I don't ever want to hear my Southern brethren lecture me about crime in New York City.
Just finished a whirlwind 12-day tour of the South, with stops in Richmond, Knoxville, Atlanta and points in-between. The stated goal was to visit kinfolk for the holidays, but the true goal was to put 1,500 miles on the car, get cramps in my gas-pedal foot, confirm my allergy to cats by spending a week living among them, and re-energize my Southern accent, which my wife says is losing it's edge after 14 months of living in Manhattan.
Mission accomplished on all fronts!
Another goal was to raise my cholesterol level a good 50 points by enjoying the food that made me the man and a half I am today. To wit:
Waffle House. The closest Waffle House to New York is in Elkton, Maryland, just across the border from Delaware on I-95. Don't think I didn't pull off the road as soon as I crossed the Mason-Dixon.
Krispy Kreme. There's only one shop in all of Yankeeland. It's in Penn Station, and the doughnuts are so stale by the time you get them there's rumors the Rangers come across the street from Madison Square Garden when they run low on pucks.
Ali-Baba's Deli. This is a uniquely Knoxville sandwich shop, run by two Palestinian brothers. It's a landmark in the city after 30 years, and if you don't know what a "Steak in Sack' is, well shame on you.
Barbecue. Doesn't matter whether it's Buddy's or Dreamland or Williamson Brothers. It's all good, and after a year my quest for good BBQ in NYC is still unresolved.
All my kinfolk were fine, and most generous to the Manhattan Hillbilly at Christmastime (maybe it was pity that caused them to be so kind). Everyone looked great, and my family and I even managed to squeeze in a round of our infamous Death Croquet game in the backyard of mamma's house. (Think the Kennedy's and touch football, but played with mallets and hard wooden balls that can all be used as weapons).
As for safety, the night before we were to leave Knoxville on New Years Eve, we went to a movie and returned to find this:
Happy New Year! Someone had tried to break into our car, and after failing to pry their way through to door to the lock, decided to just shatter the driver's side window. Apparently when they unlocked the door it set off the car alarm, which sent them scurrying without taking anything from the car. It took us an extra day to get home since no glass replacement companies were open Jan. 1.
As I told everyone who came by to feel sorry for us as we waited for the police, I couldn't wait to get back to the streets of New York City, where I felt safe.