Boy oh boy, it would suck to be a bird living in Alabama. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new chicken joint – fried chicken, hot chicken, roasted chicken… it’s never-ending! The poor birds here must spend their every waking moment living in fear.
I actually had to do some work today, which wasn’t my favorite thing ever, but the customer folk are nice and I had some fun texts and emails to entertain me between presentations. As soon as we were done for the day, I walked outside with a coworker and my face just involuntarily broke out into a huge grin as I realized it was around 75-80 degrees and sunny. It was the absolute best feeling in the world, coming from 20-degree weather recently and being met with such perfection outside. I’m totally serious – I don’t want to leave. I want some of my favorite volunteers to come down here and live near me, and I want them to bring one or two of my other close friends, and we can all live down here and be happy little clams. I’m sure there are plenty of disasters to go around, so we’d have work to do. And as for my real work, my coworker lives about 10 minutes away from our customer’s office, so I’d be able to be a remote employee. I’ve spent years planning to move abroad eventually, and that still sounds great, but the feeling I got when I went outside today… geesh. That feeling doesn’t come along too often for me.
Anyway, onto my post-work activities. I had two things on my mind tonight – 1) get the best BBQ I can possibly find and 2) get a nice stiff drink. I achieved both goals. 🙂
Dinner was at Saw’s BBQ and holy s*&% it was freaking amazing. Like, quite possibly the best BBQ I’ve ever had, and I’ve had more than my fair share. I got a combo with one rib, some pulled pork, smoked turkey with white BBQ sauce (!!!), and a side of mac & cheese (see above for the picture). I feel like mac & cheese is a southern thing, so I keep getting it even though I’m not a huge fan, but this was totally worth it – it was some of the best mac I’ve had (though not the absolute best). The meat, though, that was the absolute best – it was so smoky and tender. And the flavor…. ohhhhh… I sat outside to eat (BECAUSE I CAN, BECAUSE THE WEATHER IS PERFECT HERE) and I couldn’t stop little moans from escaping me. Honestly. So good. I want to find a way to ship it back to Pgh.
After Saw’s, I headed straight for The Collins Bar. They don’t have a cocktail menu; you just tell the bartender what you like and then tell them if you’re willing to experiment or not. I was feeling frisky, so I let my bartender experiment on me when I told her I like old fashioneds. While I waited, I checked out the cool Birmingham-themed periodic table of elements behind the bar, because #nerd.
As she was mixing, I just had a feeling she was going to make me a Manhattan, and I was kind of dreading it. I’ve made (and tried) Manhattans at work before, and I’ve hated them. We’re required to serve all drinks on the rocks, though, and I’ve always felt like the ones I’ve made have always tasted watered down and gross. When she placed the drink in front of me, my suspicion was confirmed, but I tried it anyway. After the first sip or two, I warmed up to it – turns out the ice really does make a lot of (bad) difference. This Manhattan was actually pretty good! And bonus points for automatically serving it with a glass of water.
As hipster as it was, I really enjoyed the laid-back vibe at The Collins, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to have more than one drink and be able to find my way back to Hoover… so I paid my tab and left as soon as the drink was done.
My next stop was Trader Joe’s, mainly to see if they had anything extra-cool and new. Aside from wine and beer (meh), they didn’t, so I left without buying anything.
Next up was Pollo Lucas, a little dive-y restaurant located in a strip mall. I wasn’t hungry, really, but I’d read online that the chicken is amazing and the place is incredibly cheap. It sounded right up my alley. I grabbed a taco and some chicken to go, planning to take all but the taco home to Pgh with me.
But with great food comes great responsibility, and I realized I needed a way to reliably transport my leftovers back home. So I stopped at Walmart and got some Rubbermaid containers. Why not, eh?
When I got back to the hotel, I ate the taco (which was pretty fantastic) and took just a nibble of the chicken, which was also awesome. Everything has been moved to the fridge for now, but at some point I’m going to need to fill up those Rubbermaid containers.
In the meantime, I still have one more full day here and about a half of another. Let’s see how many more food joints I can hit up in that time! 😉