Archive | July, 2015

Gas Station Chicken Wars Break Out in North Mississippi

4 Jul

Lindsey's Chicken Salad

Lindsey’s Chevron station on North Lamar in Oxford, MS does sell gasoline. Yet they are far more famous for their chicken salad. You heard me right — chicken salad! And you know what? It’s pretty darn good. Not sure exactly what the recipe might be. I can tell you there is lots of shredded white meat, a good bit of mayo, some finely chopped celery … and perhaps a little relish??? Lindsey’s chicken salad has become a staple in our house. Truly a welcome relief from trying to make it yourself (never an easy task).

james

This is just one of several popular food items sold by gas stations in our immediate area. The James Food Center (seen above) on Jackson Avenue sells a fine chicken salad and homemade pimento cheese. Both have their own loyal local following. The 4 Corners Chevron (intersection of South Lamar & University) is best known for their nearly world famous Chicken on a Stick.

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chicken-on-a-stick-menu

Chicken on a Stick is $3 well spent. This explains its popularity with college students and hungover SEC football fans alike. Add a roll and 2 potato logs and that constitutes a “snack” — and an extra buck out of your wallet.

Pimento cheese container

All said, this is another thing we love about touring the Deep South. Gas stations aren’t just for gas, chips, and soda anymore. Unique, gourmet quality regional fare can be found and savored. That’s what the term “local flavor” is all about. At least here in Dixie.

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Pimento Cheeseburger at The Lamar Lounge – Oxford, MS

4 Jul

This burger, without question, is one of my favorite dishes in North Mississippi. We have lived in Oxford going on 3 years now, but it took us a while to find this gem of a bar/restaurant. The Lamar Lounge is a part of John Currence’s Oxford Culinary Empire. At last count, Currence operated 5 eateries in this little town of about 25,000.

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As the logo suggests, the Lounge is a bit pig-centric. Yet the burgers are what keep me coming back for more. Especially so if you slather house made pimento cheese all over the perfectly cooked beef. Pimento cheese has long been a Southern delicacy and a treasured condiment for Dixie Diners in the know. In our opinion, nothing beats fresh, scratch made pimento cheese. Many varieties exist — and finding some in your local grocery store has become increasingly easier.

Lamar Lounge Pimento Burger Good

Basic ingredients are a good sharp cheddar, some quality mayo (we like Duke’s), and chopped up nuggets of pimento (mild red pepper). Some even add jalapeno for an extra kick. Palmetto brand pimento cheese out of the SC Lowcountry makes a delicious jalapeno blend. Look for it in Kroger or WalMart stores across the South.

Lamar Exterior Good

When driving down North Lamar, look for the red neon BAR sign. It is your beacon for good food and drink. Service is casual and very laid back in a hipster sort of way. Live music is performed on many nights. They even show a movie from time to time. Go to their web site or give ’em a ring for more details on that.

Lamar Interior

The interior is a bit dark — those seeking more Vitamin D can ask to be seated outback in their open air patio. That space is illuminated with Napa style patio lights. It also provides a scenic view (and a sniff) of their whole hog pig smoking operation. Yes, they cook whole hog here — a real rarity here in the Magnolia State. Deer antlers and other wild game adorn the interior walls. The bar, a tourist attraction on its own, once belonged to Eddie Fisher, star of stage and screen. Fisher, most famously the husband of starlet Liz Taylor, had his initials carved into the rich mahogany.

This is more of a locals dive when compared to other Oxford dining institutions. But this local suggests you drop by and enjoy a burger, some terrific seasoned fries, a cold Yalobusha brew, and some Hollywood history — right here in the heart of Mississippi Hill Country.

***Bonus Tip — the collard greens are tasty too!

The Best Biscuits In Oxford, Mississippi

3 Jul

Embers crew

Oxford, Mississippi is a beautiful little college town. A very Southern town. And a foodie town. For a town of its size, Oxford has lots of interesting dining choices. Especially if you enjoy deep fried, bacon laced downhome cuisine. You’d think that great home-style biscuits would be as prevalent as Hotty Toddy t-shirts on Ole Miss co-eds. Well, that is not exactly the case.

Popeye’s makes a solid biscuit, but you can find Popeye’s pretty much all over the USA. John Currence’s Big Bad Breakfast makes scratch biscuits, yet I wouldn’t say they are exactly the star of the show. In our opinion, Oxford’s best biscuits are served by Ember’s Biscuits and BBQ on University Avenue. They are, in short, sublime little belly bombs. And they can be ordered with a variety of tasty fillings. Everything from stalwarts like bacon and sausage to double smoked ham (delicious) and a basil-flecked goat cheese and egg omelette. Wowza!

embers biscuit

They even serve a fine pulled pork BBQ sandwich and a serviceable sweet tea to boot. The restaurant is the brainchild of the same gent who started the McAlister’s and Newk’s franchise juggernauts. Ember’s opened with little fanfare but has garnered a loyal following over the past two years. So much so that they are opening a 2nd Oxford location (West Jackson Avenue) in August of 2015.

A name change is also in the works. However, you can bet the biscuit recipe will remain the same. It had better.

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