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[FL] Stuart, Jensen Beach, Fort Pierce


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 04:02 AM

I'll be bouncing around this area of south Florida for a few weeks, so I created this thread as a convenient place to put general comments about the area's food, fish, restaurants, etc.

The Fort Pierce waterfront is a bustling place with coastal steamers to the Bahamas (pipe, containers, flatbed trailers, etc), and a lot of commercial fishing. Several wholesale fish packing houses with refrigerated trucks alongside. Also, several large citrus packing houses in the dock area.

Pelican Seafood is a retail fish market at 735 US 1 (Fort Pierce) directly opposite the A1A "south bridge" to South Hutchinson island. Wonderful, exceptionally fresh pompano, grouper, huge shrimp (U-10< $22), spiny lobsters, tuna, black bass, oysters, crab, etc. The pompano was grilled for dinner tonight, and was wonderful with a little lemon and butter plus a dusting of Old Bay.

The fishmonger spoke well of the Farmer's Market on the Fort Pierce waterfront every Saturday morning, so I suspect we'll visit that tomorrow.

Archie's Seabreeze is an institution on the South Hutchinson Island beach road, an old bar nestled in among some upscale real estate and an old neighborhood. The powers that be have decreed the place needs to be polished up, so there are new planks on their outdoor deck, new 2x4 beams supporting what used to be wobbly tables, and a new modern, scrupulously clean rest room, etc. Fortunately, many old bikers haven't been "improved".

Nice place, beers are a buck from 3 to 6 or 7pm. Sliders are 2 for $4, excellent burgers are in the $7 range with fries, etc. Pitchers of most beers are available. Pool table, music, a place to get out of the rain.

Archie's

The south jetty extends out several hundred feet into the Atlantic Ocean, and guards the access to the Fort Pierce channel. A number of energetic folks were para-sailing at pretty good speeds. They had single boogie boards with ski-boot-like foot supports, and held a harness that controlled the four cables to the ends of the para-sail. They must has been doing this for a while as protocols on how to pass, how to cross in opposite directions, etc seemed pretty well understood.

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Fort Pierce and Jensen Beach have a lot of Mexican restaurants and groceries, as well as many smoked and bbq ribs places. I've already made a mental list of places I'd like to check out.

Edited by Rail Paul, 12 February 2012 - 02:01 AM.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#2 Rail Paul

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 02:16 AM

The Farmers Market in Fort Pierce is a really impressive show. Probably 60 vendors, plus an adjacent village of T-shirt sellers, orchid growers, vase makers, etc. Every Saturday morning until about 2pm, I believe. Down at the Waterfront, with the Indian River in the background, and a yacht basin alongside.

Wonderful, thin skinned hydroponic tomatoes in red or yellow ($2). Peppers for $1.50 a pound. Pots of oregano, chives, parsley, cilantro etc for $3. Fresh corn. Hot peppers. Standout smoked fish spreads from Macy for $4. Today's smoked fish were cobia and black bass. A dips maker with various offerings of hot chile dips, vegetable dips, etc. A guacamole maker engaged in her trade while folks watched. Excellent pint of chunky guac for about $10. Mango and red pepper salsa was also available.

Several taco makers, with the two fish and shrimp hot pepper tacos for $7 a winner. There were probably 20 people waiting on that line. A pigeon beans, rice and pork in a bowl guy was doing pretty good business as well. Several organic juice vendors, health food suppliers, etc. Busy, crowded, with playful shoppers, most of whom were buying stuff.

This was an exploratory trip, I'll have a plan of attack next week.

Several vendors mentioned the Stuart Farmers Market (Sundays in the town of the same name), so I'm headed there next.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#3 Rail Paul

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:15 PM

The Farmers Market in Stuart is a somewhat smaller scale operation, when compared to the much larger place 30 miles up the road in Fort Pierce. Probably 20 vendors, several farmers with very impressive produce from the general area.

Immaculate green zebra tomatoes ($2 a pound), lots of kale and collards, celery, parsley, 1/2 pound for peeled garlic for a buck, oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, etc. Several farmers had signs indicating what would be in over the next few weeks. Very friendly place.

An excellent cheddar cheese biscuit from Hayes Bakery on Jensen Beach Boulevard in Jensen Beach, six for $3 if I recall correctly. Hayes Bakery serves an impressive breakfast and lunch in their cafe, I was told. Their menu reads very well. The stand also sells breads from their bakery, including a rye and a whole wheat.

The flatbreads lady from Fort Pierce was there, too. As was the pickles and relish guy with hot and very hot pickles (marinated in a chili broth), and a red pepper relish. A stand offered cheese made from Jersey cow milk at a dairy in Georgia. The cheese wasn't bad, and I'd like to try it again when my tongue isn't numb from the pickle relish.

A gentleman was selling a very tasty red chili popcorn, and a salty cheddar cheese finished popcorn. The dessert in this three course feast was a bananas foster popcorn. The dry rub (maybe sprayed on and dried?) had the tastes of caramel, butter, rum, vanilla, etc. It was really well done, and I'd like to construct a recipe with that as an ingredient.

Nice place, friendly vendors. The usual beads, vortexes, and futures soothsayers were joined by a "meet the author" table with local writers. And, a local insurance agent was offering a drawing for a dinner gift card at Outback Steakhouse in return for your personal info.

The one hot food vendor hadn't yet begun selling her sausages and meats from her grill by the time we were ready to go. That was a big difference compared to Fort Pierce where several taco vendors, Bahamian food sellers, juice and smoothie sellers, were numerous among the merchants.

The Stuart event is every Sunday morning, in the parking lot next to City Hall, adjacent to the new band shell. I was told it will grow as more crops come into market in the next few weeks.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#4 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:47 PM

A pleasant lunch at The Dolphin, a restaurant along the Indian River in Jensen Beach. There's a wrap around porch with a pull down, see through screen. Some guests arrive by boat, as there's a long dock.

Nice piece of "tuna tempura", a good thick piece of tuna with a thin crispy shell. They must have used a very hot oil, as the tuna itself showed just a thin sear. OK wasabi and pickled ginger. Good portion for $12.

Other selections included a double fish taco, breaded pounded shrimp, and a full range of burgers, etc at price points between 8 and 15. 22 oz beer drafts were $6, 12 oz pours of imports were in the 6-7 price range. Nice place, convenient location.

The restaurant is on the property which once belonged to the 1940s film actress Frances Langford. Over the years, she and her husband, Ralph Evinrude, an owner of the Evinrude Motor Company, hosted boat engine trials on the nearby waterway and ocean. The impressive, industrial strength docking facility adjacent to the restaurant was clearly constructed for yachts of size. I don't know if the channel still supports substantial draft vessels.

The estate and its guest cottages overlooked the waterways and Hutchinson Island. The entry area to the restaurant has thank you letters and greetings from Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon, and other figures from the 1950s Republican establishment. In the 1950s and 1960s, Langford constructed the Outrigger Restaurant and Hotel on the site. It's that building which has been rebuilt to be the Dolphin

Dolphin Bar

1401 NE Indian River Drive
Jensen Beach, FL 34957
(772) 781-5136

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#5 Eatmywords

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:04 PM

Good stuff especially discovering the Stewart market which is a 3min drive from the in-laws. Dolphin, too is very close. I'll try to get there next time. Thank you.

When are you going to 11 Maple Street? You really should give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

Merging some of the Jupiter thread posts might be a good idea.

#6 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:54 PM

Good stuff especially discovering the Stewart market which is a 3min drive from the in-laws. Dolphin, too is very close. I'll try to get there next time. Thank you.

When are you going to 11 Maple Street? You really should give it a try. I think you’ll like it.

YES!! Thanks for the reminder. I participated on that 11 Maple / Stuart / Tequesta thread, and completely forgot about 11 Maple as I planned this visit.

Conchy Joes (on the mainland, just north of the Hutchinson Island - Jensen Beach bridge) is on my list, and I'll definitely add 11 Maple.

Merging some of the Jupiter thread posts might be a good idea.


Maybe. Or updating some of the sub heads on a few of the threads to make searching easier.

I figured that Jupiter - Tequesta - Hobe Sound are one natural group. Fort Pierce, Jensen Beach, and Port St Lucie are a second natural group. Stuart is in the middle of the two groups and could logically fit in either, as maybe Hobe Sound, too. Since I'll be in the Fort Pierce area for a few weeks, I figured I'd establish a northern thread for comments on that area. And, I promptly created thread drift in the first two posts.


There's a nice shack selling produce and seafood in Hobe Sound, on US 1 north, corner of Dalhys. By the giant ballfields project. Huge scallops, fresh pompano, etc. Good prices.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#7 Eatmywords

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:30 PM

I like the idea of a concentration on Stuart, Pt. Saint Lucie and Jensen since they’re within a few minutes of each other and we’re based there :D . Fort Pierce and Jupiter are aprx 15 miles and Jupiter almost 30 which make them feel like an excursion (esp if you have a 3yr old in the back seat).

It’s great you’ve explored as much as you have. If our trips weren’t so short and family focused we’d have more flexibility to explore. I’ll make a point of getting to Fort Pierce for the market next time

I agree with the Baron’s article you posted. This part of Florida is so much more enjoyable (now) than points further south. More spread out, laid back, less people and unspoiled. If I was eyeing a vacay/eventual retirement property it would probably be around here.

If you do get to 11 Maple we found the outdoor bar seating much more enjoyable than the dining room.

What about Mrs Peter’s smoked fish, not far from Dolphin, are you going?

#8 Rail Paul

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 01:43 AM

I like the idea of a concentration on Stuart, Pt. Saint Lucie and Jensen since they’re within a few minutes of each other and we’re based there :D . Fort Pierce and Jupiter are aprx 15 miles and Jupiter almost 30 which make them feel like an excursion (esp if you have a 3yr old in the back seat).

It’s great you’ve explored as much as you have. If our trips weren’t so short and family focused we’d have more flexibility to explore. I’ll make a point of getting to Fort Pierce for the market next time

I agree with the Baron’s article you posted. This part of Florida is so much more enjoyable (now) than points further south. More spread out, laid back, less people and unspoiled. If I was eyeing a vacay/eventual retirement property it would probably be around here.

If you do get to 11 Maple we found the outdoor bar seating much more enjoyable than the dining room.

What about Mrs Peter’s smoked fish, not far from Dolphin, are you going?


Not familiar with mrs Peters smoked fish, but will look that up. I was very pleased with the Macy's smoked fish at the Fort pierce market.

I'll start a new topic on 11 Maple.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#9 Rail Paul

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:59 PM

Mangrove Mattie's is a restaurant on the north end of South Hutchinson Island, fronting on the Fort Pierce Inlet. There's all manner of road construction in the area, so it takes some doing to get there.

The restaurant has all the signs of this end of Florida (early bird specials, empties out as dark approaches, etc) and some laziness on the menu. Otherwise, it's fine, and can be a great value if you pick carefully.

I ordered the broiled snapper, Dee ordered a piece of prime rib. Snapper wasn't on their $9.95 special (tilapia, salmon, grouper, plus a free glass of house wine, and coffee were on that list). For $21, snapper came with an OK bean and ham soup, a side of rice and carrots / string beans. Fish was good, perfectly cooked, lightly spiced, with a small puddle of butter for finish. Hothouse tomatoes when new tomatoes are in the farmer's market down the road doesn't speak well to sourcing.

Dee had a nice piece of prime rib, well cooked, thin bark.

Service was a bit flustered. We were seated, and the maitre said A would be our server. He showed up, took our order, and was confronted by B. What are you doing on my station, etc. Right there. B then apologized and said he'd be our server, and they'd get the order in right away.

Soup and salad came out quickly, but 40 minutes later we flagged down B, who said he'd check. "Right out" he promised. Right out became about 20 minutes, which strongly suggests they lost the order in the handover. Other folks who arrived after we did were through their apps and finishing their entrees by then. It was a nice evening, and the lights gradually set off the pilings and markers on the channel, right outside the windows.

By the time we left, around 8pm, the place was less than half filled, and service seemed to be more measured. The bar, however, was going great guns. 6pm is the cut-off for early bird orders.

Prices were good, food was fine, the bill came to $43 for two, with tax but before tips.

1640 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, FL
(772) 466-1044

Mattie's

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#10 Rail Paul

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:00 PM

Nice morning at the Fort Pierce Farmer's Market. Temps in the high 70s, early fog burning off nicely.

The women at Baja Beef turned out an exceptional fish and shrimp Royale taco. Large taco roll, lightly toasted, chopped grilled white fish and shrimp, a little bit of lettuce, a lot of spicy salsa, a layer of black beans, a squirt of jalapeno sauce and a layer of jalapeno for those who wished. "Maybe 1/3" ask for the extra peppers, I was told. $7, good breakfast.

The Praise Lunch ladies put out an excellent Jamaican pattie (meat filled empanada, deep fried). Their line was probably second only to the Baja Beef. The nearby Herbeque ribs and oxtails guys were ladling out healthy portions of meat onto rolls for $7 - $10.

Tomatoes were $1-$2 a pound, with the organics and some heirlooms at the high end. Peppers were $1 (rather than being sold by weight). One bag of peeled garlic for a dollar. The Gibbons Farm organics lady was selling tatsoi ($2 for a generous bag) so I bought one. The $12 a pound flounder plus the tatsoi + garlic will probably be dinner tonight.

Farmers Market link

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#11 Rail Paul

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:24 PM

Nice take out from S&S Takeout (148 North Depot Drive in Fort Pierce). Assertively organic, vegan friendly, recycling and reuse focused, etc. Food tasted fine, too.

The restaurant is located just off Avenue A in old town Fort Pierce. The lovely Sunrise theater is around the corner, and there are many funky jewelry shops, vintage clothing stores, etc in the area. It's about two blocks from the Marina.

Hourly tweets on what's coming out of the ovens, etc. Tilefish in panko crusting just came out ($9), whole wheat penne with feta was last hour's tweet, etc. Everything goes on discount after 4.30pm. We picked up a pint of organic pinto bean soup with carrots and Jones Farm bacon for $4, plus a wonderful salad of local greens with eggplant, mozzarella, onions, fennel shaving for $6, plus a pint of freshly squeezed OJ for $11. They threw in two pieces of good garlic bread. The object was to empty the hot pots and display windows before the owners and staff went home. That minimizes waste and allows them to start fresh tomorrow.

The soup was good, tasting of beans and spices, with just a hint of bacon. I liked it, although it wasn't thick in the way I usually make bean or pea soup. The salad was wonderful, with a great balsamic dressing.

S&S is committed to sustainable living, and making a positive difference. They will refill your clean glass and certain other containers with their food. They offer plates and packaging made from post-consumer etc waste. They patronize local food producers. They even pay for recycling of plastics, glass, paper, etc. It's optional, and not all that common around here, from what I can tell.

We took the wonderful food down to the marina, where we watched the local manatees frolic around the warm water outlet from the local power plant. It was quite enjoyable. Warm evening, with temps in the 70s, and a nice breeze.



S&S

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#12 Rail Paul

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:46 PM

Nice take out from S&S Takeout (148 North Depot Drive in Fort Pierce). Assertively organic, vegan friendly, recycling and reuse focused, etc. Food tasted fine, too.

The restaurant is located just off Avenue A in old town Fort Pierce. The lovely Sunrise theater is around the corner, and there are many funky jewelry shops, vintage clothing stores, etc in the area. It's about two blocks from the Marina.

Hourly tweets on what's coming out of the ovens, etc. Tilefish in panko crusting just came out ($9), whole wheat penne with feta was last hour's tweet, etc. Everything goes on discount after 4.30pm. We picked up a pint of organic pinto bean soup with carrots and Jones Farm bacon for $4, plus a wonderful salad of local greens with eggplant, mozzarella, onions, fennel shaving for $6, plus a pint of freshly squeezed OJ for $11. They threw in two pieces of good garlic bread. The object was to empty the hot pots and display windows before the owners and staff went home. That minimizes waste and allows them to start fresh tomorrow.

The soup was good, tasting of beans and spices, with just a hint of bacon. I liked it, although it wasn't thick in the way I usually make bean or pea soup. The salad was wonderful, with a great balsamic dressing.

S&S is committed to sustainable living, and making a positive difference. They will refill your clean glass and certain other containers with their food. They offer plates and packaging made from post-consumer etc waste. They patronize local food producers. They even pay for recycling of plastics, glass, paper, etc. It's optional, and not all that common around here, from what I can tell.

We took the wonderful food down to the marina, where we watched the local manatees frolic around the warm water outlet from the local power plant. It was quite enjoyable. Warm evening, with temps in the 70s, and a nice breeze.



S&S



Tried the desserts yesterday. Wonderful, well done.

The standout was a "smoked key lime pie". Three inches wide, two inches deep, slightly smoky taste, not esp sweet, very refreshing. Looked like a yellowish green pudding cupcake. Delightful.

A spice cake with an orange icing (local oranges, natch) was fine, as was a berry custard. $4 each, $3 after 4.30pm.

S&S was doing a land office business around noon time. Good for them.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#13 Rail Paul

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:13 AM

There was a classic car show in downtown Fort Pierce tonight. Probably 30 cars, including a Studebaker Avanti, a souped up Chevy Nova ("no go" in Spanish). Several GTO, Trans-Am, one Nash, a Model A Ford, etc. Lots of proud owners.

Stopped by Lorenzo's Pizza (222 Orange Avenue, by the tracks). Very much a Bronx, Hudson County etc place. You could move this place to NY/NJ and it would fit in. The people behind the counter, the customers, etc.

Good pizza. I'm not a fan of anything thicker than cracker crust / very thin crust, but these guys did a good job with a slightly thicker version. Gas deck grill, nice crispy cornmeal dusted bottom. Good ingredients, quality sausage and four kinds of peppers (banana, jalapeno, red bell, green bell), good cheese. There was some kind of a problem with their oven so they were only doing one pizza at a time. Took a while.

Not cheap. Basic pizza was $12, we had the four pepper, two meat (sausage and pepperoni) version for $19. A beer, a diet coke, and a side order of wonderful angel hair onion rings came to $34 before tip. Good value for the money.

Family kind of place, some small kids, a dog, parties of 5 and 6, etc. Probably half the tables ordered pizza, with the rest ordering calzone, stromboli, etc.

Lorenzo's

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#14 Rail Paul

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 12:45 PM

The TC Palm news site reports that Archie's Seabreeze is well along on plans to update the ancient joint. Archie's is at 401 S Ocean on South Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce (mentioned above). About a 1/2 mile south of the inlet. Big deal will be a new concert stage, and new bathrooms.

Parking lot access will be from A1A only, no driveway from the residential streets, etc. I hope they don't update the cast of locals who've hung out at the bar since the 1940s...


Renovation

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#15 Rail Paul

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:32 AM

Nice write up on a Fort Pierce place called Buoy 12A. Just north of the south bridge to Hutchinson Island. By the fish cleaning tables. Even the Yelpers seem to like it.

Palm's comments (although I think I'd consider overcooking a steak in a place like this a minor offense, if any)

Being the first clear night in weeks, the deck was the place to be when we visited. It was a pleasure to watch the view and listen to the acoustic musician while chomping on two shrimp appetizers. The Thai chive rock shrimp ($10), crispy shrimp covered in spicy-sweet chili sauce over Asian cabbage, are divine. The second dish featured succulent bacon-wrapped shrimp served over a creamy centered cheese grit cake ($10) ladled with tomato gravy — definitely a must-try.

The clam chowder, while amazing, was set aside to sample the conch chowder ($3.50 cup), which was chunky and delicious. Our server brought us a sample cup of the Miami vice soup (clam & conch chowder mixture) and our vote was unanimous: there's no reason to ever choose between the two chowders again.

I split an entree with my partner as always when visiting 12A, which serves large portions. We chose the triple tail special ($25). A creamy pineapple sauce added a touch of sweetness. With asparagus and rice, it was the perfect amount for the two of us to enjoy.



TC Palm Review


Yelp: Yelp on Buoy 12A

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman