Our room at the Jackson Marriott
Room: This was our first stay at the Jackson Marriott Downtown. Compared to some other Marriotts we’ve stayed at, I think this one is above average. The room wasn’t very large, but the beds were *very* comfortable.
Lobby: Nice lobby, including a nice seating area.
Service: Front desk was friendly and efficient.
Food: We didn’t order room service or dine in the hotel’s on-site restaurant during our (two-night) stay.
Extra: Location, location, location. This hotel is in the heart of downtown, very near the capitol.
Our experience is this: We would stay here again.
From the May/June 2004 issue of ‘Deep Magazine’, there’s a quote in that’s attributed to Mrs. S.R. (Henrietta) Dull.
“It is a fetish in the South that the sun shines just a little brighter, the moon rays are just a little softer, the breezes blow just a little gentler, the birds sing just a little sweeter, the flowers are just a little prettier, and its climate just a little more salubrious. When going from one section to another, all of us have an idea that we know by instinct just when we cross the line out of the South or into it…”
I have to admit – I had to look up what ‘salubrious’ means (conducive or favorable to health or well-being).
Update 05.14.2007 – I was just emailed by a reader who has an early version of Mrs. Dull’s cookbook and says that the quote should actually be attributed to Hal M. Stanley. Thanks Michael!
Henrietta Dull was the Home Economics Editor for the Atlanta Journal, and wrote ‘Southern Cooking’, a recipe book, in 1928 – it’s still being published today.
The weather outside is just so nice for my little outdoor projects right now, and it makes me extra happy that there is the sweetest mourning dove mama who sits patiently atop her nest right outside the library window here, in the crepe myrtle. Happy. Happy to be right here, where everything *does* seem just a little bit better. Ah.
Room: The hotel’s website states that the hotel has been renovated in 2005, which would explain how the rooms seemed nicer than we remembered from our last stay a couple of years ago. The bathroom did have a couple of issues, one being that the sheetrock was cut much larger than necessary for the light/plug switchplate beside the sink, so there was a pretty big gap where you could see the wiring, and another was that commode had a crack in the bowl that went from the outside to the inside (but I guess it was sealed, because there was no problem). Odd.
Lobby: The hotel itself is one that was built when H.I. atriums were in style. The lobby seems to be very loud, with a bar/lounge area very close to the check-in desk, and a restaurant at the far end. Also: there is only one elevator, which means you could be waiting a while.
Service: Average service. There is no Lodgenet or other service, so check-out is done at the front desk rather than by remote.
Food: We didn’t eat here; I think there is a charge for the breakfast.
Our experience is this: We might stay here again.
Not too many people in the world live in a place where they can eat this good.
Miss Myra’s (205.967.6004, 3278 Cahaba Heights Road, B’ham) is a barbecue restaurant that I’ve seen lauded from Chowhound to Dixie Dining. It may very well be the only place in Birmingham right now that you can get white sauce to put on your chicken or bbq.
Av and I went this week – he had the chicken with fries and I had the beef plate with potato salad and deviled eggs. For dessert, I had ‘nana puddin, and Av had the peanut butter pie.
I thought the barbecue was good but not the greatest….I was just sooooo happy to be somewhere that actually had white sauce, which made everything okay. The potato salad was really, really good – as were the desserts…..and…..how could you not love a place with framed poems about Bear Bryant??
Anthropologie, my favorite catalog, is selling replicas of quilts from Gee’s Bend.
Gee’s Bend is a little town here on a peninsula in the Black Belt of Alabama. It’s surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River, and some of the women that live there started a quilt-making collective – the Freedom Quilting Bee.
About three years ago when I first heard about it, Av and I drove down to Gee’s Bend (it’s really called ‘Boykin’ now) to see if we could find the Bee and perhaps buy a quilt.
We did find the building, but no one was there. Later that year, we went to the Mobile Museum of Art and saw the Gee’s Bend quilt exhibit they were showing. What surprised me was that I expected tiny, uniform stitches – but the ones I saw really weren’t constructed that way at all.
Today, you can buy an original quilt directly from them – they begin at $800. I noticed today that the quilts Anthropologie is selling – the replicas – are on sale – marked down from about $300 to $145.
A few days ago when we were in Gulf Shores, we drove over to Biloxi to see ‘Ezuru’, a show that runs at the Beau Rivage thru June 12th.
This is how the Beau Rivage website describes it:
EZURU comes to Beau Rivage! This “must see” extravaganza is from the creators of Balagan and Taganai. Casting traveled throughout the world to find these multi-talented performers. Most of these artists including Chinese acrobats, aerialists and comedians have never been to the United States. This is a show that the whole family will love.
It’s original music score makes for a breathtaking production. EZURU can be described as having a futuristic style with an industrial flare.
A few years ago, we went to the Beau Rivage and saw Cirque du Soleil perform the show ‘Alegria‘, which was *absolutely beautiful*. It had something of a story, although I couldn’t really piece it all together….but it didn’t matter because it was all just so amazing.
Ezuru, which was done by a completely different company, was supposed to have a story, but I couldn’t even tell that it had anything at all to do with what the performers were actually doing. The performers, though, were really good, and there were several performances that I had never seen before. I especially liked the girls who played the diabolo (it’s….I guess….in the yo-yo family). They were great!
Everytime Av and I go to Gulf Shores, we stop at Lambert’s Cafe in Foley for either lunch or supper. During the summertime, Lambert’s can get super-busy…because so many people go through Foley either on their way in or out from the beach, and just about everybody knows how great it is!
I had the chicken livers, which were *really* good, and Av had the chicken and dumplings, which he really liked too. Besides the vegetables you can get with your meal, they also serve ‘pass arounds’ – things like fried okra, stewed tomatoes with macaroni, and fried potatoes with onions – that everyone has the opportunity to choose, no matter what they ordered off the menu. Every so often, someone will come out with pans of hot rolls and throw them to anyone that wants one, which is fun to watch (and do!).
This was our second stay at the Beach Club in Gulf Shores. We absolutely loved the first condo we stayed in, which was in building A. This condo was in building D (Doral).
This particular unit’s furnishings weren’t quite as nice, but it was still lovely and we had a wonderful time.
Room: We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Jackson – the 320 Greymont Avenue location. The room’s furnishings were, for a Hampton, well above average. This included the nicer desk chair, and the beds were very comfortable. Wireless internet is offered at no additional charge.
Lobby: Average; this one also had a guest reception from (I think) 5-7pm Mon-Thurs. The reception included cokes, chips, cookies, and a tap with Bud Light….we haven’t seen this at a Hampton before, but then again we usually check in much later in the day.
Food: We didn’t try the breakfast that comes with the hotel stay, but the snacks from the reception area were okay.
Extra: This hotel is clearly going after more of a business clientele, which is great. When we checked in, there were several other business people milling around. Because of the location – so close to downtown, therefore the capitol, and right off I-55, it’s a good place to stay location-wise.
Chris’ Hot Dogs on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery
Av and I had lunch at a Montgomery institution: Chris’ Hot Dogs. Everything was good…honestly, not great – but for what they food lacked, the atmosphere more than made up for.
When you walk in, you may think that you’ve walked into a newsstand – but walk on to the back, where there’s a counter with stools, and to the right of that is a walled-off dining area with two- and four-person booths.
From a Huntsville Times article:
Hot dogs were a nickel for more than 10 years after Chris’ opened. Katechis said curbside service was available during the early years, “back when there were fewer cars on the street,” until city officials said traffic was getting delayed. Food prices have not changed much. Neither has the combination of brown paneled walls, art deco ceiling and opaque glass. Katechis is considering an update, though.
“I’ve thought about re-doing this,” he said, motioning to a rear storage area. “People ask why I don’t just gut the place and totally redo it. But I can’t. I just can’t. There’s just something about it. People like it. We added the dining area before World War II, so there hasn’t been much change in here in 60 years.”
The hotdogs are special because of the ‘secret’ sauce they put on them. You can also spice them up with the Alaga hot sauce on each table (Alaga hot sauce is in its own category, because it sweetens regular hot sauce with cane syrup). Hotdogs are $1.70, special dogs are $2.20 (what makes them ‘special’ is that they use two doggies in the bun rather than one). A special hamburger is $2.20, and onion rings are $1.70. For $8, you can walk out with a quart of Chris’ famous chili sauce.