One of the finer restaurants I visited on this trip is a place I have been before, The Island Room Restaurant at Cedar Cove, a place that's been around for 20 years and was recently awarded Florida Trend Magazine's "Top 250 Award" for the seventh consecutive year.
The first time was with my husband a few years ago. The elegant restaurant overlooks a small beach. That day, the weather was cool, and overcast, and the Island Room proved to be the perfect, romantic place to warm up with a cup of its house specialty crab bisque, baked clams casino and a crab special in a buttery garlic sauce -- all delicious. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to go back.
This time, it was a bright, sunny day and the water views from our table were beautiful. I sampled Chef-owner Peter Stefani's mouth-watering dish -- Florida Clams with Andouille Sausage and Plum Tomatoes. It featured Cedar Key clams from Stefani's own clam farm, and was served over spaghetti and with a huge chunk of crusty, homemade bread to soak up the delectable juices. Everything was so fresh - from the clams to the pasta to the tomatoes. Here's the recipe, in case you're interested.