New Things To Do In Gulf Shores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New developments in Gulf ShoresOrange BeachPerdido Key and Foley are making headlines and further enhancing the visitor experience. Here is a brief rundown of some of the latest Gulf Coast happenings that are giving visitors even more fun things to do.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

Major tourism projects are continuing in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, including improvements at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo’s 25-acre facility that will open in 2018. With five themed areas, an event center, a full-service restaurant, rides and playgrounds, the zoo will relocate from its current spot in Gulf Shores to just north of the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo: 1204 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Also under way is the $15 million Gulf Place Revitalization Project in Gulf Shores that will create new beach access points, public sidewalks and green spaces, walking paths, shaded structures, restrooms and more.

Gulf Shores Public Beach: West Gulf Place, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Public Beach EnhancementsWork is progressing on the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project, an $85.5 million project that is creating additional access points, a new lodge and conference center, restoration and enhancement of dune habitat, and an interpretive and education center. A beautiful new boardwalk over Lake Shelby has recently opened.
Gulf State Park: East Beach Blvd., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Authentic TacoThe Authentic Taco reopened at the Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar. Formerly located inside a gas station on Ala. Hwy. 182, the restaurant’s regular patrons were heartbroken when it closed. You can once again can get your fresh taco or tamale fix at the Flora-Bama. Oh, and get a Bushwacker on the side.

Authentic Taco: 17401 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key, FL 32507

The owners of the former Hot Spot Restaurant at The Wharf have moved into a larger, waterfront location at The Wharf and renamed the restaurant the Hot Spot Intracoastal. With a menu featuring everything from Intracoastal Kickin’ Shrimp to fried and grilled seafood, burgers, steaks and wings, this restaurant is making waves for seafood lovers.
Hot Spot Intracoastal: 4815 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Barefoot Island Grill has opened on Canal Road across the street from the Orange Beach Recreation Center. Sandwiches, salads, steak and unique seafood dishes top the menu here, where every dish is made from scratch.

Barefoot Island Grill: 27370 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

GT’s On The Bay also opened on Canal Road in Orange Beach. Overlooking Wolf Bay, the restaurant serves a variety of foods, including Cajun empanadas, chicken carbonara, pizza baked in a stone hearth oven, fresh Gulf yellow fin tuna, shrimp-n-grits and much more. The large dining room is able to accommodate large groups, and the large wooden deck overlooking Wolf Bay is a fun place to dine, relax and listen to live music.

GT’s On The Bay: 26189 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

The Yard Milkshake BarA hot new spot at Pelican Place in Gulf Shores is The Yard Milkshake Bar. The Yard serves edible cookie dough, ice cream and specialty milkshakes with typical toppings like sprinkles as well as crazy toppings like glazed doughnuts, a birthday cupcake or a chocolate dipped smores. Order your milkshake in a pint or a quarter size.

The Yard Milkshake Bar: 3800 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Surf’s up at Big Wave Dave’s Kitchen & Beach Bar, which opened in June near Ron Jon Surf Shop in Orange Beach. The restaurant serves a variety of tropical drinks, sandwiches, tacos, salads and entrees. Be sure to try the Bali-Pops, hand-rolled bites featuring Gulf shrimp, pineapple, black beans, jasmine rice and sweet and spicy chili sauce.

Big Wave Dave’s Kitchen & Beach Bar: 22703 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561

Big Mike's SteakhouseA busy restaurant from the very start, the new Big Mike’s Steakhouseopened in Orange Beach in the former Diamond Jim’s and Mrs. Donna’s restaurant. This is the third location for the owners, who also operate steakhouses in Thomasville and Andalusia. Big Mike’s offer seafood selections in addition to its signature items like its Canal Road Strip, Ribeye and Filet Mignon. Incidentally, Big Mike’s Steakhouse in Thomasville was recently named the best steakhouse in Alabama by al.com.

Big Mike’ Steakhouse: 25638 Canal Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

A new barbecue joint opened at The Wharf, Blue Water BBQ now operates in the former Hot Spot’s location. Here, you’ll find pork, chicken, brisket, ribs, sausage and more.

Blue Water BBQ: 4780 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach, AL 36561

There’s also a new oyster shack in town. Royal Oyster House opened its doors in the heart of Gulf Shores on Gulf Shores Parkway. The menu right now focuses on raw oysters and a great burger.

Royal Oyster House: 807 Gulf Shores Pkwy., Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Located on Loop Road between the Walmart Neighborhood Market and Winn-Dixie Shopping Center in Orange Beach is the new Buns in the Sun restaurant, serving Asian-style steamed buns, also known as a pork bun or a bao bun. Steamed buns are handmade fresh daily and filled with beef and cheese, barbecue pork, chicken, vegetables, grilled seafood and more.

Buns in the Sun: 3099 Loop Road, Orange Beach, AL 36561

Vacation in a beach condo or house in Gulf ShoresFort Morgan or Orange Beach to be near all the new fun places!

Foley

In Foley, work continues on OWA, an entertainment destination expected to open this month. The 14-acre park will feature 21 rides (including the Rollin’ Thunder rollercoaster as well as kiddie rides), food vendors, 154,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space, and a 14-acre lake with a 1.5-acre island. The amusement park will be located adjacent to the City of Foley’s indoor event center, multi-use sports fields and a 150-room Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel.

Wahlburgers in FoleyOWA unveiled the first in a series of major retail and dining tenant announcements, including Wahlburgers, with locations in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Ohio.

Wahlburgers is a comfortable, family-friendly restaurant designed to appeal to every generation. The restaurant, which serves a variety of fresh burgers, housemade condiments and more, is the brainchild of Chef Paul Wahlberger and his family. The Foley operation will be the brand’s second largest U.S. location.

Other tenants announced recently include Sunglass World, Fairhope Soap Company, Alvin’s Island, Hershey’s Ice Cream Shop and Utopia.

The Park at OwaWith OWA opening in July, new access roads have been completed. An entrance to OWA has been created on Foley Beach Express and also Baldwin County Road 20. At the same time Pride Drive has been extended to the east to the new sports complex and event center, creating access directly from Ala. Hwy. 59.

OWA: 10113 Foley Beach Express, Foley, AL 36535

New restaurants in Foley include Mama Mia’s Pizzeria (246 W Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535), Grumpy’s (214 W Laurel Ave., Foley, AL 36535), Yummy’s Bakery & Café (105 W Orange Ave., Foley, AL 36535) in the courtyard at Orange Blossom Square, the Copper Kettle Tea Bar (106 N Chicago St., Foley, AL 36535), Portabella’s (321 S McKenzie St., Foley, AL 36535) and Gelato Joe’s (202 E Michigan Ave. A, Foley, AL 36535).
Find your perfect beach vacation rental. Condos are perfect for many families, while some houses can accommodate large groups of up to 50+ people.

Perdido Key

New to Perdido Key is the Islander Food Shack, located between Villagio Shopping Center and Dave’s Snow Balls. The restaurant is known for its casual dining atmosphere and menu of sandwiches, burgers, seafood and hand-cut fries. Also popular are its baskets, featuring grouper, chicken fingers, vegetables and shrimp.

Islander Food Shack: 13818 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, FL 32507

A new shop at Villagio is the Barefoot Gypsy Boutique. A “minimalist Bohemian-style” boutique, Barefoot Gypsy features laid-back clothing, one-of-a-kind accessories and a variety of unique gifts.

Barefoot Gypsy Boutique: 13700 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, FL 32507

Stay in a Perdido Key beach condo or house vacation rental.

Best Seafood Restaurants In Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach & Perdido Key

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A huge part of the appeal of a Gulf Coast vacation is dining out at local restaurants that serve the fruits of the Gulf of Mexico—seafood.

Below is a list of some local favorites that offer everything from grilled and fried shrimp and oysters from a top-rated seafood shack to Tasso-encrusted grouper over Yukon gold feta mashed potatoes from a waterfront fine dining restaurant.

Acme Oyster House

216 E 24th Ave., Gulf Shores

Acme Oyster HouseFirst opening in 1910 on Royal Street and later on New Orleans’ Iberville, where it still operates today, Acme Oyster House has begun a new tradition of tastiness in Gulf Shores in the new Waterway Village District along the Intracoastal Canal Waterway.

On any given day, you’ll find raw or chargrilled oysters sold by the dozen and half-dozen, along with entrees featuring a New Orleans flair (jambalaya, seafood etoufée, oyster Rockefeller soup, red beans and rice, po-boys). Platters are generously sized and feature everything from crab cakes to fried or grilled shrimp, fish and oysters.

Cayman Grill

26189 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Cayman GrillCayman Grill in Orange Beach sits on the Intracoastal Canal Waterway and has plenty of space for groups of all sizes.

When you walk in, you’ll see an exhibition kitchen with a wood burning grill and open-hearth oven. Chefs use ingredients from local farmers and fishermen as well as regional sources to ensure they serve the freshest selection.

If you want something simple, try a wood-roasted pizza. Or, enjoy the fresh catch of the day, soft shell crab, jumbo Gulf shrimp or select oysters. House specialties range from Gulf fish to filet mignon.

Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar

25753 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Cosmo'sLocated in Orange Beach in a village-like setting, Cosmo’s is a local favorite.

Here, you’ll find local seafood, pasta dishes, sushi, hand-cut steaks and more. One of the local favorites is the banana leaf wrapped fish, named by the Alabama Tourism Department as one of the “Top 100 Dishes To Eat Before You Die.”

Of course, if you’re looking for fried fish or shrimp, you can find it here. But, if you’re looking for something just a little different, try the pecan redfish or the shrimp and Andouille pasta. If you prefer a steak, the Tournedos are twin four-ounce medallions of beef tenderloin grilled and served over sweet potato cakes, grilled green tomatoes and Portobello mushrooms. Then, it’s topped with roasted tomato relish. Hungry yet?

Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

26029 Canal Road, Orange Beach
1140 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores

Doc's Seafood ShackIf you’re looking for a true locals dining experience, stop into Doc’s Seafood Shack in Orange Beach for a meal.

For 32 years, this place has welcomed visitors who are looking for great food in a not-so-fancy atmosphere.

Enjoy a cup of the highly regarded seafood gumbo and a platter of oversized onion rings to start. Then, move on to a plate piled high with shrimp or oysters (or both).

There are also grilled and baked fish and shrimp dishes. And, if you want to bring in your own catch, the good folks at Doc’s will cook them up for you!

Fisherman’s Corner

13486 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key

Fisherman's CornerWhile meat lovers will find steaks seasoned and cooked to impress, the cuisine at Fisherman’s Corner, just as the name implies, focuses on seafood.

Creole linguini, pasta Cioppino, fresh seafood dinners, seafood platters, shrimp and grits, crawfish etoufée, New Orleans barbecue shrimp and more highlight the menu here.

Proprietors at Fisherman’s Corner are also proud of their award-winning wine list, recognized as one of the best in the nation by Wine Spectator magazine, so be sure to give it a look. Then, consider a piece of their decadent bread pudding. You won’t leave hungry!

Flora-Bama Yacht Club

17350 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key

Flora BamaEnjoy some chargrilled oysters at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club before moving onto one of the house specialties.

House specialties include blackened trigger, chicken Pontchartrain, hand-cut certified Angus beef filet mignon, sesame-wasabi pea crusted yellowfin tuna and more.

You’ll also find staples like burgers, grilled fish sandwiches, fried baskets and po-boys. A variety of salads rounds out the menu at this favorite locals’ hangout.

Ginny Lane Bar & Grill at The Wharf

4851 Wharf Parkway, Orange Beach

Ginny LaneIf you are going to be here on a Sunday, stop by the Wharf in Orange Beach for Ginny Lane’s champagne brunch. Southern-style eggs Benedict, Cajun omelet, biscuits and gravy, crab cake Benedict, steak ‘n eggs, Southern comfort, and shrimp and grits are on the brunch menu.

Come for lunch or dinner, and you’ll find everything from bayou grouper to crab cakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp. There are also fried, broiled and steamed platters, pasta dishes, and kid favorites.

You’re sure to enjoy your dining experience at Ginny Lane, but you might also want to check out the proprietors’ other restaurants, Villaggio Grille at the Wharf and Gilbey’s Seafood & Steak at the Publix Shopping Center in Orange Beach.

Mikee’s Seafood

205 E. 2nd Avenue, Gulf Shores

Mikee's SeafoodTuesdays and Fridays are all-you-can-eat mullet or whitefish days at Mikee’s Seafood, a casual dining favorite of local residents. Enjoy all the fish you can stand prepared fried, broiled or blackened along with sides like beans, greens, and jalapeno cornbread cakes. Yum!

Po-boys, burgers, oysters, shrimp and a host of specialty entrees round out the dining experience at Mikee’s, so named for the chef. And, be sure to save room for a delicious slice of peanut butter pie.

Original Oyster House

701 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores

Original Oyster HouseAlways attracting a crowd who enjoys a quality dining experience, the Original Oyster House is located at the quaint Bayou Village shopping center in Gulf Shores.

When you get here, you’ll learn about the seafood specials of the day before you order. Some greater starters include fried alligator bites or crawfish tails. The fried green tomatoes are also super yummy!

Of course, there are the deep-fried favorites, but you might also enjoy blackened Mahdi topped with fried crawfish tails and Tasso and Conecuh County sausage cream sauce. Or, how about bourbon grilled Ahi tuna and fried shrimp. You can also create your own platter or indulge in shrimp Florentine or a hearty steak.

Enjoy a homemade dessert (key lime pie or mile-high peanut butter pie) from the Oyster House or walk a few steps over to Matt’s Homemade Ice Cream for a cool treat.

Sea-N-Suds

405 East Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores

Sea-N-SudsThe only truly on-the-beach (or should I say “above” the beach) dining experience in Gulf Shores, Sea-n-Suds restaurant is an iconic spot for a meal or a cold beverage. Walk up the boardwalk, and you’ll find yourself high above the white-sand beach and looking out over the Gulf of Mexico.

For lunch or dinner, a personal favorite is the shrimp sandwich, loaded with fried shrimp and tartar sauce. If you want something a bit more substantial, you can also enjoy stuffed crabs, fried oysters or shrimp, a seafood platter, a crab claw dinner, a full salad bar, sandwiches and one of the best hamburgers on Pleasure Island.

Shipp’s Harbour Grill

27842 Canal Road, Orange Beach

Ship's Harbor GrillFor a unique waterfront dining experience, head over to Shipp’s Harbour Grill, where you can eat outside or on the top deck and see the beautiful marina just outside.

Visit Shipp’s for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Or, if you’re too early for dinner, try one of their small plates for a quick snack.

House specialties feature blackened tuna, grouper Pontchartrain, Gulf Coast snapper, black sesame tuna, coconut grouper, snapper pesto, Creole grouper, jumbo lump crab cakes and much more.

You can also indulge your taste for fried seafood, sushi or hand-cut, USDA-certified Angus beefsteak.

For dessert, try the Southern Comfort bread pudding, pina colada cake, drunk brownie or crème brulée. Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff is good!

Shrimp Basket

Hwy. 59, Gulf Shores
26651 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach
14600 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key

Shrimp BasketOwners of Mikee’s Seafood also own the Shrimp Basket restaurants, where you’ll find the usual fried, grilled or blackened dishes.

Order a fried basket served with shrimp slaw, hushpuppies, fritter and another side. Add a fried stuffed crab for a little extra cash.

Here, you’ll also find seafood gumbo, shrimp etouffee, red beans and rice, raw oysters and more. They’ll even top a salad with some of their seafood delights or provide a steamed platter with new potatoes, corn on the cob and shrimp slaw. Po-boys are stuffed with fried, grilled or blackened shrimp, whitefish, catfish, chicken strips, oysters or crawfish. You can’t go wrong with that!

The Steamer & Baked Oyster Bar

124 W. 1st Ave., Gulf Shores

The SteamerWith the same owners as the Shrimp Basket and Mikee’s Seafood, there is a major commitment to providing quality seafood at the Steamer Baked Oyster Bar.

Located behind Souvenir City in Gulf Shores, The Steamer serves raw, steamed and baked oysters along with a full menu of steamed and grilled seafood.

On the menu are baked parmesan oysters, baked alfredo oysters, baked blue cheese oysters, baked Mexican oysters, baked Bama oysters, baked Rockefeller oysters, baked Cajun crawfish oysters, or a combination.

You’ll also find sandwiches, lobster, steak, crab cakes, chicken and pasta.

Tacky Jacks

27206 Safe Harbor Dr., Orange Beach
1577 Hwy. 180, Fort Morgan
240 E. 24th Ave., Gulf Shores

Tacky Jack'sOne of the coolest things about the Tacky Jacks restaurants is that you can drive to the restaurant or arrive by boat. All three locations are waterfront.

When you arrive, order an appetizer of Mexican Garbage, which is the ultimate in beef and cheese nachos. Tortillas are piled high with meat, cheese, tomato, onions, black olives, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and salsa.

Then, order one of their famous Bushwackers, a creamy concoction known as an “adult milkshake.” This specialty drink features silver rum, coconut rum, coffee liqueur and a 151 floater. Oh, and ice cream. Or, if you’d rather get in your vegetables, Tacky Jacks Bloody Mary is made with Whiskey Willy’s and garnished with lime, lemon, olive and picked green beans.

Entrees and platters feature everything from steak and grilled mahi-mahi to oysters, Ahi tuna, shrimp and grits and steamed royal reds.

Wolf Bay Lodge Orange Beach

26619 Perdido Beach Blvd.

Wolf Bay Lodge Orange BeachA local seafood tradition since 1973, Wolf Bay Lodge opened a new restaurant in Orange Beach a few years ago at Zeke’s Marina. The menu is varied, and the food always good.

Start off with an appetizer of Cha Cha’s crab dip, featuring a sweet Bourbon sauce served hot. Or, some fresh smoked tuna dip. Or, maybe even an order of coconut shrimp. You won’t be disappointed.

Homemade soups include seafood gumbo or lobster chowder. And there’s an extensive salad bar featuring the expected vegetables along with bonus potato and pasta salads.

Sandwiches run the gamut from po-boys to burgers, while entrees feature generous portions of seafood, shrimp and grits, fish of all kinds, chicken, steaks, pasta and more.

Save room for dessert, as it will be hard to pass up the coconut cake or chocolate lava cake.

Eat at a different restaurant every night while you are on the Gulf Coast. Stay in a beach condo or house in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key.

Cooking Classes in Gulf Shores

Long walks on beautiful white sand, volleyball and other outdoor games, restaurants and night life, miniature golf and amusement parks . . . and a class? Taking a class when you come to the Gulf Shores area may not be top-of-mind, but widening your horizons may provide a welcome new vacation experience.

cooking class, Faulkner State Community College, Gulf Shores, Alabama, sushi, Cajun, cheesecake

Cooking is more fun when you know how! Choose from a variety of Gulf Coast Culinary Institute workshops to enhance your skills and bring out your hidden chef.

The Gulf Coast Culinary Institute at the Gulf Shores campus of Faulkner State Community College is offering a tasty array of afternoon and evening workshops through early December. Each class lasts 2.5 or 4 hours, and includes information, demonstration and guided hands-on opportunities.

To whet your appetite for the classes, take note of what the Culinary Institute has in store for you in November and December:

Saturday, November 12, 3–7 p.m. ($45)—Holiday Cajun Style
Who says your holiday meal has to be the same each year? Adopt a full Cajun theme or simply incorporate a few Cajun ideas to spice things up. This class discusses the history, the foods and the cooking techniques of Cajun cuisine. After a little exploration, you’ll get to put your new knowledge to use in the kitchen as Chef Trawick guides you through the steps.

Saturday, November 19, 3–5:30 p.m. ($45)—Sushi
Sushi lovers often declare that they would dine on this delicacy more often if not for the cost. But knowing how to make it means you can serve it often for a much lower cost than dining out. Chef Douglas will describe the history, food and techniques of sushi-making. Once you enter the kitchen, you’ll be instructed on selecting ingredients and cooking the rice, then experience the ease of making large rolls, small rolls, inside-out rolls and hand rolls.

Saturday, December 3, 3–7 p.m. ($30)—Cheesecake
Place a homemade cheesecake on the dessert table, and you’re the star of the gathering. You won’t need to watch someone else take those honors at your next get-together once Chef Douglas teaches you the secrets of successful cheesecake creation. Ingredients, tools and techniques will be covered, followed by guided preparation of a variety of savory and sweet treats. Among the lessons are crusts, styles, garnishes and sauces.

Register for any or all of the classes, held at the Faulkner State Community College campus just north of the Intracoastal Canal bridge in Gulf Shores, by calling 251-990-0445 or 800-231-3752.

Culinary workshops are even more fun when couples, families or friends share the experience, so get everyone together and come on down to the beach! If you haven’t already made your lodging arrangements, take a look at some of Meyer Vacation Rentals’ properties, such as 2-bedroom Gulf Shores condos and houses—or for larger groups, 4-bedroom houses and condos in Gulf Shores might be the perfect fit.

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Facebook and Twitter.

Oyster Cook-Off at the Beach

The event may not officially begin until 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, November 5, but you can bet the planning for the 4thAnnual Oyster Cook-off has kicked into high gear over the past few weeks.

4th Annual Oyster Cook-off, The Hangout, Gulf Shores, Alabama, 2011

Cheer on your favorite restaurant in the Oyster Cook-off. November 5, 2011, The Hangout, Gulf Shores, Alabama.

With $10,000 in prizes—including cash and Hangout Music Fest tickets—the competition is fierce. The most coveted prize, though, is bragging rights as creator of the best oyster dish in our island area. Food categories include Cajun Oysters, Oysters Rockefeller, and Create-Your-Own Raw Oysters; they will be judged by an official panel. An overall grand champion also will be named, a fast-paced contest will crown the three speediest shuckers, a best booth will be chosen, and everyone attending will get to vote for the People’s Choice winner.

Tents are already being set up for each competitor, the beer garden is about to be stocked full of craft beers and all the makings for Cordina frozen cocktails, and folks are abuzz with a rivalry befitting the weekend’s sports events.

Will your favorite oyster eatery be competing? Come cheer them on (admission is free!), and sample their savory concoctions for just $1 per ticket:
City Grill
Cotton’s
DeSoto’s Seafood Kitchen
Flora-Bama
Gulf Island Grill
The Hangout
Happy Harbor
Lester’s (2010 Cajun winner and Grand Champion)
LL’s Seafood (2010 Raw winner)
Mudbugs
The Original Oyster House
Shrimp Basket (2010 Rockefeller winner)
Steve’s Place
Sunset Cork Room
Sysco
West Beach Grille
Wintzell’s Oyster House
Wolf Bay Lodge

There will be plenty of cook-off activities to keep you engaged, but if you are looking for even more from this gathering, you’ll find it! Live music will be provided by The Rentmakers, and the big screen will broadcast SEC football (be sure to join in the related games and prize opportunities). You can always count on The Hangout for a great variety of high-energy fun for all ages.

Take a peek at video from last year’s Oyster Cook-off.

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Facebook and Twitter.

Gulf Coast Culinary Institute Cooking Classes

As you plan your trip to the Gulf Shores area, you probably think about white sand and beach towels, volleyball and other outdoor games, restaurants and night life, miniature golf and amusement parks. Taking a class may not be top-of-mind, but widening your horizons may provide a welcome new vacation experience.

chef, cooking class, culinary institute, gulf shores, alabama, faulkner state

Cooking is more fun when you know how! Choose from a variety of Gulf Coast Culinary Institute workshops to enhance your skills and bring out your hidden chef.

The Gulf Coast Culinary Institute at the Gulf Shores campus of Faulkner State Community College is offering a tasty array of afternoon and evening workshops through early December. Each class lasts 2.5, 3 or 4 hours, and includes information, demonstration and hands-on opportunities.

To whet your appetite for the classes, take note of what the Culinary Institute has in store for you in October:

Saturday, October 8, 3–6 p.m. ($30)—Healthy Cooking
Foods with lower amounts of fat and calories and higher fiber and vitamins are important to any healthy diet. You’ll learn which foods to emphasize, as well as which tools and techniques will help you get the most out of those foods. Learn to make soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts that will satisfy and nourish.

Friday, October 14, 6–8:30 p.m. ($40)—Taste of Italy
You may be surprised at the versatility of classic Italian cuisine and the ease of preparation, in spite of the seemingly complicated names. Chef Marsha breaks it down into easy-to-understand skills to make dishes such as Roasted Garlic & Mascarpone Fettuccine Alfredo; Butternut Squash Risotto with Shaved Pecorino and Granny Smith Apple “Caviar”; Creamy Polenta with Italian Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Homemade Marinara; and Tiramisu Parfaits.

Friday, October 21, 6–8:30 p.m. ($45)—Tapas and Paella
Small-plate tapas of Spain are rising in popularity in the U.S. Learn to make Classic Chilled Tomato Gazpacho; Tortilla Española with Potatoes, Onions and Lemon-Herb Crème Fraiche; Queso Frito (Baked Manchego Cheese with Spicy Spanish Marinara); and Traditional Paella Valenciana with Saffron Rice, Chicken, and Chorizo. Chef Marsha also will share her recommendations for Spanish wines, port and sherry.

Saturday, October 22, 3–6 p.m. ($45)—BBQ Sauces
BBQ is a staple of Southern cuisine. Many a fierce rivalry has begun over bragging rights to the best barbecue! Thanks to this class, you, too, can jump right in to claim your fame as the new champion of flavor. Learn about the history of BBQ in America, as well as regional variations, and then put the information to immediate use with hands-on fun exploring the many combinations.

Saturday, October 29, 3–6 p.m. ($40)—Poultry
From the most basic preparations to complicated gourmet presentations, poultry is a favored choice for entrees, appetizers, soups and more. Learn not only the best cooking techniques, but also how to choose and properly prepare poultry for whichever cooking mode strikes your fancy.

Register for any or all of the classes, held at the Faulkner State Community College campus just north of the Intracoastal Canal bridge in Gulf Shores, by calling 251-990-0445 or 800-231-3752.

Culinary workshops are even more fun when couples, families or friends share the experience, so get everyone together and come on down to the beach! If you haven’t already made your lodging arrangements, take a look at some of Meyer Vacation Rentals’ properties, such as 2-bedroom Gulf Shores condos and houses—or for larger groups, 4-bedroom houses and condos in Gulf Shores might be the perfect fit.

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Vacation Rentals on Facebook and Twitter.

Deen Brothers Book Signing

Paula Deen’s son Bobby is ready to share some Deen family cooking secrets Friday, June 17, right here in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

Deen Bros Get Fire Up cookbook signing LuLu's Gulf Shores, Alabama

Cooking demonstration, signed cookbooks and more with Bobby Deen at LuLu's in Gulf Shores on Friday, June 17.

Brothers Jamie and Bobby have published a new cookbook that focuses on the great American pastime of grilling. Titled The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: Grilling, Tailgating, Picnicking, and More, this cookbook includes much more than “just” delectable Southern recipes. A bit of family interaction, pictures of many of the dishes, and tips on adjusting from stove to grill are a few of the extras included between the book’s covers.

Bobby will appear at LuLu’s at Homeport Marina from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., signing cookbooks, sharing stories, and showing his skills via live demonstration. The event is free, but if you choose to purchase two copies of Get Fired Up, you will also receive a free copy of Recipes from the Road.

Stay informed of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate Vacation Rentals on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

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