Food Destination: Alabama's Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Part 1

| 6/12/2018 2:05:00 PM

CoastAL shrimp and grits

Orange Beach and the Gulf Shores in Alabama are laid-back, welcoming places, especially for nature lovers. The coastal, island-based, adjoining communities are unpretentious and un-showy, without the celeb drama queens in their Maserati cars and glitz often found in other beach hotspots. There’s the Gulf of Mexico on one side and state parks and a wildlife refuge cradling accommodations and restaurants in the now booming tourism industry.

Friends and families mostly gather here, many annually, to put their toes in the sand, climb up on skim boards and savor some of the most local, freshest and creatively presented, Gulf-caught seafood around, establishing the ecotourism destination (more on this in future articles) as a food travel stop not to be missed as well.

The dining hotspots are casual, sometimes crowded, but always friendly. The local and sustainable-minded food scene is on the rise, especially when it comes to super-freshly caught seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll find area chefs increasingly going out of their way to feature fresh “nuisance fish” on the menu, like the dreaded and invasive Lionfish, or “trash fish,” fish that often get tossed away. 

The great news is that these fish taste great and are good for the environment, a win-win for foodies flocking to the Gulf Shores. Joined by photographer John Ivanko, we explored the flavors on a recent trip, covered in this two-part food travel piece.

 CoastAL Sheepshead fish entree

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