Monday, November 4, 2013



“You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher
Come on baby, light my fire.”

                  -The Doors-

By Doc Lawrence

TALLAHASSEE, FL—The genesis of The Doors, rock music’s legendary band, could be here on FSU’s campus. Harold Pinter’s play, “Betrayal,” starring Daniel Craig (a/k/a James Bond) and directed by Mike Nichols is playing to sold out audiences on Broadway. In 1963, another Pinter play, “The Dumb Waiter,” was performed on the stage at Florida State’s Conradi Theater. One cast member was Jim Morrison, a student here who left North Florida for LA and started a musical wall of fire with The Doors.

While Jim Morrison was at FSU, Coach Bill Peterson launched another firestorm with a pro-style offense, built around Fred Belitnikoff and Steve Tensi that literally revolutionized college football. Since the days of Morrison and Peterson, FSU has continued to lead in the arts with renowned drama and music departments and an entertaining football team that, combined with local restaurants, the arts opportunities here and access to natural wonders makes a visit to Florida’s capital city memorable.

2013 looks like a special football season and a perfect time to introduce some advanced tailgating along with the attractions of the area. With the Gulf of Mexico just south of Tallahassee, tailgating showcases seafood and local fresh farm products. Tallahassee, a short drive to Thomasville in Georgia has the good fortune to have restaurants galore, with many on par with some of the best in much larger cities like Jacksonville, Atlanta and Orlando.

There are special foods in the area, as Deep South as any place along the Gulf Coast, and if you have  the nose of a truffle hound, you can uncover influences that harken to the early Spanish settlers almost 500years ago, some French settlers along with Native American and African American food and cooking traditions. More than one chef told me long ago that the great Southern staple Hush Puppies originated here. If you want red snapper, grouper, fresh shrimp, oysters, catfish, quail, smoked mullet dip (which is very delicious), the feast before kickoff at Doak Campbell Stadium is the place to roam.

Cypress Restaurant is owned by Tallahassee natives David and Elizabeth Gwynn and opened for business in April of 2000. David graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. David went on to work with superstar chef Dean Fearing at The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas after graduation.
Cypress Restaurant's Elizabeth and David Gwynn

Avenue Eat and Drink just around the corner from the Stat
e Capitol remains a top place for gourmet food and fine wines. Backroads Bistro, across the street from Cyprus, is soaring in popularity, a testament to its roots along the coast of the Big Bend area.

Whether a time to celebrate or just the end of the week, the Bradfordville Blues Club really rocks with big name blues performers like the incomparable EG Kight. A visit here and you can almost hear Jim Morrison singing a Doors classice, “Roadhouse Blues.”

Just beyond the city limits is Jan Bradley Parker's wonderful country store where the sausage is homemade and the grits superior to any I’ve had in the country. It helps when everything is up close and personal and more than one tailgater was serving meats from Bradley’s.

Memories abound here. The late Jim Crews, longtime Atlanta resident and very active alum was a ferocious tailgater and booster. On a given gameday Saturday, Tom Nelson might be serving his acclaimed smoked salmon and on this particular day, Lee Corso, ESPN’s delightful co-host of "GameDay" is all over the place. Bruce Jones, Chef Lara Lyn Carter’s dad, is an FSU graduate in the same class as actor Bburt Reynolds and her scallops recipe is dedicated to him. Note that a bottle of Plantagenet Riesling from Western Australia pairs wonderfully this magnificent dish.

Scallops in Whiskey Cream Sauce
            Chef Lara Lyn Carter
6 slices of Benton’s bacon
1 sweet onion chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
1 lb. scallops
1 lb. cooked linguine
Chop bacon into one inch pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat until done. Remove bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Cook the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add butter and garlic to skillet cooking for one minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for one more minute. Add cream and Jack Daniel’s stirring until well blended. Add scallops to cream mixture and continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes until the scallops are cooked through. Serve the sauce over linguine and sprinkle bacon over top.

Enjoy even more of North Florida:

1 comment:

  1. We enjoyed some fun tailgating this weekend before the big win over Miami. Cypress is a must-eat for anyone visiting Tallahassee, and I highly recommend it to anyone coming in for a game. Also, you can't beat that Bradley's sausage! Great post, Doc.