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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Dinner at Triad Seafood Market and Cafe in Everglades City (Menu changed dramatically at Triad after the hurricaine)

Triad Seafood Market and Cafe, Everglades City

Triad Seafood Market and Cafe is a restaurant and market in Everglades City, FL. Triad specializes in, as the astute reader would guess, seafood. Having read good reviews online my dining companion and I decided to stop here on our way to a night sky outing at Big Cypress National Preserve, but more on that later. Triad has been serving in the area for over 30 years, a very good sign.

The seating at Triad is mostly outdoors, though they do have a screened area in back overlooking the Barron river. This helps to keep the bugs at bay, especially during sunset.

The first thing we tried was the restaurant's conch chowder. This was very good and nicely spiced with aromatic vegetables, bay leaf and oregano. I could have had a second bowl, but there were many other things to try on the menu.

We split an order of blue crab fingers. These were blue crab claws that were breaded and fried. This dish was absolutely delicious, made even better by the in house made tartar and cocktail sauces served with it. Once we started eating this, it was very hard to stop!

Triad is known for it's all you can eat stone crab specials, which are priced at $80, $120 and $160 dollars for medium, large and jumbo sizes respectively. I thought this a bit much and at retail prices, you would have to eat almost 5 pounds of jumbo crab claws just to break even. As such, we opted to buy a couple of the large claws from the market to eat later. Expertly cracked and very sweet and meaty, the claws were very good and highly recommended.

We finished up ordering a fried oyster sandwich and a fried seafood basket. The oyster sandwich was delicious, and came with about 8 large fried Apalachicola oysters. Fries, hush puppies, lettuce, pickles onion and tomatoes completed this dish. The fries and hush puppies served here were also very good; the exception rather than the rule.

The fried seafood basket was also very good. Grouper, shrimp and clam strips came with fries, hush puppies, tartar and cocktail sauces. Both the sandwich and seafood basket were excellent.

With it getting dark, my dining companion and I continued on to the night sky outing at Big Cypress National Preserve. These are ranger guided tours of the night skies over Big Cypress by laser pointers and telescopes. Being in between Naples and Miami, Big Cypress has some of the darkest skies in the Eastern United States. It was recently granted Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark Sky Association, a group dedicated to the protection of night skies from light pollution and maintaining the fragile ecosystem of the areas.

This was a very good night out and highly recommended. I am not much of an astronomy aficionado, but appreciated the night sky over Big Cypress and really being able to see the stars and constellations. We were even able to see a few satellites passing by. These could be differentiated from a plane as it was traveling across the sky without any anti collision lights. Views like this are something not possible over virtually all urban areas. Even better, the tour is offered at no charge and is open to the public. The remaining two tours for the 2016-2017 season will be given February 10th at 7 PM and March 25th at 8 PM. As a courtesy to others, try to bring red lighting. This will not affect others light/dark adaptation when star gazing. Chairs and insect repellent are also helpful.

Triad Seafood Market and Cafe
401 School Dr. W.
Everglades City, FL 34139

Open 1030-6 PM Monday-Saturday, 1030-5 PM Sunday; All major credit cards accepted; Kid's meals served; Closed in the summer months, please inquire.

Big Cypress National Preserve
33100 Tamiami Trail E.
Ochopee, FL 34141

Enclosed dining area, Triad Seafood Cafe

Fried oyster sandwich

Fried blue crab fingers

Large stone crab claws

Fried seafood basket

Ranger guided astronomy tour; photo courtesy of The National Park Service
Night sky, Big Cypress National Preserve; best viewed full screen

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