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Panini Pete’s Impresses on 1st Visit

26 Jul

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I was extremely impressed on my first visit to the highly-rated Panini Pete’s in Fairhope, AL. Everything we had was excellent and obviously made with great attention to detail. Case in point, the fries you see above were certianly not your run of the mill deep fried potatoes. Pete keeps the whole potatoes in a water bath until it’s time to serve them. The taters are then removed from the pool and sliced nice and thin. They are then immersed in a hot oil until they emerge golden brown and super crispy. Almost like those Durkee’s potato sticks, but much fresher and better.

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Panini Pete’s is tucked away in a courtyard inside Fairhope’s French Quarter retail district. Just look for the above sign out front and Pete’s legions of loyal diners streaming towards his popular eatery.  

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Reach for this door — you won’t be sorry you did!

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My iced tea resting next to Pete’s laminated “folded napkin” menu.

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My amazing entree consisted of medium rare roast beef, field greens, onion confit, tomatoes, Dijon, and gorganzola cheese on a perfectly baked panini bread. I told my kids it may have been the best meal I’ve had since we arrived on the Eastern Shore some 3 months ago.

If I could buy a franchise from this place I would — in a heartbeat. Panini Pete is going places and I want to be along for the ride. www.paninipetes.com

Zapp’s and Dale’s – Two Southern Essentials

26 Jul

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Just wanted to update everyone on some Southern food products we are currently excited about. I was cruising my neighborhood Publix yesterday and saw that Zapp’s is now making a Sweet Potato Chip. If it’s half as good as the Sweet Taters made by Virginia’s Route 11, they are in business! Looking forward to trying them soon. www.zapps.com

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We had lunch at Panini Pete’s in Fairhope, AL yesterday. My son had the most delicious hamburger. I took a taste and honestly couldn’t explain why it tasted so good — and different. I asked our waitress and she revealed the secret … they marinate the burgers in Dale’s Seasoning. I immediately rushed out and picked up a bottle. It will surely be the star of my next home cookout. www.dalesseasoning.com

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Another new product we spied recently is a gourmet pimento cheese made in Pawley’s Island, SC. And I thought they only made hammocks there! It really looks chunky and homemade, but be forewarned that it costs about double the price of other brands like Mrs Stratton’s. Hope it’s worth it — we’ll see! www.palmettocheese.com (EDITOR’S NOTE: Tried it — and it’s totally worth the extra money. Special ingredients include cream cheese, sharp cheddar, onions, and a nice black pepper after bite.)  

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The line of products you see above are made by the Gourmet Warehouse in Hilton Head, SC. Guess the folks in the SC Lowcountry have been busy lately.

I am most anxious to try their Key Lime and Lowcountry marinades. Think I will jot them a quick note to see if they can ship some samples our way. Stay tuned for more information – coming soon! Learn more at www.hiltonheadgourmet.com