As we watch 2017 give way to 2018, it’s a good time to look back on some of the good things that happened in Alabama this year. Alabama NewsCenter has tallied the results in each grouping of stories to see which ones you responded to the most, and we’re sharing your five favorites along with a story (or stories) we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss.
Truth be told, we all want Chad Allen’s job. He travels around Alabama tasting the dishes on the Alabama Tourism Department’s list of 100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die and gets the dish on those dishes from the chefs and restaurateurs behind them. Since the list is regularly updated, there is no end to the great Alabama flavors and places for him to explore.
Obviously, 100 Dishes is one of Alabama NewsCenter’s most popular features. But which dishes captured your attention the most? From the sweet to the savory and from the simple to the fancy, we saw that good food comes in all forms.
Here are the five 100 Dishes stories that whetted your appetite the most in 2017:
It might surprise you that a pizza in Albertville tops the list. But the Celebrity Pizza at Mater’s Pizza & Pasta isn’t your typical pepperoni and cheese pie. The mix of unusual ingredients with the sauce and crust create a flavor explosion that has given this pizza a loyal following.
In the unlikely event that you’re still hungry after the Celebrity Pizza, you can drive down the road to Arab where the Fonseca Factory makes a spinach dip the customers are eating up bowl after bowl. This isn’t some dainty dip that you eat with thin chips. This stuff is full of body and flavor that you gobble up with thick, crispy bread.
A true Southerner knows that banana pudding doesn’t come from a box and the word “instant” isn’t even in the vocabulary when discussing such things. At Ole Hickory BBQ in Huntsville, they’re using vanilla wafers, banana slices and hot custard to make it the way you remember – right down to the toasted meringue on top.
Some places have so many desirable items on their menu that it’s hard to decide what to order. Café 336 at Bakers on Main in Guntersville took the guesswork out of it by creating Downtowne Delight. The dish gives you a taste of the restaurant’s most popular items on one plate.
Sometimes you just want a good barbecue plate with the meat as the star but all the trimmings to round it out. Johnny’s Bar-B-Q in Cullman knows what you want and they’ve been delivering it for decades. Pork with sauce, fries, slaw and baked beans come together to perfection.
Tawny Carter is the executive chef and co-owner at the Prop & Gavel restaurant in Monroeville. She dismisses herself as the “&” in the restaurant’s name, which is named for her dad (a pilot) and her mom (an attorney and judge). But what Carter is doing with food in a town rich in literary history is worthy of many words, not just a punctuation mark. The Barrister Burger is a perfect example of how Carter elevates the simple into something truly special at Prop & Gavel.