We didn't have much free time while we were in Birmingham, but the last evening there we met long-time dear friends at what continues to be one of our very favorite places to eat, El Barrio. El Barrio is listed on our resources page, but really another mention won't hurt anything.
Besides, what a great way to catch up with friends over several Tuesday margarita specials and a great meal, including great Sopaipillas.
Don't let Catch's location on Market Street in a strip shopping area fool you.
It was raining and had been raining for some time when we arrived. It's raining as I type this. Relatively deep standing water in spots had to be navigated as we parked Miranda on the side of the shopping center. We called about an hour before hand and reserved a spot in the bar which is small and located in the entrance way.
The setting didn't matter, road weary people often can't be too choosey. When a good meal follows, first-world problems are forgotten.
From their site:
A James Beard Finalist for best Southeast Chef and featured on Bravo TV’s Top Chef (season 9) Keith Rhodes has been caught up in the North Carolina seafood scene since he founded Catch in 2006. The chef has always favored wild caught or sustainably raised seafood and continually supports local fisheries and organic farmers. On any given day his coastal creations can take you on a global escape with flavors that traverse borders and seas.
We had a great brunch here with Tate and Zoe on Sunday past.
From the Marche website:
Marché Artisan Foods is a bustling European style eatery located near the heart of Historic East Nashville in “Five Points.” We are a diner’s dream serving seasonal cuisine with our all day brunch menu. The simply fresh cuisine and elegantly rustic setting create the perfect ambiance for any occasion.
I recommend you make a reservation.
We arrived in The Gulch after a drive from Louisville where we'd spent a fine couple of days visiting with our great friends Pif and Chip Hicks. It was pretty warm and we were pretty hungry.
The Gulch, located between Music Row and Downtown Nashville, has become popular with many restaurants and music venues and places to live. It was a bustle of humanity on Saturday past with lots of people on the street and riding scooters. There were lots of cars too and no place for Miranda on the street near Peg Leg Porker, so we opted for paid parking nearby. The lot was charging a daily rate of $20.00. We were hungry. We paid and hoofed it a few blocks, dodging the scooters, to the Porker only to find a line out the door at the Porker. Yes, we got on line and, yes, it's that good.
Because we hail from Birmingham, Alabama, we know good ribs. Dreamland has long been the go to place for great ribs. The Peg Leg Porker rivals Dreamland and may be just a smidgen better. Jus' sayin'.
This was our second time dining at Sidney Street Cafe. The first was back in June of 2017 when we were in St. Louis to give Leisure Travel Vans a look see. If you're in the loop, you know what resulted from that trip. 😎
This time around we passed through St. Louis for some (very) minor warranty work on Miranda. We were able to get most of the work done and afterwards made a reservation at Sidney Street for dinner.
We were just as impressed this time around as the last. Great food and service and, as a bonus, Sidney Street is located within walking distance our favorite St. Louis bar, Venice Cafe.
Make an evening of it next time in St. Louis. Great diner at Sidney Street, then, if your lucky, great music in a funky venue at Venice Cafe.
So, we'd wanted to dine at a much touted Italian restaurant Monteverde, didn't have reservations and got there only to discover they were jammin'. Seriously jammin'. The bar, and the tables in the bar, had a wait and the wait for a table in the dining room was 90 minutes. Okay. So, no.
I quickly did a local search and found Rick Bayless', Leña Brava, was relatively close by and off we went. When we arrived at the restaurant there were, luckily, a few seats remaining at the bar. We took our place, ordered wine and some oysters to start what would turn out to be another great experience in a Bayless restaurant.
The first time we dined in a Bayless establishment was a few years back. We had a reservation at Topolobampo. One memory of that experience is we were told our table was that of Michelle and Barack Obama when they were in town. Fine.
But I also remember the sauces that accompanied the dishes we were served that night. Exquisite comes to mind. Fine chemistry comes to mind. Finesse comes to mind. Our dinner was great. The experience was great.
Our dinner at Leña Brava was different, less formal, but also a great and memorable experience.
We were recently dining out in Birmingham, Alabama and friends we were with mentioned they were going to visit Traverse City, Michigan. We immediately told them they should make a reservation to eat at Trattoria Stella.
I tried to find my review on missingpersonsrv, but couldn't. That's because somehow a well-deserved mention fell through the cracks. Happens.
Arriving in Traverse City after driving the entire way from Ludington, Michigan in a torrential rain that included Miranda driving through water a foot and a half deep, we were looking for coffee beans when we happened on Trattoria Stella.
Having done some research on restaurants in the area, I tried several days before we arrived to get a reservation at Stella, but was told they were booked.
So, after getting coffee beans at a local roaster, we decided to try and walk in to Stella when they opened at 5:00 p.m. We were glad we did because they have a great first come, first served area in their very nice bar setting. As a bonus, the restaurant is located in an interesting setting, an old asylum with many other shops therein.
We enjoyed great service and a very good dinner.
When visiting Traverse City, don't miss eating at Stella.
Almost forgot this gem in Pittsburgh. Georgia boy makes great barbecue in Pittsburgh. We happened on YinzBurgh BBQ on the 4th of July. Great find.
There are days when Melanie is otherwise occupied with her EPF work. Today is one of those days.
We're staying just north of Downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. The small county park, Markin Glen, is located next to the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail which runs around the east side of the park and is easily accessible from our site. The trail allows easy cycling into Downtown Kalamazoo.
I already planned to get a ride in today as the weather is cooler. The low temperature this morning was 56 degrees. So, after cycling into town and dropping off a table cloth Melanie requested I bring from Miranda for her gathering at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown, I made my way from over to East Michigan Avenue and had lunch at Food Dance too.
My lunch was very good. I ate their Food Dance Pad Thai. If you ever find yourself in actual Kalamazoo and not just that Kalamazoo state of mind. Someone may have suggested to me they believed Kalamazoo was not a real place, but only a state of mind.
It's real, Food Dance is worth a try.