Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Alabama Fine Dining’ Category

Going Bananas for Fish-Cosmo’s Courtyard 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

Unwrapped that fish like it was a Christmas present.

Read more

I Shipp You Not-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

I ship you not, I am absolutely going to return for this same dish. Now I know why they say, "Once you try Shipp’s, you’re hooked!”

Read more

S’more Please-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

Tasty Tuesday for MEGabite #44 or #59 on my quest to try 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die.

After a dinner stop with friends at Kowaliga for MEGabite #43, the fantastic fried shrimp platter, someone got a harebrained idea  that we all should have more to eat, cross off another dish on my “100 quest” and visit the nearby SpringHouse Restaurant for s’mores.

The minute that I saw the gorgeous exterior, I realized that I was not going to be having marshmallows on a stick. The building itself was grand yet cozy and reminded me of places that I have visited in Ireland or England. Made of large stones, beams and iron, every detail from the décor to the landscaping was extremely tasteful.

springhousetrough

Love this trough and rain chain.  Want!

It was a Saturday night in the dead of an Alabama winter and although we had no reservations, the staff on the phone welcomed us with a few dining options. We were graciously seated upstairs in what is described as a bar area. It felt like you might be in a beautiful tree house with white napkins and candlelight.

springhouse

Officially the s’mores were not on the menu but the staff informed us that we were able to order this dish. With four people we ordered the Dessert Platter giving us four fantastic desserts. I love how their motto is  “Our desserts aren’t fancy, they’re simply great.”

springhousedessert

  1. S’more.  Beginning with a crisp homemade graham cracker, made from scratch marshmallows. On top of that is amazing warm chocolate lava cake with rich chocolate sauce, topped with more of the marshmallow. C’mon baby light my fire!
  2. Muscadine Hull Pie. Intriguing. Made with local Muscadines & Scuppernongs, baked in a perfect pastry and served with homemade ice cream. And yes, I had to google scuppernongs before I ordered. I ate this first and absolutely loved it!
  3. Lemon tart with homemade whip cream. Yum!
  4. Crème brulee made with chai and cara cara orange.
smore

The star *

MEGastars: 5 *****   Although my graham cracker crust was tough to cut through, I absolutely LOVED this dish.    In an area where many people have vacation homes and visitors flock to the great Alabama outdoors, many s’mores are most certainly being made around campfires.  It seems fitting and genius to create a grown up version of this dish that seems to marry the restaurant to the area. Well done! The executive chef is said to be passionate about Southern progressive cooking and supporting local farmers. The food is served on plates and in bowls that are handcrafted by potter Tina Payne of Leeds. Everything about this visit was perfect! My expectations were exceeded. Fantastic food and a fantastic dining experience. I can’t wait to go back and visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Alabama food made with Alabama pride.

MEGatips:

  1. Don’t let the rustic elegant casual description fool you. Gussy yourself up a bit. I had been hiking at Wind Creek State Park and felt a bit out of place. The staff couldn’t have been more gracious, professional and welcoming.  If I had to guess, I would say that one of the mission statements of SpringHouse must be to create an environment where each customer feels welcome and valued.   A place where upscale food is served and yet pretense does not rule.   They are creating a wonderful culture.
  2. Do make reservations.  This link will give you all of the details that you need to make your visit. SpringHouse Restaurant
  3. Put the Lake Martin area on your roadtrip wish list.  A gorgeous area with many outdoor opportunities.
  4. If you are interested in architecture, yet another reason to visit.  Take note of the building details. It was gorgeous, modern, clean and somehow  on a Saturday night still quiet. I love that!
  5. Scuppernongs is actually not from Hogwarts.  “… a large variety of muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia), a species of grape native to the Southern United States. It is usually a greenish or bronze color and is similar in appearance and texture to a white grape, but rounder and larger and first known as the ‘big white grape’…” Wikipedia
  6. Do not overlook the bar area. They have a sommelier and professional bartenders that are very friendly and loved to share their art. For example, they made their own fresh ginger simple syrup. My friends all ordered from the bar and raved about their drinks.
  7.   This is a place where artistry meets food.   With a growing list of accomplishments and  accolades, Chef Rob McDaniel has made quite a name for himself.  Among them, Trip Advisor’s FlipKey.com lists Springhouse as “Alabama’s best restaurant worth traveling for.” I am in agreement.
  8. We spent a good chunk of change but made a fun memory. So, bring your wallet and truly enjoy one of Alabama’s finest dining experiences.This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful information.  *100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is a compilation of food to chow down on “Bama style”. Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.   You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York. From the little old diner to the white cloth joint, it is an opportunity to explore and experience pride in the food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ cook to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama. From this list, I select stops based on convenience of location. They are in no particular order but I already have a few favorites. Perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes.

    I use a 5 MEGastar system. Not a paid food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience. I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

    • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can. The place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama.   This has happened to me a few times and it is a difficult write.
    • ** passable – the food was ok and above happened but the place or vice versa
    • *** good but not outstanding or unique
    • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/OR highlights Alabama Pride.
    • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. OR, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.

 

 

 

A Bright Star Shines On-100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

A late Tasty Tuesday post. Megabite # 37 or 65 on my countdown.  The Broiled Seafood Platter at Alabama’s oldest restaurant, The Bright Star Inn.

About 35 minutes or 21 miles from Birmingham I arrived in Bessemer, Alabama. I learned that this city is named the “Marvel City” for the rapid growth it once saw as a steel boomtown. Having seen steel and mining business thrive and disappear, this Bright Star has shone since 1907.

brightstarsign.jpg

Not just any restaurant, The Bright Star is a historic Alabama landmark designated as Alabama’s oldest restaurant.  Since 1925, the Greek/Greek-American Koikos family has owned this restaurant and it is said that they pride themselves with an emphasis on outstanding service and superior cuisine.

brightstarmen

From a 25 seater to 330 seat restaurant, something continues to be done very very well here.

brightstarsign

The back side of this sign -Alabama’s Oldest Restaurant

Serving surf and turf in a classic environment. Love historic preservation.

I also found several Greek dishes, which were very tempting but I was into playing my 100.  I ordered the broiled seafood platter,  a sample plate of customer seafood favorites: broiled snapper with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and oregano. Lobster and crabmeat au gratin made with parmesan cheese, a roux of butter and flour, whole milk, sherry, eggs, white pepper and paprika. Shrimp, oysters, scallops with drawn butter on the side.

Other food that I tasted.

Here are a few interesting things that I learned with my visit.

  • I learned that fresh seafood shipped from the Gulf Coast directly to this restaurant on a daily basis and that there is a fish processor on site, who for 33 years has ensured the consistency of the fish. Outstanding. I love my Gulf seafood!

 

  • In 2010, The Bright Star and Mr’s Jimmy and Nicky Koikos were awarded The James Beard Foundation Awards of Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. That’s is like a rock star getting a Grammy Award.brightbeard
  • A few other other accolades line the walls; named as top three restaurants in Birmingham by Birmingham News readers choice, Voted as having the best steak in Alabama by The Cattleman’s Association, recognized by CNN.com as one of America’s best historic restaurants. Fried Red Snapper Throats (what even is this?) 100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die by Gun and Garden magazine.  And there are more.brightaward
  • Although there are so many prestigious awards, It is said that one of the two owners will be on the premises overseeing the staff of 90. Among the 90, many are long term employees ,with average of about 7 years. That is something to be very proud of.  I would love to work there myself!

MEGastars **** 4

Seriously, I am now Gulf seafood lover/convert, huge fan! For a very tasty seafood platter, served with Alabama pride and Alabama food in Alabama’s oldest restaurant. Right on!

MEGatips:

  1. Snoop around a bit.  I did. The restaurant is loaded with great photos, awards, magazine articles.
  2. Alabama Fan? Check out the football shrine. Badger fan/Packer fan-totally respect tradition. brighstarshrine
  3. Interested in historical preservation.  The restaurant has many interesting nods to the former days.  Such as, signs depicting the types of marble, classic ceiling fans, awesome tile and the mirrors.
  4. There is a full bar on premise.
  5. There are interesting dining alcoves and rooms for groups. brightstarcubby
  6. Of course, try this dish.  Bring a friend. I regret not trying theRed Snapper Throats picked by Gun and Garden Magazine. 

    This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful.  *100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is a compilation of food to chow down on Bama style. Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.   You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York. From the little old diner to the white cloth joint, it is an opportunity to explore and experience pride in the food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ cook to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama. From this list, I select visits based on convenience of location and they are in no particular order. I already have a few favorites and perhaps when I finish this list, I will rank my favorite dishes.

    I use a 5 MEGastar system. I am not a food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on my experience. I try to follow my star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

    • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can. The place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama.   This has happened to me a few times and it is a difficult write.
    • ** passable – the food was ok and above happened but the place or vice versa
    • *** good but not outstanding or unique
    • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/OR highlights Alabama Pride.
    • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. OR, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else

 

Meat + Fire = Love. George, where ya been all my life? 100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die

Tasty Tuesday- MEGabite #32 or #70 on the countdown – Ribeye at George’s Steak Pit in Sheffield, Alabama.

Steak perfection

Steak perfection

I have to admit that I rarely eat meat. Not that a good steak now and then isn’t enjoyed.  After taking  just one bite off the 12 oz of this medium-rare ribeye, it was a bit of a surprise to me that I wanted to savor each and every bite. Holy cow (no pun intended,) this steak was one of the best that I have ever tasted in my life. I mean that. It was the type of steak that yields to your knife. The outside charred, the inside moist and tender. The slight hint of hickory rolls around your tongue, and without an additive or salty taste. Just pure high quality meat cooked in a primeval way; fire, simple and honorable.

IMG_0561

The entrees are served with Tossed Salad or Cup of Soup, Garlic Bread, and choice of Baked Potato, Wild Rice, Steak Fries, Broccoli or Vegetable Medley.  There are extra touches such as homemade dressings.  I can attest to the fact that this blue cheese dressing was excellent. In the end, the steak was the star.

French onion soup and salad with DELISH home-made blue cheese dressing

French onion soup and salad with DELISH home-made blue cheese dressing

I give this steak 5 MEGastars ***** This steak rocked my world.  I would absolutely recommend this dish to any steak enthusiast.

*** Four MEGastars because everything that I ate was perfect.  The service was professional and the atmosphere clean and as described. The beef is Alabama beef and foods on the menu were home-cooked with Alabama ingredients and pride.  George’s menu depicts the finishes of the steak from rare-well done, with an explanation of how the tenderness decreases with a more well done steak.  If I were to run a steak restaurant, I would absolutely use this as a communication tool. Zero room for error.  Well done George’s!

Fifth Coveted MEGastar *****  is given because the hickory smoked open pit and the high quality beef was the best steak that I have ever eaten. Melt in your mouth delicious.

MEGatips;

  1. For the best no smoking atmosphere, do eat in one of the dining rooms.
  2. The steak is that delicious. Order it. Yes, the WHO put out on warning on the link between processed meats and cancer, including red meat. Moderation is key.  Enjoy this steak.
  3. The entire Muscle Shoals area is a fantastic place in this country. With many outdoor recreational activities, historical sights, music history and of course, the food. Allow at least a weekend to poke around.
  4. I only read customer reviews after my visits; I did read many patrons suggestions that the Greek appetizer tray is really great.
  5. I had them make the steak with no salt. It tasted extra fantastic. I also ordered a baked potato and it came with all the fixings.. I have to confess, I split the steak with my husband because I had been visiting too many 100 sites on this weekend. If that is even possible?
  6. Look at the meat guide and order using this tool.

This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes in Alabama escapade, this may be helpful.  *100 Dishes to eat in Alabama before you die is a compilation of food to chow down on Bama style. Thanks to Tourism Alabama, www.alabama.travel my Alabama bucket list just became a little easier. I am going to have some fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.   You too may pick up the brochure at Alabama Tourism stops or download the alphabetical brochure that begins in Abbeville and ends in York. From the little old diner to the white cloth joint, it is an opportunity to explore and experience pride in the food from restaurateurs who are dedicated to local food with some Alabama style. From the local BBQ cook to James Beard recipients, you too will take a culinary trip across scenic and historical Alabama.

I use a 5 MEGastar system. I am not a food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on my experience. I try to follow my star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

  • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can. The place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in Alabama.   This has happened to me a few times and it is a difficult write.
  • ** passable – the food was ok and above happened but the place or vice versa
  • *** good but not outstanding or unique
  • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Alabama Foods/Tourism, of local food and/OR highlights Alabama Pride.
  • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. OR, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.
%d bloggers like this: