Monday night, my wife and I decided to drop by the recently opened Cotton Blues Restaurant in Hattiesburg. Not having any expectations we walked in and were greeted by three hostesses. The restaurant was moderately busy, but not crowed like you might see on a weekend. One hostess asked if we had made reservations and urged us to make them the next time we planned to come.
We were seated and the took in the ambiance of the restaurant which was….. different. It was upscale rustic, with definite delta cotton feel. All the food on the menu is produced from local farms; with the exception of the fish which is flow in from Hawaii? As you would expect from locally grown organic food, it is rather expensive. My plate; fried organic chicken (2 pieces), mashed potatoes, and green beans was priced at $16. My wife had the vegetable plate with greens, fried zucchini, mac & cheese, butterbeans, and sweet potato au gratin for $12. (These plates were two of the lease expensive items on the menu.)
The food itself was delicious and we both ate and were very satisfied. The chicken and the mashed potatoes were “fine”! They were just like I remember Mr. Billy Rawls “fixin” at the Round-Table in Columbia. After one bite I told my wife that we should go check in the kitchen and make sure Mr. Billy wasn’t back there. I know a few friends that would have a problem with portion sizes being a bit small, but ours were just right and the service was excellent. You could tell those working there were well trained.
All-in-all we had a great experience and will be back. I did feel Mississippi while at Cotton Blues and as William Falkner once said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”
The video at the bottom of this post has inspired me to give testimony to the impact Chick-fil-A has had on my life. My first memories of Chick-fil-A were from trips as a kid to the Metro-Center Mall in Jackson. It was the first place I had ever heard of a chicken nugget? After getting braces on my teeth in the 7th grade, I tried to eat my first meal with them at Chick-fil-A. I remember the pain of biting down for the first time, but the taste of their chicken seemed to numb the pain. Later Chick-fil-A restaurants made their wait to Hattiesburg. I believe the first one was in the Clover-Leaf Mall in the late 80’s. Another one came when the Turtle Creek mail opened around 1993-94, and then the final Restaurant that is opened on Highway 98 West.
Recently I was making one of my weekly visits (one of the rare times without the family) when I had an older gentleman, name tag, “Jim” asked, “How may I help you sir?” Jim went on to make me feel like a million dollars as I placed my order with words like, “Thank You”, “Sir”, “Please”. At one point his humble demeanor over took me and I had a great urge to jump behind the counter and hug the man, but logic prevailed and I decided to stay put. But I had to do something to show my appreciation for his kindness, so I struck up a conversation with him about the Chick-fil-a 2009 coupon calendar. He told me how wonderful they were and I said “I’ll take one!” So if you ever visit the Hwy 98 Chick-fil-A look for the name tag that reads, “Jim” and get in his line. You will not be disappointed!
Yesterday afternoon we took the family to Mitchell Farms in Collins. We went with some other families that are a part of our Vintage Group. If you haven’t been, it’s a great 2-3 hour trip for the family. Here is a recent newspaper article about the farm. I’m posting a few pictures on Facebook from our visit. By the way, be sure to pick up some of their boiled peanuts, sweet taters, and honey.
You need to read this Article from Robert St. John in today’s Hattiesburg American. Funny stuff!! I heard an old (over weight) preacher once say that it was a Biblical command to “Buffet his body” 1 Cor. 9:27. Yeah I’m a skinny dude but I do have some experience with buffets. My earliest memories of a buffet were at a “restaurant” in Goss, MS. I can’t remember the name of it but they had a seafood buffet. Fried shrimp, fried fish, french fries, hushpuppies, and oh yeah frog legs (they were fried as well). My Mom would always order off of the menu and the lady behind the cash register would watch us, as my dad would say “like a cat”, while we ate to make sure Mom didn’t slip some food off of me or my dad’s plate. Then there was the pizza buffets. The original Pizza buffet was Mr. Gatti’s Pizza. Looks like they are still around, but not in Hattiesburg. I remember trips there to eat pizza and watch the low-def, big screen, fuzzy project TVs they had setup. And then came Shoney’s with the breakfast bar. A bit of trivia here. For a Senior Party (High School) my parents and sister rented a limo that pulled up to my house around 5:30 am in the morning LOADED down with about a dozen of my buddies from school. We were chauffeured to Shoney’s in Hattiesburg where we ate from the “Breakfast Bar” and returned to school in style. I have some video footage of the ride. We were “low” ridin’. In the last few years most of the buffets I’ve attempted had food that tastes the same. You know, you get a little serving of honey-dew melon and a piece of chicken and some green beans and it all tastes the same. Then there is the cleanliness issue. We have friends who refuse to eat at buffets because of the germ potential. I remember seeing a small girl peering over at the food on a buffet under all those bright lights. When suddenly she sneezed. I could see every speck of her projectile settling over all of the food. Needless to say we ordered from the kitchen. Today there are only two non-pizza buffets that my family and I visit and one of them is the Front Porch. We go about once a month on Sunday’s after church. I’m sure some people could apply some of the issues I’ve mentioned above to Front Poarch, but we think the food (or at least what we get) is pretty good and at a pretty good price (At least on Sunday’s).
This past weekend we made a one day round trip to Tuscaloosa to visit with JJ’s family for Christmas. Her cousin Mack graduated from the University of Alabama so we meet the family for lunch at The Cypress Inn Restaurant. We had a little trouble finding it, but after driving around an extra 30 minutes we were there. (Santa a GPS would be a nice Christmas gift) A bit of trivia, Mack graduated with this guy on Saturday. After lunch we drove to Greensboro and had desert with her family and opened gifts. We brought back a ton of craft kits and a ton of Littlest Pet Shop pieces! Thus we did craft projects most of the day Sunday. Also note worthy, we had this guy leading our worship yesterday. If you’ve never seen Luke in person he sings from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet! It was incredible.
We had a great trip even though it was short. On our way back home I decided to take a chance with my kids and expose to them to the culture of the Waffle House. So we stopped at one of their restaurants off of I20 in Meridian, MS. There were only a few other people in the restaurant when we arrived. As we walked in we were greeted to the usual strange looks from the customers, as they blew smoke, and a big ole’ “Hello” from the staff. We sat in the booth closest to the cooking action so my kids could see the cook work. I always enjoy hearing the waitress call out the order to the cook. It never sounds like what you told her, but they always get it right. It always goes something like “On 2 scattered- covered- chucked -over easy –waffle- bacon- sausage” ! Truth is I always wanted to work at the Waffle house growing up. On the way out the door we noticed that parked right next to us was a little Subaru van that was loaded inside a Chevy pickup truck! (See photo above) I don’t ever remember seeing something this small on the road, but apparently someone took it and packed it full of Christmas presents and loaded it in the truck. I guess this was someone’s novel Idea, or a great way to get rid of an old car along with some gifts. I guess the lucky recipient could leave it by the curb along with their other empty boxes? Anyway when I saw it I knew I had to take a photo and tell the world. I just found this site devoted to these little vans. Check it out.
JJ and I started drinking coffee about two years ago after we found out we’d be having our third child. I don’t know if the news drove us to drink or it was just coincidence? Oh, I remember now. After our son was born we found out that he was lactose intolerant. So JJ had to find a “treat” she could have that would affect him (the breastfeeding thing). Anyway, in the process we she found coffee.
Growing up I’d only drink coffee while visiting on Sundays with my grandmother. The entire family, seven of her adult kids and their children, would sit on the front porch (A ‘Southern” tradition”), sip coffee and tell stories. As I think of it, that was the original Starbucks or should I say Grannybucks. But since Granny didn’t have a lot of money, we just called it Grannys. Anyway I never really liked the stuff, but it made me feel like a grown-up.
My dad worked for the state for several years and during that time he discovered every gas station and restaurant that served “free” coffee. He was and is a big time coffee drinker. Any time I would travel with him we would have to stop often to “get us a cup.” A two hour trip to Jackson would usually turn into four.
But to my Starbucks secret. I really still don’t love coffee, but I love the environment Starbucks offers. It’s a great place to discuss any topic with family or friends. Thus I’ve discovered the “short” coffee at Starbucks. You want find it on their menu, but they do sell a “short”. It’s the perfect size for me. I can sip along and listen and talk and feel like one of the gang. So if you are like me next time you visit your local Starbucks, ask for the “short” coffee. Yes, you can order it any way you like, but the volume is just right for me.
Remember this guy? I was always (still am) scared of this dude. This week our discipleship group is studying what it means to be the body of Christ and for some reason this guy came to mind. Read 1 Cor 12:12-27. If you think about the church in the context of this passage you’ll realize that Slim Goodbody may be the greatest teacher about the church in our life time. I just found his website at http://www.slimgoodbody.com/; turns out he’s still on tour. You may want to take you’re church group 😉
After my discipleship group this morning I went with a friend to eat breakfast. (BTW Reggie thanks for pick up the tab!) We ate here at a Southern established franchise – a Ward’s Restaurant. Most of you reading this will get what I’m talking about, but “Ward’s” (as it’s know by the locals) has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. As a kid, after every little-league baseball game, my family would stop off at Ward’s on the way home. Cleats, a baseball glove, red clay, misquote bites, and a “Ward’s Quarter” – all this brings back fond memories. And still to this day when I enter any Wards it takes me back to 1985. I keep waiting for “Roll On” to play in the background on their “sound system”. When you have names for you hamburgers like “The Big One” and the not so famous “Little One” you know you’re at the right place. Oh, yeah and the frosted mug! I guess they still do this, but they’d freeze a glass mug so that when they put your Mississippi Made Root-Beer in it, then it would frost up. (I may be headed back for lunch).
When I pulled into the parking lot this morning I realized that their building was next to some little coffee shop that may allow me to pick up a wireless signal on my laptop. And guess what, I could pick up a signal! The only problem was the “Hot Spot” wanted $10 for me to use it. Come on Ward’s, now that you have your own web page, you need to start offering Wi-Fi in your restaurants. And you know how most of us would like it? That’s right, Free with a bowl of Chili. Anyway all said and done I do feel like I’m the first man to have almost used the Web in a Ward’s Restaurant. I kind of feel like the first guy on the moon, or the first guy to the top of Everest. All the old guys reading their reading the paper and there I was, with my biscuit and my laptop. Life is good, here in Mississippi!
We took the kids to the annual Mississippi Pecan Festival this past Saturday. It was our first trip, but we understand it’s been going on for 20 years. Let me see; we ate cotton candy, homemade ice-cream, chicken on a stick, kettle corn, and boiled p-nuts – in that order. Needless to say we felt a little sick the rest of the day. Funny thing, we didn’t see/eat anything with pecans at the Pecan Festival? We got to ride tractors and ponies. “And oh the sights we saw!” There were Oxen, Work- Horses, Chickens, Sheep Dogs, and People. While the kids got a kick out of all the animals it’s the people that keep most of my attention. There are people who still live a simpler “Country” life style. I suppose I saw them the way most poeple around the Country view all “Southerners”. Somehow I had forgotten about these folks. There were guys wearing Cowboy hats and spurs; and it wasn’t to be cool (if that’s even possible); they needed them! Even though JJ and I had a great time pointing out people to each other, the one thing I realized was that fact that all these people were in need of the same thing that I’m in need of;Daily Reminders of God’s Grace Toward Me. And sure enough; right after the quilting booth, wooden toy booth, and knife booth; there it was, the Bible booth and two guys handing out “Free KJV Bibles”. I saw individuals one by one taking them; I sure hope they read ’em and find His grace.
Love Each Other
Be Nice to Strangers
Remember those who suffer for good
Remain Sexualy Pure
1 Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. 4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”