The hubs and I recently returned from a fantastic trip to the Clearwater/Seminole area of Florida. The weather was absolutely amazing. We ventured down for a couple days shy of a week to celebrate my cousin/godchild's graduation from USF! Go Bulls! I know what you all are thinking. How can I be old enough to have a 23 year old godchild. Well, believe it. I was very young when she was baptized. HA! To say the least, my family rocks. A whole bunch of us, including my aunts, uncles, and several cousins vacationed together and had a grand ol' time doing it. Despite the fact that there were a million of us, and all from the same bloodline, the drama llama behaved. :) We had a marvelous time together.
After chilling at the house for a couple of nights with the fam, several of us cousins headed over to my aunt and uncle's fabulous timeshare beachfront condo on Madeira Beach. Beautiful and relaxing are two words that pop right back into my head. The sunsets were breathtaking. Along with the constant and calming sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Paradise!. We chilled on the beach and hung out at the pool enjoying cocktails, chatting, and overall loving life.
Dragging ourselves from the pool and out of the sunshine to head back up to the condo to shower and get ready, was no easy task. My hubs, 3 of my cousins, and myself got spiffed up and walked about a half mile to Johns Pass which features several shops, tourist traps, restaurants, and bars. We had all agreed on having one nice dinner together. We decided to check out Bubba Gump which is a chain restaurant with a menu that features mostly fresh seafood. Their theme is based on the movie Forrest Gump. (http://www.bubbagump.com/)
It is a huge indoor/outdoor touristy kind of place. We arrived at one of the two host stands and inquired about a reservation. According to the first dude, there was a significant wait to be seated in the indoor dining area but was not very clear about the outdoor seating, which we all preferred. After some confusion and backtracking, we added our name to the list to be seated outdoors. While waiting for our name to be called, we decided to order a round of drinks and sit at the outdoor bar area which overlooked the water. Four of of five of us ordered this crazy ass beer and margarita combination of a drink called a Coronarita. It was a huge, classic margarita with a 6oz Corona clipped to the side which poured into the drink as you sipped away. It was actually quite refreshing and we all got free drink shakers for ordering the $12 concoction. HA!
Even though it was on the later side, there were still tons of people left eating and drinking when we were seated. Our waitress was pretty cool and down to earth. She attended to us right away and explained the theme, menu, etc. We were starving by this point so we quickly decided on a appetizer to share. We put in for the 'run across America sampler' which included hush pups, chilly shrimp, Bubba's far out chips and dip, spicy chicken strips, and Mama Blue's fried shrimp. As you know, I don't love seafood. But, according to the fish lovers, the shrimp selections were decent. I enjoyed the hush pups, dip, and chicken. They weren't anything to write home about but at that point I would have eaten sh*t on a shingle. I was THAT
hungry. Still famished, I asked for an order of garlic bread. So buttery and yummy. And we ordered another round of libations, of course.
For the main course I had the Dixie Style Baby Back Ribs. I asked to substitute mashed instead of fries, which they screwed up. No biggie. I heart fries, too. The ribs were tender and delectable with very little sauce, as preferred, and the portion was ginormous. The hubs killed his Lt. Dan's Drunken Shrimp which was char-grilled shrimp and Andouille sausage with mashed and bourbon sauce. One cousin enjoyed her Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp served with Cajun marmalade and fries. Another totally liked her Jenny's Catch with Lobster Butter Sauce which included fresh pan seared fish over mashed, sauteed spinach, and a creamy lobster butter sauce. Last but not least, my other cousin devoured his dinner, which if buzzed memory serves correctly was, Shrimp New Orleans, shrimp broiled with butter, garlic, and spices served with Jasmine rice.
The friendly staff work as a team and the guests are given a license plate to flip which indicates if you need service or not. The atmosphere is busy and loud but not annoying. Throughout dinner, the servers ask trivia questions about the movie Forrest Gump which is fun at first but gets old quick. In my opinion, the prices are average/high for a chain, the portions sizable, and the food is good but not spectacular.
The best part of the evening was hanging out with my family. We had lots of drinks, loads of laughs and everyone was pleased with their suppers. After we had our fill, we paid the bill and headed for a quick brewski around the corner and then to a dive called Daiquiri Deck. After a few more drinkies there, and meeting up with another cousin, we were all starving again. So we ordered, cabbed it there and back, and demolished some delish pizzas from Delosa's while taking it easy back at the condo. Terrific time!