Friday, December 19, 2008

Culinary Bungee Jumping

We finalized our preparations today and embarked on our Christmas trip of healing this afternoon at precisely 12:30. Destin, Florida is our ultimate destination; however, we couldn't just drive through the Mississippi delta region without taking a little detour to experience some of the more noteworthy cuisine! For those of you who have known our family for more than just a few years, you know that it's all about the food with the Barrs, and the channel we watch almost religiously is The Food Network. Last year, we saw two shows that each featured the same two Mississippi restaurants: Doe's Eat Place in Greenville, and The Old Country Store in Lorman. Alton Brown visited both restaurants on his show "Feasting On Asphalt" in which he celebrated great American road food along the Mississippi River from Louisiana on up into Minnesota. Gourmet Magazine also ran a special on The Food Network on the restaurants that served the best iconic American food (steaks, burgers, ribs, tacos, fried chicken, etc.), and once again, both restaurants appeared on the show, taking runner-up honors in steak (Doe's Eat Place) and fried chicken (The Old Country Store). When we planned our trip to Florida, we realized that, with a little creative navigating, we could hit both of these temples of taste temptation on our drive, so we planned it all out to arrive in Greenville tonight and have dinner at Doe's to see what all of the fuss was about regarding their steaks.

We pulled into Greenville just after 7 p.m., a full thirty minutes before our reservation at Doe's, and we were able to check-in to our hotel before navigating some slightly confusing directions to our ultimate destination. Doe's Eat Place has been around since 1941, and it's plain to see that it was once a corner grocery that was transformed into its current occupation over a long period of time. We entered the restaurant through the kitchen and got a sneak peek at the joy awaiting us: steaks the size of man-hole covers sliding into the broiler, pans full of french fries sizzling on the stove, and huge vats of their specialty tamales bubbling away. The dining room looks like it hasn't been changed or updated since its first hours of business, and the floors were actually slanted slightly: definitely no-frills on the atmosphere, which was actually part of the charm of this true delta native. We received no menus, but our server was kind enough to tell us exactly what they were serving tonight, giving us a choice between several steaks that would be served family style as well as a healthy selection of accompaniments. We settle on the sirloin-for-four and a "small" t-bone since the boys sounded hungry. We also got two salads, some garlic bread, and a dozen tamales, which they serve wrapped in paper rather than corn husks. The steaks were huge! We found that we liked eating them family style since they gave us all a chance to try some from different parts of the cut, and they came with a heaping mound of their fresh-cut fries. Needless to say, we left Doe's Eat Place stuffed to the rafters and thoroughly enjoyed the unique, down home atmosphere that I doubt we could find anywhere else in the country. Tomorrow, we will head down the Mississippi River road to find Lorman, Mr. D. and his Old Country Store, and some of the best fried chicken in the country. It will probably be yet another exciting chapter in our family's culinary thrill-seeking!



Have a great time! Destin, Florida is a favorite place of ours - we lived just 3 1/2 hours away when we lived in Georgia and some days made a quick day trip of it - spending 7 hours driving round trip in order to spend the same amount of time playing on the beach. We love it there! Merry Christmas!

cyndi/mom/nana said...

Yum, getting hungry just reading your post. Making notes for future trips. Sounds like a great place to eat and enjoy the atmosphere.