Seaside and its immediate surroundings offer a good mix of indoor and outdoor dining options, from sit‑down upscale to stand‑and‑eat food truck fare. It’s all good, but weather can play a crucial part in the experience.
My family and I recently paid a visit to Bud & Alley’s Taco Bar, one of the casual offshoots of the original (and still flourishing) Bud & Alley’s flagship restaurant. It’s located in the labyrinth of shops, galleries and dining establishments on the Gulf side of 30A, overlooking the beach. It’s a place built for wandering, checking stuff out, and slowly progressing to the sand.
It was a weekend, and it was raining, sometimes hard, but we needed to go that day. I figured—correctly—that we wouldn’t have a problem finding parking, or have to stand in a long line for a table. When we got to the Taco Bar (shortly after they opened), the staff seemed a little surprised to see us. Nevertheless, they swung into action to get us set up.
The Taco Bar itself is located in a small building, with a bar (plenty of tequila and cocktail supplies, plus beer), a row of stools, and specials written up on boards. Just outside is a covered dining area, with brightly painted, freestanding tables and chairs for days when there’s sunshine to soak up. This wasn’t that kind of day, so we got a table under the awning.
Our server carefully blotted up the moisture, wiped off the chairs, and even placed a cup to catch a small drip coming down through a crevice on the awning. Napkins and bottles of hot sauce were brought out, and we slipped indoors to place orders at the bar.
The menu offers a breakfast burrito (with scrambled eggs, chorizo, queso and pico de gallo) a daily quesadilla, and tortilla soup. The rest of the menu is divided into tacos, burritos, bar sides and kids meals. I did not see any desserts, but the surrounding area offers many sweet options.
My wife avoids dairy—something not easily done at a lot of taco joints—but Bud & Alley’s seems to have foreseen that possibility, and many of the tacos are offered without cheese, or can be easily adjusted. We got a side of tortilla chips and queso, my wife ordered a shrimp burrito and carnitas taco (no cheese). I ordered a Baja style grilled fish taco, and a grilled marinated skirt steak taco.
The chips and queso came out, along with napkins and plastic ware. The cheese was hot, smooth and creamy, with a spike of jalapeño that took my daughter Grace a little getting used to, but she acquired the taste and dug in.
During the short wait before the rest of the food was served, I took Grace out into the rain in search of the restrooms (there’s public accommodations nearby), and we did some puddle jumping and window‑shopping. She talked the whole way—standard operating procedure—and tickled a passerby with her solemn observation that the chips “had just a hint of salt.” Daddy’s Little Gourmet.
Out came the tacos and burrito. The food was served in paper trays, and could be eaten either out of hand (tricky), or with knife and fork. The tacos were good sized, loaded with meat and fresh vegetables, and tasted great with or without the jalapeño sauce. The fish taco had a tangy avocado salsa. The shrimp in the plus‑sized burrito were large, and the carnitas and steak had a savory char. We enjoyed a messy, satisfying lunch, watching the vacationers dash in and out of cover across the street at the weekly farmers market.
Other taco options were grilled shrimp, chorizo with ground pork shoulder, chicken with charred corn salsa, and vegetable with Spanish rice and pinto beans. Burritos include steak, chicken, carnitas, chorizo, and vegetable. They also have sides of chips and guacamole, chips and salsa, rice and beans, and shredded queso.
You pay for your food when you order, and the restaurant adds a 15 percent gratuity to all orders (this is clearly spelled out). If the weather had been a little more favorable, I expect we’d have had more company. As it was, there was one other party while we were there. It wasn’t hard to imagine tables full of diners on a summer night, enjoying their margaritas and cervezas under the lights.
Atmosphere is always good, but in any weather, you should go for the food.
- Gulfarium Unveils New Dune Walk
- News from the Gumbo World – Throwdowns and Fresh Starts
- NWF State College Techies Honored
It’s Not Augusta National
By Charles Morgan III The beach that runs the length of the Panhandle of Florida was once known for its soft, snow-white sand. It is now getting recognition for the threatening...
The music-loving portion of the Beachcomber community—most of us, I’d say—got some devastating news early in the week when we learned that the talented young vocalist Buddy Brumit died in an automobile...
Towne: The Records That Changed Our Lives
Jon Decious: While there must be at least 100 records that have changed my life, looking back I think Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind might be the one responsible (to blame) for...
Corner Wine Bar Offers Medley of Contrasting Tastes, Textures
I’ve been a fan of Vin’tij since it opened more than 20 years ago in Miramar Beach. In case you haven’t been for a while, they’ve moved from their more modest location...
NOW OPEN SEED LIBRARY Walton County Coastal Branch Library, Santa Rosa Beach 850-267-2809 The library welcomes the community to participate in the “Community Seed Library” located next to the New Books section....
MKAF Outreach Makes History with Two-Week Artist Residency Program
Recently, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) Community Outreach impacted 5,700 children in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The original touring productions of The Snow Queen and The Reluctant Dragon by The Atlantic...