Friday, July 17, 2009

Aint Nothing Like 'em Nowhere

For people living in Tuscaloosa Alabama, life as they knew it was about to change. The year was 1958 and the University had brought in a new coach. "Mama called" as he would say and when she did, Paul "Bear" Bryant just had to "Come runnin'."
It was also the year that a Mason named John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened his little Cafe in Jerusalem Heights. What would follow would be a legacy of great football and great ribs.

"Big Daddy" would sell Bar B Que of all sorts at first but since it was his ribs that made him a hit, the menu would eventually be pared down to ribs, rib sandwiches and white bread (and sauce of course). You can get banana pudding for desert as well. The Crimson Tide has gone on to win several more Championships and Dreamland now has grown to include 8 restaurants across Georgia and Alabama.

The menu varies slightly from restaurant to restaurant but one thing is for sure, when it comes to the ribs, "Ain't nothing like 'em .. nowhere." Not in my mind anyway.

The Huntsville, Alabama location is the restaurant we visit every chance we get. A nice rustic place with a large bar and license plates (even one of mine) adorning the walls. An open BBQ pit right in dining room is the centerpiece though. The smell of hardwood smoke and pork fat fills the place. Nirvana. The rolls of paper towels right on your table are always a good sign.

The only thing I've ever ordered is the ribs. They get cooked on a grill that is about 2 feet above a hickory wood fire. Simply seasoned at first, slow cooked, then basted with their signature Alabama style BBQ sauce the ribs are tender, juicy, lightly smokey, tangy and salty all at once. They come sliced individually and served with sauce ladled on them. I always ask for more sauce while Mrs. Sippi orders hers sauce on he side. I have been able to sample all of the other menu options and they're first rate as well. My sister in law always goes for the BBQ chicken salad with their house BBQ ranch dressing. Wash it all down with some great sweet tea and save room for banana pudding.

White bread and sauce for dipping are also served. The bread is Sunbeam and it's so soft, it makes Wonder bread seem like croutons. It's not all that special from a taste profile but it's only function is to get the sauce from the cup to your mouth. Said sauce is a tangy vinegary concoction that always reminds me a of French dressing.

You can visit Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Northport, Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Metro Atlanta as well as online.
 Dreamland Barbeque on Urbanspoon

'til we meet again.


**Please note that the picture of the sign is from 2005 and may not reflect current prices.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"You are a Stranger Here but Once."

That's the motto of The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville, Indiana. A place that does everything it can to live up to it's name. If you ask, they'll do their best to see you get it. In my case, it was a baseball game on the big screen. Not a big request but I had only been there 5 minutes and was a stranger.

Zionsville is a small suburb of Indianapolis, north west of the city. A quaint little town with the tavern and some boutiques on a nicely bricked South Main Street. Arriving at 8 PM on a Thursday found it rather quiet. Most people out were seemingly were at The Friendly Tavern.

From my endless hours of Internet surfing and various postings on Chowhound I was to learn that the fried pork tenderloin sandwich was a local Indy specialty. Knowing this and that The Friendly Tavern had a terrific specimen is how we found ourselves there.

So without further adieu, let's get on with the food. Mrs. Sippi and I split the sandwich and an order of wings. The sandwich (pictured is only half) is huge. We had the standard condiments which as you could see were lettuce, tomato and mayo. It was the perfect trio to compliment the excellent star, the breaded pork tenderloin. Served with a side of house made potato chips.

I had also heard great things about their wings and being a wing guy, figured I had to give those a try too. They came breaded and unsauced. Some suicide sauce with ranch mixed together made for a perfect dip for these crispy appendages. What makes the wings so special, according to the waitress is that they are broasted. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's deep fried in a pressure cooker. The same process that the Colonel uses. They were excellent too.

The overall feel of this place is, well, friendly. The waitress would always spend an extra second or two chatting when she stopped by. The owner came by and asked where we were from and we ended up in a conversation with the table next to us.

The Friendly Tavern is located at 290 S. Main St. Zionsville, In. 46077
The Friendly Tavern on Urbanspoon

Thanks to the Indy Chowhounds for helping us find this place.


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Friday, July 10, 2009

"Does She Know The Name of This Place?"

That's the kind of response you'll get when you try to order a fish sandwich at Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger.

Nestled just off campus of the University of Michigan is Krazy Jim's little burger shack. It's a place so small they don't even have washrooms so if you need to go, hit the local filling station first. We saw it featured on Diners, Drive Inns and Dives and both of us loving burgers, knew we had to pay a visit.
Blimpy Burger is one of those places where you'd best not mess up your order. They have a procedure. It's writen in stone. (And on their website). I had a slight hick up but it wasn't like the faux pas a woman trying to order after me made. "What would you like on your burger?" "Um, cheese..." "I don't do cheese..... Ma'am, what would you like?" "Cheese....." "Again, I don't do cheese!" "Oh sorry, can I get cheese....." "I! DON'T! DO! CHEESE!!!" She finally got the idea. This ordering process, while seemingly out of a Seinfeld episode is both for show and for efficiency. At 2:30 in the afternoon the line up was anywhere from 5 to 15 people deep. This with school out for the summer. Getting it right makes everything move a lot faster.

So....on to the burgers, after all, it is called Blimpy Burger. Done on the flat top as the best burgers usuall are, these mini patties are juicy and delicious.

I had a quad (4 patties on a single bun) with American cheese and bacon on an onion bun. Mrs. Sippi's order was similar. The bun and condiments were perfect for complimenting the meat, not hiding it. I had onion rings on the side and they were good. Breaded and deep fried right in front of me. Mrs. Sippi had fries. They were of the frozen variety but she still loved them.
You can visit Krazy Jim's at 551 S. Division, Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104 or on the web.
 Blimpy Burger (Krazy Jim's) on Urbanspoon

Well, until next time......


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hands Down

The best country ham I've ever had.

I've tried a lot of country ham in my time and a lot of it has been very good. Broadbent's in Kuttawa, Kentucky is definately the best. If you don't believe me, one of their hams sold for half a million dollars at the Kentucky State Fair in 2006. That's good ham.

At the north end of Lake Barkley, just off I - 24 you'll find their operation. We stopped in for lunch in their little cafe. We were there on the recomendation of the Chamber of Commerce and Broadbent's did not disappoint.

I had the "Sweet and Sassy" (a ham and apple sandwich) on sour dough.

My wife had the "Pepper Bacon, BLT" on wheatberry bread.

We finished with a slice of chocolate silk pie.

There was a few samples throughout the store. All of which were great as well.

Click "Hands Down" to visit Broadbent's online.
Broadbents on Urbanspoon