Reviews

bare naked noodles lobster mac casseroleSpecial Order 

Bare Naked Noodles’ Lobster Mac is amazing and available for NYE. 

By Jan Walsh 

At Christmas I get a lot of help with the cooking. In my kitchen, the family pitches in. And outside my kitchen, Bare Naked Noodles has my back. Chef, owner Linda Croley whips up farm egg quiche and blueberry muffins for a family of both early risers and those who sleep in over their holiday.  Serve yourself. 

For our Christmas Eve dinner she made a Seafood Lasagna of crab, shrimp, and lobster with green pasta in Bare Naked Noodles red sauce. Perfect one dish meal of Christmas colors. 

And for Christmas lunch, she made a Lobster Mac that was the highlight of the meal. I just popped it in the oven and took it out when bubbly and golden on top. The creamy pasta curled around big bites of succulent lobster… might possibly be the best thing I have ever tasted. Highly recommended! It also complemented beautifully our all organic meal of grass-fed beef tenderloin, Kev’s mashed potatoes, slow cooker spinach casserole, deviled eggs from The Pantry, and my secret family recipes of strawberry fluff and blueberry cheesecake. 

Bare Naked Noodles is offering Lobster Mac for your New Years’ celebration. Text your order to 205-305-2715, and pick up Friday through Monday at noon. 

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dyron's oysters

Captain’s Catch 

Enjoy fresh seafood from Gulf Coast fishermen at Dyron’s Lowcountry.  

By Jan Walsh 

I went fishing once, when I was four-years-old. On my first cast, the line got caught in a tree. I fretted that the worm was afraid of heights. That was my last attempt at catching a fish. 

But I do admire fishermen. And Greg Abrams is truly a hero to me and many local chefs. After Hurricane Michael, I missed finding much of Greg Abram’s Gulf seafood on local restaurant menus. But looking at the dinner menu tonight, at Dyron’s Lowcountry, it is obvious that Abram’s fleet of boats are back in the water. 

dyron's fried shrimpI am more fearful of frying fish than fishing, so I leave that to Chef Randall Baldwin, who has perfected the technique. Never too dark nor too light, Baldwin’s fried seafood always arrives crisp and golden on the outside, moist and succulent on the inside—time after time. Tonight, he gets our table off to a tasty start with two plates of enormous, golden, fried crab claws. He knows that I never start a meal here without them. Also, as appetizers we share the Baked Louisiana Gulf Oysters and Fried Alabama Gulf Seafood.

The oysters are baked with collard greens, caramelized onion, bacon, parmesan, Pernod, and buttery breadcrumbs. What an amazing synthesis of flavors and textures! I ate mine, and ate one of Kev’s, while he was not looking. Highly recommended as is the
Fried Gulf Seafood plate. Lovely nuggets of red snapper, Bayou la Batre oysters, and shrimp are fried to perfection, as always, and served with Baldwin’s creamy gribiche.


dyron's tuna

For entrees we have tuna, grouper, and red snapper. The Hickory Grilled Gulf Yellowfin Tuna melts in the mouth and is further enhanced by potato puree, bacon lardons, carrots Brussel sprouts, and red pearl onions. 

Greg Abram’s Grilled Grouper is a colorful and vibrant dish. The thick, grill marked, filet is served on a scrumptious bed of Carolina Red Rice with stewed tomatoes, and onions. 

And the Iron Skillet Red Snapper is calling my name. The fish rests on a bed of antique Indian grits and green beans, is crowned with jumbo lump crabmeat and satsumas, and is brightened with a lively satsuma-citrus beurre blanc. Creamy corn and citrus flavors meld with the delicate fish making a balanced beautiful dish. 

dyron's grouper

Tried and true, again, delicious through and through… each and every fish dish is a great catch. 

 

 

 

 

 

dyron's red snapperView Dyron's Country Profile 

 

 

 

 

Bottega Cafe pork chop

Good Gravy 

Bottega Café’s pork chop is good to the bone. 

By Jan Walsh 

Kev’s eyes light up when he sees “pork chop” on the menu today at Bottega Café. And his high expectations are met and surpassed on first bite. 

The pork chop is served atop a medley of comfort: Venetian spinach, onion, polenta, and roasted potatoes. It is further enhanced by a scrumptious sauce of tomato chutney aioli, with the appearance of a savory gravy. The chop is golden on the outside, white and juicy inside, and tender to the bone. The flavorful spinach, with its golden raisins and pine nuts, adds color and texture to the dish. And the creamy polenta and farm fresh potatoes round out this plateful of comfort.  Highly Recommended! 

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BIstro 218 shrimp risotto
Gourmet Comfort  

Bistro 218 lunch menu pleases both the foodie and homebody in me. 

By Jan Walsh 


Bistro 218 is one of my favorite restaurants. And Chef Tom Saab is one of my favorite chefs. I appreciate that he sources the finest organic and Non-GMO products, and disallows GMOs in his kitchen, including cooking oil. I also don’t think I have ever been here for lunch or dinner when he was not in the kitchen. And it shows. 


bistro 218 draft beerAnd while I love lunching at a fine dining restaurant, most don’t offer lunch. But Bistro 218 serves lunch in their separate Bar, on Tuesdays through Fridays. The Bar space boasts natural light from its store front windows, and the exposed brick walls wrap around the space, providing a welcoming, homey ambience. Here Kev and I are seated at “our” window table, where we watch passersby on 20th Street. 

We sip on new fave discoveries—a Red Hills pilsner on tap and Dom. Du Pre Semele Sancerre 2017 as we look over today’s menu. The menu is not large. But it has something for everyone, every dish tempts, and all are consistently executed well. Choices include gourmet burger, Gulf seafood, pork belly, Joyce Farms’ chicken, and vegan options. I ask what Kev is going to order—to make sure he chooses a dish that has pomme frites with it—or else I will. Bistro 218’s frites are not just a choice. They are a must! 


And he orders, just as I silently hoped and bistro 218 burger predicted, the Bistro Burger and frites. So, I am free to order at will. Hmm, given Chef accuses me of ordering the crab cakes too often, I go with the Shrimp and Vegetable Risotto. Both dishes arrive piping hot. The burger is served open faced, overstuffed with a thick beef patty, enveloped in glistening, melted gruyere cheese on one side, and a bed of lettuce, tomato, pickles and pickled red onion on the other. And the thin frites are golden from end to end, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside—perfection. No one makes a better risotto than Chef Saab. The bed of rich, creamy risotto is crowned with three succulent Gulf shrimp and is edged with a drizzle of EVOO. It never disappoints and just keeps getting better. Highly recommended! 

 

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