Rose’s BBQ – Hattiesburg, MS

South of Hattiesburg, in a gas station on Highway 49 is Rose’s Bar-B-Q (here is the link to their Facebook page, as it looks like their domain has expired). We had heard about it from friends and it was on the way back to New Orleans. The parking lot was packed with pick up trucks and sheriff vehicles. There was a heavy scent of hickory smoke in the air, so we pulled up on the curb and went inside.

We bought a pound of the smoked brisket, some chicken on a stick and potato logs. The chicken on a stick was a first for me – chicken, dill pickles, potatoes and onion speared on a stick, covered in batter and deep fried. Not sure I’m a fan but I can now say I’ve eaten this unique Mississippi delicacy.

The potato logs were like wedges on steroids. While the batter could have used a little more seasoning, the potatoes were incredibly fluffy.

The brisket was very tender, with a lovely bark. While it comes with their house made, very good barbecue sauce, the meat was so flavorful, it didn’t need it. We just ate it with our fingers, forgoing the bread.

The prices were reasonable and they got the food to us fast, so we were back on the road in no time. They have even more on the menu than we were able to try (ribs, chicken – bbq and fried, pulled pork, etc), so we’ll be swinging back by soon.

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Dining Out for Life 2017

Every year, AIDS service organizations join with restaurants for Dining Out for Life. The restaurants donate a portion of the day’s proceeds so diners get a great meal and the organizations get financial support. Crescent Care (formerly NO/AIDS Task Force) is my local beneficiary and I whole heartedly support their mission, so I make an effort to take in as many meals as I can for the event.

For lunch, I went to Cafe at the Square (reviewed here in 2010) with my friend Ryan and we interviewed Seth Bloom, a candidate for New Orleans City Council for possible endorsement by the Forum for Equality. I had the Fried Green Tomato BLT and the sandwich was just as good as I remembered – thick bacon slices, tangy green tomatoes and spicy arugula on a ciabatta bun.

For dinner, I went with my friends Charlotte and Thomas to the New Feelings Cafe and Bar (previously reviewed here in 2011) in the Marigny. We had been excited to learn that Chef Scott Maki had recently won Chopped and wanted to see how the menu and space had changed since we had last been there.

The space is light and airy, with lots of quirky and nostalgic artwork on the walls. The menu had a lot of the things that made them such a great place before plus a number of new items. They still have the beautiful courtyard but, we opted for air conditioning, so we ate inside.

We started with cocktails. Charlotte went for the one with mezcal and enjoyed it enough to order a second. I really liked the coconut rum in my Hemingway.

For appetizers, we had the mushroom sopapilla with black beans and avocado – nice combo of flavors and also the smoked trout dip (pictured) with house made kettle chips. Very tasty, especially with a couple shakes of hot sauce.


I had the fried chicken sandwich. Piled high with chicken, crisp dill pickle slices, lettuce and tomato and their special sauce, it was an explosion of flavor.

Charlotte went for the curry spiced fish with yams and a lovely peanut sauce. She thought it was very tasty, even the kale.

Thomas had Shrimp and Grits – the grits were made extra decadent with gouda cheese. It was so gooda, I wanted to steal another bite but Thomas was keeping a close eye on me. The BBQ shrimp were also very good with a deep, rich sauce.

Dessert was the Vietnamese coffee flan and chocolate hand pie. Delicate flavor on the flan and the pie was reminiscent of the Hubig pies. Served hot, it was very delicious.

Attentive and friendly waitstaff. Creative chef. Romantic courtyard. Lots of feels for the New Feelings Cafe. Worth going to, even without the excuse of your dollars doing good.

 

Turkey and the Wolf

I went to lunch today at Turkey and the Wolf with Charlotte and Thomas. This is a quirky sandwich place that also serves creative cocktails. It is on Jackson Avenue between Tchoupitoulas and Magazine. Now that the street construction in that area is completed, it is easier to find and to park nearby.

Charlotte and I both had drinks with our meal. The names alone were fun. I went for the Put On Your Socks and Leave. It was a refreshing a mix of honeysuckle vodka, hibiscus tea, lemon and mint. Her No Shirt, No Shoebox, No Service was a mix of mezcal, basil syrup, pineapple and lime. If you’re at all a mezcal fan, you’ll really enjoy this drink.

Mine was the red one

We started with the deviled eggs. They came with a piece of bacon on top and a drizzle of hot sauce. The yolk mixture was a bit too smooth  for my preference but the flavor was good.

For lunch, both Thomas and I went for the meatloaf sandwich – it came with gravy mayo, pepper jelly and melted american cheese on Texas toast. Very big and very messy but also very good. There were a lot of flavors competing with the meat loaf but it was very satisfying. I really liked the pickles that were on it.

Charlotte had the ham. It came with cranberry and cheddar on a roll. It looked good, especially on the Hercules plate they served it on. She really seemed to enjoy eating it, too.

I was tempted by the ice cream sundae that was carried past for someone else. They have soft serve vanilla ice cream with a choice of coverings. We got it with a chocolate shell and tater sticks. Salty and chocolatey plus smooth vanilla ice cream was an All-American hit.

The place was quite busy at lunch and it can get rather loud. They only have a few tables, although there are more tables outdoors (but only one umbrella). Be advised that the sandwiches are pricey – mine was $12.50. It was all good and the staff were friendly and unobtrusive, so I thought it worth it (and worth another visit).

Cavan Restaurant

Last night, my good friends took me to Cavan Restaurant and Bar on Magazine to share a birthday meal. It bills itself as a Coastal American dining experience and the eclectic menu definitely reflects the variety of tastes that can be found along the seaboard and gulf coast. The atmosphere is a sort of modern decay chic with the pine tables contrasting with black and white photos on the distressed renovated style walls of the restored mansion. It did get a little loud as it filled up but the crowd was convivial.

We started with cocktails. I had the paloma while Charlotte tried first the Wilde #9 which was like a spicy sazerac with mescal. Her second had a pepper infused tequila and apricot liquor. Both were strong and flavorful.

We shared the corn fritters, served in a small cast iron skillet with honey lardo. It originally had five but I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to capture them all. More like hush puppies than fritters, they were still good and the sweet and savory sauce was rather tasty.

Thomas had the jerk rubbed fish. I worried the jerk spices would overwhelm the delicate fish but they were really delicious together. The rice could have been warmer but the melange of flavors made one forgive a minor issue.

Charlotte and I both enjoyed the fried chicken. It came with Coca-cola braised collard greens. She raved about the flavor of the greens and kindly ate my portion. We also ordered their seasoned wedge fries that came with a tangy house made ketchup. The chicken crust was very good but the chicken itself (especially on the breast meat) was a bit bland and little dry.

The staff was helpful and friendly with lots of explanation of the menu. With regular checkins, they made sure our drinks didn’t run dry and we had all we needed to enjoy our meal.

I have great hopes for this place and continued success of their creative chefs.

 

Graham’s Fish Camp

On Highway 588 in Collins, Mississippi there is a small restaurant that does a booming business on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Only open from 3 to 9 on those nights, Graham’s Fish Camp is packed the entire time.

689 Highway 588. Collins, MS 39428

They start you out with a huge bowl of coleslaw while you look over the menu, although most folks seem to already know what they like. From looking at the other tables, catfish (Mississippi farm raised) was a heavy favorite.

We started with fried dill pickles and onion rings. One of Elvis’ favorite snacks, the dill pickle chips are battered in cornmeal and quite crunchy and tart. The onion rings were thick and hand battered. The baskets are huge, so I’d recommend the half portion sizes.

I had the fried shrimp platter – 12 shrimp, 3 hushpuppies and a mess of French fries. Crunchy batter on flavorful shrimp – quite tasty. The house made tarter sauce was tart and creamy.

Michelle had chicken tenders plus a catfish filet. Thin sliced with a delicious cornmeal batter, it was fresh and clean tasting. I can tell why so many people come here.

They end the meal with soft serve ice cream and your choice of toppings. For as busy as they are, the wait staff is friendly and quick with refills on the drinks and to check to make sure you don’t need anything else. The cost is quite reasonable, too – for under $20 a piece, we had a huge amount of great food. Definitely worth a visit.

La Boca

My parents are in town for my birthday weekend and we went out to La Boca for steaks to celebrate. I’m so glad we did!

I started with a pisco sour – more Peruvian than Argentinian but, close enough! It was very good, nice and limey.

Dad went for the 14 ounce New York Strip. It was cooked to medium rare and he ate more of it than he expected, it was so tender.

Mom and I splurged on the 24 ounce cowboy cut Ribeye Steak – it was ordered rare and came out nearly blue. One of the few times I haven’t had rare steak come out more medium than rare. So nice and tender, there was no talking, only moans as we chewed.

As you can see, we only had a little left on the bone at the end. Just perfect to take home in a doggy bag. Not that my dog got to gnaw on it until I had done so!

Accompanying the meat were some super good mashed potatoes. Creamy and buttery, it was some of the best I’ve eaten that I didn’t make myself.

As it was my birthday, the waiter brought me a piece of flourless chocolate cake. So very dark and delicious.

We also shared some dulce de leche ice cream. Decadently smooth and rich. I could see myself stopping by the restaurant just for the ice cream.

This is the top rated Zagat steakhouse in New Orleans and it shows. The cuts of meat were cooked perfectly and the portions sizes were immense. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the wine list and helped us find perfect pairings with some glasses of Malbec. I highly recomend La Boca.

Jo Bob’s of Grand Isle

My parents and I took the scenic drive down Louisiana Highway 1 to Grand Isle. We stopped at the Grand Isle State Park to read more about Jean Lafitte (pirate, privateer and patriot) and to watch the pelicans and seagulls fight to fly across the strong wind currents off the gulf.

On our way out of town we stopped at Jo-Bob’s Gas and Grill for burgers.

The burgers are 100% beef and made to order. Mom got the Jo-Bob burger with mushrooms and bacon and melty cheese with the seasoned fries. Very tasty burger and I ended up eating part of hers! Mine was the basic cheeseburger. Very good and meaty.

Dad ordered the cheddar burger and and it was deliciously cheesy.

They don’t have many tables upstairs but do offer free drink refills. Very friendly staff and a menu of more than just burgers. Definitely worth a stop after a day on on the beach.