What a glorious spring day! The weather is beautiful…we wish you were here…

Greetings! Although the season, Spring isn’t “official” until this weekend, today is one of those perfect days along the Alabama Gulf Coast. The beaches were full yesterday, and today looks like they are filling up fast. The Blue Angels practiced right over the beaches of Orange Beach, yesterday, and are set to practice today at 10:00 a.m. over N.A.S. An autograph session with those incredible pilots is to follow in the atrium of the museum. Last night was just cool enough for a sleeve.
This week, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the nicest college students from Texas, Georgia, Samford, and Mississippi. These young men and ladies have had great parenting and mentoring because without a parent in sight, they have behaved like mature, responsible, and polite adults. Today food is first, and shopping is second.

FOOD:
Anytime college students are in town, Mellow Mushroom [2303 S. McKenzie St., Foley, AL] is always particularly busy. We ate there last night and it was packed (which is proof that they are doing everything right).
Mellow Mushroom…another “how do I love thee….let me count the ways”, on the Beach Whisper’s personal list.
Things I love about MM in no particular order:
*The Foley location just completed a total remodel/facelift. The decor is super original. Be sure and check out the new ceiling fan. Take pictures at Mellow Mushroom! The props and photo opps inside and outside this restaurant are too many to count. Good pizza is ALWAYS worth a little wait; what better way to pass the time of waiting on the pizza to cook than snapping a few pics of the kids and parents inside this uniquely decorated restaurant.
*The FOOD
*Caesar Salad pizza/ Taco Pizza (exclusive to this location)/ Gourmet white pizza/ Mega Veggie with tofu/ Maui Wowie/ and
the Funky Q Chicken. This barbecue fusion is so much better than (you know who) the place that starts with “Planet” and ends with “Hollywood”.
*Little known facts about our MM: they use mostly organic and locally farmed vegetables (ask your server for specifics);
all chicken is antibiotic-free/harmone-free chicken; gluten-free crusts; and many Vegan menu options, including dairy-free Vegan cheese.
*MM offers a spinach salad that will make you wonder how you will abstain from eating lunch at Mellow 8 days a week!
[Yes, I know there are only 7 days in a week. This salad will make you wish there were 8!]
A spinach salad with crisp green apple slices, pecans, dried cherries, crumbled feta cheese, and a tangy dressing.
*Pretzels: HAND ROLLED fresh to order. Garlic/butter or cinnamon/sugar. Both are DELISH!
*Finally for the beer drinker. If you are a connoisseur of beer, and you haven’t been to Mellow, then you need to relinquish your “connoisseur card” until you go. Personally, I’m not a beer drinker. However, I tried my first beer 15 years ago, at MM while living in Auburn. My friend, Kelly, asked me to try a Purple Haze. It was good. I can drink about half of one. However, people who enjoy beer assure me that a nice crafted beer pairs well with pizza. My beer drinking friends rave about the selections at Mellow Mushroom.
To close, I am going to quote myself. I was having a conversation with total strangers (a blended family of 13 total) from Nashville, and West Palm Beach, who were visiting our area for the first time. They told me which restaurants they had already visited.
Mellow wasn’t mentioned, and before I had time to suggest MM, they asked me, “What is the best place for pizza?”
Without hesitation, I responded, “Mellow Mushroom”. I realize I am the Beach Whisper, and Foley isn’t technically the beach, but we love Foley. Foley has a lot to offer beach visitors. It is worth the short 15-20 minute drive to Foley to eat the finest hand crafted pizza on the coast, and shop. Speaking of shopping…

SHOPPING:
While in Foley, dining at Mellow Mushroom, why not do a little shopping to walk off those carbs. Am I one of those people who considers “shopping is my cardio”?….um…well…maybe!
Tanger Mall is an outdoor shoppers paradise. What better way to shop than outdoors, under nicely covered overhangs (to protect you from that pop up summer shower or further baking in the sun).
I’ve lived here long enough to see Tanger become the focus of many destination shopping trips, and right now, Tanger is at the top of their game!
A few of my favorite things about Tanger: Michael Kors (yes, this location has handbags, small leather goods, small travel pieces, belts, sunglasses, watches, and ladies apparel) ALL at outlet prices. Almost every birthday treat I’ve received in recent years has been wrapped in MK tissue! MK recently moved to the corner, just across from Starbucks.
Speaking of Starbucks… “hello, my name is The Beach Whisper, and I have an addiction to the delightful concoctions at Starbucks.” From the sound of milk steaming, to the friendly greetings from my favorite barista, how can you not find your “happy place” inside Starbucks? Let’s not forget the lovely newly remodeled pastry display cases full of bakery treats.
La Boulange is the French bakery with whom Starbucks recently partnered. It is a San Francisco bakery (and I’ve actually been there) which serves lovely artisanal baked goods.
{oops, I was talking about shopping, and here I am back on food…sorry} Back to shopping…
I have loved Ralph Lauren’s style of fashion design for 30+ years. Did I mention we have an enormous Ralph Lauren flagship store at Tanger? It is located on the opposite corner from MK. In the big center circle, there is also a Stride rite toddler and children’s shoe store, New York & Co., Zale’s (who doesn’t want a little sparkle treat to take home from vacation?), Journey’s, Ann Taylor, Nautica (for the man in your life, who never buys for himself), GH Bass, a HUGE Old Navy (who doesn’t love a pair of Old N. jeans or a hooded cotton sweatshirt), and my favorite “anchor” store of ALL time….TJ Maxx!!!
Yes! We have a TJ Maxx! 
I was there last night! I had to walk off that pizza. ((wink))
On the outer perimeter of Tanger, there is a two-sided Coach store, a huge NIKE, Adidas, a free-standing GAP, Under Armor, Crocs, Motherhood Maternity, Charlotte Russe, Tommy Bahama (make sure you buy a candle to take home; the scent will remind of that awesome beach vacation long into the winter), Banana Republic, Levi’s (do they ever go out of style?), Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew (think preppy little shift dresses for a night out at the beach), Izod, Jos. A. Bank, Aeropostale, Jockey (new underoohs), SOMA (ladies, need some new foundations at outlet prices?), Eddie Bauer, AE, Chico’s, WHITE HOUSE BLACK MARKET, Carter’s baby wear, Hartstrings children’s boutique apparel, and so many more.
Perhaps you need a new kitchen accessory. Le Creuset in Tanger is in the center right side before TJ Maxx.
Bonus: If you are female, any age, and love accessories, make sure you find Francesca’s. It is the most affordable eclectic selection of non branded purses, clutches, earrings, flirty dresses, blouses, and necklaces. Additionally, they stock  small home goods like hard to find books, candles, jewelry boxes, pill boxes, and just super cute gift items (think gifts for dog walker back home, house sitter, baby sitter, and a jump-start on Christmas shopping while your mind is relaxed & free and you are on vacation). Francesca’s is the perfect place to buy gifts; of course, TJ Maxx is too.
I’m off to walk the beach! The weather is beautiful, and you need to get here ASAP!

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