A few weekends ago, I visited my best friend from high school at The University of Alabama and experienced the southern culture and its food. Being from the north, I noticed that there's a general trend of health consciousness and a desire to be fit. Although a good number of people everywhere want to be fit, Alabama is the soul of the south, an emblem of southern tradition, which means bigger portions, deeper fried foods, and biscuits in abundance, and you know what I ate? Those foods exactly (plus a few healthy eats along the way). Here's what I indulged in.

A light lunch at Zoe's Kitchen

I started off my trip with a light and healthy meal. My friend Taylor took me to Zoe's Kitchen, a southern Mediterranean chain with delicious chicken kabobs and light salads. Boy, it was good. I had chicken topped with caramelized onions, a salad with their olive oil based dressing, and cucumbers with a side of pesto hummus for dipping. Although I didn't have one, I've also heard their cookies are amazing. 10/10 would recommend. 

A quick trip to Fried Friday

shrimp, chicken, onion rings
Virginia Dodenhoff

Sorority girls down south appreciate their comfort food. "Fried Fridays" are an Alabama sorority tradition, and everything is fried for lunch — chicken fingers, french fries, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, fried mac & cheese balls, fried Oreos, and more. Taylor told me some houses do it better than others. However, at the end of the day, fried food is fried food.

We stopped by the buffet when we got to her house after Zoe's so I could try the greasy, yet delicious southern tradition. I had a chicken tender and a fried mac & cheese bite. Both were tasty. 

Dinner at Jim N' Nick's BBQ

That night, for dinner, we went to Jim N' Nick's BBQ. Me, being the health nut that I am, went with the southern chopped salad. Don't fret, I didn't completely deprive myself of some classic southern cuisine. My salad was topped with some quality fried chicken. I also tried a cheesy biscuit (pictured above). They came to us warm and tasted like sweet corn bread and cheesy goodness.

Late night eats at Cookout

The next day, after a fun night out, we had to have the classic southern late night food, Cookout. I'm usually not one to eat after going out, but you gotta do it up while in the south. YOBO (You Only 'Bama Once). At Cookout, I decided to go with the tray option, which consists of one main food with two sides.

I went with chicken tenders with a side of hush puppies and a corn dog. The chicken tenders were good, but typical, and the hush puppies were delicious. The corn dog was absolutely disgusting... I genuinely don't know why I got it. It was light pink, and if you dropped it, it could probably bounce 5 feet off of the ground. On the bright side, I had a spoonful of my friends chocolate toffee milkshake, which was delightful. 7/10 would recommend Cookout, but do yourself a favor and don't get the corndog.

Brunch at Holler & Dash Biscuit House

The next morning, we stopped by Holler & Dash Biscuit House, a trendy Tuscaloosa biscuit shop featuring both savory and sweet options. My body felt sick from all of the fried food I ate the night before, so I couldn’t get myself to order a biscuit. Instead, I had the kale salad with a side of fruit. No regrets — the salad and fruit were so refreshing and my body needed it.

I did try a bite of my friends biscuit topped with blueberry jam, which was delicious. If you're looking for a quality southern biscuit, go here. Holler & Dash also keeps their recipe simple, using just six ingredients: flour, butter, salt, sugar, baking powder, and buttermilk.  


Overall, my trip to the University of Alabama was amazing, and I tried some great southern food. The most important thing, however, was getting to spend time with my best friend and meeting a bunch of cool people. Always try to travel because you'll find yourself immersed in completely different cultures than your own, with people (and foods) you won't regret meeting.