Sunday, April 29, 2007

Five Favorite Restaurants and other jazz

I've been tagged by the lovely Nat of In Spring it is the Dawn for a Restaurant Meme, so I'll write up my meme answers before sinking into chatter mode.

The rules:

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the state and country you’re in.

Nicole Tan (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
bookfool (Mississippi, USA)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

I can tell you, to begin with, that there aren't any places at all, locally, that excite me like . . . say, like a good book. So, I'll go with our area, as a whole, and throw in one restaurant I like in Vicksburg (but which doesn't make me jump up and down, oh well).

My five favorite restaurants:

1. Taylor Grocery in Taylor, Mississippi - Even after 20 years in Mississippi, catfish still turned me off till recently. Something about the idea of catfish being "bottom-feeders", possibly. But, Taylor Grocery (Taylor is near Oxford, home of the University of Misssissippi and Faulkner's Rowan Oak) reformed me, forever. The food was so melt-in-your-mouth good, the catfish so perfectly crispy and tender at the same time . . . seriously, I could imagine myself as Meg Ryan in the diner scene of When Harry Met Sally, but the ecstasy would be real instead of fake and over food instead of a guy. It's that good.

While writing this post, I've realized that atmosphere and service are absolutely critical or I'll ditch a restaurant, no matter how terrific the food. Taylor Grocery has excellent service, a down-home country atmosphere and even live music. It's worth a cross-country drive. But, I
only have to drive about 3 1/2 hours to get there.

2. Madre in Oxford, Mississippi (no website available) - Bear in mind that we're still discussing places that require a three-hour drive from my home (close enough). Madre is a Mexican restaurant situated on Oxford's lovely town square. If you order guacamole they bring a little rolling cart with a drawer of ingredients from which you can choose, so your guacamole is specialized with just the right amount of various spices. Cool. At right is my a photo of my husband's meal from our last visit to Oxford: fish tacos. Excellent. I stole a bite, of course

3. Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, Mississippi (no website) - Of course, the baked goods are to die for, but the surprising food at Bottletree is the soup. No matter what kind of homemade soup they whip up (and I promise you, Bottletree is not a can-opening type of place), it is just flat amazing. Unfortunately, you have to get there at just the right time to get soup. Too early and they haven't finished cooking. Too late and it's gone. Well, of course. I used to think I hated soup. Not if it's from Bottletree. The interior is very quirky and artistic, another thing I tend to love in a favorite restaurant.

4. Keifer's in Jackson, Mississippi - Again, I can't find a website, but I see that Keifer's is described as "Greek-American food with a Southern bent". Oh, my. Is that a weird description, or what? Maybe it's the greasy cottage fries that lend it the "Southern bent" bit. Definitely not the place I go for healthy food, as we dip our cottage fries in some kind of heavy cheese sauce that makes me drool just thinking about it. Keifer's typically has excellent service and they have the advantage of a choice between seating inside (the interior has a lot of Greek memorabilia and some old travel posters - kind of cute) or outside on one of two decks. We almost always sit outside.

5. Billy's Italian Villa in Vicksburg, Missisippi- I was going to write about a local hotel restaurant with a French chef and then I started the entry and realized . . . oh, my gosh . . . it could never be a favorite because the atmosphere is cold-shoulder, crappy-service supremo. Okay, so ditch that and let's go with one that has tremendous service. Billy actually lives just down the block from us and the restaurant is a little thing tucked into the corner beside the office of our outlet mall. Before Billy's arrived, many other little establishment's came and went in that mall corner, usually with awful food and sassy service. Billy runs it with family and a few other hires. The food is consistent and probably very, very bad for the hips but absolutely delicious. And, the service is tremendous. The atmosphere is bland but there's so little we like locally (especially with reasonable service) that we always enjoy going there.

I just recently began taking photos of food and interiors of restaurants, so there aren't any photos to go with #'s 4 and 5, sorry. Now for the tagging:

Tag! You're it! Okay, yes, I'm being lazy because I'm a little under the weather and don't feel like doing a lot of blog-hopping, this weekend.


Still having a little trouble concentrating to read, so I'm halfway into three books. I'm enjoying all three. It's fun revisiting Victoria the vampire slayer in Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason, I love JoJo Moyes' writing and am thoroughly hooked by Foreign Fruit, and Hank has some fascinating little tidbits of life experience to share in A Spoonful of Humor. So, while I'm not doing a great job of concentrating, I'm reading some very good books.

Just walked in: Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester, a book to review for Estella's Revenge. It looks great and I see he's written about his war experiences in Desert Storm, also. Uh-oh. You know how much I love those war memoirs.

Due to the fact that I've slept off most of the weekend, I've hardly taken any photos at all. That is a strange feeling, I must say. I think I also forgot to mention that the newspaper published a second one of my photos, so they've printed 2 out of the 3 that I sent them for consideration. Last week's was a photo of wisteria dangling over bricks, which some of you may remember from one of my Wahoo! Wednesday posts (not the same one, but I took several). Unfortunately, I didn't bother to correct the misspelling of my name because I figured they wouldn't print any more. Oopsy.

My camera is occasionally doing something terribly hinky. Here are two photos which the camera claims were taken at the same shutter speed and aperture, but obviously something went very wrong on the first exposure:

This has happened several times, now, but in the other cases I simply got a black frame - totally black. Hmm. The only other photos I've taken, this weekend, were a few that I took of the husband mowing the yard. I wanted to practice panning a little, as I haven't done that in a very long time. Here's my favorite practice shot:

In case anyone is wondering, I didn't touch up the color. Our yard really is that green. Mississippi is a very colorful place.

Hope everyone has had a great weekend! I'm off to stick my nose in a book.

Cheers from Bookfool


  1. Hope you feel better soon! My reading is still going sluggish too...I'm on day number 9 of the same book! Hey, the blue version of the flower actually came out pretty cool! It's beautiful. Good luck with the reading and like I said, Get Better!! :)

  2. Thanks, Chris. I think I just need a bit more sleep. :)

    It's kind of annoying reading slowly, isn't it? But, I'm enjoying everything. Right now, I'm reading bits of "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself" from Daily Lit. It's so engrossing that I keep sending for the next entry.

    I kind of like that blue version of the flower, too, although I don't care for the fact that it means the camera is doing something funky!

    Thanks. You're a sweetheart. I've got to wait for the water to heat up (kiddo hogs all the hot water when he showers) and then I can go to bed!! Yea!

  3. I love the picture of the lawn mower! And after reading your resturant reviews, I am feeling hungry!

  4. Hey, thanks for playing. I've enjoyed your pictures before of Taylor Grocery and that picture of the tacos is giving me a serious craving, and fresh guacamole...yummm! They all sound good though!

    I also think the blue photo is kinda cool. But I feel your worry- not nice to have the camera doing funky stuff that you don't want.
    And congrats on getting another pic printed in the paper. :)

  5. Juliann,

    Thanks. I think I freaked my husband out just a bit. :)

    Yep, that's the problem with the restaurant memes. They're fun to read but some of them can make you ravenous!


    The fish tacos are excellent. I get a vegetarian option, myself, but it didn't look as pretty (and the fish tacos were awfully good!).

    Yep, that blue photo is a little worrying. I told David I need to get an extra camera body, just in case. He looked up the price and we both had second thoughts. LOL Thanks, it's really fun seeing a photo in the paper. I wonder if they'd hire me . . .

  6. Great lawnmower picture; it looks like a wild runaway lawnmower! Wonderful that you got another picture in the paper, but not surprising - we can really see why.

  7. I adore the idea of custom seasonings for your guacamole. That would be enough to get me in the door of any restaurant.

  8. Melanie,

    I like that, "runaway lawnmower". LOL Actually, I cut out the spouse because he was wearing nerd socks. In another photo, I added, "From the new photographic series, 'Nerds in Motion': Get a load of those socks." Hubby said, "That's just mean." :)

    And, thank you. You're too kind.


    You may just have to head South, one day, to try the guacamole. I'll meet you in Oxford. :)

  9. "I'll have what she's having." Yumm! I love fish tacos and fresh guac! Yet another reason to head south and visit you someday. :)

    Achooo! I can almost smell that fresh cut grass. :)

    Hope you're feeling better. Hubby and I both had terrible insomnia last night. First time in ages. I think it was too hot upstairs. I've got the A/C cranked up right now, hoping to cool things off by bedtime. It's not even May yet!!!

  10. Les,

    You'll definitely have to visit, sometime. Meet us in Oxford and we'll feast. :)

    Thanks, not feeling any better but it's spring. I have to expect an off week, now and then, between allergies and migraines. I need to find a new neurologist because I'm just about out of everything. Yeeks.

    Yep, a stuffy room will make one toss and turn. Sorry you had a rough night!

  11. I *will* get to Taylor for that catfish if it kills me!

    Can't wait to hear what you have to say about Pressed Pennies!


  12. thanks for doing hte meme..the food looks great

    ps please add me to the link of ppl done the tag..I started the tag...thanks..I'm trying to compile a list

  13. Anonymous11:32 PM

    Hemm... I still wonder what catfish really looks like.. but the way you put it... catfish at Taylor's really mouth watery~

    mmmm... Keifer's in Jackson, Greek American food eh... This I really must try for myself :D

    Thanks for such a good introduction~

  14. Andi,

    Taylor's may just be the place for a blogger meeting. You would love it, I promise. It's BYOB (people bring their beer in a paper sack and sip on the porch), there's an old gas pump in front and some wagon wheels lying around. Such a neat bit of Americana, the food is almost a bonus. :)


    I'll be glad to add you. It's been very fun reading this meme. Great idea!


    Live catfish have whiskers, hence the "cat" in their name. They're really fun to watch in a fish tank but I've always been a little hesitant to eat them. :)

    Keifer's is excellent. When I think back to more authentic Greek restaurants I've tried, I can see why they call it "Greek American", but it still sounds bizarre to me! Thanks for visiting!


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