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Birmingham, Alabama

 Back in Alabama!

I actually love coming here; the city has the perfect balance of upscale cosmopolitan and small-town charm and ambiance.  There is no shortage of Southern Hospitality or great food!

This trip took me to the brand new Hyatt Place  in downtown. This new division of Hyatt is made for the trendy business travelers, and the rooms are modular and sleek.  Downstairs The Gallery is a coffee and wine bar built into the check-in desk, and a guest kitchen serves 24-hour snacks and entrees from a touch screen. One huge perk: breakfast and internet are complimentary.  This is the type of place I don’t mind spending time lounging in my room with my blackberry, laptop and 42-in. TV.

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 Speaking of Blackberry,  Hyatt Place is giving away FREE Blackberry smart phones as part of their web promotion, no night stay required.  Just got to HPFreeblackberry.com and enter promotion code P132.

 Dinner the first night was at Jim and Nick’s.  In business for over 25 years, this BBQ joint has a loyal following.  Following the basket of hot, cheesy biscuits came chicken wings and tortilla chips with spinach dip. The salsa was actually amazing, with a strong hint of lime. My entree was the 4-ribs with a side of fries and creamed spinach.

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The next night we were back to the Hot and Hot Fish Club.  Chris and Idie Hastings’ run a  world-class joint in Bham. Classy yet casual, and AMAZING food.  For starters we had an appetizer plate with head cheese, foie gras and pate. Quail with a delectable oyster stuffing followed, along with shrimp and grits and a bouillebase.   Another item I love there is the Earl Grey vodka tea. My tea will never be the same.

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The last two nights were spent at Sweet Bones Alabama (to sample more Alabama BBQ) and Surin Thai. The BBQ place was located in The Summit, an upscale area that reminds me of Scottsdale, AZ.  The Thai place was in the area, casual and good food. We sampled the basil spring rolls, spicy beef and noodles.

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After 4 nights out, good thing I found one of these:

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at the hotel. I love the Life Fitness treadmill that you can control everything from the central screen; tv, ipod, virtual trainer, scenery and much more.

I love Alabama.

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