The Redneck Riviera is Awesome
Our first more-than-overnight stop was Gulf Shores, AL. Located on the Gulf Coast aka the Emerald Coast aka the Redneck Riviera, it was unexpectedly awesome.
When Justin originally mentioned this as our first destination, I was less than excited (when I thought of Alabama, pristine beaches were not the first thing that came to mind). Knowing what I know now (that the food is amazing and the sand is the softest everrrr) I’m looking forward to when our travels take us back.
While Martie had secured a prime spot for MUTHUR in Gulf State Park, she also set us up with a condo at Turquoise Place in Orange Beach, so we’d be closer to the action during the event. The jacuzzi tub in the bathroom was larger than the bed in our RV, not to mention the hot tub on our private balcony overlooking the Gulf. So yeah, that was pretty neat. We snuck Kewpie in. Don’t tell anyone.
We dined family style at Sunset Pointe the night before the cook-off began, where I had the pleasure of meeting the owner/friend of Justin’s from food-tv-world, “Panini” Pete Blohme. Both he and the food were excellent. My first encounters with Linkie Marais, Jim Smith and Carl Ruiz were had, and will never be forgotten (they are good peeps and crazy in the best way). That night we danced and I observed everyone’s karaoke skills at a Christmas themed bar. ‘Twas lovely.
The Hangout Oyster Cook-Off itself was a success! I’m generally not much of a fest person, wether its food or music, as large crowds of people are not my jam (why I avoided Times Square and Midtown back in NYC at all costs). BUT this was fun. I got my oyster fix and was honestly entertained by the chefs’ demos. There was a chef after party at The Gulf, where I ate the best fish sandwich of my life thus far (+ the space is super cool, right on the beach). There was an after-after party at Flora Bama, which I did not attend, but was entertained by the stories that came of it. #nexttime.
We put so much tasty food and drink into our bodies while hanging on the Redneck Riviera. Including a meal at Bahama Bobs, which I chose purely because of the name (have I mentioned I have a thing for Tiki? This was more just beachside, but did not disappoint: their motto is Lower the Latitude - Better the Attitude. Into it.) Justin and I split a boil of snow crab and royal reds. So yum. The table of two middle aged women next to us were mega Justin fans. They bought our drinks. Hooray Southern Hospitality!
Very pleased the Redneck Riviera was the first destination of our life on the road. We might have to return for Hangout Music Fest. (I’ll get over the crowds).