At last Sunday’s ice cream social, Don asked for recommendations to a seafood market. The replies were unanimous, Joe Patti’s in Pensacola.
We woke early & decided today was the day we made the drive into Pensacola, Florida & stocked up on fresh fish & seafood. Don grabbed the cooler so as to keep our purchase cold for the return trip. When he opened it to make sure it was clean, he got a surprise, 2 tiny green frogs had made themselves comfortable in the melted ice water left inside. We don’t know what kind of frogs they are but we have seen them several times here in the campground & Boy! Can they leap!
It’s overcast but warm, it makes for a fine day to take a drive. We take the Gulf Beach Parkway to U.S. 98 into Pensacola. We wanted to see how this route would be for towing the Suite Pea on a future trip down to Port St. Joe. With intermittent views of Perdido Bay & the Gulf, it’s perfect.
Joe Patti’s isn’t what we expected. Don & I have been to many seafood markets before but never one quite like this one. My first thought when we walked in the door was given voice by my dear hubby, “Wow! Cool!”, my second thought that immediately followed the first was, I hope I don’t upchuck. The smell hits you, BAM, soon as you enter. It takes awhile of being inside before you adjust to it. Although my stomach never really adapts.
Joe Patti’s Seafood has been in business for over 75 years. It started in the early 30’s with Anna & Joe Patti selling fish from their front porch. Joe had a reputation with the local fishermen for being hard to please. He would only sell the freshest, highest quality of seafood he could find as he wanted his customers to be pleased & become regulars. Each of his sons became captains of their own shrimp vessel & his daughters assisted with the family business by shaving ice, cleaning fish, grading the produce, & serving customers.
From the 60’s throughout the 90’s, Patti’s served all of the restaurants along the Gulf Coasts of Florida & Alabama. As times changed, Joe Patti decided to dedicate his expertise to the seafood retail business. In the 90’s Patti’s expanded, opening a delicatessen, sushi bar, & wine shop. Later, specialty foods were added making it the unique shopping experience it is today.
Don & I found the variety astounding. Fish, filleted or not. Head on or head off. Shrimp, cleaned, or not. Small, medium, large & jumbo. Clams, oysters, mussels, bay scallops, ocean scallops, claws, crawfish, calamari, lobster, octopus, & so much more. I even found gator tail. The selection of fish was just as varying with a few of the choices being grouper, red snapper, tuna, mahi mahi, salmon, talapia, monk fish, & on & on. A veritable smorgasbord.
In the market we found just as vast an assortment of seasonings, oils, condiments, cheeses, etc. A person could easily spend a few hours browsing & a whole lotta moola. We came away with red snapper, grouper, & salmon fillets, 3 lbs. of cleaned & deveined jumbo shrimp, 1 1/2 lbs. of ocean scallops, a couple of different dips & blackened seasoning mix. When you pay for your purchases, the sales people will pack your fish & seafood in ice in your cooler right on the spot.
There will be some fine dining going on in the Suite Pea tonight & the upcoming weeks.
I watched this young man netting something behind Joe Patti’s. I was too far away to inquire as to what he was after.
Back to the beginning. At the entry way sat a trailer, much like the ones you’d find at a fair. This one was advertising fresh beignets. (Pronounced ben-yays.) Don asked me, “What’s a big net? A pretzel?” I explained it was a French dough treat, popular in New Orleans.
As we exited the market I asked Don if he’d like to taste a beignet. “Yes,” he replied so while he carried our cooler to the truck, I ordered samples of each kind the lady was making, Bavarian cream & raspberry. The woman inside the trailer is the owner of this little business. As she worked, we talked & I learned that she prepares the dough fresh each morning. It’s kept cold, not frozen. When an order is made, she removes the dough, rolls it out on the counter in front of you, cuts it, deep fries it, fills the pastries & sprinkles powdered sugar all over it. There is a wait but not for long & it is well worth it. Warm & scrumptious. Don declares it’s even better than his pumpkin whoopie pies & we all know how much Don loves his whoopie pies.
For our trip back to the rig we opt for the coastal road with views of the white sand beaches, palm trees & beachfront properties. A pleasant drive indeed.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………………