Stepping out of the car on a hot muggy night, my first taste of Mississippi was a blend of gasoline fumes and 99% humidity. Assuring our four children we weren’t staying there we quickly filled the gas tank and continued on our U.S. tour.
That was twenty years ago. The memory of that experience didn't fit with what I had heard about Mississippi’s Southern hospitality, foods, and culture. There had to be something tastier than Mississippi gasoline and humidity so I read Southern cookbooks, entered recipe contests that awarded trips to Mississippi, and studied about Southern food culture. Mississippi enchanted me! I scratched Mississippi on my destination list and hoped the day would come.
I was giddy when a call came in from Andy Chapman from Eat Y'all! As he invited me to Central Mississippi for the Eat Y'all Food Writers and Chefs Tour, I knew this was one culinary adventure I couldn't miss.
And what a culinary adventure it was! j Everything I read on Southern hospitality, foods, and culture became a reality. So much so, I have to grab some girlfriends and family and share with them the deliciousness of Southern cooking in Ridgeland and Jackson, Mississippi. I hope to book a return trip soon!
Some of my favorite Mississippi EaTs!
The Manship Wood Fired Kitchen! I know, I know, I shouldn’t take my girlfriends to the same restaurant twice during one getaway but I will! I have to share with the girls the very best pizza I have ever eaten, a Fungi, Farm Egg, Bacon Pizza with scrumptious cheesy, smokey, and creamy elements! The Manship offers an excellent happy hour Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m., with half-priced wood-fired pizzas and cocktails. Located in the historic Belhaven neighborhood, The Manship offers twists on Mediterranean and Southern classics.
The dinner menu at The Manship has so many Southern fusion options! I’d suggest beginning with the tastiest Pimento Cheese and Charcuterie board. Rilettes, a little potted pork made with duck fat was so flavorful without being salty! I must have that dish again! Here are a few of the dishes we sampled; smoked tuna salad, crab cakes, hush puppies, fire roasted cauliflower, asparagus with parmesan, potato gratin, and fried Simmons Catfish. Each dish had depth of flavor and was perfectly seasoned. The Manship uses local seasonal vegetables! All I can say is, "Chef Alex Eaton y’all come and open a restaurant soon in Southern California!"
Deep South Pops is a must on the food list! Have you ever had a Creole Cream Popsicle or a Buttermilk popsicle? I will confess, the popsicles were so good I had two. You can taste the difference and I appreciate that the gourmet popsicles are made with locally-sourced ingredients. I started out with fresh Blackberry Sour Cream then went on to Creole Cream. I even snitched a bite of my friend’s Buttermilk Popsicle. All I can say when feasting in Jackson is that Deep South Pops is a must stop for families, girlfriends, couples….well everyone! Please try the Grapefruit Rosemary Popsicle and let me know how it is ~ that's next on my list!
La Brioche Patisserie's morning coffee, croissants, egg soufflé, and a charming ambience captured my attention. If I lived in Jackson, you could find me munching on the flakiest almond croissant several times a week. My friend, Ally Philips exclaimed, “This is the best egg soufflé I have ever had!” La Brioche Patisserie focuses on international sweets, breakfast pastries, entremets, petits fours and confectioneries. If you can catch one of the owners ask them to tell you their story, it's so interesting! Alejandra Sprouts and Cristina Lazzari, both from Rosario, Argentina have traveled to different countries in Europe and South America throughout their lives. Their travels left them with a vision of fusing the different cultures through pastries. This is a must stop!
Seafood R’evolution is a Ridgeland restaurant must SEE and EAT.
We were greeted with charming Southern hospitality and service during a very special cocktail hour. I loved dipping the Beer-battered Crab Beignets into different Remoulades. We were spoiled with a Southern Cheese and Meat Board that included Mauthe’s Farmhouse Cheddar, Mississippi State Edam, and Sweet Grass Dairy Asher Blue cheese. Meats included on the board were San Daniele Prosciutto, Toscano Picante, and pork rinds! I adored the pickled okra which was so fresh and tasty. The house-made pickles sent me to the kitchen asking for more. You won’t believe my favorite dish of the night. The Red Onion Agrodolce, or in my language caramelized onions, was the very best EVER!
The Seafood R’evolution has a beautiful collection of sea-themed décor gracing the dining room, private eating rooms, patio, and bar. I loved the variation of decor especially in the bathrooms. Yes, the bathrooms! Every bathroom is boldly painted and has different themed sealife print wallpaper. Please, read about Seafood R’evolution decor here: http://www.seafoodrevolution.com/our-story/kitchen-description/
Such a cool refrigerator at Seafood R'evolution!
Eat Y'all tour hosts, Andy and Marianna Chapman, were determined to fill us up with Mississippi’s food culture and story telling. So the list didn’t end with the above eateries...read on!
Broad Street Baking Company
Loved my boxed lunch from Broad Street Baking Company. I enjoyed my first fried green tomato sandwich and some more grits!
Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee and Tea Company
Love my cold brew from Mississippi Cold Drip ~ wish I could have some now!
I loved listening to Chef Mitchell speak about his bakery.
His heart is as sweet as buttercream!
Mary Claire Primos presentation was so inspiring! Her family opened their first cafe in the 1920's and is it is still growing strong with a second cafe! My first taste of Mississippi grits were compliments of Primos Cafe. Yum!
Yes, we sipped 5 vodka, honeysuckle vodka, pecan vodka, gin, and a speciality spirit!
Love this place!
My sweet tooth has been won by Sugaree's Bakery! I now proclaim their wedding cake cookie the best I have eaten. I plan to order gift boxes and have them shipped for special occasions!
I am home in California with the taste of Southern dishes lingering in my mind. The Ridgeland and Jackson food culture has captured my heart and wiped away my first taste of the Deep South at that dingy old gas station 20 years ago! On travel last week the humidity was almost absent in Mississippi! I plan to book a return trip as soon as possible and invite my girlfriends to join me on Central Mississippi culinary adventure.
Next time someone says Let’s Eat Y’all ~ I will be the first one in line!