Drugs, Guns, and Gifts
Florala AL, 2018.
from a 2018 visit
“The city is going through a lot of changes, and someone has got to hold the torch for old-school Nashville,” says Jones. “Robert’s is the undisputed home for traditional country music. Having been on the side of traditional country music, which made Music City, it just makes sense to continue that tradition by my buying the Earnest Tubb Record Shop business and building.
“My purpose is to protect, promote and preserve this great history,” he continues. “So this just made sense that Robert’s and Ernest Tubb be strong, be one and be family to perpetuate the tradition. Ernest Tubb Record Shops will be here for another 52 years, if it’s up to me.”
The gallery has this interview:
…and Mark Jenkins at the Washington Post wrote about it late last week, including mention that:
The younger Christenberry makes mostly wooden sculptures that sometimes resemble his father’s work, and in a few cases refer directly to it
and that his “Landscape for WAC Jr features a model of the Sprott Church, an image of which his father made internationally famous
This sculpture, a tornado table, is cast bronze. It can be viewed below in Andrew’s current exhibit, and was also on exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art in 2017 in their Christenberry: In Alabama exhibit, and I took this pic there:
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In 2006, I took a pic of the Sprott Store, and made this comparison with Walker Evans’ 1936 image, and how I found the building, on the right, in ’06.
From Laura Roulet’s essay at the gallery site:
Building for WAC Jr. and Landscape for WAC Jr. replicate miniature variations of the Sprott Church, first photographed by Walker Evans for his classic WPA-era collaboration with writer James Agee: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. In style and direction, Evans had personally encouraged Bill Christenberry to take the Alabama countryside and culture as his lifelong subject. Floating on a mirrored, wax-dripped surface, or over red dirt, the church appears to hover in time. The black encaustic covering both simple forms, alludes to his father’s surface treatments and Jasper Johns’ use of this tactile, matte material.
(easy to view those and other pieces at the price list)
Heard some really terrific news — The Cake Bake Shop in Indianapolis — a place I only got to visit for the first time this summer — will be opening a third location at Disney World’s BoardWalk in 2023.
But really, I just want to show you so many pictures of the inside of their Carrollton Avenue Indianapolis location because it is positively *dreamy*
From the outside, it’s just a cute cottage
and it is a WONDERland inside
From their site, the cake above, Gwendolyn’s Famous Earl’s Court Chocolate Cake: Named after the Earl’s Court Convention Center in London where Gwendolyn received awards for ‘Best Chocolate Cake’ at the London Cake & Bake Show in 2012…
Lemon blueberrry cake is: Lemon zest cake with fresh blueberries. Filled with lemon curd and lemon buttercream. Topped with lemon buttercream and fresh blueberries.
above, the chocolate chip cookies include French & Belgian chocolates and topped with fleur de sel. The middle are ‘magic bars’ with a graham cracker crust and a sweetened condensed milk middle with butterscotch chips and Belgian chocolate, with walnuts and toasted coconut. On the right, a raspberry jam bar with an all-butter European shortbread crust, topped with their private-label raspberry jam and light brown sugar crumble
cookie dough cake
pixie fetti cake has three layers of vanilla almond confetti cake with almond buttercream and topped with sprinkles
gluten-free mint chocolate chip
above and below, the apple crumb pie
above, lemon bars
above, red velvet cake
At that time, we weren’t eating inside restaurants, so we took a slice (most cake slices are $15-16) to our hotel
a little jostled around, but the chocolate cake was just terrific in every way
The owner, Gwendolyn Rogers, has a limited-edition cookbook coming out this spring with 25 of her recipes
The really pretty strawberries are starting to come in at the grocery now; we’ve already gotten a couple of containers. It’s not quite warm enough here for our strawberry picking or for the local ones to be at farmer’s markets — that’s more like mid-April, I think, here in central Alabama.
We like to go picking fruit. We do muscadine and scuppernong almost every year, plus I have a friend with some nice vines so that makes it even easier. The last couple of years we’ve done blueberries, and we should do more apple picking, really. Pick Your Own is a great site to see what’s available in your area. The first container of strawberries this year were just for snacking on, and the ones that managed to get a little over-ripe went to the chickens, who looooved them. I really meant, though, to try to make a pie something like Strawn’s Eat Shop in Shreveport, which is the #1 place in the entire universe for strawberry pies.
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From a couple of our visits:
even the produce truck we saw pull up there one day was gorgeous
Okay, well now I’m in the mood for all things strawberry, and the idea that we’ll hopefully be out in the strawberry fields with baskets next month makes me really happy.
Porky’s Pride in Fultondale used to do a strawberry ‘nana puddin
Below, the strawberry butter at a church-run, now-shuttered, restaurant called Kairo’s Kafe in Birmingham, which was in the old Ollie’s Barbecue building. Once Ollie’s family took over and moved the business to Hoover, it floundered and closed (then the Daphne one too), so now maybe the only Ollie’s thing left is their bbq sauce in grocery stores.
The Ollie’s waitresses could remember gigantic orders without writing them down. There were tracts by the register. The pies were amazing and I have a recipe for their chocolate pie which is one of my FIL’s fave things I make. (I’ll post it here soon). And if you’re in the mood to read about a barbecue/civil rights lawsuit, here you go. The round building that housed the business is a B’ham landmark, and people still talk about missing the old Ollie’s.
Here, the srawberry cobbler at the now-shuttered Helen’s Place in Clanton, Alabama — an area famous for their peaches. This dish made USA Today’s list for best desserts in the south back in 2008, which put this sweet little house-turned-restaurant on a small town sidestreet right alongside Cochon and Commander’s Palace.
At the Amish community outside Pontotoc, Mississippi
I was incredibly proud of this fraisier I made
…and strawberry shortcake
In Hartselle, Alabama
IYKYK (I’ve never had a bite of theirs, but one of my best friends says there’s none better and doesn’t care what anybody has to say about Shoney’s. That’s good enough for me. When we find a Shoney’s in the wild — it’s not so easy — we like to run in and buy a whole pie to take home to his momma and daddy, who often reminisce about sharing a slice back when they were teenagers and dating)
strawberry sorbet at The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans
fried pie flavors at the Peach Pit in Clanton
strawberry-chocolate muffins I made last week, vaguely based on the recipe in the NYT for Ritz-Carlton blueberry muffins
Let’s end with a Renoir that was on view at Crystal Bridges at a visit in 2014