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?