A scheduled opening date of Oct. 1, will find a home for Steve's Pit Stop. It is already underway located on Hwy. 59 in Stapelton, AL, right next door to Picker's Paradise, six miles north of I-10. Owner Steve Fleury says diners can zoom on in for lightning fast lunches for under 10 bucks. Menu plans are the usual burgers, hot dogs, fries and onion rings. Breakfast is also in the plans, and hours of operation are going to be 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information contact Steve Fleury at (305) 304-0515.
**My Shrimp's bigger than your Shrimp**
Imagine Iron Chef America on the Gulf Coast! That is what organizers have in mind for this year's Gulf Coast Chef Challenge. Instead of Kitchen Stadium, the event will be held at Faulkner State in beautiful Gulf Shores. Because of the layout of the building, attendees will be watching the chefs in action by way of video monitors while cameramen work relentlessly to get a shot of every stir, slice, pinch and sautÃ©.
This is actually the Finals of the 2nd Annual National Shrimp Festival Chef's Challenge presented by Zatarain's. The top chefs in the area will be showcasing their best shrimp recipes, which must include Alabama Wild Shrimp and at least one of the 200 Zatarain's products.
The finals take place Thursday, Sept. 24 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gulf Coast Culinary Institute at Faulkner State College in Gulf Shores and will feature the top five finalists.
Entering into this year's competition will be the 2008 Chef Challenge winning team member Zack Compton with Geno's Fresh Catch. Others listed are John Pinkstaff and Matthew Palamara with Cobalt, the Restaurant; Jack Baker and Robert Benson with Cosmo's; Angela Miller with Distinctive Kitchens; Landon Benton with the Restaurant at Sportsman Marina; Michael C. Myers with Flipper's Seafood & Oyster Bar; Adam Smith and Nilson Felisbino with Foxy's Bar & Grill; Val Marquez with Gulf Island Grill; Tony Sawyer and Robert Alexander with King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant; Chris Boutwell with Mikee's Seafood; Joey Ward with North Shore Grill & Deli; Brad Gilstrap with Rafter's Sports Bar; Robbie Redd with Shucker's Oyster Bar; Bob Hallmark and Janet Benton with Tin Top Restaurant; Tricia Horton with Tipsea's Steam Shack and Brody Olive with Villagio's.
The Grand prize is a Zatarain's Trophy, a $2,000 cash prize and a complete set of Royal Prestige Cookware valued at $2,000. Second place takes home $500 and third gets $250. Not bad.
The event is being produced by the Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce and the winner will be announced at the 38th Annual National Shrimp Festival, Oct. 9. Seating is limited, so get your reservations early. Contact Lisa Cimino at (251) 968-7220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been almost a year since local favorite Michael Ivy opened his Michael's Downtown on Conception and St. Michael Streets in Mobile. In celebration of this, the chef is holding a Customer Appreciation Day Sept. 14. Food will be free, with a $5 donation for Volunteer Mobile. Nobody will cry if you donate a little more. For those who have not eaten there, it is kind of like giving your taste buds a day at the spa.
**Put that Turtle on that Stick**
Chocolate lovers get ready. A new chocolate business has sprung up, and I'm glad it caught my attention. Owner/operator Anne Nelson has started a new business with the moniker BellaCocoa. Right now she's focusing on one product, which turns out to be in her words "a turtle on a stick."
Caramel made from scratch combined with local pecans dipped in Belgian Chocolate and stuck on a pretzel is her main product, but more will follow. You may find these in Florists and other specialty shops, but buy direct if you can't find them. You may contact Ann at (251) 725-4252 or e-mail at email@example.com.