Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Cooks the Best Shrimp Dish in Gulf Shores & Orange Beach?

Want to know where to go for world-class shrimp dishes while visiting the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area? No worries. We can answer that question with authority since each September leading up to the National Shrimp Festival a contest is held in which local restaurants compete for the bragging rites for preparing the best shrimp dish. The honor holds true for an entire year until the contest rolls around again.

This year at the Fourth Annual Zatarain's National Shrimp Festival Chef's Challenge the chef duo of Levi Proffitt and Tony Luna at The Hangout in Gulf Shores took home the first place honors. Competing with 13 other restaurants Proffitt and Luna produced the winning dish called Fiery Irie Island Shrimp atop Zatarain's Caribe Cakes. Their awesome creation included mango and chile glazed shrimp infused with dark rum served on top of Zatarain's Caribbean rice and served with arugula, pea tendrils and mint tossed in lime vinaigrette and topped with sweet potato hay.

To compete the dishes had to feature Alabama Wild Shrimp and at least one of the 200+ products produced by Zatarain. Beyond that the imaginations of the chefs were unleashed and their creativity definitely showed through in the contest entries.

Winning second place at the Chef's Challenge was Shucker's Oyster Bar at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach with their Chicken-Fried Blue Grits with Jalapeno Smoked Sausage and Shrimp Cheddar Cream Sauce prepared by Chef Robbie Redd. Third place honors went to Big Fish Restaurant and Bar in Orange Beach with its Kaffir Blackened Demi over Paneed Gulf Shrimp prepared by Chef Leck Labron Lilayuva.

The Hangout (which is located quite literally in the middle of the Shrimp Festival site) will offer the winning dish, Fiery Irie Island Shrimp atop Zatarain's Caribe Cakes, as a special each day during the upcoming Shrimp Festival (Oct. 13-16). You will definitely want to sample the best shrimp dish on the island. And I recommend that you keep all three award-winning restaurants in mind anytime you make it to the coast and want delicious, fresh seafood to delight your palate.

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