Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South

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tfrielin
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 14:55:31 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

tfrielin-
Thanks for the tips, but we are already home. We saw those Golden Rule BBqs seemingly everywhere. Are they any good?


Bhambabe-
I can see why you miss Birmingham so much. I have always thoroughly enjoyed my visits there. On my next visit, I will make sure to see the inside of the Alabama Theater, because I love places like that. Is the Sneaky Pete's hot dogs you mention related to Famous Pete's Hot Dogs?



I haven't eaten at a Golden Rule in a couple of decades, but in my time growing up in Bham, they were very good. That they're still around must indicate that they still are. Golden Rule and Ollie's barbeque were the two stalwarts in the old days; only Golden Rule survives today.


As far as Sneaky Pete's hot dogs are concerned, they also are a long-standing local Birmingham hot dog chain. Their claim to fame is their spicy sauce to which BhamBabe refers.

P.S. That photo of Bogue's made me weep--I lived in Birmingham from 1961 until 1977 and drove past Bogues about a million times, but never once stopped there to eat. What was I thinking?
#61
Nancypalooza
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 15:16:35 (permalink)
What terrific pictures. Buffetbuster, I have two questions:

(1) do you have a job that takes you to college bookstores? or are you just an all-purpose sports fan or lover of college bookstores?

(2) do you have a tapeworm? I could certainly never come close to the sheer volume of places/dishes you're consuming without a little parasitic friend or a puke bucket, for sure.
#62
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 15:24:15 (permalink)
Friday October 19, 2007 cont.

After leaving the Alabama Theater, we made the short walk around the block to Pete's Famous Hot Dogs. I wasn't expecting this place to be big, but it has to be the smallest Roadfood place I have ever seen. Definitely not for claustrophobics.

Johnny and I both got one regular and one special. The only difference seems to be that the special comes with chili.

Really good dogs, but I can't believe I ate hot dogs twice in one day in Alabama!

After relaxing at the hotel for several hours, we were off to Niki's West for dinner.


We were meeting Larry Bleiberg, who some of you might know from the Roadfood bus tour in Nashville back in April. Larry wrote the wonderful article about the bus tour for the Dallas News, which can be found here:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/lifetravel/stories/DN-roadfoodtex_0624tra.State.Edition1.7f69e0.html

Larry and his wife Liz sat at two of the restaurants on the tour with us and we really enjoyed their company. He is now the travel editor for Coastal Living magazine and lives in Birmingham. They also brought along their 13 year old son Harrison.

Niki's West is a cafeteria style restaurant with a Greek/Southern slant to it.


Now, I love cafeterias, but one that specializes in Southern vegetables? I feel like I died and went to Roadfood heaven! All the spectacular looking food made this incredibly difficult to make decisions and the line moves so fast! I think between Johnny and I, we tried one of everything. Sorry about the pictures, but the lighting here was awful. Fried green tomatoes:

squash casserole

excellent mac & cheese

fried okra

for dessert, Liz was nice enough to share her top notch coconut cream pie

both Larry and I thought the banana pudding was as good as we have had anywhere


We had a really wonderful time sharing food and stories with the Bleibergs. Harrison is a really fun young guy with lots of personality. I love his ingenous solution to having one grandparent an Auburn alum and another an Alabama alum. He says, "Roll Eagle"! For those who don't know, this is a combintion of the two schools battle cries, "Roll Tide" and "War Eagle".

Johnny took this photo of the four of us as we were leaving the restaurant.


Full from one of the best meals of the trip, we retreated to our hotel for the night.

More to come.....


post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:46:35
#63
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 15:48:24 (permalink)
NancyPalooza-
I just really like visiting colleges and I am a big college sportsfan. And I also wear college sweatshirts, t-shirts or polos all the time. Here at work today, I am wearing the green polo I bought at UAB. The best place to but the shirts is directly from the college bookstores.

As for the volume of food, I have always been a big eater. But to be truthful, my cousin Johnny puts me to shame. And believe me, I don't eat like this at home. It would kill me if I did.
#64
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 17:02:44 (permalink)
Saturday October 20, 2007 

This being the third Saturday in October, that can only mean one thing.....Alabama vs. Tennessee!!! We are talking about ROLL TIDE and The Bear

vs. Rocky Top and Smokey


But before the game, we headed for Waysider Restaurant in Tuscaloosa to fuel up.

Even though we got there real early, they were already quite busy. No surprise since it was gameday. After about a 20 minute wait, we sat down and enjoyed breakfasts of country ham (for extra, you can get center cut), eggs, grits and biscuits.


We headed off for Bryant-Denny stadium and we were in the right place to see the Vols arrive. Here is coach Fulmer leading his team into the stadium:


We walked around the stadium for a few hours soaking up the great atmosphere and soon it was game time. Here come the Tide onto the field:


Bryant-Denny stadium holds over 92,000 and is a great place to see a game. It is very easy to see where the orange sections and crimson sections are:

The crowd was mostly wearing the home crimson, but there was some orange sprinkled in, too:


You knew the Tide had come to play, when they started off the game with a successful onside kick. In all the years I have been a football fan, I don't think I have ever seen that before. The first half went back and forth with the Vols scoring touchdowns:

and the Tide answering right back:


Soon it was halftime and we got to enjoy The Pride of the Southland Band and the Power T formation.


Well, what was a close game at half turned into a romp, with the Tide winning 41-17.

I have been to college games all over the country and this is one of the very best places I have ever seen a game. I love the fact that as big of rivals these two teams are, the fans in the stands were very respectful of each other. I didn't hear any trash talking or swearing, just some good natured kidding. It was a wonderful experience!

More to come.....


post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:47:10
#65
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 17:53:31 (permalink)
Saturday October 20, 2007 cont.

Since we ate very little at the game, when it was over, we were ready to get something good. So on the way back to Birmingham, we stopped at Bob Sykes BBQ in Bessemer. Once again, we smelled the place before we saw it. With smoke pouring out and a pig on the roof, this looks like a bbq parlor:


I just noticed that I have said very little about our beverages on the trip. Both Johnny and I are big iced tea lovers, but back home I drink it unsweetened. But being in the South, I always get the sweet tea. And here at Bob Sykes, they have excellent sweet tea. The huge plactic cup even holds their motto:

50 Years
3 Generations
1 Recipe

Johnny and I switched our usual entrees here as he got the pork sandwich:

and I went for the ribs:


We really liked all the sides we tried here, but the baked beans and cole slaw were standouts.


Bob Sykes is also well known for their delicious pies, so Johnny went for the pecan and I went for the lemon:



From start to finish, an excellent meal. I even bought a t-shirt and a couple bottles of the sauce to take home. As we were leaving, I couldn't help taking a picture of this sign:


But before leaving Birmingham, we had to hit one more place. So we stopped at Johnny Ray's.


We each ate one more pork sandwich

but they are best known for their pies. I went for the chocolate cream and Johnny had the coconut:


Now that we were completely stuffed, we got on I-65 North to start heading back to Nashville. We had genuinely hoped to stop at Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, but we were just too full. We will have to save that for next time. We spent the night in a hotel in Athens, AL.

More to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:47:46
#66
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 18:07:58 (permalink)
Sunday October 21, 2007 

Johnny and I had early afternoon flights home from Nashville, so we got off to an early start to try and get a good breakfast somewhere. We ended up at Stan's Restaurant & Country Store, just off the interstate.

The review here on Roadfood really recommends the country ham, which was quite good.

The rest of the food, like the biscuits and the hash browns didn't impress me very much. Johnny did enjoy his fried apples, though.

Having time for one more stop, we hit The Henpeck Market, which we loved when we visited on the Roadfood bus tour. We know they don't make hot food on Sunday, but we expected them to have lots of great desserts available. A real tough decision, but I went for the excellent caramel cake

while Johnny ate some weird mascarpone cake and the creme brulee, neither of which he liked.

From there, it was straight to the airport and the end of a great vacation!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/01/05 10:48:19
#67
BhamBabe
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 18:09:03 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

tfrielin-
Thanks for the tips, but we are already home. We saw those Golden Rule BBqs seemingly everywhere. Are they any good?

Bhambabe-
I can see why you miss Birmingham so much. I have always thoroughly enjoyed my visits there. On my next visit, I will make sure to see the inside of the Alabama Theater, because I love places like that. Is the Sneaky Pete's hot dogs you mention related to Famous Pete's Hot Dogs?


Golden Rule is wonderful, esp the original in Irondale. Jim N' Nicks is better. IMHO.

About the hot dog joints, You've hit on this later when you went to Nikki's West (which is one of my favs btw) in that you mention the Greek/Southern connection.

Most of the really old places like Pete's Famous Hotdogs, Sneaky Pete's and Gus's Hotdogs are all run by Greeks. With Pete's Famous being one of the first. That little walk in you were in dates back to before World War I and it has been a hot dog place, owned by the same guy, Gus (not the same Gus as Gus's hotdogs) since 1948. Gus bought it from his Uncle Pete, before that it was known as Louis's.

You were lucky. When Gus is gone, so is the hot dog place. He has no children.

He has said before that the sauce was invented in 1939 by a bunch of men that would get together and drink whiskey after hours. There are about 15 different things in there but the basic recipe is always the same.

Birmingham has many sauce based places, hot dogs and hamburgers. One burger joint that uses a brown version of a spicy sauce, that is my all time favorite, is Milo's. Not to mention their tea is outstanding.

So happy to see that you enjoyed some of the best we've had to offer.
#68
Shara
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 18:41:17 (permalink)
What a great trip report! The photos and the description were all really engaging. It's threads like this one that make Roadfood such a terrific site. Thanks for sharing with us lurkers. :)
#69
ann peeples
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/23 20:12:32 (permalink)
I am dying-just dying at all the food!!
#70
bethgrd
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 08:23:36 (permalink)
THe pies, the veggies, and the ham....you just can't get those up North. I will have to make this trip someday. What a great trip!! beth
#71
Nancypalooza
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 08:59:12 (permalink)
I just went 'thunk' in the floor at the caramel cake.

The Greek restauranteur thing is very true here in mid SC as well; I wonder if it's a phenomenon in the South or everywhere. All our really great local places have a Greek-American founder or in most cases are still operated by the family.

Buffetbuster, you're the man! And Johnny too!
#72
ayersian
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 10:09:59 (permalink)
Nancy, I thought it was a Southern phenom when I lived in South Carolina, but come to find out that it's in New England, too, in many, many places. Just last weekend, we went to Roadside Chili House in Bethel, CT, and Amy noticed Greek sea salt on the tables as we walked in (a photo is in my CT trip report, if you want to take a look). Sure enough, the owner is Greek -- specializing in chili, of all things!
#73
wanderingjew
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 10:29:20 (permalink)
One cannot forget that many of the Cincinnati Chili Parlors, Detroit Coney Shops and RI Hot Weiner Joints were started by Greeks and of course just about all of the the Long Island Style Diners are Greek owned as well!
#74
mr chips
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 10:56:52 (permalink)
What a report and what a vacation! I am green with envy. The best diner type places in Portland are run by Greeks.
#75
John A
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 11:43:58 (permalink)
BB, you've outdone yourself with this one. Terrific trip, report, and pictures. Thank you.
#76
Louis
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 13:02:11 (permalink)
A couple of years ago, I made a similar roadfood trip. Buffetbuster hit almost all of the places that I did on the first page of the trip, but he's introduced me to many new places on the second and third pages. So I will have to investigate them within the next couple of years.
#77
tfrielin
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 14:15:59 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Louis

A couple of years ago, I made a similar roadfood trip. Buffetbuster hit almost all of the places that I did on the first page of the trip, but he's introduced me to many new places on the second and third pages. So I will have to investigate them within the next couple of years.


Yes, major kudos for this epic tour. Although they covered many of my old stomping grounds in Alabama and Georgia, the only place they ate at that I have been to is The Waysider in Tuscaloosa. I used to eat Sunday morning breakfast there (as did Bear Bryant, so I'm told) when I was in grad school thirty years. It looks the same as it did then and I'm happy to see it's still there and going strong.
#78
CajunKing
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 16:56:30 (permalink)
BB

Your trip was awesome, the food, the sights, the fun.

I am glad you got to enjoy the south

#79
cecif
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/24 17:07:02 (permalink)
buffetbuster,
Amazing. Great report.
Oddly, I was in Atlanta at the same time... I ate at the Varsity on Saturday for lunch (though the dinner I was at the night before was partly catered by them! I had their chili dog & burger within 18 hours of each other...). Also, I totally debated on whether to return to Athens & hit their bookstore on Sunday, same day as you were there!!! (I didn't since I had already hit Duke & UNC with purchases that week, both new to me while UGA wasn't).

Great stuff. Looking forward to more. [edit: oops missed the 3rd page] Especially to see if we overlapped at all! My trip report should get on tonite...

Loved that you went to the Bama game and super relieved you got to the Brick Pit... I was worried there for a bit.
Cheers!!!
#80
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/25 10:58:18 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by bethgrd

THe pies, the veggies, and the ham....you just can't get those up North. I will have to make this trip someday. What a great trip!! beth


Thank goodness we don't have all of these things here in the north or I would weigh a lot more than I do already!
#81
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/25 11:01:45 (permalink)
cecif-
So you also like to visit all the university bookstore? And here I thought I was the only one did some of these unusual things. Considering the money and the following the schools have, Duke & UNC have disappointing bookstores.

I am really looking forward to your trip report!
#82
ayersian
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/25 12:03:58 (permalink)
When I grow up, I wanna be just like Buffetbuster! What a spectacular report -- it's the best inspiration for my own reports/reviews.

And I, too, am looking forward to cecif's report! With rumbling stomach, Chris
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EdSails
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/25 13:19:51 (permalink)
Great trip report, buffetrbuster!
#84
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/26 13:54:23 (permalink)
Epilogue from the trip:

Best BBQ
Johnny - Bob Sykes
BB - Melear's

Best all-you-can-eat
Johnny - Blue Willow Inn
BB - Blue Willow Inn

Best Southern
Johnny - Blue Willow Inn
BB - Niki's West

Best overall meal
Johnny - Pancake Pantry
BB - Pancake Pantry

Best non-food related activity
Johnny - Naval Aviation Museum
BB - UT/Bama football game

Favorite encounter with a local:
As I was walking in downtown Birmingham on Friday wearing my Alabama football t-shirt, a man on his cell phone interrupted his conversation, looked at me and said, "Roll Tide! We gotta go tomorrow!" and immediately went right back to his phone conversation. They sure do love their football in Alabama!
#85
allyk
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/26 16:25:07 (permalink)
Next time you are in Nashville, try the pie at Jack's Barbeque--go to the one on Trinity Lane, not downtown. The chess is dreamy, and the chocolate fudge is even better!
#86
Louis
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/26 16:38:33 (permalink)
I will concur with your choices of the Blue Willow Inn and Melear's. They're the two best places I've found in Georgia. I'll have to try Bob Sykes and the Pancake Pantry.
#87
allyk
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/26 16:40:57 (permalink)
Wonderingjew just wishes some place in Providence could blow Sweet Home Alabama style southern cuisine off the planet--not gonna happen! Glad you stopped at the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. It's worth the sacrifice a sunny day off beautiful Pensacola Beach!
#88
wanderingjew
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/26 16:59:22 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by allyk

Wonderingjew just wishes some place in Providence could blow Sweet Home Alabama style southern cuisine off the planet--not gonna happen!


exactly my point, and for the same reason I don't think anyone is going to go out of their way to travel to Alabama for Pizza.
#89
cecif
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/10/26 17:32:36 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster

cecif-
So you also like to visit all the university bookstore? And here I thought I was the only one did some of these unusual things. Considering the money and the following the schools have, Duke & UNC have disappointing bookstores.

I am really looking forward to your trip report!


BB, I actually do a lot of unplanned, go-where-I-want traveling, and I always choose a university town over others when I have a chance! It's partly because I am a huge HUGE *HUGE* college hoops fan... come Feb/March I'll be scarce on this board. I have visited almost all of the Pac 10 ("my" conference, I'm a Cal grad), much of the MVC conference and SEC too.

Actually UNC had an awesome bookstore!!!! They had so much choice in branded stuff it was unreal. Better selection than Cal, I reckon. It also looked like it might have just been renovated. I skipped Duke's bookstore cuz I knew I'd never buy anything there.
#90
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