Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grandma's Skillet

Generally the hubster and I avoid buffets like the plague, both when we are at home and when we travel. So last Sunday morning as we drove around Corinth Mississippi trying to find a killer place for lunch, we quickly drove past Grandma's Skillet. Trip Advisor had a few places listed in Corinth that sounded pretty darn yummy. The problem was, it was Sunday. If you've even been in the south on a Sunday you know where I'm going with this. Yup, they roll up the sidewalks in Corinth by 9:00pm on Saturday night and don't reopen them until Monday. We'd learned that when we stopped in the local Kmart at 8:45pm the night before to buy extra pillows and were told we had 15 minutes to make our purchases. Even the liquor store closed at 9:00pm.

After driving around Corinth for close to an hour I demanded the hubster pull into the next place we came to. I didn't care if it was a McDonalds or whatever. I was hungry! Fortunately it was Grandma's Skillet.

We were concerned, as we walked in, because there weren't any other customers in there. (That changed drastically by the time we left) But we were greeted so warmly that it would have felt too rude to turn around and walk out. So we stayed. And boy-howdy were we glad we did!

Start out your experience with a frosty glass of sweet tea, because after all, this is the south. Then order your meat. All of the sides are served buffet style and are unlimited. More on those in a minute. But now, back to the meat. There were several options. I opted for roast pork while the hubster went for fried chicken strips. I was imagining chicken fingers and wanted no part of that. Then the meats arrived. I changed my tune pretty quick. The chicken strips was actually a chicken breast which they'd removed from the bone and cut in half. It tasted like home fried chicken. It was amazing! And the roast pork? It was an oven roasted pork, so tender, it fell in shreds on the plate and was topped with cooking juices. To. Die. For.

Now the sides. They have a pizza buffet. We didn't try any of that so I can't say if it was good or not. Our eyes were honed in on the down-home sides. Cooked like my southern Grandmother used to cook, YUM is the best way to describe the sides. There were fried potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried squash, fried okra, green beans, white beans, black eyed peas, butter beans, purple hull peas, corn, turnip greens, corn,  and cornbread fritters. (I've forgotten about ten other sides, but believe me when I say there is a large variety) And as if that wasn't enough, they had a salad bar.

If you have any room left after all of that (and make sure you do) zero your sights on the dessert buffet. Homemade banana pudding with meriange topping! And did I mention the homemade bread pudding made from their homemade biscuits? What genius! Who would have ever thought to turn a light, fluffy biscuit into bread pudding? It works. It works very, very well. It works so well, I wouldn't doubt some people eat dessert first, just to make sure they have room for it.

I didn't bring my camera in Grandma's because I had no idea what a great meal it was going to be. And by the time I realized I was in Southern food Heaven, I was in a food frenzy and wasn't about to leave my plate so I could grab my camera. I was in such a food coma, I didn't even think to take a picture with my phone until we were almost done. Southern food will do that to you. That's why we like it!

If you should find yourself anywhere near Corinth MS, Stop by Grandma's Skillet and tell Grandma to keep the sweet tea pitcher full, cause we'll be back soon!

Grandma's Skillet
602 South Cass Street
Corinth MS 38834



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Russell’s House of Beef

Spending the night in Corinth Mississippi Saturday night, after a full day of travel and Battlefield exploration at Shiloh, we were starved. The first recommendation out of the desk clerk’s mouth when we asked her where to eat, was Russell’s.

Walking into Russell’s, the first thing you see is the salad bar. I admit I was expecting a mile long salad buffet with every imaginable green and salad fixing you can think of because the sign on the outside of the building said, “Home of our world famous salad bar.” I found the salad bar to be very lackluster and sparse with only the barest of the basics. Immediately my expectations lowered to practically nil.


We decided to do a shared meal. It’s an option we often do so we can try several things. The hubster order the 18oz ribeye with hand-cut fries while I opted for the shrimp skewers; two skewers(ten on each) grilled shrimp. When the food came he cut off half of his steak for me and I gave him one of the shrimp skewers.

Wow. Seriously, that’s all I can say; wow. Their steaks and even the shrimp were grilled over an open pit fire that most definitely contained wood of some sort. Close your eyes as you take a bite of steak and shrimp. In your minds eye you can see yourself sitting around a campfire while your food cooks over it, can’t you? Yeah, they’re that good.


When you aren’t shoving steak in your pie hole with both fists, you’ll be munching on their hand cut fries. The most delightful, flavorful garlic bread comes with your meal. Doesn’t matter to me; I never eat the bread. I ate the garlic bread! Delightfully crisp with just the right amount of butter, it wasn’t overpowering with garlic flavor, but had just enough.

You'll want to make sure you go early though because the entire town rolls up it's sidewalks by 9:00 o'clock. Seriously! Even the Kmart and liquor store closed at 9:00 and on a Saturday night to boot.

Russell’s House of Beef
104 U.S. 72
Corinth MS 38824

Scott’s-Parker’s Barbecue

On Highway 412 you'll find a small, unassuming building with a long line. Get in the line as quick as you can because when they turn the light off, that's it.

I didn't get it at first. All I was told was that Scott's cooks whole hog barbecue. For most BBQ connoisseur's that's all you need to say. I should have understood because the hubby and I used to cook on the competition BBQ circuit (KCBS). But what can I say; I am a little slow at times.

Standing in line at 11:30 Saturday morning, I paid close attention to the way people ahead of me were ordering. "Jumbo, dark meat with hot. Regular with slaw and mild. Regular, naked. Two with slaw, one mild one hot." Okay, I could do this. My turn finally came. "Regular, mild with slaw." The hubby went with "Jumbo, hot with slaw." We sounded like pro's!

We sit down with our sandwiches and wrap them. I can't say for sure, but I think I heard angels singing in the background. I can't tell you how good the food was because I went into a momentary food coma. Yeah, it was that good. My regret is that we didn't try one with dark meat. I'm not quite sure what part of a whole hog is the dark meat, but I'd love to find out. That's okay, it's just another excuse for me to go back.

I was so intent on getting my order worded correctly that I'd forgotten to get a fried pie. The hubster and I had decided on sharing a fried peach pie/ And boy did they ever look good! I'd show you how good, but you know how those food coma's can be. They make you lose all sense of reason and coherent thought. 

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, fried pies. So I go back in line and order a peach pie. As I'm standing in line I see the whole hog. Or rather, the shell of the whole hog. And he is picked pretty darn clean. So clean in fact, that while I am still in line to order my fried peach pie, the lights suddenly go off and the men in line behind me say a few four letter words in a dejected tone. Lucky for them they turned the light off just as they were running almost out, so they still had a couple of sandwiches for them. All was right with the world, or at least those of us that had whole pig, pulled pork sandwiches. They even have ribs, but I think you have to call ahead to make sure they save yours for you or they are quickly gone.


When I saw the empty shell of the whole hog, it occurred to me - what do they do with the skin? Do they make fried pork skin (or as my Grandparents called it - cracklings). I asked the owner. They don't currently make them but he is thinking about it. He told me to wait a minute and he'd give me a sample of what he's been experimenting with. A few minutes later he comes back with a large quart sized baggie full of cracklings (fried pork skin) and a small container of BBQ sauce to dip them in. He gave them to us on the house. And not only that, but he gave a bag to each of the other two tables as well, just because I'd asked if they had them. What a guy, eh?! The husband and wife at the end table told us they were from Georgia and the cracklings were as good, if not better, than any they'd ever gotten in Georgia. The older gentleman at the table next to us said that he's not heard anyone call them cracklings since he was a young boy many moons ago. We ended up talking to him for about 20 minutes as he told us his entire life story. Fortunately it was an interesting life story.

Oh, I'm forgetting the fried peach pie, aren't I? Holy moly, that puppy was mighty good! It was--hands down--the best fried pie I've ever put between my lips. Next time I'm getting my own. They are just too good to share. They had at least six different flavors. The scientific thing to do would be to try each flavor, right? Just for research purposes of course.

So if you're anywhere in or around the state of Kentucky, get your pie hole over to Scott’s Parker’s Barbecue and wrap your lips around a "Jumbo hot with slaw and a fried peach pie." Your taste buds will thank you!

Scott’s-Parker’s Barbecue
10880 Highway 412 W.
Lexington, TN 38351

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Opened in 1989, Ramsey's has four locations across Lexington. Touted as being known for southern food done right, we had to give it a try. So last Sunday, during our weekender in Lexington, the hubster and I began our day at Ramsey's Harrodsburg Road location. Their breakfast menu is, in my opinion, limited. Basically you have a choice between an omelet or a Ramsey's traditional breakfast, each at a cost of only $9.95. But as we soon discovered, those are the only choices you need.

The hubster ordered the omelet which allowed you to choose three fillings and your choice of cheese. You could order extra fillings for a nominal fee. His choice was ham, green pepper and mushroom with cheddar cheese. His omelet was the size of a dinner plate. Not only was it massive, but it was delicious too.

My monster breakfast--the Ramsey traditional--started with five (yes, five) eggs, cooked in any manner you liked. A mountain of crispy home fries took up the other half of the plate. And piled on top--because really, there was no room left on the plate--was several strips of bacon and a couple of sausage patties. As if that wasn't enough, on a separate plate were three humongous pancakes. I must mention the breakfast also comes with toast which I had to decline, because there wasn't a spare square inch of space left on the table at that point. 

After a day of sightseeing, we ended our Lexington trip at Ramsey's, the same place we started our day at that morning. We never eat at the same place twice on a road trip, so this is a true testament to their food.

I don't know if you're familiar with the term "meat and three" but basically that means you choose a meat and three sides. Its a popular type of restaurant in the south and with good reason. The hubster opted for the double pork chops with sides of stewed tomatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. While I went with fried catfish, macaroni and cheese, fresh asparagus and a medley of fried white corn, okra and tomatoes. Both of our large meals were served with cornbread sticks. The best way I can describe the food is to have you close your eyes and imagine a Sunday dinner at your southern grandmothers house where she's cooked all of your favorite foods.

It doesn't stop there though. Ramsey's is apparently known for their pies. They have a long list a fresh baked pies, but we were in the midst of a food coma and therefore asked the server to choose for us. She brought us a generous wedge of warm Mayday pie. Really a Derby pie, it had a filling reminiscent of the gooey part of a pecan pie complete with pecans and massive amounts of chocolate chips. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, we dove into the treat without stopping to take a picture of it as we normally would. So you'll just have to take my word that it was fabulous.

Good Humor Birthday Cake

I read a review in a magazine recently about Good Humor's Ice Cream Cake flavor of ice cream. It comes in several forms, one of which is on a stick. I haven't been able to find it in my local grocery. But this past weekend, when the hubster and I took a trip to Lexington KY, the heavens opened and the angels sang. Yup, there it was, in the ice cream case of a small country store.

I was so excited to take the first bite, I could scarcely contain myself long enough to take a picture. Finally I ripped the package open and took the first bite. Rapidly chewing, I swallowed while taking the next bite. The hubster asked me how it was. My mouth stuffed with the third bite, I replied, "Mumble-garble-umph." In foodese that means, "Pretty amazing but I'm enjoying it too much to come up for air!"

Yes, by some magical twist of the universe, Good Humor's Birthday Cake ice cream bar does indeed taste exactly like birthday cake. Some--those who aren't birthday cake aficionados--may say that's a bad thing. But as for me, I'm still licking my lips as I try to devise ways of getting back to that store in Lexington.   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mary Lou's BBQ

Pulling into Lexington KY Saturday, we were on the hunt for a certain restaurant the hubster had read about. Although he normally has his internal GPS on full alert, he had some--ahem--difficulties finding his way around town. Later, as a neighbor told me, we learned that Lexington is much like Indianapolis and is build on a circular grid. We never did find the restaurant where the hubster had been wanting to have lunch, but that was okay because we found <insert the sound of Angels singing> Mary Lou's BBQ.
We rode by the place three times and eventually I realized the Universe was trying to give me a sign--EAT HERE! So on the fourth time around the block--still hopelessly lost--we stopped.

First thing that caught my eye as we entered, was the counter and it's unique stools. I wasn't feeling quite limber enough to mount a saddle so we opted for one of the large wooden tables. We did belly up to the counter long enough to order though.

We tried to get a little of everything. Brisket, pulled pork, smoked corn on the cob, pit baked beans. And the topper? Ah, the shining star. The homemade, smoked boudin. If you've never had boudin, get yourself some NOW! Heck if I know what it is, but it's damned good! Okay, maybe I do know what it is. Basic boudin is a Cajun sausage which is comprised of a natural casing, stuffed with ground pork, rice and the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery. There are different variations of boudin and you can even get them made with crawfish in some parts. Smoked over a wood fueled pit, Mary Lou's boudin doesn't disappoint and would--I daresay--make a Cajun sing.

The rest of the meal was typical of a real-deal, top notch, BBQ place. And having done competition BBQ on the KCBS circuit, the hubster and I know top notch BBQ when we see it. We will most definitely be stopping into Mary Lou's BBQ the next time we hit town!

Mary Lou's BBQ
226 Walton Ave.
Lexington, KY 40502

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Irish Rover

Located on Frankfort Avenue in the Crescent Hill neighborhood of Louisville Kentucky, you'll find the Irish Rover. Housed in a 150-year-old building, which began life as a saloon, the business once included a grocery and dry goods store much like the old-time Irish pubs.

With the walls in the bar area covered Irish Ale and Whiskey signage, walking into the Irish Rover is like taking a step back in time. You almost expect your sever to greet you with a brogue worthy of the old country.

After ordering a round or two of Irish beers--because come on, this is an Irish pub--you start your meal with a basket of the finest Irish soda bread. You can order a bowl of mussels steamed in Guinness for a starter if you like or a plate of bubble and squeak. And if that doesn't set your Irish soul in song, then try a Scotch egg or some Irish smoked salmon. Or, as in my case, go straight to your entrée.


I had a difficult time deciding between the bangers and mash or the fish and chips. I solved the dilemma by having my husband order the bangers and mash and--reluctantly--agreeing to share my fish and chips in exchange for half of his entrée.

Although the bangers and mash are top notch and highly enjoyable, the fish and chips are clearly the star. I quickly regretted my decision to share plates. Any pub that has malt vinegar on the tables with the salt and pepper can pretty much assure you that they're the real deal. The crispy brown batter gives way to snowy white, Icelandic cod that literally melts in your mouth. even now I'm feeling slightly orgasmic as I think about it.


About all I can fault them for is that they only give you one piece of fish. Yeah, it's that good.

So the next time you're in Louisville and lonesome for the old country, stop by the Irish Rover.

The Irish Rover
2319 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206