I had been told to watch out for alligators. This being my first experience in a land where the reptiles are bigger than a loaf of bread, I had no idea what to expect. I pictured monstrous creatures leaping out of every body of water. I hadn’t imagined eating them.
With lizards skittering underfoot and hawks lazily skimming the breeze overhead, Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida felt easy to get lost in. After an hour or so of spotting turtles, herons, and innumerable dragonflies—plus a few sunbathing gators, none looking too capable of sudden movement—we headed out to grab lunch.
My guide was Dom “Dooch” Cook of Beer Kulture, who drove me to one of the best places I’ve eaten in recent memory. From the outside, it looked like a neighborhood fish-and-chips joint like any other. Inside, though, its decorator had clearly taken some cues from Pirates of the Caribbean.
We ended up with gator bites, fries, and a blackened-fish sandwich—all washed down with a Cigar City Florida Cracker. When in Florida, do as the Floridians do. Be the apex predator and eat those alligators. And bring along Dooch, if you can.