On the Memphis-Athens leg of the epic trek we stopped for lunch in Birmingham, Alabama. The pretty old downtown looked sweet and old-fashioned from far away, nostalgia-y painted ads fading on the sides of buildings, shining colorful marquees of old theaters an all, but then closer up it was all a little… derelict. A couple blocks seem to have undergone a cutesy revival though, and we walked up and down the cluster of busy restaurants and shops in the hot hot heat, peering in windows and settling on the popular Brick & Tin.

Full of very southern Southerners, it’s a long, skinny, high-ceilinged, fancied-up sandwich shop, named for its brick walls and pressed tin ceiling. Women in Lilly Pulitzer and men in pastel button-ups lean over little tables, savoring thick Cuban sandwiches and bowls of summery corn salad. It’s an order at the counter set up, all the sandwich crafters and their trusty panini presses behind a bar along the back of the restaurant. Mom got the roast chicken salad, smattered with the really big and super good kind of capers and I got the Catlan sandwich with pea-corn-cucumber salad. Tasty sannie: good serrano ham, melted manchego (my favorite cheese, usually confined to cheese plates!), and a beefy slice of a bright yellow heirloom tomato. And just because Dad has a dream of a deviled egg restaurant, we had to get the deviled eggs too. Which was no hardship, as they were perfectly mustard-heavy and delicious, served with a little mound of shaved salty country ham. A good little stop, good sandwiches and excellent people watching over the requisite iced tea.