Thursday, January 14, 2010

Corinne Trang- Visits Decatur, Alabama

Destination: Florence and Decatur, Alabama
Exploring world-famous Muscle Shoals, Tennessee River, and Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q . . . Life is definitely good!
By Corinne Trang at

Picking up where I left off in Birmingham, I head toward the northwest corner of Alabama to sample Southern comfort food. But my plans changed, which often happens to me—and generally for the better. So in three days, not only did I get to eat all the stick-to-your-ribs food one can possibly handle (wear loose clothes, if you plan to follow suit!), but had a blast fishing, enjoyed a massage, grooved to Muscle Shoals' R&B on 92.3 FM, and got the chance to reclaim my luggage that American Airlines lost over 15 years ago—a long shot, I know.

There is no direct flight to Florence or Decatur. The closest airports are either Birmingham or Huntsville, the latter being about a half hour from either destination. While at the airport be sure to pick up a rental car, because public transportation may be challenging.


BIG BOB GIBSON BAR-B-Q: As you enter this no-frills place, you'll notice numerous BBQ competition trophies won by co-owner and celebrity champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, author of the acclaimed Big Bob Gibson BBQ Book. Of all the restaurants I list here, this is THE ONE PLACE NOT TO MISS. In fact, "they" say that one hasn't been to Alabama unless one has experienced a pulled pork sandwich, brisket, turkey, ribs, and of course the chicken with original white sauce from this world-famous joint. The saying "melt in your mouth" was coined here. Well, not really, but it should have been. The menu hasn't changed since 1925, with sides including kettle-baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad, and featured desserts of scrumptious coconut, chocolate, and lemon ice box meringue pies. Sedated, having sampled all meats, sides, and sweets in a single sitting, I walk away all pumped up to judge the 2009 Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg, TN, the next day, but that's another story for another time. (Bob Gibson's BBQ; casual, lunch and dinner, $-$$).

MORGAN PRICE CANDY COMPANY: This candy shop has everything from English toffee, to dark and milk chocolates and seasonal candies, to pralines, which is what they're known for. No order is too small (gift boxes start at $5) and they'll ship all over the world. ($) Morgan Price Candy

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