frios gourmet pops – fairhope, AL

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8/16/14
It was a Saturday, and Nikki and I had picked up our 2-year-old niece for a day of fun in the sun in Fairhope. I knew that the city was holding a re-dedication ceremony for Fairhopers Community Park. I also knew that Frios Gourmet Pops was going to be stationed right by the park…

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Frios is normally located at the Windmill Market on Bancroft Street, but on this particular day they had a cart parked between Fairhopers Community Park and The Haven Resale Shop on Morphy Avenue.

The menu on this occasion offered about half produce-based and half dairy-based pops. So if you’re in the mood for something light, sweet, and icy you could go with a fruit-based… And if you’re want something a little richer and creamier, you could opt for a milk-based.

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I was torn between Peach and Banana Pud’n and ultimately landed on Banana Pud’n because, basically, it’s weirder and I’m into that. It was a good choice because it tasted just like banana pudding (complete with Nilla Wafers inside), just in a different form.

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Nikki wanted Pink Lemonade, and we got that for our niece as well. She didn’t want all of it, so I had no problem finishing it so it wouldn’t go to waste. It was very tasty and refreshing.

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While there was a lull in business, we got to introduce ourselves and talk to Kari and Hannah. They were very gracious and talked to us for a little while about food and the Eastern Shore and various shared interests. It was a very pleasant experience.

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The pops are a little pricey ($3.75) compared to what you might be used to, but remember that they use natural ingredients and are made in Alabama with local produce. How many popsicle boxes in your grocery store’s freezer section can make that claim? It might not be something you’d want to splurge on every day, but if you’re in the Fairhope area and it’s hot, you can’t beat a frozen treat from Frios. I had to stop myself from ordering another. We’re already looking forward to our next visit.

Frios Gourmet Pops on Urbanspoon

FRIOS GOURMET POPS
85 North Bancroft Street
Fairhope, AL 36532
251-581-1909

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shaggy’s – pass christian, MS

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8/2/14

It was a Saturday, and Nikki and I were on our way back from a weekend in Louisiana. We had been meaning to do dinner with friends of ours who live in Long Beach, and this seemed like the perfect chance.

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Shaggy’s has been serving locals at the Pass Christian Harbor since it opened in 2007.

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The atmosphere is fun and laid back, a nice little escape from the “real world.”

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The menu offers what you’d expect from any waterfront dining establishment, a heavy dose of fresh seafood. If you’re not into seafood, they also have a burger, pulled pork sandwich, chicken quesadillas, ribeye, Cobb salad, etc.

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We started with an appetizer, fried green tomatoes topped with crab meat. They were good, but not the best we’ve had. (They definitely get points for the crab meat option though.)

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Our friend Elijah ordered an oyster poboy. Neither of us tasted it, but he demolished it pretty quickly if that’s any indication.

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Nikki went with one of our favorite things to order on any menu anywhere, fish tacos. Again… they were good, but not the best we’ve had. We always recommend Rosie’s (Daphne) and Felix’s (Spanish Fort) if you’re into fish tacos.

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Elijah’s wife Macie and I both went with the “Off the Hook!” grilled fresh fish sandwich. It was very tasty and the grilled pineapple is a nice touch, but I think I still like the grouper sandwich at George’s at Alys Beach more. It’s probably what I’ll compare all fish sandwiches to, until we find a better one.

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We were all pretty full, but I talked the four of us into splitting a piece of cheesecake for dessert. I wasn’t that impressed, but Nikki liked it.

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Aside from the food, you have to appreciate the views of the harbor and Biloxi Bay.

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When we were first seated around 6:45 I said, “Hey if we stay here long enough, we can catch the sunset.” We did, and it was totally worth it.

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We even took a short stroll out to the waterfront and just hung out and talked for a while, which was heavenly. I know we’re technically not blogging about a body of water… or a sunset… but you can’t help but give a restaurant points when they provide a location that is within walking distance of shots like this.

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Give Shaggy’s in Pass Christian a try. It might not be a place where you will be absolutely blown away by the food, but if you time it out to catch the sunset, it could make for a memorable experience, especially if you’re in good company.

Shaggy's Pass Harbor on Urbanspoon

SHAGGY’S PASS HARBOR
120 Hiern Avenue
Pass Christian, MS 39571
228-452-9939

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kenner seafood – kenner, LA

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8/1/14

It was a Friday, and we had spent all day at the Blue Bayou water park in Baton Rouge. We knew we wanted something good for dinner, something local, something Louisiana.

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Kenner, if you’re not familiar, is a city that is northwest of New Orleans, and Kenner Seafood has been serving locals and travelers (like us) alike for 18 years.

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In addition to being a restaurant, it’s also a seafood market… if you want to buy the little critters and take them home and cook them yourself.

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Let me take this opportunity, right off the bat, to say how friendly and accommodating the staff is. We were walking around looking for potential photo angles and we ended up telling the hostess that we were food bloggers. Immediately she announced it to her coworkers and ushered me behind the counter and behind the glass so I could get this beautiful shot. I felt like royalty…

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The space, to us, is just right… neither too big nor too small.

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It can accommodate slightly larger parties, but you won’t get lost coming back from the bathroom. Also you don’t want your neighborhood seafood market to be huge; you want it to be somewhat intimate… maybe even a little, dare I say, exclusive, if you’re a borderline food snob… or full-blown food snob for that matter.

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The menu offers what you’d expect from a seafood market in south Louisiana, plenty of fresh seafood. I’m not sure what you’d be doing here if you weren’t into seafood, but if that’s the case, they also have plenty of other offerings: burgers, red beans and rice, spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, etc.

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We started off with a cup of gumbo. It was pretty solid. Maybe not the absolute best we’ve ever had, but definitely worth ordering. Also let me add that it is seafood gumbo… no chicken or sausage or any of that unwanted stuff in here. On a side note, they do offer chicken andouille gumbo, if you’re into that. Anyway, this little cup was emptied quickly.

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For our entree, we decided to split a seafood platter complete with…

-Fried shrimp

-Fried fish

-Fried frog legs

-Stuffed crab

-Mac-n-cheese

-Cajun potatoes

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Everything was fresh and very tasty. We loved the variety, and it was just the right amount of food.

One of my new-found favorite foods is frog legs. We seriously at first glance thought they had brought us chicken legs. Look at this thing! Nikki doesn’t care to try them, so that works out for me, as I adore them. That’s not a child’s size fork either.

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Maybe you’d expect a restaurant with such solid seafood offerings to sit on its laurels when it comes to dessert… maybe sneak in a frozen cheesecake or store-bought pie… not at Kenner Seafood. This was some of the best bread pudding either of us has ever had. And the rum sauce is too good to leave any on the plate!

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There’s a reason why their Urbanspoon score is so high and they earn honors like this one from the Gambit.

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If you’re in the New Orleans area and are craving fresh seafood in a family-friendly setting, we highly recommend Kenner Seafood. And it’s less than half an hour from downtown! You won’t be disappointed.

Kenner Seafood on Urbanspoon

KENNER SEAFOOD
3140 Loyola Drive
Kenner, LA 70065
504-466-4701

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blue bayou / dixie landin’ – baton rouge, LA

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8/1/14

It was a Friday, and we had both taken off from work to visit family in Metairie, Louisiana. We had a little bit of an ulterior motive though, and that was to drive an hour west to Baton Rouge and check out what is supposed to be the biggest and best water park in the Southeast.

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Blue Bayou has been a fixture in the capital city since it opened in 1989. It boasts more than 10 rides and slides and can entertain a family of all ages all day long… not even including the rides at the neighboring Dixie Landin’ park.

This is the Flyin’ Pirogue, one of the first rides you pass as you’re entering the park. Nothing super special about this one. It’s just a quick slide, but it would be good for smaller kids, like 8-12 years old… as opposed to bigger kids, like us.

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Right next door is the Voodoo. This is actually the first thing we waited in line for… as we prayed for the thunder and lightning to stay away.

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This is a tandem innertube slide that takes you around quick turns in the dark and spits you out into a pool about 20-30 seconds after you begin. It’s definitely worth riding, but it’s not something we wanted to ride more than once.

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This purple and gold (LSU-inspired?) cone is the Azuka. This is the one that you’ll see on programs such as Travel Channel’s “Xtreme Waterparks.” It seems to be their unofficial signature ride.

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You climb up about 60 feet of stairs and the ride drops you down into a couple of twists and turns and eventually into where you’re basically gliding up and down the wall of this cone-like, bowl-like structure. You could almost compare it to vert skateboarding. This was Nikki’s favorite.

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(None of the pictures of the Azuka are ours by the way. I borrowed them from the Blue Bayou website.)

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These are the Racers (left) and Lafitte’s Plunge (right). We didn’t do either, but I imagine they make for a heart-pounding, wedgie-inducing good time.

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Eventually, of course, we got hungry and decided to hit one of the snack bars for some burgers and fries. Everything was actually pretty good… either that or we were just really hungry. We also saw a stand that was selling pizza if you’re more in the mood for that.

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This is Hurricane Bay in the foreground and the Conja in the background. We didn’t get into Hurricane Bay, but it seemed to be a pretty standard wave pool. Conja is an innertube slide that we rode together. Those are always fun because you get  to hear how the other person reacts to the ride. And this one is partially enclosed and partially open. I think I might’ve yelled something like “I think we’re going to bounce out!” once or twice just to make her a little more nervous.

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This dual-headed beast is the Mad Moccasin. It’s a single-rider, non-innertube slide. I don’t think the picture does it justice. This was actually my favorite, mainly because all of the rides we rode, it was the fastest and most intense.

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Around 3:00 it started to rain pretty heavily. We ended up spending about 20 minutes at the Chicken Coop, a chicken finger stand and one of the few covered areas of the park.

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We were running out of steam at this point, but we didn’t want to leave without relaxing for a few minutes in the Lazy River. It was fun, but I kind of wish there weren’t so many obstacles to run into. If I’m in a lazy river, I just want to close my eyes and float for a while without having to worry about running under a waterfall or something.

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Unfortunately we didn’t have time to ride anything at Dixie Landin’, which is the amusement park counterpart of Blue Bayou. A lot of the rides were wet, and we were just ready to start heading back to Metairie at this point.

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If you visit Dixie Landin’ between May and August, keep in mind they offer a Summer Concert Series, free to anyone who has paid the admission into the park. I can’t say we’re big fans of any of these bands, but I wouldn’t mind ending the day by watching Cheap Trick for free.

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We recommend Blue Bayou in Baton Rouge for a summertime cool-down. It is a little pricey ($36.99), but remember you can get $5 off if you bring an empty Coke can.

And although we highlighted mainly the crazy heart-pounding stuff, Blue Bayou does have a Pirate’s Cove area that is tailored to kids. Check the website for pictures and info.

Try to go on a day when it’s not going to be crowded and give yourself plenty of time to get your money’s worth. And if you hit Dixie Landin’ please let us know how your experience was!

TripAdvisor

BLUE BAYOU / DIXIE LANDIN’
18142 Perkin Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
225-753-3333

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the shed bbq – ocean springs, MS

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7/27/14

It was Sunday. I had spent Saturday in Metairie eating and visiting with family, and it was time to come back home to Mobile. My aunt mentioned getting a bite to eat when we were somewhere around the Gulfport area, so I opportunistically suggested that we hit The Shed in Ocean Springs for some BBQ.

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This is the original location for The Shed, but there was a Mobile location that closed down in 2013. The reviews always seemed to be mixed, but it was a favorite of ours. I actually had 2 birthday parties there, one planned and one Nikki surprised me with.

The Shed’s award-winning ‘cue has been featured on numerous national programs and documentaries. I can’t fault the management for reminding the customers of this as soon as they walk in.

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They even had their own show on Food Network, which was TERRIBLE. Good thing they can do BBQ better than they can do reality TV.

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The more you explore the premises, the more you realize what a sprawling mess it is. And I don’t use the word mess in a derogatory sense. The Shed is meant to look like a joint, a dive… whatever you want to call it, it’s well executed. This is what I would call the main inside dining area… and I use the word inside loosely. Notice the flooring… that’s dirt.

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My aunt went with the sliced brisket. I think she said it was dry or something. I don’t remember. I was too busy enjoying mine…

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Their pulled pork is definitely worth getting, but my favorite when The Shed had a Mobile location was always the pulled brisket, so I had to get that for old times’ sake. It was as good as ever. I won’t try to describe it… just go, just get it.

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On a side note, if you’re wondering about the ribs, we have had them previously and were disappointed. They seemed to be rubbery and lacking substance. This was at the Mobile location though. So I’m not sure if they’re better at the Ocean Springs location or they had an “off day” or what… but for what it’s worth, we’ve avoided ribs at The Shed ever since.

Anyway this is one of the outdoor dining areas. It’s spacious, informal… This particular one is actually right next to the stage. So if you’re into live music, perhaps you’ll find yourself here, taking in some blues guitar and cooling off with a sweet tea.

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So in addition to everything that makes The Shed, well, The Shed… it also backs up to Old Fort Bayou and offers a serene waterfront view. Imagine eating well-smoked BBQ outdoors in the fall after the humidity has died down, staring into this scene as the sun sets. Pretty nice, right?

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Check out The Shed in Ocean Springs to see what all the hype is about. Its fun atmosphere and solid food have made it a favorite among locals as well as non-Mississippians. We hope you like it as much as we do!

The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint on Urbanspoon

THE SHED BBQ AND BLUES JOINT
7501 Mississippi 57
Ocean Springs, MS 39565
228-875-9590

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jeff’s creole grille – metairie, LA

7/26/14

It was a Saturday. Nikki was working all weekend and I knew my mom and my aunt were driving over to visit my grandmother in Metairie, so I decided to tag along… So the Pairing wasn’t really operating as a pair, but… anyway…

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I had found Jeff’s on Urbanspoon, and it seemed to be getting good reviews and had a diverse enough menu to be able to satisfy all of us.

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The menu offers Southern go-to’s such as shrimp poboys, fried pork chops, and pot roast as well as more delicate dishes like pasta Florentine and Cobb salad.

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My mom ordered the spinach salad with shrimp ($14.95)… grilled shrimp on a bed of fresh spinach with chopped egg, tomato, mushrooms… The picture doesn’t do it justice.

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I finally settled on the catfish platter ($13.95). I actually almost sent it back because the strips of fish looked so much like chicken fingers. I really enjoyed it. Very fresh, well-fried, and huge.

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Also not pictured is my aunt’s shrimp poboy which, judging by the one shrimp she gave me, was pretty phenomenal.

We ordered 2 bread puddings to share for dessert. To put it bluntly, it was a waste of time and money. You’d think that being in the New Orleans area, they’d really make sure their recipe stands up to places like Mulate’s and others, but… not the case.

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Overall the food at Jeff’s was good. Unfortunately the poor service tainted it. Our waiter had zero personality and really didn’t act like he cared about us at all. We had to ask for things we shouldn’t have had to ask for, he set dishes down in front of one person that were for another person… details that don’t need to be overlooked.

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Now that being said, I can’t necessarily tell you to stay away from Jeff’s… If you set your service expectations low and don’t order the bread pudding, you should have a pretty enjoyable experience. I really hope managers and owners will address the problem areas, because this place has so much potential. Check out Jeff’s in Metairie and let us know what you think.

Jeff's Creole Grille on Urbanspoon

JEFF’S CREOLE GRILLE
5241 Veterans Memorial Boulevard
Metairie, LA 70006
504-889-7992

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fish river grill #2 – foley, AL

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7/22/14

It was a Tuesday, and I had had the idea for us to meet up after work and drive down to Gulf Shores and watch a sunset and go swimming at night… but of course we had to eat first.

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Fish River Grill #2 is located in the Foley Plaza strip mall about half a mile past downtown Foley. We’ve been passing it on the way to the beach for years and finally decided to give it a try.

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The menu consists primarily of seafood, burgers, and poboys. The cool thing that makes this place stand out though is the addition of some lesser known and more adventurous dishes such as Cajun pistols, frog legs, fried gator bites, and a seafood BLT.

I must’ve been hungry because everything on the menu sounded good.

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They start you off with a cup of complimentary Swamp Soup. I don’t know exactly what’s in it, but our waitress described it as “greens and beans.” It makes sense once you taste it. I enjoyed it. Nikki wasn’t really into it, so I may or may not have eaten both mine and hers. It tastes better than it looks… or sounds.

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It took a long time to decide what we wanted, but Nikki ultimately decided on grilled white fish with fries and fried okra.

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It was good… which is fine, but not when you’re expecting great… not when the restaurant is part of Alabama’s top 100 places to eat before you die.

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After way too much deliberation, I decided to play it safe and go with a classic, a shrimp poboy. The shrimp were pretty fresh and cooked well, but I found myself cheating on this poboy with thoughts of other poboys… namely the shrimp poboy at Market by the Bay in Daphne and the one at Roshell’s in Mobile.

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I had a really good feeling initially, but we both felt that the food didn’t quite live up to the hype. That being said, I would like to go again and try something different, perhaps a burger or some frog legs. Next time we’re in the area though and we want burgers and seafood, we’ll probably just hit GooRoo’s Grill in Robertsdale.

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And if you’re wondering about our plans to catch the sunset and go night-swimming in the Gulf, none of that worked out like we planned. We were in the restaurant the entire time the sun was setting, and when we got down to Gulf Shores to put our feet in the water, we realized it was so dark we couldn’t see at all. We couldn’t even find the moon, which was extremely creepy… So we walked over to the Hangout and caught the latter part of Banditos’ set. It wasn’t what we had planned, but it ended up being a lot of fun. Good live band from Birmingham if you get a chance to see them.

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Fish River Grill #2 on Urbanspoon

FISH RIVER GRILL #2
608 S. McKenzie Street
Foley, AL 36535
251-952-3474

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