Singing "Sweet Home Alabama" all summer long...
Last week I covered Madame Owner's (MO for short) antiquing and general nonsense while she and her friend were the guests of Holly Hobby come to life, living in a rustic beach cottage on the bay in Gulf Shores. This week let's talk food! You can find good food other than seafood in and around this area, but why?
In the tourist season, Memorial Day to Labor Day expect a long wait (2 hours) most places if you wait until dinner time. Parents start to round up kids from the water around 4:30. By the time everyone is convinced to head to the condo for baths and clean clothes and dad can round everyone up while mom finishes her make-up, it's six. Dad parks and you have arrived at exactly the same time as every other sunburned family with cranky kids who are suddenly starving to death though just two hours ago they swore off dinner altogether if they could just stay in the surf or pool a few more minutes. Drag the kids out just an hour earlier and you can cut the wait time in half.
One of the landmark restaurants in Gulf Shores is The Original Oyster House. It is situated in an area with several interesting shops so you can contemplate what piece of the beach to take home with you while you wait for your beeper to summon you to the hostess stand. The food is reasonably priced and it is very kid friendly. Your little darlings will be amused by the plastic alligator on their plate. MO had the shrimp florentine: "Shrimp stuffed with spinach, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese then topped with cream sauce." It was fabulous and beautifully presented, if you want seafood but cannot eat another fried shrimp. They have just recently (as in this month) been featured on Man Vs. Food and now offer a platter by that title. So good luck with that if it's your thing to see devouring food as a challenge. Here's what OOH's Facebook fan page says about the platter:
The Shrimp Basket is another moderately priced restaurant, and though nearly everyone orders fried shrimp, MO ordered the grilled shrimp skewers in Caribbean sauce which is served with shrimp slaw and toasted french bread. She passed on the slaw not being a big fan, but thought the entree was excellent. For a more traditional family dining experience you can try Desoto's. MO had the shrimp bisque which was fair (not the best she's ever had, by far, THAT was at a cooking school in Memphis) though she probably could have done with a cup instead of the bowl, and a house salad.
When MO travels to Gulf Shores with her family everyone wants to visit Lulu's. It is a destination dining experience. If you cross the Hwy. 59 bridge and hear loud music you might think there's a rowdy bar below but Lulu's is more of a place where mom and dad have a drink (something fun and colorful) with dinner while the kids play in one of the many sand pits, as opposed to someplace singles are going to tie one on and hook up.
Following the business plan of her famous brother (Lulu is Jimmy Buffet's sister) there is shopping for fun t-shirts while you wait for that beeper again. Such a clever idea to make money on folks while they wait instead of making them mad. The music aside from Buffet, of course is more vacation fare;
Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, and some oldies too. There is live music every night. Is there anything not delicious on this menu? See the complete menu HERE. There is also a special food allergy menu available. MO's friend had the fried green tomato BLT which is outrageously delicious! MO had the mahi sandwich which is good but she should have gotten the mahi tacos which are unbelievable. One thing that is everyone's favorite is the pina coloda smoothie, which is non alcoholic . It is delicious and everyone is going to need their own because no one will want to share. MO tried the mango one this time. Don't do it. It wasn't any where nearly as good as the pina colada and she was mad at herself for wasting the calories. Lulu has a new cook book out also called Crazy Sista Cooking. Well, now you have to love that. Every Saturday during tourist season Lulu's also hosts a Fresh Art Market featuring arts and crafts by local artists and a portion of the proceeds is donated to the local county school's fine art departments
Personally MO's favorite thing from the gift shop, since she didn't really need a fan disguised as a crab was a sign that said:
ASAP: As southern as possible.
Happy travels and eating, y'all!