Archive | 10:34 pm

Hope’s Cheesecake – Gulf Shores, AL

18 Apr

The beacon of tasty cheesecake in LA (Lower Alabama) since 1996.

Exterior photo of Hope’s “candy cane” trimmed facade.

They take their work very seriously around here!

Who knew there would be so many choices???

We tried the chocolate/chocolate chip cheesecake — on a cone!

Words to live by when eating Bama’s best all-natural cheesecake.

Folks travel from near and far to enjoy Hope’s Cheesecake. Just take a look at all the push pins on the map seen above. You will not even find this many pins at your local accupuncture clinic!

They even sell six-packs — of cheesecake cupcakes, that is.

This is pure genius — peanut butter chessecake on a stick.

Key Lime Cheesecake is a big seller at this beachy locale. You can see pieces of real Key limes in each slice. I am also anxious to try their Chocolate Kahlua and Bailey’s & White Chocolate varieties. Both sound superb.

Hope’s ships all across the USA, so give ’em a try today! or 888 968-4673

Meeting Willie Mays & Hank Aaron

18 Apr

Hank Aaron Stadium – Mobile, Alabama (April 14, 2010)

Crowd gathering for Hank Aaron’s childhood home dedication. A star-studded group of baseball personalities make the trip to Mobile for the festivities. The guest list included Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, Commisioner Bud Selig, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Bruce Sutter, Bob Feller, and others.

Southern Belles were all gussied up for the big event.

Hank’s home was re-located to Gas Light Park on stadium grounds.

Hank shaking hands with local VIPs & politicians. He looked great.

It was a pleasure to squeeze Henry’s strong right hand.

The exterior & front porch of Hank’s boyhood home, originally built by Hank’s father.

Video exhibit inside the recently renovated home.

Hank Aaron’s “Jackie Robinson Legacy Award.”

Visitors gaze at the extensive collection of Aaron memorabilia.

One of Hank’s nicknames was, of course, “The Hammer.”

Family stove and brick-a-brack once used in the Aaron home.

More of Hank’s awards and memories.

Trophy recognizing Hank’s record setting 715th homer.

Hank was pretty intense when he had a bat in his hands.

Henry’s #44 Braves uniform and portrait (above)

I was gladly re-united with my old pal, Bob “Rapid Robert” Feller. Bob and I first met about 13 years ago when I was the GM of the Meridian Brakemen professional baseball club. Feller once served on the USS Alabama battleship, which now resides in Mobile Bay. “Rapid Robert” was voted baseball’s greatest living pitcher a few years back and you won’t get an argument from me.

Bullet Bob Feller could bring some serious heat way back in the day.

It’s the great “Say Hey Kid” – Willie Mays!

Willie getting ready to toss baseball to anxious fans.

I chatted with Willie as he relaxed in a beautiful Bentley ragtop. He was tired after traveling 12 hours from his home in Northern CA. Willie said he flew from SF to Dallas, Dallas to New Orleans, and then drove from New Orleans to Mobile. Willie apparently does not do small airplanes. What a sweet old guy he turned out to be – I really enjoyed our brief time together. Mays recently had eye surgery for cataracts and doesn’t see very well any more. Plus it was a sticky spring day in Mobile and the intense sun was starting to get to him. It was cool seeing him in a Mobile BayBears hat.

For more pictures from this once in a lifetime event, go to the following link:–&_bqO=27

Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s in Gulf Shores, AL

18 Apr

A nice place to chill out and wait for your table.

The boats that drop by Lulu’s are sometimes rather large. Lulu’s is located right on the Intercoastal Canal and just a short cruise by boat to the Gulf of Mexico.

Everyday is a Beach Party at Lulu’s! Hey, where’s Annette?

Caribbean accents above the outdoor bar.

Even the tip jar is bright and colorful. Margarita? Yes, please!

Itchy back? Take care of it right here.

This longboard is positioned at entry to open-air dining room.

Here is my Cheeseburger in Paradise with pickle slices and Jack cheese. The hamburgers here are made with 100% grass fed beef from Alabama’s own Boutwell Farms.

The dining area has a cheerful island theme – no big surprise.

Lucy’s demo kitchen for TV appearances, cooking classes, etc.

Grab a New Orleans-style SnoBall as you head back to the beach.

Lesson: Being Jimmy Buffett’s sister does have its privileges!

Lulu’s is a cool, breezy family-friendly joint. Live music is offered every night and brother Jimmy even stops by from time to time. A visit to Lulu’s is like a trip to the islands — without the sunburn or pricey airfare.

Finding Martha’s Place

18 Apr

We all know that Martha Washington was our country’s original “First Lady.” But you should also know that Montgomery, Alabama’s Martha Hawkins is the South’s “First Lady of Soul Food.”  The only other lady who could possibly make lay claim to that title might be North Carolina’s Mildred “Mama Dip” Council. We’ve dined at both places and actually prefer the delicious downhome offerings at Martha’s.

Martha’s Place is located on Sayre Street in downtown Montgomery, where Hawkins has created something of a soul food empire. Over the last 20 some odd years, she has made a mighty name for herself among locals who have a deep appreciation for authentic home cooking. Each dish on Martha’s buffet line is created with great love and attention to detail. It all tastes fantastic — and it is truly good for your soul.

Martha also runs a thriving catering operation.

Pick up her book “Finding Martha’s Place” – a moving read!

Celebrities from all over the world have come home to Martha’s Place.

She is such a sweet lady — we enjoyed finally meeting her!

We enjoyed our lunch in this bright, cheerful setting.

We found an authentic Mose Tolliver folk art piece on the wall.

My first trip thru the buffet line – fried bird, collards, butter beans, cornbread, and some amazing au gratin potatoes. Everything was simply fabulous. The chicken was crispy and flavorful on the outside while retaining its moisture on the inside. I only wish the plates (and my stomach) were bigger!

The perfect picture of pure plump poultry perfection.

The collards were just like Granny’s – the highest praise possible.

Words can’t describe the goodness of Martha’s pineapple bread pudding.

The restrooms are spotless & there is always a Bible within arm’s reach.

We found Martha’s to be a very special place. It is filled with love, nice people, and some of the best soul food you will ever put in your mouth. So what’s not to like about all that? Make sure you visit — and soon!

Our First Visit to Bon Secour, Alabama

18 Apr

Scenic and sleepy Bon Secour, AL is just a short hour ride from our home in Fairhope. It’s an even shorter drive from Gulf Shores, which is a big tourist destination during the late Spring and Summer months. The signs you see above are typical of ones you will view as you cruise AL State Highway 10 to little Bon Secour (French for “Good Help”).

We spotted this beautiful little church along Hwy 10. I had to stop to take a picture, which was made more difficult by a gentleman on a riding mower who was circling the church at Talladega-like speeds.

Bon Secour has a rich history. It was originally a French fishing village settlement dating back to the late 19th century. Currently it is a waterfront community that serves as a safe harbor to a current commercial fishing fleet. Named by Jacques Cook, a French Canadian from Montreal, a member of Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville‘s colonizing expedition of 1699. He was a participant in the founding of Mobile in 1702.

Billy’s Seafood, along with Bon Secour Fisheries, pretty much make up the bulk of the Bon Secour economy. Some folks assume Billy’s is a restaurant, but it is not. It is strictly a fresh seafood market. However, that doesn’t stop some people from grabbing a pound or two of boiled crawfish and chowing down while sitting on the hood of their car or back of their boat.

Oysters are king in Bon Secour. Look at all the discarded shells!

This old shrimp boat has obviously seen its better days.

Entrance to Billy’s Seafood in Bon Secour.

Looks like a scene right out of the film “Forrest Gump.” Bon Secour is a very Southern gothic, picturesque place, with huge live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss, great blue herons, brown pelicans, ever present bottle-nosed dolphin pods and the potent smell of salty gulf waters everywhere.

Other than the relatively small, family owned, seafood processing plants, Bon Secour is primarily made up of many rural neighborhoods, most of which enjoy beautiful vistas of the Bon Secour River and Bon Secour Bay. Brown Pelicans are everywhere and locals often see aligators from time to time, plying the waters of the estuarial system from the head waters of the Bon Secour River to the bay. One can see baby bottle-nosed dolphins playing near the mouth of the river at any time.

This crate of blue crabs was being circled by a very wise cat.

No lie … they do have a great selection of water critters!

These Royal Red shrimp were massive — and cheap!

Religious messages are seen throughout the property.

Jesus does love you — and so do the fine folks at Billy’s.

The historic Swift/Coles home (1882) draws visitors to Bon Secour.

The light blue porch ceilings help to keep the wasps away.

Right out of a Tennessee Williams script, don’t ya think?