Mardi Gras is serious fun in the South–especially New Orleans and Mobile–where the Krewe fêtes are plentiful, the parades are noisy and joyful, and King Cake comes in all different flavors and varieties. In the North where you can find Polish bakeries, Mardi Gras means pączki (pronounced ponch-key). And these calorie-busting, jelly-filled doughnuts at local bakeries draw long lines.
Source: Melissa Wang via Flickr
Pączki are also enjoyed on Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek), and the reason for making pączki is to use up all of the ingredients (lard, sugar, eggs, fruit) before Lent kicks in. Bridgeport Bakery on S. Archer in the South Side of Chicago has an unassuming storefront, but you’d never guess they sell tens of thousands (yes, tens of thousands) of pączki on Fat Tuesday, also known as Pączki Day. If you didn’t make it to Bridgeport Bakery this week, don’t fret. They sell four different varieties of pączki all year round.
Ran an errand yesterday in downtown #Jackson, and woo wee, it was a warm and sunny day. Almost 82 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty special for the end of February. When Mother Nature dials up the warm-weather crank, I head to DSP–Deep South Pops on N. State Street.
Heaven on a stick is the Strawberry Buttermilk Popsicle. The crushed strawberries are fresh, and the buttermilk lends the popsicle a slightly tart/sour vibe. Translation: This popsicle isn’t ultra sweet.
The buttermilk popsicle is also available in blueberry, which is almost as good as the strawberry version.
If you need a caffeine pick me up, Deep South Pops offers an assortment of coffee drinks. It’s a cool space to hang out and chill.
The title here is a bit misleading. I didn’t eat crawfish in an auto body shop, but did I try these shellfish at a client appreciation event in a tent area adjoining Capitol Auto Body Shop in Flowood, #Mississippi? You betcha. And gotta say, eating boiled crawfish is a messy business.
Source: Louisiana Sea Grant College Program via Flickr
Crawfish happen to be the state crustacean of Louisiana, and crawfish boils really get fired up in late February but also March and April. A proper crawfish boil involves a lot of crawfish, seasoning, onions, garlic, red potatoes, and ears of corn. To eat a crawfish, hold the head in one hand and the tail in the other hand. Twist and pull, peel off the shell layers, and you have the meat from the tail. You can also suck the juice from the head, but I skipped this part. Mike the Crawfish Peeling Machine offers an illustrated, step-by-step guide here. Bon temps!
I was hungry. Not exactly hangry, but could use a bite to eat. Tacos, I was thinking. I knew where to head after a day of exploring Saint Petersburg. Over the bridge and back to Empamamas in the Tampa Heights neighborhood. This sign had me at Roses Are Red.
What makes a great taco? In my opinion, it needs a proper foundation (foundation as in tortilla), and flour just doesn’t cut it. Too soggy, too limp. The tortilla has to be corn, and Empamamas checked that box. Deliciously cooked proteins. Empamamas checked that box as well. Add to the above fresh vegetables, pico, and street corn, and my meal/day was made. Give me tacos. The end.
The best thing to happen to two slices of whole-wheat toast? It’s the Egg & Olive sandwich at Brent’s Drugs in #Fondren. It’s egg salad with chopped green olives mixed in. I order it every time I visit and never regret my choice. Never as in ever.
Brent’s has been in operation since 1946. Originally opened by pharmacist Alvin Brent, this drugstore was–and still is–a staple gathering place for Jacksonians. Brent’s is now a diner with a lovely soda fountain counter. If you’re super hungry, you can order the E&O with a root beer float on the side. Or milkshake. Nom.
I was in Colorado last weekend catching up with friends who asked me what the food is like in #Mississippi. For starters, the fried chicken, the biscuits, the vegetables (all vegetables), they’re just different (better) here. Things I could eat every day: Butter beans and black-eyed peas. The butter beans are typically served with ham, which is sliced and mixed in. Serve butter beans with a side of black-eyed peas and you kind of have a meal.
Mississippi doesn’t have the reputation for BBQ that Tennessee or the Carolinas do, but I love myself some Pig & Pint in Jackson’s #Fondren neighborhood. They have a smoked chicken BBQ sandwich I order every time. So. Darn. Good.
In Greenwood, there’s a place called the Crystal Grill, which is a stone’s throw from the train station. If you visit Mississippi, you need to get yourself there. Trust me on this one, order the fried catfish. The catfish is Mississippi raised; Belzoni (pronounced Bel-zone-uh), Mississippi, is the catfish capitol of the state. And maybe the country. And leave room for dessert (pie). THE PIE. Enough said.As for biscuits, which I prefer with butter (salted) and strawberry jam, which I’m sure is heresy, there is Primo’s in Jackson. Primo’s is a Greek family-run diner that serves all manner of Southern staple foods and dishes. I love everything there and especially the biscuits. Must love biscuits.