Apr 242007

Lea and I (mostly Lea; thank you, dear) planned our annual trip to Gulf Shores today. We like to go just outside of peak times, and this is the last opportunity we’ll have to do so for quite some time. Nathan starts kindergarten this fall, so soon we’ll be at the mercy of the school calendar.

Gulf Shores is one of many reasons I love my home of Alabama so much. If you come to the beach down this way but usually go to Florida, give the Alabama coast a shot sometime. It’s a complete beach destination with beautiful sugar sand, incredible restaurants, and easily attainable division between touristy stuff and seclusion.

We handle said division by staying about ten miles down Fort Morgan Road. Stop a half-mile short of driving into the Gulf of Mexico and hang a right:

Everyone who stays at any of the places down there is after the same thing (or golf), so even though there are a fair bit of people around, it’s pretty quiet. And when you want the outlet shopping and the bungee-jumping and the live music, it’s not far.

Here are our favorite restaurants in the area:

  • If upscale ambience is your thing, Mikee’s is the last place you want to go. It’s a complete dive, about half as nice as the average Shoney’s. The upside is that it’s also priced about like the average Shoney’s, the service is good, and the food is the best we’ve found in Gulf Shores at any price. The barbecue shrimp is especially recommended.
  • We also go to Lambert’s Cafe, “that place where they throw bread at you” in Nathanspeak. It’s up the road a piece in Foley. It’s good country cooking, with sweet teas the size of depth charges; “pass-arounds” with a server who comes around with a pot of a tasty side dish (black-eyed peas, macaroni and tomatoes, that kind of thing) and asks if you want some (at no additional charge); and the signature touch: some of the best rolls you ever ate, thrown at you from as far as 50 feet away. No alcohol served, so best for lunch if you like a cocktail with dinner.
  • The Original Oyster House is coming on strong. We ate there for the first time on our last trip, and it was a fine experience. The fried alligator with hot tiger sauce appetizer was marvelous. Suspect we will pay them a validation visit this time around.
  • I blogged about the Bates House of Turkey, an outstanding all-turkey restaurant, before. It’s not in Gulf Shores, but you’ll probably drive by it on the way. It’s in Greenville, a block off I-65 at exit 130. I hated to drive by it going and coming on my power trip to the Mississippi coast last month, but it was all about ETA! (It was also 7:00 in the morning on the way down, now that I think about it.)

Hmmm, I’ll have to be sure to get a lot of walking in. I’ll be all right with arrested weight loss on the trip, but I don’t want it reversed.

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 Posted by at 12:06 am

  5 Responses to “Gulf Shores, Alabama”

  1. Gulf Shores is one of my favorite places. We try to go during fall break. The shrimp festival is going on then.

    Oyster House has the BEST gumbo I have ever had outside of New Orleans.

    Zeke’s landing is nice if you want a more upscale dinner (but with kids try the sandwich shop downstairs – it’s outside and casual).

  2. You know, all the years I’ve been going to Gulf Shores, I’ve never made it to Zeke’s Landing. It’s always had good reviews from friends, though. I never made it to the Pink Pony Pub, either. (Another G.S. icon.) I went to the FloraBama once during my single days. They were having a Mullet Toss. It was crowded and impossible to get drinks. I never felt a compelling reason to go back.

    We used to go to “The Spot” regularly but it didn’t survive the hurricane. 🙁 I loved the view and always had a good meal.

    I want to try LuLu’s (Jimmy Buffett’s sister’s place). For the past two years, Bo has circled the parking lot and declared it too busy to wait, though. Maybe this year…

    Mikee’s remains my favorite, though. I could eat the corn fritters for dessert. You can’t beat their BBQ shrimp, either.

    Okay…I’m pumped and ready to go now!!

  3. I forgot ALL about LuLu’s. It was wonderful. We just went shopping in Foley, then decided to grab a bite to eat on the way back to the beach. It was a weird time, 3pm, so we got right in.

  4. We eat at the Oyster House at least 2 or 3 times every time we go to Gulf Shores! Try the Fried Shrimp at lunch with the cheese grits and salad bar (oh, I am wanting to head down there myself!) and see if you don’t leave stuffed! Plus, they tolerate kids very well and you can always tempt the kids into behaving by telling them you will go to their playground after dinner.

  5. Melissa, thanks for the rec. I thought the alligator bites appetizer was awesome, so we were already headed back. I’ll put that in my pocket for my entree.

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