I have lived in Alabama for about 13 years now but I am originally from Chattanooga and most of my extended family lives there. Today my grandmother, aunt and her husband all came down today for a day trip. As a family, we are all extremely loud and very honest with each other so it's always very interesting when we get together. We ate at Wings for lunch (a local chain in the state). Wings is one of my favorite places so again, it posed a challenge. While I was eating yet another grilled chicken salad with fat free Italian dressing, everyone else was enjoying cheeseburgers and wings. I was in a very foul mood (I really wanted to put "fowl mood" but avoided the pun for your sake) because I had already eaten a tortilla-less plate of fajitas for the 500th time the night before and wanted something delicious. Wings has one of the best ranches too. I can think of few things better than dipping a fried chicken wing into a cup of ranch and swirling it around before miraculously removing all the meat from the wing in one fell swoop (OK...definitely having Wings for my cheat lunch tomorrow). Anyway, I have plenty of time to fantasize about that later. The prime ranch made me want to create a top 5 ranches of all time list. I immediately was excited about the idea but stressed at the same time. I mean I usually get short of breath when someone asks me what my favorite movie or song is so imagine...IMAGINE me trying to narrow down my favorite dressing to a mere top 5...but I tried anyway.
I will start with 5. There are many good ranches but nothing says delicious like a homemade ranch. One of my best friends in the world...Whitney...her mother takes the dry Hidden Valley ranch mix and for some reason her mixture of mayonnaise and buttermilk assembles a very divine, worthy of my list ranch, that I LOVE to pour all over her famous chicken fingers. 4. Two of the places whose ranch I will highlight are local and I can't be sure but I think they also make their own ranch. I like a ranch that isn't too tangy but creamy and Southland Restaurant is so good on their country style salad. The salad bar begins with a huge block of cheese that you slice up and put on your plate. You then put the perfectly shredded lettuce on your plate, skip the veggies, pile on bacon and croutons and then drown the poor thing in their unbelievable ranch. 3. Wings. While their ranch is delicious and perfect for their famous Wings, it mostly made the list because I saw everyone wiping it off the corners of their mouth at lunch today and I suddenly acquired a nervous twitch. I was ACTUALLY afraid I may tackle my Dad just for his scraps. For the record, I like to leave as soon as we are done eating as to not harm anyone. 2. Honestly, all of these ranches run pretty equally so picking a number 2 and a number 1 was difficult. My number two choice is City Cafe. This is another local meat and three type place in Northport, Alabama. Students love it because it's cheap and everyone loves it because it is pure comfort food. They pile your plate with wonderful Southern Classics. My dish usually includes mac & cheese, green beans, mashed potatoes, fried chicken breast filet and fried green tomatoes. The last two are unbelievable dipped in their homemade ranch. I just realized that I may never get to eat there again because my cheat day is Sunday and they aren't open. Jeez...I just teared up. OK...now for my number 1 pick. 1. Mugshots. Mugshots is a cheeseburger place which I may have mentioned before. Aside from The Cheesecake Factory (Dang...forgot about their ranch...it's perfect in case you were wondering), Mugshots is probably my favorite place to eat. Their burgers are huge and are served on buttered Hawaiin bread. They also serve beer battered fries, both of which I dip in their ranch. It IS a little runny at times but the fries and burger soak it up.
I realize that the last paragraph makes me sound like I should be on the discovery channel while my friends deliver KFC to me through a window but it is rather theraputic to type my fatTASTIC ranch obsession out so I can see it in black and white. Needless to say, I don't eat these things anymore...or at least I haven't in the past 11 weeks. Even though I was discouraged today and wanted to eat everything in sight, I did lose 1.4 pounds last week which means I am down 29.2 pounds total. I was very pleased. Tomorrow is cheat day...a day I take very seriously and I usually get out of hand and then sulk my self to sleep but every last bite is worth it.