In and around down South......a 2 week journey!
So....I had to go to work in Andalusia, Alabama for 2 weeks. I decided to fly into New Orleans for the weekend before, head to Memphis during my middle weekend and then back to New Orleans to end it all. Here is the food I ate and the places I saw. Hope you guys enjoy the pictures!
My first stop was Morning Call for some beignets and a cafe au lait. They were very good. Probably my favorite beignets I had all trip. I like how you can powder sugar them yourself too.
After Morning Call and some shopping at Target, I decided to head to Willie Maes for some chicken. I was the first guy there right at 11am. The picture looks better than it tastes. I will probably be stoned for saying this but I thought it was a tad overrated. I ate it all and it tasted ok but it wasn't life changing IMO. I have had better chicken elsewhere. Their lemonade was fantastic though. Service was friendly and I met 2 old timers from the neighborhood sitting on the steps outside and we shot the breeze about the heat and the youth of America just before they opened. Good times. Just wish I liked the chicken better :-(
I went to my hotel and took a long nap. I then decided to walk down to Bourbon Street and check everything out. I stopped at Acme Oyster House for some chargrilled oysters and a shrimp po boy. The chargrilled oysters were my favorite food I had in New Orleans. They were awesome!
Capped off my night by walking down Bourbon Street and making my way to Cafe Du Monde. Had some beignets and an iced cafe au lait. Good but a tad pricey (I liked Morning Call better). It was almost too hot to eat too. I probably would have enjoyed these better for breakfast instead of a midnight snack.
The next morning I decided I needed a shrimp po boy. I stopped by Zimmers Seafood and got a small one, dressed with no mayo..ketchup and hot sauce instead. It was alright. I would have better ones later.
Some of the best ice cream I have ever had. Creole Creamery on Prytania Street. The flavor on top is Jalapeno Strawberry Cheesecake. It was one of, if not THE, most unique flavors of ice cream I ever had. No heat it in (they remove the seeds) but a slight hint of jalapeno in every bite. It really was fantastic. The flavor below was Mango Unchained. Mango ice cream, bourbon and cayenne pepper. This had a slight after heat taste. Both flavors were great but the jalapeno was my favorite by far. I would return here 3 more times during my 4 days total in New Orleans. It was one of the things I enjoyed most about New Orleans.....great ice cream!
I wanted to go to a different spot but they were closed. This was on my list anyways so I decided to come here for dinner. Mahonys Po Boy Shop. This is a Large Peacemaker. Fried oysters, cheddar cheese and bacon. It sure was expensive (market price=$22.00) but I figured that I'm only here once...why not? I did not really like it. Fried Oysters are too mushy. I love raw and grilled oysters but I found out that fried ones just aren't that good IMO. I ate the whole thing but wish I had gotten a fried shrimp po boy instead. Oh well....live and learn. If you DO love fried oysters, this would be a great sandwich. It was packed to the gills with all the good stuff.
I was hungry late night and did not want to drive anywhere. Used my friendly app on my phone and saw that this place (Domenica) was about .2 miles from my hotel. I called them up about 9:45 and placed my order. This pizza was called the Balzano. It was giant pieces of pork, bacon, onions and cheese. The combo of flavors was great and I really enjoyed it. A great pizza!
I had to be in Alabama by night so I decided to leave around 10am and then stop in Mobile for a bite to eat. This is the Oyster Sampler platter from Wintzells in Mobile. 4 different kinds of oysters. All of them were great! Service was top notch too and I met a cool oyster shucker who had lived out in CA previously. Really nice guy and these oysters were all delicious. Im partial to the chargrilled (butter and parmesean cheese) but the other 3 kinds were great too.
Fireworks are illegal in most parts of CA. Even the ones that aren't are the crappy safe and sane ones. While driving from Mobile to Pensacola, I saw this thing off the freeway. Shelton Fireworks. Its THE LARGEST FIREWORKS WAREHOUSE IN THE WORLD. They are not lying! I have never seen so many fireworks in my life. It brought out the little kid in me. I had to go in and buy some. I planned on lighting them off later in Alabama but I did not have time so I gave them away to a coworker. This place was amazing though. Never seen anything like it.
Stopped in Pensacola to see a Blue Wahoos game (Cincinnati AA affiliate). They won best stadium in all of baseball (MLB included) in 2012 and I can see why. It was a small yet beautiful stadium right on the water. It was way too dang hot though so I only stuck around for about 4 innings. I picked up a cool hat and was on my way up to Alabama.
I stopped at The Shrimp Basket on the way up to Alabama. Food was good! I got the "Pick 3" and chose fish, shrimp and scallops. Service was friendly and the price was reasonable. I love good fried seafood and this fit the bill.
This was my first meal in Andalusia, Alabama. Larrys Real Pit BBQ. It tasted better than it looks. It looks like thinly sliced cubed deli meat but it was actually decent. Not award winning or anything but for a small town with limited options, it filled me up and I would return once more during my 2 week stay.
Davids Catfish House. They have an all you can eat type deal for $13.99 and that is what I got. Shrimp and catfish. I ate a second helping of shrimp. It was good.
This was my favorite place in the city of Andalusia. Hooks BBQ. I went here 3 times for lunch within the 2 weeks I was there. Each time I got the large pulled pork plate. The sauce on the left is the "hot" and the right is the "sweet". I mixed those both together and it was a perfect combo. That pork was delicious each and every time. Those french fries on the otherhand.....worst french fries I have ever eaten in my life! It was like they took them out of the bag, left them on the counter to defrost and then served them not even fried. Words cant describe how nasty they were. I stuck with all beans the next 2 times. The beans were good. Not shown but included with every meal is a piece of pound cake. A nice little dessert included with the meals.
This was the Hill Top Meat Company. Its a meat market by day and a restaurant during the weekend (Thur-Sat). Thursday night is their "Ribeye Special". $12.99 for a huge ribeye and a baked potato. It was pretty tasty. I also had a dozen steamed oysters (not pictured) that were decent too.
This was The Chicken Shack in Luverne, AL. I took a drive one night and passed through Brantley (Home to Chuck and Wesley Person) and wound up here. Chicken sounded good so I walked in. Got the Large Chicken Finger plate with french fries. It was good. Standard chicken fingers and fries. Service was friendly and the drive to and from was very relaxing and peaceful.
The weekend was here and I decided to drive up to Memphis. I stopped for dinner in Birmingham on the way up and went to Jim and Nicks. This was the "Pick 2" and I substituted ribs for one of the items ($2.00 extra). Everything tasted good but it was expensive ($30.00 after tip) for what I got. Cool building and I'm glad I stopped but I doubt I would return.
Got into Memphis around 11:30pm, checked into the hotel and then walked down to Beale Street. I missed out on this place last time I was here and made sure to get here this time for a burger. Dyers! The burger was absolutely delicious! Not "greasy" like you would think. Juicy/beefy and delicious. This was a "triple, triple". 3 patties and 3 slices of cheese.
This was the main reason I came to Memphis. The 7 hour drive was worth it once I bit into these. Paynes BBQ! I had a nice chat with Mrs. Payne while I placed my order and told her about how my buddy and I passed through about 5 years ago. Told her that it was like a religious experience and that it was the best BBQ sandwich I had ever had. I told her I specifically drove 7 hours from Alabama to come here again because the sandwich was THAT GOOD! She was all smiles and appreciated my comments. I got 2 pork sandwiches with hot sauce and that mustard slaw. The combo or flavors is what makes this thing great. The meatiness of the pork, the sweetness of the slaw and the slight tang of the hot bbq sauce put this thing over the top. I could have had a heart attack and died right there at the table and I would have been fine with that. These sandwiches were just as good as I had remembered...maybe even better. I should have ordered 2 more for the road. Hopefully Ill be back someday soon!
Stopped by the National Civil Rights Museum while in Memphis. I enjoyed my time there and saw some interesting stuff.
Took a tour of Stax too. It was just ok. The exhibits kind of blended in with each other and I was not too impressed. I'm glad I went though. Listened to some good music.
Stopped by the Sun Studios gift shop and got some new Tshirts. I took the tour last time I was in Memphis.
Went to Gus's Fried Chicken for an early dinner. Got some chicken strips, beans and a chicken breast. Unfortunately I was not that impressed here either. Between here and Willie Maes, I expected greatness but left with just ok ness. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great like I had heard.
Took in a Memphis Redbirds game. Great stadium and the Redbirds won (I'm a huge St. Louis Cardinal fan btw...it was good to see the AAA team)!
I went to Rendevous last time I was here and had the ribs. Stopped by this time for a pork sandwich. It was really good! The slaw was nasty though. I remember it being "different" last time but this time I could not even swallow it. Tossed it out. Beans were alright though.
Stopped by the original Central BBQ on the way out of town. Got a full rack (half wet/half dry) and double beans as my sides. The ribs were good but not great. They were too hot in the middle like they were cooked in a microwave (I know they weren't but I can't think of something to describe how oddly hot they were in the center). I ate all of them and left satisfied but not amazed. Almost $30.00 too after tax, tip drink etc. I would maybe try a pulled pork sandwich next time.
Stopped at Dreamland in Tuscaloosa on the way back from Memphis. Sauce and bread! Delicious! I like how you can order 1/4, 1/2 or a full rack. I went with 1/4 which was perfect since I was still full. I really enjoyed these ribs, bread and sauce and I even got some banana pudding for dessert. Delicious all around!
This was veal parmigana from a place called Ophelias in Andalusia, Alabama. It was great! Almost as good as my moms.
Pork sandwich from The Crows Nest in Andalusia. Good but too greasy. The bun was literally soaked through. Meh.
Two Guys Pies in Andalusia. Large carryout special for only $5.00. For Andalusia Alabama it was good pizza ;-) especially for the price. They just opened within the last 3 weeks. I hope they succeed!
We live in the land of Carls Jr out here in CA. Hardees breakfast sandwiches are better BY FAR! This is a pork chop and gravy biscuit that was lovely. I also sampled a country fried steak, country ham and a chicken biscuit during my stay. I don't know what makes them so much better than Carls Jr, but whatever it was, it was obviously clear that Hardees breakfast sandwiches are way tastier IMO.
On my way back to New Orleans I stopped here at the Brick Pit in Mobile, AL. Some of the finest BBQ I have had anywhere! I got the ribs and pork combo plate with double beans as my side. Their "spicy" sauce was just right and the meat was so tender it melted in your mouth. I licked my fingers clean. Besides Paynes, this was easily the best BBQ of the trip.
Got to New Orleans and had one last meal on the companies dime. I chose Dragos for some chargrilled oysters and alligator bites. Both things were awesome! Never had chargrilled oysters before my trip and now I am in love with them. Every place I had them, they were beyond good. They do say that its "The best single bite of food in New Orleans". I would have to agree.
Large Shrimp Po Boy from Parkway Bakery & Tavern. I was not too impressed with my previous po boys in New Orleans but this one and the next one (Domilises) changed my outlook. This thing was stuffed with perfectly cooked shrimp. I added ketchup and hot sauce on my own and it was a really good sandwich.
Had to stop here at Hansens. The guy did INVENT the shaved ice machine back in 1939. I enjoyed my half strawberry, half coconut shave ice immensely. Got it in a souvenir cup too.
Came here for dinner. Company Burger. One of the better burgers I have had in quite some time. By far the best pickles I have ever had on a burger. Reminded me of my grandmas. Great french fries too. Pricey but delicious.
My last meal in New Orleans. A Large Domilise Shrimp Po Boy. I got it with no mayo. They give you 3 huge chunks of sandwich. Everything was fried fresh. My sandwich was smoking from the steam of the shrimp because they just came out of the fryer. A great meal to end my trip down South!