Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

First Gator on Dauphin Island

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“That’s my very first gator!” our friend said, watching the reptile sun himself on the side of the big pond in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. We had taken the very short hike out to see the gators and the turtles, and any birds who might be migrating through this gorgeous February day between storms.

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(That’s not a stick; it’s a turtle head sticking out of the water 🙂 )

We had a great day for a drive and a ferry boat ride. The car ferry only handles maybe thirty cars max on the trip across Pelican Bay from Dauphin Island to Gulf Shores. It cuts off a long long trip back into Mobile and around the huge Mobile Bay, and takes us along the beach back into Pensacola.

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February is a great time of the year to walk these areas and to take a day trip. We had a wonderful day, mild temperatures and calm waters – altogether a great adventure, counting in our unforgettable stop at Smokey Dembo’s Smokehouse en route along Douphin Island Parkway.

February 11, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Birds, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Geography / Maps, Road Trips, Wildlife | , , , | 2 Comments

Smokey Dembo’s BBQ Outside Mobile, AL

We had endured water aerobics, quickly dressed and hung up our swim clothes, and driven to Mobile en route to Dauphin Island with our visiting friends from Norfolk, old travel buddies and long time friends from Germany. As we left I-10. heading south toward the Island, we are starving, and all we see are McDonalds, Arby’s, fried chicken and Asian buffets.

“No! No!” we wail, and hold out for something better.

As soon as we saw it, we all knew. This was IT:

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Look at that cow’s head! You take one look, and you know this place is going to be an original. Little did we know . . .

As we drove into the parking, we asked some people leaving how the food was. “Excellent! The best!” they said, and other people leaving chimed in saying “You won’t be sorry.”

As we walked in, we were greeted by “Smokey” Dembo himself, who said “I saw you taking photos outside, don’t you want a photo with me in it?”

Yes! Yes! I do! I do!

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Smokey, as it turns out, is our kind of guy. Former military, from this small little town outside of Mobile, his dream was to own a place just like this, with his father, who taught him how to grill. One day, shortly after he retired, he was driving his daughter to soccer practice and he saw a for sale sign on this building, and on his way back, stopped – and made a deal. That was 11 years ago, and he’s never looked back. This is a happy man, living his dream.

He spends Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday marinating and preparing his meats. He is only open Thursday, Friday, Saturday (maybe Sunday, I can’t remember. Or maybe not; Sunday may be for church. Actually, you’d better call, because I might have gotten it all wrong. I KNOW he is open on Fridays and Saturdays, and I know he serves breakfast on Thursdays and Fridays, but the rest is foggy . . . . )

The aromas of BBQ are killing us; we have to order right away:

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As we are waiting for the food, we continue to talk with Smokey and to learn about his restaurant. He has a wonderful wall, a tribute to his family and his family history:

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I apologize. We were starving. When the food arrived, we totally forgot to take any photos at all, not a single photo of the boneless BBQ pork, nor of the potato salad nor of the cole slaw, nor of the baked beans. Although we are a very talky bunch, when the food came, we ate in awed silence. It was so GOOOOOOOD.

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We cannot wait to see Smokey again. This is some fine BBQ. 🙂

February 11, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Germany, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Pensacola, Restaurant, Road Trips | , , | 5 Comments