Baseball Trip 2005 Complete

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wanderingjew
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2005/04/20 22:10:29 (permalink)

Baseball Trip 2005 Complete

Well I'm back from my ballpark trip for the year. Most likely due to financial constraints (I just had to unexpectedly had to buy a new car) this will be my only trip for the year.

I am going to divide this thread into four parts since I was on the road for 10 days.

Part 1

I flew into Nashville on Friday April 8th. I proceeded to rent a car. Alamo was nice enough to give me a PT Cruiser- $200 including tax. I proceeded on my trek for "Q" at Hays Smokehouse. I arrived in Lexington TN and had to stop at a Bakery/Supermarket to get directions since I had no idea where I was going. The elderly cashier and a young guy in their 20's were both trying to give me directions but I couldn't understand a word they were saying and I had to tell them 3 times where I was trying to go before they could understand me. I finally made it to Hayes and went for their pork bbq plate. I noticed that the owner dressed in Overalls was acting as cashier for the day. I chose BBQ beans, Mayo Slaw and Onion Rings for my sides and also had a glass of sweet tea. The sides in all honesty were nothing special. The Pork Q was pretty good, but I was not overly impressed. I tried to add some of the hot BBQ sauce which comes in squirt bottles (just a little) and that seemed to do the trick. Overall an ok experience. I continued on my trek to Little Rock and arrived at around 4PM. After checking into my hotel I drove to the Crooked Hook Catfish Restaurant for dinner. I wanted to get there before 5pm because I head the place can get packed. I got there just before 5pm and the place was already 1/2 full. Now, I'll be honest, I'm not a huge Catfish Eater, however I will always go to at least one Catfish Restaurant, especially when I'm in Arkansas because there seem to be so many in that state. The Catfish comes with fries, slaw, hushpuppies and I decided to pay extra and get the Green Tomato Relish. This time I ordered a glass of Unsweetened Ice tea. To me having Sweet Tea twice a day is a no-no. I've only had Catfish a handful of times in the past. However this was probably the best Catfish I ever ate. The Restaurant advertises that they fry in Peanut Oil and the taste shows- Fresh, Hot and Crisp and the Fish was not at all Fishy or Gamey. The Huspuppies had a slightly sweet taste to them which I like. The sides again were nothing notable, however I did enjoy the Green Tomato Relish. When I left the restaurant it was almost full. I then went to Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, home of the Arkansas Travelers. It's a rickety old field built in the 1930's and although I hate to see old fields go, this one has too. It's seen better days. Apparently there are plans to build a new ballpark in downtown Little Rock. The Travelers beat the Springfield Cardinals That night.

The next day after perusing around the newly revitalized riverwalk area downtown I headed on the long trek to Houston TX. On the way down I stopped at the Bakery Restaurant for Lunch in Jefferson TX. The Bakery is not just a bakery, it is an actual sit down restaurant and serves a wide variety of meals including Chicken Fried Steak. I had Bowl of Texas Red for lunch- Chili that is- It was Beanless and loaded with grated cheese and onions was adequately spiced with cumin and came with two fresh warm cornbread muffins on the side. Again I had to repeat to the Waitress 3 x that I wanted Chili before she understood what I was saying. It was a filling lunch, not too much and not to little. I finally arrived in Houston and realized I had very little time before the Astros game began, only a couple of hours. After finding out that my downtown hotel offers free shuttle service to the Ballpark, I chanced it and drove to the Magnolia Grill. I got there and it was packed and there was a life band on the deck. I decided to go for the Stuffed Red Snapper and started off with the seafood Gumbo. The fresh bread comes with a hint of butter and garlic, I promised myself I would only eat half, but ended up eating the whole thing (about 4 pieces) The Gumbo was ok and was generously loaded with Shrimp. But the Snapper stuffed with Crabmeat was absoluely delicious. It was Cajun spiced and came with Mashed Potatos (homemade) and a vegetable medely. Definetely one of the highlights of the trip. I then returned to the hotel and took the shuttle to the Ballpark. Minute Maid field is a relatively brand new park and also has a retractable roof. I've been to Miller park in Milwaukee which also has a retrartable roof, however I felt they did a much better job with the design in Houston. Houston played the Reds that day and beat them after a two inning tie at the Bottom of the ninth inning.

On Sunday I took the leasurely 45 minute drive to Galveston and took a walk along the Pier and pondering through the souvenir shops. I then proceeded over to the Strand District and did the same. I returned to Houston in the Afternoon and checked out Luling City Market on Richmond Avenue. I ordered the BBQ Beef Brisket and Sausage Combo which came with Potato Salad, Beans and White Bread. I added some Pickles and Hot Peppers and a Glass of Ice Tea (apparently unsweetened is the only choice in Texas) I'll tell you the Brisket was probably some of the Best I ever had, on Par with Leos in OK City. and The Sausage, let's just say it kicked ASS and had packed a punch like you wouldn't believe. The BBQ sauce was quite interesting, unusual for Texas had slightly sweet mustard/vinegar consistency but it was really good and complimented the smoked meet quite well. Again the sides were nothing special. But the Brisket and Sausage were definetly another highlight of the trip. After carousing around the Antique Shops on Westheimer I head back to the Hotel to chill out for a couple of hours. I then was looking forward to my next meal at Spanish Village Recomended by Lone Star. When I got there, they were closed, that's odd the Website said they were open on Sundays until 9PM. Apparently there was a private party going on and the lady who approached me (I'm assuming the owner) told me they are closed on Sundays and Mondays. She did give a a couple of recommendations for other Mexican Restaurants in the area on Richmond Street, I drove around Richmond Street, and a small shack with a neon lit sign caught my attention "El Pueblito Place" I decided to check this place out. I arrived and to my surpise the Restaurant offered Valet Parking. I walked in and the Restaurant appeared bigger from the inside. As it turns out the Restaurant serves not only Mexican Food, but Guatamalan specialties as well. The tortilla chips arrived at the table fresh with red and green salsa. Both were delicious and had that unique quality that simply cannot be found here in the Northeast. I went with the Beef Enchilada plate. This comes with rice and beans. Then Enchiladas were utterly delicious, Real beef used (not ground beef) and the Sauce exploded with taste but was not to spicy. Again another excellent discovery and highlight of my trip. When I returned to the hotel I found out that "El Pueblito Place" is listed in AOL TOp 5 Mexican Restaurants in Houston. This is obviously no surprise!

That's it for now. More tommorow.
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/20 22:24:02 (permalink)
    FYI: The Franklin County Commissioners (Franklin County owns the Columbus Clippers and Cooper Stadium) have voted to go ahead with plans for a new stadium in downtown Columbus. I just thought you ought to know. Congratulations on your trip. I don't exactly hate you, but I am certainly envious. And all I can talk about is the fact that Monday was Dime-A-Dog night at Cooper Stadium.
    #2
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/20 23:20:09 (permalink)
    wandering...good write-up so far. I am enjoying reading about your trip.
    #3
    mr chips
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/21 00:41:28 (permalink)
    I'm looking forward to reading your next installment. I will be on a trip to Dollywood and the Smokies for the next 6 days so I will be of the board.
    #4
    yumbo
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/21 09:02:14 (permalink)
    Well done, WJ. You have me drooling.
    #5
    EdSails
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/21 12:54:45 (permalink)
    WJ, sounds like a fantastic trip so far!
    #6
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/21 22:03:45 (permalink)
    Part 2....The Saga continues.
    I left Houston on a dreary, humid, drizzly Monday Morning. I had to get to Dallas in time for the 1PM Home opener and get a stop in for lunch before hand. About an hour outside of Houston it started to pour in buckets. After raining for a good 45 minutes, the rain stopped and the sun came out! I arrived in Fort Worth at 11AM and stopped at Masseys for a chicken fried steak. I got the lunch special which I believe is a little smaller than the Dinner, however it comes with Potato Vegetable and a small dessert. The Chicken fried steak came with gravy on top and over the mashed potatos (real) The Chicken Fried Steak came with a crisp golden crust was definetely on par with the CFS I had previously in the Stockyards district approximately 8 years ago. Other than the Mashed Potatos, the rest of the meal was uneventful including the small piece of spice cake that cazme with the meal. I then drove to the Ballpark At Arlington. One of the first "retro ballparks" I found it interesting that they enclosed the entire ballpark without leaving center field open. It was opening day and the place was packed, I was in my car for almost an hour Once I got off the exit before I was able to park. Thankfully I got there early. Sadly the Los Angeles Angels beat the Rangers on opening day. After returning to my hotel in Fort Worth, I moseyed on over to Angelos. Again I had the Beef Brisket Sausage Combo with Potato Salad, Beans and for a few pennies more, Rye Bread and Jalapeno's. The Beef brisket and Sausage "paled" in comparison to Luling in Houston the day before. The Beans which were laced in cumin and potato salad however had more flavor. Afterwards I headed on over to the Stockyards district for a stroll, unfortunatey since it was a Monday most places were closed, however I did get a chance to go the the "Cowboy Hat store" and the Bar with the horse saddles for Bar Stools to knock back a Shiner Bock or two.

    The next day, I had a big drive to Memphis ahead of me, however I wasn't planning on leaving DFW until noon, that's because I had to have lunch at Mia's Mexican Restaurant on Lemmon Avenue in Dallas. After stopping at the out door upscale mall, Highland Park, I arrived at Mia's just as they were opening. I was the first customer there, however within 20 minutes the place was packed. I ordered the Sunset Fajitas. They came with a spicy green sauce. The waiter warned me they were spicy, but I relayed that I lived in Albuquerque for 6 months and I know what spicy is. There was also an option to order the "rib eye" fajita, but I didn't want anything too fancy.
    Of course the meal started of with fresh chips and deliscious red Salsa. The Fajita's arrived and they were definetly spicy- Good yes! Oustanding? No. I've had Fajitas that were just as good in the Desert Southwest. I then proceeded on my 6 1/2 hour journey to Memphis. I arrived at 6pm. The Game was going to start at 7 so I had time for dinner at Paynes. Although not in the best area of town, I really wasn't concerned about that. I ordered the pork shoulder sandwich with a side of beans and it was fan freakin tastic! Definetely another highlight meal. The bbq beans had a smokey sweet taste and was laced with pork and the BBQ sandwich with tangy creamy coleslaw was absolute heaven. The entire meal with a diet coke cost just under $5.00. Definetly the best bargain of my trip. I continued on to the downtown ballpark. The Memphis Redbirds another AAA team play in a relatively new retro ballpark a'la Camden Yards. They lost to the New Orleans Zephyrs that night. After the game I caroused on down to Beal Street to hear some live blues and drink some beer. I was back at my hotel before midnight.

    Wednesday morning it began to drizzle. I decided to sleep in a little. Around noontime I headed to the Cozy Corner for a 1/2 rack of ribs, bbq spaghetti and coleslaw. The ribs were meaty, and complimented the hot sauce from the squirt bottle, these were not tender falling off the bone ribs which is what I guess I was expecting. The BBQ Spaghetti was pretty good too. After lunch I decied to head back to downtown and checked out the Rock and Soul Museum. I've been to Memphis before so I covered my sightseeing on the last visit. For dinner I thought I would head to Gridleys' to try that BBQ shrimp. Guess what- they're gone!! I went to the Winchester Road branch, even the young African Lady at the nearby dry cleaners had never heard of them before. I was crushed, I was so looking forward to that. I ended up going to suburban outpost of Neeley's. I got the large bbq pork sandwich and another side of BBQ Spaghetti. Again another Highlight. The Pork Sandwich although much bigger, was just a slight notch below Payne's, however the BBQ Spaghetti blew Cozy Corner's version off the Face of the earth. Oh, and I did a naughty thing that day, I had sweet tea for lunch and dinner- someone shoot me. Well that's it for now, more tommorow.
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    kland01s
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 09:57:27 (permalink)
    Thanks for the reports, WJ. Sounds like a trip I'd like to make except my SO is vegetarian and would probably go hungry.
    #8
    Lavanda
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 10:21:28 (permalink)
    Wandry, Great writing and great information !

    Jusst, fyi, I cant STAND sweet tea, and have found that no single geographical area of Texas has ONLY one or the other. However, if one has strong preferences, you should always firmly STATE which one you are ordering, because individual venues may have only one or the other.

    Looking forward to the next installemnt.
    #9
    tiki
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 11:15:53 (permalink)
    Sure wish i could have joined you for this trip!!! Road food-- a road trip---and baseball!!! A truly American vacation!!!---btw---love your report!--but--NO reports of the ballpark foods???--looking forward to the rest!-& welcome back,WJ!
    #10
    meowzart
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 13:15:39 (permalink)
    WJ--how many pounds did you gain?

    Looking forward to the next two installments. YUM!
    #11
    aleswench
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 13:48:24 (permalink)
    Thanks for an enjoyable lunchtime read - looking forward to the rest of the report! Craving the pork sandwiches now!!!!
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 18:59:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tiki

    Sure wish i could have joined you for this trip!!! Road food-- a road trip---and baseball!!! A truly American vacation!!!---btw---love your report!--but--NO reports of the ballpark foods???--looking forward to the rest!-& welcome back,WJ!


    Tiki,

    It's nice to be back. I didn't have anything to eat at the ballparks. I could probably comment about some of the beer (most of it was disappointing) with the exception of Shiner Bock in DFW and Houston. I did see quite a few people at the Memphis RedBirds game eating BBQ Nachos. It seems like they'll BBQ anything in Memphis that doesn't move (or used to move but no longer does!)
    #13
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 19:00:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by meowzart

    WJ--how many pounds did you gain?

    Looking forward to the next two installments. YUM!


    I gained about 4 pounds. I did quite a bit of walking, especially in New Orleans. I lost 15 lbs before I started my trip, and I believe I lost all the weight I gained from the trip, maybe with the exception of a pound.
    #14
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/22 19:56:39 (permalink)
    Part 3- N'Awlins

    Well, I'm home with a really bad sore throat listening to my Cajun Zydeco Tape I picked up in New Orleans to give me some inspiration.
    I left Memphis on Thursday Morning. Today was going to a great day. My friend Charles from nashville was flying down to New Orleans that evening to join me for the rest of my trip. I arrived in Jackson around Noon time. I wasn't exactly sure where Two Sisters Kitchen was, but I knew it was on Congress street and I didn't know exactly where that was other than it was around the downtown area. Well, after driving around I found Congress Street and found the Two Sisters Kitchen. It's located in an old house just north of the business district and was packed with downtown office workers on line at the buffet. I did some research about the Two Sisters and apparently the prepare traditional southern food but with a "healthy twist. Healthy or Unhealty, I didn't care it was still DAMNED GOOD!!
    I got on line for the buffet and chose the Skinless Fried Chicken, a little bit of Candied Yams, Fried Oka and Some Greens (Don't ask me if they were collared, kale, mustard or turnip, I have no idea) I also grabbed a couple of cornbread muffins and a made myself a small salad at the salad bar. I went to my table upstair and the waiter poured some sweet tea for me. Everything was delicious, another Road Food highlight. I never would have known the recipes of these southern staples were tweaked. For dessert, I had a choice of coblers, pies or banana pudding. I chose the banana pudding. The pudding was chock full of Banana Chunks and Vanilla Wafers. I would have banana pudding two more times on this trip. This was by far the best that I had. The only real disappointing part of the meal were the cornbread muffins. I personally thought they were cold and tasteless. After lunch I spent the next hour and a half walking around downtown Jackson trying to find aereal view photos of downtown Jackson, unfortunately I was not very succesful, I did not bother to go to Tony's Tamales, there is no way I was going to enjoy my dinner in New Orleans if I ate any more, and honestly, I really didn't load up my plate at the buffet, I only had 2 pieces of chicken. I arrived in New Orleans around 5PM, checked into my hotel and walked directly to Mothers. Surprisingly when I arrived there wasn't a line outside, just inside the restaurant. While I was on line, I saw two middle age women at dining at one of the tables and gabbing away in New Yawkese talking about Yonkers. I immediately introduced myself as an Ex New Yorker and relayed that I picked up on their accent, one of the ladies replied "what accent? we don't have accents!" After some light banter with the ladies at the table, I ordered my meal at the counter- Without hesitation I ordered the combination platter which includes Jambalaya, Red beans and Rice, Etoufee, Potato Salad and vegetable- I chose Cabbage. I also got a cup of the Seafood Gumbo and some unsweetened iced tea (I guess I'm back in unsweetened territory again) When they called out my name and the plate arrived, I could not believe the serving size and the food was just.....There is no way to describe it. If I could go back and eat at mothers every day I would. The Gumbo was by far the best I've had on the trip (I would have it one more time) The Jambalaya was spicy and smoky at the same time. I added just a little tabasco for some kick. Even the potato salad and cabbage were outstanding.
    After dinner I picked up Charles at the Airport, he checked into his hotel room and we headed on over to Bourbon Street. We checked out a couple of Cajun Zydeco Bands, there was this one Zydeco Band that just really, really rocked, it was like Zydeco on Crack. There was this punked out tatoo'd kid just going nuts with the Washboard!

    Friday was a more sedate day. I got up late and had to walk a couple of blocks down to get Charles- he stayed at a different hotel. We walked over Cafe Beignet on Royal Street for some Beingets and Cafe Au Lait. Ok I'm gonna be honest, the beignets taste just like Rhode Island Doughboys (and yes I've been to Cafe Du Monde-Same thing) and although the Cafe Au Lait was good it just didn't wake me up. I ended up going to another local coffee house for some more Java. After relaxing around the coffee house and contemplating taking the graveyard tour we decided to walk on over to Uglesich's to try to miss the lunch line, we could always do the tour later. Well, as we were approaching Uglesich's, we could see the block long line as we were approaching, boy were we wrong! After waiting on line and chatting with some the locals we finally were greeted by Mr Uglesich who took our order. I had no idea what to have, so Mr Uglesich ordered the Shrimp Uggie for me, I decided to have the Eggplant Casserole too and Unsweetened Ice Tea (again). Charles ordered the BBQ Oysters,Dirty Rice and Super Coleslaw. After being shown to our outside table the food arrived and, well, lets just say we've got another highlight here. The eggplant casserole was good, but the Shrimp Uggie was........Heaven. Sautee'd in Oil with peppers onions potatos and lots and lots of spice and generously loaded with shrimp. It's such a shame that they are closing. After lunch we walked back to the Quarter and did some more sightseeing and people watching along Decatur Street. We opted to do the Cabildo tour over the Graveyard tour. We've both done that before. For those who don't know, the Cabildo is the building where the Louisiana Purchase was signed over the to the States. Lots of historical tidbits. When we left the museum it was approaching five o' clock and we headed over the central grocery. We got a whole Muffaletta and split it. The Muffaletta was good and the tangy olive salad poured into the sandwich was good, but I don't think I would go out of my way to have it again especially on a short trip to New Orleans, it really isn't too much differnt from a good grinder here in Rhode island. After dinner we chilled out for a bit and then drove the 10 miles to Zephyr field in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. Zephyr Field reminds me a little of Venerable McCoy Stadium here in Pawtucket Rhode Island although a little more non descript. They hosted the Nashville Sounds which Charles (who is not a Nashville native) got a kick out of- it was just coincidental. We left at the end of the 8th inning when the game was tied (we later found out Nashville won) we were both exhausted and we both had to get up later to cotninue on our Journey to Birmingham. That's it for now!
    #15
    MikeS.
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/23 02:31:50 (permalink)
    WJ, great trip! I really liked reading about your fun times.

    MikeS.
    #16
    BT
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/23 02:57:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    Part 3- N'Awlins

    When we left the museum it was approaching five o' clock and we headed over the central grocery. We got a whole Muffaletta and split it. The Muffaletta was good and the tangy olive salad poured into the sandwich was good, but I don't think I would go out of my way to have it again especially on a short trip to New Orleans, it really isn't too much differnt from a good grinder here in Rhode island.


    Maybe you just gotta eat it on a crowded plane or train. I mean when that garlic smell starts spreading and you get everybody drooling . . . . Anyway, that's what I do. I ALWAYS buy one to go on the day I leave N.O. and take it on the train.
    #17
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/23 22:10:56 (permalink)
    The Last Leg....

    Well here I am at home on a Saturday Night- Trying to get over my sore throat/cough/cold. So I thought I would add the final installment of my trip.

    We got up relatively early last Saturday Morning. I had to call Charles to make sure he was up before I went to go grab him at his hotel. We drove to the French Market to return to that Coffee House, then proceeded on up to Birmingham. I decided to play my Cajun Zydeco CD on the cd player to symbolize our departure from New Orleans. We decided to avoid Mobile, I was sick and tired of driving at that point and wanted to get to Birmingham the quickest way possible. We stopped in Tuscaloosa and after getting lost we asked the guy at the gunshop (who coincidentally looked like the comedian "Larry the Cable Guy") where Dreamland BBQ was. After gettin directions we arrived at Dreamland. We could smell the waft of smoke as we approached. We each ordered 1/2 a rack which came with white bread and pickles and I got some sweet tea to go with the meal. Man oh Man oh Man. Those ribs were better than....oh well you know! We were both happily chomping on those ribs and didn't say a word to each other the entire time. These were not only the best ribs on the trip, these were the best ribs I ever had..period....This was the highlights of highlights....We finished the meal with a Banana Pudding which was a complete letdown and anti climactic. We arrived in Birminghan and checked into the hotel, this time we stayed at the same hotel. We walked around the historic Five Points area. I hadn't been to Birmingham in almost 15 years. The Five Points area looked a little neater and cleaner than I remember it. We stopped at a place that advertised itself as a brewery, as it turns out, they really weren't but they had a few microbrews from some micobrewery in the Atlanta area. It was ok, nothing special. Around 5PM we went to the Fish Market Restaurant. This was the place I initially planned on visiting, before I had thought about stopping in Mobile. The Fishmarket tried to come across as a Cavernous Market/Oyster Bar in landlocked Birmingham and does a pretty good job at it. I started out with the West Indies Salad. I've never had this before and didn't know what to expect. The West Indies Salad arrived along with Saltines and a small Greek Salad. As it turns out the West Indies Salad is shreds of crabmeat with Oil and Vinegar. It was pretty good, however I was eating the West Indies Salad along with the Greek Salad instead of the Saltines, perhaps eating it the correct way would have enhanced the taste and texture. I then ordered the Deviled Crabs for a main course, which comes with Hushpuppies, and two veggies or one veggie and gumbo, I chose the Gumbo and something called "John's Slaw" for my veggie. Charles had the Greek Snappper. The Main Course arrived, as it turns out the John's Slaw is shredded cabbage with French Dressing. It was actually pretty good. The gumbo was ok, but was just a shadow of what I enjoyed at MOthers two days before. The rest of the meal was unimpressionable. Apparently I found out that everyone goes to Fishmarket for the Snapper, Redfish and Flounder. Well, there's always next time I guess. Charles enjoyed his Snapper. As we left the Fishmarket, we observed a line out the door to get into the place, were glad we got there early. We headed to suburban Hover to catch the last Ballgame of the trip. The Birmingham Barons hosted the Montgomery Biscuits. The Monolith of a ballpark seemed quite large from the outside, too big for double A, however inside it appeared smaller. Birmingham won that night.

    On Sunday we decided to take a hike up Vulcan Mountain. Birmingham is quite hilly and apparently used to be known as the Pittsburgh of the South. There is a statue of the Greek God Vulcan on this mountain. Apparently you can also climb up the Statue, unfortunatly the Statue doesn't open until 1pm so we were unable to do that.
    After our morning climb, we drove to Irondale to the original Whistle Stop Cafe for lunch. Service is Cafeteria style and there was a line. We got on line which moved pretty quickly, I got the fried chicken livers, fried green tomatoes, greens, cornbread, sweet tea and banana pudding for desert. Charles pretty much got the same thing, except he got the fried Chicken instead. The meal did not impress me at all, it was lukewarm, greasy and not very tasty, in fact it did not agree with me at all, Charles felt the same way. This was definetely the least memorable meal on the trip. After lunch we went next door to the used bookstore. I ended up buying "The Bachman Books" by Stephen King. We had some time to kill before heading back to Nashville so we drove to the Upscale Riverchase Galleria in Hoover and walked around there a bit. I managed to pick up some post cards of Birmigham. We left the mall and drove back towards Nashville. We stopped at Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur for the BBQ Chicken with Alabama White Sauce. The waitress was telling us she is a born and bred Alabama Girl and wouldnt' have BBQ any other way, she says she even puts white sauce on the pork. The meal arrived, I asked for potato chips with the meal, but got potato salad instead, oh well, I won't complain. We each got 1/2 a chicken. And it was delicious. Smoked well, and the White Sauce had an interesting velvety vinegar taste to it that complimented the Chicken quite well. The potato salad was actually pretty good, the bbq beans were average. We headed back for the final leg of the trip. I decided to stay at a hotel, Charles had to get up early for work the next day. After checking in to my hotel, which is steps from the infamous "Lower Broadway" section of Nashville, Charles hung out with me a short while for a beer at one of the Honkey Tonks. I then drove him home and I returned back to Lower Broadway for a little bar hopping. I was amazed at how many bars had live Country Music on a Sunday Night. The atmosphere was definetly conducive to raising a little hell and getting into a bar fight. Of course I didn't.

    Monday, the final day of my trip, I was back on my own. I went to the Loveless Cafe for Breakfast. I ordered the Country Ham Breakfast. The Country Ham was definetely the Star of this Meal. Substantial and Salty. I was not impressed with their Biscuits, which everyone raves about or the Watery Grits. The Biscuits which were served at room temperature were small and definetely light and airy, however like my doughnuts, I prefer my biscuits heavy and leaden. Warm too. The Ham more than made up for everything. After touring The Ryman Auditorium downtown (The initial home of the Grand Ol' Opry) and perusing the souvenir shops, I had one last meal in Nashville at the Ellston Soda Shop. I got the Turkey Casserole, with Mac N Cheese, Greens, Corn Bread, and Sweet Tea. The Turkey Casserole was good, the Mac n Cheese was not, frankly it tasted like it came from a box. The Lemon Ice Box Pie was definetly the icing on the cake (no pun intended) it was really good. I returened to the Airport only to find out my flight was cancelled, luckily I arrived early and managed to catch an earlier flight to Detroit. Now I'll have a three hour layover instead of a one hour layover. Well after the Captain promised we wil be getting off the ground soon, even though they were having difficulty starting their engine, we arrived in Detroit around dinner time. I was a little hungry and was walking around the Airport and guess what I saw-A National Coney Island shop inside the terminal! Well, I'm in Coney Country now, So I ordered up One Coney and another Coney Special (comes with loosemeat) and a Vernors. A nice finish to a long trip!
    #18
    tkitna
    Double Cheeseburger
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/24 05:53:36 (permalink)
    Nice writeup Wandering. I really enjoyed reading it. sounds like you had a blast. Congrats!
    #19
    signman
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/24 11:52:05 (permalink)
    Sometimes a good coney is just what the doctor ordered. I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Pete's Famous in downtown Birmingham. A couple of Pete's dogs would've been better than your disappointing stop in Irondale.
    #20
    mr chips
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/29 02:13:53 (permalink)
    What a marvelous trip.Baseball and roadfood are a combination that absolutely cannot be topped. It soumds like you had a wonderful time,
    #21
    WaffleHouserules
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/29 18:09:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    The Last Leg....

    Well here I am at home on a Saturday Night- Trying to get over my sore throat/cough/cold. So I thought I would add the final installment of my trip.

    We got up relatively early last Saturday Morning. I had to call Charles to make sure he was up before I went to go grab him at his hotel. We drove to the French Market to return to that Coffee House, then proceeded on up to Birmingham. I decided to play my Cajun Zydeco CD on the cd player to symbolize our departure from New Orleans. We decided to avoid Mobile, I was sick and tired of driving at that point and wanted to get to Birmingham the quickest way possible. We stopped in Tuscaloosa and after getting lost we asked the guy at the gunshop (who coincidentally looked like the comedian "Larry the Cable Guy") where Dreamland BBQ was. After gettin directions we arrived at Dreamland. We could smell the waft of smoke as we approached. We each ordered 1/2 a rack which came with white bread and pickles and I got some sweet tea to go with the meal. Man oh Man oh Man. Those ribs were better than....oh well you know! We were both happily chomping on those ribs and didn't say a word to each other the entire time. These were not only the best ribs on the trip, these were the best ribs I ever had..period....This was the highlights of highlights....We finished the meal with a Banana Pudding which was a complete letdown and anti climactic. We arrived in Birminghan and checked into the hotel, this time we stayed at the same hotel. We walked around the historic Five Points area. I hadn't been to Birmingham in almost 15 years. The Five Points area looked a little neater and cleaner than I remember it. We stopped at a place that advertised itself as a brewery, as it turns out, they really weren't but they had a few microbrews from some micobrewery in the Atlanta area. It was ok, nothing special. Around 5PM we went to the Fish Market Restaurant. This was the place I initially planned on visiting, before I had thought about stopping in Mobile. The Fishmarket tried to come across as a Cavernous Market/Oyster Bar in landlocked Birmingham and does a pretty good job at it. I started out with the West Indies Salad. I've never had this before and didn't know what to expect. The West Indies Salad arrived along with Saltines and a small Greek Salad. As it turns out the West Indies Salad is shreds of crabmeat with Oil and Vinegar. It was pretty good, however I was eating the West Indies Salad along with the Greek Salad instead of the Saltines, perhaps eating it the correct way would have enhanced the taste and texture. I then ordered the Deviled Crabs for a main course, which comes with Hushpuppies, and two veggies or one veggie and gumbo, I chose the Gumbo and something called "John's Slaw" for my veggie. Charles had the Greek Snappper. The Main Course arrived, as it turns out the John's Slaw is shredded cabbage with French Dressing. It was actually pretty good. The gumbo was ok, but was just a shadow of what I enjoyed at MOthers two days before. The rest of the meal was unimpressionable. Apparently I found out that everyone goes to Fishmarket for the Snapper, Redfish and Flounder. Well, there's always next time I guess. Charles enjoyed his Snapper. As we left the Fishmarket, we observed a line out the door to get into the place, were glad we got there early. We headed to suburban Hover to catch the last Ballgame of the trip. The Birmingham Barons hosted the Montgomery Biscuits. The Monolith of a ballpark seemed quite large from the outside, too big for double A, however inside it appeared smaller. Birmingham won that night.

    On Sunday we decided to take a hike up Vulcan Mountain. Birmingham is quite hilly and apparently used to be known as the Pittsburgh of the South. There is a statue of the Greek God Vulcan on this mountain. Apparently you can also climb up the Statue, unfortunatly the Statue doesn't open until 1pm so we were unable to do that.
    After our morning climb, we drove to Irondale to the original Whistle Stop Cafe for lunch. Service is Cafeteria style and there was a line. We got on line which moved pretty quickly, I got the fried chicken livers, fried green tomatoes, greens, cornbread, sweet tea and banana pudding for desert. Charles pretty much got the same thing, except he got the fried Chicken instead. The meal did not impress me at all, it was lukewarm, greasy and not very tasty, in fact it did not agree with me at all, Charles felt the same way. This was definetely the least memorable meal on the trip. After lunch we went next door to the used bookstore. I ended up buying "The Bachman Books" by Stephen King. We had some time to kill before heading back to Nashville so we drove to the Upscale Riverchase Galleria in Hoover and walked around there a bit. I managed to pick up some post cards of Birmigham. We left the mall and drove back towards Nashville. We stopped at Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur for the BBQ Chicken with Alabama White Sauce. The waitress was telling us she is a born and bred Alabama Girl and wouldnt' have BBQ any other way, she says she even puts white sauce on the pork. The meal arrived, I asked for potato chips with the meal, but got potato salad instead, oh well, I won't complain. We each got 1/2 a chicken. And it was delicious. Smoked well, and the White Sauce had an interesting velvety vinegar taste to it that complimented the Chicken quite well. The potato salad was actually pretty good, the bbq beans were average. We headed back for the final leg of the trip. I decided to stay at a hotel, Charles had to get up early for work the next day. After checking in to my hotel, which is steps from the infamous "Lower Broadway" section of Nashville, Charles hung out with me a short while for a beer at one of the Honkey Tonks. I then drove him home and I returned back to Lower Broadway for a little bar hopping. I was amazed at how many bars had live Country Music on a Sunday Night. The atmosphere was definetly conducive to raising a little hell and getting into a bar fight. Of course I didn't.

    Monday, the final day of my trip, I was back on my own. I went to the Loveless Cafe for Breakfast. I ordered the Country Ham Breakfast. The Country Ham was definetely the Star of this Meal. Substantial and Salty. I was not impressed with their Biscuits, which everyone raves about or the Watery Grits. The Biscuits which were served at room temperature were small and definetely light and airy, however like my doughnuts, I prefer my biscuits heavy and leaden. Warm too. The Ham more than made up for everything. After touring The Ryman Auditorium downtown (The initial home of the Grand Ol' Opry) and perusing the souvenir shops, I had one last meal in Nashville at the Ellston Soda Shop. I got the Turkey Casserole, with Mac N Cheese, Greens, Corn Bread, and Sweet Tea. The Turkey Casserole was good, the Mac n Cheese was not, frankly it tasted like it came from a box. The Lemon Ice Box Pie was definetly the icing on the cake (no pun intended) it was really good. I returened to the Airport only to find out my flight was cancelled, luckily I arrived early and managed to catch an earlier flight to Detroit. Now I'll have a three hour layover instead of a one hour layover. Well after the Captain promised we wil be getting off the ground soon, even though they were having difficulty starting their engine, we arrived in Detroit around dinner time. I was a little hungry and was walking around the Airport and guess what I saw-A National Coney Island shop inside the terminal! Well, I'm in Coney Country now, So I ordered up One Coney and another Coney Special (comes with loosemeat) and a Vernors. A nice finish to a long trip!



    WJ, What is the adress for the Loveless cafe. I like a good place with good country ham. I bought a whold country ham down in Pineville,Ky and it was delicious. Lots of ham.
    #22
    WaffleHouserules
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/29 18:10:46 (permalink)
    Also WJ, Im going to Memphis this summer, could you give me some places there with good country ham or bbq.
    #23
    Hillbilly
    Double Cheeseburger
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    RE: Baseball Trip 2005 Complete 2005/04/29 20:38:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules



    WJ, What is the adress for the Loveless cafe. I like a good place with good country ham. I bought a whold country ham down in Pineville,Ky and it was delicious. Lots of ham.


    I'm not WJ, but here is some info on Loveless.

    Located about 100 yards east of the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway on highway 100. Or from I-40 southwest of Nashville, take exit 192 and follow McCrory Lane south just over 4 miles to highway 100, then east about 100 yards.

    I drove the Trace from Jackson, Mississippi to Nashville and then stopped at Loveless. What fantastic scenery and food!
    #24
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