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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

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Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi MississippiIt was just a gleam in the founder’s eye – to turn an old bait shack in Pass Christian, MS into a food and beer joint.

Hurricane Katrina put his plans on hold for awhile, as it did all of us who lived in the area.

But, as he said “sometime later the sun starting shining again and it was time to get to work.”

And work he has, as in just over a decade there are now five Shaggys along the Gulf Coast. Each the same but unique it their own way.  (Shaggys name is an homage to a coast joint from the 40s).

I hit the one on Biloxi beach, overlooking the shimmering blue Gulf of Mexico.  Shaggy’s menu is typical of restaurants in the area, a mix of local seafood, prepared in various ways, along with appetizers and entrees of American cuisine one would expect to find in almost any casual eatery or bar.  And that’s not a bad thing!

Fresh oysters and deep water Royal Red shrimp too!  Thirsty? Of course Shaggys has all the usual ‘beach type’ drinks and some of their own special concoctions.

We had a drink, her a fru-fru umbrella thing, me a Stella.  Split a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp, before moving on to the seafood platter for two, Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippigrilled and fried shrimp, fried oysters, catfish filets. I didn’t share the catfish.  I’m in my catfish period, for some reason.

The food was marvelous, and it’s fairly priced.  The grilled shrimp has some pleasant seasoning, as did the fried pieces. Naturally there are the two local hot sauces on the table. When you live in or near New Orleans – which one is your preference can be fightin’ words.

Dining on the deck overlooking the bay is marvelous.  The beach runs right up to the rear of Shaggys and there is a fenced in kiddy play area.  Not sure about inside, but your four legged Scoobys are welcome on the deck at Shaggys.  (See what I did there?).

Service by Becky was professional and friendly, despite it being a madhouse.

Check out the whole menu, plan a trip.

The main restaurant hours:
Sunday – Thursday 11AM – 9PM
Friday- Saturday 11AM – 11PM

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

Shrimp Caesar

 

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

Seafood Platter

Shaggy's Biloxi Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi
Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

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Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

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Biloxi MS Shrimp TourIf you’re vacationing, on business, or just passing through the Mississippi/Louisiana/Alabama Gulf Coast, make plans and time to take the 90 minute Biloxi Shrimping Trip, a tourist attraction since 1954.

Your affable captain and mate will take you on a highly education yet entertaining cruise through Biloxi Bay, explaining the local shrimp industry, the life of the shrimp, all about the different colors and sizes and how they are caught.

A hands-on demonstration will show you a net cast into the bay and pulled aboard to reveal the bounty of the Gulf Coast waters, including shrimp, fish, crabs and more. Each species brought aboard will be labeled and explained.

The trip is only $20, and the return is much more rewarding than what you’ll get in a casino.

In the summer, they sail three times daily, 10:30, 1:30, and 3:30.

Soft drinks, bottled water  and beer are available onboard for a very nominal price.  The entire trip takes place at a slow speed in the placid waters of the protected bay, so it’s a calm, smooth cruise.

If you’re interested in grabbing a mess of Gulf shrimp to take home, at very reasonable prices, the Captain can direct you to the best locations to buy directly off the boats.  I took their advice and was very pleased with the outcome.  Of course they know all the best local restaurants, too, if you need suggestions.

The tour is pet friendly.  Fancy some off-shore fishing?  The same crew can arrange short guided trips on a very economical basis.  Brochure for both outings below.

All departures are from the small craft harbor at 693 Beach Blvd, in Biloxi. Traveling east, the turn in is on your right just past the Hard Rock Casino.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.  Reservations needed ONLY for very large groups:  228-392-8645.

Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

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Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

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Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL

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Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, ILI’m not a regular. I stopped in one a few years ago and had breakfast, and my immediate impression was they had gone down hill. Pre-prepared heat and eat entrees and such.

I changed my mind last week after dinner at the Paducah, KY location. Immediate impression upon sitting down was the menu had expanded and the prices had been lowered.

And we had an angel of a server in “Abigail.” Young, enthusiastic, new to the job, not yet suffering from the malaise that comes from working in the service industry too long and having to put up with people’s inane requests.

I had the single filet of fried catfish, with choice of sides (fries and greens) and everything was prepared perfectly. $8. Dinners include ‘made from scratch biscuits or corn muffins.’ Didn’t there used to be more ‘pass arounds?’ Maybe not.  Also? “New” Southern Fried Chicken. Superb.

Anyway, it was great. Food was great, Abigail was great.

Menu. https://crackerbarrel.com/menu

Find one near you: https://crackerbarrel.com/locations

Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL

Catfish, fries and greens

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL
Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL

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Chums Shrimp Shack Review – East Dundee, IL

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Chums Shrimp Shack Review(This will be the longest intro to a review that you’ve ever encountered!) When I was a sprout growing up on the shores of the Big Kitch-Gumee (Lake Superior), once per year, in late Spring, when the rivers feeding the lakes reached a certain temperature, the waters would be chock-a-block full of a small silvery fish called “Smelt.” The head upriver to spawn.

In the extreme, Smelt will grow to be about 7 inches long and weigh a few ounces. In nature, Smelt are food fish for salmon and lake trout.

The run would last a few days or a week, and one could count on the media for an announcement of “they’re running!”

Men would pile into cars and pickups, boys would hop on their bikes, and all would head to the rivers, with the official tool of the trade, a long handled dip net and containers to place their bounty.

In those days, one could literally dip a net in the water and lift it out teeming with hundreds of fish. Some people would fill actual garbage cans to take home.

While the rivers were shoulder to shoulder with people clad in waders, the shores were dotted with fires – as one didn’t know how long the run would last (it could stop as quickly as it began), hard core enthusiasts would stay out all night. The fish were so thick in the river, playful dogs would jump in and grab them with their teeth. Can’t really say whether they ate them or not, don’t remember that.

Concurrent with the effort, numerous charities would set up massive tents around town, and host “Smelt fries” where you could buy a heaping plate full of the fried beauties for not very much money. Due to their diminutive size, Smelts are fried and consumed whole, heads, guts, and all.

The less adventurous consumer might prefer to take their repast at a local bar, where most likely the fish had the heads removed before frying.

So to recap, in my hometown, you can be served fried smelt once a year. Not so in Chicago, where it’s on the menu year round at most Greek restaurants, as well as any of the dozens of places that specialize in fried shrimp.

Chums Shrimp Shack in new on the scene in East Dundee, IL. They offer fried shrimp, clams, oysters, smelt, cod, tenders as well as daily specials like a walleye sandwich, or catfish strips. Also in their regular offerings are wraps and po-boys.

As I am writing this, they’ve been open about a week, and are in a location that previously served an outstanding burger. Bomba’s Grill. I wrote about it. Sad that it’s gone, but Chums more than makes up for it.

I ordered the Smelt, in case you hadn’t figured out where this piece was going. The seafood offerings come in ½ pound or full pound servings. Some competitors offer ¼ pound servings as well.

The fishies were delicious. A light breading with a mild seasoning (lemon pepper?), very crispy, bite sized pieces. Childhood memories flood back.

Think I’ll be a regular. I didn’t try their fries or slaw today, but I will. Maybe I’ll even be able to talk them into offering onion rings.  Full menu below or online.

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Smelt on the hoof

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

1/2 pound fried smelt basket

 

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Menu – click to enlarge

Chums Shrimp Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

Chums Shrimp Shack Review

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Kiefs Reef Review – McHenry, IL

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Kiefs Reef ReviewThere are lots of bars and eateries along the Fox River in Northern Illinois. If you’re a boater, you can navigate the river up to the “Chain of Lakes” where you’ll find even more choices. At nearly each one, there are docks to tie up your craft if you feel like having lunch, dinner, or a few bumps.

In the winter, apparently, they also serve as way stations for snowmobilers going up and down the frozen river.

Such was the case yesterday at Kief’s Reef, and also it happened to be a “wake/memorial” for a local denizen who had recently passed, and was apparently quite a popular person judging from the size of the crowd. It was elbow to elbow.

I might have chosen someplace different had I known about that, but once inside, I was committed, and I had looked at the menu earlier in the day, and had a hankering for their offer of a “School of Lake Perch” platter, served with fries, tots or chips, and a dollop of cole slaw.

Kief’s Reef, I understand, is very popular for their version of the Friday nite fish fry, a big thing in these parts. They also serve up a respectable pizza, a lot of wings, and prime rib on Saturdays.

The perch was everything I was expecting and more. Three large fillets, batter fried, crispy on the outside, tender, steaming fish inside. Tots were deep fried to perfection, as they should be. Ultra-creamy cole slaw had a little twist to it, as their recipe includes ultra fine diced onion. Nice change.

The burger was mammoth, hand pattied, and covered with blue cheese morsels, not some of the icky salad dressing so many people use. The blackened seasoning was just the right amount and there was more than ample bacon. The bun was bakery soft but sturdy enough to hold up as many toppings as you could choose to garnish your meat.

Video gaming, of course, too.

I’ll go back in the summer, sit on the outdoor patio/deck, watch the boats putt by on the lazy river, maybe have a beer, and admire the sunbathers.

Full menu.  Best server ever?  Kelly!

Kiefs Reef Review

Black and Blue and Bacon Burger

 

Kiefs Reef Review

“A School of Lake Perch” Plate

 

Kief's Reef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Da Catch Review – Rockford, IL

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Da Catch Review RockfordDa Catch seems to be a franchise, I’ve seen them in other cities, but I couldn’t find any info on that. There are a few locations in Rockford, IL, which is where I bumped into them. Fried fish is the specialty of the house, the full menu is shown below.

They also feature wings, tenders, and Philly cheese steaks, as well as bulk orders on the fish and shrimp, and a few other fried sides choices.

I grabbed a catfish “meal” which comes with 3-4 fillets, french fries, and I got a side of fried okra for an additional charge.

I’m gonna guess the fish is dusted with lemon pepper, seems to be a thing around these parts.

The breading was seasoned corn meal and not overbearing. Fries were good, so was the okra. At under $10, it’s a good value. The restaurants are “simple trappings,” seems like they are more geared to drive thru/pick up service than dine in, but there are tables. There are multiple locations in Rockford.

Da Catch Review, Rockford IL

Catfish, fries and okra

Da Catch Review

Menu 1 Click to enlarge

Da Catch Review

Catch Fish & Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Da Catch Review

Da Catch Review

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The Flying Fish Review – Little Rock, AR

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With about a dozen locations, the Flying Fish is a fish and seafood-centric eatery, offering fried, grilled, broiled and steamed fish and seafood, as well as po-boys, gumbo, tacos, and appropriate side dishes. The full menu of the Little Rock location I visited is here. A few salads, chicken strips and a lonely hamburger round out the menu.

The Little Rock location is “counter service” – you order back by the kitchen, await your vibrating beeper to go off and then collect your food from another station. Tables at this location are at the front of the restaurant, facing President Clinton Avenue (which runs to the Clinton Presidential Library, within walking distance. This is also the “marketplace section” of downtown, so there are plenty of other distractions nearby.

I ordered the two filet catfish basket, which comes with fries and two hush puppies ($9.50). I would have liked some slaw, but lately restaurants seem to think coleslaw has some actual monetary value and charge the same price for it as they would for most any slide, and I object to that.

This location has beer, wine, frozen margaritas, and the usual soft drinks, lemonade, iced tea and coffee.

I pronounce the experience a success. I’ve been on a catfish jag lately, and this was great. Crispy, light breading, easy on the corn meal. Pretty ordinary fries, and I can take or leave hush puppies. Something else I’m not sure restaurants should charge for.

If you’re in one of the dozen cities Flying Fish has planted their flag, I recommend it. Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas only.

Flying Fish Review

Flying Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

The Flying Fish Review

The Flying Fish Review

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Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review – With Black Garlic and Wine Risotto

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Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review I personally think that the sudden glut of frozen heat and eat meals at the grocery is due to the success of the “meal kit” business.

Those deals where they send you portion cut ingredients and a recipe and it’s supposed to be so easy to create a gourmet meal with no fuss.  ( I tried them when they came out, read about that here. Spendy and no less work, sez I).

So all sorts of frozen food companies have come out with meals, kits, and there are fast food branded ones, and even the big grocery chains and WalMart have their own take on the concept.

My experiment today is from the Gorton’s company, (over 150 years old)  the people you’re used to buying crispy seafood filets and fish sticks that never get crispy.  This is a shrimp bowl, with ‘black garlic and wine” (sauce) rissotto.

I know a dozen people who won’t even try risotto from scratch at home, so this is a surprise.  In smaller print, there’s a reference to ‘parmesan cheese,’ but to me, that was the predominant flavor in the rice.

Here’s the full ingredient list: (Cooked arborio rice, Shrimp (Shrimp, salt, sodium di-, tri-, and polyphosphate [to retain moisture], sodium bisulfite and sodium citrate [preservatives]), water, mushrooms (mushrooms, water, salt), olive oil, cream, Parmesan cheese (pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, black garlic and wine seasoning (maltodextrin, dehydrated garlic, vinegar solids, modified corn starch, spices, malic acid, dehydrated parsley, black garlic powder, soy lecithin, lactic acid, jalapeño pepper, white wine solids, natural flavors), onions, corn starch, garlic (garlic, water), butter, white wine (contains sulfites), sea salt, parsley, tara gum).

There were  about 8-9 shrimp in the bowl, which are frozen solid, of course, so when you microwave (three minutes, stir, one minute) a lot of the trapped moisture in the shrimp is going to escape and they are going to shrink.  So I added a half dozen, because I had them on hand, and I could.  There are mushrooms, which retained their texture well. They look like slices of baby bellas.  The box says a “hint of parmesan” but as I said above, I think it’s a pretty dominant flavor.

The risotto was creamy as it should be and the shrimp remained very firm, as they should be too.

Bottom line?  I surprised myself and liked it.  Not sure if it’s supposed to be two servings or not, it wouldn’t have been at my house.  It was a comfortably sized serving for me.

It was $5.99 and a bogo yesterday.  There’s a coupon below you might want to try.  Their Entire product line.   Where you can pick some up.

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Frozen, out of the box

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Plated after microwave

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Coupon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

Gortons Shrimp Bowl Meal Review

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JJs Lakeside Cafe Review, Lake Village AR

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JJs Lakeside Cafe ReviewNorthbound on US Highway 65 through Arkansas the other day, was feeling a might peckish and decided I was in the mood for some catfish, a specialty around these parts.

A quick stop and visit with the helpful people at the Lake Village Visitors Center pointed me to JJs Lakeside Cafe.

The kindly old lady advised me to scurry, tho, it was 11:30 and soon the townsfolk would show up and it’d be slammed.  So off I went. The big feature at JJs is a daily lunch buffet, where for under $10 you can embibe on several entrees, side dishes, a salad bar, dessert and tea. Seriously.

But I had somewhere to be, couldn’t linger, so these people fixed me a catfish plate to go, with perfectly fried fillets, crinkle cut fries and tangy slaw. I told them I was a slaw fan and they doubled up on the portion for me. Nice. Also got a monster ice tea (brewed) and forked out less than $9.00.

The fish breading had a slight kick to it, one of the Cajun seasonings or an in-house blend, maybe, very flavorful, enjoyed it bigly. Crinkle cut fries were done and seasoned to perfection.

Wish I had time for the buffet, no doubt would have been some other delights I would have enjoyed.  Someday.

JJs Lakeside Cafe is open Monday thru Saturday, 6A- 9 PM.  Sunday 10:30A – 3PM. Breakfast served all day, everyday.  Menus are below, click to enlarge.

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

JJs Lakeside Cafe ReviewJJs Lakeside Cafe Review
JJ's Lakeside Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

JJs Lakeside Cafe Review

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Soul Fish Review – Little Rock, AR

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Soul Fish ReviewIt can sometimes be a challenge to find satisfactory restaurants in Little Rock that are open on Sundays.  Fortunately, there’s Soul Fish, right downtown on Main Street.  Emphasis at this eatery is “bonafide Southern,” with a further emphasis on seafood. (See menu below).

We started with the smoked catfish dip, something I’ve never encountered, and I’m sorry about that, because it was delicious.  Smokey, salty, creamy, accompanied by tortilla chips which I would bet are made in house.  A light fry, crispy without being jaw jarring, light salt. The perfect go-with.

I went for the fried catfish basket, there are three choices for the size of serving, I went for the small one, since I was on the road, didn’t want to have leftovers.

The fry breading on the fish is exceptional. Cornmeal based, with a hint of one of the Creole seasonings (my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to tell them apart – could be Tony Chachere’s, Zatarains, Old Bay, or a concoction dreamed up in-house.  In any case, it’s really tasty.

There’s a wide choice of sides with baskets and plates, I chose natural cut fries, and slaw and hush puppies were included.  The slaw was excellent, rough chopped cabbage with a dressing that is creamy, sweet and tart at the same time.  Other sides?  Cucumber Salad • Black Beans • Corn • Cajun Cabbage • White Beans • Baked Sweet Potato • Fried Okra • Coleslaw • Black Eyed Peas •  Mashed Potatoes • Green Beans • Sweet Potato Fries • Broccoli • Mac N Cheese • Zucchini • Collard Greens • Pickled Green Tomatoes.

My dining companion was my daughter and after a major assist of plowing thru the dip, she opted for the Caesar salad with blackened shrimp added. Also delicious. Very fresh greens and the shrimp were cooked exactly right.

Children’s menu, desserts, beer and wine available.  I’d return.  You should go.  Appetizer, two entrees, two beverages, tip, $40.

Open daily at 11A. Soul Fish has four locations; in addition to Little Rock, find three locations in greater Memphis.

Soul Fish Review

Smoked catfish dip

Soul Fish Review

Fried catfish basket

 

Soul Fish Review

Menu – click to enlarge

 

 

 

Soul Fish Little Rock Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Soul Fish Review

Soul Fish Review

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