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!