Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sheila C'S Burger Barn,

So, as you read below a true landmark was burned, basically destroyed by some kid. The Talisi Hotel had quite a history and one of the best southern buffets in the world. Once Stacey and I drove around the block ,wondering what the hell happened and why most of downtown Tallassee was shut down, we started looking for food. Again.

We had put our hunger on hold looking for the right spot to dine while driving to Mobile last Wednesday. I had a few places in mind and planned on stopping at the first one we found. In Opleika we could stop at Chucks BBQ, but I passed that exit having had Chucks BBQ before. I was not real impressed. If I was gonna have BBQ I was gonna stop at Kendalls Howling Good BBQ. Problem was, I could not remember what exit to take. I had fried chicken from the Talisi Hotel on my mind and I knew how to get there. Well you know how that worked out. So we left downtown Talisi and took a left going away from the interstate.

It was not looking real good and all we had found so far were fast food joints. Then we came across Sheila C's Burger Barn. Thank you God.

Sheila's is a small place with a dirt parking lot. Lot's of trucks covered in mud. We entered to find some tables and chairs, a few hunters (trucks/mud) and a small counter for ordering food. A guy in a camo ball cap was taking orders and Sheila worked the stove. There was a sheet of typing paper taped to the wall with the menu printed on it. Burgers and dogs, chips and soda was all that was offered. Stacey ordered a single with cheese. I maned up ordering a double with cheese combo. The combo part was a drink and bag of chips.

Checking it all out I noticed how Sheila had about 10 fist sized balls of hamburger meat on the flattop. As we ordered she smashed 3 of the meatballs flat with a spatchler. At first I wasn't sure why there were so many burgers in waiting on the flattop. I soon learned why, as one after another folks came in, ordered burgers and found a seat to wait. All kinds of folks. Gangsters, grandparents, nuns and cops all ordering burgers. And Sheila was ready. She kept the meatballs, soon to be burgers, at the ready. As the orders came Sheila smashed them flat to get them cooking faster.

I had told the guy taking orders we would eat our burgers there, but still he packed them to go. He packed everyones order to go although most folks sat and ate. Like I said, thank you God. These were exceptional burgers. They were the perfect size, not so big you couldn't get them in you mouth. Even my manly double was managable. The buns were steamed and I bet Sheila moved the burgers from the flattop to the buns, no draining the grease on a paper towel or anything. So this made for a very moist sandwich. The burgers were not to greasy at all. They had mayo, ketchup, chopped onions and cheese. All of this blended very nicly. From the first bite I knew we had found a really good place to eat.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Hotel Talisi

One of the best Christmas gifts Stacey and I ever received is a book about "out of the way" places to eat. It's focus is on the South. Once Stacey and I drove from Atlanta to Little Rock. We took three days to make the trip and never once got on the Interstate. We used this book, A Southern Belly, as our guide. We spent days eating our way through Alabama, Mississippi and into Arkansas.

We use this book often when making road trips. Since we regularly drive from Atlanta to Mobile, we have tried most spots in between that Southern Belly recommends. One spot is in Tallassee, Alabama. The Talisi Hotel once laid out one of the most beautiful southern buffet one has ever seen. It was full with all that makes for a great southern meal. Fried chicken, country fried steak, fried catfish, mashed taters, rice and gravy. Beans, butter, pole, green and blackeyed peas. Cornbread. Pies to die for and lot's more. Many times on our way to and from Mobile, Stacey and I would exit I-85 and drive the 15 minutes to this antique hotel for a meal. On Sundays it was always busy, so we got it to go. We could fill up a to go plate for $4.95 a pound. Then we walked around the corner to sit high up on the banks of the Tallapoosa River to enjoy our food. Good times.

Well, bad news. We stopped in last week and not just the hotel, but most of the small downtown was boarded up. The streets were blocked off so we really could not tell what had happened. Once we got home and on the computer this is what we learned.

So sad. So, so sad.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


So Saturday night I'm listening to a radio show and one of the musical guest is introduced as having a Cd package of his life work, so far that is, and it took over 90 Cd's to cover it all. Got me to thinking, what the hell am I doing. I'm standing in my kitchen, drinking a vodka martini, listening to the radio. Nothing, that's what I'm doing, a bunch of nothing. So I mix another martini to help me think about all this nothing I'm doing.

Not for nothing, but I'm not so sure we ain't supposed to be doing to much. Especially if it ain't fun. That part I sure about, if it ain't fun don't do it. If you got to do stuff that ain't fun make sure you counter it with stuff that's fun. It's all about decisions. You got to decide what you can and can't control and you got to decide what makes you happy.

I was talking to friend about children. I expressed how I kind of felt guilty not ever having children. Kind of like I was greedy with my life. I thought one reason I may have never had kids was they never fit my life style. I wasn't sure that was a good reason. My friend shared her thought which was we are not all put here on earth to have children. There certainly isn't a shortage of children in this world.

I have no idea where I'm going with this, it's starting to sound like bullshit to me. I guess it's the slacker thing. The martini thing. Maybe we all aren't put on earth to compose 60 Cd's of music. Maybe we are not supposed to be the President of the good old USA. Hell, maybe were not supposed to be the president of the our kids PTA. That's if we had kids.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Maybe you have or maybe you haven't read previous "transmission" from my friend, the good Dr. John. I met John 10 or so years ago as he was taking over ownership of a veterinary clinic in the Atlanta area. South side. So he could be amongst his peeps. He has been in Ely and Duluth Minnesota as of late, both working and advancing his education. Below is Johns most recent transmission.

Sent: Monday, December 14, 2009 3:24:23 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: journalism

What up T?
So I've been on this (wildlife)ecology path for 3 years now because I
wanted to have a legitimate segue from my previous career. Now I have a
"job" so to speak at Auburn Univeristy in wetland ecology - which,
although in the school of forestry And Wildlife sciences, it is slanted
more towards forestry because it deals with urban effects on carbon
cycling and water retention. Point being - its important work in
today's climate - no pun intended - but not what I really started out
on. You see, along the way towards getting certified in wildlife
ecology so that I could apply my previous scientific background to
managing overall wildlife populations, I took a wetland course, then got
certified to determine where a wetland begins and where it ends, got
contacted by this professor at Auburn who was really interested in me,
and wha-la, here I am. Suppose to show up at Auburn on January 11 - I
get a stipend to work on a project and teach some undergrad biology
labs. Its freakin ridiculously low wages but its progress on the path.
Also along the way, I have written a lot of papers - gotten a fair
amount of writing practice. Its funny to see my instructors correct me,
though, because I like to put a creative bend on the writing. "You
can't do that! Its a freakin Science paper!" So now, I think I want to
be a journalist and work for somebody like NPR and report on scientific
matters so that people can understand the issues and get a clear
understanding of both sides. Oh, what to do? So many choices in little time. I'm packing the car and driving south in 4 days
as soon as my finals are over here in Duluth....."Headed down south to
the land of the pines...." I have some pictures of wintertime here to
be sent later. jd

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I love music and it's in my blood. See that little boy? That's my brothers son and like me he too loves music, just look at him.

I've been thinking about writing a post about music. What it means to me, where my love for it comes from and maybe a list of favorites. Then I got to thinking I could write about music forever. My Mom and Dad are both huge music consumers and no self respecting music love would dare try and list favorites. It's impossible to do that. Hell at least once a week I learn of a new band that I want to explore. And one would also have to break those favs into categories. I listen to lot's of different kinds of music, it would be easier to list the genre's I don't enjoy.

How could you do a list of favorites when you've been listening to music since you were 5- 6 years old? That's what I remember. I was telling Stacey about the first stereo my sisters got for Christmas when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I told Stacey that was my intro to music, the first stuff I listened to was what my sisters played. Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Rod Stewart and so on. But, the more I thought about it I started to remember the huge console my Mom and Dad had on Chadwick Dr. I remember laying on the floor near the door way from the dinning room to kitchen listening to whatever my Mom and Dad were listening to. I can still remember some of the songs. Trailers for sale or rent, Roger Miller. Al Hirt, Cotton Candy. The sound track to West Side Story. Music I still listen to. I have both the West Side Story and Al Hirt album. So I guess that's where it all started.

This morning I am listening to Neil Youngs' After the Gold Rush album. Very loud. This is the kind of music my sister was listening to in high school. She also listened to lot's of bands not so many people knew about. Southern bands. Bands like the Dixie Dregs, Poco, The Locust Fork Band. Ya ever heard of these bands?

I could go on and on. My Mom and Dad have never stopped listening to music. My Mom has turned me on to some of my favorite music. Whenever I get in her car I see what she is listening to and many times find something new to me. Louis Prima and Squirrel Nut Zipper Zipper are just a couple of examples of what I have found in my mom's cd player.

I could go on and on. I could tell you about the newest thing I've heard or the latest live act I have tickets to see. That would be the Residents. We will see the Residents for the third time in February at the Variety Playhouse. Last time we saw the Residents live was about 20 years ago at the famous 688 club. I saw the Residents with Snake Finger two nights in a row way back then. The Residents are nothing like any of the bands I have mentioned so far. The Residents are a very good example when I claim to enjoy lots of different styles of music. Click on them and read a bit about them.

I could go no and on and maybe I will.
Stand by.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Stacey and I were in Mobile for the Thanksgiving holiday. We drove Wednesday. It was not a bad trip. Stacey ask me to get a audio book cd for the trip, but instead I brought along some new music I had on hand. The whole way down to Mobile, about 5.5 hours we listened to music. We listened to Nick Cave, a cd of B side and rarities. We listened to Steely Dan, we listened to a collection of very old American folk songs done up by contemporary artist. I should do a blog on this cd set soon.

Any way Stacey and I are in beautiful downtown Mobile for the weekend. I moved to this neighborhood when I was 12 years old. I thought it was the coolest place then and still do today. I like Mobile because I grew up in the Garden District with old buildings and strange neighbors. Good flat streets for bike riding. There were hotels in the neighborhood and they were great places to skate board or sneak into the swimming pool.

Like I said we were there for the weekend and as always we took long walks. Here are some photos of the different places I see when I walk in my Mobile neighborhood.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Very Important Information

Po-Boy Preservation Festival winners include some surprises

By Judy Walker

November 30, 2009, 11:32AM

On Sunday, November 22, Mahoney's winning chicken liver po-boy was one of three top sandwiches that included slaw of some sort. 5,000+ New Orleanians celebrated the city’s most famous sandwich on the newly renovated Oak Street corridor.

In a press release afterwards, the festival released the winners of the judged competition for the best po-boys in seven categories.

In an unusual twist, three of the winning sandwiches included some form of slaw.

This year’s winners include:

Best in Show: Grand Isle’s Shrimp Caminada
The po-boy was named in honor of Caminada, which is a fishing town west of Grand Isle wiped out in a terrible storm on October 2, 1893. The sandwich consists of shrimp sautéed in a spicy citrus butter sauce topped with herb slaw. Grand Isle will soon be adding the sandwich to their menu.

People’s Choice: New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co.’s Shrimp-Zilla
The sandwich consists of roast beef, fried shrimp and coleslaw.

Best Pork Po-Boy: Dong Phuong Bakery’s Vietnamese Po-Boy
The Banh Mi was quite popular with the crowds at this year’s festival. In Vietnamese, “banh mi” translates both as ‘bread’ and ‘the sandwich using that bread.’ Here in New Orleans, banh mi has become known as the ‘Vietnamese po-boy.’

Best Roast Beef Po-Boy: Gattuso’s Neighborhood Bar & Restaurant Roast Beef Po-Boy

Best Shrimp Po-Boy: Boucherie’s Barbecued Shrimp Po-boy

Best Special Seafood Po-Boy: Acme Oyster House’s Fried Oyster Po-Boy

Best Special Non-Seafood Po-Boy: Mahoney’s Po-Boy Shop’s Fried Chicken Livers & Coleslaw Po-Boy

This year’s panel of 26 judges included chef/owner Johnny Blancher of Ye Olde College Inn, who won Best of Show at the last two festivals. Other judges were Todd Price, freelancer for The Times-Picayune; Lorin Gaudin of WDSU; Camille Whitworth, report/anchor for WDSU; David Darragh, president of Reily Foods, and Robert Peyton of New O

London part II

I kinda got away from this subject, I come across pieces like the two videos and articles from the New Orleans food section and I really want to share them with you. Also I'm gonna have to sit down and think to recall my London trip, the videos and stuff like that are no brianer. But anyway, back to London.

One of the first things I noticed about London was how quite it was for such a city. The folks on the train to Victoria Station were a very civil bunch. It was obvious most were commuting to work in the city proper. Only one bloke talking to loud on cell phone. When it came to getting a cab you would que up and wait your turn if you were at a hotel or somewhere lot's of folks were waiting for cabs. When you did get a cab you didn't just get in, the cabbie would roll down the pass window and you would "ask" if he would take you to such and such place. I also noticed how few horns were blowing, it was quite quite for such a city.

We drank at many pubs. This is a photo of the Churchill Arms. The guy I was traveling with had lived in London a few years back and knew where the good puds were. He told me how the older pubs were referred to as "locals" by the locals who frequented these puds. The Arms was totally a locals place. One of the coolest bars I have ever imbibed at. He knew which puds were chain operated and steered clear of those unless we had no choice at that moment. He pointed out the extra cold Guinness tap which was referred to as "American Guinness". The Brits prefer their beer a bit less cold then us Yanks. The Guinness beer was the best tasting, freshest beer I have ever had. So I had many.

We ate as well. Traveling partner enjoys food as much as I do so we looked for a couple of gastro pubs suggested buy the Chow Hound website. We tried to eat at Anchor Hope which was first on the list, but 2 hour wait. So that night we went across the street to Live Bait. We had a good meal. Oysters, Scallop Risotto, and more. The next afternoon we had our best meal of the trip at the Atlas gastro pub, 2nd on the chow hound list. We had five minutes before the kitchen closed for lunch so we took a seat by the open fire, ordered beers and checked out the menu. We ate Rabbit with veggies and Duck three ways.

Stayed tuned!!