Friday, June 1, 2012

Yankees in the South

My recent trip to Mississippi involved one good meal after another. Basically, we woke up, ate until we induced a food coma, went back to sleep, and woke up to do it all over again. This is my idea of a vacation.

I had some terrific Southern food. The best catfish I have ever had in my life was at Cock of the Walk, a dive-y spot right on the Mississippi River where everything was served in tin containers.

I don't know what it was about the fish. Normally, I find catfish pretty bland. I think it really comes down to there being a better tasting catfish in that part of the country. Their coleslaw was delicious. I normally prefer a vinegar-based slaw over one doused in mayonnaise, but this one had a nice balance of both. Their fried pickles were outstanding. I love me a fried pickle. I didn't care for the turnip greens, but that's just my aversion to their slimy texture. An added bonus is that the tin cans make the soda extra cold...which really helps in the Mississippi heat.

I was also introduced to comeback sauce, a condiment you can only find in the South apparently. It's comparable to a thousand island dressing, but the variations I tried were not as creamy. Most places put their own spin on it, so it's hard to say what's really in comeback sauce. At any rate, it's pretty tasty. They put it on everything, like these fried green tomatoes:

Fried Green Tomatoes in Comeback Sauce - Two Rivers, Canton, MS

Here's what I had after those tomatoes:
Ohhh yeaaaaa.
And here's what I had after that ribeye:
Homemade Peach Ice Cream - I will never be thin again.
My best meal in Mississippi, though, was at a new foodie establishment in the heart of downtown Jackson: Parlor Market. When I say foodie, I mean that they're putting stuff like bone marrow on the menu. The place is garnering buzz and a few local and statewide awards for best new restaurant. There aren't that many places in the area that are playing with food the way the chef at Parlor Market is. I'm really glad we got to dine there. My party went for brunch...which happened to be the very last brunch that the restaurant is offering. There simply isn't a market for brunch in the Jackson area. It's a shame because it was spectacular. 

Boiled peanuts. Pronounced Balled.

We started with another Southern staple that I'd never had before: boiled peanuts. The boiling water is seasoned with anything you can think of. Ours tasted like they'd been boiled in earthy, spicy water. The shell (you don't eat it, but I licked it because I was trying to figure out the seasoning) tasted briny and like it had been infused in oregano and bay. The peanuts themselves become slightly soft. I can envision smearing them onto a piece of toast and it being delicious.

We then had a second appetizer: warm biscuits with three different spreads. The first was a fig spread that I preferred because it had a very aromatic, nutty flavor. The second was an apricot butter that was silky smooth and slightly sweet. The third was a jelly made of the mayhaw fruit, yet another thing I had never tasted before. It was similar to a strawberry preserve but slightly sweeter. The three spreads were amazing but each person in my party sort of grabbed their favorite so there wasn't much to share.

Egg in a hole

Our third appetizer (that's right, third) was a tower of toasted French bread that had been pierced so that each piece of bread had a hole in it. What was in that hole? An egg. What was the dish called? Egg in a Hole.  What's that on the side? Comeback sauce. My mouth just watered typing about this dish. It was so unbelievably perfect--the soft, chewy bread to soak up the creaminess of the egg as you cut into it. Yum.

Brunch burger. Hence, the egg.
Parlor Market's brunch menu offered two entree choices: a burger or their chicken pot pie. Thanks for making it simple, Parlor Market. We got one of each so we could sample both. The burger looked like a challenge after all the food that came before it. It was juicy and scrumptious but I had enough on my plate with my pot pie. I offer a magnified snapshot because it was just that good.

Somehow, we made it to dessert. It didn't amaze us, but it didn't disappoint. It was a biscuit with a bunch of fruit sauce on it. Nothing spectacular, but their biscuits are nothing to turn down.

And that, friends, was the highlight of my MS food tour. Retelling it has made me relive it and now I need a nap.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Uchiko: Restaurant Week and More

I love restaurant week. I love sushi. I love Top Chef. I loved winner Paul Qui this season (humble, talented and not dramatic). So, when Restaurant Week announced this year's participants, I was excited to see that Uchiko, where Paul is the chef, was on the list.

First off, the special wasn't that special after all (financially): 1) $35 bucks is what the meal normally would have cost and 2) I ended up eating way more than just what came in the restaurant week menu. For someone with my budget, Uchiko definitely is not a place I visit often, but when I do, it's worth the splurge.

Brussels Sprouts
I met two friends for an early dinner. We started out with two appetizers: Brussels sprouts and a grilled peas with kimchi.

The brussels sprouts were amazing: crispy with a roasted flavor and topped with a sweet lemon chili sauce. We finished the sprouts quickly and were disappointed that an efficient bus boy took the empty bowl away because we all wanted to lick up the sauce left in the bottom of the bowl.


The pea dish was mostly a hit with us. An alternative to a traditional edamame, the peas had a smokey flavor that paired well with the pickled kimchi flavors. I was proud that I was eating peas since I usually avoid them, and I would eat them more if someone cooked them for me at home. One friend said the pods were too waxy and that made the dish difficult to eat. I didn't mind, but I understood her point. This was a messy dish.

Read more about the meal, see more pictures of delicious food and hear about the one major flaw of our experience, after the JUMP!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Comida Blog Travels: Taking Las Vegas Suggestions

We here are Comidablog like to travel when we can. Many of our trips are centered around restaurant prospects and not silly things like national landmarks (just kidding...kind of...ok we try and integrate them both into our trips).

Jimbo is taking his lovely wife to Las Vegas to celebrate many things and gamble away the fortune he's made from his blogging. So far, they've planned to go to Jaleo (for dinner one night) and 'wichcraft (for lunch).

I want to go to where?
Where else should they eat? What's the best meal you've had in Las Vegas?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

JMueller BBQ - a Comidablog outing

It was cold outside and we haven't posted in five months.  What better time to get some BBQ and eat outdoors?

I was a huge fan of the original John Mueller BBQ on Manor Rd, and it was incredibly disappointing when it closed in 2005.  In September 2011 John Mueller made his triumphant return to Austin with the arrival of JMueller BBQ on South 1st and Elizabeth.  His return did not disappoint.

I made the long trip from NW Austin with my wife to enjoy some BBQ with TRE.

The wife and I ordered 1/2 lb of moist brisket, a link of beef sausage, a pint of potato salad (the best potato salad I've ever eaten), and we got a side of chipotle cole slaw.  TRE had a side of baked squash.  Everything was great.  The moist brisket is my absolute favorite brisket in Austin.  The brisket is covered in a generous amount of coarse black pepper that John Mueller expertly smokes into a wonderful "bark".  It's exactly what you would expect from someone with John's experience and pedigree.

TRE ordered a fatty brisket sandwich that looked great then and still looks good now.  I get hungry every time I see the photo.

JMueller BBQ - The spread

JMueller BBQ - meat close up

JMueller BBQ - Better picture of the fatty part of the brisket

JMueller BBQ - brisket sandwich
It took all the mental fortitude I had to not eat what was left of our brisket when I was already full.  The three of us sat knowing a meat coma was headed our way, so we left before we passed out in the cold.  I was happy, wife was happy, and TRE was happy.

John Mueller has gotten a lot of press recently with Texas Monthly featuring him and Aaron Franklin. It is well deserved and I wish him the best of luck and hope he is smoking meat in Austin for a long time to come.

JMueller BBQ is open W-Su at 10:30AM, and like all great BBQ places, closes when they sell out of meat.