100 Dishes in Alabama: Felix’s Fish Camp

Felix Fish Camp

It’s been a while since I’ve written about our adventures through the list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die. We spent a little time in south Alabama this weekend, so we were able to hit a few spots on the list. I must say, I have missed working my way through the list, and I’ve certainly missed sharing with you all the dishes that have given my homeland quite a name in the culinary world.

Felix Fish Camp

Friday night took us to Felix’s Fish Camp on the Causeway in Spanish Fort, where they are known for their crab soup. And let me tell you, that crab soup did not disappoint. Jonathan ordered it as soon as the waitress told him it was their specialty, and he was sweet enough to share it with the rest of us. It was thick enough to eat it from a plate (which MA did), and it was full of fresh, lump crab meat. He declared it the best crab soup he’d ever eaten, and I’m inclined to agree. It was some delicious stuff. It’s definitely not a low-calorie dish, but it’s worth every bite.

Not only was the crab soup delicious, but we each really enjoyed the seafood we ordered. Felix’s sits right on the Mobile Bay, and their seafood is all freshly caught. J and I both ordered the grouper, grilled and lightly seasoned. MA ordered the fried fish, and it was crispy with a hint of spiciness. The wait staff really goes to great lengths to serve the food well and make customers feel like it is a special event to dine at Felix’s. All in all, it was a fabulous meal.

The next time we are passing through Mobile, we will definitely stop by Felix’s again for a bowl of their famous crab soup. I would suggest taking advantage of their reservations or call-ahead seating options, as we had to wait for an hour. Not bad for a Friday night, but we will call ahead next time. They also suggest dining around sunset to take advantage of their spectacular view. The back wall of the restaurant is complete windows and it overlooks the bay. I’m sure that dining with that view would be a special treat.

100 Best Dishes in Alabama: Goal Post BBQ

My dear husband had to go to Anniston, Alabama the other night to do some business, so the girls and I decided to ride along and hit one of the spots on our “100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die” list. Goal Post Barbecue is the quintessential Alabama hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint, and I loved every minute of our visit there.

I mean, really. Shouldn’t all southern BBQ joints look similar to this? These are the places that give Alabama its unique flavor and texture. They make me glad I live here. And I knew we’d enjoy it when we saw the smoke house out back, complete with a huge stack of firewood on the front porch. It made me want a smoke house in my back yard.

Anytime you can order straight from a menu that looks like this, you now the food will be good. In today’s economy, if the food isn’t good, the restaurant won’t stay in business. So when you see a joint that still has the original 70’s characteristics, you know they aren’t getting by on charm alone. They’ve gotta have the whole package – good food, good service, good price.

And the fact that I wanted to steal these bar stools for my new kitchen didn’t hurt their image with me one bit. (I know I still owe you a reveal of said kitchen. I’m getting to it!)

Goal Post earned their spot on the list with their BBQ, but the menu highlighted that the onion rings were homemade. Neither Jonathan or I have ever been one to pass up a good homemade onion ring, so we got an order for everyone to share. They got three thumbs up from the Hill Four. Baby sister was the only one not willing to give them a try. She didn’t know what she was missing!

Goal Post offers its BBQ in several different forms: chicken halves, ribs, and pulled pork. In the end, tradition won out and Jonathan and I both ordered the pork plate.

Mine came with baked beans and cole slaw, his with fried squash and potato salad. The meat was excellent. It was tender and smoky, but not too smoky. It was topped with their BBQ sauce, which leans to the thick, tomato-based, more vinegary side. Tart, and not very sweet. Y’all know I prefer a sweeter sauce, but I really enjoyed this one. The baked beans were a good, homemade, traditional baked bean. Again, not sweet at all. The coleslaw was good, but I’ll admit I added a package of sweetener because I like a sweeter coleslaw. The sweetener made it perfect for my taste. Jonathan reported that the potato salad “was okay” and the fried squash was fair. The BBQ is definitely the strong suit at Goal Post.

Have y’all tried Goal Post? Or any of the other dishes we’ve covered? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

100 Dishes in Alabama: Amsterdam Cafe’s Crab Cake and Avocado Sandwich

Last weekend, in addition to my Women of Faith gig, my big girl had a soccer game in Auburn. It worked out really well, because we just stopped in Auburn on our way home from Atlanta to play a double-header. I’d never taken J and the girls to my alma mater, so it was fun. I really wish we could have spent more time, but that just gives us a good excuse to go back.

We snuck in a wee visit to campus before the games started. We timed it perfectly and got to hear the chimes at Samford Tower strike noon and play the fight song.

Obviously, we were dressed for three hours of soccer – not for cute pictures on campus. Don’t look too closely or you’ll see that I cut myself out of the picture. Sitting through three hours of soccer games means Nike shorts and a tank top are in order, not cute clothes that would be appropriate for campus pictures. Oh, well. Another good excuse to go back to Auburn soon!

After the soccer massacre games, we headed over to Amsterdam Cafe to wind down and strike another dish off of our list of 100 Things To Eat In Alabama Before You Die. Back in the day, Amsterdam was one of my favorite places in Auburn. My roommates and I were regulars there. We’d go for dinner and stay a while playing shulbok, a game sort of like skee-ball. We loved it! We thought their turkey wrap was the best sandwich ever created. Apparently, we were easily impressed. Jonathan and I ordered a turkey wrap, just for posterity’s sake, and while it was good, I’ve had equally good turkey wraps many times since our Amsterdam days. I think it’s safe to say that my memory of the turkey wrap was bigger and better than the actual wrap. And the shulbok game I was so excited to play with my family? They took them out. Sigh.

Amsterdam Cafe has definitely become more upscale since I was a college student. The dish that landed them a spot on the list is their crab cake with avocado sandwich. I can assure you that they didn’t serve crab cakes when I was there or Pop would have seen many more charges to Amsterdam on his credit card. Unlike the turkey wrap, the crab cake sandwich is quite remarkable. I actually could have done without the croissant and the avocado, but the crab cake was excellent. It was full of lump crabmeat, not too much breading, and delicately seasoned. I’d have to say that it was one of the finer crab cakes I have ever eaten. I wish I’d just gotten it as an appetizer or dinner, without the sandwich fixings, because I could have eaten six of them! They were delicious!

Because the girls love hummus, we ordered the hummus appetizer for them. It was one of the most creative, artsy displays I have ever ordered. Truly, the presentation on this dish was amazing.

It came with a generous serving of hummus, pepperoncini peppers, black olives, fresh red bell peppers, and lovely artichoke hearts. While the food combination was perfect, and I will definitely serve this at my next party, the quality of the actual ingredients fell flat. The hummus was obviously homemade and quite fresh, but a little bland. We typically enjoy a little more garlic flavor to our hummus. The artichokes were a really nice complement. The black olives were canned and lackluster. I would definitely have gone with a nice kalamata olive instead. The flatbread was marvelous and beautiful. I believe it was homemade as well, and I’d love to know how they did it. It was the best part of the dish.

So overall the trip to my favorite eatery that I was so excited about actually got mixed reviews. It’s okay, Amsterdam! You still hold lots of wonderful memories for me!

100 Dishes in Alabama: Stacey’s Old Tyme Soda Fountain

A few weeks ago when the girls and I were on our way to the beach for a few days, we stopped in Foley to try another dish from the “100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die” list. Although we’ve driven by Stacey’s Rexall Drugs and Old Tyme Soda Fountain many times, we were waiting for the perfect occasion when we were really hungry. We knew the ice cream treats from Stacey’s would be heavenly!

Stacey’s is a throw-back to a bygone era. It’s been in business for around 90 years, and they have maintained so much of the original character of the place. Not only is it a fun place to visit, they also serve some really great food!

I love a place where you can order and eat at the lunch counter!

They have the menu on a huge chalk board. Nothing much ever changes, though. Can you see that a cup of coffee is still 10 cents and a single scoop ice cream cone (which is really about three scoops) is only $2.00? Have you been to a fro-yo place lately and paid $16.00 for three people to eat? Then you can fully appreciate a $2.00 cone with me!

The sweet little parlor tables and chairs may not be original, but they sure are in keeping with the theme of Stacey’s Old Tyme.

This awesome juke box plays only classic rock and roll music. While we were there, we heard “Blueberry Hill”, “Hound Dog”, and “I Fall to Pieces”. Great music!

This is what we came for! The key lime milkshake is the dish that garnered Stacey’s a place on the list. I’m sorry to say that they were out of lime ice cream the day we went, so I had a double chocolate crunch shake that was every bit as luscious as it sounds. It was handmade by a real-life soda jerk, although that name sounds a bit harsh for a cute high school girl who is saving tip money for college.

Stacey’s is a fun, family-friendly place. I can just imagine stopping by there on the way home from school for an afternoon snack. I you are on your way to Orange Beach or Gulf Shores, when you get to Foley, turn right on Laurel Avenue and Stacey’s will be in the next block on your left. It’s easy to find and quick to stop by. By the way, they are still in the pharmacy business as well.

I found this promo for Stacey’s from a rental company, and I thought you might like to see it…

100 Dishes in Alabama: Priester’s Pecans

The littles and I headed out to the beach a few weeks ago, and on the way south we stopped by Priester’s Pecans to try another of the “100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die“. If you’ve travelled I-65 through south Alabama, you’ve probably passed Priester’s. It’s a local hot spot because of the remarkable pecan products they produce, and also because they cater to travelers. It’s nice to sit in the rocking chairs on their front porch.

My children look forward to a ride on the rocking horse swings.

They even have a fantastic area for the four-legged children to stretch their legs.

They have a cute little shop that jam-packed with tons of merchandise.

Including an assortment of Alabama and Auburn paraphernalia.

While the store and amenities are fun, the backbone of the Priester’s business is their pecan products. They have produced fabulous pecans and candies made with pecans for many years. In fact, you can go upstairs to their viewing area and look down onto their production area and watch the candies being made.

The items that won Priester’s a spot on the Alabama foods list are the fruit cake and the pralines.

The pralines are delicious. They are sweet, but not overly so. They have meaty pecans, and they are a perfect sweet snack. The fruit cake… well, I readily admit that I’m not a fan of fruit cake. I decided, however, to give it a fair try. I can once again conform that I just don’t like fruit cake. I’m sure that as fruit cakes go, Priester’s has a good one. But still, it’s fruit cake.

That being said, Priester’s has so many delicious candies and pecan flavors to try that I know they have something you will like. The turtles are a particular favorite of mine. Even if you aren’t a big fan of pecans, Priester’s is still a great place to stop, grab a cold drink, make a pit stop, stretch your legs, and hit the road again.

100 Dishes In Alabama: Tacky Jack’s Farmer’s Omelet

Y’all the Alabama Gulf Coast is one of my favorite spots in the entire world! Not only do we get to visit with my parents when we come down, we also usually get to see friends who are vacationing. The sugary sand beaches are the most beautiful in the world. The native live oaks are gorgeous. The way of life is relaxed and casual. We always find good deals at the outlets in Foley. And the food is the best. Hands down. I would be in big trouble if I lived here all the time. My scale and I would have a constant battle. I find it very hard to resist the fresh seafood, and the come-as-you-are-even-if-it’s-in-a-swimsuit atmosphere of restaurants at the beach is relaxing. Speaking of dining in a swimsuit, I don’t know that I’ve ever been to Tacky Jack’s in anything BUT a swimsuit. It’s my kind of place.

Even if you aren’t from Alabama,you might remember Tacky Jack’s as the place where President Obama ate dinner when he was at the Alabama Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill. I can understand why Tacky Jack’s was chosen for him – it represents the best aspects of life at the beach. Fresh seafood, a stunning water view, and a laid-back atmosphere. Did I mention that Tack Jack’s is my kind of place?

Making the list of “100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die” is Tacky Jack’s Farmer’s Omelet. Now, an omelet isn’t something I would normally order from a restaurant. However, this little project has given me many opportunities to broaden my culinary horizons, if you will. As omelets go, Tacky Jack’s farmer’s omelet is a good one. As the name implies, it is full of produce like onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and the most fabulous hash brown potatoes. (The potatoes are the best part; I could eat those by themselves and be quite happy!) It also has sausage, ham, and American and cheddar cheeses. It’s kind of an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type omelet.

The hash browns are hand cut and fried with the onions, peppers, mushrooms, sausage and ham. The cheeses are melted into the potatoes. The eggs are on top of the potato mixture, and more cheese is melted on top. Although we ordered the small size, it was more food than I could eat. I can’t imagine how big the large is!!

Of course, Tacky Jack’s has a full breakfast menu, and breakfast at Tacky Jack’s is a tradition on the Gulf Coast. My littles don’t enjoy eggs so much, so they opted for the french toast instead. MA said she just wanted a bite, and before we knew it, she and her sister had downed every bite.

I love how restaurants on the Gulf Coast are following after the pattern set by Lulu’s and installing play spaces for children to enjoy while the family waits on a table. We didn’t actually have to wait on seating this day, but my girls begged to play after breakfast was over.

The new Tacky Jack’s even provided a quiet spot for the parents to sit and watch the playground. Yes, definitely my kind of place!

The new Tack Jack’s location sits right across the water from another of our favorite places.

But her Lower Alabama Caviar and Cheeseburger in Paradise are a post for another day…

100 Best Dishes: Heaton Pecan Farm’s Pecan Pie

Boy, this is a hard writing gig…all this eating pecan pie and cheese biscuits and other delightful dishes 😉 Seriously, my girls and my husband and I have had the best time trying out the fabulous dishes in our journey to eat all 100 Best Dishes in Alabama. Of course, many of these dishes are not new to us – we have loved Alabama food for a LONG time and many on the list are our personal favorites as well. But we have also discovered some really delightful new dishes that we’d never tried before. This week we were introduced to Heaton Pecan Farm and their oh-so-yummy pecan pie.

While I’m not usually a huge fan of pecan pie (I much prefer lemon thank-you-very-much), I was pretty impressed with the Heaton’s pie. The crust was homemade and perfectly cooked. The filling was syrupy sweet and just the right texture – not to runny or sticky. And the pecans were the best part. They were meaty and delicious, without even a hint of bitterness. The Heaton’s make a good pie, y’all.

I’m sorry that’s the best picture I got of my piece of pie. It really was much more delectable than that picture represents. You see, the sweet little lady who cut it for me had the most gosh-awful time trying to get it out of the pan. It was a new pie, and mine was the first cut piece. Any of you who have ever tried to get the first piece of pie know that it’s darn near impossible to have the first piece look pretty. She apologized profusely that my pie didn’t look good. I made such a fuss about her not worrying about it, that I didn’t have the heart to pull out my big camera in front of her for fear of making her even more upset about it, so I just took a quick shot with my phone when she wasn’t looking. If she knew I was showing it all over the internet, she’d probably die of embarassment, but honestly, the pie tasted just as good in two pieces as it would have in one.

When we pulled up I saw a sign advertising that Heaton’s will ship their items to you. On their website, you can order pies, bulk pecans, fudge, or some of the most decadent-looking candies made from their pecans.

We also saw that they ship Belgian waffles, and we got to watch the ladies making those through a glass window that looks directly into their kitchen.

Heaton Pecan Farm is located in Clanton, Alabama, at exit 208 on I-65. If you are headed to the beach and want a sweet treat for the trip, stop by Heaton and enjoy a piece of pie.

100 Dishes in Alabama: Jim ‘N Nick’s Cheese Biscuits

After a hot and tiring morning at the splash pad, Pitter Patter and I stopped by our favorite BBQ joint in town for a quick bite to eat.

Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q has locations all over the southeast, but of course we like the original ones in Birmingham the best.

Their cheese biscuits earned them a spot on the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die list, but it could have just as easily been anything on the menu. That’s the reason Jim ‘N Nick’s is one of our favorites – everything is REALLY good. Of course, they are known for their BBQ. From pulled pork to smoked chicken, to ribs, it’s all scrumptious. The catfish rivals any place else in Alabama. But it’s their famous cheese biscuits that won them a spot on the list.

They bring out a basket of these little babies with your drinks. They call them “biscuits”, but they are so much better than a standard biscuit. They are cheesy, but there’s a hint of sweetness, too. They aren’t really dough-y like some biscuits can be. I ate three yesterday, but feel like I could have eaten a hundred. Some people might not agree with me, but I like them best dipped ever so slightly in one of Jim ‘N Nick’s tangy BBQ sauces.

While the biscuits were divine, I needed some “real” food, too. I would usually order the BBQ chicken sandwich with either the baked beans or hand-cut french fries. But yesterday I wanted something a little lighter. I opted for the greek salad with smoked chicken. Y’all, it was a good choice. It was a very traditional greek salad with lettuce, red onions, whole black olives, grape tomatoes, etc. But the dressing, oh the dressing!! I’m accustomed to more of a vinaigrette on my greek salad, but this dressing was creamy and spicy and tangy. It was to-die-for!

Y’all, I’m not kidding. Every-dadgum-thing they serve at Jim ‘N Nick’s is good. Little Pitter Patter even ate every bite of her grilled cheese. How can you not enjoy a lunch like that?!? Especially when the scenery across the table from you is this cute!

To see all of my “100 Dishes” posts, please click on the “100 Best Dishes” category on the left-hand side of my blog.

100 Dishes in Alabama: Half Moon Cookies and Marinated Cole Slaw at Full Moon BBQ

We have eaten at Full Moon BBQ thousand or more times, but I never knew about their half moon cookies until they were included in the 100 Things to Eat in Alabama Before You Die list. I have eaten their marinated cole slaw often with a delicious BBQ sandwich. It is, indeed, a yummy dish. I like cookies, so I gave them a try the next time we went for BBQ. They take a homemade chocolate chip cookie and dip one half of it in chocolate – hence the name “half moon”. I really like Full Moon BBQ, and I wanted to give them a fantastic review on their cookies. I hate to say it, but I was a little underwhelmed.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We love Full Moon BBQ and we get the marinated slaw often because it is really good. I could, in fact,  eat their BBQ salad everyday of my life. And the cookies are good – but they are JUST good. Not fabulous. Sorry, Full Moon. Don’t hold it against me. I’m a big fan of your BBQ and had you been included on the list for it, I would’ve given you high praise. But I still love you and your cole slaw!

100 Dishes in Alabama: Throwed Rolls at Lambert’s Cafe

Spring break was a week of fun traveling for 3/4 of the Hills (1/4 of us stayed home to work). We spent several days on the Alabama Gulf Coast, which gave us an opportunity to try out several of the dishes from the 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die list. One of the more lively and fun places on the list is Lambert’s Cafe in Foley. If you’ve ever been to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, you’ve most likely driven by Lambert’s. They are known as the “home of the throwed rolls.” I would describe it as Cracker Barrel with a kick. Lambert’s is a Southern cooking gem. They serve many favorite dishes like fried catfish, country fried steak, pot roast, meatloaf, and chicken and dumplings. Their side dishes are always my choice, though: mashed potatoes, fried okra, baked beans, homemade mac and cheese, and fresh turnip greens. I usually opt for the veggie plate. If you love southern country cooking, you will love Lambert’s food.

However, although the throwed rolls are good, better still is the atmosphere of the restaurant. If you are looking for a nice quiet dinner, you better look someplace else. If you want loud music, waiters who sing and dance, and a staff who plays tricks on the customers, Lambert’s is your best bet. And in case you are wondering, they really do throw rolls at you. Every few minutes two strapping young lads roll out a cart full of piping hot rolls. If you want one, you yell out “roll!!” In a few minutes, a waitress comes around with homemade apple butter or other “pass arounds”. Our pass arounds were fried okra, cabbage, and pinto beans fresh from the kitchen.

Lambert’s is a festive option, especially when you have the kiddos with you. They get a big kick out of the roll throwing and the tricks. Lambert’s is great for good, clean family fun.  And the food ain’t half bad, either!

To see all posts on the 100 Dishes to Eat in alabama Before You Die, click on the 100 Dishes in Alabama labal at the bottom of this post.