Three Bites of Welcome to Oak Island

Our daughters arrive for their first visit to Oak Island this weekend.

Jim and I moved here three weeks ago. After all the unpacked boxes, wi-fi installation, acquiring new driver’s licenses, new “first in flight” plates, placing art on the wall, furniture in the rooms, filling the refrigerator and cabinets, their visit will make this a home, officially.

We are so excited to share and discover this new area with them. We want our kids to feel excited to visit and eventually find their own vacation rhythm here. There are so many delicious tastes to discover on the island. There is an assortment of Italian, Southern, and Asian food varieties. Ice cream, Italian ice, and desserts galore.

Here is a gentle start with three … (with more to come)…

Kai Joes

This is my place for shrimp (and tofu) tacos and tater tots and buffalo bites. Perfect uncomplicated tasty beach food. Flavorful sauces, crunchy fried treats, and a variety of tacos. Wait in line. Order at the window. Sit outside on a picnic bench. Enjoy the table of hot sauces. Watch out for the flies who like the taste too.


My place for a comforting bowl of greens, eggs, and grits. The potatoes (or sweet potatoes) add extra texture and flavor. I wasn’t sure about the double carbs…but it works, especially on a rainy beach morning. For sunny days, I would suggest one of the many biscuit sandwiches. We ordered take-out and enjoyed it on our deck.

The Lazy Turtle and Bar

If you are craving plump and juicy fried shrimp, sitting on a picnic table overlooking the ocean with your toes in the sand, this is the place. The half-eaten shrimp, hushpuppy, and crab sandwich speak for themselves. They (… couldn’t wait for the photo. Keep in mind, island time here (and serious challenges of understaffing) by the time the food hit the table, I was HUNGRY. The view and the food were worth the wait. And, enjoying good company does make the time fly.

These three bites offer orientation to the beach through seafood, handheld tacos and sandwiches, and Oak Island’s Southern heritage. In future posts, I hope to share the Asian food options here, as well as Italian. How does the beach get plated at these restaurants? More seafood options perhaps?

I am most excited about learning from these establishments and bringing these ideas home to my own kitchen. So far, I have celebrated seafood by cooking four dishes: Red Snapper with coconut milk, mustard seeds, and curry leaves, Grouper with ginger coconut curry, Black Seabass with sumac and zataar potatoes, and Teriyaki Mahi with grilled green onions and wilted spinach.

Red Snapper with coconut milk, mustard seeds, and curry leaves
Grouper with ginger coconut curry
Black Seabass with sumac and zataar
Teriyaki Mahi with grilled green onions and wilted spinach

I’m just getting started on celebrating coastal seafood. Send me suggestions. What are your favorite seafood dishes? Seafood recipe books?

Let’s keep eating, discovering, and celebrating familiar and foreign traditions.

Wishin you thoughtful bites and a happy summer,



Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s