I’m about to lose it. If you’re an oyster fan, make sure you’re sitting down to read this. Wintzell’s has gone absolutely crazy with its Oyster Shellabration from now until Nov. 1: Enjoy happy-hour priced raw oysters for “a buck a shuck” — that’s $6 per dozen for those counting. Happy hour varies from location to location, but a general rule of thumb is 3-7 p.m. in Mobile County locations and 3-6 p.m. at what I consider to be the slightly less awesome Baldwin County locations.
This three-month-long “shellabration” isn’t just cheap raw oysters. There are some delectable items not formerly seen on any menu I’m aware of. We know the fried, nude and stewed, but we’ve also become familiar with baked. Rockefeller, Bienville and Monterrey are some of the most popular ways we eat baked and grilled oysters here in the South. For this event, prepare yourselves for Buffalo Oysters, L.A. Oysters and Oysters Carnival.
Buffalo, of course, has bleu cheese bits and Buffalo sauce. L.A. is a marriage of collard greens, hush puppy crumbles and diced Conecuh sausage. Carnival is over the top with spinach, jumbo lump crabmeat and hollandaise sauce.
Wintzell’s is also offering fried oysters tossed in a choice of two different sauces, mango habanero or honey citrus. Try those sauces on a po’boy, entrée or basket.
It’s time for the pep talk. Many of you reading this tried your first oyster at Wintzell’s. Oct. 16-18, all 10 locations are encouraging our youngsters ages 4-12 to belly up to the oyster bar and try their first bivalve on the house! During this time kids’ meals will be free!
The event culminates Nov. 1 with a head-to-head oyster-eating contest at each location! You may not be able to beat Ken Orndoff’s record of 421 in an hour, but you don’t have to. Be a champion by beating the man in front of you. Those willing to participate are encouraged to contact the Wintzell’s location of their choice ahead of time. Each restaurant will have a winner.
I’m excited just writing about this. Thank you, Mobile, for giving me a Wintzell’s.
Kitchen on George wine dinner a hit
Last Thursday’s Kitchen on George four-course chef’s dinner was a hit. I was seated with my good friend David Holloway who kept me in stitches the entire night. Of the whites my favorite wine was the Acrobat pinot gris with Chef Paul Wooten’s summer vegetable granita. That country ham was amazing with the watermelon and field greens.
I knew the Ken Wright pinot noir would be good with Chef Gillian Clark’s guinea hen and risotto. It exceeded my expectations. The lagniappe of the dish was a fried chicken foot holding a Scotch egg! What a surprise of a presentation, and a delicious surprise at that.
The blue ginger ice cream was amazing but the whisky truffles took the cake, so to speak. At the end of the evening I received an invitation to another wine dinner on Thursday night at KOG, but apparently it did not materialize. I’ll look forward to the next one.
Bay Gourmet hosts jazz brunch
Nappie Award winning caterers Bay Gourmet will be hosting a New Orleans style jazz brunch at the beautiful Azalea Manor. If it’s brunch you want, how about their amazing New Orleans beef grillades? Never tried them? They are my favorite. Shrimp in sherry cream sauce, smoked Gouda cheese grits, bananas Foster bread pudding, eggs Benedict and strawberry crepes will be served inside. Charcoal-grilled oysters and Conecuh sausage will be served in the courtyard.
If it’s jazz you want, then look no further than the incomparable Chris Spies Jazz Trio. Nobody plays the keys like Spies. You will certainly be blown away.
A mere $35 gets you all you can eat plus a cash bar with bottomless mimosas. Seating times are 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m. Purchase tickets now at www.baygourmetcatering.com.
Tin Roof opens in Spanish Fort
Fans of Robertsdale’s Magnolia Blossom Café (and I am certainly one) will be excited to hear they’ve opened another restaurant a little further north. This time they’ve found a home in Spanish Fort.
The Tin Roof restaurant, located at 10810 State Highway 31 — better known to those in the area as the former Junkyard Café or Lower Latitude — recently opened to much acclaim. The ink is barely dry on the sign and I hear more about it every day. A look at the menu should explain why.
Oysters on the half shell, crab claws and an eggplant sandwich with lump crabmeat and something called shrimp Loxley sauce are enough to get me through the door. Seafood platters, catfish, steaks, quail and veal Marsala round out the high-end side of the menu. Blue plate specials and sandwiches make up the lunch portion along with a 10-ounce cowboy burger.
The menu I received says “Please join us for our country lunch buffet.” If it is anything like their sister restaurant, you won’t be disappointed. It’s up to you to know when to put on the brakes.
With all of the new development in that area, I expect a higher quality of restaurants to be popping up. This one will be joining Trattoria, the Greg Peterson/Mark Bentz effort that is going strong just a hop, skip and a jump from there. North Baldwin County is on the up.
Cammie’s Old Dutch getting a facelift
It’s true. Everyone’s favorite ice cream parlor and multiple Nappie Award winner Cammie’s Old Dutch is going through some cosmetic changes. People began freaking out when they saw the sign being replaced at the corner of Old Shell and Florida, but fear not, fellow ice cream lovers. The recipes and the business shall remain.
A trip inside to the back counter with the same old familiar barstools reveals a new blue Formica top replacing the former orange-ish one.
“The list of people who want a piece of the old counter for a keepsake keeps growing. I’m not touching the wallpaper!” says Cammie.
I’ll take a piece myself. After all, we should recycle!