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Monday, June 25, 2012

Too many months, too many dishes - part two

I had so many pictures of some amazing food that I decided to break them down into smaller blog posts. So, here's more of the fabulous fare I've been grazing on over the past several months.

I live about 30 minutes from one of my favorite restaurants (I have so many now), Porches in Wesson. My favorite day to dine there is on Thursdays when they have Shrimp and Eggplant Crostini. It is soooo good. You may say you don't like eggplant, but you'll change your mind with one bite of this dish. They take a thick slice of eggplant, bread it, and deep fry it. It is then topped with sauteed shrimp and a cream sauce. It's so good that I usually throw my manners out the window and sop up the sauce with one of their homemade yeast rolls.


Georgia Blue
I had heard so many people rave about Georgia Blue in Madison that I couldn't stand it any more, I just had to try it.

So, I stopped by to divulge in their highly touted Gorgonzola Chips. They take their homemade potato chips and top them with caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese. To...die...for!!!

Ok...this picture is horrible, but the Shrimp and Grits in it were not. I'm always amazed at how many different ways shrimp and grits are presented at restaurants across our state. Georgia Blue Shrimp & Grits consisted of savory shrimp sauteed with applewood smoked bacon, onions, tomatoes, and garlic, served on top of a mound of their roasted corn and cheese grits, then smothered with a sweet corn cream sauce. It ranks close to the top of my best shrimp and grits list.

Blue’s Burger - hand crafted Stockyard Angus beef on a fresh-baked sourdough bun with applewood smoked bacon, havarti cheese, garlic mayo, lettuce & tomato.

This one gets my "Most Unusual Sandwich" award. FGT & Praline BLT - fried green tomato, praline bacon, lettuce & mayonnaise on sourdough bread.

The Grand Finale! This one caused a fight. The husband got quite upset because he couldn't get a spoon in edgewise. Georgia Blue Ice Cream Sandwich - vanilla ice cream between warm homemade peanut butter cookies with house made whipped cream and whiskey brown sugar caramel. It was worth fighting for.

Georgia Blue

The Alluvian
My favorite hotel in Mississippi is, hands down, The Alluvian in Greenwood. As soon as you step in the door of this, as they describe it, cosmopolitan boutique hotel, you feel as if you've been transported far from the Mississippi Delta. Every morning, their full Southern breakfast will bring you right back home.

When they say full Southern breakfast, they mean it. And, in my opinion, it's the best hotel breakfast anywhere. It's included in the price of the room. Served buffet-style, it consists of homemade hash brown potatoes, sausage and egg casserole, cheese grits, biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, plus a whole lot more.

Jaco's Tacos
One of downtown Jackson's newest eateries is raising the bar on Mexican food.

Tortilla chips and freshly made salsa

Mexican Pizza - a made from scratch flour tortilla is smothered in melted cheese, pico de gallo, and beans. Then, you can add a variety of toppings. I chose grilled shrimp. You can't really see them, but they're there. This was delicious.

Grilled Mojave Pork Quesadilla 

Jaco's Tacos

Robert St. John struck again in Hattiesburg last year when he added Tabella to his family of restaurants. Tabella is Italian for table. St. John wants you to come sit at his table and enjoy made from scratch Italian fare. It's more than just spaghetti and lasagna.

The daughter was with me and had to have her usual appetizer of fried mozzarella sticks. What I loved about these was their size. When you bite into one, you don't get a mouth full of stringy cheese to choke on. (I always hate that.) These were the perfect size for nibbling.

 This very well could be the best piece of salmon we've ever eaten. You can see the grill marks on the slab of fish. It had just a hint of the grilled flavor and was cooked to perfection. It was topped with a lemon caper sauce and served with a side of aglio olio (pasta with garlic sauteed in olive oil) and fresh green beans.

Pasta Carbonara – pancetta, peas, parmesan cream, gigli pasta, and (I added) shrimp

The daughter is on a Tiramisu kick. This one satisfied her craving.


Shapley's Restaurant
My favorite place for steak is at Shapley's in Ridgeland. It's atmosphere is upscale and the steaks are phenomenal.

When you look at the menu, you will be tempted to order the ribeye because it's more steak for your money. Listen. To. Me. - Don't do it!!! The filet mignon is the way to go. Their homemade fries (not pictured) make a perfect side dish. If you look closely in the background of this pic, you will see the best aparagus ever. It was roasted, topped with parmesan cheese, and served with hollandaise sauce.


 One of my all-time favorite desserts - Lemon Icebox Pie - it's topped with real whipped cream
Yum's the word!

Shapley's Restaurant

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Too many months, too many dishes - part one

I had no idea it had been so long since I blogged. I've been so consumed with the magazine (eat.drink.MISSISSIPPI), I lost track of time. I've eaten many tasty dishes over the past seven months and there's no way possible to catch up with in-depth reviews of all the places where I've eaten. So, I'm just going to post some pics of some of my favorite dishes. I'll try to do better for the future. Enjoy!
Two Sister's Kitchen
USA Today voted them one of the 10 best places for fried chicken. I had to go see for myself. It was really good chicken, but not my favorite. I love the skin most and theirs is skinless. The angel biscuits were to die for. They are heaven in your mouth.

Two Sister's Kitchen
Sombra Mexican Kitchen
From the folks that brought us Amerigo and Char comes Sombra Mexican Kitchen. I dined there at lunch for Fish Tacos and a Baja Brownie. Their chips and salsa are reminiscent of the Iron Horse Grill that used to be in downtown Jackson. Many have tried to duplicate them and these came closer than any I've had.

The Fish Tacos are comprised of beer-battered Mississippi catfish with jalapeno slaw and tomatillo-avocado salsa. Alternatively, you can have the catfish blackened or pan-seared. They were absolutely delicious.

The Baja Brownie is mind-blowing. It is made with dark chocolate chunks, a touch of chipotle chili, and dark chocolate icing. It is served with cinnamon ice cream and tequila caramel sauce. Words cannot adequately describe it. You just have to try it for yourself.
Sombra Mexican Kitchen
Weidmann's in Meridian is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, restaurants in Mississippi. It dates back to 1870. It has changed hands over the years, but is still serving some great food.

 Since the 1940s, Weidmann's has greeted patrons with handmade crocks filled with peanut butter along with assorted crackers. Now, I'm sure due to health department regulations, they still use the crocks, but insert cups filled with their creamy, tasty tradition.

 The Smoked Salmon BLT was a good choice on a recent lunch visit. Smoked Salmon is served on a croissant with pesto, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes and haricot verts alongside their homemade potato chips.

 Shrimp and Grits were also very tasty. Stone ground grits from Sciple’s Mill are slow cooked with butter and cheddar cheese, then topped with fresh Gulf shrimp, ham, tomatoes, peppers, onions and a light cream sauce. Delicious!

No trip to Weidmann's would be complete without a slice of their World Famous Black Bottom Pie.


Topher's Rock 'N Roll Grill
A Facebook friend on mine checks-in at Topher's in Hattiesburg quite often. Since he loves it so much, I had to check this place out. This is not your typical fast food joint. It's menu offers nine different burgers and a ton of sandwiches, plus several salads to choose from. They also have lots of desserts to choose from. While I was there, I bumped into Masterchef Whitney Miller. Turns out that the owner is her cousin.

I chose a Pepper Jack Chicken Sandwich. Grilled chicken is served on a sourdough bun with pepper jack cheese, bacon, get-back sauce, lettuce and tomato. I chose homemade onion rings for my side. This was one heckuva sandwich.

I don't normally do dessert at lunch, especially when I'm alone, but I just couldn't pass up the Chocolate Beignet Sundae. It made my husband really jealous to miss out on it. Mini beignets are layered with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. It was big enough for two, but I managed to stuff it in by myself. They also have several other desserts to choose from and a long list of gourmet milkshakes.

Topher's Rock 'n Roll Grill

J. Broussard's

One weekend, we ended up in Columbus at dinner time and decided to try J. Broussard's. It's a fine dining restaurant in the heart of downtown.

I'm a big fan of Brie (along with the husband and daughter). So when it's on a menu, chances are I'm going to order it. The Brie Baked with Brown Sugar and Almonds did not disappoint. The picture doesn't do it justice.

I was on a nut kick that night. My entree was Pecan Pane Catfish. The restaurant was featured in Southern Living for this crunchy pecan breaded catfish with lemon butter served with mashed potatoes and green beans.

J. Broussard's

Roux 61
When we mentioned to a friend that we were going to Natchez, she insisted that we try Roux 61. It has only been open a little over a year and folks line up and wait for hours to get a seat.

The must try on Roux 61's menu is the Alligator Cheesecake appetizer. It was tasty, but my mind just doesn't like the thought of eating alligator. So, the husband got to devour it mostly by himself. He loved it.

For dinner, I chose The Delta Queen - a filet of fresh blackened redfish served over a bed of pasta, topped with shrimp, finished off with a white wine cream sauce.

The husband and daughter shared a steak topped with grilled shrimp. It was served with a side of baked potato and sauteed corn in a mini pie shell. I'm not sure what they call the corn, but it was unique and quite tasty.

Mississippi Mud Pie was for dessert. Yum! Yum!

Roux 61

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pimiento and cheese with a twist

It's been a while since I've posted a blog. The reason is, in case you haven't already heard, is that I've been really busy with a new project. I'm publishing a food magazine covering the state of Mississippi. I married into publishing and I love food, so I've combined my publishing experience and passion for food to create eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI. The first issue has been printed and will hit news stands and mailboxes next week. Go to my website,, or find me on Facebook and check it out.
Just before deadline on the magazine, I had a recipe I needed to test before I published it. It was written to make eight casseroles and I wanted to cut it down to just one, so I figured I better try it out first. It was late in the evening before I got started, so I was running out of time. The sauce for the casserole didn't turn out to my satisfaction, so I scrapped it. The recipe called for hoop and Havarti cheese, which is a little pricy. I've been wondering what to do with the unused cheeses and finally decided to make pimiento and cheese.

I wanted to add a twist to it by putting a chipotle pepper in it, but was afraid it wouldn't turn out good and didn't want to waste the cheese, so I made a regular version and a chipotle version.
Havarti cheese is a semi-soft cheese that has a buttery flavor. It combined really well with the hoop (red rind) cheese, adding extra flavor to an otherwise run-of-the-mill pimiento and cheese. For the chipotle version, I removed the seeds from the chipotle pepper and finely chopped it. Removing the seeds takes out the heat, leaving the flavor. The addition of bacon also added another layer of smoky flavor to it. Plus, bacon makes almost anything taste better.
To top it off, I made a sandwich with both spreads and grilled them on my panini grill. The result was hot, gooey, cheesy goodness. It made for a comforting lunch on a dreary, rainy November day. 

Pimiento and Cheese

1/2 pound hoop cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Havarti cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon grated onion
2 ounces diced pimientos
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix cheeses, onion, pimientos, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups.

Bacon Chipotle Pimiento and Cheese

1/2 pound hoop cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Havarti cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ounces diced pimientos
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup real bacon pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix cheeses, onion, garlic, pimientos, chipotle pepper, bacon pieces, and mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Check out what's "shaking" at my house tonight

Over the weekend, my sister-in-law told me about an awesome milkshake she and a cousin had made. It was a Nutella Milkshake with a toasted marshmallow topping. It sounded awesome and I knew I had to try it first chance I got.

When my daughter begged me to make her something sweet tonight, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. So, I hit the pantry and the freezer to gather my ingredients.

My sister-in-law's shake was made with chocolate ice cream and Nutella. I had planned to make mine with vanilla ice cream, but came up dry when I checked the freezer. The little red head in the house (AKA son, John Taylor) is an ice cream fiend and had cleaned me out. So, I decided to use what I had on hand - Tiramisu Ice Cream.

I also didn't have Nutella brand hazelnut spread. Instead, I had Kroger's knockoff, which tastes the same to me. I then grabbed some milk and mini marshmallows and headed to the blender.

I don't know if I was more excited about the milkshake or getting to try out my latest appliance purchase, the Ninja Master Prep Blender and Food Processor.

I scooped about 2 cups of ice cream into the pitcher, added 1/2 cup milk, 3 tablespoons hazelnut spread, and blended away. The Ninja rocks. It quickly blended up the creamiest shake and never bogged down even once. The air pockets in a traditional blender drive me nuts. I get so tired of taking the lid off to stir. I'll move on before I start sounding like an infomercial.

After pouring the shake into small glasses (this recipe makes 4 small or 2 regular size shakes), I topped it with mini marshmallows. Then, I fired up my gas torch that I use for creme brulee and toasted them. My sister-in-law said she used a household lighter to toast her marshmallows, so if you don't have a torch, give that a try.

The final result was a rich, indulgent, hazelnut mocha shake. The toasted marshmallows were a nice treat at the bottom of the glass after the shake was gone.

With the plethora of ice cream flavors at the supermarket these days, the options for milkshakes are endless. I'd love to hear what combinations you may come up with.