Sunset Pointe Restaurant in Fairhope, Alabama

Sunset Pointe, Fairhope, AL

Discovering Fabulous Restaurants and Quaint Shops in Small Towns

One of the perks of living on the Gulf Coast is the proximity of quaint little towns that are a short drive away. A great way to spend a beautiful Saturday is exploring these small towns with their shops and restaurants. Often you can find hidden gems that are on the brink of discovery. You never know what outstanding talent and superb cuisines you may discover in these small towns.

Fairhope, Alabama, is one of those towns. Approximately an hour’s drive from Pensacola. (Give or take a few minutes, depending on whose driving. Ahem. 😁) Fairhope is the perfect spot to spend a leisurely Saturday strolling along the streets of downtown.  A sampling of some of the many and diverse shops you will find in Fairhope include: clothing boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, book stores, coffee shops, wine and speciality food shops, jewelry stores and even thrift shops. As you can see, there’s lots to explore and plenty of options for a lazy weekend afternoon.

Sunset Pointe Restaurant

A great local gem I discovered this year is Sunset Pointe. Pete Blohme opened Sunset Pointe in 2014. I’m sad that it took me 3 years to discover this place. You likely recognize Pete from Panini Pete’s and from his appearances on Food Network’s Diner’s Drive-in and Dives, Guy’s Big Bite and CMT’S Sweet Home Alabama. Pete has kind of made a name for himself, and not just locally.

Sunset Pointe is located on Fly Creek Marina. With this prime location, you can also expect to experience some incredible sunsets as a stunning accompaniment to your evening meal. In typical Gulf Coast, southern hospitality style, the restaurant is comfortable and casual. You have your choice of indoor or outdoor dining. The outdoor dining area sits right on the bay. When the weather is nice, you’ll find this is a popular spot to be. Fire pits add character and warmth for those cooler evenings. Inside, windows line the restaurant to offer you a fantastic view of the bay. Local decor graces the walls. The ambiance is unfussy and relaxed, yet still stylish.

On to the food! These are the tapas and entrée I enjoyed on my visit to Sunset Pointe.

Leo’s Seafood Lettuce Wraps

This was my favorite thing I ate. The seafood in these lettuce wraps was so fresh! It was as if it was caught that very day and immediately served from boat to table. Shrimp, scallops and calamari were marinated in a tangy, citrus vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was peppered with seasoning and spices that added a vibrance and snappiness.

Truth be told, I carefully contemplated ordering these lettuce wraps. I’m not the biggest fan of fried calamari. The few times I’ve had it, I’ve found it chewy and somewhat tough. Up until this point, fried is the only way I had ever eaten calamari. I figured I would give it a try marinated. This was game-changing! I never want to go back to fried calamari.

This grilled calamari was not the LEAST bit leathery or overdone. It was tender and full of flavor. The Gulf Shrimp and scallops were equally delicate. Served on a leaf of butter lettuce, this tapas was my favorite of the evening. Sadly, my photo of this wonderful dish has been deleted, but you can view a picture of it here on Sunset Pointe’s website.

Seared Tuna Nachos

The tuna on these nachos was just the way I like my tuna. Gently seared along the outer perimeter of the tuna slices and leaving a bright pink center that is fresh and imparts levels of clean flavor.  The tuna rests atop golden, crunchy nachos. These nachos are not your typical corn tortillas, but rather are fried flour tortillas. The flour lends itself to be a delicate crunch instead of a hard and brittle texture. It pairs quite well texturally with the tuna.

Sunset Pointe, Fairhope, AL
Seared Tuna Nachos

Yellow bell pepper dices, chopped onion pieces, tiny segments of tomatoes and roasted edamame adorn the nachos. There are two kinds of edamame on these nachos; traditional green edamame and black edamame.  I really enjoyed the roasted black edamame and the dry saltiness it contributed to the dish. A light green edamame drizzle finished off this small plate and added a rich earthiness to round out the flavors.

Sunset Pointe, Fairhope, AL

 

Gulf Snapper Throats

Continuing the trend of trying new things, the Gulf Snapper Throats was the entrée of choice. Fried crisp with a flour and cornmeal batter, these snapper throats were salty with a good crunch.  If you’re like me and have never eaten snapper throats before, you may not know what to expect. This part of the fish is rather bony, so you have to work a little harder for the meat. However, as it is meat that is near the bone, it tends to be more succulent and tasty as it absorbs all the flavors of the bones.

A house starch and vegetable complimented the snapper throats. For this evening the starch happened to be roasted cauliflower. Marinated in a balsamic sauce and roasted to an almost caramelized texture, the cauliflower was exquisite. Even if you’re not a fan of cauliflower, you MUST try this! Not the least bit mushy, this cruciferous vegetable was the star of the entrée in my opinion. This vegetable was flavorsome and sapid with that salty, sweet tang of the balsamic vinegar.

The vegetable of the evening was baby limas. The baby limas were a nice accessory to the cauliflower and snapper throats. Well-seasoned and coated with savoriness, they were firm with a good al-dente texture. Anything but bland, these limas were tempered with fixings that reminded you of all the flavors of good, southern comfort food.

Sunset Pointe, Fairhope, AL
Gulf Snapper Throats

I’m happy to say that Sunset Pointe was a win and I have every intention of eating there again next time I’m in Fairhope. I may even have to make a special trip to Fairhope JUST to enjoy the food and view at Sunset Pointe.

Sunset Pointe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My Favorite Things Pensacola, FL – My Favorite Place to Go for Grouper Pontchartrain

My Favorite Things Pensacola: Grouper Pontchartrain

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things is a local coffee shop/boutique/lunch and breakfast spot that has been known to the Pensacola area for several years now. Initially, this coffee shop served only breakfast and lunch, but last year they extended their hours and their menu and began serving an evening meal. The restaurant itself is tucked in between Jerry’s Diner and The Magnolia. It’s a quaint coffee shop turned-restaurant with a cute and quirky personality. The dining atmosphere is casual and laid-back with an indoor dining area as well as an outdoor courtyard.

Recently, I dined at My Favorite Things and was quite impressed with their dinner menu.  The menu included an extensive variety of options. Steak, grouper, salmon, braised lamb shank, and lobster ravioli are among the dinner selections. For those with more of a gourmet street food craving, the menu also offers  tacos, burgers, and flatbreads. With such a blend of culinary options, anyone is certain to find a food that suits their palate.

It was honestly hard to choose from all the tempting entrées. Admittedly, I am a bit partial to seafood. Living on the Gulf Coast, I’m rather spoiled by the convenience and availability of fresh seafood. While I do love a good steak, more often than not you’ll find me ordering seafood when dining out. I’m pretty much a fan of grouper prepared in any form or fashion.

Grouper Pontchartrain

When Tosh, our server, brought out the Grouper Pontchartrain I was quite impressed. I was not expecting such a generous serving nor such a lavishly crafted presentation. The golden-crusted grouper regally set atop a crisp leaf of Savoy Cabbage. The grouper was peeking out from underneath a generous amassment of jumbo shrimp, crabmeat, onions and mushrooms all married together in a rich, buttery sauce. To the side and slightly underneath the cabbage-encased grouper, sat a fluffy white cloud of whipped potatoes. Adorning the plate and adding a pop of color was an assortment of zucchini, yellow squash, diced sliced tomatoes and ribbons of purple onion.

My Favorite Things: Grouper Pontchartrain
Grouper Pontchartrain at My Favorite Things

The grouper was a large, fresh fillet. Grouper is a lean fish with a nice firm and flakey texture. It is light in flavor without being overly “fishy.”The grouper fillet was generously coated and dressed with Panko crumbs and then panéed to a light and golden brown. The Panko crumbs added just the right crunch. The Grouper itself was impeccably cooked to just the right doneness without being the least bit dry.

The grouper would have been delicious simply by itself. But why stop here? At least that’s what the culinary mastermind at My Favorite Things seems to think. This light and flavorful fish is then topped with a Pontchartrain sauce.  The Pontchartrain sauce is FULL of jumbo shrimp and lump crab meat. Again, they don’t skimp on portions for this entrée! The shrimp and crab meat swam in a delightfully rich and buttery Pontchartrain sauce. Red onion, mushrooms, parsley along with a hint of lemon balanced the sauce and gave it the ideal balance of buttery creaminess and herbaceous earthiness.

The Accompaniments

The Grouper Pontchartrain is served with My Favorite Things mashed potatoes and your choice of a side.  The vegetable of the day was medley of yellow squash, zucchini squash, red onion and tomatoes.  The mashed potatoes were fluffy and buttery, just they way mashed potatoes should taste. The vegetable medley was sautéed splendidly and was the perfect side to compliment the rich flavors of the Grouper Pontchartrain and the whipped potatoes.

Next time you’re in the East Hill area for dinner, stop by My Favorites Things and try the Grouper Pontchartrain. Even if you’re not in the area it’s definitely worth a special trip. It may just become your new favorite thing.

 

 

 

My Favorite Things Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato