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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food And More: The Shrimp Boat

Back in the mid sixties, during my wild and crazy oat sowing days, after a night of serious partying I and many others would polish off the night at the Shrimp Boat restaurant in St. Andrews (a historic community on the outskirts of Panama City).

Shrimp Boat 1951
The Shrimp Boat was a popular place for the late night crowd to pack in some good grub to soak up some of the alcohol consumed earlier.

One of my favorite dishes on those occasions was something the Shrimp Boat called Hang Tang, or in the foggiest recesses of my mind that is the name I remember. Hang Tang was a tasty dish combining fresh shucked oysters with eggs and scrambling the two together. The closest recipe I could find for this dish was Hangtown Fry, a recipe from the California gold rush days. I tried that recipe, but it never quite matched up with my memory from the Shrimp Boat.

Sometime after I left Panama City for the Army in '68 the Shrimp Boat went into decline, closed and was finally torn down in 2002. Seeing the Shrimp Boat rotting away was a sad sight; almost as bad as seeing the empty lot where the Shrimp Boat once stood.

I'd be wiping a tear from my eye about now if it weren't for my recent trip back to the panhandle. My daughter Terri and son-in-law Mack suggested we try out a new place they had never been to before. It was the new Shrimp Boat, risen as the phoenix from the ashes. Be still my throbbing organ (heart, dammit).

So, Terri, Mack, the Belle of Ballast Point and I piled into a limo-taxi (who knew one of them things existed on the Redneck Riviera) and headed off for St. Andrews and dinner at the new Shrimp Boat.

The second we stepped from the cab our nostrils were assailed with the heavenly scent coming from the char-broil grill. We were promptly seated and treated like royalty. Menus were presented, drink orders taken, and the evening specials were described in a friendly, professional, non-hurried manner.

While perusing the menu and enjoying an adult beverage I noticed the huge rusty sign hanging above the bar.

It was the original Shrimp Boat sign. Seeing that sign was a real blast from my past.

Back at the table, the four of us shared several appetizers: the fried green tomatoes, char-grilled oysters on the half shell, and one other that escapes me now. That is probably because those oysters were so delicious I could think of little else.

For our entrees, two of us got the Seared Prime Rib, Mack the Soft Shell Crab, and the Belle of Ballast Point ordered the Lorenzos Steak.

My bride was ecstatic with her filet mignon house special. Mack was delighted with the crab. The Seared Prime Rib, flavor-wise was to die for. The char-broiled rib tinged with just the right amount of smokiness was superb.

I will have to agree with a lady at an adjacent table that the center of the rib was "bit chewy." That makes me think this was a choice cut instead of prime, but the fattier outer edges were perfect.


For dessert, two in our party had the cheese cake, and two had the creme brulee.

We went Dutch treat, and for several glasses of wine, our entrees, and dessert, plus 20% gratuity, the total for my bride and me came to $157.01. And, that was money well spent.

Shrimpboat Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Shrimp Boat on Foodio54

The Keeper of the Bar

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