Get Classic Southern Eats in Alabama — On the Road with The Great Food Truck Race
This week on The Great Food Truck Race, the route took the teams to Alabama. On their first day Tyler had the teams getting their hands dirty — picking frozen shrimp in a challenge to see who could get close to 100 pounds. One team left with their spoils but soon found the challenge of peeling and cleaning the Gulf Coast delicacy holding them back. Later in the day Tyler challenged the two teams who had cooked the best brunch dish on Day Two to a seafood cook-off. In a surprise turn of events, the team that won was actually sent home.
Some were more successful than others at selling seafood dishes, but when in the South, where the fruits of the sea are the freshest, there's no excuse not to partake of the bounty. And the state of Alabama has a lot to offer when it comes to seafood delicacies, including shrimp po' boys and shrimp 'n' grits. For the meat lovers, there’s barbecue ribs, burgers and good ol' Southern cooking.
Opened in 1917 as part soda fountain and part candy shop, Three Georges Candy sells hand-dipped chocolates, divinity, pralines, fudge and more from its Mobile, Ala., factory. Stop by the charming, old-fashioned shop for a milk shake or bring candies home for an edible gift.
Bottega Cafe is run by celebrated chef Frank Stitt. The relaxed spot offers both lunch and dinner with a menu celebrating the warm spirit of Italian cuisine while honoring the purest seasonal ingredients of the American South. Try Chef Stitt's signature lamb sausage-and-walnut wrap while you're there.
The star of Trattoria Centrale is the BLT pizza, made with ricotta, mozzarella, bacon, tomatoes and arugula. Fold it in half and eat it as the name would suggest, like a sandwich.
When you're hungry for serious Creole food, head down to Gumbo Shack. The local favorite has bands playing every weekend. Don't leave without trying the gumbo, and if you're in the mood for something spicier, try the crawfish.
If you're looking for fast food that is a little more upscale than just burgers and fries, check out Panini Pete's. The Italian Caprese panini is made with fresh mozzarella and homemade dressing, and the turkey panini has some of the tenderest turkey.
Anyone looking to try a po' boy in Daphne, Ala., should check out Manci's Antique Club, an 83-year-old institution owned by Gwen Manci and her husband, Alex. Try the shrimp po' boy and the Jazzy Burger, topped with Jezebel sauce for something really special.
If you've got a hankering for smoked turkey, visit Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q. Although the restaurant is known for ribs and pork shoulder, Big Bob's turkey is the juiciest turkey you’re ever going to eat.
The Restaurant: Impossible team transformed this cartoonish restaurant into a chic and upscale eatery. The new menu now lives and breathes sophisticated Southern cooking. Try their special fried green tomatoes, sizzling catfish or their best in beef tenderloin and rib-eye steak.
King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant — Gulf Shores, Ala.
King Neptune's is the place to get your hands on "royal reds," deep-water shrimp pulled from the Gulf of Mexico. These ruby red, sweet-and-salty shellfish are distinctive to Alabama. Also try the po' boys, mixed platters — fried, steamed or grilled — and other seafood delicacies.
The seven-ounce chuck patty from this roadside eatery is nothing fancy, but locals rave over the burgers topped with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickle. Order a small, large or gargantuan double, and don’t forget the secret ketchup-mayo sauce.
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