Tag Archives: Banana Pudding

The Pumpkin Milkshake is Smashing at Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream

6 Nov

Cammie’s is a pretty cool spot (pun totally intended). Every town should have a little scoop shop like this one. Looks a bit like an old filling station from the outside. They make their own ice cream too. Cammie’s doesn’t offer a gazillion flavors — this place is more about quality, not quantity. That being said, the flavors they do offer change on a semi-regular basis and do provide local ice cream junkies like yours truly with plenty of choices – both traditional and daring.

Seasonal flavors  are always popular here. And their Pumpkin milkshake, sold only during the Fall months, is a personal favorite of mine. Now, Chick Fil A has carved out a nice little niche with their specialty shakes. Their Peppermint, Banana Pudding, and Peach shakes are always welcome in my belly. But most fast food shakes tend to leave me cold. And I do mean that in a bad way. They are often far too sweet, artificially colored, and they taste, well, very unnatural. Cammie’s Pumpkin shake is exactly the opposite — and I would expect nothing less from them. Let’s just be thankful they don’t offer a Candy Corn shake (gross!).

The Pumpkin shake (above) I sucked down today was not too sweet. It wasn’t a hideous bright orange color either. You might say it had something of a light tan/peachy hue. The obviously natural pumpkin flavor was enhanced with the addition of nutmeg and perhaps a few other seasonal spices.  It was a special mid-afternoon treat that I attempted to savor. The problem was it was simply too good. And it was gone in a flash.

The atmosphere at Cammie’s is quaint — sort of a Pennsylvania Dutch theme. Makes sense given the name. They were obviously going for a bit of a retro vibe inside. That meshes perfectly with the whole “making our own ice cream in small batches” theme.

Tips??? Try the Creole Praline and the Rum Raisin

The weather here in Mobile is just starting to turn a little more Winter-like and I’ll be returning to Cammie’s before too long. Not necessarily for a holiday-themed (egg nog?) shake — but more likely for a crunchy cone topped off with a heaping scoop of Cammie’s fine Coconut ice cream. Come to think of it, I guess that is holiday-themed — Caribbean holiday, that is. My kind of vacation … even if it only lasts a few brief yet glorious moments.

And I’ll get 50 cents off next time too — smashing, baby!

Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream – 2511 Old Shell Road, Mobile, AL 36607

(251) 471-1710; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cammies-Old-Dutch-Ice-Cream-Shoppe/109587249076821

Saw’s BBQ In Homewood, Alabama Makes The Cut

11 Mar

Saw’s BBQ is found in the Edgewood District of Homewood, AL

Saw’s BBQ is a cool looking joint — if a good bit smaller than expected. We were curious about the restaurant’s unusual name, so I did a quick Google search. It turns out Chef and Owner Mike Wilson, who opened Saw’s in 2009, is a native North Carolinian. And his eatery’s moniker is based on the Johnson & Wales trained chef’s high school nickname, “Sorry Ass” Wilson. S-A-W. Funny — and true!

BBQ and Pabst Blue Ribbon — a match made in heaven

Saw’s decor is about what you would expect from a BBQ joint

Antique signs are nice – even if they don’t have much local flavor

I opted for the Pulled Pork plate with two sides (beans & slaw)

They are obviously Crimson Tide fans at Saw’s – no big surprise!

The beverages of choice here are Coca Cola or ice cold Budweiser

The Pulled Pork was excellent — well above average. The meat was moist, lean and tender. The smoked BBQ ribs were mighty fine too. My son Austin did a good job of methodically gnawing his half slab down to the bone(s). I just happened to snag a single rib before he rolled up his sleeves and really went to town. Best of all was the sweet vinegar-based sauce that adorned my platter of piggy meat. You should buy your own bottle to carry home for $5. Let me point out at this juncture that you will regret it if you don’t obey my suggestion. The sauce at Saw’s is world class and not readily available outside the Birmingham area.  

Saw’s Sauce – you had better get you some!

The beans were OK — nothing truly unique about them. I wasn’t really crazy about the slaw, which is a mega-tangy, finely chopped, vinegar-based affair. We found the slaw overly tart & acidic … making it hard to stomach more than forkful or two. Some may love it, but it’s not exactly our cup of tea. Personally, I prefer a rough chopped, mayonnaise-based slaw with big crunch and a little sweetness. Temperature is important too. I like it chilled.

I want to conclude this review on a high note — as I should. Maybe the slaw and beans were nothing to write home about. But the slow smoked pork and Saw’s delicious NC-style BBQ sauce are some of the best you will find anywhere in the great state of Alabama. Alabama is indeed the “Heart of Dixie” and serious BBQ country to boot, so that kind of praise is not easily come by.

Service at Saw’s is prompt and the surroundings suitably homey. We really like this little joint a lot and plan on returning one day soon. One trip certainly doesn’t tell the entire story — that’s for sure. In particular, we want to sample Saw’s Smoked Chicken with White BBQ sauce. When that happens, I hope to see you there. I’m pretty sure you will find this smoke-filled neighborhood dive anything but “sorry ass.”    

The fluffy Banana Pudding looked good too – maybe next time!

Saw’s BBQ – 1008 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, AL 35209

(205) 879-1937; www.sawsbbq.com

A Day Trip to Bay Minette, Alabama

10 Jul

Street’s Seafood Restaurant is apparently the place to go for good old home cooking in Bay Minette, AL (www.cityofbayminette.org). That’s what I had learned in talking with Sara Godwin at nearby Faulkner State Community College. It’s always good to get some feedback from a local. And in this case, Sara did not steer me wrong.

The exterior at Street’s is nothing special at all, but the food inside these walls certainly is. I happened to stop in on a Friday … shortly before noon. The parking lot was already filling up – mostly with pickup trucks and company logo’ed vehicles of all shapes and sizes. That is always another good sign. Inside, the hustling female servers wore T-shirts stating, “If you miss us, you have wasted a trip.” Well, I was going to call their bluff this day.

Friday means a mess of fried whole catfish on the lunch buffet at Street’s. The buffet was large and in charge, that’s for darn sure. Lots of choices and everything looked fresh and homemade. TIP: Always try to hit lunch buffets early. The food will be at peak freshness and not so picked over. Further, the most popular items (and usually best tasting too) will likely still be there for your dining enjoyment.

The chicken pot pie at Street’s is obviously freshly made and totally satisfying. It is served up in large rectangular chafing dishes sporting a dense, golden brown crust. Cracking into the crust with the serving spoon, I exposed the glistening interior chock full of white chicken meat, sliced carrots, and tender green peas. I also made stops for some sweet BBQ beans, a creamy macaroni cheese riddled with chopped bacon (you heard right, bacon!), buttery green beans, and what turned out to be a very flavorful buttermilk cornbread muffin.

Street’s also has a very nice salad bar, although I am not so sure how much action it sees with the all the other tempting high-calorie options that are always available. The large group of 60-something men dining at the next table appeared to be regulars. I’m guessing they were retired because no one seemed in a big hurry to move on with his day. These were strong, salt of the earth, good old boys speaking in a deep Old South dialect that had this longtime Dixie resident struggling to follow the conversation. Eavesdropping? You bet! Yet I must admit that these gents were tossing in the “y’alls, fixins, and directlys” at such a clip that I had a hard time keeping up. “Doggone!”

The cole slaw at Street’s is also made fresh daily – always a welcome touch! 

Banana pudding is actually offered up two ways at Street’s. Now how is that for attention to detail? One variety is served cool with a whipped cream topping. The other is presented warm out of the oven with a glorious brown meringue topping. I am a lifelong member of the “Warm Nanner Puddin’ Society” and I was most certainly not disappointed here.  

Pineapple Upside Down Cake has always been one of my favorite desserts, so you can imagine my glee when I spied the moist squares like you see in the above image. Just the right size too — not too big, not too small. Plenty of carmelized pina. Gotta have the cherry too. Right? It was amazing with all the brown sugar, residual pineapple juice and melted butter being absorbed just below fruit level. Soooo good!  Street’s also makes a killer peach cobbler and I couldn’t resist having a little taste of that too. So many delights, so little time! The ownership at Street’s (a derivative of the last name Overstreet) also operates the popular Stagecoach Cafe in closeby Stockton, AL. Gotta give that a shot soon. Really good steaks, that’s what I hear.

Heading back home along southbound Highway 59/31, my eye caught the sign pictured above. Who knew the Bee Gees were now in the filling station business??? With a smile still on my face, I also noticed a makeshift boiled peanut stand in the gas station’s parking lot.

How can a motorist resist such a whimsical, homemade sign?  

Mel (Pastor Mel, to be exact) was not around when I first stopped in, but Mel’s mom was present and she turned out to be a very sweet lady indeed.  As you can see, free samples are offered. I tried the regular and Cajun boiled peanuts and found both to be masterfully prepared.

I decided to purchase a big bag of regular boiled peanuts. These were some seriously massive briny goobers! Batches are made fresh each morning with green peanuts grown right here in Baldwin County. How ’bout that?  

Look at the size of these monsters, grown locally at Fiddler’s Farm near Silverhill, Alabama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverhill,_Alabama). Needless to say, they were amazing and quite warm to the touch. That is always a good sign. Get ‘em warm, get ‘em fresh. They will keep in the fridge for a few days, but they are never quite as good as they are right out of the cooking vessel.

The prices are fair and the proceeds go to church mission trips in Latin America. How is that for a true win-win proposition? They even have photo albums on display from previous mission trips. It becomes clear very quickly that these fine folks are doing God’s work — whether it’s in their peanut preparation or their efforts in the high hills of Guatemala.

Roasted peanuts are also offered. This is a good back-up plan for Yankees who have not developed an appreciation for the soft, salty boiled ground peas. I’ll stick with the boiled variety, myself. They are always a treat and especially welcome when they are crafted with such love and heavenly conviction. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Mel’s Boiled Peanuts – (251) 455 7719

Montgomery Biscuits Baseball!

17 Apr

I attended my first Montgomery Biscuits (AA Tampa Bay Rays affiliate) game last Monday night. The home team was taking on the Mobile (AL) BayBears (AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks). Montgomery’s Riverwalk Stadium is a great new facility, located in the city’s historic downtown.

Our evening began a short block away near this old water tower

We enjoyed dinner at world famous Dreamland BBQ

Here’s a look at “The Alley” – cool space!

Grabbed a pint of microbrew (Hopitoulas IPA from NOLA)

Dinner was BBQ bird, sauce and Sunbeam Bread

Got a complimentary order of Nanner Puddin’ too!

The brick exterior gives the ballpark a classic look

The team’s apparel store is aptly called the “Biscuit Basket”

Team mascot, Monte Biscuit (complete with butter slab tongue!)

The ballpark was built on the site of the old railroad station

Love this exposed brick feature

Some great details remain from the old railyard

Me and the boys hangin’ out with “Big Mo”

Strolling the inner concourse at Riverwalk Stadium

Listen to team theme songs here:

http://www.biscuitsbaseball.com/FANS/songs.html 

Some more of the ballpark’s retro features

Real trains still run just beyond the left field wall

Of course, they serve biscuits at Biscuits’ home games!

www.biscuitsbaseball.com

Claire’s Place on the Creek – Mobile, AL

6 Apr

Claire’s is a fairly new country buffet place on Halls Mill Road in Mobile, AL. The Stagecoach Cafe used to be at this rustic pine-shaded location, but they have decided to focus all their attention on their primary location in Stockton, AL. But not to fear! Louisa “Claire” Terrell has re-opened the place and really all that has changed is the name.  

You can always tell a good Southern lunch joint by the vehicles in the parking lot. Lots of trucks and police cars = good chow. Really good chow!

The grilled pork chops were simply delicious with a authentic char-grilled flavor. I snagged a couple chops at the bottom of the chafing dish to make sure they were plenty juicy — and they were. The green beans were smoky and soft to the bite. Claire’s also makes a killer jambalaya loaded with tender pieces of white chicken and bright green bell pepper. The cornbread dressing was excellent and the tomato pie tart & tasty (especially if you can score an end piece). I even tried fried asparagus spears for the first time in my life and found the flavor combo to be, well, a downhome natural.

Believe it or not, I did save a little room for dessert. That’s a good thing because the choices here are plentiful. Claire’s buttermilk pie was moist with lots of chewy flaked coconut in each and every bite. The banana pudding was even better — incredibly smooth and heavenly. I was on Cloud Nine.

Pricing at Claire’s Place on the Creek ( yes, they are on a creek) is $9.50 and includes the all you can eat lunch buffet, drink ( I suggest the Leroy Hill fresh brewed Sweet Tea), and as many dessert treats as you dare tackle. You will not go away hungry or dissatisfied. This is the real deal y’all and I am so glad to have found them. They can already count me as a regular.

NOTE: Claire’s Place is also open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

Aunt RoRo’s “Healthy” Nanner Puddin’

7 Aug

Banana Puddin

Yup — read it myself — on the menu at Auntie Ro Ro’s Cafe in West Mobile. It reads “$2.49 per Healthy Serving.” Well, in that case, bring me two orders, please!

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