Tag Archives: Fried Oysters

Queen G’s Fries ‘Em Up Fresh

9 Apr

State-of-the-art fried oysters can be hard to find — even here on the Gulf Coast. We found them this week at Queen G’s Cafe on Mobile’s Old Shell Road. They open at 11 am. I arrived about 11:40 am. Just in time to beat the lunch rush. It’s a tiny little place with a limited indoor seating capacity. There are some additional seats outside, but that can be hit or miss depending on our rather fickle coastal weather patterns. I grabbed a small indoor table and shared the dining room with a single middle-aged couple. Their conversation was spirited and their food looked appealing.

Queen G’s is housed in an old circa 1950s drive-in. It used to be called “The Rebel Queen” back in the day and they have the photos inside to prove it. The bright teal paint job would have looked right at home on a 1957 Chevy. The black and white exterior awning preserved some of the retro vibe.  

I was tempted when I read about the Chicken & Dumplings special, but ultimately stayed strong and ordered a small plate of fried local oysters. I say small only because they call it that at Queen G’s. It’s actually pretty substantial with about 10 meaty cornmeal-coated oysters on each platter. The market price for this dish (with 2 sides) was $12. Order the large oyster plate and you may be ready for a mid-day siesta. Be forewarned.

The menu at Queen G’s is very cool looking. I’m a sucker for that old meets new look. Each meal (as you can see above) comes with a poofy square of cornbread and more than a couple of pats of real creamy butter. None of that greasy margarine or Country Crock crap. I notice these little things, so restaurateurs take note. The cornbread was just fine. Not really noteworthy in any way, but OK.

The fresh oysters are fried up to order at Queen G’s. Nice. A cornmeal coating really makes a difference. So much better than flour (if you ask me). They are prettied up on the plate with a few flecks of chopped green onion. I had my cocktail sauce and Tabasco at the ready and the oysters magically disappeared in just a matter of seconds. What a treat — especially on a weekday afternoon. For just a brief moment, I felt like royalty. I asked my server about the oysters point of origin. She informed me that they are farm raised in nearby Coden, AL. That explained their amazing sweetness. The local waters have been chilly due to some cool nights. That, from what I’ve been told, helps to deliver those sweet flavor notes.

My side of deviled eggs seemed like a good idea, but they could have been a little more devilish in my opinion. The presentation was nice – gussied up with paprika and parsley. The lime green serving bowl gave it a true elementary school cafeteria feel. I could tell the eggs had been sitting in the fridge for a while and the flavor was, well, just  a tad on the bland side. Nice effort, but they fell a little short this time. Not a big deal though.

My second side was rough chopped rutabagas. People love ’em or hate ’em. I dig ’em. Really! They look unadorned in the above image, yet I am happy to report that they tasted fresh and well-seasoned. I only wish the portion size was larger. You don’t find rutabaga on many menues these days — even in the Heart of Dixie. They can be tedious to prepare and the canned variety just aren’t near as delicious.

Clean your plate at Queen G’s and you’ll be rewarded with a free scoop of ice cream. Pretty good incentive, for sure. But you probably won’t require any additional motivation here. The food is good and fresh and the surroundings cozy, yet comfy. I’ll be back and I hope to rub elbows with you at Queen G’s one day soon.

QUEEN G’S CAFE – 2518 Old Shell Road, Mobile, AL – 251 471 3361

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Little Moir’s Food Shack – Jupiter, Florida

31 Dec

Little Moir’s Food Shack is found in an unassuming strip mall in Jupiter, FL (just north of West Palm Beach). You wouldn’t think it would be the place everyone (including the NY Times) is raving about, but their reputation has been solidly built by serving fresh, quirky island fare at reasonable prices. It’s a fairly small dining room, so arrive early or expect to wait a few minutes. Don’t let that scare you away. They now have a comfortable indoor waiting area and there are a few interesting shops nearby (including a very cool, if pricey, surf shop).

The Fried Oyster appetizer at Food Shack (above) — my Dad swears by it. He has never ordered anything else and he has dined here about 20 times! It looked great and, well, I kind of wish I had ordered that. Same old story … shouldn’t taken Dad’s advice. When will I learn? Not that my dish was altogether bad. But the oysters looked really crisp and tasty. We had visited Apalachicola (Florida’s Oyster Capital) just a few days earlier and I had devoured my fill of oysters for a while.

Our son Austin ordered some Island Chicken Wings adorned with grated coconut. I snatched one and they were quite good (hot but not too hot). The Food Shack has a casual, beachy atmosphere and music by the likes of Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffett, and Jack Johnson can frequently be heard in the background. I’m told they make a killer macaroni and cheese here, although I might find it hard to order that when presented with all the other fresh seafood options.

I ordered Beer Battered Shrimp with a Jerk Seasoned Steak & Spicy Fruit Salad. The shrimp were good, but could have benefited from a dipping sauce, which was mysteriously not provided with this entree. I enjoyed the bed of coconut rice and the spicy fruit salad is always good (but not for the faint of heart — it delivers a potent jerk). I’m guessing that jalapenos or scotch bonnets figure into the mix somehow. The steak, I must admit, was a bit of a disaster. It was a fatty, stringy little piece of beef and it was overcooked to the texture of a rubber flip-flop. The Caribbean jerk seasoning couldn’t revive it and I spent the next 10 minutes or so sawing away at the steak and shaking our dining table rather violently. Lesson learned — don’t order steak here again. Ever.

I trust this review will not cause you to avoid the Food Shack. It is a great little joint and this was the first somewhat negative experience I have had here (this was our 4th visit). Stick to the seafood offerings and you should have yourself a terrific meal. They have recently opened up a second restaurant called Leftovers. I hope that is not where all the untouched steaks end up.

www.littlemoirsfoodshack.com

Our latest trip to Starfish on Cortez

14 Feb

starfish-from-dock

Great lunch today at the Starfish Restaurant in Cortez Village. This place never fails to impress — always fresh and delicious. Wonderful atmosphere too – Old Florida at its finest. There was a big crowd on hand today. We kind of expected a brief wait because it is, after all, snowbird season here in the Sunshine State.

starfish-oysters

The kids split an order of fried calamari, which was obviously fresh and quite tender. Not the previously frozen, chewy rubberbands you get at most of the local tourist traps. The Cortez Fish Chowder (pictured below) was amazing … as always. Just loaded with massive chunks of freshly caught sea creatures. The fried oysters (seen above) were about as perfect as they come. Crispy, meaty, and super flavorful!

seafood-stew

The fried mullet platter (pictured below) was also first rate. The mullet is not an expensive fish, but it tastes great (smoked or fried) when cooked by folks who know what they’re doing. The accompanying hush puppies were laced with real onion bits and the tartar sauce was obviously a homemade concoction. Please give this rustic dive a try — you will love it. It is one of our favorite coastal seafood joints in SW FL along with the Rod and Reel Pier on nearby Anna Maria Island.  

starfish-mullet

The Great St. Marks FL Flood of 2008

1 Nov

Our first visit to the Riverside Cafe in St. Marks FL was almost cancelled due to unexpected street flooding. It had poured all morning (and most of the day before), causing the town’s major (and only) intersection to fill with the brackish waters from the neighboring river. These two brave young lads donned their rain ponchos and guided us through the ankle high, minnow infested water to the cozy confines of the cafe, which can be seen directly over the head of the handsome rascal wearing the hat.   

We parked our car just up the street at this classic general store/filling station  

Our adventurous trek was rewarded with a tempting fried oyster basket 

Take a closer look at these crispy monsters — a true highlight of the day!