Took a 6:00 AM flight out the other morning heading for Panama City, FL.....no not "Spring Break 2012" but for business in Mobile, AL. A road trip with a couple of colleagues and that means one thing and one thing only.....a Gulf Coast food tour.
By Tuesday evening we were all suffering from our early flight so when the subject of food came up it had to be something quick and some place that served beer. The decision reached was hot dogs (rock, paper, scissors can solve most any major decision). We asked "Siri" where we could find hotdogs and she found us a place just a few miles away, halfway to paradise, now for the beer part. A phone call to the restaurant and the question asked..."Do you serve beer?" "No"..Sad Face...then we heard these magical words...."but feel free to bring your own!"....what, seriously...I love Alabama!....We wheeled into Mike's Smokehouse Market six pack in hand with our focus set on hotdogs and beer, but the focus quickly changed when we were greeted with samples of pulled pork and smoked chicken (marketing 101)...so two meats, coleslaw and "Mac-N-Cheese" (a vegetable) and out on the patio for a BBQ feast. We were served a selection of sauces, mustard based, vinegar based, ketchup based... you name it, it was there. Mike even came out to visit us while we ate, we offered him a beer but he turned us down saying something along the lines of "If I start now I'll never make it back into the kitchen", Mike I appreciate your honestly and it left us with one extra beer. Meal 1 complete......
Cheryl's Cafe & Market and good thing we did. As soon as we opened the door we could smell all of the home cooking and see all of the homemade deserts.
I settled on the Reuben (hold the dressing) with a side of fresh fruit...amazing and one of the best sandwich's I've ever eaten and I'm a "sandwich guy" (225lb 5'8" do the math). If you are ever in Spanish Fort, AL it's worth the stop....Meal 2 complete.
The last stop Original Oyster House.....when we pulled in I was thinking to myself "I wonder how many Original Oyster House's there are n the world?" because I bet I've eaten at three of them. The meal started with a large Yuengling, fried green tomato's with a side of fried pickles.....I never said it was a healthy trip. My dinner choice none other than Shrimp and Grits...wow as my taste buds delighted....the grits were not to cheesy and the shrimp not to blackened......The portion was just right we all left full but not suffering with that "I'm stuffed" feeling......Meal 3 complete.
You don't get great road trips every week, hell my arteries couldn't handle it, but when you do it's nice.....and yes I ran a 5k one morning and hit the gym the other so at least in my mind those two events erased all the fine Southern food.