled or fried eggs and country biscuits and honeybear.... that' s eating southern-style.
Favorite Dish: I DO love my breakfast grits. My favorites are garlic-cheese.
I actually have a few recipes for grits casseroles. If anyone wants them, just email me.