Friday, May 18, 2012

Birthday's And Coconut Shrimp Lunch

Nestled in the heart of Smithtown, Long Island, sits a restaurant called “The Garden Grill”. I have passed this charming old Victorian country house many times going through town, but never had the pleasure of dining there, until last Wednesday.

My “sewing” group friends chose this lovely restaurant to take me out for lunch and celebrate my Birthday. I was pleasantly surprised when they suggested going out for lunch. Usually about every Wednesday we all get together to have our “sewing group at my house. When I say “sewing,” that means many different things, which would include crocheting, knitting, counted cross stitch, embroidery, crafts, and of course your traditional sewing projects. We all have learned from each other and have shared in each other’s celebrations as well as sorrows. It is a day of friends getting together that have the same things in common, we laugh, tell stories, chat about family, vent, share photos, recipes, and sometimes even cry. I was very blessed to have met these ladies and am very pleased to welcome them in my home.

As I entered The Garden Grill for the first time, I felt like I was stepping back in time. This 120 year old Victorian house was converted into a family owned country inn. The rooms are all romantically decorated with beautiful floral accents, ornate moldings, antique furnishings, black and white old photographs of family weddings, beautifully crocheted doilies, tea pots with cups, and so much more you didn’t know where to look first. The décor was definitely reminiscent of another era but had such a warm atmosphere that if you love the Victorian old world, this is the place for you to enjoy.
The Garden Grill

Our table was round with an elegant gold damask tablecloth. Flowers adorned the center of the table and water with lemon was poured in our glasses. The china was white with gold trim, and everything was placed perfectly. The choices on the menu at The Garden Grill include a wide variety of pasta, steak, seafood, and salads. As we were reading the menu everyone was saying that the description of each dish sounded scrumptious. There was a basket of sun-flower seeded bread on the table and to accompany the warm bread was sun dried tomato butter. Now our lunch was served and I couldn’t wait to taste my choice. The luncheon platter that I selected was called Coconut Shrimp. It arrived in a large white bowl filled with crispy fried, coconut crusted shrimp, on a bed of mixed greens with pecans, walnuts, mandarin orange slices, and drizzled with a ginger dressing. Simple but tropical, crispy and flavorful, I definitely made the right choice. No doggie bag this time, I ate it all and enjoyed every mouthful. My friends had a variety of different menu choices and they all agreed that our lunch was a yummy way to celebrate my special day. So as we left The Garden Grill that day, I know I will unquestionably go back there again someday.

After we had our fabulous lunch we all went back to my friend’s house to work on our sewing. Again to my surprise there was tea, coffee plus cake for my Birthday all out on her beautiful dining room table. The cake was not a traditional Birthday cake, but huge cupcakes that they put a candle on to sing Happy Birthday. The cupcakes were so big that we cut them so we could taste a piece of each. They were so delightful and different, but unbelievably decadent. The choices included were a carrot cake cupcake, red velvet, German chocolate, strawberry shortcake, hostess, and an Oreo cupcake. That to me was a perfect ending to a wonderful Birthday, with friends, good conversation and of course delicious food. So a big thank you to Carolyn, Ginny, Elaine, Debra, and Cathy plus two other “sewing” group friends that were not able to attend Kris and Carolyn.

So, as I was writing this blog I kept thinking about the Coconut Shrimp that I had at The Garden Grill. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to recreate the crispy fried Coconut Shrimp dish? I found a recipe that I had from a while ago, that I created and think you will love it. So, thank you Garden Grill and to my friends for a wonderful Birthday that I will remember for a long time. Enjoy!!

Coconut Shrimp

1 lb of uncooked shrimp peeled, deveined, with or with out tails.
Peanut oil or vegetable oil (for frying)
1/2 cup of ice water
1/4 cup of cream of coconut (you can find this in the drink mix isle)
3/4 cup of flour, sifted
3/4 cup of Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
Salt and pepper to taste

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix ice water, cream of coconut and flour together in a bowl, add your salt and pepper to your taste, this is your tempura batter. (You can also buy in the grocery store pre made mixes of tempura batter) Next, mix in a shallow bowl the Panko breadcrumbs and the shredded coconut together. Set aside. Put oil in pan and heat up, so you will be ready to fry the shrimp. Working with one shrimp at a time, dip in tempura batter, then coat the shrimp in the panko with the coconut and place on baking sheet. You can have all the shrimp ready to fry and can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead of time. Cover and chill. Now once oil is heated, place very carefully in hot oil and fry till golden brown. Can be served on top of a mixed green salad or also as an appetizer with a ginger dipping sauce or ginger vinaigrette.

Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2012 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Happy belated birthday Dottie! Sounds like you have a great bunch of friends, that know good food as well as quality restaurants. I have had coconut shrimp before and it is amazing-I will need to try this version. That picture does make me hungry. Enjoy the weekend!

  2. Thank you Tina and glad that you enjoyed my story and recipe. I do have a wonderful group of friends and lunch was so delicious. You must try the shrimp, it is easy and a great dish for the summer, light and crispy. You have a great weekend as well. :)

  3. This looks wonderful. A local restaurant serves coconut shrimp with an orange marmalade dipping sauce and it's great. Never thought about making it at home. We will have to try this recipe.


  4. Hi Steve, I can't tell you how pleased I am that you are enjoying my blog posts so much. Thank you. This recipe of Coconut Shrimp is really easy and it is like you are eating it on a tropical island. Now with the summer, they would be a wonderful dish as an appetizer or mixed in a salad. Enjoy!