I know what you’re thinking. (Shut up about your anniversary!)
Sorry! One last quick post before I fall even more behind. On the same day we visited Lazy Magnolia, we started and ended our day in Bay St. Louis, a lovely coastal town just about an hour from Gautier. Like much of the Mississippi coast, Bay St. Louis was hurt badly by Katrina. But it is so nice to see it push hard to bring itself back. This was my first time, and I’d love to go back as soon as I am able!
We started with breakfast at the Mockingbird Cafe.
Then we wandered around doing some antiquing and shopping before a boutique owner asked us if we were from around the area. When she found out we weren’t, she urged us to go by the tourism office and get us some Magnolia Money. It’s just lovely! In an effort to boost tourism in the county, out-of-towners get vouchers that are as good as cash. We first ran over to Lazy Mag, then we came back to claim our MM—$20 each!
Of course, the restaurant that caught our eye didn’t accept it, but that was probably because it had only been open a month. James recalled a restaurant that he and his family used to go to when he was young—Dock of the Bay. We knew that Katrina washed it away, but we weren’t sure where it had been. So James asked the bartender, and the response?
So we decided to stay at The Blind Tiger, a hip little restaurant right on the water. Guests sit indoors but the outdoor bay breeze blows through. We ordered too much food and a couple of drinks.
Check out my grouper sandwich with chipotle mayo. Amazing!
Then we spent that Magnolia Money! New PJ shorts and cute little Kitchen Papers place mats from a boutique.
Tada! Crab on Kraft.
This truly was a great anniversary trip.
Oh, and we finished off the day with wine and Veep.
Check out the rest of our trip:
anniversary trip part 1 | what we ordered: ole biloxi schooner
anniversary trip part 2 | lazy magnolia
It’s our last night here, and while I have been down here plenty of times, I don’t think I’ve loved this place as much as I do now.
Hope y’all are having a great weekend!
James and I had the wonderful opportunity of writing features for the first issue of this beautiful publication. Lookout Alabama is a travel magazine for the Alabama area of Lookout Mountain.
If you know us, you may have remembered us talking a trip to Mentone that we took in February. It was there that we ate fried oreos for the first time and won some cash money right across the state line in Georgia.
I wrote a feature on the Mentone Springs Hotel, and James wrote about the Kamama art gallery. This magazine is full of wonderfully put together content by founders and editors Randy and Olivia Grider. You should definitely pick up a copy. Click here to see where it’s sold in the Lookout Mountain area or subscribe!
To celebrate year numero uno together, James and I took a trip down to the Gulf coast. We borrowed James’ parents’ vacay home in Gautier, Mississippi (which has an absolutely magnificent view of Mary Walker bayou) and used that as our home base while we jetted around a few different areas.
First stop was Pensacola! We spent the morning in the sun, cooled off with a bushwacker (see below), ate lunch at Peg Leg Pete’s, and sipped another drink (or two) on the boardwalk before calling it a day and heading back to the house.
But for dinner, we decided to hit up a place that James often went to when he was younger. The Ole Biloxi Schooner used to be closer to the water. But sadly, the original building was wiped away by Katrina. James has told me of the bustling atmosphere, the nautical interior and his favorite thing to order: a crab and cheese po’ boy. While I never got to see the original (or even the entire area pre-Katrina—the hurricane hit literally my second day of classes at UA my freshman year), I am delighted to still be able to order something that is special in James’ memory. Plus this sandwich is utterly comforting.
First let’s say, that I do love the newer location. It’s a beautiful old building with grand oversized light fixtures hanging from the ornate ceilings and a marble-top bar at the front of the house. We sat down in a booth, each ordered a po’ boy and I added a side of Schooner Fries to split!
The po’ boys come dressed and pressed unless you say otherwise. Dressed = lettuce, tomato and mayo, and pressed means they warm up that toasty french bread and let that American cheese just do it’s melty gooey thing. It’s simple and completely divine.
But wait! Don’t forget about the Schooner Fries. These babies are covered in a rich, yummy gravy. That’s pretty much all there is to it. If you come here, and you like gravy, you should order these fries, plain and simple.
We were just so happy! Much like these two shrimp dining togeths on what could perhaps be their anniversary.
There are a great many things Birmingham has to offer that let you feel that you are enjoying life to the fullest. I’ve often found myself searching for just the right suggestions for out-of-towners searching for somewhere to go, somewhere to truly experience Birmingham. The city has several attractions: the Civil Rights Institute, the Vulcan, Birmingham Museum of Art, Sloss Furnace, Railroad Park (just to name a few), or just driving around beautiful, historic neighborhoods and experiencing the architecture and the culture.
If this locale fits the crowd you’re with, I suggest a boozy afternoon at Avondale Brewing‘s taproom.
First, head two doors down over to Saw’s. (I reviewed this place some time ago, when their only location was in Edgewood, but the city now boasts two more locations: Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale as well as Saw’s Juke Joint in Crestline. This little establishment has seen some well-deserved growth.)
Back to your to-do list: place an order at Saw’s. I recommend one of their Baker’s—the pork one is incredible. (UPDATE: This is also a beautifully rustic and well-constructed dish that I would highly recommend.) On top of this oversized baked potato, you have an entire layer of tender, juicy, divine pulled pork with crispy, charred edges. Then as you dive deeper in, you get a layer of cheesy potato with green onions and more pork. And if you order a side of white sauce, it’s just all over.
Or you could also get the Saw’s Burger, which is a darn good burger. And on the side, order onion rings or fries—you can’t go wrong either way.
Then carry your food over to the Avondale taproom, and find a spot to sit and eat while sipping a beer, perhaps a seasonal Peach Saison, which is light, crispy, and delicately sweet.
Finish that beer, then order a flight of their flagship beers.
My personal favorites are the Spring Street Saison which is citrusy and crisp (I’ve mentioned this before), the Scottish Ale with its sweet flavors and buttery aftertaste, and the Vanillaphant Porter, with chocolate and coffee undertones.
When I lived in Chile, I lived in french fry heaven.
Consider the chorillana: Home-fried papas fritas topped with steak, scrambled eggs, and fried onions. So wrong, so right.
We were up in Huntsville visiting James’ parents not too long ago, and they nearly made me tear up when they said they’d be frying their own french fries that night.
It’s just one of those things. I know I love french fries, but when I pop a fry into my mouth that is hot and crispy on the outside, and fresh, tender and rich on the inside, I can hardly articulate how my fry affection is taken to an almost forgotten level.
As Christmas approaches, I’m missing California more and more. I love my home here, though … but it’s ok to be a little homesick.
One thing I am quite homesick for are my momma’s tacos.
She always makes them when we’re at home. And of course, we pull out our little collection of La Victorias from the fridge. My personal favorite is Salsa Brava, which I’ve found is much spicier when purchased in California.
Last Christmas was no different from any other time periods spent at home, and we set the table with boxwood and red-ribbon accents. Brikki had a friend over, and it was wonderful.
I will miss those tacos this year. I will miss my mom, dad, and sisters this Christmas. But I am grateful for what I do have: my husband! My husband’s family! My pup! And, of course, I’m grateful for having two of my sisters so close by. Though they will spend Christmas in California, knowing I get to see them year round makes the distance not sting so badly. I am truly blessed.
Ok, so confession — this post is extremely delayed because I’m a bad blogger. I don’t think I’m going to review this restaurant, I’m just going to highly suggest that you go there and try it for yourself.
Our last night on our honeymoon in San Francisco, James and I had a serious sushi craving. And after some research, James discovered that our hotel was just a few blocks from Ryoko’s, a family-owned little spot with great reviews. We hungrily headed over in the blustering July breeze. It opened at 6 pm, and we arrived at about 5:50. We were the first ones there, and a line started to form as we waited outside. I knew we had found a great spot.
The atmosphere was rockin’. The restaurant was small, underground, dimly lit, and chill music was playing. I hear they have DJs weekend nights starting at around 8.
The service was great, and we started with a Sapporo on tap.
The sushi was so fresh and flavorful. I recommend the Alcatraz, the barbecued eel with avocado—that was our favorite. We also enjoyed the Spicy Golden Gate, which was spicy salmon, shiso, cucumber, and flying fish roe over the top.
Sushi by the sea—nothing I’ve had since that last night in San Fran has come close to this. I miss you, Ryoko! I will visit you again one day.