I'm finally back up north. I haven't quite gotten back into the swing of things, but such is life in limbo before school starts up again (my classes do not start until next week!).
I spent a wonderful three weeks with my family. I was able to enjoy time with our sweet friends as well as some good time with my parents, and I cherish every moment. I went to the church where I grew up, went to the Bible study that has been an integral part of our marriage for the past three years, had a few lunch dates with friends, was able to visit with my grandparents, spent some time with one of my best college friends, cooked with and for my parents, and took major steps in learning how to sew (from an excellent teacher, my mom)!
Before we left the north for this excursion, my husband asked which of our favorite and frequented restaurants we would want to visit while down south. After rattling off about five different places, I said that well, I don't really care to go to the restaurants just for the sake of going. I want to go only if we will be with our friends and family.
Unfortunately, during the one week in which my husband was in Alabama, he was not able to visit any of these places. Somehow, before I left, I had visited all of them. While we lived down south, we didn't go out to eat often, but when we did, we only and always went to these places, the places where we don't even have to look at the menu.
I'm going to share my list with you, in case you ever visit Montgomery, Alabama. They are our favorites. That is not to say that there aren't better restaurants in Montgomery, but those are generally not the kind of restaurants a youth minister and teacher can afford to frequent.
Ala Thai is our favorite Thai restaurant. We both always order spring rolls and chicken panang with rice. The spring rolls taste so fresh, and the panang is the perfect combination of spicy curry and sweet coconut. My family and I have been visiting Ala Thai since I was in high school, when we would all order the same dish except my brother, who insisted on beef soup. I am so thankful that my husband has joined my family's love of this little place. I am sure that there are wonderful Thai restaurants up here, but we haven't ventured out to find them yet, nor could they hold the same reminicent quality for me.
La Zona Rosa is our favorite Mexican restaurant. I cannot stray from the vegetarian fajita quesadilla, which has a wonderfully fresh mix of mushrooms, spinach, and onions. La Zona Rosa also has yummy margaritas with salt, please. I didn't really discover my love for Mexican food until I was married, and this restaurant quickly became a favorite for friday night dates and dinners with friends. This is one thing that our current city is completely lacking; the TexMex restaurants which are so prevalent in the south are replaced by Irish pubs up here.
Tomatino's is our favorite pizza joint. I don't know what the deal is with the pizza places up here, but the pizza is always so greasy! I love a slice with good tasting crust and lots of fresh ingredients. At Tomatino's, we always split a garden salad with goddess dressing and a mediterranean pizza (hold the red peppers on both, for us). The salad is a delight in and of itself; there are more toppings than lettuce in the bowl! Tomatino's was one of the first and most frequented date spots when we first started dating. We almost always brought out-of-town guests here, too.
Connected to Tomatino's is Cafe Louisa and Louisa's Bakery. When we visit for coffee after a date night at Tomatino's, I always get a sugar cookie (no ordinary sugar cookies here!) and he always gets a dream bar.
Finally, Nancy Patterson's Bistro is a favorite place for birthday lunches with my sweet Montgomery friends. Although my entree varies most times I visit, I always love having a bite or two of strawberry cake before leaving (or else pick up a strawberry cupcake on my way out)!
There you have it. My five favorite Montgomery restaurants. If you live near Montgomery, or are ever passing through, try to visit one or all of them. Of course, their appeal for me is much more than good food; it is family and friends. They carry with them sweet memories of sweet times.