Hot!Alabama Getaway

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buffetbuster
Porterhouse
2009/11/11 14:33:46
Last week, I spent about four days running around Alabama.  This report will not be in the typical chronological order.
 
Since this trip report is about Alabama, it makes sense to start it with a place in Columbus, Georgia!  The most famous restaurant in Columbus is Dinglewood Pharmacy,


home of the scrambled dog.  I first read about it in the new Jane & Michael Stern's "500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late" book.  From what I was told, the Dinglewood Pharmacy can get very crowded at lunchtime, mostly due to its location across the street from the AFLAC headquarters.  But I rolled in around 3:15 and was the only customer for most of my visit.
 
There are plenty of tables and even a couple of booths in the back, but I grabbed a seat at the long counter. 

The menu is on a board

above you.  This is only half of the sandwiches board, but it is the important half, since I only drove this far to try the scrambled dog. 
 
The guy who waited on me was very friendly and loved to talk.  Here he is preparing my plate. 

I had my scrambled dog within 30 seconds of placing my order.


Several interesting things here.  I like how the scrambled dog comes in a shallow bowl, to hold all the chili.  This chili, which comes with beans, seemed to be a little dry and was moderately spicy.  The wiener itself was sliced into several pieces and had a bright pink exterior.  Chopped onions, oyster crackers, processed American cheese, a few pickle slices and a buried underneath it all hot dog bun, complete the dish.  Is it elegant?  No.  But it is unique, interesting and fun to eat.  To drink, they do offer all kinds of soda fountain classics,

but I simply got an ordinary sweet tea.  In hindsight, I should have gone with a milkshake or a lemonade.
 
The Dinglewood Pharmacy (apparently named after the neighborhood it is in), goes all the way back to 1918.  The most famous employee Lieutenant Stevens (that is his real name), started working here in 1945.  According to a printout I was given during my visit, he is still working here.  But I believe he did retire a few years ago.  Dinglewood Pharmacy is such a local institution, ornaments featuring it will hang on the White House Christmas tree

this year. 
 
Considering the unique dish, the history of the place and the very friendly people, Dinglewood Pharmacy is a worthwhile stop when traveling through western Georgia.
 
Dinglewood Pharmacy
1939 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA
706-322-0616
 
 
Just in case people wonder where the thread title comes from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzQrgb-NH0A
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/07/12 11:02:21
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 15:09:47
Awesome!  I think the scrambled dog sounds like a great idea for those of us who will inevitably end up wearing half a chili dog.  I am glad you pointed out the bright pink sliced up hot dog because I saw that picture and said 'why is there strawberries in that?'  But that may be the flu talking.  Also, you didn't happen to ask what a Boston Cooler is did you?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 15:15:14
Nancy-
Either those do look like strawberries or I have the flu, too!  No, I did not ask about the Boston Cooler.  Anybody out there know?
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 15:35:07
Maybe they got the pages for scrambled dog and strawberry shortcake stuck together -- 'it tastes like feet!'
mar52
Sirloin
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 16:10:55
Well that Scrambled Dog is the greatest thing I've seen!  

I basically do that to my chili dogs when eating them sans the crackers and pickles.

Yes, I eat my chili dogs with a knife and fork.

I'd love it if my favorite places served them in a bowl.

Guess it's just another dish to wash.


joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 16:15:46
buffetbuster, That scrambled dog looks great.  Heck, I would even try it with strawberries.

I found a place in Scranton last week that does Texas chili cheeseburger omelets and Texas weiner omelets.  They were excellent!

I'm going to get off this thread now before you and Nancy give me the flu.
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 16:52:42
@Nancypalooza - I like it.  I mean, what's not to like? Strawberries, good. Hot dogs, good. Chili, GOOD!  In fact, I'm going into the bathroom so I can watch myself in the mirror as I eat it!!   
post edited by billyboy - 2009/11/11 16:55:06
NYPIzzaNut
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 17:01:07
Let us know if you ran into a side dish of okra fries (cut the long way) with marinara sauce.  We have a new soul food restaurant in our area who serves them.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 17:59:24
Wikipedia gives me a guess about the Boston Cooler: 
http://en.wikipedia.org/w...eam_soda#Boston_cooler

A Boston cooler is typically composed of ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. Variations abound, however, with club soda, sherbet, rum, vanilla vodka, milk, sugar, or even coffee sometimes added or substituted for the key ingredients. In Ohio, a root beer float is also referred to as a Boston cooler.[citation needed]

The origin of the Boston cooler lies in Detroit, Michigan, the city in which Fred Sanders is credited with inventing the ice cream soda. The name almost certainly has no connection to Boston, Massachusetts, where the beverage is virtually unknown. One theory is that it was named after Detroit's Boston Boulevard, the main thoroughfare of what was then an upper-class neighborhood a short distance from James Vernor's drugstore.

post edited by ralphmelton - 2009/11/11 18:01:12
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 19:41:45
That looks awesome!

So does that mean eating the Scrambled Dog may be covered in our AFLAC policies?


Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 19:46:20
Thanks Ralph!  Billyboy, you wear that Joey shirt awfully well.  :)
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 21:57:12
Yeah, it matches the special Tribbiani "meat pants" I'll have on this Thanksgiving!  
Large Man
Hamburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/11 22:55:07
You have reviewed a favorite of mine.  I ate there while attending classses at Columbus State Univ.   The Lt. is there during lunch during the week and he makes a great scrambled dog!  You also fix your own drink and have the option of putting a squirt of cherry or vanilla syrup in it.  One scrambled dog with hot sauce on top of the chilli with cheese, onions, crackers and pickles is heaven for lunch.  The parking lot is packed on Friday at noon - professionals, construction workers, secretaries the elderly, even moms with kids are all there packed in together. 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 07:38:24
JoeRogo-
Texas chile cheeseburger omelets and Texas wiener omelets?  Oh, I am so there! 

 
Large Man-
Great to hear from another Dinglewood Pharmacy fan.  Are you saying that Lieutenant Stevens does still work there?

Ralph-
Thanks for the info.  Ginger ale and vanilla ice cream doesn't sound very appetizing to me, though.

NYPizzaNut-

Sorry, I didn't come across any okra fries on my trip.  But than again, I wasn't looking for it.  I will keep my eyes open from now on.
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 09:00:23
On Thursday morning, I had breakfast at a real Roadfood classic, Bogue's.

This is another one of those places that doesn't look like it has changed a thing since the 1950's and I mean that in a good way.  Time seems to stand still here.  The inside is quiet and mostly in comfortable, old booths.
 
The theme of the decorations is University of Alabama football prints and vintage radios.

 
The well worn menu says about omelets, "It's kinda what we're known for",

but I was in the mood for biscuits and gravy.  They have something called Bogue's Country Scramble, which is biscuits and gravy, with scrambled eggs on top, so I went with that.


As you can see in the second photo by the steam coming up, it was served piping hot.  The biscuits were soft and tasted fresh from the oven.  The gravy was on the thin side and normally I would think of that as a negative.  It also wasn't overly peppery.  But it was creamy rich and was the best biscuit gravy I had on the trip.  You do get your choice between sausage patties, sausage links and bacon.  My sausage links (crunchy casing, with a lean, flavorful interior) were so good, I asked the waitress what they do special.  She told me they don't do anything different, but she gets told all the time how good the sausage is.  Maybe it is the atmosphere? 
 
The service was friendly and I was called sweetie by my waitress.  While paying at the register, I noticed a sign saying the sweet rolls are available in take home packs.  Anyone had the sweet rolls from Bogue's?  Did I miss out?
 
Bogue's
3028 Clairmont Avenue S.
Birmingham, AL
205-254-9780
 
[link=http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/6262-6404/bogues]http://www.roadfood.com/R...eview/6262-6404/bogues[/link]
 
 
The plans for the day was to have lunch in Montgomery and then east.  My first stop was going to be in Clanton and stop at Heaton Pecan Farm.  But for some reason, my GPS started to act strange and I was unable to find it.  No big deal, the place in Clanton I most wanted to visit was Durbin Farm Market famous for their peach pie and peach ice cream.  Unfortunately, my GPS was now taking me well out into the middle of nowhere.  I knew I had to be going in the wrong direction, so I started looking for a place to pull over and ask. 
 
I saw a little peanut stand, with two women outside hanging up signs, so I pulled in. And since I was here, why not grab some boiled peanuts for the road?  Well, it turns out this place had just opened and I was their very first customer ever!  The owner told me she was ex-Army and was looking for something to do in her retirement to keep busy.  I ended up buying a large bag of the regular boiled peanuts, which was $4.00.  Here are the pots

(regular on the left, Cajun on the right)
and she was happy to pose for a photo out front.

Good luck to the Peanut Barn and its very nice owner.  She pointed me in the right direction, back to Durbin Farm Market and I enjoyed snacking on the boiled peanuts

for the rest of the trip.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/12 10:01:20
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 09:16:02
Man that Bogue's Country Scramble looks awesome! How come you didn't get some sweet rolls to go?

That's so cool that you ever their first customer ever!!! They better save that bill and frame it

I'll looking forward to the peachiness from Durbin Farm Market...too bad about Heaton Pecan Farm, I love me some peee-caaans.
Wintem01
Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 09:52:01
Certainly a great looking breakfast. I am curious about the scrambled dog. I can't remember ever seeing something that's more expensive if you get it to go. Interesting.
Lizzieslulu
Hamburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 10:20:52
I am so sorry you missed Heaton's Pecan Farm. They have the best pecan pie. They are right at exit 208 behind Shoney's. Maybe you can get there next time.
Where was that peanut stand located? I would love to visit them.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 13:13:56
Biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs is my very favorite breakfast and that looks like a wonderful version.  Best of luck to the Peanut Barn lady!  That's really a pretty good business to get into in the South.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 14:56:07
Lizzieslulu
Where was that peanut stand located? I would love to visit them.
If you go right out of Durbin Farms' parking lot, just go straight for about 8-10 miles and it will be on the right.  As for the pecans, I am a nut frowner.  The only reason I would have stopped in would be to bring home something for my girlfriend.
 
If you stop at Peanut Barn, please let us know how they are doing!
 
Nancy-
Do you think this woman expected her first customer would be some camera-toting Yankee, who doesn't know how to use his GPS?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 16:32:17
I pulled into Durbin Farm Market a little after they opened at 9:00AM.  The produce section wasn't as big as I expected, considering the size of the building. 

To the left is the inside seating, where they make the hot food and more importantly, keep the ice cream.  I asked the teenage girl if it was too early to get some peach ice cream and she said, "Of course not!".  Here are my two scoops.

The ice cream was subtley flavored and tasted very fresh.  You can see little flecks

of peaches in this closer shot.   Not great ice cream, but still well worth the stop, considering its proximity to the interstate.  There was a big dessert case, with all kinds of good looking treats, but no peach pie.  I asked the young girl, but she told me no peach pie today.  At least they had a giant pumpkin to check out.

 
Durbin Farm Market
2130 7th Street S.
Clanton, AL

 
[link=http://www.durbinfarms.info/%3C/a%3E%3C/font%3E%3C/a%3E]http://www.durbinfarms.in...%3E%3C/font%3E%3C/a%3E[/link]
 
Getting into Montgomery early, gave me a chance to walk around see some sights.  Here is the state capitol building, which I toured in 2007.

It is tough to see, but the people in yellow shirts were members of the NAACP who were protesting.  This attractive fountain

caught my eye and you can barely see the capitol building just to the right of the it.  There is also a Hank Williams Museum, which I didn't have time to explore.  But, I did get a shot of his statue

in a little park area.
 
At a few minutes before 11:00AM, I pulled up outside Martha's Place,

a restaurant inside an old house in what is a pleasant residential neighborhood.  Sitting on the porch for a few minutes, there was no signs of life inside and it started to make me wonder.  It soon became obvious that despite what the sign on the door and their website say, this place was not opening today.  I've been Travelin Manned!  Wanting to know what happened, I asked the guys planting trees across the street if they knew anything.  The foreman told me that Martha's Place used to have a line around the block before they opened, but he heard they only do catering nowadays.  Very disappointing!  I want back to my car to see what my backup options were. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/12 16:35:25
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 17:35:55
I looked over my cheat sheet (Before I go on a trip, I make a long list of any possible places I might want to visit, along with their address, phone number and hours.  Even WJ makes fun of me for being this overly prepared) to see what my options were.  The closest place, Isaiah's looked like it was only a couple of blocks away.  My notes said it was a soul food place, specializing in catfish and cobbler.  That was all I needed to know!

When I pulled up at Isaiah's, I couldn't have been more surprised.  The place looked brand new

and nothing like the best soul food restaurants I have visited.  It was even attached next to a bed & breakfast!  This made me wonder if I made a bad decision by coming here.  The inside

is quite large and immaculate.  I mentioned to the pretty young waitress about how spotless the place was and she complained (just a little) about how the owner makes them spend a lot of time cleaning.  Good for him!

Instead of a menu, you are given a sheet

with all the food listed.  Just circle what you want and give it to the waitress.  I was trying to think what other restaurants I have visited that used this same method and came up with Little Tea Shop in Memphis, Yarbrough's Restaurant in Kansas and Bridges Barbecue Lodge in North Carolina.  What places have I forgotten?

Here is what my lunch looked like.

I don't know about you, but that was one of the most appetizing plates of food I have seen in a long time.  The lemon pepper catfish,


which is the dish they are best known for, was wonderful.  I was mildly concerned that the strong lemon pepper flavor would overwhelm the fish, but they worked beautifully together.  The fish itself was boneless, firm but tender and absolutely delicious.

Lunch comes with two sides, but I paid $1.79 extra to get a third vegetable.  Of course, I got the macaroni and cheese.

Soft and cheesy, it was so hot it must have just come out of the oven.  Very good!  The candied yams

were ordered because of a recommendation by my waitress and she was 100% right.  Cooked until they were as soft as can be and loaded with brown sugar, this could have been dessert instead of a vegetable.  But the best of the sides was the collard greens,

with a deep earthy, slightly bitter taste.  These were fantastic and proved to be an excellent contrast to the other sides.  Also coming with the meal was a nice little cornbread muffin.


Dessert here is either cream cheese pound cake or peach cobbler. Easy decision, I went with the cobbler.  But instead of getting the usual small portion in a bowl, it was delivered in a sundae glass. 

Another food that is almost too pretty to eat!  This was also extremely hot and made me think it had just come from the oven.  Even though there was way more of the breading

than the peaches, the breading was so good, I didn't mind at all.  To drink with all of this, some super sweet, strong iced tea.

If you noticed by the previous interior photo, a lot of the protesters from the capitol ended up eating here at Isaiah's.  They obviously have good taste!  On the way out, I chatted for a few minutes with the owner

and he was pleased to hear how much I enjoyed my meal.  Nice guy!

Isaiah's Restaurant
135 Mildred Street
Montgomery, AL
334-265-9000


Getting back on the highway, I headed east towards Auburn.  Soon noticing the sign for Waugh, I got off to look for Fuller's Char House, which used to be in some of the old Roadfood books.  I asked some people at the convenience store at the end of the exit ramp and they told me that it is under different owners and now called Mae's Wings & Things.  Knowing I had plenty of places to hit on this day, I got back on I-85 to Auburn. 

After buying some shirts at the university bookstore, I stopped into Toomer's Drugs
 

for one of their famous lemonades.  After hearing about this place for years during Auburn football games, I was glad to finally make it here.  They do a nice menu of sandwiches and soda fountain treats, but all I got was one of the fresh squeezed lemonades, which was very good and refreshing on this hot day.  Unfortunately, my photos of the lemonade were too blurry to post.

Toomer's Drugs
100 North College Street
Auburn, AL
334-887-3488

http://www.toomersdrugs.com/

I walked around this quaint little college town, drinking my lemonade for about a half hour.

post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/12 17:44:19
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 18:01:21
Eating at Isiah's seems like the best accident ever...too bad that Martha's isn't doing too hot but looks like you found a good alternative! That catfish looks amazing, terrific photos....and that mac & cheese....and that peach cobbler...
JDAStonewall
Hamburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 18:49:01
Buffetbuster-The key to a good Boston Cooler is that you can't just use any old ginger ale. You have to use Detroits very own Vernors! Next time you are in the Flint Michigan area stop and get one at a Halo Burger and you won't be disappointed. And while you are there try one of their famous burgers as well.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 19:22:53
Cliff I think those Isaiah's pictures must be among your best--you can see the little grey fibers in the catfish, for Pete's sake.  I could eat that right off my screen.  Beautiful.  I can only imagine how it tastes.  It's extremely improbable that the peanut lady could have anticipated you but that's the beauty of serendipity.

I started to tell you about an infamous episode of 'TV Nation' that I thought took place at the state house in Alabama but looking it up it happened in Mississippi.  I wonder if their state houses look similar.  So did you ever find out what was being protested?

I don't think it's considered an RF place, but the Char-Grill in Raleigh has paper slips.  That is charming.  Can somebody explain fried corn to me?

JDA--do you know why it's called a Boston Cooler if it's appropriately made with Vernor's?  Or does Vernor's region include the east coast?
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 19:47:52
Nancypalooza 
JDA--do you know why it's called a Boston Cooler if it's appropriately made with Vernor's?  Or does Vernor's region include the east coast? 
 


Wikipedia says, "The name almost certainly has no connection to Boston, Massachusetts, where the beverage is virtually unknown. One theory is that it was named after Detroit's Boston Boulevard, the main thoroughfare of what was then an upper-class neighborhood a short distance from James Vernor's drugstore."

JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 19:56:14



Cliff,

How'd folks in Alabama like that UGa shirt?

I always wondered about those Hot Boiled Peanut stands.  They never seem to get enough people stopping to make it worthwhile.  My theory is that they also sell another agricultural product in small plastic bags to turn their profit.  Sheer speculation, mind you.

Not to hijack this thread, but I just put up a follow-up to your report from The Penguin.

Jim
post edited by JRPfeff - 2009/11/12 19:57:48
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 20:36:55
Ralph, you make an awesome Meltonpedia!  Thank you.
NC Cheesehead
Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 21:06:23
Cliff,

Thank you once again for an excellent report.

I got a chuckle out of the "pet name" your server called you.  I'm finding that its very common down south for female servers to call you "sweetie" or "honey."  My southern based Mrs. has always joked that its no big deal.  As a yankee like you, I wasn't sure how to respond.  She just calls it "Southern hospitality" and I should just get over it!
NC Cheesehead
Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/12 21:33:04
I am mad at myself for not stopping at Isaiha's while passing through Montgomery a couple of weeks ago.  That place looks 1st class and the prices look reasonable as well.

I don't want to ruffle the feathers of my friends from the south but I find boiled peanuts extremely bland.  However, there is a fried version available all across the south.  My wife got bag of these from a store just down the road.  I have seen them at truck stops from the carolinas all the way to texas.  These are extremely addictive.  You can either peel them or eat them whole.  Depends on how much fiber you want....

http://www.jerrysnuts.com/




buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 08:31:41
EatingTheRoad

Eating at Isiah's seems like the best accident ever.
Actually, it isn't even the best accident in the last month.  That would be PK's Homestyle Cooking in Spartanburg.  But I still feel very fourtunate to have found this place.  I can't imagine the meal at Martha's Place being any better than what I was served at Isaiah's.
 
As for why I didn't get the sweet rolls from Bogue's to go, I knew that I had a monster eating day ahead of me.  There is no way I could have eaten a few of those and still hit all the places I wanted to.
 
JRPfeff-
You need to get your eyes checked.  I recommend a big slice of carrot cake for breakfast.  That is a UNLV shirt.  I definitely know better than to wear a UGA shirt in enemy SEC territory.
 
Nancy-
Thanks for the compliment.  I was really pleased with how well the photos from Isaiah's turned out.
 
WJ and I ate at Char Grill earlier this year, but I don't remember the slips of paper.  I think we just walked up and ordered at the menu.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 08:37:16
JDAStonewall

Buffetbuster-The key to a good Boston Cooler is that you can't just use any old ginger ale. You have to use Detroits very own Vernors! Next time you are in the Flint Michigan area stop and get one at a Halo Burger and you won't be disappointed. And while you are there try one of their famous burgers as well.
I don't drink ginger ale very often, but when I am in Michigan, you can bet I am drinking Vernors.  Great stuff!  Thanks for the tip about Halo Burger in Flint.  I may be in that area in the next month or so.
 
NC Cheesehead-
No problem here with the waitresses calling me honey or dearie.  It is standard practice, especially in the South.  I can't remember ever getting bad service from someone calling me sweetie. 

Lizzieslulu
Hamburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 09:33:44
Great pictures! I can't wait to try Isaiah's. I go to Montgomery often in the summer for Biscuits Baseball but will be sure to go soon now.

Nancy-
Fried corn is basically the same thing as creamed corn. Southerners just call it fried because we often make it in an iron skillet.
greypatches
Junior Burger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 10:25:35
Thanks for the great trip report - everything looks great and Isaiah's was especially nice to read about and see your fine pictures.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 10:29:54
For some odd reason, I had biscuits and gravy for breakfast all three days in Birmingham.  On Friday morning, I went to Niki's West.  My previous visit here was for dinner, but they open at 6:00AM and advertise their breakfast,

so I thought it would be worth checking out.
 
When I walked in, I started to go through the cafeteria line, but the hostess told me they have waitress service for breakfast.  Obviously, I got the biscuits and gravy, with sausage on the side.  What I didn't realize was I had somehow ordered sausage biscuits, with gravy on the side.

No matter, I just poured the gravy over top of the sandwiches and ate them like that.  The soft, fluffy biscuits were good as was the sausage patties, but the gravy was a little too thin for me.  They also told me a cinnamon roll

came with my meal, but it was excessively doughy and not that cinnamony.
 
I asked if they had pies ready and the friendly waitress checked for me and said they did.  Here is my slice of lemon ice box pie.

This pie had a very strong lemon flavor, but the consistency was too gloppy.  The graham cracker crust also seemed to be just an afterthought.  Not very good at all.  From now on, I will stick with the lunches and dinners at Niki's West.
 
On Saturday morning, I went to Courtney's,

which was just a little outside the downtown Birmingham area.  Courtney's looks like a typical small town cafe, with booths and tables on both sides of the counter. 

Most of the diners here seemed to be regulars.  My biscuits and gravy

contained some huge chunks of sausage,

which is never a bad thing.  The gravy was plenty thick, but contained too much pepper in it for my taste.
 
Courtney's Restaurant
2300 6th Avenue S
Birmingham, AL
205-251-3463
 
There is no doubt that of the breakfasts I had on this trip, Bogue's was a clear number one!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/13 10:59:33
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 11:16:33
Too bad on that Lemon Ice Box Pie...it looks more like a lemon Jell-O pudding mix.

What's that yellow squiggly in front of Courtney's?

That's some serious sausage action...I like loads of pepper in my biscuits and gravy


buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 11:21:10
ETR-
Then you would have really liked the gravy at Courtney's.  It was too much for me, though.  You know, I didn't really notice the squiggly line on the front of Courtney's until I saw the photo.  I have no clue what that is supposed to be.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 11:25:32
I didn't notice the yellow squiggly either, and now I'm terribly curious.

Yeah, that last plate of b&g would have suited me fine but these days I'm planning my meals around what will clear out my nose (wasabi, pickled cabbage) so I understand where you might not want to eat that on purpose.
JDAStonewall
Hamburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 12:54:29
Nancy- Sorry I don't know the history of the Boston Cooler name but my guess would be that what Ralph found is correct. Vernors itself used to only be found in a small part of the midwest but it is slowly spreading across the country. My sister that lives in Durham, NC recently found it in a store there. This is making me curious about regional soda pops. I am going to have head to the beverage forum to see what I can find.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 13:31:49
Spending this much time in the South, no surprise that I ate some bbq.  Actually, I ate LOTS of bbq.  The last stop I made before flying home was at Full Moon Bar-B-Que.  This place was drawn to my attention by its appearance on a list of "100 Things to Eat in Alabama Before You Die". 
 
   http://www.800alabama.com/yof/topDishes/
  
One of the first things you notice about this place is that instead of the typical pig theme and decorations throughout, they use a moon.


With the color scheme, neon signs and the moon mural, I think the outside of this place is striking.
 
I started my meal with the cole slaw,

which was one of those "100 Things to Eat".  The cole slaw is very crisp, with a strong vinegary flavor, with some added pickley sweetness.  I absolutely loved it!  Not being overly hungry, I got a pork bbq sandwich.

As you can see, this is a substantial sandwich.  The pork was lean and moist, with a healthy amount of the faintly sweet bbq sauce on it.  And as you can see from the other side,

the sandwich also comes with a couple pickle chips, plus a generous dose of the more sweet than spicy chow-chow.  Nice soft bun, too.  You can help yourself to the strong sweet tea.

 
The other item that Full Moon Bar-B-Que is most famous for is their half moon cookies.  So, I bought a half dozen to go, nicely wrapped

for easy traveling.  These are chocolate chip cookies, dipped halfway into chocolate.

My plan was to share them with the ladies in the office, but after I ate one, the rest quickly disappeared.  Hopefully, they aren't reading this!  
 
Another thing I liked about this place is that they had several tvs in the dining room, so I could sit there and watch some football games.  There are plenty of other things to sample on their big menu, but based on what I had, Full Moon Bar-B-Que gets a big thumbs up from me.
 
Full Moon Bar-B-Que
337 Valley Avenue
Birmingham, AL
205-942-9957 
 
There are a handful of other locations around the city. 
 
http://www.fullmoonbbq.com/

post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/13 13:41:53
NC Cheesehead
Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 14:10:05
That BBQ looks incredible.  Bad thing was I blew right by it a couple of weeks ago to get home during the weekend of the Talledhega race.  We wanted to get past the traffic.  Next time through, I will definitely stop in.
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 14:11:00
That squiggly yellow turned into a lot more than I thought! It's a sculpture (steel) by artist Branko Medenica titled "Leprechaun Lane". It was constructed in May 1981. It was lent to the Greater Birmingham Arts Alliance in August 1983 but was moved and reinstalled at Courtney's after the Alliance disbanded in 1993.






Then he made a replica of Vulcan for Birmingham's sister city of Hitachi, Japan:


A little bit about Branko, he's 59 years old, a current resident of Birmingham, Alabama (where his main studio is). He attended Birmingham-Southern College from 1968-72 earning his Bachelor of Arts. Then attended the University of Mississippi from 1973-75 earning his Master of Fine Arts with a Major in Sculpture and a Minor in Ceramics.




The essence of my work evolves from an exploration of both the physical and psychological movement in man in interaction with the spectrum of influences in inherent in nature. I aesthetically redefine the emotional impact of nature on man in motion.
At the foundation of the physical and psychological movement. I incorporate fluid forms, minimal line, segments of motion, or combinations of these and other elements to create a visual dialogue of movement. Surface texture, real or implied, has a harmonizing effect that reflects nature. This effect contributes to the blending of motion and nature into a single cohesive form.

These forms are shaped, combined, and textured to create a visual statement—a dialogue of movement and time.


EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 14:12:13
P.S. I want that pulled pork sandwich for lunch right now!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 15:00:00
Needing pie on Friday afternoon, I wanted to visit the Johnny Ray's location I stopped at in 2007.  Only it seemed to be gone and was replaced by something called Baby Ray's Bar B Que

Even though the names were similar, I was thinking about eating somewhere else, until I saw the sign I was looking for.

Johnny Ray's was best known for Honey's Pies, so this is what I needed to see.
 
Grabbing a booth, I was quickly brought a sweet tea.  Not sure why, but this big tumbler of sweet tea really caught my eye. 

In some of the reviews by Jane & Michael Stern, they talk about the importance of lots of ice to good sweet tea and I really liked how this looked.  This was the best sweet tea I had on my trip and there were lots of unusual looks by the staff since I took about a half dozen photos of it.
 
Thinking there is always some room for a little bit of bbq, I got a pork bbq sandwich.

By no means was this bad, but it was rather ordinary.  I ate most of it, but that was just killing time until dessert.  On the previous visit, Johnny and I had slices of coconut and chocolate pie, so this time I went with the banana.

Oh, baby, what a piece of pie this was!  It had a dense filling, lots of banana slices and an airy meringue top.  Now I was wishing I had skipped the sandwich and went with two pieces of pie, but I was too full to get another.
 
My waitress told me that this place broke away from the Johnny Ray's chain.  The nice pig mural on the side wall is gone, but they still have plenty of pig figurines inside.

Service here was excellent and my waitress (on the left)

was very outgoing and bubbly. And isn't that photo proof that we really can get along, despite our differences?  Of course, I'm talking about Alabama-Auburn fans here!
 
My advice would be to visit Johnny Ray's Baby Ray's Bar B Que for the pie, especially the banana creme.
 
Baby Ray's Bar B Que
316 Valley Avenue
Birmingham, AL
205-945-7437
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 15:30:25
Two for two for barbecue!  Awesome, and those cookies . . I'm not surprised they didn't make it home.

Thanks for the info on the squiggly ETR--very interesting!
Ahi Mpls.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/13 21:36:00
  I now have a little game I play when reading your trip reports; study the menu and determine what BB is going to get...and while I'm usually fairly close, I must tell you that I NAILED Bogue's !! tho I was given pause by the T-Bone pork chop, tell me, did that cross your mind?   beautiful pics, and thanks for the Beavis and But*head moment at the begining of the report!! 
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/14 08:54:13
The pie looks outstanding. As always, a report well worth reading.
Extreme Glow
Double Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/14 10:43:44
"I was trying to think what other restaurants I have visited that used this same method and came up with Little Tea Shop in Memphis, Yarbrough's Restaurant in Kansas and Bridges Barbecue Lodge in North Carolina.  What places have I forgotten? " 


Mary Mac's in Atlanta!

Nice report... now I'm hungry.


post edited by Extreme Glow - 2009/11/14 10:46:35
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/14 10:59:34
Extreme Glow

"I was trying to think what other restaurants I have visited that used this same method and came up with Little Tea Shop in Memphis, Yarbrough's Restaurant in Kansas and Bridges Barbecue Lodge in North Carolina.  What places have I forgotten? " 


Mary Mac's in Atlanta!

Nice report... now I'm hungry.


I love that place!

...also The Counter and almost all Japanese restaurants you can order this way.
post edited by EatingTheRoad - 2009/11/14 11:03:10
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/15 12:21:32
BB, another great report, man!  Love the cobbler in a sundae glass!  Isiah's just goes to show that great food brings people from all walks together.  What did you think of the boiled peanuts' texture?  Keep 'em comin'!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/15 18:43:07
AHI MPLS

  I now have a little game I play when reading your trip reports; study the menu and determine what BB is going to get...and while I'm usually fairly close, I must tell you that I NAILED Bogue's !! tho I was given pause by the T-Bone pork chop, tell me, did that cross your mind?   beautiful pics, and thanks for the Beavis and But*head moment at the begining of the report!! 
Now that I know that, I will take more photos of the menus or menu boards.  The T-Bone pork chop is definitely something I would order, but that is what I ate during my last visit to Bogue's.
 
Extreme Glow-
How could I forget Mary Mac's!

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/15 19:20:24
The single best barbecue joint I visited on my trip was 13th Street Bar-B-Que in Phenix City.  Located on a small side street, you most likely would never just stumble upon this place, you would need to have been looking for it.  Once again, I was tipped off by the "100 Things to Eat in Alabama List". 

Jane and Michael Stern write that one of the surest signs of a good Roadfood restaurant is if they bill themselves as "The Home of....."  When I pulled up and saw that they bill themselves as "Home of the Pork Chop Sandwich",


I had a good feeling. The building

itself is nothing to look at and sits next to a hair salon in a two business mini-strip mall.  The menu board

offered some interesting options, including getting a pork sandwich either chipped, chopped or sliced.  But there was no doubt that I was here for the pork chop sandwich.

I started with a small cup of the Brunswick Stew,

which had a nice, tangy zip to it.  When I ordered my pork chop sandwich, they asked if I wanted the hot or the mild hot mustard sauce.  Not knowing just how hot the hot was, they gave me sample.  It most definitely deserved to be called hot and I was concerned that something with this strong a flavor would detract from the rest of the sandwich.  So the mild it was.  Here is my pork chop sandwich. 

It came on a soft, poppy seed bun and the tender, moist meat was well over an inch thick in places. It also comes with a tasty bbq slaw.
 
Since the mild sauce was a little too mild for me, I did eventually experiment with the sauces

that were on the table until I found the perfect blend.

I think because they saw me sitting there taking photos and that they were getting ready to close and had some extra food, the young guy came over and gave me some ribs to try.



Even though these St. Louis style ribs were short in length, they were mighty big in meat and flavor.  I loved the jagged edges of meat, also with some good crusty chews, they reminded me very much of the ribs I ate at McClard's in Arkansas last year, which is certainly high praise.

The original plan after leaving Phenix City was to visit Chuck's BBQ in Opelika, but I was too full after my visit to 13th Street.

13th Street Bar-B-Q
1310 7th Avenue
Phenix City, AL
334-291-1833

There are also locations in Ladonia and Columbus, GA.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/15 19:24:29
EatingTheRoad
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/15 19:40:18
Excellent photos! I need to stop reading your posts after already having dinner...I find your reports to bring back an appetite no matter how full I was moments earlier....good thing there's no pie in these so far
Ahi Mpls.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 12:06:41
  Too easy!!  " Home of... "  = BB's lunch!  looks like they might have "pannini pressed"  the sandwich just a bit? and what's the story on the 2.00 PIE!?  
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 13:12:50
I would probably never have ordered that without seeing a picture--the name really doesn't do it justice.  It should be the Giant Pork Slab Sandwich.  :)
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 13:25:58
Nancypalooza

I would probably never have ordered that without seeing a picture--the name really doesn't do it justice.  It should be the Giant Pork Slab Sandwich.  :)

 
I envisioned something entirely different.  That looks like a thick slice from a bbq pork roast (and it looks good).

lckt13
Junior Burger
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 15:52:47
The best food in Alabama is in Atlanta!  sorry sorry excuse for a State period and I am from Opp and graduated from Auburn. the Dew Drop Inn in Mobile is sufficient if on survival mode. Head to New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston or Savannah if hungry.

Alabama = NO food!  Even Whole Foods held off this long before surrendering to Birmingham denizens who moved there from out of state and needed a good grocer. Not one Trader Joes in the entire state. That says it all.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 16:02:48
Unfortunately, not all of my bbq meals were good.  On Saturday, I walked into the Birmingham location of Dreamland BBQ

just as they were opening at 10:00AM.  There were already some LSU fans inside getting an order of ribs to go.  When the waiter walked over to seat me, the first thing he asked me was "Auburn or Alabama?  Or LSU?"  I said, "Well, I'm from Pittsburgh, so how about Pitt?"  He made a face, declared me an impartial observer and sat me at a table.  He did tell me he was from Kenya and was a big Auburn fan.  Funny how quickly people get drawn into the rivalry once they move here.
 
You are not given a menu, you jut order off of the menu board on the wall.

Even before I ordered my food, I was brought a plate with a healthy sized bowl of the bbq sauce and some white bread for dipping. 

The bread was on the stale side, but I sure do enjoy Dreamland's lip tingling sauce.  To drink, I went with the sweet tea,

which was shockingly weak.  This was easily the worst sweet tea I had on my trip. 
 
Of course, here at Dreamland, the thing to order is the ribs, so I got a half slab.

From this pic, the ribs look pretty good.  But despite how big these were, there was not much meat.  There were lots of crusty inedible parts.  The beans,

full of that delicious sauce were the highlight of the meal here.
 
The inside of Dreamland BBQ was interesting and fun.  The interior is on the dark side,

with lots of wooden booths, college football decorations and a long, popular bar.  They do have a pit out in the open,

where you can watch the pitmaster work.  And like the Mobile location, they have this classy sign. 

post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/11/16 16:10:32
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 16:14:04
lckt13

The best food in Alabama is in Atlanta!  sorry sorry excuse for a State period and I am from Opp and graduated from Auburn. the Dew Drop Inn in Mobile is sufficient if on survival mode. Head to New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston or Savannah if hungry.

Alabama = NO food!
I could not disagree with you more!  There is lots of great food in Alabama and this trip report is at least partial proof.  What is funny is the one place you cite, the Dew Drop Inn in Mobile, I don't think is very good.

NYPIzzaNut
Filet Mignon
Re:A few days in Alabama 2009/11/16 17:47:13
lckt13

The best food in Alabama is in Atlanta!  sorry sorry excuse for a State period and I am from Opp and graduated from Auburn. the Dew Drop Inn in Mobile is sufficient if on survival mode. Head to New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston or Savannah if hungry.

Alabama = NO food!  Even Whole Foods held off this long before surrendering to Birmingham denizens who moved there from out of state and needed a good grocer. Not one Trader Joes in the entire state. That says it all.
I lived in AL for 7 plus years and really enjoyed the food, especially fried okra and ribs and BBQ pork and all the great side dishes.  Also loved the country ham and the friendly folks.


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