News From Shamrock Rose and Thistle

•July 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Something for after Tea Time
The Other Tea Time Drink Beer
Our Tapas menu has been so popular that we have extended its availability. Tapas is now served Thursday – Saturday from 4pm to close.

We offer over a dozen different selections to share among friends.

In addition to our over 40 different loose leaf teas, we now offer a nice selection of wines and beers.
Mithril Duo Summer Play Dates
Tom and Andra of Mithril

Mithril Art Walk
Come and join us for some of the best traditional Irish Music, this side of the pond. So mark your calendars for July 17, August 13,and September 17, then make a reservation at your local “gastro pub” – Shamrock, Rose & Thistle (The Tea Pub).

TeaWare Summer Clearance Sale
Dramatic savings on all items. We have decided to close the gift shop to expand the tea pub. While we will continue to sell tea pots, tea cups, tea sets, tea, etc., we are selling all the gift items and fixtures. The sale will continue through the end of the month.

Most Items 40 – 60 % off
Come and see for yourself what an “evening at the Shamrock, Rose & Thistle” is all about, and don’t forget to make your reservation for the Mithril night.

Wintzell’s Arrives in Florida!

•June 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

Wintzell’s Oyster House is delighted to announce the Grand Opening of their 12th store— Pensacola— their first in Florida! The Grand Opening event took place this past Memorial Day and was a huge success.

Join them seven days a week in Pensacola for great seafood, Wintzell's New Pensacola Locationsandwiches, service and atmosphere!  Click here for more photos from their Grand Opening event and to see a quick clip of the Pensacola location’s singing oyster shuckers on Facebook.

Sweet Summer Song

Wintzell’s Oyster House is a proud sponsor of the West Alabama Aids Outreach program. And in support of the program Wintzell’s Oyster House is sponsoring their Sweet Summer Song fundraising event. Join them June 19th, from 10:00am – 1:00pm.

The event will feature live music from Tom Wolfe and Chris Kozak, Carroline Shines and more plus an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet! For more information download the press release here

Wintzell’s AJM Golf Classic

Wintzell's Annual AJM Golf TournamentWintzell’s Oyster House is proud to support America’s Junior Miss scholarship program. Join them Friday, June 18, 2010 as they host their annual golf tournament benefitting AJM. This year the tournament takes place at the Lakewood Golf Course at the Grand Hotel and it promises to be an event to remember. There are a few team and sponsorship spots still available so contact them today for more information.  For team registration information please click here.

How Many Oysters Can a Jr. Miss Eat?

Join them Monday, June 21st at 12:00 p.m. for the 2010 Jr. Miss Oyster Eating Contest! at Wintzell’s Historic Downtown location. Come out and support the Jr. Miss contestants as they face off against a giant pile of our freshly shucked oysters, as many as they can stomach! It’s guaranteed to be an entertaining afternoon.

Take a look at these fun Press Register videos of the previous Jr. Miss Contestants squeamishly downing their oysters:

2007 Jr. Miss Oyster Eating Contest; by Dan Murphy

2009 Jr. Miss Oyster Eating Contest; by Dan Murtaugh

Wintzell’s Has Wings?

Wintzell's WingsYes! Wintzell’s has wings. All Wintzell’s Oyster House locations are now serving scrumptious buffalo wings to warm your belly up. Stop by any of their locations during Happy Hour and enjoy 50¢ wings Mon-Fri from 4-7pm.

They won’t be around forever so get em’ hot and fresh while you can!

News from Shamrock Rose and Thistle – The Tea Room

•June 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The garden is lovely, the summer breezes are blowing, and the evening is a wonderful time to relax and enjoy your favorite tea, glass of wine, or pint of Guinness (Harp, Newcastle, etc.).  Yes, they now have their beer and wine license, allowing them to offer yet another opportunity to enjoy time with friends at the Tea Room.

Also . . .

Tapas from the Tea RoomTapas Time Extended

The Tapas menu has been so popular that they have extended its availability.  Tapas is now served Thursday – Saturday from 4pm to close.  They offer over a dozen different selections to share among friends.

Plus . . .

Mithril Duo to Play June 5 & 11

You’re missing a treat if you haven’t listened to the Mithril Duo at The Tea Room.  Almost like sitting in with a “Trad” at a pub in Ireland.  A “Trad” is the term used in Ireland when musicians get together at the local pub for a jam session of traditional Irish Music.

Miranda’s Writes: Tony Moore & Steve Nodine

•May 26, 2010 • 2 Comments

Bully Pulpit time.

You would have to be deaf, dumb, blind and dead not to know about the troubles of Mobile County Commissioner Steve Nodine.  Allegations of drug use, illegal firearms, mismanagement of county funds and worst of all the murder of mistress Angel Downs on May 9th.  This after his feigned mayoral bid last year where he pulled out of the election at the 11th hour leaving unpopular Mobile City Mayor Sam Jones unopposed – the whole deal smelled of bribery and perhaps that will come out in one the many trials awaiting Nodine.

It is a sorted affair that is gaining national attention.  No doubt it will soil our fine city one night on one of those news magazines like 48 Hours.  But I am not here to preach about the “alleged” douche baggery of Steve Nodine.

Nope this rant is about Nodine’s good friend Tony Moore, owner of the Spot of Tea, a popular eatery downtown.  Moore has been quite vocal in his support for his buddy Steve Nodine.  I have no problem with that; as distasteful as it may seem that is the job of a friend – to stand by his friends.  I have no problem with Moore’s fund-raising endeavors to compile the bail to get Nodine out of jail – again, he’s just being a friend.

My issue with Tony Moore stems from his muckraking of Angel Downs.  Repeatedly Moore has claimed that Downs committed suicide even after forensics and autopsy reports have said suicide was impossible.  Support your friend, no matter how sleazy he is, fine.  But do not ever slander a person who cannot defend herself from the grave and whose family and friends are in mourning to protect one of your lowlife friends.

I have long enjoyed lunching at the Spot of Tea but I will never go again.  Not as long as Tony Moore owns it.

Miranda’s Writes

PRESS RELEASE: Third Coast Cuisine

•May 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Third Coast Cuisine


Celebrity Chef Stuart Reb Donald Pledges A Portion Of The Proceeds Of His Latest Cookbook To Aid Clean-up of the Gulf Oil Spill.

Mobile, AL – Award winning food writer and chef Stuart Reb Donald has once again opened his culinary bag of tricks for his latest cookbook Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes from the Gulf of Mexico.

Donald, long established as one of the most passionate food writers in the blogosphere, offers a over 150 recipes, 11 essays and 70 color photos of the diverse foods to be found along the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the author, “The Third Coast is an area of amazing diversity. From the Yucatan to the Keys you can find any number of indigenous and immigrant cooking styles like Mexican, Cajun, Native American and even Soul Food.” The Third Coast is a popular nickname for the states along the Gulf of Mexico as well as parts of Mexico and Cuba. “The people that live here are amazingly resilient and that resiliency has been on display for most of this century. Ivan, Rita, Katrina and dozens of other storms plus the oil spill have taken their best shots at us but we keep bouncing back. The Deep South has a culinary tradition unmatched in the New World. Dixie is to America what Tuscany is to Italy, what Provence is to France, it is the nation’s gastronomic heart and soul.”

Chef Donald will be donating a percentage of the sales of Third Coast Cuisine to assist in the recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

For review copies, personal appearances and/or author interviews, contact the author at

About Stuart Reb Donald

A 24 year veteran of the restaurant industry, Stuart Reb Donald has worked every position from dish washer up to chef. Most recently he was the Executive Chef at Mars Hill Café in Mobile, AL. In 2003 he combined his love of food and gift for writing to produce his first cookbook Amigeauxs – Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine (4 Star Publishing). He has written hundreds of articles for both print and electronic media including interviews of noted chefs like Bobby Flay, Ted Allen, Michael Symon, Tory McPhail and Susan Irby. He is the author of and – the companion site to the cookbook. He has been a regular guest on TV shows along the Gulf Coast and often uses his culinary skills for good by helping to raise money for organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Bay Area Food Bank.


Miranda’s Writes: Avoid the Corporate Grind

•April 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

Bully Pulpit time.

Mobileans, you have got to stop eating at these cookie cutter chain restaurants that have taken over our fine city.  It is a sad testament that the busiest restaurant in the city is the Olive Garden.  It is not locally owned nor is it a very good restaurant.  The management staff cares nothing for the customer and that is evident in the service.  But the OG is not the only chain restaurant that takes the customer for granted.

Applebee’s is one of the worst chains in the country particularly with regards to the quality of their food.  If they used any cheaper ingredients they wouldn’t be allowed to sell it.  That’s not allegory; the proteins they use are one grade above prison food.  The stores in Mobile are owned by a franchisee out of Lincoln, NE that was forced by Applebee’s corporate to purchase the Mobile market in order to buy the lucrative beach restaurants along the Florida panhandle.  The Mobile stores are treated like step-children often having their maintenance needs ignored for years in order to sink the money into the Florida stores.

There are some chains that are not pure crap, Macaroni Grill and Zea’s come to mind.  But with this economy and Mobile’s unemployment rate being higher than the national average it doesn’t make since to send our money out of Mobile.  Sure part of your money stays here when you dine at the chains but most of it ends up in Lincoln, Orlando, Dallas, or New York.  When you dine at locally owned restaurants 100% of the money stays in the Mobile economy.

Miranda’s Writes

Miranda’s Writes: Cut the Cake

•April 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Bully Pulpit time.

I am sick and tired of turning on the tube and seeing some glorified graffiti artist decorating a cake.  I’m fine with an episode of Ace of Cakes now and then – they gang at charmed City Cakes looks like they would be fun to party with.  They certainly are no strangers to a bong and that in itself is reason enough to watch to see what spacey utterances will come out of Catherine or to see how red Duff’s eyes are.

But now there are more cake decorating shows on TV than shows that are about actual food.  The Cake Boss is terrible; it’s a cross between Ace of Cakes and Jersey Shore.  And how many Disney cake contests can the Food Network stage.  there is one on everyday.  There aren’t that many Disney characters.  And now word is out that TLC is going to have a show this summer dedicated to cup cakes.  Are you F’ing serious?  Cup cakes?

I think I need a drink.

Miranda’s Writes

Review: Mars Hill Cafe

•April 23, 2010 • 9 Comments

We had put off reviewing Mars Hill Cafe on Cottage Hill Rd. before now because our former editor, Stuart Reb Donald, was the executive chef there.  Well that ended in December.  Still we waited a few months so that we could judge the cafe on it’s own merits but there is no way to not draw comparisons.  We made sure to go three different times to make sure to avoid to the occasional bad day that every restaurant has.

We had been to the cafe several times when Stuart was there and what we wanted to see were what changes had occurred without his leadership.  Gone are the weekly specials, homemade soups of the day and the Moroccan garbanzo bean salad.  In their stead is a menu that still features most of the great sandwiches (plus one new one), obviously canned soups, a different potato salad that is actually better than the old one which was already one of the best in town and a new broccoli crunch salad that is dreadful.

So the menu is essentially the same.  What is different is the quality of the food.  As mentioned the soups taste like cheap canned soups and even the famous fresh made salsa tastes like the same old jarred stuff everybody serves.  The hummus, though good, no longer has the depth of flavor it once had.  It lacks the herbacious punch that made it so good.  The Greek salad is different as well, I think it’s the dressing, it tastes heavily processed.

What hasn’t changed is the service.  It is still really bad.  Possibly even worse than ever.  The servers are inattentive at best and rude at worst.  There also seems to be a lot of bickering among the wait staff and no body wants to see that when they are trying to eat.  The managers spend most of their time sitting with their friends chatting rather than visiting the tables.

We understand that they have cut out catering which is understandable without a working chef on site.  They still pledge their profits to charity and that alone may justify eating at the cafe.  However, it is no longer worth going out of your way for the food and service alone.  It is clear that Mars Hill Cafe misses its talented chef (and our former colleague) Stuart Reb Donald.

Mars Hill Cafe is located at 5025 Cottage Hill Road, in West Mobile.

Phone: 251.643.1611

Food Network Gets Axed

•April 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Scripps Pulls the Plug on Food Network




New York City – The E.W. Scripps Company announced today that after 17 years in production their popular Food Network will cease programming at the end of this month. The move took many in assembly by surprise. The press conference was held at Chelsea Market on 75 9th Avenue, home of the Food Network Studios.

Milton Funderburk, Acting Assistant Vice-Chairman of Cable Programming for Scripps was asked why the media conglomerate was closing the doors on its most popular cable franchise, “The time is right. After all when we purchased TFN back in ‘97 we thought it would fail miserably. That was the plan.

“We acquired the Network as a tax right off. We never dreamed anyone would actually watch it. Our thought was why would anyone want to watch someone else cooking on TV? I mean if they wanted to see someone cook, they could just go cook something. Apparently we under estimated the American public’s desire to live vicariously.”


Review: 3 Bandera’s Restaurant

•March 21, 2010 • 2 Comments

I spent most of the 90’s in Nashville, TN and one of the things I have been missing since returning to Alabama is real South of the Border food. As many a Texan can tell you, Mobile’s Mexican scene is poor. Most of the places we think of as being “traditional Mexican” restaurants are actually Tex-Mex, bad Tex-Mex at that. They all have the same menu and their food tastes pretty much the same. They rely mostly on precooked foods that they microwave – even ground beef which comes pre-cooked in one gallon cans. Yes cans.