The Culinary Academy Pastry Class, The Grand Hotel, Point Clear, Alabama


Grand Hotel

Kimberly Lyons, the pastry chef at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama is a talented 29 year-old.  She thinks about her dishes “constantly” she told me, usually about how to improve them.  She attended Culinard at Virginia College and she was hired by the Grand Hotel five and half years ago. She worked her way up in the kitchen to head pastry chef and is grateful to the chefs there who have trained her. Kimberly is invested in the culinary career.  “I love what I do.” she said.

Chef Kimberly Lyons

Our group of dessert hungry guests assembled in the Lagoon Room.  With the tables adorned in white table clothes, we sat engrossed as Kimberly melted chocolate, whipped cream, beat eggs until they were frothy and combined them into three tasty classic desserts, Bourbon Chocolate Mousse, Crème Brulee and Crepe Suzette.

Chocolate Mousse
Creme Brulee







Crepe Suzette

As each dish was completed, we were treated to tasting of the dishes.  While this was not a hands-on class, the guests were encouraged to ask questions about the recipes. Kimberly took us through each step of the recipes and provided plenty of suggestions to modify the creations to everyone’s particular taste or occasion.

After class, I asked Kimberly what her favorite dessert was, she pulled up her sleeve.  “Macaron’s” she said, showing off her forearm tattoo of the French treat. She is truly invested and loves what she does.



We purchased a few house made macarons at the Local Market before leaving the Grand for the ride home. They were definitely worth the price.








The iconic Fairhope hotel recently completed a thirty-two million dollar renovation and part of that transformation took place in the kitchen.  “I could order whatever I wanted.” Kimberly said.  She was thrilled that there is now a hot and cold kitchen, which means she can make every kind of dessert at any time.  This is especially important to a chef in humidity prone South Alabama.


The Culinary Academy is a big draw for Saturday’s at the Grand, along with the Beverage Academy on Friday evenings. The trick is to come to the Beverage Academy on Friday night and stay over for the Saturday class. For the November 17 class, the chefs will be preparing Thanksgiving side dishes and in December, its make your own Gingerbread House.  The December event is so popular that two classes are offered.  It will surely be a family fun sellout!  The Grand Hotel’s 2019 Culinary Academy should delight as Kimberly has the pastry classes laid out. Whether they are cooking savory or sweet, do not miss a chance to enjoy the southern charm of this historic hotel that overlooks Mobile Bay.

Mobile Bay

Victory Teaching Farm, Down to Earth Farmraiser, Mobile, AL

Victory Teaching Farm

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the 4th Annual Down to Earth Farmraiser but I discovered on this pleasant October evening, that farming is alive and well in mid town Mobile.

Planting beds






Local chefs from twelve area restaurants and businesses wowed the crowd of hungry guests with their bite sized delectable creations.  The thirty-five dollar tax deductable ticket admitted me to the event along with two glasses of wine and multiple samples of the various chefs’ bounty.



The restaurants included Noble South, Nourish, Haberdasher, Red and White, Pour Baby, Bay Gourmet and Old Dutch.

Pour Baby










Overlooking the plants

Victory Teaching Farm is all about sustainable, clean locally sourced food.  It is South Alabama’s first and only teaching farm located in mid town Mobile on Rickarby Street. While the farm provides ample produce each year for the local area, it also provides internships, volunteer opportunities and fresh pick produce markets for locals.

This event gets bigger and better each year.  Mark your calendars for early October, 2019. You will not want to miss this locally sourced food event. Come hungry, you will not be disappointed!

Barber Motor Sports Museum, Birmingham, AL -A walk in the fast lane

Barber Motorsports

“Oh, wow!” I exclaimed upon entering the Barber Motor Sports museum. It is gigantic! Five towering floors filled with the world’s largest motorcycle collection.  It also contains racing automobiles and bikes which adorn every nook and cranny.

Wall Art

There is even a race car on top of the elevator!

The Chase

A massive sculpture, “The Chase”, commissioned from California sculptor Ted Gall, greets visitors at the entrance of the museum. These three enormous statues of men with masked faces riding large wheels weigh between 3,500 to 3,800 pounds and fits in well with this vast complex.

Inside Barber

Birmingham native, George Barber, Jr., son of Barber Dairies founder, George H. Barber is the founder of the Motor Sports Museum. Barber Jr. who ran the dairy was also a real estate developer.  Barber had raced Porsches in the 1960’s and began collecting motorcycles in the 1970’s. In 1994, his collection of motorcycles was established as the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum. In 1998, Barber Jr. sold the dairy. In 2003 the museum moved to its present Birmingham location.  Barber himself was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.

The nine hundred and thirty acre sports complex contains the museum and a 2.38 mile sixteen turn world class road racetrack. The track serves as site of Indy Car Series Grand Prix of Alabama races.

Race Track





Of the fourteen hundred motorcycles in Barber collection, some nine hundred are on display at any one time. The museum welcomes some three hundred thousand visitors yearly including some three thousand foreign visitors.

Motorcycles stacked high

Some two hundred different manufactures’ from twenty counties over the past one hundred years are represented in the museum.  The Lotus 21 is featured in the world’s most extensive collection of Lotus cars.

Lotus cars





Jim Roger’s motorcycle that circled the globe

One display drew particular interest, that of Jim Rogers, a thirty-seven year old investment banker who in 1990, with his girlfriend motorcycled around the world.  They traveled some six-five thousand miles and setting the world record for land travel. He wrote a book “Investment Biker” about the journey.


A lucrative part of the Motor sports arena is the North American Porsche Driving School where individuals can experience Porsche racing cars on the track. Prices there can range from $1800 for a day to $9600 for four days depending on what level of experience you care to have.

The facility hosts the 14th Annual Barber Vintage Festival in October which will feature the American Historical Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA).

Easy Rider

This unique automotive museum should not to be missed in Birmingham. Individuals who admire motorcycles and cars will flock to this bastion of automotive bliss.