Adventures in Alabama.

[ 0 ] April 16, 2015 |

Selma 50 took me to a foreign land.  A foreign land to yours truly because I had never ventured to this area of the south nor did I have a lot of interest in it before Selma 50.  Alabama is an interesting place.  Having a deep historical presence in the Civil Rights movement, Alabama offers no shortage of things to learn.  For purposes of this piece, I learned that Alabama is the best place in America for biscuits.  After a random set of events that led to me starving, looking for the closest (free) restroom and landing on the Montgomery side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, I made this conclusion.  The gas station/rest stop within seconds of the Edmund Pettus Bridge had limited food options with pizza, chicken and biscuits making the roundup.  The biscuits were amazing.

Jim 'N Nick's BBQ

Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ

I had to explore this biscuit theory further which led me to True in Montgomery, Alabama.  A restaurant boasting seasonal, farm-inspired cuisine, True makes some other treats that distracted me from my biscuit research.  The fried chicken skins are making my mouth water all over again as I look at the pictures from my trip.  They are dipped in flour with a seasoning salt combination and then served with a hot pepper sauce.  Talk about efficiency gone better!  I have worked with the recycling of chicken skin and am glad to see restaurants incorporate this in their menus.  True’s take on one of my favorite past times should gain national recognition.
True on Urbanspoon

Heading back to Birmingham, I returned to biscuit land.  Jim ‘N Nicks Bar-B-Q begins their meals with cheese biscuits.  This is one of those dishes that I talk about where I may have actually shed a tear.  Warm, fluffy and shreds of cheese weaving their way in the masterpiece, Jim ‘N Nicks cheese biscuits are their claim to fame.  The mayo based BBQ sauce is another star at Jim ‘N Nicks with you not missing much from their mediocre sides and forgettable slow-smoked B-B-Q chicken.
Jim 'N Nick's on Urbanspoon

Fife's Chicken and Dumplings with Mac N' Cheese and Cabbage.

Fife’s Chicken and Dumplings with Mac N’ Cheese and Cabbage.

I could not leave Birmingham without trying the soul food, which led me to FIFE Restaurant.  A “hole in the wall” type of place, FIFE has a cafeteria style dining area with a wide range of dishes on a daily basis.  On this particular day, my eyes met the chicken and dumplings and we had to have a date.  Paired with the “meh” macaroni and cheese and the cabbage, which was slightly undercooked for it to be considered “southern style”, the chicken and dumplings regained the attention of my palate.  Rich and creamy layers of dumplings and chicken legs, the only thing missing was a tad more salt but I am assuming my cholesterol was happy about this missing addition.
Fife's on Urbanspoon

Alabama is a state full of deep and at times heavy history lessons.  Visiting the 16th Street Baptist Church, the Edmund Pettus Bridge and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church brought out so many emotions and an overwhelming yearning to know more about the history here.  It is not a place I will make a vacation destination but I will add the check mark on my U.S. map of places where I had some truly unforgettable, finger-licking good meals.

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Category: restaurant reviews, Reviews, Travels

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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