Locally minded chefs Christopher Hastings of Birmingham and Florida’s Allen Susser divulge their favorite regional food finds.
Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale
This fantastically gingery soda, which was formulated in 1901 and is sold exclusively in the Southeast, is so dark that it’s nearly a ginger cola. It’s a favorite of Christopher Hastings of Birmingham’s Hot and Hot Fish Club. Birmingham; buffalorock.com.
Although it’s known more for potted heirlooms like Jeanne d’Arc roses and Black Ruby plum trees, this nursery started marketing its produce to area chefs like Hastings to get through last year’s drought. The response was so strong, the nursery is doing it again this year.
For the seafood and alligator sausage on his menu at Chef Allen’s in Aventura, Allen Susser makes the short trip to this store that sells alligator ribs, tenderloin and tail along with hormone-free poultry, stone crabs and grouper.
Robert Is Here
“So many people in Florida have backyard mango trees that in summer, I trade mangoes for dinners at my restaurant,” Susser says. He also likes the fruit stand Robert Is Here, which ships Florida mangoes and citrus nationally.
Susser says this is the best place for Florida’s wild rock shrimp, a.k.a. “poor man’s lobster.”