Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!!

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lleechef
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Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Sun, 10/19/03 2:11 AM
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We're going to Birmingham in three weeks, we've never been to Alabama, shame on us. We are looking for the best roadfood in the city/area. Luckily for us, we can spend the last weekend in NOLA, our fav. city on the planet! But we have no clue about Birmingham although we know it must equal the other great southern cities....you just gotta know where to go! Those of you that know this area, suggestions please!

ocdreamr
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Sun, 10/19/03 8:44 PM
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Never been to Birmingham but have heard you must have some Vulcan's Buns!!

Sundancer7
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Mon, 10/20/03 1:05 PM
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Last time I was in Bham, I did the Dreamlands. Great Ribs. After I left there, I drove on south to Mobile and there was another right off interstate. Place was huge and packed. They were grilling the ribs which is my favorite. They were doing 100 pounds at a time and selling them as fast as they could grill them.

Everything looked great to me. I had six ribs and it was all I could eat. Maybe the best I had ever had. They were fresh off the grill
http://mall.inline.com/dreamland/main/default.asp
[url]www.bhamdining.com/Reviews/review_dreamland.html[/url]

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Mayhaw Man
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Mon, 10/20/03 1:20 PM
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If I only had one Roadfood rec. for Birmingham it would be Bright Star in Bessemer. Great southern/soulfood lunches. Really great. The place has een open forever and the clientele is great and the staff is even better.

Are you driving from Bham to NOLA? If so, are you driving through Hattiesburg or Montgomery (either way is about the same amount of time). There are lots of stops along both routes. Let us know and I can help you out.

Brooks

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Mon, 10/20/03 8:16 PM
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Mayhaw, you are so right about the Bright Star in Bessemer. lleechef, do a Roadfood search for "Bright Star"; several of us have posted reports re it. The Bright Star also has a most interesting website.

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Tue, 10/21/03 3:44 AM
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Sundancer, Mayhaw and Liketoeat: thank you so much for your input, you three are kind of the Magi of this forum and your suggestions are not only appreciated but will be cast in stone. Dreamlands and Bright Star are already in the itinerary.....for the beginning of the week, just in case we should require repeat visits. Mayhaw, we will be driving from Bham to NOLA, haven't exactly decided on the route......you tell us? Is there one better than another? We were in Hattiesburg last year and were disappointed at not finding the town more "southern" more "nostalgic", the downtown area basically closed up. A lot of strip malls and fast food joints along Rt. 49. We couldn't find any roadfood or diners in the entire Hattiesburg area. Any suggestions as to the route from Bham to NOLA would be greatly appreciated. Much to my dismay, after visiting their website I learned that Uglesich's is only open Mon-Fri for lunch. Dang! We'll miss it as it will take awhile to drive from Bham to NOLA on Fri. afternoon, and we have to leave Sunday afternoon to come back to Alaska. Thanks gentlemen for your information!

Sundancer7
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Tue, 10/21/03 7:06 AM
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lleechef: I have driven from Bham to NOLA several times. I have driven via Mobile and via Hattiesburg. In my opinion the drive through Mobile is the more enjoyable of the two routes. Certainly a lot more touristy in Mobile and Beloxi. You pass some neat outlet malls in Beloxi. You can get off I-120 at Gulfport or Beloxi and drive US 90 into NOLA for a pretty drive.

sorry about Uglesich's being closed when you are in NOLA. Certainly one of my favorite stops.

Enjoy Dreamland and by all means do the ribs. Tell them you want them fresh off the grill. Their chicken is also great.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Tue, 10/21/03 11:17 AM
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Sundancer, we are going to take your recommendation and go to NOLA via Mobile. Looking forward to those ribs at Dreamland! We had snow last night, it'll be good to get out of the frozen north and into some nice southern sunshine!

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Tue, 10/21/03 8:39 PM
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lleechef, thanks for your kind comments and am pleased to see you've decided to go from B'ham to NO via Mobile, not that there is so much in Mobile itself, but there are several spots of interest along the way which I can highly recommend, if you have the time for such. In Montgomery, if you have time to exit I-65 onto I-85 and drive east across town, I highly recommend the Blount Cultural Park which contains the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and particularly the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Theater (especially if you could hit it at a time the theater building is open so you could at least do a quick walk through of it even if you didn't have time to take in a production - which are split about half and half between Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare works). It's really a fine theater - both the facility and the work they do there. Of course, as a true Southerner, I think anyone visiting Montgomery should definitely visit the state capitol and stand on the spot on which Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederacy, but if you are of other persuasion on that subject, I respect your right to differ from me.

There is not that much of interst between Montgomery and the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. A quick swing thru Greenville might be of interest as well as a drop off I-65 down to Brewton if you had the time for such, but if time is any consideration, I'd head straight from Montgomery to the US 31 (Bay Minette) exit off I-65 and head down 31 to Spanish Fort and then on down US 98 to Fairhope, entering Fairhope on Alt. 98. You mentioned your disappointment in downtown Hattiesburg, which tragically is the condition (same, slightly better, or worse) of the downtowns of so many Southern cities and towns. Its refreshing to find a town where that is not the case; and Fairhope fits that bill; downtown Fairhope is so bustling with businesses that its difficult to find a parking place/get around. In addition to its so many great shops and neat restaurants, it is so very, very beautiful (the natural setting and the architecture). Get all over Fairhope, down to the pier and park on the bay, and run down Alt. 98 along the bayfront the few miles down to the Grand Hotel/Point Clear area. Sundancer mentioned a neat outlet mall in Biloxi (actually Gulfport). If you are interested in those, a bigger one is located just south of Foley, which is itself a nice town. Would recommend actually going the old road back up from Fairhope which takes one directly through beautiful residential areas and little towns of Montrose and Daphne rather than on the new 4 lane 98 just to their west side (on which you would have come down from Spanish Fort).

Coming into Mobile across the Causeway from the Eastern Shore, you might want to stop at the Visitors Welcome Station at Fort Conde (right downtown) for ideas. The Bragg-Mitchell home out on Springhill Avenue is lovely, but about best thing in Mobile area, at least to me, is Bellingrath Gardens just west of town near Theodore. It's a pity you aren't hitting Mobile and that area at azalea time. While I lived in Mobile 30 years, it just never really "did it" for me, contrary to loving that Eastern Shore area of Daphne, Montrose, Fairhope, and Point Clear.

If you are headed over to NO on I-10 from Mobile, I'd recommend dropping off at Moss Point - Pascagoula or some point prior to Ocean Springs and doing a tour of downtown Ocean Springs (similar to but smaller than Fairhope). When there in the spring noticed that lots of my old stomping grounds (shops and restaurants) had been replaced by new ones which I've got to check out at first opportunity. Go on from Ocean Springs through Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, and Bay St. Louis on US 90 before getting back onto I-10 for journey on into New Orleans. Although the advent of the Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos has detracted from the beauty of that US 90 drive right along the Gulf in a number of places, there are still some beautiful old homes off and on along that stretch of US 90; certainly much more interesting than doing I-10 all the way.

I realize your time constraints may be such as not to permit any of this I've suggested, but just hated for you to be on your first trip through Alabama and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and, if time does permit, missing some of these areas because of not being aware of them. You all do have a great trip, let me know if I can answer any questions, and know we will all be anxious to hear of it.

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 2:18 AM
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Liketoeat: How could I ever thank you for all this information? I'm looking forward to visiting your Shakespeare Theatre. The last time was in Stratford-on-Avon, Canada, and enjoyed "The Merchant of Venice". I am going to try and get their schedule so we can see one of the Shakespeare productions.
Being of no particular political party and having grown up in the Middle Atlantic states, lived in Europe, Asia and now Alaska (another unknown country) I don't seem to have any specific political ties. Therefore I would be honored to stand in the exact place in Montgomery where Jefferson Davis became President of the Confederacy. I had no idea this took place in Montgomery. We will make a point to stop there for sure.
As far as the Mississippi Gulf Coast goes, we were fortunate to have spent 2 weeks there last year. We were based in Gulfport but traveled the entire gamit of the coast: Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Long Beach, etc. It's very beautiful but I think it was a little more "charming" the first time I visited there in 1986. Both Gulfport and Biloxi were little shrimp ports with a couple of po'boy shacks along the road. Now it's a major highway with casinos galore and more tourista spots than you could shake a stick at!!!
We booked our flights/hotels/car reservations tonight and are SO looking forward to discovering the great state of Alabama!!

Sundancer7
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 6:52 AM
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Liketoeat: South of Montgomery about 80 miles and right beside interstate is a place that specializes in smoked turkey. I have stopped there several times because I noticed their bill board advertising. It was really great and I wanted to tell lleechef about it, but I could not acurately describe the location. You are very good about that locale and perhaps you could update her.

Besides being a good restaurant, they also market their products very well.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 9:16 AM
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leechef, thanks for your comments. Surely hope you guys enjoy your trip. If you'll do a google search of Alabama Shakespeare Festival you'll find a number of websites of/re ASF, the first being an ASF site detailing this season's productions and including a spot for online ticket purchases. Even if things should work out so that you can't attend or don't care for play in progress at time of your visit, think you'd still enjoy just seeing the place. And glad you will be visiting the historic Alabama State Capitol building and that "Goat Hill" area of Montgomery. The first White House of the Confederacy is located nearby.
Surely agree with your comment that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has lost lots of its former charm due to the casino influx. An even worse case of modernization having ruined the charm of an area is Destin, FL (site of some of the world's most beautiful water). When I moved to Mobile years ago, Destin was nothing but a sleepy little fishing village. Now it's nothing but high rise condos and resorts for miles and miles. Of course that has happened all along the central Gulf Coast from Gulfport, MS, to Panama City, FL, but to me Destin is the worst case, with Gulf Shores, AL, and the MS gulf coast being not far behind. This development bit (in this case commercial and retirement ventures) has also been extremely detrimental to the beauty and charm of the Ozarks region of northwest AR. The only place I can think where commercial development has not been detrimental to the appearance of the area is the case of all the casinos which have literally sprung up, like giant cotton stalks, from the cotton fields of Tunica, MS, for, unfortunately, there was really no beauty and charm there to disturb. As to their other effects on the Tunica area, in my opinion that's both positive and negative.
With your familiarity with the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Illeechef, I even more strongly encourage you, if time at all permits, to explore the "Eastern Shore" area of Mobile Bay - Daphne, Montrose, most especially Fairhope and Point Clear, and if you have time, even get on over and down to Robertsdale and Gulf Shores. Fairhope has a little visitors center right downtown plus folks in any of the shops or at the Eastern Shore Arts Association Art Museum (really nice for a small town and worth a stop; the arts are quite strong in the Fairhope area) can give you more detailed info/suggestions. Fairhope has a most interesting history. It was founded as a utopian community back in the 1890's based on the economic theories of Henry George that only land had value and therefore only land should be taxed. The old part of town is still owned by the “Single Tax Colony” from which individuals lease for 99 years the lots on which their homes and businesses are built. For lots more info than I can provide and for some pretty good pictures, do a google search of Fairhope, AL, and go to the several websites there, particularly the city’s website (first listed).
Sundancer, thanks for mentioning that turkey ranch/restaurant/etc. south of Montgomery. I appreciate for myself your critique, for I passed that place for years, seeing such crowds there, always wondering about it, and never taking time to stop. Will remedy that in the future. I cannot think of its name or location, but know its on the northbound side of I-65 and believe its near Greenville (but just can’t remember for certain). Believe, tho, that it has some advertisement signs in advance, and it’s sufficiently large so as to be easily noticed from the highway (know that is true when headed north and think that will be true with lleechef headed south).
Also, Sundancer, if you’ve not seen it, you might find interesting an article at http://channels.netscape.com/ns/news/health2.jsp relative to your diets and fast food joints.
Again, lleechef, you all have a great visit to the “lower 48” and we'll all be anxious to hear about your trip and adventures upon completion.

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 12:03 PM
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Liketoeat, thanks once again for taking the time to send all the interesting information. I have checked into the ASF, unfortunately they will not be performing one of Shakespeare's plays the week we'll be there but we'll be sure to stop anyway. We have scheduled a visit to the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, as you suggested, that town of Fairhope looks lovely. When we get out of Montgomery we'll look for Sundancer's turkey place. I think we'd both better go on a diet NOW so we can eat our way through Alabama and New Orleans!

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 2:07 PM
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lleechef, sorry there is no Shakespeare production at ASF the time you all will be there, but do go by anyway, especially with your interest in/appreciation of Shakespeare. Am so pleased you all are going to do "the Eastern Shore". Hope you aren't, and don't think you will be disappointed. There are some great seafood restaurants all along the Eastern Shore and down in Gulf Shores area (some have been mentioned in previous posts), but I'd suggest you check with locals, for I know some of those restaurants at time change, and believe the recommendations of locals would be better than that which I could give. For a "fancy Sunday noon outing" am assuming the Grand Hotel's champaign brunch is still great (but also not particularly unique compared with same at other similar resort hotels). Don't know how much time you will have in that area, but if time permitted a drive over to Pensacola (particularly along the Gulf from Gulf Shores to P'cola) and then on out to Pensacola Beach might be enjoyable, particularly this time of year when not so crowded and if its a beautiful day. Whatever you guys do, have a great time.

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 2:23 PM
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PS - Illeechef, if you all did make it over to Pensacola, I'm assuming Mrs. Hopkins Boarding House and Jamie's French Restaurant are both still there and still good, and McGuires's Irish Pub is always such a fun place - and with good and varied food, too. For Roadfood places in Mobile I'd recommend Dew Drop Inn and Tiny Diny restaurants, and another Roadfooder was earlier this year highly recommending bakery specialties from Pollman's Bakery (particularly the original old site down on Broad St.). Know it used to be great but I actually thought it had been closed.

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 2:54 PM
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Liketoeat, we will probably not make it over to Pensacola, we were there a few years ago, stayed on Santa Rosa Island, it was beautiful, and yes, we ate at Mrs. Hopkins Boarding House. When the platters of fried chicken livers were delivered we said, "WOAH! Park 'em right here!" The food was outstanding. We're looking forward to Bham, Montgomery and the Gulf Shores area since we've never been there. The last day and a half will be spent in NOLA, where we only will have three meal periods so we're being extra choosy about where we'll eat!

Sundancer7
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 3:19 PM
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lleechef: I stayed in Fairhope, AL at the Marriott Resort two years ago at Christmas. Great place and it is a resort with huge golf course, great docking facilities and a bar that overlooks the bay. You can watch the sun go down with your evening libation.

I ate in downtown Fairhope most every night. Several neat spots but one I remember is Oyster Bay House. I went twice if that tells you anything

I really enjoyed the mall in Foley Alabama

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 3:39 PM
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lleechef, glad to know you all have done and enjoyed the Pensacola bit; that will give you more time to explore and enjoy Baldwin Co., AL. The Mariott Resort to which Sundancer refers is the same as The Grand Hotel which I've mentioned (I'm just using the old name). Think maybe now its actual name is Mariott's Grand Hotel (or Mariott's Grand Hotel Resort). I concur with all his comments. Fairhope also has a number of highly recommended Bed and Breakfasts, should that be your thing. Also should history be of any interest, if you all get down to Gulf Shores, in addition to exploring along the Gulf you might like to drive out to and piddle around Fort Morgan at the eastern entrance to Mobile Bay (Fort Gaines is across the bay on Dauphiin Island guarding the western entrance to Mobile Bay; Fort Morgan is the larger and more interesting of the two). Also assume (but don't know for sure; its had a somewhat off and on history) that the ferry is still crossing Mobile Bay from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island should you want to cross the Bay that way at its entrance rather than on the Causeway at its terminus. Again, you all enjoy the trip and let me get back outside now and further enjoy this great weather.

Sundancer7
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 4:37 PM
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I used the ferry to cross the bay. It took you very close to the oil derricks or rigs or what ever. If you are going west like on to NOLA from that area, it is probably a short cut to the west side of Mobile and certainly a interesting way to do it.

A huge amount of good places to eat around Foley and Gulf Shores.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 5:58 PM
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The ferry sounds good, we use them a lot up here. We are both history buffs and will certainly go to Fort Morgan. I'm beginning to fear that one week will not be nearly enough and perhaps we should leave NOW! Thanks for all your great suggestions!

Mayhaw Man
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Wed, 10/22/03 6:32 PM
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The ferry is running although the wintertime runs are less frequent. I tried to get schedule from Dept of Highways, but no luck.

Illechef, if you liked the way that the gulf coast was 20 years ago you will probably like Dauphin Island. They have restricted development to the point of virtually no growth, and have zoned out anykind of multi unit housing on most of the island and high rise development everywhere. I have been going there for 43 years and still think it a pretty great place.

Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines are both interesting places. I cannot reccomend highly enough Shelby Footes description of the battle for Mobile Bay in Volume 3 of the Civil War. If you ever want to feel history come alive in front of your eyes, read that twenty pages and stand on the ramparts at Morgan or Gaines and picture Farragaut high in the rigging (an odd place for a naval captain, but they say that is where he was sailing into the bay on that foggy morning) actually telling the helmsman "Damn the Torpedoes" etc. You can pretty much see everywhere that anything important took place, it is a fairly narrow neck into the bay (it used to be narrower but Frederick and Camille pretty much wiped out Sand Island). For intents and purposes, any chance the CSA ever had of making some kind of negotiated surrender/settlement with the United States ended that morning, as that completed control to all ports west of the Sabine River.

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 3:21 AM
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Mayhaw, Liketoeat and Sundancer, you all three being Proper Southern Gentlemen (well, maybe Mayhaw is not quite so Proper, no matter) will appreciate this one: I moved to South Boston in 1987 and lived 100 yards from the beach. My house was on the corner of East Third St. and Farraugut St. On the way to the beach and 50 yds. from my house was this beautiful statue of some guy named Farraugut. He is facing east, looking out over Boston Harbor. After some initial questioning on my part after moving there as to "who was this Farraugut guy?" I was MORTIFIED to find out he was a Confederate Captain and the statue was found in some old spidery warehouse in the south and for some COCKAMAMY reason was sent up to South Boston!!! (The original story goes that he was intended for "South Boston" in another state, I never did find out which one, so apparently Mass. became his final destination by default.) Imagine the HORROR of the beloved Captain Farraugut, perched high in the rigging, yelling out "Damn the Torpedoes" and fighting for his ill-fated Confederacy, only to end up on a YANKEE beach overlooking Boston Harbor!! I would feel honored to stand on the ramparts at Fort Morgan and imagine Himself fighting for His Cause.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 4:39 AM
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lleechef: Old Bay Steamer at Tumble Inn in Fairhope was the restaurant I tried to describe to you. I finally found the name on a T shirt. Real Good.

Admiral Farragut was from Farragut Tennessee right outside of Knoxville on Kingston Pike. At least that is what they claim. I personally never met him

Paul E. Smith
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Mayhaw Man
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 8:24 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

Mayhaw, Liketoeat and Sundancer, you all three being Proper Southern Gentlemen (well, maybe Mayhaw is not quite so Proper, no matter) will appreciate this one: I moved to South Boston in 1987 and lived 100 yards from the beach. My house was on the corner of East Third St. and Farraugut St. On the way to the beach and 50 yds. from my house was this beautiful statue of some guy named Farraugut. He is facing east, looking out over Boston Harbor. After some initial questioning on my part after moving there as to "who was this Farraugut guy?" I was MORTIFIED to find out he was a Confederate Captain and the statue was found in some old spidery warehouse in the south and for some COCKAMAMY reason was sent up to South Boston!!! (The original story goes that he was intended for "South Boston" in another state, I never did find out which one, so apparently Mass. became his final destination by default.) Imagine the HORROR of the beloved Captain Farraugut, perched high in the rigging, yelling out "Damn the Torpedoes" and fighting for his ill-fated Confederacy, only to end up on a YANKEE beach overlooking Boston Harbor!! I would feel honored to stand on the ramparts at Fort Morgan and imagine Himself fighting for His Cause.


Ughhh, David Glasgow Farragaut was born in Tennessee it is true, but he was in no way shape or form a hero of the Confederacy. He was a UNION fleet commander who (most famously)broke both the blockade and the defenses at the mouth of Mobile Bay, thereby ending the use of the last free port in the CSA. During this process, on a very, very foggy morning, as Farragaut was sailing up the mouth of Mobile Bay and the land forces were marching overland on Dauphin Island (Aug 2) two of his frigates encountered mines (torpedoes in their arcane parlance) and were heavily damaged. An underling reported this to Farragaut, implying that they should turn back and try again on a morning when they could see, and Farragaut, understanding the situation would lack any kind of suprise if they turned back and tried another day, stated the famous "Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed ahead". Shortly thereafter the defenders were chased up the bay or into the Dog or Fowl River mouths, the commander of Fort Powell (located under the present day Dauphin Island Bridge) set a "slow match" to his powder magazine and blew up his fort(his name was James WIlliams and he was my great great uncle) and the Commander of Fort Gaines surrendered shortly thereafter. The commander of Fort Morgan held out against a siege, but eventually fell under the force of land and sea forces and a gazillion shells rained onto Fort Morgan.

Farragaut was most definitely a Yankee Sailor.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 10:14 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Mayhaw Man

quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

Mayhaw, Liketoeat and Sundancer, you all three being Proper Southern Gentlemen (well, maybe Mayhaw is not quite so Proper, no matter) will appreciate this one: I moved to South Boston in 1987 and lived 100 yards from the beach. My house was on the corner of East Third St. and Farraugut St. On the way to the beach and 50 yds. from my house was this beautiful statue of some guy named Farraugut. He is facing east, looking out over Boston Harbor. After some initial questioning on my part after moving there as to "who was this Farraugut guy?" I was MORTIFIED to find out he was a Confederate Captain and the statue was found in some old spidery warehouse in the south and for some COCKAMAMY reason was sent up to South Boston!!! (The original story goes that he was intended for "South Boston" in another state, I never did find out which one, so apparently Mass. became his final destination by default.) Imagine the HORROR of the beloved Captain Farraugut, perched high in the rigging, yelling out "Damn the Torpedoes" and fighting for his ill-fated Confederacy, only to end up on a YANKEE beach overlooking Boston Harbor!! I would feel honored to stand on the ramparts at Fort Morgan and imagine Himself fighting for His Cause.


Ughhh, David Glasgow Farragaut was born in Tennessee it is true, but he was in no way shape or form a hero of the Confederacy. He was a UNION fleet commander who (most famously)broke both the blockade and the defenses at the mouth of Mobile Bay, thereby ending the use of the last free port in the CSA. During this process, on a very, very foggy morning, as Farragaut was sailing up the mouth of Mobile Bay and the land forces were marching overland on Dauphin Island (Aug 2) two of his frigates encountered mines (torpedoes in their arcane parlance) and were heavily damaged. An underling reported this to Farragaut, implying that they should turn back and try again on a morning when they could see, and Farragaut, understanding the situation would lack any kind of suprise if they turned back and tried another day, stated the famous "Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed ahead". Shortly thereafter the defenders were chased up the bay or into the Dog or Fowl River mouths, the commander of Fort Powell (located under the present day Dauphin Island Bridge) set a "slow match" to his powder magazine and blew up his fort(his name was James WIlliams and he was my great great uncle) and the Commander of Fort Gaines surrendered shortly thereafter. The commander of Fort Morgan held out against a siege, but eventually fell under the force of land and sea forces and a gazillion shells rained onto Fort Morgan.

Farragaut was most definitely a Yankee Sailor.


Well said, Mr. Mayhaw. The Admiral of the CSA was, of course, Raphael Semmes, Commander of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama. Semmes motto, engraved on the Alabama's wheel,"God Helps Those Who Help Themselves". Sunk in an action with the USS Kearsage on 19 June 1864 off Cherbourg,France. The sea battle was witnessed and painted by Edouard Manet. Vistors to Mobile may tour Admiral Semmes home on Government Street.

Liketoeat
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 10:42 AM
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leechef, though I’ve not tried it myself, friend from here recently returned from a Fairhope vacation singing the praises of “Old Bay Steamer” as does Sundancer above. Also just happened to remember that there is a “Lambert’s Throwed Rolls” (southern branch of the original in Sikeston, MO) which is worth a visit once for its fun/oddity, and some different food offerings, some of which are pretty good. Although I’ve not been there in quite some time, I used to enjoy “The Gift Horse” right in downtown Foley, an attractive and bit more upscale place than the standard Southern buffet. Wolfe Bay Lodge in the Miflin area (out from Foley; ask for directions) used to be great for seafood, and that US 98 drive from Foley to Lillian (with little detours off of it), though not a Gulf route, leads through some lovely areas. Wilson Pecan Co. (right off main highway 59 there in the Foley area) is an interesting operation and has a wide variety of goodies in its Pecan Pantry shop, some rather unusual such as its pecan pie jelly. Seafood restaurants abound throughout all of Baldwin Co. Original Oyster House (both in Gulf Shores and on Causeway near Mobile) has always been a favorite for me, though I've heard others more recently recommend some newer spots with which I'm not familiar. Think local conversation will provide best guide to seafood in all the area. Oh, by the way, when is it you guys will be in that area? I hope to do a quick New Orleans to Pensacola run Nov. 18 - 21.
Was trying to place your area of residence in Boston. Tough a Southerner, years ago I spent several years which I really loved at Boston Naval Shipyard and South Annex.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 10:56 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

We're going to Birmingham in three weeks, we've never been to Alabama, shame on us. We are looking for the best roadfood in the city/area. Luckily for us, we can spend the last weekend in NOLA, our fav. city on the planet! But we have no clue about Birmingham although we know it must equal the other great southern cities....you just gotta know where to go! Those of you that know this area, suggestions please!

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 12:25 PM
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Thank you, Mayhaw for correcting my misinterpretation of our good Monsieur Farragaut. As I am not a Civil War buff, I was taking my neighbors' word that he was not a Yankee but a commander in the CSA. But there is still some consternation as to which "South Boston" this statue was destined for because we all believe that Massachusetts was not the one. No matter. He's there, looking out over the Hahbah. And no, I don't talk like that.
Liketoeat, I've noted all your latest eating places and we'll certainly try to stop at all the above, after all, that was the purpose of this thread! We will be leaving lovely Anchorage on the 16th, spending the week in AL and driving the Mobile/NOLA route the weekend of the 21st. We already owe Mayhaw Man a beer, we could owe you one too.
The Boston Naval Shipyard is in Charlestown, I believe. South Boston is kind of a peninsula that of course was very controversial during the busing and segregation days, as it was predominately Irish Catholic and they did not want blacks from Dorchester or Mission Hill moving in to their territory. Eventually, the mothers protesting with their babies in carriages subsided and the busing issue did take effect. I lived across the street from Billy Bulger, head of the MA senate for nearly 30 years, then Pres. of U Mass, then recently defrocked for having contacts with his brother-on-the-lam Whitey Bulger, who ranks right up there with Bin Laden on the FBI's top 10. He whacked a few people and had some FBI informants........nothing out of the ordinary in cities like Boston, NY, or Chicago. Anyway, I lived on East Third St. and Farragut Ave. which is just off the main street of Broadway. Mr. Farragaut's statue was just across the street.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 12:34 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

We're going to Birmingham in three weeks, we've never been to Alabama, shame on us. We are looking for the best roadfood in the city/area. Luckily for us, we can spend the last weekend in NOLA, our fav. city on the planet! But we have no clue about Birmingham although we know it must equal the other great southern cities....you just gotta know where to go! Those of you that know this area, suggestions please!


Opps! What happened to that edit key? So, you're going to the Heart of Dixie? As a native Alabamian now living in St. Louis (with friends in Coffman Cove, AK by the way) you should have a great time. Allow me to add a few comments to the excellent suggestions already posted.

First, if you are driving south on I-65 from Nashville to B'ham a stop in Lynchburg, TN to visit that wonderful spot where the Elixir of Life is produced is worth the detour. At the Jack Daniel's distillery you'll learn why the JD bottle is square not round, how far it is to the nearest legal liquior purchase and what the connection the best scotch has with JD.

As you cross the Alabama line you'll want to have your picture made by the Saturn V rocket at the Alabama rest area. A visit to NASA in Huntsville is worth the trouble. Eat lunch at Big Bob Gibon's BBQ. BB has won Memphis in May competition several times. Good BBQ.

Southward to B'ham. If you want bbq I suggest either Jim & Nick's (and don't dare miss the banana cream pie for dessert) or Golden Rule. In days gone by I would have suggested Ollie's World Famous but alas it closed after many years. Ollie's had the diet bbq plate. It came with wheat bread instead of white, green salad instead of beans, and thus the diet part. If you want to go upscale in B'ham I highly recommend Highlands Bar & Grill, Hot & Hot Fish Club, and Bottega. The Bright Star is an excellent restaurant.

As for Dreamland, I would skip the one in B'ham and take a short detour (about 50 miles) and go to the original location in Tuscaloosa, Jerusalem Heights to be exact. Don't make the mistake of thinking Dreamland is it, however. Archibald's cooks up some fine Q. And for a good old Southern vegetable plate nothing beats the Northport Cafe. I ate many a meal there while attending the University of Alabama. For breakfast the place is the Waysider. Biscuits and honey with country ham. Um, Um good.

On to Montgomery, my home town. Jubliee Seafood gets high marks. Our favorite however is the Sahara, run by Toofee Deep. One of the many Greek owned places in town. (If you happen to be in Montgomery on Labor Day don't miss the Greek Orthodox Church BBQ). The Sahara has great seafood (though the gumbo is a little thick for my taste) and a nice history as a place to see and be seen. A favorite governor's haunt.

The suggestion to see the Captial, yes it is on Goat Hill, is excellent. Tour the Capital and then walk a block down Dexter Avenue and visit Dr. Martin Luther King's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. A few more steps down Dexter brings you to Chris Hot Dogs. In business for over 85 years and you are as likely to see everybody from the governor on down having a dog. The sauce is devine. If you head off in the other direction, i.e., east from the Captial you quickly come to the Montgomery Farmers Market (one of two in the City). Look around but don't miss buying a few jars of homemade chow-chow.

On another food note, Montgomery is building a new baseball stadium for its AA ball club. The name, what else, "The Biscuits". Get a shirt. The mascot is an open biscuit with a pat of butter for a tongue. The stadium is to be known as the "Biscuit Basket." Why Biscuits? Heck, everybody loves biscuits!

By the way, tour the Alabama Archives and History Building. My Mom works there as a volunteer in the gift shop. Seventy years old and going strong, testament to what red eye gravy, ham, bacon, butter,lard and sweet tea can do to keep you young.

Drive to Mobile. On the way stops at Bates Turkey Farm and Priester's Pecans are highly recommended. If you are willing to take another couple of detours head over to Enterprise for the Boll Weavil statue. The only statute commerating an insect int he world or so I was always told. The boll weavil epidemic turned farmers in the Wire Grass (southeastern Alabama) from King Cotton to peanuts. Then there is,of course, the Alabama Museum of Wonder in Seale. It displays the largest gall stone in the world. Quite appropriate given the Southern diet.

I recommend a tour of the battleship USS Alabama and the submarine Drum on the Causeway. Go through the Bankhead Tunnel, named for the father of Talluah (You know Tullah Bankhead. In her words, "honey there have only been two geniuses in the world - Willie Mays and Wille Shakespear")Eat at either the Original Oyster House or Wintzell's. Make sure its the Wintzell's on Dauphin. On a good day the best gumbo in the world.

You should also check the dates for the Dauphin Island Shrimp Festival. Usually in October. If you are going in the spring check for the Blessing of the Fleet in Bayou LaBatre.

Take 90 over to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A fine drive along the gulf or Mississippi Sound to be exact. Recommend a trip to Ship Island out of Gulfport. Beautiful barrier island run by National Park Service. Take a picnic lunch. Also a stop in Ocean Springs to view the Walter Anderson Museum. Andersen was a kind of Mississippi Gauguin. Wonderful work. We always eat at the White Caps but there are many good restaurants along the coast. Try Vrazel's in Gulfport or the Acadian Grill in Waveland. Oh, and a stop at the Seafood Industries Museum is a good choice. See how shrimping and oystering are done. There is a farmers market next door. First place M ever had sugar cane in fact.

You know NOLA so I'll say nothing. But travel 90 (Chef Mentaur Highway) over and go through the Rigolets. Wonderful country.

Once in NOLA leave the city and go to Jean Lafitte for the gumbo at Voleo's. Nice end to a swamp tour in Bayou Barataria.

Have fun honey, and ya'll come back now, ya hear?

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Thu, 10/23/03 4:31 PM
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M&M: Thanks for all the info, we will stop in at as many places as time permits. I'm afraid that if I ran into the gov'ner he could boink me in the head and I still wouldn't know who he wuz, but we're sure gonna try those dogs in Montgomery, along with everything else. Thank you!

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Fri, 10/24/03 11:47 AM
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lleechef, enjoyed the further info re your period of Boston residence, and you are correct, the main Naval Shipyard is in Charleston. Am glad that M&M provided you with info re so many further places which sound so good. Hope you all can do/try as much as possible. And M&M I personally (for self) particularly enjoyed all your further Montgomery info. Was especially happy to read of The Sahara. Can't wait to try it as it sounds similar to a Greek owned seafood restaurant which years ago was located right in downtown Montg. (was name of it The Elite, can't remember for certain). I always so enjoyed it. I surely agree with your recommendation for a visit to the state archives & history building if time permits. Glad you mentioned name of the turkey operation south of Montg. (Bates) for I just could never remember its name. I surely agree with your recommendation of Original Oyster House out on Causeway at Mobile, but have a little reservation about Wintzells. In my opinion the old Wintzell's downtown on Dauphin St. is worth a visit if you have a meal to spare, for its decour and atmosphere are unique, but I really don't find its food to be as good as it was in years past. And, lleechef, definitely do NOT go to the new Wintzells out on Airport Blvd. across from Providence Hospital; eveything about it was awful only time I was there. Also last time I ate at Roussos (downtown right in Fort Conde Visitors Center area) it was pretty bad, and was told same by friends who had recently eaten there. M&M's mention of Montg. museum reminds me that you all might enjoy the City of Mobile museum and all the various features of the old City Hall complex, but still think your best best for Mobile "see this" info is to hit the Visitors' Center (tho I still recommend Bellingrath Gardens). Again you all have great trip south, lleechef, and appreciate all your info, M&M.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Fri, 10/24/03 2:50 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Liketoeat

lleechef, enjoyed the further info re your period of Boston residence, and you are correct, the main Naval Shipyard is in Charleston. Am glad that M&M provided you with info re so many further places which sound so good. Hope you all can do/try as much as possible. And M&M I personally (for self) particularly enjoyed all your further Montgomery info. Was especially happy to read of The Sahara. Can't wait to try it as it sounds similar to a Greek owned seafood restaurant which years ago was located right in downtown Montg. (was name of it The Elite, can't remember for certain). I always so enjoyed it. I surely agree with your recommendation for a visit to the state archives & history building if time permits. Glad you mentioned name of the turkey operation south of Montg. (Bates) for I just could never remember its name. I surely agree with your recommendation of Original Oyster House out on Causeway at Mobile, but have a little reservation about Wintzells. In my opinion the old Wintzell's downtown on Dauphin St. is worth a visit if you have a meal to spare, for its decour and atmosphere are unique, but I really don't find its food to be as good as it was in years past. And, lleechef, definitely do NOT go to the new Wintzells out on Airport Blvd. across from Providence Hospital; eveything about it was awful only time I was there. Also last time I ate at Roussos (downtown right in Fort Conde Visitors Center area) it was pretty bad, and was told same by friends who had recently eaten there. M&M's mention of Montg. museum reminds me that you all might enjoy the City of Mobile museum and all the various features of the old City Hall complex, but still think your best best for Mobile "see this" info is to hit the Visitors' Center (tho I still recommend Bellingrath Gardens). Again you all have great trip south, lleechef, and appreciate all your info, M&M.


Ah, yes, the Elite. Of course, among native Montgomerians pronounced E' Lite, with the emphasis on the E. Our across the street neighbor worked there when I was growing up. It was a fine place. The Sahara is a little fancier than the Elite but there is not a rigid dress code. I would recommend business casual in the evenings and around holidays. For lunch most anything is ok but the crowd is usually fancy enough that tee shirts and shorts won't fit in. I especially recommend butterpeas as a vegetable there. A cross between a pea and a butterbean I guess. Very sweet. Very good. Certainly haven't seen anything like them in STL.

I agree with your assessment of Russo's I am sorry to say. It is certainly not what it used to be when it lived on the causeway. In fact, when M and I were in Mobile earlier this year we stayed just down the street at the Malaga Inn and even the desk clerk recommended against the place. Too bad. But Fort Conde next door is an intersting stop as is the City of Mobile Museum as you suggest. By the way, did you ever eat at the old Blue Gill in Mobile? Now that was a joint!

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Fri, 10/24/03 3:25 PM
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There is a very good "Catfish House", a log building just off the I-65 Pratville exit (east of the Holiday Inn toward Millbrook) a few miles north of Montgomery. Along with a big bucket of hushpuppies, they bring a pewter pot of great northern beans to hold off the hunger pangs until the catfish arrives.
If you should decide that you are in a hurry to get from Birmingham to NOLA, the trip via I-59 by Hattiesburg is 60 miles closer and a lot less congested than the Mobile route, cutting more than an hour off my time since I can move on much better. I am much more relaxed driving down I-59 with the 100 yard median most of the way. It feels a lot less threatening to have oncomning traffic that far away instead of just across the very narrow medians on I-65 and I-10. Just beware of the very appropriate 35 MPH speed zone for the 2 miles (and sharp curves) of I-59 passing by Laurel, Mississippi 20 miles north of Hattiesburg. I don't know of any other interstate highways with a 35 mph speed limit, but you can't safely navigate those curves at much more than that.
AND one place you must have missed in Hattiesburg is "Letha's Barbecue Inn" on highway 98 south (about 3 miles west of I-59). Granted, Letha's doesn't have the same ambiance that it did when it was located in her shotgun house by the railroad tracks in Columbia, Mississippi, but she still serves up some of the best ribs you will ever taste (see the original "Roadfood" book for a write up of the Columbia location). And "Corky's" BBQ of Memphis fame has a location at one of the shopping centers on highway 98 just off I-59. There is also a good New Orleans style restaurant in Hattiesburg, "Crescent City Grill", but since you will be headed to NOLA this probably wouldn't interest you.
There is a good Friday night and Saturday night seafood buffet at "Gollywhoppers Catfish Cafe" about 12 miles east of Laurel (I-59 exit 97)off highway 84 at Lake Bogue Homo. You would probably have to ask for directions, but it is just across the road from the lakeshore. I particularly like the fried oysters they put on the line. And "Vic's" just off I-59 at Laurel is TRUE soul food.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Fri, 10/24/03 4:54 PM
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Thanks for the further info M&M. Though I got all confused about the terms merliton, alligator pear, vegetable oyster, etc. in a different forum, glad I did correctly remember the name of The Elite in Montgomery, and it was indeed a most delicious place for dinner. I can't wait to try the Sahara and Jubilee Seafood on my next visit. And, no, I never tried The Blue Gill, tho I passed right by it on every Causeway crossing for years. You are right that Russo's decline began when it left the Causeway for those fancy Fort Conde area digs, and such decline has just continued and worsened over the years. And, yes, I know all about butterpeas, having grown up with them as a kid. Now that you are in St. Louis, what are some of your favorite restaurants there? Many good ones are available. Joekirkwood, a sometimes Roadfood poster, has done an extensive spreadsheet of St. Louis area restaurants. Though I see some people now criticize it, Cunetto's House of Pasta is still one of my favorite restaurants in the entire US. Everything there is to me so good, and would most particularly enjoy one of its Pranzo salads about now. Thanks for your further info.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Sat, 10/25/03 5:48 PM
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Wow, again I am overwhelmed at the amount of information you all have so kindly taken time to send. "Gollywhoppers Catfish Cafe" and "Vic's" sound very interesting, to say the least!!! We think we have talked my 80-year old uncle (who sent me to culinary school in the beginning) from Michigan to meet up with us in Bham, to join in the roadfood extravaganza, as he too, has never been there, except to Mobile.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Sun, 10/26/03 4:52 PM
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lleechef, do hope your uncle will be able to join you all for your Alabama to New Orleans jaunt. Surely kind and thoughful of you to want to include him and should be wonderful for all of you. Obviously from his past actions, for which know he feels he's been well rewarded by your success, he's an appreciator of food adventures.

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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Sun, 10/26/03 6:06 PM
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And this just in:

Big Mac, my best friend in B'ham, were comiserating with each other over the terrible loss Alabama suffered yesterday at the hands of the hated Volunteers when he suggested the following favorite eat spots: Jim & Nicks (BBQ & cream pies), Nicki's West (meat and three reviewed on Road Food), Smoke House, Karen's Cafeteria and Fish Market.

You will indeed be able to eat Vulcan buns in the Magic City and now, you can once again see the heafty derriere of the Forge God. His rehabilitation is complete and he once again stands atop Red Mountain. And, if you are so inclined, here is a recipe for Vulcan Buns

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter
2 T. sugar
2 eggs plus 1 yolk beaten (reserve white and set aside)
1 t. oregano
1 t basil
1 & 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chpped dried tomatoes
1 cup milk
5 cups all-purpose flour sifted three times
1 t. salt
olives or feta cheese

Dissolve yeast in water. Cream bteer and sugar. Add yeast, eggs, oregano, basil, cheddar cheese, dried tomatoes, and milk to butter and sugar. Add flour and salt. Knead 5 to 8 minutes on floured board; place dough in a greased bowl, covered; put in warm place and allow to rise one hour or until doubled.

Stir down risen dough, turn onto lightly floured surface, and form into smoot loaf. Divide into 36 balls, each the sise of a large walnut.
With finger punch hole in ceter of each ball and put either one pimento-stuffed olive or a chunk of feta cheese in each hole; pinch two balls, pinched side down in each cup of a greased muffin tin. Mix the extra eg white with 1 T water and brush it on tops of the buns. Allow to rise 45 minutes to an hour util almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 7 minutes; brush again with egg wash and bake another 7-8 minutes. Yields 18 buns.

And this article you may find of interest.
http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire200310220843.asp
http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire200310240933.asp

lleechef
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RE: Out of Alaska and on to Birmingham!! - Sun, 10/26/03 6:54 PM
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Two very interesting and well written (and humurous) articles! Thanks!