Fairhope, Alabama - Day One

When Matt asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year it took me all of about ... 2 seconds, to reply with "go to Fairhope!" Fairhope, Alabama is the most picturesque town I have ever been to and every time I go there I fall in love all over again. I actually took Matt there for a belated Valentines Gift this year (we spent our actual Valentines Day in New Orleans - his gift to me!) Here we are back in February:

All of the streets are adorned with flowers and antique shops, there are no chain restaurants or shops in the downtown area and it's a quick 5 minute walk to the water. We checked into The Hampton Inn and after last weeks experience in Destin, we were thrilled with how clean and large the room was.

I love rooms that come with a living area and kitchen! After we dropped our stuff off we headed out to walk around for a bit before dinner.

Around 5:30 we headed over to our favorite restaurant, Thyme on the Bay. Honestly, this was a big reason why I wanted to even go to Fairhope in the first place. We went there in February and had meals so good we are still talking about them. The place is very, very small but absolutely worth the wait (if there is one). The menu changes often so we were looking forward to trying some of their new items.

The picture isn't great, all of the ones at dinner were taking with my phone, but the restaurant is directly across from the water and we saw a yoga class and a small wedding! For appetizers Matt ordered a smoked bacon Ceasar salad and I picked the mushroom arugula tart. I was nice enough to give Matt some of my tart and he was pretty jealous he didn't order the same thing.

For the main course Matt ordered the Flounder with cauliflower puree, brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower, house cured pancetta and hazelnut gremalota. I think he actually blacked out momentarily he was so blown away by the flavors.

Unfortunately, the following pictures will absolutely do no justice to the amazingness of the soup I ordered. It was an apple, parsnip, fennel and cardamom soup that even Matt said was the highlight of the meal. I'm working on trying to recreate it at home - I don't care if it takes me years this will be my new life's mission!

I also have to say that the service we received at the restaurant was top-notch. Our waitress was prompt, cheerful, great at describing the dishes and helping us decide on what we'd like and she even brought me out a glass of red wine to try that she would thought I'd like. Incredible! After dinner we walked back into town and started looking for a place to have drinks and dessert at. We stopped outside R Bistro & Pastry and, as we perused the menu on the door, a couple seated out front assured us that it was the best place for dessert in town. Sold!

We each ordered a glass of Merlot and picked out two desserts from the display case - a toasted marshmallow coffee smore tart, and a praline pumpkin cheesecake. Seriously.

It was one of those meals that we spent the entire time either in total silence, savoring every bite, or repeating with a dazed look in our eyes "Oh my god this is incredible." Best of all, the owner, I believe his name was Joe, came over and introduced himself and asked if we had ever been there before. When we said this was our first time he rushed into the back to bring us something "amazing." He came back with a shrimp chowder and gumbo that Matt said fits the owners description of "so good people drive over from New Orleans for it."

Matt truly gave me the perfect present and I hope you will all enjoy the rest of the trip's recap tomorrow!