Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mobile, Biloxi, BBQ and great Southern Music

For those of you that were itching after the seeing the picture of Janice’s feet - they are much better now.

The cold weather still hadn’t let up. On Wednesday night the thermometer dipped to twenty degrees Fahrenheit. By day it climbed to the high forties, which made it barely passable to try the little golf course attached to the park. I paid my $10.00 and golfed twenty-seven holes. That cold and wind must have really put me off my game. Either that or I’ve just lost it. The long game is my strength - good thing too because I sure stunk up the short game. The longest hole on the course was 130 yards - the shortest 55 yards. My score, which I didn’t bother to keep, was more reflective of nine 550 yard holes.

Pictured is the main street through Magnolia Springs.

Everybody we’d asked about Mobile steered us away, warning that, “It’s a good place to get shot.” Keeping in mind that we’ve had lots of dire warnings about other places - like the entire United States - we decided to give it a look-see.

Granted, we didn’t venture outside of the downtown but it was surprisingly small - and quaint. The population is just two hundred thousand and the downtown is mostly made up of old brick buildings with wrought iron adornments. We walked around in the chill before huddling for coffee at one of those new fangled, upscale coffee shops that you might find anywhere these days.

Pictured is the tallest building in Mobile. This photo is deceiving because of the older neglected building in front of it. Another view gives a better scale - because Alabama is so flat we could see this building from miles away and had thought that it must be a hundred or so floors tall because it dwarfed anything else on the skyline. It turned out to be about thirty stories instead. There just aren’t a lot of high-rises in Mobile.

In the evening we decided to try a pot luck dinner at the park’s clubhouse. On the way back from Mobile Janice suggested that we stop to get some wine to take to the dinner. I said that I didn’t think it would be a wine drinking kind of affair. She disagreed. I bet her a dollar.

Janice cooked some button ribs and off we went. We left the wine behind, (the clubhouse was only fifty feet from our unit) until we could check out what was happening. The dinner was scheduled for 6:00pm and we got there around 5:55. There were about fifteen people seated at two cafeteria style tables, none with any alcohol in front of them. There was a bit of small talk for a few minutes and then, at 6:03pm, somebody said, “Well, how long are we going to wait?" The line formed and twenty minutes later it was all over.

I won the dollar. We went back to the trailer and drank the bottle of wine while watching The Office.

In the morning we pulled out of Magnolia Springs. Destination: Biloxi, Mississippi…

We pulled into Martin Lake RV Resort near Biloxi about one o’clock after a flat and uneventful drive.

Pictured is Martin Lake - must be nice in the summertime.

Checking the internet for what was around, we found that The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint is right down the road at Ocean Springs. The Shed is famed for being one of the top three BBQ joints in all of the south, as well as for top quality live music. There’s a number of Sheds around the south but the original is right here, and, there’s a great guitar player named Cary Hudson there tomorrow night. He was named “One of the ten best alternative country guitarists of all time” by Gibson Guitar magazine. The best part? No cover charge.

There’s lots of other more famous acts in town at the casinos, like; Hinder, .38 Special and Willie Nelson. At the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi we could also catch a free show of blues guy, Mike Zito, but we’ve opted instead for BBQ and Cary Hudson at The Shed on Saturday night. If you want to see a real kick-ass female guitarist check out Ana Popovic on youtube. She sometimes teams up with Mike Zito.

After checking out the music scene on the internet we drove through Ocean Springs and Biloxi and then took a long walk along the waterfront at Biloxi.

Pictured: Some fishing boats at Biloxi, the Hard Rock Casino at Biloxi and, the beach at Biloxi with some other casinos in the background. The whole waterfront area took a huge hit by Hurricane Katrina. A lot of buildings that would have been in the picture are now gone.

On Saturday morning we walked around downtown Ocean Springs.
Pictured is a drug store in Ocean Springs that had an old fashioned soda fountain and snack bar inside.

After lunch we walked the seawall at Ocean Springs and then went to check out The Shed, pictured below, to see if we needed resrvations, or what. It's owned by a young brother and sister and they built it out of recycled lumber, tin and rusty nails. They have now franchised a number of other locations.

In the evening, at The Shed, we split a sampler that had two kinds of salad, beans and BBQ’d baby back ribs, chicken, beef and pulled pork. Yes, we took a doggy bag to go. Some of the awards The Shed has won are: Best of the Best in America - National BBQ News Magazine, 2004-2010; Ultimate Hometown Grill-Off Champion - Regis and Kelly Show, 2010; Spirit of BBQ Restaurant of the Year - National BBQ News Magazine, 2004; 12 Award of Excellence Sauces - National BBQ Association, 2010; 3rd Place, Whole Hog - Memphis in May World Championship, 2010. We also discovered that it had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives last year.

The music was really upbeat and the guys had the joint jumping. Of course I couldn’t have been happier when I saw the percussionist setting up with a Cajon. He played it sideways but got some really interesting sounds out of it. I talked to him later. He had starting out playing it conventionally but discovered he could get a more realistic bass sound by playing it sideways so that he could use his right foot the same as he would on his bass drum, like he would when playing his kit. I’ll have to try it…

Pictured are Cary Hudson and his band shaking The Shed.

When we leave here we’re headed for The Big Easy.

1 comment:

  1. Once again....great writing and photos. You will really love "The Big Easy." I understand from when I was there that the jury is still out on "Why" the Big Easy. My choice is that it has always been a place where musicians can make a good living and continue their studies too. See what you are told. You will be in seventh heaven, fantastic food and great music. hugs, cuz ljc