It went out not with a bang, but a whimper. Vietnamese favorite Pho Yen at 763 Holcombe Ave. broke the hearts of Mobilians citywide when the restaurant announced via its Facebook page that it was closing permanently. It was the news none of us wished to hear, but were fearing.
The panic began when I would call and get a message that the number had been changed with no new number available. Drive-bys yielded an empty parking lot and locked doors. Social media was not giving any clues, but we figured we couldn’t expect a good outcome. Then the message hit.
“To all of our loyal clients and customers. Thank you for your support in the past year. But we will be closed from now on.” A tough pill to swallow, but there was a glimmer of hope. The message goes on to say words of comfort like, “as soon as we have another location.”
As we mourn the loss of this institution, we can take time to reacquaint ourselves with some of our other favorite Vietnamese restaurants like Pot of Pho and Pho 88. Both of these are worthy restaurants, but I will be hoping for a more convenient Downtown or Midtown location. Until then, adieu, mon amore.
Blue Bell returns to local grocers
It has been a tough year for the ice cream giant Blue Bell, with a health scare last April that led to the closing of plants in Texas and Oklahoma after a multistate outbreak of listeriosis was linked to its creameries.
This left shelves of South Alabama grocery stores with massive gaps where the coveted Blue Bell ice cream used to be. For months we have waited for the tubs of so many beloved flavors to return to the coolers of our supermarkets. Alabamians got their wish early this Christmas as the Blue Bell trucks made their way here this past week.
Cookies and Cream, Homemade Vanilla and all the other fancy flavors are chilling out in frozen food sections all across our county and fans are going wild. “All Greer’s stores are restocked with Blue Bell ice cream starting today! Happy Monday!” posted Julia Greer Fobes.
The excitement didn’t end there. Television news, print media, social media and just about any other media you could think of was weighing in on the good news. Welcome back, Blue Bell.
An early White Christmas coming to Cathedral Square’s Winter Wonderland
Saturday, Dec. 19, is the day your white Christmas dreams can come true. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. that section of downtown Mobile will be covered in snow.
There is a 100 percent chance of the flakes as children and adults alike are encouraged to come play in the snow. Be sure to have your picture made with Santa Claus and finish (or begin) your holiday shopping at the Christmas Market, where you’ll find locally grown produce and baked goods.
The fun doesn’t end there. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping for someone else, head down to Bienville Square to treat yourself to some fine offerings from the mobile kitchens participating in Food Truck Community Day.
There will also be a food drive for Bay Area Food Bank, so bring a canned good or two for donation.
Bourbon balls, the holiday treat for old and young alike
My mother is pretty much a teetotaler. She wouldn’t be caught dead in a liquor store. My dad doesn’t fear them nearly as much as she. I guess I take after my dad a bit. But at Christmastime my mom would occasionally ask me to get her some bourbon for bourbon balls.
Though I knew she only needed a half cup for the holiday recipe, I, the eager-to-please son, would sneak off to the liquor store and return with a liter of the best Kentucky’s finest I could afford. A job worth doing is worth doing right, I sometimes say.
This isn’t her exact recipe but one I’ve found to be nearly as good. The best part about this is that it is a no-bake affair, so the children are welcome to help mom or dad without the danger of heat. Ironically, however, they will be handling bourbon, so keep an eye on them.
12 ounces finely crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup bourbon (Tennessee whiskey works well, too)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Powdered sugar for coating
Mix all ingredients, saving the last of the powdered sugar. Roll the mixture into inch-sized balls. Roll the balls around in the powdered sugar and store in airtight containers. Save the rest of the bourbon for the eggnog.
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