Wednesday, January 1, 2014

100 Foods to Eat in Alabama

The Year of Alabama Food promotes 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.  I was checking out the updated list, and so far, I have eaten 35 of the recommended dishes.  I have actually been to more than 35 of the establishments mentioned in the list, but I did not always order the recommended food.  Some of the recommendations I wholeheartedly agree with.  I love the Athenian fish at The Fish Market in Birmingham, but I always order Athenian Snapper rather than Athenian Grouper.  I just prefer red snapper.  The recipe is delicious, so pick your favorite fish and dive in! I also love the Chilean sea bass wrapped in banana leaves at Cosmos in Orange Beach.  From my own hometown in Scottsboro, 8 restaurants made the list.  I have been to and enjoyed all 8 of them and even tried 7 of the recommended dishes.

Many of the restaurants mentioned on the list are wonderful, and I highly recommend them even though I did not try the dish that made the list.  The SpringHouse restaurant in Alexander City is amazing, but I never made it to the S'mores.  I can tell you, everything else I had was absolutely wonderful, so I have no doubt the S'mores would be as well.  Nabeel's in Homewood is one of my all time favorite places, but I have never once tried the Camel Rider sandwich or the moussaka.  The chicken salad is delicious, however, as is the hummus and tzatziki.  I have documented the love The Three Friends had for SAW's Soul Kitchen in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham, but we did not go to SAW's BBQ in Homewood and order a BBQ stuffed tater.  If the BBQ tater and the restaurant in Homewood is just half as good as the food we enjoyed in Avondale, that would be one fine tater!

One dish on the list which I have tried and would not go back for is the orange roll at the All Steak in Cullman.  All Steak has always been one of my favorite restaurants.  I even had my rehearsal dinner at the original All Steak location when I married.  The restaurant subsequently moved to the top of Cullman Savings Bank building.  The food remained delicious even though ownership changed.  The famous orange rolls went through a transformation about the same time and I felt it was not a change for the better.  The rolls were smaller, less fluffy and a much brighter orange.  They were still good, just not quite as good as the original.  Recently, the restaurant has changed hands, and again, the orange rolls have suffered.  My family went to All Steak's new location on 3rd Avenue SE.  We were all disappointed in our meals, but the orange rolls were especially disappointing.  They were really underdone.  I mean the rolls were runny dough in the center.  You needed a spoon to eat them.

Next week, as a New Year's gift, I am going to give you two recipes for orange rolls.  One of them is very easy, the other a bit more complicated, but it is almost identical to the very first orange roll I remember having at All Steak the very first time I ate there.  Both recipes are delicious, a sweet end to a meal or a breakfast treat.  So, check back.  I think you will like them both. Here is a sneak peak!

Three Friends and a Fork
Three Friends and a Fork

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  1. The Camel Rider sandwich is believed to have been invented at the Sheik in Jacksonville, FL. around 1965.
    It's half a pita bread, stuffed with cold cuts, lettuce and tomato (peppers optional) with some variation of oil/vinegar dressing..
    It's usually consumed with a fresh squeezed limeade with a couple of shots of cherry syrup.
    I wish I had one right now!

  2. Paul, you are making me want to take a trip to Jacksonville just to try a Camel Rider!