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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dirty Al's at Pelican Station

I've written about Dirty Al's before - I love their shrimp - but I didn't realize that my husband has never been to the mainland location, located at Pelican Station.  It is a really nice place...and filled with history as well as good food.  I first went to the spot when it was the restaurant, "Pelican Station" and I found some history about the location on their old web site.  It's interesting history about our area...so I'm quoting from that old web site below and copying one of their photos as well.

Rio Grande Rail Road Company 1870 - 1911

Pelican Station is located on the exact site where the Rio Grande Rail Road ran in the late 1800's. RGRR began in 1870 as the only railroad in Texas and one of the few in the United States. It was a 42" gauge railroad. RGRR ran a twenty-six mile route between Point Isabel and Brownsville and consisted of three locomotives and fifty-six cars.
RGRR was owned and operated by several Brownsville businessmen. It was created in an attempt to break the transportation monopoly held by riverboat owners Richard King and Mifflin Kennedy, who later became owners of large ranches in the area.

RGRR had a loading / unloading pier 1000 feet long, built over the shallow waters of the Laguna Madre. Lighter boats would offload cargo from ships offshore of Point Isabel and deliver it to the pier to be offloaded once again. This process was reversed for cargo shipped from Port Isabel. This pier was rebuilt in 1928, by the US Corps of Engineers, and used to deliver the granite rock used to construct the Jetties.

There is a railroad car in the parking lot...and my son tends to respond "the historical railroad place?" when I ask if he wants to go to Dirty Al's. 

Photo Source:  http://www.pelicanstation.net/tour.htm

My hubby and I wanted to go out to lunch on the mainland side today because we had errands to run in Port Isabel...I suggested Mexiquito's, Dirty Al's, or Pirate's Landing.  He jumped at Dirty Al's - so off we went!

We were seated quickly at a table with a wonderful view of the causeway and South Padre Island...and some pelicans perched on pilings.  It was a sunny day, but in the upper 40's...unusually cold for us!  We enjoyed watching the birds and the bay and chatting while we waited for our order.  Our drink orders were taken rapidly and served equally efficiently.  My husband ordered the shrimp and oyster platter and I ordered the medium shrimp platter with onion rings instead of fries.  My hubby quickly changed to onion rings as well when he heard me doing so.

Our food was not too long in coming, so we were happily ready to dig in when I bring everything to a halt saying I needed a photo..."of course you do" he responds dryly,  "but you took your camera out of your purse before we left the house".  I do have my cell phone, however, so it had to do!

Medium Shrimp Platter with Onion Rings Substituted for fries - an Add'l $2.50

Medium Shrimp and Oyster Platter with Onion Rings Substituted for frues
 I absolutely love the Dirty Al's shrimp...the onion rings are not worth, in my humble opinion, an additional $2.50 for the substitution.  They tasted slightly overly-greasy - which I confirmed with my husband as his opinion as well.  If we'd realized there were so many (we left about 8 or 9 on the plate between us), only one of us would have paid for the up charge and shared the onion rings.  That would have been better.  With drinks and tip our lunch was $35.00 and that's a bit pricey for a week-day lunch.

The shrimp are so fresh tasting, though, I'd rather get them here than most anywhere else at this point.  I've tried them in a LOT of places...these folks know how to fry some shrimp.  They split them, and lightly bread them, and they don't taste greasy at all. 

Some of the best, if not THE best, fried shrimp in the area!!!
They bring 3 sauces with your platter...cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, and ranch dressing...and they serve a squeeze bottle of Dirty Al's secret sauce...and, catsup of course.  My sons love the Dirty Al's sauce - and if you read my previous posts, you know I've not had luck in getting any to take with us.  Today I asked about it and the waitress said, yes the did sell it, but it wasn't bottled, it was in a Styrofoam container with lid and it cost $6 or $8 - she wasn't sure.  That didn't sound like it would transport well - so I skipped it.  They'll just have to come see me and buy it themselves!  I love it when my kids visit (hint, hint if you are reading this boys!).

My husband and I walked to the car laughing, saying "if only Pier 19 and Dirty Al's could get together...we'd have the perfect shrimp platter with onion rings".  We both love Pier 19's onion rings and Dirty Al's shrimp is our current "favorite" vote in the fried category.  Oh well - isn't it always that way?  Keeps you searching for the perfect plate!

We both walked away with a full tummy and a satisfactory feeling - so good lunch in my book!

SPI FLIP FLOP FOODIE RATING:

4 – Lip smackin’ - good quality – flip flops will definitely be parked under their table again!

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