A Trip to the Forgotten Coast and a Loaded Baked Potato Salad "Lite"

Sometimes when you see a teeny, tiny window of opportunity.....you gotta grab it! So this past weekend, we took a spur of the moment trip to the Florida panhandle...also called the "Forgotten Coast". For some time I'd been dreaming of the beach and sand between my toes. I actually felt an ache for it. We picked a place we'd never been....Port St. Joe, Florida. Six hours from Atlanta....done! This cute little town used to have a bustling seaport and is the location where Florida's first constitution was signed (for you history buffs). It's also apparently an awesome place for fishing and diving for scallops in one of Florida's most pristine bays. Can you believe the annual Scallop and Music festival was the following weekend? DARN IT!!

My goals were as follows: beach time {including soaking up the sun, long walks, shelling, lots of sand everywhere, seagulls}; quiet; adult beverages; some good seafood; not thinking about work; exploring new places; RELAXATION.
I got everything I hoped for, with life's little twists of course.

You know, we had a gorgeous first day on the beach (St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was wonderful!) Then it rained and stormed the next 2 days. Of course, we were so happy to be away - it didn't really matter. We spent a day exploring nearby Apalachicola and it's waterfront district, about 25 miles east of Port St. Joe. About 90% of Florida's oysters are harvested in this area. (Honestly, I can't eat those little suckers.) Can you?

OK, so let's talk food. We had some overpriced and mediocre seafood. We had some tasty, yummy seafood. Got my fill of grouper, which I loved growing up in Florida. Our hotel, the Port Inn, served a bountiful breakfast buffet with eggs, bacon, cheese grits, waffles and made to order omelets (a breakfast for lounge-on-the-beach champions!). It's a good thing we were in vacay mode.....little to no guilt.
Our last meal before heading home was at the Dockside Cafe. I really liked this baked potato salad they served. Our waitress compared it to a loaded baked potato, with bacon, sour cream, green onions...you know the one. Something I typically never order. But, the salad was slamming. 
I decided I needed to re-make it at home, with a healthier version. {see recipe below}

So, it was a quick get-away. Well deserved and well appreciated. I would definitely recommended visiting this area for beautiful beaches and lots of charm. Finally, here are some highlights and recommendations:

The Port Inn & the Thirsty Goat Port St. Joe http://www.portinnfl.com/
Up the Creek Raw Bar  Apalachicola
Cafe Con Leche  Apalachicola
Cape San Blas beach and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park beach
Provisions Restaurant  Port St. Joe

p.s. Technically, I'm still learning about taking good photos. My husband is the one with the skills. But, the pic above is one I'm rather proud of. I like it a lot.

Here's my version of the loaded baked potato salad we had in Port St. Joe. It's much lighter, lemony, and pretty darn good.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad "Lite"
serves about 8

5 yukon gold potatoes, washed
1 lemon
4-5 green onions, sliced
10 pieces of tempeh bacon
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain (I used 0% fat)
3/4 cup sour cream, light version
salt and pepper to taste

Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch chunks and cook in simmering pot of water till fork tender. Drain and cool.
Meanwhile, brown strips of tempeh bacon in 400F oven on a sheet pan lined with greased foil.  Turn occasionally to brown both sides. Remove and cool. Chop bacon into 1/4 inch pieces.
In a large bowl, stir together juice and zest from one lemon, yogurt and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooled potatoes and mix. Toss in tempeh bacon pieces and green onions. Season again if needed. Mix. Enjoy at room temp or serve chilled.


  1. Okay, my ignorance for healthy food is showing...what is tempeh bacan and will i be kicked out of the Bacon is a Gift from God fan club if i use it?

  2. LOL....tempeh is a high protein fermented soy product. Tempeh bacon, looks kind of like bacon and tastes a bit like it. Definitely different texture and experience than eating the pig. I like the pig, I like bacon - but I try not to eat it very often. Tempeh bacon is smoky and flavorful....it's good. I won't kick you out of the club for trying it.

  3. Just wondering if the place you stayed was on the beach and also if it was in walking distance to any restaurants? Both requirements for an upcoming Fall beach trip for us!

  4. Hey Janet, It's not right on the beach. Beaches are 10 minutes in one direction and 25 minutes in another direction. Very close.
    Definitely within walking distance of several restaurants and shops.

  5. Hi Shannon,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about the Port St. Joe to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)


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