Sunday, February 26, 2006
On this day:

Weekend in Mobile

For those who don't know, Mobile hosted the first-known Mardi Gras celebration in America...way back in 1703, when the French were still in town. The crowd has improved a great deal since then, so a few friends and I decided to go down this weekend to participate in the festivities. A good time was had by all, in spite of yesterday's cold, rainy weather. We toured Battleship Memorial Park and the U.S.S. Alabama, took in the Mystics of Time parade Saturday night, ate plenty of good food, and somehow managed to find time to have a few beers downtown.

Mardi Gras in Mobile is much tamer than it is in New Orleans, of course. The crowds are a lot smaller and much better behaved. Pretty much the only time you have reason to fear for your safety is during the parades when you are trying to catch beads and Moon Pies, while making sure you don't get beamed in the face. One fellow in our group learned that lesson the hard way, and still has the bruises to show for it.

Now, back to more important matters. Like food. The raw oysters at Wintzell's downtown were very good, as was the gumbo...the sushi at the Liquid Lounge was awesome...the grilled Conecuh Sausage being sold by the street vendors smelled great and was tasty, too. Oh, and the Waffle House (a.k.a. the "Awful Waffle") was outstanding, as always. Waffle House is always great at 2 AM, but that particular, morning...there was a shortage of cabs downtown, so we were having a tough time getting there. Luckily for us, several limos had just finished dropped off folks from the Mardi Gras balls, so the drivers were looking to make a few extra dollars before heading home. Our driver, Sue, was very nice, and didn't seem the least bit surprised when we asked her to head to the Waffle House. Now, as for the people inside the Waffle House when we arrived...I'm sure they got a few laughs out of it.

Anyway...if you're looking for a place to go next Mardi Gras, and don't want to brave the madness of New Orleans, then head down to Mobile. You might want to stick around for Joe Cain day, too, as several locals informed us this weekend. I've already marked my calendar.