The Champion's Table
View my food journey on Zomato!

Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2017 World Food Championships: The Southern Grind Coffee House at The Wharf in Orange Beach, AL

The menu items in this post were provided by The Southern Grind Coffee House but the opinions expressed here are my own.

A drizzly, overcast morning began the fourth day of our road trip and our first day of commuting back and forth from Pensacola, FL. Since this was my first year competing, I thought we might need accommodations that had a dishwasher hence our commute. But a beautiful commute it was with the ocean and sugar sand beaches. Today was a very important day - Bacon World Championships. Oh, how I love the smell of bacon in the morning! But like any sport, food sport in this case, we were going to be standing for 2.5 hours so it was time to carb up.

Our first stop was one my favorite places in The Wharf, The Southern Grind Coffee House. I found this coffee house last year while doing media coverage for the 2016 World Food Championships and saved my feet and legs in between competitions with wonderful food, delicious coffee, and ice cold smoothies. Since it was drizzling, hot coffee and breakfast were in order. While we waited for our food, we looked at the newly expanded space, almost doubling the capacity of the coffee house since last year. I just love the friendly coastal décor which just helps you relax and feel at home. Sweet Home Alabama!

A favorite of mine from last year, Salted Caramel Latte, hit the spot again with luscious foam drizzled with salted caramel atop a medium roast espresso. The great thing is that one of gals remembered it was my favorite. Nothing better like a perfectly executed latte! Rating: 5/5

The hubby had a Mocha. It hit the spot for him and just loved it! It was just sweet enough and paired perfectly with his breakfast. Rating: 5/5

Since we were about to cover the Bacon World Championship, I had to whet my taste buds with the Breakfast Burger. It is a ¼ lb. burger topped with cheddar cheese, over medium egg, bacon, and served on a croissant with a side of chips. This breakfast burger took me to my happy place. The juicy beefy burger, the smoky, salty bacon, the gooey cheddar, and luscious yolky egg enveloped by a buttery, flaky croissant was just out of this world! I think this is going to be my standard order from now on. Rating: 5/5

The hubby ordered the Pear & Pecan Cinnamon French Toast. It is two slices of cinnamon swirl French toast topped with caramelized pears, pecans, whipped cream, powdered sugar, salted caramel drizzle, and served with your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham (the hubby chose sausage). He loved the pairing of sweet and salty for breakfast to balance the flavors. The French toast was not overly sweet, and he loved the grilled porky sausage which paired well with the pear and pecan flavors. Rating: 5/5  

With our morning hunger satiated and mind caffeinated, it was time to take a short walk to the 2017 World Food Championships Kitchen Arena for the Bacon World Championship! Stay tuned!

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
4751 Main St Ste 116
Orange Beach, AL 36561
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Seating: Interior and exterior
Reservation: None
Dog-friendly: Yes

If you enjoyed reading this post, read more:

The Southern Grind Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Road Trip to the 2017 World Food Championships: Rails: A Café at the Depot in Kerrville, TX

This post was sponsored by Rails: A Café at the Depot but the opinions expressed here are my own.

A humid, early morning greeted us as we headed out on Day 2 of our road trip to the 2017 World Food Championships in Orange Beach, AL. Starting in El Paso, TX, we traversed 489 miles to our first stop at Rails: A Café at the Depot in Kerrville, TX. Rails is a little over 3 miles from the I-10. As you drive up to it, you can feel the nostalgic aura of this area. This hidden gem is located in the fully-restored 1915 Kerrville Train depot. 

  • History Note: The original wooden depot was built in 1887 and Kerrville was the last stop on the SA&AP (San Antonio & Aransas Pass) Railway and included a manual turntable. After a fire burnt most of the depot in 1913, a new masonry depot was relocated and built in 1915. In 2017, the SA&AP Passenger Depot received Registered Texas Historical Landmark (RTHL) designation and marks. To learn more about the history, visit

The interior has a beautiful and welcoming feeling. There is a lot of natural lighting during the day in the dining room. If it’s a beautiful day outside, they also have a lovely patio dining area lined with a red brick fountain wall and lush greenery. Since it was such a beautiful day, we decided on the patio for our late lunch.

Fresh bread, brought to the table, is all made daily on premises next door at The Sweeter Side of Rails. As the bread finished its baking process, the kitchen staff walks it from the bakery, through the patio, and right into the Rails’ kitchen. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Farmer’s Market Grilled Chicken Salad ($11.95) is baby spring mix, green apples, Texas goat cheese, walnuts, and sundried cranberries tossed in raspberry vinaigrette and topped with grilled chicken. After being in a car for almost 6 hours, a refreshing light salad was the perfect cure. All the produce was fresh and crisp. The apple, cranberry, and vinaigrette gave the salad a nice balance of sweet and tangy. The apple and walnuts added a crunchy texture. The Texas goat cheese was one of the best I have ever had – so creamy and did not have that “goaty, barnyard” flavor you might experience from other goat cheeses. The chicken was grilled to perfection – tender and juicy. Rating: 5/5

Osso Bucco ($18.95) is tender, slow-cooked bone-in pork shank served with red skin mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. This is the best osso bucco I have ever had! The slow-cooking process renders the pork so tender, it was like butter. The demi glace was just amazing with its silky, luscious texture and dark rich hue. You could probably slather that on anything and I would eat it, like those red skin mashed potatoes! I didn’t waste a drop! Even with its richness, it wasn’t heavy. Sautéed spinach was the perfect pairing providing a green and sweet flavor contrast. Rating: 5/5

Linguine Napolitana ($12.95) is linguine sautéed with garlic, olive oil, diced tomatoes, zucchini, capers, and feta cheese. You can add chicken (+$3.95) or shrimp (+$5.95) too. This dish was an ode to the Mediterranean with Italian and Greek flavor profiles. For a pasta dish, it was rather light so it was a great option for lunch. It had an excellent balance of flavors from the zingy garlic, sweet tomatoes, briny capers, and salty feta cheese. The shrimp was perfectly grilled and added a nice smoky flavor to the dish. Rating: 5/5

  • Planner Tip: If you have a corporate event/meeting, wedding, rehearsal dinner, shower, etc., Catering by Rails offers full-service on- or off-site catering. Their Events Hall boasts original oak floors from 1889, beautiful décor, full sound system, wireless microphone, television, PowerPoint capabilities, and host groups as small as 10 to as large as 200.

If you’re a local or just passing through, don’t miss this chance of both a foodie and historic find at Rails: A Café at the Depot!

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
615 E. Schreiner St.
Kerrville, TX  78028, United States
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Parking: Free parking lot

Rails: A Cafe At The Depot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato