Montgomery Alabama is, as one would expect, full of down home cookin’ and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Being from a central mid-western state myself, I loved the barbecue, mashed potatoes with mounds of butter, baked beans and hot dogs with all the fixin’s. And don’t forget the grits!
But I was very excited to find a new-fangled restaurant in town that uses local produce – sourced from its neighborhood farm just across the street – and a fresh approach to Southern cooking. The Ham & High, in the new Hampstead urban living space (you may have read about it in Food & Wine) changes their menu every day, and serves brunch on Sundays…with grits on the menu.
My brunching partner and I decided to kick it off with cocktails, above. Him: Ham & High Farm-Fresh Bloody Mary. Me: Basil Shrug with gin. Who doesn’t love a garden-to-glass basil drink in a jar? (Get a similar recipe here to make it at home.)
We couldn’t resist ordering something Southern..steak and farm eggs over creamy, cheesy grits. I’ve had a lot of grits in my life and these were perfectly cooked: a delightfully red-necked rendition of risotto.
Next was the French toast Monte Cristo sandwich with maple syrup and strawberry preserves, served with shoestring fries and smoked ketchup, shown above. Gruyère, ham, French toast, syrup and fries? I can’t think of a better heap of grub for one dish.
But the best thing we did that Sunday was what we did next: head home in the heat and humidity – bellies full, gin settled in – and hit the hay for a long afternoon nap.
If I get the chance to eat my fill in Montgomery again, I’ll be back here for a proper dinner. Right after my afternoon cocktail. And a nap.