Review: Mars Hill Cafe

•April 23, 2010 • 9 Comments

We had put off reviewing Mars Hill Cafe on Cottage Hill Rd. before now because our former editor, Stuart Reb Donald, was the executive chef there.  Well that ended in December.  Still we waited a few months so that we could judge the cafe on it’s own merits but there is no way to not draw comparisons.  We made sure to go three different times to make sure to avoid to the occasional bad day that every restaurant has.

We had been to the cafe several times when Stuart was there and what we wanted to see were what changes had occurred without his leadership.  Gone are the weekly specials, homemade soups of the day and the Moroccan garbanzo bean salad.  In their stead is a menu that still features most of the great sandwiches (plus one new one), obviously canned soups, a different potato salad that is actually better than the old one which was already one of the best in town and a new broccoli crunch salad that is dreadful.

So the menu is essentially the same.  What is different is the quality of the food.  As mentioned the soups taste like cheap canned soups and even the famous fresh made salsa tastes like the same old jarred stuff everybody serves.  The hummus, though good, no longer has the depth of flavor it once had.  It lacks the herbacious punch that made it so good.  The Greek salad is different as well, I think it’s the dressing, it tastes heavily processed.

What hasn’t changed is the service.  It is still really bad.  Possibly even worse than ever.  The servers are inattentive at best and rude at worst.  There also seems to be a lot of bickering among the wait staff and no body wants to see that when they are trying to eat.  The managers spend most of their time sitting with their friends chatting rather than visiting the tables.

We understand that they have cut out catering which is understandable without a working chef on site.  They still pledge their profits to charity and that alone may justify eating at the cafe.  However, it is no longer worth going out of your way for the food and service alone.  It is clear that Mars Hill Cafe misses its talented chef (and our former colleague) Stuart Reb Donald.

Mars Hill Cafe is located at 5025 Cottage Hill Road, in West Mobile.

Phone: 251.643.1611


Food Network Gets Axed

•April 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Scripps Pulls the Plug on Food Network




New York City – The E.W. Scripps Company announced today that after 17 years in production their popular Food Network will cease programming at the end of this month. The move took many in assembly by surprise. The press conference was held at Chelsea Market on 75 9th Avenue, home of the Food Network Studios.

Milton Funderburk, Acting Assistant Vice-Chairman of Cable Programming for Scripps was asked why the media conglomerate was closing the doors on its most popular cable franchise, “The time is right. After all when we purchased TFN back in ‘97 we thought it would fail miserably. That was the plan.

“We acquired the Network as a tax right off. We never dreamed anyone would actually watch it. Our thought was why would anyone want to watch someone else cooking on TV? I mean if they wanted to see someone cook, they could just go cook something. Apparently we under estimated the American public’s desire to live vicariously.”


Review: 3 Bandera’s Restaurant

•March 21, 2010 • 2 Comments

I spent most of the 90’s in Nashville, TN and one of the things I have been missing since returning to Alabama is real South of the Border food. As many a Texan can tell you, Mobile’s Mexican scene is poor. Most of the places we think of as being “traditional Mexican” restaurants are actually Tex-Mex, bad Tex-Mex at that. They all have the same menu and their food tastes pretty much the same. They rely mostly on precooked foods that they microwave – even ground beef which comes pre-cooked in one gallon cans. Yes cans.


Dick Russell’s BBQ, a Legendary Mobile Haunt

•March 21, 2010 • 1 Comment

At the main Interstate exit of the Mobile neighborhood of Tillman’s Corner you will find one of those nondescript chain BBQ places.  You know the type – bland food, prefabricated decor and little in the way of originality.  A few blocks over you will find Dick Russell’s BBQ, an Alabama Legend.  Dick Russell’s does as much business on a typical Friday as that chain joint does in a week.  Why you may ask?  Because Mobileans know good BBQ when they taste it.


Mobile’s 21st Annual Chili Cook-Off

•March 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This coming Saturday Mobile’s Beinville Square will overwhelm with the aroma of chilies and spices.  Once again downtown will host the 21st Annual Chili Cook-Off, Mobile’s most popular charitable event.  In 1989 the first Chili Cook Off raised $550 for the American Cancer Society.  In 2009 126 teams combined to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars.  In addition to chili in every in every conceivable form there will also be plenty of soft drinks, hooch and live entertainment.


The Shed Comes To Alabama

•March 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“We do beer, we do blues and we do BBQ.”

Owner Brad Orrison built the original 350 square foot Shed because he realized that his home town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi was missing a classic BBQ joint. Over the course of the next year he had to build 16 additions to handle the business. Now they’re at a comfortable 5000 square feet and on any given Friday night you’ll find upwards of 750 people enjoying the sweet Que, ballsy blues and cold suds. So what’s next?


Luck of the Irish Cook-off in Mobile

•March 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This Saturday (March 13, 2010) will mark the 9th annual Luck of the Irish Cook-off at Mobile’s Bienville Square.  The 160 year old park is familiar territory to anyone who parties in downtown Mobile.  The cook-off is a fund raiser to support the fight against domestic violence and is presented by The Mobile Exchange Club as part of a three day festival that includes a Mardi Gras-style parade and most years includes a 5K run.