Jul 302016

tbb61We are friends, Toy Box Bistro and I.

I mean, seriously. Restaurant full of toys? Burgers, sandwiches, wings, dogs, and such, bolstered with a long list of beers? It was inevitable I’d check it out. And check it out I did—for Rocket City Mom, and then for a wings visit here at BoWilliams.com.

I was delighted to see it as a stop on this year’s Food Blogger Tour, which precedes Huntsville Restaurant Week every year. As offbeat as a good bit of the menu already is, I knew there was a great chance of some unusual tastes for Huntsville Restaurant Week specials. I wasn’t disappointed.

What’s the strangest burger topping you ever heard of?

Meet the P B and Yay! That’s a fresh-never-frozen burger, cooked to order, with bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and…peanut butter. And guess what? It’s divine. No, it shouldn’t work. You don’t put peanut butter on cheeseburgers. (Until you do.) There’s a sweet-savory melding here that will disarm you with its rightness.

The second special is the C-3PO sandwich. The C-3PO is a take on a chicken cordon bleu that includes Toy Box Bistro’s chicken tenders, ham, Swiss cheese, and bacon béchamel sauce. There are a lot of marvelous flavors working together here.


The C-3PO is supported by Toybox Bistro’s outstanding Wickles appetizer, while the P B and Yay! is accompanied by honest-to-goodness poutine, which was as good as I suspected it’d be. (First experience with it.)


Cherry cheese rangoon for dessert? These come two to an order, and if you and a companion are each full of a P B and Yay! or C-3PO, splitting it is eminently defensible.


I had a marvelous time previewing the Toy Box Bistro Huntsville Restaurant Week specials with several delightful and stimulating food bloggers today. And, I’ve saved some great news for last. After these new menu items’ coming out parties, they’ll join the regular Toy Box Bistro menu.

It’s an already wonderful place made better. See you there!

 Posted by at 6:53 pm
Jul 292016

Huntsville Restaurant Week 2016 is upon us! It runs August 12-21, and you can get a full list of participants (and their hot-linked specials!) here. Several of my favorite places are on the list. I’m excited.

We just started the Food Blogger Tour portion of Huntsville Restaurant Week. That is the time during which several prominent local bloggers, as well as out-of-town blogging guests, preview some Huntsville Restaurant Week specials in detail and give you the low-down. Here is a close-up of the main course of my lunch today:


Looks good? Oh, it was. Yum.

Watch Rocket City Mom for our stimulating and detailed reports next week!

 Posted by at 5:19 pm
Jul 282016
  • Stranger Things on Netflix is high-quality programming for anyone who loves a good thriller, but if you’re Generation X, a Steven Spielberg fan, and/or a Stephen King fan, make haste. Only one season has been made so far, and it’s only eight episodes. Check out of adulthood one bad-weather Saturday and binge it. That’s what we did.
  • I was sure this must be a parody when I saw the article title, but it isn’t. As part of the retooling after the move to HBO, Sesame Street has laid off the cast members who play Bob, Luis, and Gordon. They were all there when I was a child, but Bob McGrath is especially sad for me. He’s been on the show since the first episode. A guy like that needs to leave on his own terms.
  • We’ve reached another Thursday miscellanea number that is also a cubic-inch figure for an iconic engine! I’ve always thought that MOPAR2U would be a great personalized tag for a Chrysler muscle car.
  • When Jenny and I were maybe 9 and 6, Granny and Papaw got us each a set of magic markers that were nice and bright, but that also smelled like their colors. Brown was cinnamon. Black was licorice (like, indistinguishable from black jellybeans). Orange was orange. Red was cherry. A little virtual stroll indicates that scented magic markers are a thing today, but I bet they don’t smell as good as these did.
  • I caught up with Kory this afternoon. He and Sarah are doing great, and their daughter’s first-grade orientation is imminent. Time does go by.
  • Mid-Ohio on Sunday, and then five IndyCar drivers are going to face five swimsuit models on Celebrity Family Feud! Check out the race on NBC Sports Network after church, and then watch the Feud on ABC Sunday night.
  • Nothing like the heat we’ve been experiencing is forecast through the end of next week.
 Posted by at 9:21 pm
Jul 272016

bopurp2You don’t have to read BoWilliams.com long to know that I’m not shy about discussing politics. Sometimes I don’t for a while, but mostly if I’m talking about politics at length anywhere, it’s here. (I weaken on Facebook once in a while, but mostly keep it light there.)

We’re halfway through the second convention in a presidential election year. Running mates are named. Debates are on deck. In past presidential election years, I’d be humming here by now. I have a high school friend and longtime reader who once called the presidential election my “Super Bowl” in terms of writing. I took that as a great compliment.

I’m not bringing a lot of passion to the election this time. Have you noticed?

It’s because I don’t like either one of the candidates. I mean, I really don’t like either one of the candidates. I don’t believe either one of them will make a remotely serviceable president. My only comfort is that as big a mess as President Charlie X has made, the country still stands. And I doubt the next president, whether Trump or Clinton, will go in feeling as gleefully destructive and contemptuous.

Given that Trump will carry Alabama by 15 points no matter what I do, and also given that Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is dopey on foreign policy in that typically libertarian way, odds are good that 2016 is the first presidential election since I became eligible to vote that I won’t. Then I can say I didn’t help make the mess (and suffer the bizarre wrath of tongue-cluckers who claim that people who don’t vote jettison their right to complain, which has already happened once).

(I only thought my support for Romney in 2012 was tepid. I think back now and it feels like massive cheerleading compared to 2016’s apathy.)

I have been amused, both last week and this, by the number of my Facebook friends who have lamented the poor state of discourse in this country. I posted recently on what I think the biggest problem there is. But what especially amuses me is that these are often the same people who have expressed displeasure similar to mine with our choice this time.

I ask, sincerely: what’s worth getting worked up about?

If you really can’t stand up and support either one of these candidates, then why are you burning any polemical oil on either one of them? If you think both Trump and Clinton supporters are wrong, then why engage either one of them? Why watch the conventions? I’m going to get out this time not having consumed a single minute of either one of them. I didn’t even go back and watch the end of Cruz’s speech.

(Now I may have to watch the debates, as significant political theater seems likely. But even that will be firmly in the realm of superficial entertainment for me.)

Keep it real, dudes and dolls. Recognize this election for what it is. Do you want syphilis, or gonorrhea? Do you want to jump out of the 60th floor, or the 80th? Would you like to be torn to pieces and devoured by tigers, or great white sharks?

In a typical election year, “troublemakers” (ha ha) find people waving the other candidate’s flag and pick on them. But this time anyone with either flag is off.

Make trouble with everyone? Or make trouble with no one?

 Posted by at 11:34 am
Jul 252016

persian0I don’t know for sure, but I believe House of Kabob, on Sparkman just south of Executive, is Huntsville’s first Iranian restaurant. It’s open for lunch every day but Sunday. When I went looking for some way for my ridiculously attractive editor and me to zag instead of zig when we met for lunch, House of Kabob got the nod.

I didn’t get a photo of the storefront, but let’s just say the place is a lot nicer inside. Order at the counter, and make yourself comfortable in the charming dining room while your lunch is prepared.


The halal menu includes kabobs and a few salads. The kabob plates come with a generous portion of fluffy, buttery rice; a pepperoncini; and a grilled tomato. Stephenie had lamb, I had beef, and we each had chicken. Both of us tried everything. It was obviously fresh and quite tasty.


I wasn’t sure what to expect on spiciness. There was a shaker of something brownish on the table, but neither of us could discern much of a taste. Post-visit research indicates it was probably saffron powder. Curiously, there was a bottle of Tapatio hot sauce on every table. Tapatio is a decent sauce, but it’s unambiguously in the Mexican/Central American sphere. I’m not sure whether there’s any Iranian connection or just owner’s taste or what, but I used it on my chicken.


The staff was helpful and earnestly friendly. I felt almost like we were visiting their home.

I have a friend whose father squirreled his family out of Iran when the shah was overthrown, so she’s been here since she was eight or so. I used to work with her, and she would bring Iranian dishes frequently. What I consistently noticed about her lunch was that there was very little middle ground. Either it seemed divine—pretty, and marvelous smells—or it looked like she was eating a bowl of vomit. (Not that we saw anything like that on our visit.) She might be the most intensely private person I’ve ever known, so she doesn’t go out much. But I might like to see if I can coax her to House of Kabob for her view.

I mention that as context for the fact that I don’t know much about Iranian cuisine at all, so this isn’t a review per se. Steph and I enjoyed ourselves, and it’s not far from the office. I’m intrigued enough to go back and try something else enough times until I’ve reasonably sampled the whole menu.

 Posted by at 9:51 pm
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