Florence & Madison, AL
Recently we celebrated Debra’s birthday in style, the day started off with breakfast at the Florence Cracker Barrel and then a trip to Huntsville for Swedish Massages. After our massages Debra select Phuket Thai Restaurant in Madison for our dinner. The day was a fun filled day for both of us and by the time we return home late that evening we were exhausted. As I told her right before bedtime “all this un-laxing has wore me out!” Anyway, here’s a couple reviews of the two restaurants we visited.
Breakfast – Beginning the day…
As I stated above, we started out with breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel, when we arrived the parking lot was still fairly crowded for 9:30 am on a weekday. We didn’t have any wait to get a table though and within a few minutes of being seated a young man name Savion H was there to take our drink orders. When Savion returned with the drinks, he worked with Debra on her special requests for a custom breakfast order and then got my simple customized breakfast order also.
Debra ordered the Sunrise Sampler($7.89) which is Two Eggs cooked to order with Grits, Sawmill Gravy and Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits along with real Butter and the best Preserves, Jam n’ Apple Butter available. Served with Fried Apples, Hash-brown Casserole and a sampling of Smoked Sausage, Country Ham and Thick-Sliced Bacon. She chose to customize it by substituting more bacon for the smoke sausage and toast instead of biscuits and the eggs scrabbled. Additionally she told him to hold the grits and gravy or else she would be in a diabetic comma before she got out the door. Diet Coke ($2.19) as usual was her drink of choice.
I ordered the Double Meat Breakfast ($7.59) which is three Eggs cooked to order with a full order of Bacon and Smoked Sausage Patties. Served with Grits, Sawmill Gravy and Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits along with Real Butter and the best Preserves, Jam n’ Apple Butter available upon request. I chose to go with toast instead of biscuits and also for them to hold the grits and gravy, it’s not that they’re bad or anything I’m just not a big fan of either. I requested the eggs to be prepared “Over Medium” and when they were served they were closer to “Over Easy,” however, I can eat eggs like that also. I opted for coffee ($1.99) to drink.
Both of our meals were on par for Cracker Barrel and there’s really is not a whole to say about them. Debra’s scrabbled eggs were cooked they way she likes them and both the country ham and bacon was prepared to her satisfaction. She does like both the country ham and bacon served at Cracker Barrel.
As to my breakfast other than my eggs being a bit under cooked, everything else was acceptable. Both the sausage and bacon was good with the bacon getting extra attention because it was so crispy, kudos to the Cracker Barrel line cooks for that.
The Fun Begins…
After we finished eating we drove to Huntsville, got our massages which lasted one and a half hours for each of us. The young lady that gave the massages did a fantastic job, she runs the Knot Happening Massage at 700 Andrew Jackson Way NE, Huntsville, Alabama. Her Facebook page is Knot Happening and her website is Knot Happening Massage. She does have a Groupon running right now you might want to check out here Knot Happening Groupon. We do highly recommend her if you’re considering getting a massage.
Dinner at Phuket Thai…
The massages took all of the afternoon and by the time we headed out to dinner we were both hungry again. Debra had chosen Phuket Thai which is located right off Highway 72 in Madison in the Village of Providence development. We arrived about 20 minutes before they opened for dinner so we just sat in the sidewalk dining area until they were ready to start serving.
We were first in line to be seated so we got our choice of seats and we chose the chair/booth combination so Debra could take some of the pressure off her hip. The Phuket Restaurant is not like a lot of the Thai restaurants we’ve visited, their decorations are understated and the dining room has a modern jazzy feel to it rather than a heavy oriental feeling. They have a small bar area that I’m sure on a busy night is a hubbub of activity and the Al fresco dining area out front would be packed out on the weekends.
Our server Namprik was courteous and promptly took our drink orders, when she returned we gave her our dinner orders. Debra ordered the crispy spring roll stuffed with cabbage, bean thread and carrot served with sweet & sour sauce ($4.25) for her appetizer and the Mixed Veggie Stir fry which is Broccoli, carrot, cabbage, onion, baby corn, snap pea, zucchini, quickly wok-tossed with Phuket distinctive sauce. ($11.95) for her entree’ with a Diet Coke to drink ($2.49).
I ordered the Golden Phuket style wonton filled with minced shrimp and chicken and it came with a duet of sweet and sour sauce ($6.55) for an appetizer and for my entree’ ordered the Phuket Pad Thai which is rice noodles in Phuket Pad Thai sauce, shrimp, chicken, egg, bean sprout, scallion, sprinkled with crushed peanut. ($12.95) I also ordered a Diet Coke to drink.($2.49)
After we had finished our main course, Debra decided she wanted dessert and asked for the dessert menu. She also mention to Namprik that it was her birthday so she wanted a good dessert. To Namprik’s credit you informed Debra they had a free dessert just for customers celebrating their birthdays. The free desert was peanut butter pie ($4.50) and Namprik had me at free and Debra at peanut butter. It took about 10 minutes for the kitchen to crank out the dessert but oh my goodness was it worth it. The peanut butter pie was unlike anything we’d run across before, it was an individual serving of chocolate, peanut butter filling, Oreo cookie crumb coating and caramel underneath everything. Hey, it had all the major food groups on one plate.
The food at Phuket Thai is all prepared fresh to order. It is beautifully presented by their chef and they do not skimp on ingredients. My Phuket Pad Thai was chocked full or tender chicken breast strips and there were six medium size shrimp mixed in with the noodles. And speaking of noodles, the Thai egg noodles are another story by themselves, they take on many of the flavors and spices that the chef uses to prepare the dish and are very tender and delicate to the palate. The fried wonton was oh so good and had a very nice flavor combination filling, the appetizer came with five wontons on it and I’m glad that was all they gave me because anymore would have spoiled the great entree’ that followed.
Debra also enjoyed her stir fry veggie dish, it was piled high with veggies in a hearty stock that blended all of the flavors together, she also thinks that the spring rolls are some the best anywhere we’ve dined. About the dessert, now let me tell you, don’t never ever get in between a woman and a piece of peanut butter pie, I did manage to get a couple of bites of it but I kept seeing her fork getting closer to my fingers so I retreated and let her have all of the rest of it, after all it was her birthday.
This was our second visit to Phuket Thai Restaurant and neither time have we be disappointed in either the service or the food. Since our first Thai food experience a few years ago at a Thai Restaurant in Illinois we have visited several in different states and in reality only ever had bad meals at one or two. Phuket Thai ranks up in the top five of the best Thai restaurants we’ve ever visited and I know some will say, you’ve got a great Thai restaurant right here in Florence and that would be true. However, it is two separate dining experiences and menus, while many of the dishes are similar they are also different, because just like here in the USA how a particular dish tastes depends on the region of the country the chef is from and what spin they put on it.
While I don’t normally recommend a chain restaurant unless it has special merits, the Cracker Barrel after all was founded and is still headquartered up in Lebanon, TN, so in essence they are a home grown operation.
We would highly recommend that you give the Phuket Thai Restaurant a visit and see for yourself what great authentic Thai food taste like. Be sure and take note of their hours:
- Mon – Fri: 11.00 am – 2.00 pm
- Sun – Thu: 5.00 pm – 9.00 pm
- Fri – Sat: 5.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Cracker Barrel Our Overall Rating –