Food notes from the South, plus tonight's showMary and I just got back from Alabama--a quick trip, family stuff, but there were some interesting tidbits of note. IE places to eat. Jillinda would be happy there because there appears to be a Sonic Burger approximately every fifteen feet, but we didn't partake this time. This is what we found:
Should one find one's self in Iron City, Tennessee, just across the state line from Alabama, I very very much recommend Mama D's. I think it's the only restaurant in Iron City itself, possibly (correct me if I'm wrong). I didn't have a camera on me, so no pictures, but it's a little tiny place with a gravel parking lot--lots of wood paneling on the inside--and a sort of deli counter thing where you can pick out your food. Lunch special was MEAT AND TWO SIDES. I got fried pork, collard greens (fried in bacon fat, of course), and mashed potatoes. Mary and I can't decide if the potatoes were instant cooked with half a pound of butter, or merely real potatoes whipped into oblivion with about half a pound of butter, but no matter. TASTY. I have a history of heart disease in my family, so it's probably a good thing that I don't live in the South where everything, EVERYTHING appears to be fried. The other patron at Mama D's was a guy from Iron City who spent 25 years in my hometown, Lansing, Michigan, working at the Oldsmobile plant. Says his cousin, also from Iron City, now lives in Santa Monica. Total cost for feeding 6 people=$22.
In downtown Florence, Alabama (home of WC Handy!) I doubt you can do much better than Trowbridge's, an old-fashioned soda fountain/ice cream place that also sells breakfast and lunch stuff. The non-ice cream fare is pretty straightforward--sandwiches, soups, chili, etc. The beauty of Trowbridge's, unlike almost every other restaurant in the United States, is that it serves moderately-sized portions of everything. IE, not fifteen pounds of food on every plate, as most Americans seem to prefer (or as chain restaurants think we prefer). You leave fed, but not gorged. I cannot tell you how refreshing this is--and the bill is cheap, too, less food involved. I think ours was something like $16 for 5 people. I had a bowl of soup (not loaded down with salt, either, thank god) and a strawberry malt (strange combination, but it appealed). Every ice cream place in Los Angeles that makes malts/shakes gives you a tall glassful of malt, plus the metal shaker thing with another glassful left over--so two servings of ice cream. At Trowbridge's they gave me one glassful of strawberry malt, and that was it--that was all I wanted. For god's sake, why don't more places do this? The malt was good, too--I think they might have put marshmellows in it or something, it had that extra lil' something.
One more thing to mention about Florence Alabama--found a thrift store with a bunch of neato old dresses for Mary, a jacket for me, and a couple of old 45's. "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. "Downtown" by Dolly Parton. A weird public service announcement record called "Save The Children" with clips from Sheena Easton, David Bowie, and Harrison Ford. A strange little time capsule there.
AND A REMINDER: we play our only show for January TONIGHT at the Echo at the 10:00 spot as part of the French Semester residency. Manhattan Murder Mystery is also on the bill (at midnight). FREE.