We´ve been on the road for the last week, and like any chef would, we decided to take notes at every meal. Each dining experience is an opportunity to explore new techniques, flavors, and ingredients. KC was on the road with Dr. Anne Stachura, Professor and Director of Medical Spanish at UTPA, traveling from Michigan to the furthest reaches of the Texas Mexican border in Pharr, Texas. We decided upon a route that would take us through Illinois and Missouri, into Mississippi, then swoop through Louisiana, hugging the gulf coast all the way to the southern tip of Texas.
We began our journey at 5:30 a.m., waiting for our car to warm up in the -12 degree weather. Our first stop was in Grand Rapids, MI to drop off a birthday gift to a special member of our KC family, Devon Luttermoser. We created a reading basket based on a list we saw on Pinterest, threw in a comfy throw, a few books, a candle, and a travel mug, and well, she loved it.
Next, we got back on the road and didn’t stop until we hit Horn Lake, Mississippi. After checking in to our hotel in we walked over to Dales, a family owned restaurant boasting southern food made from scratch. The parking lot was packed so we knew we were headed somewhere good; and after 12 hours in the car, Dale´s delivered a satisfying dinner. The fried catfish dinner, complete with stewed green beans, black eyed peas, hush puppies and mac and cheese was indeed delicious. We washed it down with some sweet tea and were amazed to walk out with a tab under $20.
The next morning Anne and I parked right outside the Town Square in the heart of Oxford, Mississippi, home of the novelist William Faulkner and the University of Mississippi. We grabbed lunch at the Ajax Diner, another restaurant crowded with locals chatting from across their tables over cornbread and sweet tea. The lunch special was red beans and rice with grilled andouille, turnip greens, and sweet potato mash.
Next, we headed over to the campus of Ole Miss to walk off our lunch and admire the architecture and beauty of the grounds.
We went back into town for a local brew at the Blind Pig, and were pleasantly surprised at Crooked Letter´s Gipsy IPA.
Then we were back on the road for a few hours before spending the night in Ridgeland, MS. Tucked behind the Hilton, Holiday Inn, Red Roof Inn, and Days Inn was the Cabot Lodge, our diamond in the ruff, so to speak. Clean, comfortable, and most of all, affordable, the Cabot Lodge is unassuming yet decorated with charm. We highly enjoyed our stay there.
Bright and early the next day we started down highway 55 south to resume our journey to Texas; the second leg of our trip to be continued in part two!