Sunday, July 18, 2010

Recent excursions into West Tennessee

In the last week or so I have made a couple of trips up into West Tennessee & of course while I was there I had to eat at some of the mom & pop places. A couple were ones i'd never tried before while others were ones that I had previously dned at.

The 1st one that I tried which I had never ate at before was Hagy's Catfish Hotel right next door to Shiloh National Park. This Place set overlooking the Tennessee River and had suprisingly good food, great service, a really nice decor, a great view of the river and reasonable prices. 2 of us had the all you could eat whole catfish which comes with small but great hushpuppies, slaw that you mix the dressing in yourself but which is suprisingly still really good, and a decent baked potato. One other person in my group had the fried shrimp and said they were really good. So if you are ever in or near Shiloh National Park and want some really good catfish then I suggest swinging by this well hidden treasure of the south.

The next place was Steak & Shake in Jackson, TN. which all I will say was typical franchise food and leave it at that.

Now my next stop was Barley's Brewhouse & Eatery on Hwy 45/ Highland Ave. in Jackson, TN. right beside Shoney's. I went there with a few old friends and enjoyed a real good pizza & a few good brews. The best part of this evening was just getting to hang out with old friends while the worst was just the music being so loud that it made it difficult to talk.

The next day I went to the old downtown area in Jackson, TN, to look for something new to try and a woman at the court hose suggested The Bakers Rack. Well I was very glad of this suggestion after getting there & seeing the menu. I had the ham, broccoli, & cheese quiche with a greek salad, house made beef-n-veggie soup which came with a really good roll & piece of cornbread with the soup. Everything about this place was good from service, decor, music, to most of all the food. My only regret from here was being to full to try one of the fresh baked pastries that they had.

When I was headed back home I swung through Henderson, TN. to see if a little place that I used to frequent called the Chow Wagon was still cooking. It was & is located right beside a convience store at the main 4 way stop in town and has been there for 30 plus years. This little place has one pic-nic table outside. They cook everything to order, so no need to be in a hurry but you can expect really good food no matter what you order. All I wanted was the fried mushrooms which were just as good now as they were 20 years ago when I was a regular at this little place. So if you are headed down Hwy 45 and find yourself in Henderson TN. well when you get to the redlight turn into town and give them a try, you won't be dissappointed.

After leaving Henderson I made a bee-line for Pat's Cafe' in downtown Selmer TN. This little place makes the best Slug / Cereal burgers you will ever eat & they do make them themselves with a recipe that has been passed down to them. While here I not only really enjoyed all of the burgers I ate but also the conversation with Ms. Pat, her staff & just the friendly locals setting at the bar around me. Everyone was so friendly that it seemed almost like a gathering of old friends. I am looking forward to trying breakfast there my next trip up. Now if you are ever in Selmer TN. and want a real taste of a local favorite the slug burger or a real fresh made beef burger or even just a hot dog, stop in here & be part of the family for a little while. I can't say enough about how much I liked this little place.

Well this covers all of the places I managed to try in recent days but am looking forward to my next road trip so I can try some more. If any of you have any suggestions for locally owned places in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisana, or Arkansas please pass them along....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Food Adventures in & around North Mississippi

Well folks i've made a few trips up into the North Mississippi area over the last few weeks for reasons that i'd just as soon not discuss. While in the area though I tried to make lemonade out of the lemons I had been handed. Luckily for me this area has more than it's fair share of locally owned eateries serving some unique & not so unique foods.

Some of the eateries I stopped at not only lived up to the reputation I had heard about but were even better while others just didn't cut it. I'll start with the one that became my favorite during these trips & that I ate at, at least once every trip. This little place goes by the name of Exlines Pizza ( ) & is located right off of I-55 on the east side at Stateline Rd. in Southaven Mississippi. Though it's name says pizza this is not what I stopped by there for nor did I ever try any of the pies they put out. What I went by Exlines for was a Delta Style Tamale, I know tamales at a pizza place, just doesn't sound right but some folks from the area who had relocated to Hattiesburg, MS. had said they serve some of the best ones in the state. It just so happens that I agree with these folks after trying them, these Delta Style Tamale's are by far some of the best ones, if not the very best that I have had the pleasure of eating. From what I understand the same person has been making them for them for many years now & I hope they continue making them for many more along with training someone to make them when they no longer can. So if you find yourself headed into Memphis on I-55 with a hunger pain, just go ahead and get off at Southaven & pull into Exlines on the hill, heck they even have a BBQ place called Topp's next door and a donut shop on the backside of the building just in case someone with you doesn't like Tamle's or Pizza. Oh yeh, the staff at Exlines was great every time I was there & you can also buy the Tamale's frozen to take home with you and enjoy at a later date.

While we're in Southaven i'll mention the place right down the road from Exline's that has gotten national recognition for it's food but just wasn't all that great to me. This place would be Jim Neely's Interstate BBQ ( ). After seeing and hearing all of the hype about this place I guess my expectations were just to high. I went in expecting to get one of the best pulled pork BBQ sandwiches that I had ever eaten and ended up with just an average sandwich that was to dry & had very little smoke flavor to it. I will say for the money it was one biggest sandwiches i've bought, but I would have been happier with a great sandwich that was half it's size.

Now while in the area I had some of the BBQ from Coleman's in Hernando Mississippi right off of I-55 to the West of the interstate. I don't normally support franchised eateries if I can help it, but had many a good memories as a child of the Coleman's on Hwy 45 South in Jackson, Tn. & the one in Counce, Tn. and really had no idea there were any of them left. Anyway the BBQ from here in my opinion was a whole lot better than that at the place mentioned above, it was moist, and not only had a smoky aroma but you could even taste a little of the smoke. So if your in the area and want a decent pulled pork sandwich i'd give them a try, but if you want to eat somewhere all your friends have heard about on TV then by all means go up a couple more exits and try the other place.

While we're still in the Memphis area i'll mention 2 chains that I ate at per some great friends request who had driven over from Jackson, Tn to visit with me while I was in the area. The 1st was Kooky Kanucks ( ) and the only good thing I can say about this place is the beer was cold & my company was great while the food was almost average but overpriced & the service, well it just wasn't. This is the one located right across from the Peabody in downtown Memphis. The other place where the food wasn't worth the money spent but the service was at least really good & friendly was Logan's Roadhouse ( ) on Winchester Rd. at Exit 16 going North or 16 B if headed south on I-4o between Memphis and Jackson, Tn. Service wise this place was great, me and my friends were just setting around catching up on things and not paying any attention to the time, well they closed at 10 but didn't even say anything to us till 11, which was really surprising but very much appreciated.

Ok, now we're going to head south east over to Corinth, Ms where I had a blast just looking for a couple of places I had heard about.

The 1st was the White Trolly Cafe' on highway 72 East, which I had heard had really good slug burgers. Well, I had heard right, it was worth the couple of extra hours of driving time coming home just to stop by this place and enjoy a slug burger while chatting with the owners & local patrons. My only regret here is that I didn't have enough room to try some of the white beans they were serving while I was there. If you like slug burgers and are in the area by all means give these folks a try or just stop in for what I guarantee will be some great southern cafe' type cuisine. I'll be going back by when i'm up for the slug burger festival in a few weeks.

Now the other reason I wanted to drive all the way from Memphis to Corinth before heading South to Ellisville, Ms. was to also try some Tamale's I had heard about from a uncle that still lives in Selmer, Tn. He told me these were some of the best he had ever ate and that I just had to try them. Well as far as the best, we'll just say the best he had ever ate ( read my opinion about Exlines above ), but I will say they were the most unique Tamale's I had ever had. These Tamale's are about the size of a Cigarillo but just longer, and if they have any meat in them it is mixed in with the dough. Now these tamale's are packed full of flavor especially to be no bigger than they are. They really were very good, just not what I was expecting out of a Mississippi Tamale but I will be back by both places I tried while I was there on any future trips I make thru the area. The 1st Tamale shack I stopped at was Dilworth's on Taylor Street ( ) and the other was PJ's Tamales on Tate Street just right around the corner from Dilworths in a little Red building. The folks that own and run PJ's were awesome, it was fun just chatting with them. Now both of these places serve similiar Tamale's offered in paper or husk's ( corn husk ) and you really can't go wrong with either, but i'd suggest a few from each if you are in the area, just for the little differences. I will say these tamale's are some of the best buys you'll get anywhere & both locations will also sell you frozen ones to go with Dilworths even giving you an instruction sheet on the proper way to cook them. The folks that own PJ's also have a fullservice restaurant in Booneville, Ms., but I didn't get the chance this trip to try it.

For those of you who took the time to read this Thank You very much and if you made it this far and are ever near Southaven or Corinth do yourself a favor and give one or more of these places a try.

Ya'll have a great day now...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Beginning of my BBQ & More Blog by a Beginner!

Hello to everyone and thanks for stopping by. I am not sure where this blog will go at this point because this is my 1st attempt at blogging. I do hope however to have some fun while at the same time making this interesting for everyone who takes the time to read it.

My favorite hobby is traveling the South looking for locally owned BBQ shacks and eateries serving homemade Tamale's but I also enjoy some form of almost all cuisines. So by all means if you are reading this and you know of a restaurant that you really enjoy in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisianna, The Florida pan handle, Tennessee The Carolinas, or Georgia please pass on as much information about the place(s) as you can. Do me a favor though if it is a franchise of any kind don't waste my time.

My interest in food goes beyond eating it because I enjoy cooking as much if not more than eating. One of the real pleasures in life is seeing other folks enjoying food that I have cooked. If I was forced to claim a specialty it would have to be Tennessee style pull pork BBQ but I also enjoy preparing a good homemade Italian, Greek, Cajun/Creole, Southern, Asian, Mexican/TexMex, meal along with a variety of sweets & attempting to decorate cakes.

If the planets & funding ever all align themselves properly I hope to open my own BBQ & Tamale shack somewhere in the Hattiesburg/Petal Mississippi area. Not only would I serve whole hog, hickory smoked open pit pulled pork BBQ & a variety of Homemade Tamales but also Slug / Grease Burgers (like you can buy in the Selmer Tn. & Corinth Ms. areas), Homemade Cakes, Homemade Pies, along with a limited short order breakfast menu. I have cooked in my moms cafe', a catfish joint, a couple of cajun/creole eateries, country clubs, & a nice Italian place but want to serve good fresh food that the everyday working class folks can afford.

Well thanks again for taking the time to read this, I may consider myself a good cook but by no means do I claim to be a good writer so please overlook any grammatical errors that I might have made in the post or will make in future ones.

Hope Ya'll have a great one,