Ezell’s Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Av and I just love to go to Ezell’s Fish Camp in Lavaca (AL). It is a *real* fish camp – right on the water – and the fields around it are growing cotton…..

Three Boars, Taxidermy, at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

There are a bunch of deer mounted in the entranceway, and inside the dining room are these three wild boar.

Swamp Monkey (Novelty Taxidermy) at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

This is the swamp monkey above the cash register. Rahr!

World Record Blue Catfish (mounting by Archie Phillips) at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

This is the world-record blue catfish. This was done by Archie Phillips, who is the taxidermist whose sign “Get the US out of the UN” (there’s a new one up now, but I don’t remember what it is) can be seen from I-20/59 in Birmingham.

Coleslaw with Lance Captain's Wafters at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

First they bring out Lance Captain’s Wafers (the best), a lemon, cocktail and tartar sauce, and their coleslaw – which is so delicious!

Fried Pickles at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Av loves their fried pickles, even though we can’t even eat half of what they bring out. They are so yummy though!

Catfish Dinner at Ezell's Fish Camp, Lavaca AL

Here’s my dinner – catfish fillets. Yummy!

Ezell’s is open seven days a week, and it’s so much fun just to go and sit by the water. One time after a storm, there was a lot of tree branches in the water, and we got to watch what I think was an egret just floating all the way down the river on one of the logs. Nice!

Trowbridge’s in Florence AL, Dale’s in Florence AL, and Ricatoni’s in Florence AL

Trowbridge’s ( 316 North Court Street, 256.764.1503) has been open in downtown Florence since 1918. It is a lovely little ice cream parlor where you can sit at the counter and watch everyone’s treats being made.

Trowbridge's, Florence AL

Order Board, Trowbridge's, Florence AL

Isn’t this order board great??!!

Egg & Olive Sandwich, Trowbridge's, Florence AL

I ordered an egg and olive sandwich, which was very good. I ate about half of it (it was conveniently cut in half) so I could still try the ice cream.

Oh-My-Gosh Brownie, Trowbridge's, Florence AL

Av ordered the ‘oh my gosh’, which is a brownie topped with ice cream and caramel, whipped cream (which he asked them to leave off) and a cherry. The brownie was served warm and was *excellent*.

Orange-Pineapple Ice Cream, Trowbridge's, Florence AL

I tried one scoop of orange-pineapple ice cream — it also happens to be one of the ‘100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die’ that’s being promoted by the Alabama Bureau of Travel and Tourism this year — with one scoop of butter pecan. I liked the butter pecan a little better, but only had room for about 1/4 what they served in the glass!

Everybody that works at Trowbridge’s was really nice and friendly, and we’ll visit again the next time we’re in Florence.

Dale’s (1001 Mitchell Boulevard, 256.766.4961), one of my and Av’s very favorite places, was supposed to be where we were going to have supper Saturday night. We arrived right on time for our 8:45pm reservation and were seated promptly. A waiter came right over for our drink order, and had our drinks back in just a couple of minutes. Then twenty-five minutes went by and the waiter hadn’t come by for our order (no nothing – even to let us know that he would be with us, just that it would be a little while). We decided just to leave, so we went to the front desk to pay for our drinks. Since we couldn’t get a waiter, we couldn’t get a regular check. The gentleman at the desk asked what was going on and we explained…..no cost for the drinks. We’ll still go back next time; everybody has a bad night every now and then, I guess.

Ricatoni’s ( 107 North Court Street, 256.718.1002) was lunch on Sunday. (I just noticed that Ricatoni’s bread with herbs is *also* on the 100 dishes list (and it was very good).)

I had the Ricatoni Ravioli, which was cheese-filled ravioli in a tomato cream sauce. It was soooo good. Av really liked his pasta too.

We both really liked the atmosphere, with the double-height ceiling (part of the room has a balcony), tin ceiling, and an open – and pretty loud – kitchen. We’ll definitely come back to Ricatoni’s too. Yay!

Rabideaux’s II in Iowa, Louisiana

There are actually two Rabideaux’s, one is more of a restaurant – and the other (Rabideaux’s II) has places to eat inside (and out), and is set up in a more utilitarian style. I would really like to try everything they serve, but pics are below of a meat pie…sooooo good, a pistolette, and a praline (which was darker than I like – I’ll post my recipe on my blog later).

Rabideaux's II, Iowa LA

Meat Pie, Rabideaux's II, Iowa LA
Meat Pie – this would be super-easy to make at home, and I’ve promised Av that I would…

Pistolette, Rabideaux's II, Iowa LA
Pistolette – a bread roll that’s opened and stuffed with meat – in this case, shrimp (but just as often found stuffed with crawfish tails) – and then either baked or fried. This one was fried.

Praline, Rabideaux's II, Iowa LA
dark praline

Prejean’s, Lafayette LA

Prejean's, Lafayette LA - Gumbo
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.

Prejean's, Lafayette LA - Catfish Oscar Prejean
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.

Prejean's, Lafayette LA - Catfish Catahoula
Catfish Catahoula
Fresh filet stuffed with shrimp, crawfish and crab. Baked and served in a puddle of crawfish and tasso cream sauce. Served with dirty rice, macque choux.

The Dinner Bell, McComb MS

The Dinner Bell, McComb MS

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!

Fried Chicken at The Dinner Bell, McComb MS

Fried Chicken

Mary Mac’s Tea Room, Atlanta GA

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.

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 z”l 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

AND take a look at these vegetables!

  1. macaroni & cheese
  2. french fries
  3. sweet potato souffle
  4. whipped potatoes
  5. baked potato
  6. vegetable soup
  7. creamed corn
  8. okra & tomatoes
  9. broccoli souffle
  10. fried green tomatoes
  11. potato cakes
  12. steamed spinach
  13. steamed cabbage
  14. steamed carrots
  15. cheese grits
  16. fried okra
  17. steamed broccoli
  18. spiced apples
  19. cheese & vegetable souffle
  20. Brunswick Stew
  21. butter peas
  22. rice and gravy
  23. dumplins
  24. Hoppin’ John
  25. turnip greens
  26. green beans
  27. black-eyed peas
  28. collard greens & cracklin’ cornbread
  29. cup of pot likker with cornbread
  30. applesauce
  31. cole slaw
  32. green salad
  33. fresh fruit
  34. carrot and raisin salad
  35. pickled beets
  36. bartlett pear salad
  37. fruited jello

Beverages included:

  • lemonade
  • 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
  • buttermilk
  • brown cow
  • milkshakes
  • and a full-service bar

I can’t wait to go back. It was just wonderful.

Pot Likker and Cornbread (and roll, and sweet roll) at Mary Mac's Tea Room, Atlanta GA
Pot likker. Mmmmmmmmmhhh…….

Turkey and Dressing, Collards, Hoppin John at Mary Mac's Tea Room, Atlanta GA
Turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, collards with cracklin’ cornbread, and hoppin’ john (rice and black eyed peas)

Country Fried Steak and Gravy, Dumplins, Potato Cakes at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta GA
Country-fried steak and gravy, dumplins, and potato cakes

Mint Julep (not in a julep cup) at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta GA
mint julep (I’m not so sure about their choice of a glass to serve this in, but it sure was good anyway)

Peach Cobbler vs. Peanut Butter Pie at Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta GA
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, Atlanta GA
Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Cincinnati: Camp Washington Chili

Camp Washington Chili Sign


Camp Washington Chili, Cincinnati OH

Gourmet Magazine a month or two ago devoted a good portion of its pages to street food.

(This is my for instance:)
When in Montreal, Quebec, have poutine. You can’t find poutine in Iowa.

When in Decatur, Alabama, have bbq chicken with white sauce. You can’t get white chicken sauce served in New York.

And when in Cincinnati, have chili. You can have chili anywhere in the US, but Cincinnati has its own chili that you can’t find in Florida.

Camp Washington chili is apparently the mother church of Cincinnati chili. And what makes Cincinnati chili different? Well, it’s like this: take spaghetti noodles, and top with (any or all): beef, onions, beans, cheese. Take all five and it’s called 5-way chili.

At first, I was thinking of soupy tomato-based chili with beef that people sometimes add beans to (depending on where you live. I don’t generally believe in chili with beans). When it came to our table, it was truly different – and get this – delicious.

Av had a hotdog (a “coney” here), which at Camp Washington comes two dogs/bun. He liked that too!

And: our lunch came to just a little bit over $10. Not bad for a James Beard award winner!

Poutine, How Do I Love Thee?

Yummy Poutine, Montreal Pool Hall, Montreal Quebec
Let me count the ways.

Until Av and I decided to include Montreal on our trip, I had *no idea* what on earth poutine was, let alone that it existed.

Poutine is a street food. There are three main ingredients:

french fries
cheese curds

Nutritious, eh?

Well, it is delicious! You take hot french fries, put fresh cheese curds on top (not melted), and hot gravy over that. I know it doesn’t necessarily sound good, but…..it is.

We had heard one could procure the most delicious poutine (poutine is pronounced ‘poo-teen’) at, of all places, the Montreal Pool Hall. This place is also supposed to have some amazing hot dogs too…but we were on a singular search for amazing poutine. We found it. Delicious!!

The pictures in this post are of the poutine from the Montreal Pool Hall.

When In Maine, Eat Lobster Rolls

Lobster Roll from Bob

We had the absolute best lobster roll at Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine – isn’t that a great-looking lobster roll? Ohmygoodness, it was so good! We also snacked on a couple of crab cakes, and Av had the haddock and clams (the clams were from further north, in Canada, because the coast here is experiencing ‘red tide‘). Everything was delish….so delish that Av got a t-shirt, a true sign that he appreciates their cooking efforts.