We’re here in a quaint, upscale development tucked away behind sand dunes and ammophila grasses called Alys Beach. Our mission is to prepare a decadent dinner for 20 for the Destin Wine Charity Auction, an annual event that raises money for a collection of children’s charities. Michael has designed six courses with hors d’oeuvres and dessert that pairs with the wines of Arista Winery and Realm Cellars. Part of the menu is locally-caught cobia, so we took matters into our own hands on a fishing expedition yesterday. After 25 minutes of man vs. fish, man won. See how the events unfolded below. Now… off to prep!
Michael, Matt, and I arrived in Alys Beach at night, a two hour drive from Pensacola Airport. This is the view from our duplex balcony.
The courtyard in our quarters has a waterfall fountain. The French doors on the perimeter open into the kitchen, living room, and foyer. Curtains blow in the breeze.
The attention to detail in this development is impeccable.
Photographer Colleen Duffley set the expedition up -- and shot on Michael's boat. Sous Chef Matt and I were with el capitan Mike, from Houston.
Matt and I were joined by Wendy and Martha, two impressive outdoors women, if I should say so myself.
On the lookout post for cobia. They swim from east to west along the shore, and we were hot on their trail.
Michael and Colleen's boat in the distance. They would catch six Spanish Mackerel and one Kingfish.
Cobia like shade, so Mike has sunk a few blue tarps in strategic places around the bay. We found a nursery and teased a playful pre-teen. We had to wait for a more mature, larger fish to seal the deal.
Matt battled with a live one for about 25 minutes, until he tired and came up to the surface enough for Mike to gaff him into the boat. I recorded the whole thing on the Flip.
Victory is sweet and will be tasty as our first course of cobia carpaccio later tonight.
Back on the beach at 4:00 p.m., Michael's haul was on display.
Poolside in... Morocco?
We are the champions.