Archive for the 'Southern' Category

Page 2 of 11

Martha Lou’s Kitchen – Charleston

Martha Lou's Kitchen - Charleston

Martha Lou Gadsden’s pretty pink shack stands out in both form and function on this quiet, industrial stretch of Charleston. Opened in 1983, Martha Lou’s Kitchen has a garnered a reputation for stellar Lowcountry cooking; her fried chicken is especially admired.

Martha Lou's Kitchen - Charleston

This unassuming restaurant made such an impression on my brother when he dined here a few years back that he insisted that I make my way here during my trip to South Carolina last December. The Astronomer and I came in for lunch just as soon as we could.

Martha Lou's Kitchen - Charleston

The menu of meats and sides changes daily, but thankfully, fried chicken is always available.

Continue reading ‘Martha Lou’s Kitchen – Charleston’

Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q – Birmingham

Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q - Birmingham

My first-ever visit to Birmingham was during the summer of 2004. On that inaugural trip down South, The Astronomer introduced me to pulled pork with all the fixings at Jim N’ Nicks and the best ribs in town at Dreamland.

We’ve explored much of Birmingham’s barbecue scene since then, but one place has always eluded us due to its out-of-the-way location: Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q. The Astronomer and I, along with the entire Chaplin clan, made the long drive to Bessemer on a cold and cloudy December day for lunch. Barbecue warms the soul and spirit.

Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q - Birmingham

Opened in 1957 by Bob and Maxine Sykes, Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q is considered by many to be one of the best barbecue establishments in town. These days, the restaurant is run by the couple’s son Van, who is one of the founding members of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q - Birmingham

We caught a glimpse of piggy parts being cooked slow and low as we walked up to the ordering counter. Mmm…

Continue reading ‘Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q – Birmingham’

Saw’s Soul Kitchen – Birmingham

Saw's Soul Kitchen - Avondale - Birmingham

The Astronomer has become quite the foodist these days and I gotta say, I could not be prouder. He points his barber to the best Thai spots in Hollywood and his fellow physicists to the choicest food finds near campus. In addition to mastering the local food scene here in L.A., The Astronomer has become an expert on the culinary developments in his adopted hometown of Birmingham. During our trip down South for the holidays, Saw’s Soul Kitchen was high on his list of new spots to try.

Saw's Soul Kitchen - Avondale - Birmingham

Mike Wilson, a Johnson & Wales grad and former Cooking Light test kitchen cook, opened Saw’s Soul Kitchen last May following the success of his first restaurant Saw’s BBQ. Brandon Cain, the former chef de cuisine at swanky seafood joint Ocean, is Soul Kitchen’s executive chef and part-owner. The vibe here is similar to its sister restaurant—laid back, lived in, and full of piggy paraphernalia.

Saw's Soul Kitchen - Avondale - Birmingham

The Astronomer and I arrived during the peak of the lunchtime rush and took our place in the long line snaking through the dining room. Once we reached the cash register, orders were finalized, placed, and paid for. A table opened up as soon as the food was ready—I love it when that happens.

Continue reading ‘Saw’s Soul Kitchen – Birmingham’

Miss Verba’s Pimiento Cheese

Chef Frank Sitt's Pimiento Cheese

The Astronomer and I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend to celebrate Grandpa Herschel Bryant’s 100th birthday! On Saturday afternoon, The Astronomer’s mom and dad hosted a luncheon at their home where guests were treated to Honeybaked ham sandwiches served on silver dollar-sized rolls, fresh fruit salad, and spinach Pauline.

Celebrating Vern's grandfather's 100th birthday! Woooot!

An Instagram-able moment between The Astronomer and The Centenarian

To nibble on before the main courses was a tall stack of saltines accompanied by a heaping bowl of pimiento cheese. A chunky marriage of sharp cheddar, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and roasted red peppers, pimiento cheese is a Southern classic that’s traditionally eaten smothered between two slices of white bread, dipped with vegetable crudites, or dolloped generously atop crackers. Our salty, crisp vehicles proved to be an excellent match for the hefty spread this afternoon.

This recipe, which The Astronomer’s mother entrusted me to prepare in advance for the party, comes from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill. Chef Stitt attributes the recipe to Miss Verba, an associate of his at Highlands Bar and Grill, who as far as he is concerned makes the best pimiento cheese ever. The Astronomer’s mother wholeheartedly agrees.

Aside from the chore of roasting the bell peppers and grating the cheese, this pimiento cheese comes together quite effortlessly. Whether served as a dip or a spread, the pimiento cheese hits all the right notes that a good appetizer ought to—creamy, sweet, spicy, and salty. With outdoor entertaining season around the corner, I’m looking forward to sharing this seriously tasty starter at potlucks, picnics, and beach parties. A Southern staple in Southern California—why the heck not.

  • 1 pound sharp yellow cheddar, grated
  • 1/4 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise or best-quality commercial mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Splash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Chef Frank Sitt's Pimiento Cheese

Begin by roasting the bell peppers. Simply place them on a grill over a hot fire or under a hot broiler and turn them occasionally until the skin is black and charred all over. Note: I used my grandma’s tried and true stove-top roasting method. It’s more effective than barbecuing or broiling in my experience.

Continue reading ‘Miss Verba’s Pimiento Cheese’

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...