This week’s column would normally be dedicated to a restaurant review, but the current situation is making the task a little tougher day by day. I thought I would better serve the readers by speaking on the progress of the situation and what restaurants are doing differently from last week. Take any information you have and couple it to what I’m giving you. Hopefully this will get you a little closer to normalcy. At the very least, you’ll have more options.
Roshell’s Café and Diner (2906 Springhill Ave.) is making use of that old-fashioned pickup window. It sort of has the feel of walking up to a small town burger barn in the 1970s. Since 1922, this family has run that corner of Springhill. If the Great Depression, World War II, Camille, Frederic and pesky leprechauns can’t shut them down, did you think a pandemic stood a chance?
This is my boys’ favorite hamburger in the world, bested only by Phillips Drive-In in Laurel, Miss. We get the Garlic Cheese Steer at Roshell’s. They recently caught my attention when Frank Trice sent me a picture of their breakfast special, a plate of fish and grits for $5! I was busy until after breakfast that morning, but once it’s in your head it won’t leave. I phoned in a pair of Cheese Steers for lunch with fries and onion rings. I’ll be back for the fish and grits. Call ahead (251-479-4641) or order through the Waitr food delivery app.
I’ve taken to walking. A lot. I haven’t stepped on a scale since Ash Wednesday, so I’m not sure if it’s working. I am, however, gaining a bit of that “King of the Road” swagger. There’s a coop full of city chickens on this corner. There is a dog with a sordid past that occasionally gets loose over on the other corner. Avoid this intersection or the Frios Pops truck will take all of your money. I’ve got the Midtown street smarts down pat.
Part of my route circles Murphy High School. Just a few evenings ago, Katie, Henry and I were getting in a few steps when we saw that Jade Flames Vietnamese Grill had gone mobile! There she sat, opening her windows on the corner of Conti and Demouy, drawing me in like a moth to a, err, flame. They were a little bit away from their 8600 Cottage Hill brick and mortar (which is also doing takeout) on their Midtown food truck test run.
I was lucky enough to be first in line, nabbing a spectacular pork banh mi and egg rolls. Had I not been escorting my voice of reason, I may have tested whether Vietnamese bacon and cheese fries are better than the French-American version. If you are interested in having their food truck in your neck of the woods, or ordering curbside pickup at their restaurant, call 251-264-2750.
With all of my keeping up (I’m trying) with downtown, I’ve neglected to mention The Blind Mule (57 N. Claiborne St.). These guys are hanging tough and mixing things up a little bit. They still have that killer brunch. Of course, the curbside is going with a limited menu. Check their social media to find menu deals and family-style dinners. They are even offering some “take and bake” items. Sadly we don’t get to enjoy that courtyard.
Pizzeria Delphina (107 Dauphin St.) is also burning the downtown candle. You may need to grab one of their family-style chicken tetrazzini or lasagna dishes. I’ve seen a lot of social media posts that make me want to head downtown. Check their social media for hours and availability.
In coffee news, choices are getting slimmer. Serda’s Coffee is closed. So is Carpe Diem. Downtown folks should be delighted to know Nova Espresso (306 St. Anthony St.) is still serving curbside. You can order coffee, snacks, merch and more at their website, novaonthego.com. Check the schedule for Yellowhammer Coffee (3249 Dauphin St). Their main store near Interstate 65 is rocking, but they have satellite shops on Cottage Hill and in Semmes. Chaleur Method Brew + Espresso (1714 Dauphin St.) is still brightening the Midtown mornings. You can place your order online at chaleur.coffee for an easy curbside experience. They open with a limited menu at the crack of 8 a.m.
I’m still looking for more stuff to get into and updates on who is coming back and who is calling it temporary quits. In order to make the most of a bad situation, all you need is information! I’m spending the majority of this week eating Easter leftovers, missing my mother’s chicken salad and my mother-in-law’s lamb. But we are doing fine with a shrimp and pasta salad, leftover ham (one of the kids thought it was the best turkey he ever had), and an amazing first-time lemon cake with blueberries Katie managed to whip up.
If any of you have leftover Robin Eggs, please let me know. I’d be willing to trade my child’s Peeps or slightly used pastel Easter grass. It’s the good stuff. Support local whenever you can. Be kind. Eat well. And don’t put your fingers in your mouth.
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