Don and I were determined to find this market last January, when driving through Georgia.
I have no idea what our GPS issues were, but we were guided to a sketchy neighborhood, where 7 men stood outside a liquor store, while police car lights flashed.
We were glad to know there had been an error. We were 18 minutes off course, but eventually found the Market on US Highway 82. The building lacked glamour, but the trucks hinted at hungry workmen... who know good food.
BBQ and Meat Market
The main focus in the market was the case with barbecue! The food is what we had heard about.
There were lots of meat options, that smelled pretty heavenly... chicken, smoked wings, ribs, pulled pork and brisket...
I so hope I got this right. I think Corey is the grandson of the original owner. His dad, Gary Jr. is in the blue.
They both greeted us with Southern hospitality. Evidently this was an old grocery store that turned into a meat market in 1968. I love a business with family history!
And I love some good decoration, as well! There were a lot of pigs tucked here and there. As you can see there was also a pheasant and a nativity scene. Interesting.
Of course there were shelves of barbecue sauces and rubs. That's what we should have been looking at.
I'm not good at naming color shades, but those are 2 mighty fine colored walls. I just didn't expect snazzy colors and artwork, when we pulled up to the Market. And family tables! Gotta love.
BBQ and Stew
Don is the barbecue lover, so he was in heaven with his ribs and brisket. I on the other hand was especially excited about the Brunswick Stew. In 2015, Don and I met a man from Georgia, while visiting Guatemala. He told us all about this stew, packed with meat and veggies. It was very thick and yummy, especially on chilly January day.
We could have purchased some bread or sweets for the road, but we just told our pig friend good bye and headed down the road. It was definitely worth the stop... even with our major detour.
Celebrating with the Best
K-Paul's is a great place to celebrate. We've had a couple festive family gatherings there.
This past May, we celebrated my nephew's graduation from Tulane Law School.
2016 & 2010
The clothing shows the difference between our spring visit and our November visit, 5 years earlier.
We entered on a hot evening recently and a chilly night, on our first visit. The casual clothing also shows you that K Paul's is a little different than some of the iconic Nola restaurants, which still require jackets for men.
Despite the old brick walls, there was a new feel to this wonderful restaurant, with colorful paintings and whimsical table coverings.
I'd like to lie and say we dined with Paul Prudhomme on our first visit. (He was still living then) But we didn't spot him that night. Instead we raised our glasses to toast the amazing chef and owner. After all he was practically sitting at our table... in the portrait behind Don.
Our reservations for 5:30 were early, because it's not easy to get reservations anywhere, the weekend of graduations in New Orleans. It was nice to get a peek at the place early, before the crowds filled it.
We were given a great table in the back corner, near the rustic brick and green doors/shutters. The younger half of our group arrived and scooted to the far end of the table. Our grad of honor, Andy is pictured on the right. We had many toasts!
The back room was set up for 3 large parties. I'm glad we weren't seated beside a romantic table for 2. We look fairly calm in this photo, but our table of 3 families, was not exactly quiet.
Any restaurant that covers their white tablecloths with cartoonish drawings and comical recipes for martinis and pan fried rabbit tenderloin... is just asking for a tiny bit of rowdiness.
Some of the recipes did inspire some ordering. And some of the recipes inspired quite a bit of debate... about poor little bunnies being cooked...
Off to Explore
After the usual round of Sazeracs was ordered, I was off to powder my nose. Which really means, I was off in search of adventure. I took one photo into the wonderful open kitchen and next thing you know...
I found myself welcomed into the kitchen for a little festive photo time. This probably wouldn't have happened at a busier time, so I felt lucky.
I am so very bad because I didn't catch the name of this incredibly fine fellow. I did of course tell him we had met before!
These 2 photos were taken 5 years ago, when perhaps I had already indulged in my Sazerac! It also looks like it must have been a little later in the evening, because my buddy's apron is a bit more soiled.
The main thing that these photos prove, is that dining in New Orleans is just plain friendly and festive! I honestly never threw myself into the kitchen, even though I look like someone who would! Nola dining is not just about the food. There's a lot of fun to be had, as well.
I so wish I knew the name of this wonderful fellow, so I could thank him for generously sharing a quick photo with me! I like his wave in this photo. And luckily my cell phone snap didn't reveal any annoyed kitchen staff. Or does it?
I skipped powdering my nose and rushed back to the table. We shared fabulous appetizers before our main courses arrived.
Eggplant Pirogue with Seafood Atchafalaya
This is my heavenly plate. The mashed potatoes and veggies honestly would have pleased me on their own. And my battered, seasoned and deep-fried Little Cajun Boat of eggplant would have been a meal in itself.
But the boat was filled with fresh Louisiana shrimp, bay scallops, crawfish, sun-dried tomatoes in garlic and parsley... It was rich! Which suited me fine. Did I finish? No, but our family has memories of overeating 5 years ago. So I quit just in time!
Blackened Twin Beef Tenders with Debris
There were many dishes at the table, but I did have a bit of these yummy tenders, seasoned and blackened in a cast iron skillet and served with debris sauce.
Dessert and Laughing
Food gatherings with family need to end with some good stories, laughter and yes dessert. While the gargoyle watched us from above, we shared a little of those things. I believe the photo shows Karen with Sweet Potato Pecan Pie... and Chantilly Cream!
We have to thank Andy for pulling us together! Family dining adventures are the best and we had 3 families traveling from 3 states.
And next year, our Scott (who happens to be Andy's cousin) will be graduating in the same ceremony! I wonder where that celebratory, dining adventure will be?
Maybe we'll have to return to K Paul's, next year, since his spirit tried to sway us the next morning.
Wouldn't you know his face was the first thing that appeared when we turned on the TV!
A Savannah Landmark
Last January, Don and I stayed at a hotel adjacent to this fun landmark of Savannah.
The Olde Pink House was not always this color. In 1771, when wealthy planter, James Habersham, Jr. built the mansion, the exterior was brick.
The house became known as the Pink House, when the soft native brick began to bleed through the plaster, changing the wall color. Eventually pink painted stucco covered the brick.
As usual, we were traveling with our vintage cookbook, for dining adventure inspiration. There was only one listing for the state of Georgia in the book and it happened to be for a Tea Room, right next to our hotel.
However, we could have overlooked the page, since it was called The Georgian Tea Room, in our 1950 book. Evidently the house, became many things between the time it was a home and a tea room.
Over the Years
After checking into our hotel, we wandered over to have a peek. We walked up to the Greek portico, which was evidently added when the home became a bank in 1811. During the Civil War, it became headquarters for Union General York. The building held law offices and many other things before in became The Georgian Tea Room in 1929.
When we wandered in, it was 4 pm, but a welcoming staff invited us to look around
The hostess pointed out the steep stairway with the narrow twist. "They used to tax the number of stairs and doorways." She explained.
We headed up to see the dining rooms on the second floor.
The view of the beautiful arched window was sort of blocked by flags on the outside. Once upstairs we could see the diamond panes and window seat and the view of trees in Reynolds Square. Luckily the mansion was spared in 1796, when fire destroyed much of Savannah.
The first dining room we entered was elegant and formal. I could picture ladies having tea here in 1929 when it first opened as a tea room.
In the 1990's the Pink House was totally renovated, so the wood floors and chandeliers were spotless. Our waiter told us later that there are only 2 employees who are allowed to clean the chandeliers.
I kind of liked the purple, corner room with white fireplace warming things up. But it was awfully formal. We were not traveling with dress clothes.
We asked the hostess which was her favorite room and she said "The Office" which did indeed look the coziest. There was no fireplace, but the small room felt more comfortable with the wood beams and white painted brick walls.
We walked to the basement to see the Tavern before it opened. When the mansion became "Planter's Bank" in 1811, iron vaults were added in the basement. Today the vaults store wine. We also heard rumors that Mr. Habersham hung himself in this basement and there is much ghostly activity. Not sure about that.
Back to Enjoy
We returned at 7:30 and had our name put down for an 8:30 dinner. We got the last 2 chairs at the bar and took in the great atmosphere, lit by 2 fireplaces and numerous real candles.
Music and Candles
The tavern was pretty full by the time this fine woman started up at the grand piano. She wore a black feathered hat and white fur. She also seemed to be wearing black gloves, but I couldn't see her fingers. Maybe the tips were removed.
She was taking requests, so I figured I'd make it easy for her by asking generally, "Do you know any show tunes?" There was an awkward pause so, I quickly changed my request. "How about Frank Sinatra.. Strangers in the Night?" She seemed nearly giddy to play that one. It fit well, with the dark room and tall candle that flickered on the bar.
The hostess found us when our table was ready. But suddenly we were winding back into some newer banquet room addition. It was loud with large groups and I hated to be picky, since we had made no special request earlier.
But our waiter was gracious. Suddenly the manager appeared and happily ushered us to a wood paneled room with 4 tables and a fireplace. We couldn't have been happier.
I'm not sure how many additions and renovations have occurred over the years. Our dining room was on the second floor looking out over the terrace. Our waiter said it was added in 1992. Rats, that meant we weren't dining in Mr. Habersham's bedroom. But it was warm and cozy and it felt old.
Tom & The Book
Our waiter Tom, was pretty excited to see our cookbook with the recipe for Carolina Trifle, which sadly was not on the menu.
He shared the book with the manager who had been so nice. Tom also served us an incredible meal.
My pecan crusted chicken with blackberry bourbon glaze, sweet potatoes with pecan/vanilla butter and collards was pretty decadent. Don's hefty, 16-17 ounce braised pork shank with pineapple glaze was very sweet and juicy. His came with macaroni and collards. How fun and Southern. Sadly there was no trifle for dessert. But we didn't have room anyway.
From the Tavern experience to dinner in our cozy room, we had a great experience. Big thanks to Tom and the whole staff of friendly folk, who greeted and served us!
Don and I actually ate "lunch" at Mimmie's last January, but "Sunday Supper" sounds more like the Southern Experience that we enjoyed.
We had a meal I'll never forget and what lead to the meal was even more memorable!
Don and I had planned a night in Americus, GA on our road trip. We were excited about our stay in an historic hotel on Saturday night. As we were heading on the highway towards the small town, my friend texted me out of the blue. She knew about our trip and wondered if we were anywhere near Plains. I checked the map and Plains was 10 minutes from Americus.
After much texting and nudging, Don and I ended up altering our travel plans. Instead of heading out early for New Orleans on Sunday morning, we got up at 5 and found ourselves in line outside of Maranatha Baptist Church. As the sun rose and a full moon faded, we shivered and chatted and laughed with others, as the FBI and Secret Service and bomb sniffing dogs did all their duties.
Sunday School With The Carters
We went through security and then spent 30+ minutes in the pews being given strict instructions by Miss Pat. She was quite a character as she handled the packed crowd of "tourists" like a gym class. By 10:00, about 35 local church members (and visiting Paula Deen) arrived and were seated near the front.
Then President Carter began his weekly Sunday School. The crowd of about 300+, was mesmerized. Mr. Carter spoke for 45 minutes in a gentle voice that made me crave each word... stories about his childhood and thoughts about an accepting God... And then there was a break and a whole church service with hymns and collection. And then! The Carters graciously greeted a long line of folks who had traveled from at least 45 states and numerous countries, to hear him speak. What an amazing morning.
Lunch at Last
By the time we left the church it had been over 6 hours since our granola bar breakfast. We headed to the only Sunday lunch option in Plains.
We had heard that Mimmie's was the place to go. You can actually see the cute building in this photo, but the view was blocked by a full lot when we first arrived.
We walked inside to find yet another line. We saw many of the same people we'd seen in church and figured their stomachs were growling, also. It was hard to believe we'd just driven to Mimmie's. It seemed more like we'd just followed the crowd down to the church basement.
There were quite a number of people dining out on a sunporch area. They must have been locals, since many were finishing up.
We heard the Carters often come to Mimmie's after the service. But we didn't get our hopes up, since we knew the Carter's friend Paula Deen was in town and they probably had bigger plans.
Soul and Southern Food
The line moved quickly, so I didn't really have time to figure it out, until we were standing there right in front of the steaming food containers. Luckily the servers were patient as I studied the options.
I kind of liked the "meal ticket" plan. We quickly decided if we wanted a "meat and 3" or a "meat and 2".
My green ticket got me fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, greens, cornbread and iced tea.
We were handed our trays and then decided where to eat. The smaller tables were all on the porch and the 2 large rooms seemed to have community tables. It felt like we were having a meal in a church hall... except for the antique saws on the wall.
We looked around to see what the other diners were doing and decided to keep our dishes on the trays. I was amazed to see the family staff in their white aprons efficiently clearing tables. I could see how dining on the trays helped with efficiency.
As for the food, it was like going to eat at your Southern grandma's. My fried chicken was tasty and better than Don's baked! My collard greens and Don's lima beans were pretty much what was expected. Don's yellow ticket got us a pecan pie to split! Yay for Georgia and pecan pie!
As we sat eating, it was curious to watch the people in line. Who were all these people, who had traveled so far to hear the former president speak? And would any of these people join us at our table? It was kind of like being in the school cafeteria wondering who would come sit next to you.
Mark and Debbie
We felt pretty lucky when a couple from New York asked to join us. They were also on a road trip and had decided to do the church stop as well. Mark actually had some kind of job with the Senate back in the Carter years, so he had some interesting stories.
Mimmie and Family
As things calmed down, I was able to chat briefly with Terrel and I think, his cousin. The restaurant is run by the Raven family, all descendants of Mimmie Hightower.
I read later that she was a former slave, which would mean Terrel and Kristen would have to be great-great grandchildren... or maybe we'd need to add another great?Terrel and Kristen posed under her photo.
Milton and Willie Bell Raven opened the restaurant just a few years ago. Milton was a former educator who grew up in the small community of Archery. That's where the Carter Family Farm still sits today. Milton passed away a couple years ago, but he knew Jimmy his whole life.
At one point I recognized Miss Pat. She was standing around chatting and laughing with people like she was at a cocktail party. She looked a lot friendlier than when she was in the church laying down all the rules.
After being intimidated and amused by her before the service, I was eager to go have a chat, myself. Miss Pat was a delight. She said she loved my sweater. I felt like I was one of her local friends when she reached to read my clothing tag to find out where she could find one. I felt giddy, like I'd met another celebrity!
On the Road
We headed towards Montgomery with full stomachs and happy memories... which all began with the full moon and freezing temps that morning.
A real dining adventure!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.