≡ Menu

Family Birthday Dinner + Recent Eats at the Beach

I’m packing up to head back to Charlotte after a long weekend visiting my family. It’s been a great few days with lots of good eats so I thought I’d put together a recent eats post for ya while I enjoy one last oceanfront blogging session.


The highlight of my trip was a dinner out with my parents and my grandmother for my birthday. We went to Marina Cafe and my mom told me that they also took me there when I turned 5! She told me all about how she got me all dressed up and fancy for the dinner. 🙂


Perhaps the most laughs I had of the trip was on the drive to dinner playing SnapChat with my grandmother. This was her favorite filter. (Follow our antics @ jendecurtins.)


It made my heart so happy that she came out to dinner with us!!!

Oyster Salad at Marina Cafe

My mom and dad ordered a spinach and fried oyster salad to start and shared some with me. It also had blue cheese, applewood bacon and candied nuts. You can never go wrong with fried oysters!

Pork Belly Appetizer at Marina Cafe

I started with the pork belly appetizer. It was served over black rice and to die for!

Sauteed Grouper at Marina Cafe

For my entree I had local sauteed grouper with a ginger soy sauce, avocado crema, purple hull peas and cucumber salad.

Smoothie Bowl

Back at home, I started most days off with a smoothie bowl and topped it with my dad’s homemade granola.

Scrambled Eggs and Fruit

One morning was fresh fruit and scrambled eggs (and a side of cake but more on that later).

Bacon and Eggs at The Done Hole in Destin

And this morning we finally visited The Donut Hole. We got there at 8 a.m. hoping to beat the crowds but arrived to find a short wait AND they were out of apple fritters. AHHHH! I went with a sour cream cake donut instead and had scrambled eggs and bacon too.

Sandwich on the beach

Lunches were my favorite kind of beach lunch. A sandwich on my dad’s freshly baked bread.

Watermelon on the beach

And lots of watermelon!


One day I made a salad but quickly went back to sandwiches for the remaining days.

Ina Garten Perfect Roast Chicken

My dad had to work my first night here so I cooked dinner for my grandmother, mom and me. You can never go wrong with Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken.


I roasted the chicken on top of potatoes and onions and made a big batch of my braised red cabbage on the side.

Mussels in Coconut Curry

On the evening of our dolphin cruise we went to a new French-Vietnamese restaurant after. We started with coconut curry mussels.

Co'm Tam

And I had this Co’m Tam dish that was a mix of fried egg, pickled veggies, shrimp and rice. They served it with a fish vinaigrette-sauce-ish thing on the side and it was different and good.

Grilled Shrimp and Plantains

My favorite dinner of the whole trip was my dad’s peanut butter shrimp and grilled plantains. I’ll be sharing the recipe for both super soon! 🙂

Grilled Shrimp and Plantains

I wish you could stick a fork through the screen and taste these plantains. They’re INCREDIBLE! I can’t wait to share the recipe!

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

And finally, my dad baked an old fashioned yellow cake with chocolate icing and I’ve been eating away at it for the last couple of days. A slice after breakfast? Sure. A mid-afternoon treat? Why not! 🙂 My mom helped with the frosting and accidentally used salted butter but I kind of liked the salted chocolate effect it gave it!

Off to enjoy my final bit of time with my fam and the beach. I’m sad to leave but I miss my fiance and my girls so I’m excited to see them tonight.

Have a great day friends!

What’s your favorite type of donut? 

What’s your favorite food to eat on the beach? 

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Lizzie June 14, 2016, 12:47 pm

    All your meals look so fresh and tasty! I don’t like donuts, gasp! Haha, but I love a quick and easy turkey sandwich (always add EXTRA lettuce and spinach, so basically a salad in between two pieces of whole wheat bread) at the beach!

    • Jen DeCurtins June 14, 2016, 3:48 pm

      I totally get not liking donuts. I have been on and off with them over the years but lately I’ve been back ON! 🙂

  • Alyssa June 14, 2016, 1:29 pm

    Those meals look delish! I can’t wait for the PB shrimp recipe. My favorite donut is a peanut donut. It’s an old fashioned donut with glazing and covered in chopped peanuts. MMMmmm.

    • Jen DeCurtins June 14, 2016, 3:48 pm

      My dad has been making this recipe forever! I am excited to share it with y’all! I love old fashioned donuts. So good!

  • JennyV June 14, 2016, 1:53 pm

    My favorite donut comes from a gas station chain (Casey’s) in r Midwest – maple frosted cake donut. I don’t know why it’s so good – a tiny bit crispy on the edges and perfectly soft on the inside… Yum! Maybe it also reminds me of road trips as I rarely eat donuts but might get one while heading out of state!

    Not many beach days in landlocked Iowa but I usually go with turkey sandwiches and fresh fruit.

    • Jen DeCurtins June 14, 2016, 3:47 pm

      Love this! They sound delicious!

  • Rebecca June 14, 2016, 2:27 pm

    I’m weird, I don’t really like donuts.

    Happy birthday! That cake looks delicious! And I *love* grilled or fried plantains, but I’ve never tried making them myself. Can’t wait to see the recipe! I’d forgotten how much I love them until my husband and I were in Jamaica a couple of months ago.

    • Jen DeCurtins June 14, 2016, 3:47 pm

      i really didn’t used to care for donuts…i’ve grown to appreciate them more in the last couple of years! 🙂 i’m looking forward to sharing the recipe (and making them again so i can share!!!).

  • Bonnie June 14, 2016, 2:43 pm

    I love when you post about these visits, mainly because my parents live there too and I grew up in that area. (Marina Cafe was a good prom night restaurant and my cousin used to be a chef there.) Have you all ever been to Vintij? My hub and I love that place. I am counting down the days until a weeklong visit for July 4th. I really want to go to The Donut Hole, but I know how those waits can be. Eagerly awaiting the peanut butter shrimp and plantains recipe!

    • Jen DeCurtins June 14, 2016, 3:31 pm

      Thanks so much for the restaurant suggestion. Do you have any others? We’ve found most places pretty hit or miss and only have a small handful of favorites. RE: The Donut Hole…I would just stop in and grab a donut or dessert to go and skip the food.

      • Bonnie June 15, 2016, 2:10 pm

        Yes to hit or miss! And sometimes I think the long waits cause the food to suffer in some of those places. From reading your blog I feel like you would really like Vin’tij Wine Bistro and it’s definitely off the beaten path from all of the tourists. It’s in a strip mall-type place and doesn’t look like much from the outside but it’s great. Mimmo’s is a really good Italian place and is also in a strip mall place, probably not on the tourist radar. And my mom and I love to have lunch at 790 on the Gulf — you can’t beat the view!

  • Amanda June 14, 2016, 3:05 pm

    Wow that grouper and the plantains looks exceptionally delicious! My favorite type of doughnut is an apple cider doughnut. My favorite food to eat at the beach would have to be a container of cold fresh fruit!

    • Jen DeCurtins June 14, 2016, 3:34 pm

      I’ve never tried an apple cider donut! I need to get on it! 🙂

  • Giana June 14, 2016, 9:23 pm

    That plantain recipe!!!!! That PB shrimp recipe!!! OMG to both!!!! Mouth watering as I type…cannot wait for them! 🙂

  • ACKTIVE LIFE June 15, 2016, 8:19 am

    1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that dress…You look amazing! 2. Happy Birthday! 3. I love your Dad’s sourdough bread 4. Big sandwiches are my absolute favorite to take to the beach! So glad you had a wonderful trip…XOXO

  • Hope June 15, 2016, 9:42 am

    Happy birthday! My favorite from The Donut Hole is red velvet…a vacation treat I look forward to every year.

    • Jen DeCurtins June 15, 2016, 11:38 am

      Oh I saw that one and wish I would have tried it! Next time! 🙂

  • Jennifer June 15, 2016, 2:00 pm

    Your grandma is ADORABLE.

    • Jen DeCurtins June 15, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Aw, thanks! She reads here and told me yesterday she hasn’t decided if she forgives me for putting the SnapChat photo up! 🙂

  • Amy K June 15, 2016, 5:52 pm

    Happy Birthday! All I can say is “WoW” to all the special meals and treats! That cake is my husbands favorite that his Mom would make for his b-day. The icing is like fudge with evaporated milk in it, and it’s not always easy to get right but I try! I wonder if yours is similar, it seems southern to me. By the way, your dad should totally sell and ship that bread, it looks so good!
    On the donut topic, I can enjoy an occasional cinnamon twist.

  • DeeDee June 17, 2016, 3:42 pm

    Happy birthday! I’m also a fan of Ina’s roasted chicken recipe, and make it regularly. Another nice veggie option in the pan (I rotate through several combinations since I make it so often) is Brussels sprouts.

  • eliz June 17, 2016, 5:23 pm

    I wonder if your dad bakes his sourdough in a dutch oven or on a stone? I’ve been using a stone with a bowl on top for steam, but my bottom crust is turning out tough.

  • Laura June 18, 2016, 10:33 am

    That sounds like such a lovely weekend!

    I love donuts, especially Krispy Kreme. That’s about the only dedicated donut shop I’ve ever been to, but I’ve never had a bad or boring donut from there!

    If I go to the beach, which doesn’t happen often (and it usually rains!), I like to get a cone of chips with salt & vinegar. And then later on I’ll get a little pot of cockles. I love it!

  • Alison | Daily Moves and Grooves June 18, 2016, 2:02 pm

    Looks like a beautiful time! So glad to hear you got to spend QT with your family 🙂
    And I always think of you whenever I eat something (always a sandwich now) at the beach, because you were the first one to say that sandwiches taste better on the beach! It’s so true!!

Leave a Comment