Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1, 2013
The Victoria
Anniston, Alabama
Elections in Kenya are next week, with murderous rampages expected to follow, if the past is any predictor of the future.  Meanwhile, here we are in Anniston to meet with our fellow travelers to Kenya in May, should luck be with us and the political situation stabilize enough for us to feel safe on safari by then.

It is Friday night, and there are only 18 people dining at The Victoria Inn, which offers one of the finest dining experiences to be had anywhere in Alabama.  Tonight is no exception--beginning with our fois gras and buttered pear appetizer, which we remember fondly passionately from our last visit here, back in November.  Our waiter tells us that fois gras is rarely on the menu--they only have it tonight because regulars at another table asked Chef Alan Martin to prepare it for their visit this evening, and he of course obliged.  Last time we were here, we were the only diners, and Alan came out to talk food with us between courses--the fois gras we had then was extra from an order for a very fancy party he catered.  We wondered why someone so talented would choose to practice his art here, and he told us that he grew up in Anniston, and after working in fine dining restaurants in larger markets he was happy to have the opportunity to return to his home town to open his own restaurant and be near his aging mother.
We got to know Jimmy the bartender pretty well during our last visit, too, since we were the only people patronizing the bar that night. This time, I was the only one at the bar again, and he gave me the most generous pour ever, almost overflowing my glass, figuring the bottle didn’t have enough left for two glasses, then he told me to drink it down a bit and he would top me off, since there was still some left.  While I was making room in the glass for more wine, he told me how he ended up in Anniston:  “After three divorces, if I moved again it would have to be someplace where I was sure there was a woman there who loved me. My mama lives here.”
To Alan's and Jimmy's mamas we extend our very sincere thanks.

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