I promised to tell you about our favorite eating places on our Gulf Coast Vacation. So here it is!
We went with plans to purchase fresh Gulf Shrimp from the two seafood markets that were right near our cottage. Billy's Seafood was a short walk on one side of the cottage.
And Aquila's was a short walk on the other side!
Both of these seafood stores were very busy with the boats coming in off the Bay every morning with their catch. We bought a pound of jumbo shrimp the first night and cooked it in our little cottage and it was very good. But, not quite the price I had hoped for so I decided to shop around a bit before I bought the 20 pounds of shrimp I wanted to bring home with me!
So the next day when we saw a tiny little sign on the side of the road that said, "Freddie Stewart Shrimp", we followed the sign!
Just a short little side road to the bend in the Bon Secour River, we came upon this little building where they advertised "Fresh Shrimp Off The Boat". The man and his wife were the neatest couple and we picked their brains for a good thirty minutes about the shrimping business! Their prices were almost half what the seafood market was and the shrimp they had was a tiny bit smaller but still very good size. We had some for supper that night and I cannot even describe the taste of that amazing shrimp! So we were thrilled to be able to bring home 20 pounds of lovely fresh Gulf Shrimp. We were also really happy to be able to buy directly from the person that caught it.
The next thing we did that was completely new to us was Crabbing! The lady we rented the cottage from called me while we were there to tell us about her crab pot around the back of the house. She told us where to get the bait (fish carcass from Aquila's Seafood Market) and how to set it (stick as much dead fish as possible in the center cylinder of the trap). We were so excited!
We lowered the trap in the water and ignored it. Well kind of. For an hour or so! We couldn't resist pulling it up to see what we had. Through the course of a few days we kept adding bait so the crabs we were catching had food to eat and we continued to catch these amazing Blue Crabs.
We ended up with about a dozen male crabs that were very good size.
Trapping, steaming, and eating fresh crab was definitely a new experience for us but probably one of the highlights of our trip. There is not a lot of meat on one crab, but it is very rich and very filling and we were stuffed!
Now to tell you about our two favorite places we ate at.
The first one was Big Daddy's Grill on the Fish River. This place was recommended to us by some friends in the area and we loved it. We actually ate here twice!
The location was so awesome. A few backroads here and there and about the time you think you are good and lost, there it is! The ambiance of the location right on the river makes it a super fun place to eat.
They have their own private dock so that boats coming up and down the river can stop in and eat! The food was so incredibly good. They have a blackened Mahi Mahi served with a sauce that was just incredible. That was why we had to go back twice!
Our very favorite place that we ate was Lulu's in Gulf Shores. It is owned by Lucy Buffet, who is Jimmy Buffet's sister. (Just a bit of trivia there.)
Lulu's is located on the Intracoastal Waterway with tables right along the water's edge. Boats travel up and down that waterway and Lulu's creates your own front row seating!
It is an extremely popular place, so be prepared for long waits before you are seated to your meal. However, she has provided all kinds of entertainment. There are tables and umbrellas set up all over the place for sitting and people watching.
There are all sorts of things to entertain children. I love the above water fountain that is made just for kids. She has beautiful white sandy beaches with all sorts of sand toys for kids to play in.
You can buy popsicles, have a special drink made, get your face painted, hair braided, shop in the gift store, watch the boats, or just sit in the shade with a bottle of cold water and people watch.
There is shady seating everywhere. Oh, and live music piped throughout the property! So, the 1 - 2 hour wait to be seated flies right on by!
And just a little bit about the food. Normally we are the type of people that stay away from the big crowded restaurants, but we had heard that over 90% of the food Lulu's serves is prepared onsite from scratch, that the seafood is fresh caught in local waters, that all the produce and meat is from local farms (and surprisingly there are a lot of local farms along the Gulf Coast). That was enough of a draw for us to give it a try. It was absolutely worth it. The food was amazing. The fish Eldon ordered actually came with a postcard where we could track it... when I looked it up on my phone it was very fun to see where it was caught (right there in the Gulf). It even had a picture of the fisherman and his boat. Then it took it one step further and had a photo of the cook at Lulu's that prepared it!
I would completely and totally recommend Lulu's as the best place to eat in Gulf Shores. If we didn't "save" it for the last day there, we would've eaten there more than once!
(Lucy Buffet has a very fun story about how the restaurant came to be. You can read about it on her website here.)
Check back in a few days for the fun things we did in the Gulf Coast area - both the Alabama and Florida sides! And if you missed the post on where we stayed, you can read it here.