This week’s Digest highlights two of the most popularly ordered appetizers: Fried Calamari and Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. Here’s our list of the State’s best.


Rays in the City (Atlanta)

Fried/Breaded Calamari is a staple on many restaurant menus. I’ve enjoyed it at many restaurants, from Las Vegas, Nevada to Capetown, South Africa.  The Capital Grille (Chicago and Miami), La Camaronera (Little Havana, Miami),the Rusty Pelican (Miami) and Scoma’s ( San Francisco) serve some of the Nation’s best calamari. The breading at these restaurants is light and well seasoned. With distinguished tastes that may include grounded peppercorn, zests of lemon, fresh oregano, and white wine; these combinations are sure to please any palate. As a foodie, my repertoire -while extensive- has a far ways to go.Fried calamari is perhaps my most ordered appetizer and I have enjoyed and detested it at restaurants in Miami, Spain, South Africa, Chicago, Anguilla, France, London, and so on and an extensive list of so forth… However, the best Calamari I have had thus far is served at your local Cheese Cake Factory. Yup! The best things in life are free but this dish will only set you back about $12. The only way they could improve on the calamari at the factory is to offer freshly made hot marina sauce. I’d also ask for a side of lemon wedges. Just a sprinkle of lemon juice ups the taste by at least 5 notches. It’s no secret that the closer the coastline, the better the fish. The best fresh seafood is often found close to the harbor, and Maryland and San Francisco offer some of the best crab cakes a foodie could hope to devour. While I have enjoyed crab cakes at many restaurants, my cravings do not extend far beyond the Sunshine State. Here, honorable mentions include Joe’s Stone Crab (Miami), The Wave (Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Orlando), Cafe Luna Bistro (Saint Petersburg.. full disclosure,the site sucks) and Sale e Pepe (Marco Beach Ocean Resort, Marco Island).


Rays in the City (Atlanta)

However, I can assure your palate will do back flips for the crab cakes at Charley’s Steak House (Orlando). You can almost smell the ocean from your plate, and the freshly made mango salsa doesn’t hurt either. This appetizer is chock-full of crab meat with virtually no fillers (less gluten, more meat). Make your reservation and enjoy a very well seasoned precursor to an even more promising meal!

Select images © 2014 Donnatilda Tabana.