January 18th, 2011
Warm Hospitality, Savouring Southern Eats - It's the best time to travel south!
Escape to a new frontier in the Deep South, a place built on big dreams that has surmounted hard times with hard work. See exotic wildlife, bask on the sparkling Gulf Coast or learn about the lives of accomplished singers and unsung civil rights heroes.
While you’re there, chow down in the Deep South for an epic taste tour that’ll fulfill food cravings you didn’t know you had. This region’s medley of flavors is enough to vanquish any voracity, whether you’re a seafood fan or a barbecue connoisseur. Tender tongues beware: it might get spicy.
See the sights and work up an appetite!
Plot a course to the south along Interstate 85 to Montgomery, Alabama and learn about a country music legend at the Hank Williams Museum. You'll find more than a few noteworthy pieces of the singer’s past including clothing, instruments, handwritten lyrics and the 1952 Cadillac in which Williams spent his final hours.
Cruising the Coast
Interstate 65 takes you down to southern Alabama, where you can add a little Gulf Coast goodness to your trip. The brilliant twin beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach invite you to kick back and get your fill of sun, sand and surf.
Take Interstate 10 west through Mobile and spend a few hours at the Mobile Museum of Art, featuring a permanent collection of more than 9,000 pieces and ever-changing special exhibits.
Follow Interstate 10 along the Gulf Coast to Biloxi, Mississippi for a unique and savory seafood experience –The Biloxi Shrimping Trip! Billed as a “Living Marine Adventure Cruise,” climb aboard the Sailfish for a real shrimping expedition and see how it’s done, from setting out the net to sorting through the catch.
Continue westward along Interstate 10 until you reach the Louisiana bayou–and you’ll know it when you see it. You won’t find another place on Earth with the look, feel or food of New Orleans, Louisiana. Discover Creole cuisine with classics such as red beans and rice, gumbo and shrimp Creole while you revel in the old-fashioned grandeur of the French Quarter.
The Influential Voices of Alabama
Trek to Tuscaloosa, Alabama– birthplace of blues queen and jazz legend Dinah Washington–on Interstate 59 and experience the renowned ribs of Dreamland BBQ.
From Tuscaloosa, take Interstate 20 east to Birmingham, the last stop before the return trip to Atlanta. You’ll find exquisite dining and jazz clubs in Birmingham, along with the largest collection of motorcycles in America at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the famed Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
The best way to experience a new culture is to taste it–and the Deep South is a real treat! This region is a gold mine of unique tastes, from gourmet frog legs to fresh-caught Cajun shrimp.
Enjoy enticing feasts and festivals, down-home dishes with Southern flair or classic American cuisine–there's an answer for every appetite. And the atmosphere? Second only to the food itself. Take a riverboat cruise and dine on the bayou or go rustic and grab a bite in a log cabin that predates the Civil War.
Hungry history buffs can enjoy a mighty-fine meal at Mary Mahoney’s Restaurant and Café located in “Biloxi’s Oldest House.” This 18th-century house was built during the French occupation of the Louisiana coast and has been featured in National Geographic Magazine. It now stands as a monument of Mississippi fine dining that has been pampering presidents, dignitaries, celebrities and more since 1964. Get your fill of filet mignon and polish off a praline parfait or feast on fresh Gulf seafood and Mahoney’s own bread pudding with rum sauce.
The pride and joy of this establishment is its cellar, an anomalous amenity in coastal regions. Even rarer is the fact that it’s drier than a good cabernet sauvignon; if there was ever a perfect place for a wine cellar, you’d find it beneath Mary Mahoney’s. Indulge in a glass or two with your meal under the shade of a 2000-year-old live oak in the courtyard or throw a private party for up to 100 people. Foodies seeking a supreme eating experience would be hard-pressed to do better than this venerable old house packed wall-to-wall with culinary bliss and cellar-to-ceiling with old-world French charm.
“In Alabama we know how to eat well and have a good time.” in all of Alabama, Lulu’s at Homeport Marina is perhaps the best embodiment of that phrase. Owner Lucy Buffet–sister of Jimmy Buffet–certainly knows how to have a good time. With daily live music and special events ranging from a “Noon Year’s Eve” celebration for kids to “Lulu’s Tropical Re-Union,” a Valentine’s Day ceremony for wedding vow renewals, you get the feeling that Lucy and her clientele are all one big, happy family.
Nothing brings people together like a good meal, which may explain the family atmosphere at Lulu’s. Savor the obligatory “Cheeseburger in Paradise” or enjoy a huge variety of sandwiches, wraps and fresh seafood cooked just the way you want it. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a margarita so mouthwatering, it could only come from a Buffett.
Do-it-yourselfers looking for a feast in the French Quarter should seek enrollment in the New Orleans School of Cooking
for a hearty assortment of individual and group cooking classes with both hands-on and demonstration-style approaches. Under the roof of a renovated molasses warehouse and under the guidance of local Creole and Cajun expert chefs, you’ll learn the basics of bayou masterpieces such as Gumbo, Bisque and Jambalaya. The New Orleans School of Cooking also brings culinary culture to the table, enriching the cooking experience with history, folktales and fun. Whether you’re an Emeril-in-the-making or you can’t tell a spatula from a stovetop, The New Orleans School of Cooking promises “a ‘ga-ron-teed’ good time for all.”