A Day Trip to Bay Minette, Alabama

10 Jul

Street’s Seafood Restaurant is apparently the place to go for good old home cooking in Bay Minette, AL (www.cityofbayminette.org). That’s what I had learned in talking with Sara Godwin at nearby Faulkner State Community College. It’s always good to get some feedback from a local. And in this case, Sara did not steer me wrong.

The exterior at Street’s is nothing special at all, but the food inside these walls certainly is. I happened to stop in on a Friday … shortly before noon. The parking lot was already filling up – mostly with pickup trucks and company logo’ed vehicles of all shapes and sizes. That is always another good sign. Inside, the hustling female servers wore T-shirts stating, “If you miss us, you have wasted a trip.” Well, I was going to call their bluff this day.

Friday means a mess of fried whole catfish on the lunch buffet at Street’s. The buffet was large and in charge, that’s for darn sure. Lots of choices and everything looked fresh and homemade. TIP: Always try to hit lunch buffets early. The food will be at peak freshness and not so picked over. Further, the most popular items (and usually best tasting too) will likely still be there for your dining enjoyment.

The chicken pot pie at Street’s is obviously freshly made and totally satisfying. It is served up in large rectangular chafing dishes sporting a dense, golden brown crust. Cracking into the crust with the serving spoon, I exposed the glistening interior chock full of white chicken meat, sliced carrots, and tender green peas. I also made stops for some sweet BBQ beans, a creamy macaroni cheese riddled with chopped bacon (you heard right, bacon!), buttery green beans, and what turned out to be a very flavorful buttermilk cornbread muffin.

Street’s also has a very nice salad bar, although I am not so sure how much action it sees with the all the other tempting high-calorie options that are always available. The large group of 60-something men dining at the next table appeared to be regulars. I’m guessing they were retired because no one seemed in a big hurry to move on with his day. These were strong, salt of the earth, good old boys speaking in a deep Old South dialect that had this longtime Dixie resident struggling to follow the conversation. Eavesdropping? You bet! Yet I must admit that these gents were tossing in the “y’alls, fixins, and directlys” at such a clip that I had a hard time keeping up. “Doggone!”

The cole slaw at Street’s is also made fresh daily – always a welcome touch! 

Banana pudding is actually offered up two ways at Street’s. Now how is that for attention to detail? One variety is served cool with a whipped cream topping. The other is presented warm out of the oven with a glorious brown meringue topping. I am a lifelong member of the “Warm Nanner Puddin’ Society” and I was most certainly not disappointed here.  

Pineapple Upside Down Cake has always been one of my favorite desserts, so you can imagine my glee when I spied the moist squares like you see in the above image. Just the right size too — not too big, not too small. Plenty of carmelized pina. Gotta have the cherry too. Right? It was amazing with all the brown sugar, residual pineapple juice and melted butter being absorbed just below fruit level. Soooo good!  Street’s also makes a killer peach cobbler and I couldn’t resist having a little taste of that too. So many delights, so little time! The ownership at Street’s (a derivative of the last name Overstreet) also operates the popular Stagecoach Cafe in closeby Stockton, AL. Gotta give that a shot soon. Really good steaks, that’s what I hear.

Heading back home along southbound Highway 59/31, my eye caught the sign pictured above. Who knew the Bee Gees were now in the filling station business??? With a smile still on my face, I also noticed a makeshift boiled peanut stand in the gas station’s parking lot.

How can a motorist resist such a whimsical, homemade sign?  

Mel (Pastor Mel, to be exact) was not around when I first stopped in, but Mel’s mom was present and she turned out to be a very sweet lady indeed.  As you can see, free samples are offered. I tried the regular and Cajun boiled peanuts and found both to be masterfully prepared.

I decided to purchase a big bag of regular boiled peanuts. These were some seriously massive briny goobers! Batches are made fresh each morning with green peanuts grown right here in Baldwin County. How ’bout that?  

Look at the size of these monsters, grown locally at Fiddler’s Farm near Silverhill, Alabama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverhill,_Alabama). Needless to say, they were amazing and quite warm to the touch. That is always a good sign. Get ’em warm, get ’em fresh. They will keep in the fridge for a few days, but they are never quite as good as they are right out of the cooking vessel.

The prices are fair and the proceeds go to church mission trips in Latin America. How is that for a true win-win proposition? They even have photo albums on display from previous mission trips. It becomes clear very quickly that these fine folks are doing God’s work — whether it’s in their peanut preparation or their efforts in the high hills of Guatemala.

Roasted peanuts are also offered. This is a good back-up plan for Yankees who have not developed an appreciation for the soft, salty boiled ground peas. I’ll stick with the boiled variety, myself. They are always a treat and especially welcome when they are crafted with such love and heavenly conviction. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Mel’s Boiled Peanuts – (251) 455 7719

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