3-time World Champion Gumbo
Prejean's is *amazing*! Everything we had there was fabulous. From Av's gumbo to my Catfish Oscar Prejean to Av's Catfish Catahoula - was incredible.
We can't wait to go back! More pics below.
Catfish Oscar Prejean
Crispy fried Mississippi catfish topped with a jumbo lump crab and mesquite-grilled asparagus, set over a black butter wine sauce, drizzled with Bearnaise.
Fresh filet stuffed with shrimp, crawfish and crab. Baked & served in a puddle of crawfish and tasso cream sauce. Served with dirty rice, macque choux.
Room: This was our first stay at the Hilton Hotel in Lafayette, Louisiana. We had stayed at the Embassy Suites there before, but weren't terribly impressed, so we thought we'd try this Hilton - plus, we reserved this room at a rate in the low-$70s. The room was pretty average; we were given a room on the 'Hilton Honors' floor, and received two sugar cookies (that's the little blue package on the bed in the pic above). The hotel underwent renovations a few months ago, so it's getting better reviews on Tripadvisor.com than previous years.
Food: We got in pretty late, thanks to a flat tire (a whole other story, the moral of which is that people who live in Woodville, MS are much nicer and helpful than the police who actually work there). Room service closed at 10pm, and we didn't see a lot of delivery options (or other places open later), so we just called in a pizza.
Extra: Lafayette is what's called the 'unofficial capital of cajun country' so if you're into cajun dancing, food, culture, etc. this is the place for you. And don't miss Prejean's!
Our experience is this: We would definitely stay at this Hilton again, especially at the rate we reserved at.
Av and I were lucky enough to be in McComb at dinner (lunch) time this week, so we stopped in at The Dinner Bell. There was a short wait, then we were seated with about twelve others. At The Dinner Bell, as well as at other 'revolving tables' restaurants, the food is set on a lazy susan, and you just spin that part of the table to make whatever you like accessible.
Among all the wonderful choices that day were: fried chicken, smoked sausage, sweet potato casserole, fried eggplant (their eggplant is incredible - and the recipe's a secret - it's not even in the cookbook they sell), cabbage, rice and gravy, rolls, and for dessert - banana pudding and bread pudding. I'm sure I left out a few dishes in this listing, but it was more than enough and everything was of course just delicious. Yum!
The Dinner Bell
Our room at the Jackson Hampton Inn & Suites
Room: We stayed again at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Jackson - the 320 Greymont Avenue location. Our last stay here was in early May, and this room was similar in every way (except this time we had one king bed) to the one we had before. This particular Hampton is above average for the chain. Wireless internet is offered at no additional charge. Our only issue with the room was a pervasive odor of carpet deodorizer. It was *really* strong when we first walked in.
Food: We didn't try the breakfast that comes with the hotel stay.
Extra: Location, location, location. It's close to downtown and right off the highway.
Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q started in 1956, and Bob's son Van runs it now. There used to be a chain of them, but this one in Bessemer's the only one that's still around (I think a few years ago they opened one close to the Shelby County Airport, but it's called something else now).
Bob Sykes has great everything, and finding a park there around noon isn't easy, which just proves how great it is. The clientele is everything from suits to shorts, uniforms to overalls - another sign of its universal appeal!
We had lunch there a couple of days ago and as usual it was packed.....and the barbecue was great.
Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q
you *will* smell deliciously of this pit when you leave. and that's okay!
Av and I had *the* most delicious lunch at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta Sunday a week ago (and let me tell you, everybody was dressed to the 9's. It was really something to see). Mary Mac's is at 224 Ponce de Leon Ave NE downtown (404.876.1800).
It was a beautiful experience, what with the little slips of paper that you write on what you'll be having, and the lovely little breads - cornbread, rolls, cinnamon rolls - and the delicious cup of pot likker to begin with. There's a sweet lady that comes around and talks to everybody and rubs your back. So sweet.
Av and I thought it was odd that when the server set down the bowls of pot likker, he automatically described, in detail, what pot likker is and how it comes about (and he did that to everybody). I had to stop him and explain that "oh, we're from Alabama....we have pot likker all the time". They must have a lot of business of people from outside the South.
For those of y'all who read my blog from outside the South, pot likker is the delicious liquid that is left in a pot when you cook collards for a few hours. You take collard greens (rinse them off really well and tear them into pieces) and add to a big pot full of water. Season with salt and pepper and add a nice piece of fatty meat. Bring it up to a boil and then let that pot simmer for 3-4 hours...I've cooked collards several hours, but then I like mine really, really tender. After the collards are cooked, put them in a nice-size bowl, and pour the pot likker into another bowl. Pot likker is good in a variety of ways, but mostly for soaking cornbread. If you have left-over pot likker, you can freeze it and use it later.
Collard-cooking does make the kitchen smell, but it's a smell that I love. It reminds me of my MawMaw Polk in her kitchen.
Anyway, our meal was just delicious. Delicious! Pics are below. And guess what? Mary Mac's is now listed on my favorite places to eat and I bought one of their cookbooks it was so good. Yum!
These are their 'tearoom favorites':
- baked chicken with cornbread dressing & gravy
- country fried steak & gravy
- fried chicken
- meatloaf with tomoto sauce
- roast pork with dressing & gravy
- chicken & dumplings
- baked turkey with dressing & gravy
- chicken pot pie
- pork barbecue with Brunswick Stew
- smothered chicken over rice
- macaroni & cheese
- french fries
- sweet potato souffle
- whipped potatoes
- baked potato
- vegetable soup
- creamed corn
- okra & tomatoes
- broccoli souffle
- fried green tomatoes
- potato cakes
- steamed spinach
- steamed cabbage
- steamed carrots
- cheese grits
- fried okra
- steamed broccoli
- spiced apples
- cheese & vegetable souffle
- Brunswick Stew
- butter peas
- rice & gravy
- Hoppin' John
- turnip greens
- green beans
- black-eyed peas
- collard greens & cracklin' cornbread
- cup of pot likker with cornbread
- cole slaw
- green salad
- fresh fruit
- carrot and raisin salad
- pickled beets
- bartlett pear salad
- fruited jello
- table wine of the South (sweet tea)
- sweet milk
- cream soda or root bear
- coke, diet coke, or sprite
- coffee, tea, or punch
- cranberry or orange juice
- brown cow
- and a full-service bar
Pot likker. Mmmmmmmmmhhh.......
Turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, collards with cracklin' cornbread, and hoppin' john (rice and black eyed peas)
Country-fried steak and gravy, dumplins, and potato cakes
mint julep (I'm not so sure about their choice of a glass to serve this in, but it sure was good anyway)
dueling desserts : my Georgia peach cobbler on the left and Av's peanut butter pie on the right. Av's pie was sooooooo good!
Mary Mac's Tea Room
These are pics from William C. Rice's cross garden in Prattville. Mr. Rice decided to build crosses on his property and across the street after he says that G-d answered his prayers about his ulcerated stomach. (articles and features about the place can be found here here and here)
Mr. Rice's place has been featured in countless magazine articles, folk art books, etc. and I've wanted to see it for ages. Av and I love folk art. Religious folk art (even when it's not our religion) is so great - I have a real respect for it.
Growing up in Cullman, I would go several times each year to Ave Maria Grotto just to marvel at Brother Zoettl's incredible work. Av and I once went to Palestine Gardens (formerly called Palestinian Gardens) - a place in Lucedale, MS - to see the work of a Presbyterian minister who began to build representations of Israel out of concrete back in the 1950's. Compared to the Grotto, PG is much more crudely constructed, but if you're in that part of MS, it's worth seeing once. BTW, we didn't know to expect this when we visited, but our experience with the gentleman who lead us on a tour of the little park was that he did some hard-core 'testifying' (which to me is really okay, I am happy to hear how people got into their religion and how their life has changed).
Anyway, if you have the choice of Ave Maria Grotto or Palestine Gardens, definitely go to the Grotto as the work there - the details and such - is just amazing.
Here are pics of Mr. Rice's cross garden. Mr. Rice died last year, but his family says they will keep things up the way they are now.