Please enjoy photos of a peaceful winter sojourn to the beach. The weather was sunny and mild with a morning shrouded in mist thrown in for good measure. Happy New Year everyone!
Sitting at the bar at The Lighthouse Inn in Rockport sipping a luscious Chocolate Martini, I happened into a conversation with two San Antonians who were determined to try Crab-N, a restaurant that several friends had recommended. I had some fresh, juicy oysters at the Boiling Pot that evening with a nice hot shrimp gumbo but I was ready to enjoy the inside scoop on locally preferred seafood that came in options other than fried, not that I object to the occasional crispy treat.
Although I checked a map for the Crab-N, I didn’t see it until I was headed back to Rockport from Port A on the south side of Hwy 35. They are open for dinner from 5:00-8:30 or 9:00, depending on the day. I arrived around 5:30 and by 6:30 the main dining room was full. I immediately noticed the music -gypsy guitar- melodic but not overbearing, a nice compliment to the white linens and fresh flowers. My server, Kim, was knowledgeable about which fish was fresh, and what was locally farmed, and gave good suggestions about the various entrees, wines and salads. When I return I’ll make a meal of the appetizers and try the Crab and Shrimp Bisque, but I only had eyes for the Lump Crab Meat (sauteed) with Crab and and Shrimp Butter cream Sauce. Sound decadent? Ahhhhh. It was surprisingly light and delicately delicious, nicely offset by a side of long grain and wild rice with roasted pecans. Crab and shrimp morsels languished seductively in the butter cream sauce while the rice had great definition and texture with a decidedly nutty flavor. This luscious main course was preceded by a very nice salad of fresh greens with homemade blue cheese dressing. Fresh mixed greens might be more of a rarity than the hunka burning crab love, a welcome relief from southern fried cuisine.
I heartily recommend a stop at the Crab-N if you are staying in Port Aransas or in Rockport/Fulton. The menu is posted on their facebook page, linked above and offers tantalizing crab, fish and meat options (for those unfortunates who eschew bottom feeding). There are vegetarian plates at the Crab-N and a plethora of gluten-free options as well. My trip to Rockport would have been much less satisfying without the fresh oyster and crab delights I enjoyed, all locally caught. While Kim was kind enough to serve me a glass and 1/2 of Sauvignon Blanc, I spied a full bar just around the corner. I was too full for dessert, but word is the key lime pie is worth leaving room for.
I love winter trips to the beach, the quieter the better and this December proved to be no exception. I’ve taken to staying in Rockport on the bay, which attracts many birds and not the party crowd that Port Aransas sometimes does. Of course, that means I don’t get to hear the ocean waves crashing off my balcony, but sauntering a few miles down the road to the ferry is no big whoop. The sound of the waves, their incessant ebb and flow speaks to the most essential human experience: simply being in the vastness of time and space. We are reminded of our status as drops in the big bucket of life. Of course the ocean changes, as does the earth, but it remains the primal abyss, the womb from which we have all crawled onto the land.
Who does not identify with the little Sanderling below, a small bird facing the challenge of waiting for random tidbits to wash ashore? Certainly, if time is the cosmic ocean, then much of our lives are spent running around looking for these moments of discovery, of existential nourishment.
May we find peace in the ebb and flow of whimsy, in the depth and breadth of an ocean of time and space we can never fully apprehend or elude. Spending a few minutes with a little bird might be just the thing to ward off the demons of discontent and bring the gift of humility into our hearts.