We made it! Walt and I arrived safely in Atlanta late Thursday evening and were completely moved into "The Georgian" by Friday night. It's been a loooong journey, but a fun one. And Walt and I are still on speaking terms after 2,370 miles (but hey, who's counting). If we can do that, we can do anything. While I finish getting my new kitchen in order, I figure I'll leave you with a little recap of our culinary journey across America. Walt's job was driver, and my job was navigator (which I failed at on a number of occasions) as well as food locator (this it turns out, I am very, very good at).
DAY ONE - PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Stacey's Smokehouse Barbecue - This hole-in-the-wall joint popped up in a Google search and had the seal of approval from Bon Appetit magazine. Good enough for me. We navigated the U-Haul off the beaten path, and I'm so glad we did. Stacy himself served us up heaping pulled pork sandwiches, dribbled in a tangy red sauce just how I like it. The baked beans and macaroni & cheese were good, but it was the fried okra that grabbed -- and kept -- our attention. The sweet tea (yep, you heard me right. Sweet tea in Arizona!) was made just right, and the banana pudding was incredible. Stacy, you've got my southern stamp of approval!
Stacy's Smokehouse Barbecue 1650 East Indian School Road Phoenix, AZ 85016 www.stacyssmokehousebbq.com
DAY TWO - EL PASO, TEXAS
Pepe's Tamales - Pepe's was a Yelp 5-star, and I couldn't think of anything better than authentic tamales to welcome us into Texas. Tucked into a worn-down strip mall off the I-10, it's definitely a locals-only kind of place. With only three tamale options, Walt and I ordered 4 of each. Hey, a dozen were only $11.99. At that price, we figured the leftovers would be a perfect afternoon snack. It's take-out only, so we had a make-shift picnic in the parking lot (very romantic!). The Red Chili Pork tamales were nice, but the Green Chili Chicken tamales were mind blowing. Oh my goodness. I need some right now.
Pepe's Tamales 1228 McRae Boulevard www.pepestamales.net,
DAY THREE - HOUSTON, TEXAS
Goode Company Barbecue 2 - We couldn't leave Texas without barbecue, could we? Goode Company Barbecue is a Texas institution, and conveniently located off the Interstate. Although the online reviews were mixed, we decided to go for it. We were a bit weary of the "cafeteria-style" service, and Walt and I both prefer pork over brisket, but I'm always a willing eater. And you know what? Not too shabby. I don't think brisket will ever rock my world, but washed down with a Saint Arnold Amber Ale (brewed in Houston), I could see how Texan's could get used to it. The Pecan Pie, however, is a completely different story. Hands down the best I've ever had. And guess what? You can order it online!
Goode Company Barbecue 2 8911 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024 www.goodecompany.com
DAY FOUR - NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Mother's Restaurant - This restaurant came highly recommended to me by a few trust-worthy "foodies," but you know, it just didn't do it for me. I got a Shrimp Po' Boy (one of my all time fave N' Awlins dishes), and it was just plain weak. I ended up picking out the shrimp, 'cause it's pretty hard to mess up fried shrimp. To give credit where credit is due, the Crawfish Etouffee was stellar, but at over $40 for two people, I'd pass on Mother's. There's just too many other worthy places in this tasty city.
Mother's Restaurant 401 Poydras New Orleans, LA 70130 www.mothersrestaurant.net
DAY FIVE - NEW ORLEANS CONTINUED
Cafe Du Monde - Do I even need to elaborate? Fluffy, delicate beignets and perfect cafe au lait. Sigh. And we walked away with two coffee mugs and a crushed penny. Score!
Cafe Du Monde 1039 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA 70116 www.cafedumonde.com
R & O's - We saved the best for last! It turns out our new landlord is from New Orleans (and apparently a mighty fine cajun cook). This was his recommendation, and man did he not steer us wrong. It's a divey little place off the beaten track, and lord they love the Saints. The Spicy Tamales were great, but it was the Roast Beef Po Boy that was worth writing home about. I have no words in my vocabulary to describe its' amazingness (see, that's not even a word). And to guild the lily, I secretly ordered the homemade bread pudding while Walt was in the restroom. Hee hee.
R & O's 216 Hammond Highway Metairie, LA 70005
AND ON THE SIXTH DAY...
So you might be thinking to yourself, "Man, these people eat too much." Well, we've been thinking the same thing. We need a break. Or maybe just a little lot of exercise. Well, my first order of attack is to load my new fridge with lots of fruits and vegetables. I have started researching Atlanta CSA's, and hope to find some good farmers' markets soon. If you're in the Chamblee/Dekalb area, let me know if you have any suggestions.
Stay tuned for more country cooking soon!!