Our original plan with this most recent southern trip was to take it in December, when we would use the free day at Disney tickets we received after volunteering to make blankets for Project Linus last year.
Unfortunately, the economy dictated that we wouldn’t have quite the vacation fund necessary to accomplish this goal, even with a free day apiece included, so we traveled to my daughter’s house near Pensacola, where her husband serves our country in the Navy. Seeing all the fam was certainly the highlight of the trip, but we splurged in small ways in the area of dining, to make sure it felt like a real vacation.
The NOLA sidetrip was of course, a chance to indulge in beignets and creole delights, and we took full advantage of that. I mean, how often do you have a chance to eat alligator? Really?
M made a full ham dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas night when we arrived, and we were able to eat those tasty goodies pretty much the rest of the week, too. We made cinnamon rolls one morning, thanks to Miss Chloe (no, not Grandma Rosie’s kind), and made our own garlic bread pizzas another night.
But the highlight of the trip has to be the place where people are encouraged to throw food. No, not Animal House!
Lambert’s, the home of throwed rolls, in Foley, Alabama. Yes, “throwed rolls.” J was sure we’d think this was a real kick, and it was. Not only does the menu include all sorts of delicious southern foods, once you get your plate they come around with more, huge bowls of fried okra, black eyed peas, fried potatoes and onions, macaroni and tomatoes, and slop more on your plate, as much as you want. On top of greens, and a host of other incredible food.
The highlight was the manner in which patrons obtain their meal’s bread portions. Every ten or fifteen minutes, someone brings out a tray of oven-hot rolls. If you want one, you raise your hand, and then they throw one to you. From the front of the restaurant. Hard. As in we were fortunate to have a little softball player at our table to make sure we could eat. And what rolls. Hot, yeasty, delicious. Even Little Miss caught a couple–she was thrilled. So. Throwed Rolls. Yes indeedee.
But the meal closest to my heart has to be the one where, like Mary, Joseph and their newborn son, we wandered from place to place on Christmas Eve, searching for a place to have a meal with K, who’d come to meet us from Asheville at our hotel on the road. Everywhere was closed, no room at the table, until we came to the Knoxville Waffle House.
So we shared a repast, our first all together in months, around the counter as the jukebox played in the background, without a Christmas tree, without carols, without snow,without all those commercial trappings, just us and some cheesy grits and burgers. And somehow, it was one of the best holiday meals of my life.