Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Catching UP!

Wow!  It is good to be back!  Between illnesses, hospital visits and NO internet, Three Friends and a Fork are waaaaaay behind!  So, in an effort to "catch" up, here's what we were working on when LIFE interfered!  Let's go back to the weekend of August 3...


It was a big weekend for our Family Divided. My niece and our manager extraordinaire, Haley, was graduating from college. So, off we headed to Tuscaloosa. Now if Luanne had been traveling to Tuscaloosa, there wouldn't be much of a story. She is a rabid Alabama fan, after all, so she fits in, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately, the entire city of Tuscaloosa must have been warned that three Auburn Tigers were invading the town, because they completely rolled up the red carpet and put "No Vacancy" signs on every hotel and motel within a 40 mile radius of the Alabama campus. So, while the rest of the clan stayed smack dab in the middle of the campus at the Hotel Capstone, the Reynolds branch of the family had to find shelter in Hoover. Scott was in Birmingham for meetings all weekend and wasn't able to attend the graduation, so J.D., Rob and I braved enemy territory by ourselves.

 I have to say, we were pretty proud of Haley, for two reasons. The first and most important reason is that she was graduating summa cum laude. The girl is SMART! The second reason is that she didn't make us attend the BIG graduation in the spring! The small graduation, which we attended, was big enough. We had to wait for 2000 graduates to receive their diplomas and the process took two hours! If Haley had graduated in May, those numbers would have been doubled.  Thanks, Haley!

Isn't she cute?
 As it was, Haley, looking cute with her red mortar board perched daintily, (ok, precariously) on the back of her head, and with her proud family looking on, graduated with a degree in communication and information science. After she received her diploma and after much picture taking and hugging and oooing and ahhhing, the family,  all ten of us,  made our way downtown for a combination graduation  celebration for Haley and birthday celebration for Paw Paw. Paw Paw, aka, the sweetest man in the world and, possibly, the most adored by his children and grandchildren, just turned 80 a couple of days before.   We had lots to celebrate!  Haley chose the place, Local Catch.

 Local Catch is a new addition to the Tuscaloosa restaurant scene. It is one of two.  The other Local Catch is in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.   Only opened since March of this year, Local Catch T Town is located on University Boulevard.  Even though it sits on some prime real estate, the location has not been an advantage for former restaurants.  The most recent restaurant to inhabit the spot only lasted about a year.  On this day, even with all the graduation traffic, we had no trouble getting a table for ten at Local Catch.  Actually, finding a parking place proved more problematic.
The Menu

Once we finally parked the car, walked several blocks back to the restaurant and got seated, it was time to get down to business.  We checked out the menu.  The food at Local Catch is described on the menu as "coastal cuisine with a southern twist".  Our choices, with ingredients such as grits, bacon, pecans, shrimp and fish, reflected this description.
Checking out the menu.

First up....appetizers!  We were hungry after that hike in the Tuscaloosa summer heat and humidity!
Admittedly this is not a good photograph! We forgot to take the picture before we had devoured 3 of the jalapenos!

Rob wanted to try the bacon wrapped jalapenos.  I have to admit they sounded pretty good to me, too. The peppers were stuffed with white cheddar and cream cheese, wrapped with applewood smoked bacon and grilled.  They were huge, much milder than we expected and served with a creamy coleslaw.  The smoky bacon was well-done and crispy and, honestly, would have been good on a slab of concrete. The bacon wrapped jalapenos were our favorite of all the things we tasted.

Our entrees ran the gamut.  Rob decided on gumbo and a salad.  My sister, Kerri, chose pecan-crusted grouper with mashed potatoes, green beans and pecan butter.  Haley, my brother-in-law, Tim, and my niece, Ayla all selected shrimp and grits.  J.D. and Haley's friend, Kylee, decided on the shrimp po-boy.  I, (surprise, surprise), went with shrimp tacos.  The only ones who veered from seafood selections were Maw Maw and Paw Paw.  Maw Maw is allergic to shellfish, so she chose a roast beef po-boy and Paw Paw, who was on a special diet, picked grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Gumbo


Rob's gumbo was thick and rich and made with homemade Andouille sausage.  It had just the right amount of spice for Rob and he ate every bite.  He enjoyed his house salad, as well.


Shrimp and Grits


The shrimp and grits were met with approval from everyone who ordered them.  The shrimp were grilled to perfection and the grits were thick and creamy.  The whole shebang was swimming in a tangy, smoky barbecue sauce.  I don't think there was a bite left on any of the plates.

Shrimp Po-boy with Potato Salad

The shrimp po-boys were everything you would expect from a shrimp po-boy.  The bread was a crusty French baguette, split and overstuffed with fresh gulf shrimp, deep fried and crispy.  In addition to shrimp, the sandwiches included crunchy Romaine lettuce, tomato jam and pickled jalapenos.  They were accompanied by potato salad for Kylee and french fries for J.D.  I heard a lot of praise being heaped on the potato salad in particular.

Caribbean Shrimp Tacos with Chips and Pico de Gallo

I had a couple of options when it came to choosing shrimp tacos.  There was a fried shrimp taco version and a Caribbean grilled shrimp taco.  I went with grilled Caribbean tacos.  How could I resist...the shrimp were described as marinated in coconut rum and grilled.   They were nestled in the soft flour tortillas with cabbage, roasted red peppers and fresh pineapple salsa.  Everything was topped with a drizzle of something called White House sauce, which I assumed was the Local Catch's incarnation of Baja sauce.  The combination was really good.  I especially liked the pineapple salsa made with big, fresh chunks of pineapple.   The only criticism I had involved the side of chips and pico de Gallo.  First, I was really expecting corn tortilla chips, which I love.  I was not really bowled over by the flour tortilla chips offered by Local Catch.  And the pico was tasteless and mushy.  I suspected it was made with tomatoes that had been refrigerated, which happens to be a pet peeve of mine.  Refrigeration can turn a good tomato into a bad one very quickly.

Pecan Crusted Grouper with Pecan Butter,  Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Kerri's pecan crusted grouper was a big hit.  It was perfectly cooked, moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  It was very good with the rich pecan butter.
New Orleans Roast Beef Debris Po-boy

Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Not surprisingly, the least favorite entrees were the non-seafood selections.  In fairness, Paw Paw would never have chosen grilled chicken at a seafood restaurant had it not been for his diet.  He had eaten far too many grilled chicken breasts at this point.  He just wasn't feeling the grilled chicken love!  As for Maw Maw, she is at a real disadvantage at a seafood restaurant.  She loves shrimp, but shrimp does not love her!  Anyway, she enjoyed the company, but she wasn't especially fond of the roast beef.  The moral of the story...when in Rome!  Or in this case, when dining at a seafood restaurant, order the seafood if you can.

Key Lime Pie

Fried Oreo with Ice Cream
There were two desserts on the menu and we ordered them both to share.  I love key lime pie, so this was definitely my favorite.  Local Catch's key lime pie was not the best one I ever had, but it was good...creamy and tangy.  Oreos are not my cookie of choice and the idea of a deep fried oreo does not tempt me one bit.  However, Haley and Kylee loved the deep fried oreo.


                                        All in all, Three Friends and a Fork give Local Catch
                                                Paw Paw's hiding and where's Rob?                

3 Fishy Yums UP and hope they have lots of success in their new Tuscaloosa location.
Ok, now it's your turn.  The family had a lot of fun with this picture which was on the wall of Local Catch.  Each of us seemed to see something different.  So...I will ask you.  What do you see?  Leave your answers below.  
Richi Reynolds
Richi Reynolds

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