Thursday, April 17, 2014

Looking for What the Locals Know

      I am addicted to Tripadvisor. When we travel, even if it is only an hour from home, I check out the reviews of restaurants and if it is an overnight, the hotels and the listed "things to do". We love to find restaurants that feature local foods or something unique and if we can avoid the chain restaurants you find in every city in the country, we do so.  We took our time on the way home from my daughter's wedding. We wanted a little post wedding down time, so after staying a couple more days in Florida on the beach, we headed north. Our first stop was in Prattville, Alabama. We stay here often on our way to and from Florida, but we always grab dinner someplace very close to the hotel. We had read on Tripadvisor that the number one restaurant was Uncle Mick's Cajun Café, so we decided to give it a try. It was located in historic downtown Prattville, just a short drive from the area with all the hotels. We knew it wasn't going to be fancy, but everyone claimed the food was fabulous and it was!

     The Cajun food is authentic and served cafeteria style, on Styrofoam plates. "Uncle Mick" greets you and asks if you have been there before...if you say "no", you are suddenly given sample bites of everything and anything you want to try. I walked in thinking I was going to have one thing, but after my sample mind was completely changed. The plate above is mine. The Shrimp a'La Crème was the best thing I ever tasted (and I usually hate fish in a cream sauce). What you see is a half order of the shrimp and a half order of Crab Meat au Gratin, which was also delicious. My meal came with 2 sides and you can see I selected the deviled eggs and tomatoes with feta. 

     My husband had the Shrimp Piquant over rice with the Tomato and Feta and Corn Maque Choux and he loved every bite. Our dinners were both about $9.00 each. We took their Bread Pudding back to our hotel for later and it too was delicious. It was just like eating in New Orleans only we were in a small restaurant in Alabama!

     Our second night on the way home we spent in the Franklin/Nashville area. We have always loved Nashville, there is so much to see and do there. We met for dinner with a dear friend we hadn't seen in almost 30 years, it was wonderful. If you get the chance to reconnect with someone, take it!

     We stopped by The Mall at Green Hills in Nashville and we were greeted with the World of Wicked museum display. Wicked the musical was in town and this display was so much fun. We saw Wicked several years ago in St. Louis and it is one of my favorite shows. It was a small exhibit but there were original costumes and the soundtrack was playing, so fun!

     Our last night was in Paducah, KY. It isn't a long drive to our home from there, but we just had to make the short drive from there to Metropolis, IL to blow $20 at the Casino (we love Casinos, but only play the penny slots and only spend $20, doubt we will ever get rich). We did not love this Casino, it felt dirty to me. We won't go back. We also stopped to see the famous Superman statue.

     Once again I turned to Tripadvisor to find an interesting place to have dinner in Paducah. We would never have found this place without reading about it, it is in town, but down a road that appears to lead to nothing and there isn't a sign. Flamingo Row is a Caribbean restaurant and as we were driving to it, I wondered what we were getting into.
The outside was very colorful and the inside...was just fun!

     My husband had the Baja Bash, grilled chicken breast topped with Caribbean Mango Vinaigrette on a bed of coconut lime rice, with black bean salsa, avocados, salsa and topped with  toasted pumpkin seeds.  It was $10.89 and much prettier than my phone picture shows.  

     I had the Coconut Grove, fried coconut chicken tenders, bananas, pineapple, spring mix, toasted coconut, almonds, and Pina Colada yogurt dressing for $11.99. I  couldn't eat it all, it was so big. Our food was interesting and great. We would definitely go back.  
     I think it is much more fun to find those hidden spots, not the tourist spots. The food is usually delicious and the prices are often much less. The next time you have a road trip, check out Tripadvisor, Yelp or just ask the locals in your hotel or a store where they may find a new favorite place!
     I wasn't compensated by any of the above websites/locations, just sharing my opinions.


Curtains in My Tree said...

Thanks for the tips to look on tripadvisor for restaurants I was always just looking for hotels on tripadvisor
Interesting about the Flamingo Row restaurant looks like south Miami.
I have a friend in Paducah Kentucky and use to go down often to visit, then she remarried
I enjoyed your trip advisor

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Sounds like a great trip and the food looks delicious at all of your stops.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Sounds like you had a fun trip home, and the food looks so good! When you went to the GH Mall in Nashville, you were in my "old stomping ground area". I lived in walking distance of the mall when it was nothing more than a strip mall - many (emphasis on many) years ago.
Have a "Very Happy Weekend".

Nellie's Cozy place said...

HI Suz,
I have heard of tripadvisor but never really tried it or knew what is was exactly. So will have to
check it out.
Looks like yall had a lot of fun
on your trip back. Nothing like good food...don't mind paying for food when it is really good, but really hate paying for it when it
is bad food............
You are so right about asking the local people where to go cause you can find some really great places like that.
That was neat you got to connect with some old friends, that is usually such a delight.......
It is amazing to me that when you connect with old and dear friends that even tho you haven't seen each other in years it is like you just pick up where you left off.
That is the neatest thing............

Hope you have a Lovely Easter,
Blessings, Nellie

Kathy said...

I always look for where the locals eat. That's usually the best food. Thanks for the tip about tripadvisor. I will check them out.

Traci said...

YUMMMM! All of that food looks soooo good! We use tripadvisor too.

Jenny said...

We use Trip Advisor and Yelp a lot, too!

Coconut chicken tenders sound really interesting! You sound like you have so much fun on these trips!

Aakash said...

wow awesome

Sun said...

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