Tag Archives: Hush Puppies

King Neptune’s Seafood Goes Deep in Gulf Shores, Alabama

7 Jun

King Neptune’s has been a part of the Gulf Shores dining scene for quite some time now. I’ve lived in the general vicinity for over 2 years and I finally made the scene this past weekend. Cool looking little joint. From the outside it looks more like a seafood market than a restaurant.

They sell a lot of fried seafood & a lot of cold beer here at the King’s place.

It was HOT the day we stopped in. We had spent the morning on the beach and the 100 degree plus heat had pretty much zapped us of all our mojo. But the prospects of a great lunch put a slight spring back in my step. I walked in wearing my still-damp swim trunks, a pair of flip flops, and a baseball cap. I fit right in with the rest of the diners. Nice, cozy dining space — air conditioned too! 

Fried Shrimp (12) Basket with krinkle cut fries & a hushpuppies ($7.99). Quite a bargain, for sure. The prices jump up a bit at dinner time, but value is certainly the name of the game at King Neptune’s. The shrimp were not exactly huge. Probably classified as medium to large if you were buying them uncooked at your local seafood market. They were extremely flavorful. Butterflied and obviously quite fresh.  Not overcooked. I devoured every last bit — crunchy little tails and all.  

The dozen shrimp were delicious & gone too fast. Must order 24 next time.

Cole Slaw is done right at King Neptune’s. First of all, it’s nice and cool — like it was meant to be. It’s also light with just a hint of sweetness. The tiny flecks of celery seed are another traditional (and welcome) touch. Little things like this are noticed by food geeks like yours truly. My wife Eileen commented that she preferred white cornmeal in her hushpuppies. You see, that’s the kind of stuff we worry about in my family.

My first visit to King Neptune’s left me pretty impressed. We travel Highway 59 to Gulf Shores quite a bit during the summer months. King Neptune’s has earned its place on our short list of beach lunch stops. It was a pleasure, your salty highness. Long may you reign in the briny deep!

King Neptune’s – 1137 Gulf Shores Parkway (Hwy. 59), Gulf Shores, AL

www.kingneptuneseafoodrestaurant.com

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Exploring Old Pensacola

15 Jun

I had several work stops in the Pensacola area on Monday and I had some time in between to semi-explore the city’s downtown. I spent most of that time in Pensacola’s Historic District. Old Town Pensacola is loaded with charm and is peppered with many quaint Creole-style cottages like the one shown above. It reminds me just a little bit of New Orleans’ French Quarter – minus the bars and crazy nightlife.

Jimmy Buffett’s new Margaritaville Beach Hotel on Pensacola Beach will open later this month. Their target date is June 28th and the construction, from what I could see, is coming right along. I learned today that Jimmy’s sister Lucy (aka “Lulu”) is going to be opening a second eatery inside the hotel property. Her first venture in nearby Gulf Shores, AL has been a smashing success. The food is decent and the cheerful island vibe is always uplifting.  

I took a break at lunchtime at The Pensacola Fish House (above). This waterfront compound was recommended to me by a friend and it turned out to be a pretty sound tip. My mid-day meal consisted of a blackened Red Snapper filet paired with smoked corn tartar sauce, Gouda grits, collard greens, and two hush puppies chased by a Tazo citrus-infused iced tea. The fresh fish was excellent and the accompanying dipping sauce was an ideal match. The chopped collards were good, but the hush puppies were mealy and, to be honest, nothing special. The Fish House is known for their cheese grits (their web address is www.goodgrits.com ) and I must admit they were quite tasty, if just a tad dry. The tea was very refreshing and missing the spoonfuls of sugar that are frequently dumped into most Southern brews.    

The atmosphere at the Pensacola Fish House was surely pleasant enough. Folksy coastal art could be seen on the restuarant’s rear deck. My spacious views of the waterfront were only partially ruined by the presence of oil retention booms just a stones throw from the docks.  

TV crews (local and national) were all over the beachfront the day I visited. The media-types are obviously out in full force, bracing for the worst. I couldn’t help but notice that protective booms were pretty much everywhere I could see water. Very sad. We can only hope and pray that BP’s mess doesn’t soil the beautiful white sand beaches of Pensacola and Destin.

As you can see from the booms visible above, the local authorities and area volunteer groups are doing what they can to prepare for the oil’s likely arrival. BP has established an outpost in Pensacola’s Historic District and the building surprisingly lacked the mega-security presence that exists at similar office fronts in Mobile, AL. That may change once the greasy stuff makes its way onshore.  

I spied a BP sign post in Pensacola’s Old Town —- pretty ominous, huh? I ask that you say a little prayer tonight for the people of the Gulf Coast and the beautiful wildlife that inhabits the region. This is a gorgeous part of our country and it sickens me to see this eco-tragedy continue to spread along our coastline.

We will continue to monitor the situation on the Panhandle — specifically from the foodie’s point of view. I hope my dining on local seafood in plain view of all the satellite trucks and retention booms will send a message to the entire Dixie Dining community. Don’t turn your back on the Gulf and its many delights – edible or otherwise. We need you more than ever right now.

Hush Puppies – A Good Basic Recipe

4 Mar

hush

Hush puppies are delectable little balls of fried, seasoned cornbread, and a favorite accompaniment to Fried Catfish . You can fry them right alongside the catfish, in the same hot oil, in the same skillet, if you like.

Vegetable oil
3 cups self-rising cornmeal flour
2⁄3 cup self-rising flour
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely
   diced
2 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Pour oil into a large, deep cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet to a depth of 3″ and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, 350°–360° on a candy thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, combine cornmeal flour, flour, onions, and peppers in a large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk and egg and mix well. Working in batches with a small ice cream dipper or spoon, drop batter by the scoop or spoonful into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally with metal tongs or a slotted spoon, until hush puppies are browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Push loose any hush puppies that stick to the bottom or side of the skillet as they fry. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Serve hot.

For more recipes like this, go to www.Saveur.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