Delicious Strip Mall Food in Alabama and Other Travel Delights

Boudin balls. Fried Shrimp.
More food than we can possibly eat!
Boudin balls and cracklin. Po'boys. Gulf shrimp. Torchy's tacos. One of our favorite things about road trips is finding the regionally unique...well, cuisine is maybe the wrong word, since a lot of what we love is food truck or little country diner type places. I love that segment on The Splendid Table with the Road Food people. However, their web site is sort of hard to use along the way. We relied on our friends and family for suggestions and sometimes used Yelp. I really like the feature of the Yelp app that allows you to pull up a map of your location (or someplace you might be later in the day) and search for all the nearby restaurants. You can also filter by places that are currently open or if they are good for kids. What I did was scroll past all the Arby's and Applebee's that would show up along the interstate and look for something with an original name. Then I would run a search to see if any local food blogs or magazines said anything about that place.

PBandJ - the other road food.
That is how I found the D' Road Cafe in Montgomery, a tiny little place in a strip mall next to a dollar store. They were busy getting ready for Puerto Rican night (each Friday, the owner features a different Latin American style of cooking). When we came in, after fussing over our kids, she said, "chicken or pork?" And then returned with plates laden with roasted potatoes and rice and meat in interesting sauces. She also told us about the detoxifying health benefits of various herbs and spices that she uses. An excellent choice for us since we had been feasting on barbecue and oysters in Mississippi. And while the food was good, what I really enjoyed was watching the other table...a group of ladies finishing up lunch, who clearly knew the owner and came in all the time. That was a rough day. Just after leaving Montgomery, we drove into freezing rain and snow that lasted pretty much the entire rest of the trip. We had the good sense to reserve a hotel room, because when we finally got to the exit, all the rooms were sold out, and every restaurant but the Waffle House was shut down. We passed dozens of car accidents that day and the next. Luckily, we had our trusty jar of peanut butter and squeeze bottle full of jelly.

Should you ever find yourself in Ocean Springs, MS, you must try a Tatonut. It's a donut that has potato flour in it. Apparently the townspeople were getting a little too rowdy during Mardi Gras, though. The Tatonut closed up shop in protest.

You will probably never find yourself here on purpose, but Ronnie's is a good place for lunch, provided you are not a vegetarian. You should probably try the cracklin' just so you can say you did.

M says there is some kind of secret menu at Torchy's. But I was so fond of the Democrat, I ordered it twice. Street corn is good, too.

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