A Brooklynite Invades 'Bama.
I'm going on a drive from Birmingham to Auburn via 280. The great part is I'm chauffeuring some gorgeous women from Colombia (we're going to a mutual friend's wedding) who are close to half my age and I want to impress with either bbq or just a very good restaurant along the way, or in Birmingham and Auburn. Throw me some nice culinary pimping recs, por favor.
How big an impression are you looking to make (IE: How much do you want to spend)? What are your preferences -- or more importantly, those of the gorgeous young women?
On the expensive end, The Birmingham restaurant Highlands Bar and Grill was named the fifth best restaurant in the country by Gourmet Magazine in 2004. The chef/owner there, Frank Stitt, and the chef/owner of another great Birmingham restaurant, Hot and Hot (also recommended), both have cooked at the James Beard House. Near both is a way-cool bar called The Garage, which had a courtyard shaded by a tree-sized wysteria and all kinds of statuary. (If you go, it's cash only)
On the barbecue end, Miss Myra's barbecue in the Cahaba Heights community of Birmingham received rave reviews by the Washington Post's food critic.
My favorite bbq in Auburn is Byron's..not much for decor, but GREAT food...
436 Opelika Rd
Auburn, AL 36830
or drive into Opelika and try Chuck's...across from the police station
905 Short Ave
Opelika, AL 36801
My all time favorite is Mrs. Story's ...the best chili dogs you'll find...here's a story the local magazine did on them..