Monday, June 02, 2008

Sea Salt Eatery by Minnehaha Falls

What a glorious weekend. The sun was shining, the temperatures finally felt like summer is a possibility and I got to spend some time with my favorite dining companion. Matt & I had not seen each other conscious for three days straight. I did get a nice, quick dinner at the Strip Club in last Tuesday, but that was about it for together time. Once Saturday rolled around I was just dying to see him smile at me.

We spent a lot of the day driving around in the convertible and beaming at each other. For dinner, we decided to give Sea Salt another try. We'd been there for lunch over Memorial Day weekend and it was nice, if crazy busy. The food had been good and the atmosphere couldn't be beat. That had been mid-day on a Friday, though. I was worried about attempting to find a table on a Saturday night on a gorgeous early summer day.

There was a long line snaking through the restaurant interior. Rolling Stone's Hot Rocks was blaring and a few ladies couldn't help but shake their hips to Jumpin' Jack Flash as they waited for their turn to order. We ordered a pitcher of Bell's Oberon, a crawfish po' boy, the crab roll (a special that night) and two oysters on the half shell.

Matt carried the beer as we set out to find a place to land. At the front of the building a man was setting up a mic and a guitar who soon broke into Neil Diamond cover songs. We wandered over to the side of the building where there were many tables with no chairs. Every available space was occupied by young families. The little kids were all so cute in their baby Tevas or Crocs. I pointed to a bench and suggested that we just hang out and watch for a table. One couple and their baby girl were just digging in to their food. I doubted that they'd linger, and hoped we'd get a table in time for our feast.

There was this long haired guy in front of us selling hammocks that looked suspiciously unsteady. "You want a seater or a layer?" he asked the guy that approached him. We watched as his wife convinced him to sit in the display model. He promptly freaked out as the guy helped wrap him in the flimsy material. "Wait, wait, feet first, don't fall dude." The guy was extracted, his wife barely containing her smile. She gestured for him to try the "layer." As he sat down is sank nearly to the ground.

"Man, does that look uncomfortable," I noted. His wife was openly laughing at him now. Needless to say, the poor hippie guy didn't close the deal.

There was a distant wail of storm sirens. "Oh, far out. Here comes the weather!" He smiled at us, "Drippity drop - drippity drop!" He began to disassemble his operation.
It was hard to believe that there was weater coming in. The skies were still bright and sunny and a slight breeze licked our bare toes.

The young couple had just finished their food and were packing up. I asked if they minded if we moved to their table, just as our food had arrived. I realized that the breeze had stopped. Maybe there was something to this rain business after all. I looked up over the pavilion. Brooding gray cloud chugged up behind it. We had to eat fast.
We dabbed the oysters with a little horseradish and a bit of their cocktail sauce and slurped them down. They were huge - way too big to just take in one bite, but that was just fine. They were tender and salty as the sea. The fresh taste was like no other oyster I've ever attempted to eat here in the Midwest.

I greedily dug into my po' boy. The roll was toasted on the grill, charred and crusty. The sweet, tender fried crawfish were splashed with a bit of hot sauce (I added a little more.) The spicy tang, mellowed against the crisp greens, juicy tomato and creamy mayo - the whole thing pounded out a little Zydeco in my mouth. I couldn't believe how much flavor those little bugs held even after being fried and competing against all those other flavors.

Matt's crab roll was good - but my sandwich was better. It was big enough for two, so we shared it. The shrimp remolade salad that I'd had on our other visit was also good - but just nothing compared to this po' boy.

The clouds were tumbling in as we finished the sandwich. We grabbed our pitcher and glasses and headed back to our bench as the storm broke. Fat raindrops exploded onto the washed out wood on the deck. Soon there were mud puddles and gushing streams of water pouring down from the gutters. It wasn't windy, so we were able to just sit there, sip our beers and enjoy the weather. A couple of little girls kept running up to the edge, splashing, getting their hair wet before squealing and running back to their mothers.

Soon, the clouds broke and the sun began shining. The rain didn't let up, though. There was a rainbow over the park and we were treated to a sun storm.
Eventually the clouds drifted away and the raindrops shrank in size before ceasing to fall. Trees shook remaining droplets onto the pavement. People spilled out of the shelter and danced in the early evening sunshine.


At 4:10 PM , Blogger D said...

Been looking for a good reason to visit Minnehaha falls and the park. Sea Salt wasn't open the first time I did because it was off season.
Think I'll have a Po' Boy too! Looks great. Thanks.


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