Hot!Alabama Getaway

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buffetbuster
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2009/11/11 14:33:46 (permalink)

Alabama Getaway

Last week, I spent about four days running around Alabama.  This report will not be in the typical chronological order.
 
Since this trip report is about Alabama, it makes sense to start it with a place in Columbus, Georgia!  The most famous restaurant in Columbus is Dinglewood Pharmacy,


home of the scrambled dog.  I first read about it in the new Jane & Michael Stern's "500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late" book.  From what I was told, the Dinglewood Pharmacy can get very crowded at lunchtime, mostly due to its location across the street from the AFLAC headquarters.  But I rolled in around 3:15 and was the only customer for most of my visit.
 
There are plenty of tables and even a couple of booths in the back, but I grabbed a seat at the long counter. 

The menu is on a board

above you.  This is only half of the sandwiches board, but it is the important half, since I only drove this far to try the scrambled dog. 
 
The guy who waited on me was very friendly and loved to talk.  Here he is preparing my plate. 

I had my scrambled dog within 30 seconds of placing my order.


Several interesting things here.  I like how the scrambled dog comes in a shallow bowl, to hold all the chili.  This chili, which comes with beans, seemed to be a little dry and was moderately spicy.  The wiener itself was sliced into several pieces and had a bright pink exterior.  Chopped onions, oyster crackers, processed American cheese, a few pickle slices and a buried underneath it all hot dog bun, complete the dish.  Is it elegant?  No.  But it is unique, interesting and fun to eat.  To drink, they do offer all kinds of soda fountain classics,

but I simply got an ordinary sweet tea.  In hindsight, I should have gone with a milkshake or a lemonade.
 
The Dinglewood Pharmacy (apparently named after the neighborhood it is in), goes all the way back to 1918.  The most famous employee Lieutenant Stevens (that is his real name), started working here in 1945.  According to a printout I was given during my visit, he is still working here.  But I believe he did retire a few years ago.  Dinglewood Pharmacy is such a local institution, ornaments featuring it will hang on the White House Christmas tree

this year. 
 
Considering the unique dish, the history of the place and the very friendly people, Dinglewood Pharmacy is a worthwhile stop when traveling through western Georgia.
 
Dinglewood Pharmacy
1939 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA
706-322-0616
 
 
Just in case people wonder where the thread title comes from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzQrgb-NH0A
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/07/12 11:02:21
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127 Replies Related Threads

    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 15:09:47 (permalink)
    Awesome!  I think the scrambled dog sounds like a great idea for those of us who will inevitably end up wearing half a chili dog.  I am glad you pointed out the bright pink sliced up hot dog because I saw that picture and said 'why is there strawberries in that?'  But that may be the flu talking.  Also, you didn't happen to ask what a Boston Cooler is did you?
    #2
    buffetbuster
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 15:15:14 (permalink)
    Nancy-
    Either those do look like strawberries or I have the flu, too!  No, I did not ask about the Boston Cooler.  Anybody out there know?
    #3
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 15:35:07 (permalink)
    Maybe they got the pages for scrambled dog and strawberry shortcake stuck together -- 'it tastes like feet!'
    #4
    mar52
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 16:10:55 (permalink)
    Well that Scrambled Dog is the greatest thing I've seen!  

    I basically do that to my chili dogs when eating them sans the crackers and pickles.

    Yes, I eat my chili dogs with a knife and fork.

    I'd love it if my favorite places served them in a bowl.

    Guess it's just another dish to wash.


    #5
    joerogo
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 16:15:46 (permalink)
    buffetbuster, That scrambled dog looks great.  Heck, I would even try it with strawberries.

    I found a place in Scranton last week that does Texas chili cheeseburger omelets and Texas weiner omelets.  They were excellent!

    I'm going to get off this thread now before you and Nancy give me the flu.
    #6
    billyboy
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 16:52:42 (permalink)
    @Nancypalooza - I like it.  I mean, what's not to like? Strawberries, good. Hot dogs, good. Chili, GOOD!  In fact, I'm going into the bathroom so I can watch myself in the mirror as I eat it!!   
    post edited by billyboy - 2009/11/11 16:55:06
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    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 17:01:07 (permalink)
    Let us know if you ran into a side dish of okra fries (cut the long way) with marinara sauce.  We have a new soul food restaurant in our area who serves them.
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    Ralph Melton
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 17:59:24 (permalink)
    Wikipedia gives me a guess about the Boston Cooler: 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w...eam_soda#Boston_cooler

    A Boston cooler is typically composed of ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. Variations abound, however, with club soda, sherbet, rum, vanilla vodka, milk, sugar, or even coffee sometimes added or substituted for the key ingredients. In Ohio, a root beer float is also referred to as a Boston cooler.[citation needed]

    The origin of the Boston cooler lies in Detroit, Michigan, the city in which Fred Sanders is credited with inventing the ice cream soda. The name almost certainly has no connection to Boston, Massachusetts, where the beverage is virtually unknown. One theory is that it was named after Detroit's Boston Boulevard, the main thoroughfare of what was then an upper-class neighborhood a short distance from James Vernor's drugstore.

    post edited by ralphmelton - 2009/11/11 18:01:12
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    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 19:41:45 (permalink)
    That looks awesome!

    So does that mean eating the Scrambled Dog may be covered in our AFLAC policies?


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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 19:46:20 (permalink)
    Thanks Ralph!  Billyboy, you wear that Joey shirt awfully well.  :)
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    billyboy
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 21:57:12 (permalink)
    Yeah, it matches the special Tribbiani "meat pants" I'll have on this Thanksgiving!  
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    Large Man
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 22:55:07 (permalink)
    You have reviewed a favorite of mine.  I ate there while attending classses at Columbus State Univ.   The Lt. is there during lunch during the week and he makes a great scrambled dog!  You also fix your own drink and have the option of putting a squirt of cherry or vanilla syrup in it.  One scrambled dog with hot sauce on top of the chilli with cheese, onions, crackers and pickles is heaven for lunch.  The parking lot is packed on Friday at noon - professionals, construction workers, secretaries the elderly, even moms with kids are all there packed in together. 
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 07:38:24 (permalink)
    JoeRogo-
    Texas chile cheeseburger omelets and Texas wiener omelets?  Oh, I am so there! 

     
    Large Man-
    Great to hear from another Dinglewood Pharmacy fan.  Are you saying that Lieutenant Stevens does still work there?

    Ralph-
    Thanks for the info.  Ginger ale and vanilla ice cream doesn't sound very appetizing to me, though.

    NYPizzaNut-

    Sorry, I didn't come across any okra fries on my trip.  But than again, I wasn't looking for it.  I will keep my eyes open from now on.
     
    #14
    buffetbuster
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 09:00:23 (permalink)
    On Thursday morning, I had breakfast at a real Roadfood classic, Bogue's.

    This is another one of those places that doesn't look like it has changed a thing since the 1950's and I mean that in a good way.  Time seems to stand still here.  The inside is quiet and mostly in comfortable, old booths.
     
    The theme of the decorations is University of Alabama football prints and vintage radios.

     
    The well worn menu says about omelets, "It's kinda what we're known for",

    but I was in the mood for biscuits and gravy.  They have something called Bogue's Country Scramble, which is biscuits and gravy, with scrambled eggs on top, so I went with that.


    As you can see in the second photo by the steam coming up, it was served piping hot.  The biscuits were soft and tasted fresh from the oven.  The gravy was on the thin side and normally I would think of that as a negative.  It also wasn't overly peppery.  But it was creamy rich and was the best biscuit gravy I had on the trip.  You do get your choice between sausage patties, sausage links and bacon.  My sausage links (crunchy casing, with a lean, flavorful interior) were so good, I asked the waitress what they do special.  She told me they don't do anything different, but she gets told all the time how good the sausage is.  Maybe it is the atmosphere? 
     
    The service was friendly and I was called sweetie by my waitress.  While paying at the register, I noticed a sign saying the sweet rolls are available in take home packs.  Anyone had the sweet rolls from Bogue's?  Did I miss out?
     
    Bogue's
    3028 Clairmont Avenue S.
    Birmingham, AL
    205-254-9780
     
    [link=http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/6262-6404/bogues]http://www.roadfood.com/R...eview/6262-6404/bogues[/link]
     
     
    The plans for the day was to have lunch in Montgomery and then east.  My first stop was going to be in Clanton and stop at Heaton Pecan Farm.  But for some reason, my GPS started to act strange and I was unable to find it.  No big deal, the place in Clanton I most wanted to visit was Durbin Farm Market famous for their peach pie and peach ice cream.  Unfortunately, my GPS was now taking me well out into the middle of nowhere.  I knew I had to be going in the wrong direction, so I started looking for a place to pull over and ask. 
     
    I saw a little peanut stand, with two women outside hanging up signs, so I pulled in. And since I was here, why not grab some boiled peanuts for the road?  Well, it turns out this place had just opened and I was their very first customer ever!  The owner told me she was ex-Army and was looking for something to do in her retirement to keep busy.  I ended up buying a large bag of the regular boiled peanuts, which was $4.00.  Here are the pots

    (regular on the left, Cajun on the right)
    and she was happy to pose for a photo out front.

    Good luck to the Peanut Barn and its very nice owner.  She pointed me in the right direction, back to Durbin Farm Market and I enjoyed snacking on the boiled peanuts

    for the rest of the trip.
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/12 10:01:20
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    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 09:16:02 (permalink)
    Man that Bogue's Country Scramble looks awesome! How come you didn't get some sweet rolls to go?

    That's so cool that you ever their first customer ever!!! They better save that bill and frame it

    I'll looking forward to the peachiness from Durbin Farm Market...too bad about Heaton Pecan Farm, I love me some peee-caaans.
    #16
    Wintem01
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 09:52:01 (permalink)
    Certainly a great looking breakfast. I am curious about the scrambled dog. I can't remember ever seeing something that's more expensive if you get it to go. Interesting.
    #17
    Lizzieslulu
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 10:20:52 (permalink)
    I am so sorry you missed Heaton's Pecan Farm. They have the best pecan pie. They are right at exit 208 behind Shoney's. Maybe you can get there next time.
    Where was that peanut stand located? I would love to visit them.
    #18
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 13:13:56 (permalink)
    Biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs is my very favorite breakfast and that looks like a wonderful version.  Best of luck to the Peanut Barn lady!  That's really a pretty good business to get into in the South.
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 14:56:07 (permalink)
    Lizzieslulu
    Where was that peanut stand located? I would love to visit them.
    If you go right out of Durbin Farms' parking lot, just go straight for about 8-10 miles and it will be on the right.  As for the pecans, I am a nut frowner.  The only reason I would have stopped in would be to bring home something for my girlfriend.
     
    If you stop at Peanut Barn, please let us know how they are doing!
     
    Nancy-
    Do you think this woman expected her first customer would be some camera-toting Yankee, who doesn't know how to use his GPS?
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 16:32:17 (permalink)
    I pulled into Durbin Farm Market a little after they opened at 9:00AM.  The produce section wasn't as big as I expected, considering the size of the building. 

    To the left is the inside seating, where they make the hot food and more importantly, keep the ice cream.  I asked the teenage girl if it was too early to get some peach ice cream and she said, "Of course not!".  Here are my two scoops.

    The ice cream was subtley flavored and tasted very fresh.  You can see little flecks

    of peaches in this closer shot.   Not great ice cream, but still well worth the stop, considering its proximity to the interstate.  There was a big dessert case, with all kinds of good looking treats, but no peach pie.  I asked the young girl, but she told me no peach pie today.  At least they had a giant pumpkin to check out.

     
    Durbin Farm Market
    2130 7th Street S.
    Clanton, AL

     
    [link=http://www.durbinfarms.info/%3C/a%3E%3C/font%3E%3C/a%3E]http://www.durbinfarms.in...%3E%3C/font%3E%3C/a%3E[/link]
     
    Getting into Montgomery early, gave me a chance to walk around see some sights.  Here is the state capitol building, which I toured in 2007.

    It is tough to see, but the people in yellow shirts were members of the NAACP who were protesting.  This attractive fountain

    caught my eye and you can barely see the capitol building just to the right of the it.  There is also a Hank Williams Museum, which I didn't have time to explore.  But, I did get a shot of his statue

    in a little park area.
     
    At a few minutes before 11:00AM, I pulled up outside Martha's Place,

    a restaurant inside an old house in what is a pleasant residential neighborhood.  Sitting on the porch for a few minutes, there was no signs of life inside and it started to make me wonder.  It soon became obvious that despite what the sign on the door and their website say, this place was not opening today.  I've been Travelin Manned!  Wanting to know what happened, I asked the guys planting trees across the street if they knew anything.  The foreman told me that Martha's Place used to have a line around the block before they opened, but he heard they only do catering nowadays.  Very disappointing!  I want back to my car to see what my backup options were. 
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/12 16:35:25
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 17:35:55 (permalink)
    I looked over my cheat sheet (Before I go on a trip, I make a long list of any possible places I might want to visit, along with their address, phone number and hours.  Even WJ makes fun of me for being this overly prepared) to see what my options were.  The closest place, Isaiah's looked like it was only a couple of blocks away.  My notes said it was a soul food place, specializing in catfish and cobbler.  That was all I needed to know!

    When I pulled up at Isaiah's, I couldn't have been more surprised.  The place looked brand new

    and nothing like the best soul food restaurants I have visited.  It was even attached next to a bed & breakfast!  This made me wonder if I made a bad decision by coming here.  The inside

    is quite large and immaculate.  I mentioned to the pretty young waitress about how spotless the place was and she complained (just a little) about how the owner makes them spend a lot of time cleaning.  Good for him!

    Instead of a menu, you are given a sheet

    with all the food listed.  Just circle what you want and give it to the waitress.  I was trying to think what other restaurants I have visited that used this same method and came up with Little Tea Shop in Memphis, Yarbrough's Restaurant in Kansas and Bridges Barbecue Lodge in North Carolina.  What places have I forgotten?

    Here is what my lunch looked like.

    I don't know about you, but that was one of the most appetizing plates of food I have seen in a long time.  The lemon pepper catfish,


    which is the dish they are best known for, was wonderful.  I was mildly concerned that the strong lemon pepper flavor would overwhelm the fish, but they worked beautifully together.  The fish itself was boneless, firm but tender and absolutely delicious.

    Lunch comes with two sides, but I paid $1.79 extra to get a third vegetable.  Of course, I got the macaroni and cheese.

    Soft and cheesy, it was so hot it must have just come out of the oven.  Very good!  The candied yams

    were ordered because of a recommendation by my waitress and she was 100% right.  Cooked until they were as soft as can be and loaded with brown sugar, this could have been dessert instead of a vegetable.  But the best of the sides was the collard greens,

    with a deep earthy, slightly bitter taste.  These were fantastic and proved to be an excellent contrast to the other sides.  Also coming with the meal was a nice little cornbread muffin.


    Dessert here is either cream cheese pound cake or peach cobbler. Easy decision, I went with the cobbler.  But instead of getting the usual small portion in a bowl, it was delivered in a sundae glass. 

    Another food that is almost too pretty to eat!  This was also extremely hot and made me think it had just come from the oven.  Even though there was way more of the breading

    than the peaches, the breading was so good, I didn't mind at all.  To drink with all of this, some super sweet, strong iced tea.

    If you noticed by the previous interior photo, a lot of the protesters from the capitol ended up eating here at Isaiah's.  They obviously have good taste!  On the way out, I chatted for a few minutes with the owner

    and he was pleased to hear how much I enjoyed my meal.  Nice guy!

    Isaiah's Restaurant
    135 Mildred Street
    Montgomery, AL
    334-265-9000


    Getting back on the highway, I headed east towards Auburn.  Soon noticing the sign for Waugh, I got off to look for Fuller's Char House, which used to be in some of the old Roadfood books.  I asked some people at the convenience store at the end of the exit ramp and they told me that it is under different owners and now called Mae's Wings & Things.  Knowing I had plenty of places to hit on this day, I got back on I-85 to Auburn. 

    After buying some shirts at the university bookstore, I stopped into Toomer's Drugs
     

    for one of their famous lemonades.  After hearing about this place for years during Auburn football games, I was glad to finally make it here.  They do a nice menu of sandwiches and soda fountain treats, but all I got was one of the fresh squeezed lemonades, which was very good and refreshing on this hot day.  Unfortunately, my photos of the lemonade were too blurry to post.

    Toomer's Drugs
    100 North College Street
    Auburn, AL
    334-887-3488

    http://www.toomersdrugs.com/

    I walked around this quaint little college town, drinking my lemonade for about a half hour.

    post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/12 17:44:19
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    EatingTheRoad
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 18:01:21 (permalink)
    Eating at Isiah's seems like the best accident ever...too bad that Martha's isn't doing too hot but looks like you found a good alternative! That catfish looks amazing, terrific photos....and that mac & cheese....and that peach cobbler...
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    JDAStonewall
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 18:49:01 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster-The key to a good Boston Cooler is that you can't just use any old ginger ale. You have to use Detroits very own Vernors! Next time you are in the Flint Michigan area stop and get one at a Halo Burger and you won't be disappointed. And while you are there try one of their famous burgers as well.
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 19:22:53 (permalink)
    Cliff I think those Isaiah's pictures must be among your best--you can see the little grey fibers in the catfish, for Pete's sake.  I could eat that right off my screen.  Beautiful.  I can only imagine how it tastes.  It's extremely improbable that the peanut lady could have anticipated you but that's the beauty of serendipity.

    I started to tell you about an infamous episode of 'TV Nation' that I thought took place at the state house in Alabama but looking it up it happened in Mississippi.  I wonder if their state houses look similar.  So did you ever find out what was being protested?

    I don't think it's considered an RF place, but the Char-Grill in Raleigh has paper slips.  That is charming.  Can somebody explain fried corn to me?

    JDA--do you know why it's called a Boston Cooler if it's appropriately made with Vernor's?  Or does Vernor's region include the east coast?
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    Ralph Melton
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 19:47:52 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza 
    JDA--do you know why it's called a Boston Cooler if it's appropriately made with Vernor's?  Or does Vernor's region include the east coast? 
     


    Wikipedia says, "The name almost certainly has no connection to Boston, Massachusetts, where the beverage is virtually unknown. One theory is that it was named after Detroit's Boston Boulevard, the main thoroughfare of what was then an upper-class neighborhood a short distance from James Vernor's drugstore."

    #26
    JRPfeff
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 19:56:14 (permalink)



    Cliff,

    How'd folks in Alabama like that UGa shirt?

    I always wondered about those Hot Boiled Peanut stands.  They never seem to get enough people stopping to make it worthwhile.  My theory is that they also sell another agricultural product in small plastic bags to turn their profit.  Sheer speculation, mind you.

    Not to hijack this thread, but I just put up a follow-up to your report from The Penguin.

    Jim
    post edited by JRPfeff - 2009/11/12 19:57:48
    #27
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 20:36:55 (permalink)
    Ralph, you make an awesome Meltonpedia!  Thank you.
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    NC Cheesehead
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 21:06:23 (permalink)
    Cliff,

    Thank you once again for an excellent report.

    I got a chuckle out of the "pet name" your server called you.  I'm finding that its very common down south for female servers to call you "sweetie" or "honey."  My southern based Mrs. has always joked that its no big deal.  As a yankee like you, I wasn't sure how to respond.  She just calls it "Southern hospitality" and I should just get over it!
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    Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 21:33:04 (permalink)
    I am mad at myself for not stopping at Isaiha's while passing through Montgomery a couple of weeks ago.  That place looks 1st class and the prices look reasonable as well.

    I don't want to ruffle the feathers of my friends from the south but I find boiled peanuts extremely bland.  However, there is a fried version available all across the south.  My wife got bag of these from a store just down the road.  I have seen them at truck stops from the carolinas all the way to texas.  These are extremely addictive.  You can either peel them or eat them whole.  Depends on how much fiber you want....

    http://www.jerrysnuts.com/




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