There might be nothing that makes me feel more warm and fuzzy inside than receiving repeated messages asking me to “please come back” to Pittsburgh. Over the past few days, I’ve gotten a few emails and texts saying specifically that (or sometimes it’s “please come home” or “please come back home”), and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more wanted in my life. I love it. My wish for everyone I care about to move down south still stands (as I replied back at one point, “this might be the closest I’ve ever been to happy”), but I’m relieved to know I’ve been missed. Gah. I love these people so dang much.
Anyway, moving on…
Today was a work-intensive day, with me actively presenting for about 7 of the 8 hours I was onsite. I was so pooped by lunch that I forged out on my own and ended up eating by myself in my hotel room, but that was just what I needed.
For lunch, I stopped at Blue Pacific at Hoover Food Mart, knowing full well that I was choosing to eat Thai food from a gas station. The research I do for restaurants rarely steers me wrong, though, and today was no exception – I got an order of ginger chicken, which was served with rice and it was delicious (and the perfect size for lunch).
But before I got to try it, I also stopped at a bakery all the folks in the office were talking about, Edgar’s. Coming from the land of excellent bakeries, I’m hard to impress when it comes to baked goods. As expected, I was a little underwhelmed by the selections, but I still bought a piece of chocolate peanut butter cake to take back to my room.
So I was able to relax for a few minutes and enjoy a quiet lunch of gas station Thai food and chocolate cake while lying on my bed in my underwear mid-day. That kind of perfectly describes my ideal lunch, right there.
Eventually I made my way back to work and finished out the day. Afterwards, I headed back into downtown Birmingham for drinks and dinner. This trip was sort of different from others in that we didn’t have any sort of group/team dinner planned, so everything was on our own. To be honest, I was fine with that – I love planning out my own meals, but I get a little anxious when people rely on me to plan everything out for them.
My first stop post-work was El Barrio. I’d read that their margaritas and their pork are fantastic, so that’s loosely what I ordered. I knew I was planning to break dinner up into two parts, so this was part #1 – plantain nachos with barbacoa pork and a muddled grapefruit margarita.
The plantain nachos were LEGIT. And the pork was incredible. And eating it made me happier than a pig in mud (or a pig on a plate, as it was). Birmingham just keeps getting better and better the longer I stay, when it comes to food. The margarita was good, but I’ve had better (ahem, Condado’s peach jalapeno margaritas).
The second stop of the night was Carrigan’s Public House, which has $5 old fashioned happy hours on Tuesday nights. Sign. Me. Up.
I took mine up to their rooftop deck, where I enjoyed views of the city between arguing about my plans for permanent residence via text. 😉
I walked around for a while after the old fashioned, simply because driving drunk isn’t part of my plan for this trip (or ever). One non-food-related thing I’ll say I love about Birmingham – I feel completely safe here. I walked around for quite a while in shorts and a cut-off t-shirt in the dark, while slightly intoxicated, and I never once felt even the slightest bit uncomfortable. Have I mentioned how much I love it here? I FRIGGIN LOVE IT HERE!
My last stop for the evening was Delta Blues Hot Tamales, where I encountered a super-friendly server named Terri and tried my first restaurant-prepared tamales.
Again, I sat outside BECAUSE I CAN, so sorry for the dark picture. I chose the M’sippi Melt tamales and a side of tangy slaw. The tamales were good, but they weren’t the best thing I’ve eaten this week. The tangy slaw was quite pleasant, though, and I wish I’d had more of it. Ah well. Too late now.
I ended up doing my job so well today that I’ve been given the day off from work tomorrow – I don’t need to present anything, so I’ve been told I’m free to explore Birmingham on my own before my flight leaves. I already have most of my day planned out, so I’m excited. Not so excited to leave (BIG frownie 😦 face!), but I will enjoy getting back to my own bed and pillows. Funny enough, the job I almost got in Westmoreland County is also available down here, and someone referred me to it… I don’t think I’m going to apply, but it’s interesting how fateful the timing is. It’s nice to know there are options. 😉
Wish me luck on catching up on some sleep tonight; I have a big day of eating and travel ahead of me tomorrow! 🙂