If you were any where near a television last week, then you saw the coverage of Snowmageddon 2014 here in Birmingham, Alabama. Yeah, I know you Yankees get a laugh watching us Southerners have a collective freak-out over two or three inches of snow. Well, it doesn’t take much; we don’t keep a lot of snow-removal equipment sitting down because snow here is about as rare as a non-SEC team winning the national championship in college football. Maybe we should have taken that win by FSU as a premonition? And can we talk about freak-out? I’ve seen my Yankee friends pass out from the 90+ degree heat/90% humidity we get down here in August.
After my car got stuck for the third and final time, I locked it up and walked about 3 1/2 miles to my apartment in downtown Birmingham. (And yes, the roads did look like something out of The Walking Dead.) After warming up and changing out of my work clothes, I met up with some buddies to walk around and enjoy the snow day (the office would certainly be closed the next day). And because there’s not much else to do on a snow day, we reconnoitered the area to find a bar that was open.
It didn’t look good at first. Paramount: no; Carrigan’s: no; The Collins: no; Pale Eddies: no; Urban Standard (quasi-bar): no. Our last chance was Rogue Tavern. Yes, it was open!Needless to say, being the only bar open in downtown Birmingham during Snowmageddon 2014, it was packed!
Remember how excited we were as kids when we got a snow day? But have you seen what happens to a bunch of respectable adults snowbound in a bar!?
Because so many people were stranded downtown, Rogue was an eclectic mix of urban hipsters, legal secretaries, overworked lawyers, and bankers. The drinks sitting on everyone’s tables reflected this diversity. In addition to the typical craft brews, there were plenty of chardonnays and scotches. As I said, for a bar, the food at Rogue isn’t too bad, and they ran out quickly. I think my friend Jim got the last hamburger in Birmingham that Tuesday night.
Not surprisingly, I slept in a bit late on Day Two of Snowmageddon 2014. Because getting to the store was not an option, and there was nothing much to do, at least until the next happy hour, I decided it was time to clear out the fridge and do some cooking.
In the freezer, I found some ham and black-eyed peas. This formed the basis for a ham and field pea soup. Though, I didn’t have any vegetable stock, I took some carrots, celery, and onions and tied them up in some cheese cloth and placed them in the water. Something like a giant bouquet garni. Bingo! Vegetable stock! And in a couple of hours, with a bit of cayenne pepper and ancho chili powder, I had soup!
Next, I took some eggs, plain yogurt, and lemons I found in the fridge and made a lemon yogurt cake from an Ina Garten recipe. And, with a few lemons leftover, I made lemon-pepper chicken paillard from a Bobby Flay recipe. A quick vinaigrette and some green leaf lettuce and “voila!” I had dinner. After dinner and a good movie, it was off to The Collins (now open) because the office would be closed the next day too!