Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Brandi's World Famous Hot Dogs - Marietta, Georgia

Photo from city-data.com
The Dining Companion and I recently had lunch at Brandi's World Famous Hot Dogs. Brandi's in Marietta is a small lunch place that's open 10am-3pm Monday through Friday.

When we arrived at lunch time there was a line at the door and the tiny dining room was standing room only. Luckily for us we were able to snag a seat with two older gentleman that were finishing up their lunch. They seemed a little bemused at my request to sit with them but they were polite and gracious and allowed us to share their table. We chatted briefly about the weather, like you do, they gave us a couple of recommendations for local places to eat and then said their goodbyes. By this time we had placed our order and sat looking around and waiting for our food.

There are a handful of tables in the dining room as well as a a two sided bar that surrounds the small kitchen. Every seat in the house was filled. Everyone from moms with kids, business men and law enforcement officers stopped in for lunch.

Finally lunch arrived.
Chili Slaw Dogs, Chili Burgers, Fries and Onion Rings
The chili dogs, one of the things Brandi's is known for, were really good. The burgers were okay but it was clear that the dogs were the star of the show. The onion rings were made with whole onion slices, as they should be and the fries were crinkle cut and fried crispy just like I prefer.

Brandi's is a simple place with a small dining room and a limited menu. It is also a beloved local institution. Having lunch with the locals, and people like ourselves who came here based on word of mouth, was fun. A room full of happy people sharing good food and a fun time. What could be better than that?

Happy dining!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Dixie

Once again our merry little band is hitting the road. The East Coast is beckoning once again.

We had a good time in Texas. All that barbecue, all those icehouses, all the great seafood and TexMex cuisine. (I sense a theme here!) We've often vacationed in Texas and with all of our new found knowledge those vacations will be more fun than ever.

But, for all that, there is something about the East Coast that keeps calling us back.

So off we go. Heading east along I10 and into the Atchafalaya Basin, crossing on the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway and its 18 mile bridge. East through the cities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And finally north towards Georgia and the Carolinas. 

We took our time and stopped a few places on the way. The Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport, Mississippi had been on my radar for a while. Too many Diners, Drive-ins and Dives viewings I suspect. But in any case, I wanted to check it out and the Dining Companion was kind enough to indulge me.

There wasn't much of a crowd the day we stopped for lunch. We were warmly greeted and seated at a table by a window.
I spotted a favorite of mine on the menu, a pimento cheese burger, and just had to order it. The Dining Companion ordered a Gulf Coast staple; a shrimp po'boy. 
Pimento Cheese Burger

Shrimp Po'boy
Lunch was good but I honestly didn't see what all the fuss was about. Maybe this place lights up with a crowd? Hard to say. I'm glad we stopped and that I had the chance to cross if off my list.

It's strange and comforting to travel along roads both familiar and made new by the haze of a capricious memory. Was that place there before? Did we stop here on a previous trip? It seems known and unknown at once.

Which, in a way, is nice. We get to rediscover old friends and discover new to us places along the way. But travel can be like that. It can make the old and familiar seem new and the new seem like an old friend.

Happy travels y'all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sam Houston Boat Tour - Houston, Texas

On a recent, overcast day, the Dining Companion and I took a tour of the Houston Shipping Channel. The Port of Houston Authority offers a free 90 minute tour aboard the M/V Sam Houston. The tour embarks from the ports Sam Houston Pavilion.

The tour is free of charge and is boarded on a first come first served basis. The day we were there was rainy and overcast so the crowd was small.

We boarded and got under way.
We passed cargo ships from all over the world.
The orange craft at the back of the ship is an escape pod for the crew
Hundreds of tons of cargo pass in and out of the Houston shipping channel every year. Once the cargo arrives at the port is is off-loaded and distributed to destinations all over the country.

There are many cargo handling businesses and warehouses located all over the port.

I don't know about you, but I find the workings of places like this fascinating. It's interesting to get an up close look at how some of the goods we use everyday make their way to us. Several large retailers have warehouses located at the Port of Houston. From these locations they can distribute their inventory to stores located throughout America.

The inside of the ship is comfortable with plenty of seating. Nice on a rainy day like we had.

Large screens show the view from the front of the boat
There are interesting activities like this available to the public all over. Get out there and take advantage of the ones near you.

Happy travels!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015