Sunday, October 4, 2009

Magnolia Blossom Cafe

I don't intend to use this blog to do lengthy reviews of every restaurant my family dines in, but recently my husband and I found an establishment that so impressed us we wanted to share it with everyone in Mobile. The Magnolia Blossom Cafe is located on Hwy 59 in Robertsdale and it is worth every mile of the drive to experience a meal there. You've probably seen it on your way to Gulf Shores. It's the place with the red tractor parked out front.

Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, owner Darlene Roper has created a wonderful causal dining restaurant that houses a cafe, deli, bakery, and catering company and offers a private dining room for business and social functions. There's a breakfast buffet six days a week and a lunch buffet every day. Friday night features a seafood buffet with crab, shrimp, jambalaya and gumbo to name just a few of the many, many items and Sunday morning you can stop in for the breakfast buffet with three carved meats and mimosas. There is no bar but they do serve alcohol. So far you're thinking this sounds like a lot of little places you've already ate in. Ah, but you're wrong!

In the interest of full disclosure, I will mention that my husband and I dined for free. We had a gift certificate that was given to us by my fabulous friend, Lisa, and she won it as a door prize at a business event. Thank you Lisa for not wanting to drive to Robertsdale for dinner because you have given Dave and I our new favorite restaurant. The Magnolia Blossom Cafe's slogan is "Like Eatin' at Grandma's". I wish eating at my grandmother's had been this good! (Sorry Grandma.) While the menu contains many comfort foods it also listed options I didn't expect to see in a Robertsdale cafe. (My apologies to the people of Robertsdale. I know that makes me sound like a snob, but rest assured my eyes have been opened.) The chef, and he is a chef, prepares homemade french onion soup and gumbo that is the best we've had so far on the Gulf Coast. We started with a basket of fried crab claws that were good but much like the crab claws you get at any Causeway restaurant. The crab claws are of course market priced.

I ordered the All You Can Eat Fried Shrimp. It came with a salad bar, stuffed baked potato, and basket after basket of homemade yeast rolls. The price for this belly swelling meal was $8.99. Are you kidding? That's a serious deal. The shrimp were fresh not frozen and they were delicious, lightly battered and fried to perfection. The salad bar is limited in the number of items available but it is adequate. You really don't want to fill up on lettuce when you can dine on all you can eat shrimp. Beware of the rolls because they can be addicting. They are soft and warm and delicious and the wonderful waitresses will bring you all that you want. By the time I'd finished dinner I thought my husband was going to have to roll me to the car.

Dave had an evening special which was Surf and Turf. For $13.99 he had a rib eye steak, wrapped in bacon and topped with a crab cake. The steak was perfectly cooked, fork tender and flavorful. The crab cake was again the best we've tasted on the Gulf Coast. Instead of serving a pile of dressing with a little crab meat mixed in (unfortunately this is what we've been served in too many places) this was almost completely lump crap meat and the flavor was wonderful. The meal was also served with a salad, two sides and those homemade rolls. Did I mention it was $13.99? The food and service we're so good we felt guilty using the gift certificate. Not paying for a meal so delicious felt like stealing.

We skipped dessert on this particular evening, only because there was no possible way to get another bite of food down my gullet, but the dessert items did sound heavenly. I have since stopped in and sampled the bakery and I have to say the pastries are every bit as wonderful as I expected. They are moist, flaky perfection. I will never again be able to pass through Robertsdale without at least stopping for a bakery item. Ms. Roper was at a pastry show the weekend we stopped in. The hostess told me she was looking for new treats to whip up in her kitchen. I can't wait! I'm already lobbying to have our company Christmas luncheon here. Next time you're traveling down Hwy 59 give this place a try.

Magnolia Blossom Cafe
22667 State Hwy 59 S.
Robertsdale, AL 36567
(251) 945-2202

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