Skylight Inn, Ayden NC (take two)

The second day of our trip was pretty disastrous, with hours and hours spent stuck in traffic trying to navigate around roads closed by the floods in the region. But at least it began wonderfully, with breakfast at one of the best restaurants in the world. Continue reading “Skylight Inn, Ayden NC (take two)”


Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur AL

Not for the first time, I was forced to consider the odd discrepancy between a phalanx of awards from major cooking competitions and the supposed awesomeness of what the winners of these competitions serve in their restaurants. Either the two are not anywhere close to being the same, or the judges of these competitions have an entirely different set of criteria than I do for what makes good barbecue. Of course, the written word often doesn’t have any nuance whatsoever, and I’m not saying that I’ve ever had a bad meal at a restaurant with one of those larger-than-a-child Memphis in May trophies, but I sure have had better. Continue reading “Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur AL”

Lexington Barbecue, Lexington NC (take two)

I first visited Lexington Barbecue two years ago on a day when some program on the Travel Channel was shooting an episode of one of their many shows about driving around and eating well, and I’ve wondered ever since whether the food might not be even better when it’s prepared and served outside the madness and chaos of a taping day. What I enjoyed then was really good, don’t get me wrong, but if my experience has taught me anything, it’s that kitchens often don’t do their best work when outside forces like festivals or TV shows are slamming the restaurant. Continue reading “Lexington Barbecue, Lexington NC (take two)”

Cromer’s P-Nuts, Columbia SC

My daughter and I went to Columbia to visit the campus of the University of South Carolina, and give her a first proper college tour. She really, really liked the place, far more than I was expecting. Within a few weeks, to be honest, some of the shine and excitement had ebbed somewhat, even after buying a T-shirt (blast it, campus bookstore prices are criminal at every darn college, aren’t they?), only to resume, happily, in the last week, and the visit did wonders for her self-confidence and drive. It’s entirely possible that she might apply here a year or so down the line in the hopes of getting a degree in management, and if she does, we found a great place for her to get a terrific cup of coffee. Continue reading “Cromer’s P-Nuts, Columbia SC”

Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q, Bessemer AL

We try to avoid letting personal sadness get into the blog much, but, as some of our friends know, we had some pretty terrible turmoil in our lives some months after my dad passed away in 2011, and, the following year, it got a lot worse before it got resolved. The bottom line is that, for many years, my daughter has seen very, very little of her mother, who lives in Kentucky, and we have, for many of the same reasons, seen very, very little of my older son, who lives there with her. Continue reading “Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q, Bessemer AL”

Archibald’s Bar-B-Que, Northport AL

There are, of course, hundreds of barbecue restaurants this side of Texas that we have yet to visit, but it’s fair to say that we have not heard about most of them yet, and that there are only a handful left with a huge reputation – a “you must eat here” footprint that most everybody in the barbecue hobby knows. Payne’s, Sweatman’s, and Stamey’s come to mind, and so, for a long time, did Archibald’s, which has been on my short list for about five years thanks to so many glowing reviews from the regulars at the Roadfood forums. Continue reading “Archibald’s Bar-B-Que, Northport AL”