Most of us Tiger fans will be tailgating at home this weekend with friends and family, but if you’re on the road to see one of the SEC’s greatest current rivalries, LSU vs. Alabama, a rivalry that still incenses the Tiger Nation, you need some intel on a good place to eat in Tuscaloosa. I’ve got a spot in the city’s thriving red-brick downtown that won’t disappoint, Epiphany Farm to Fork.
Pimento cheese sammiches with bacon and layer cake worthy of church suppers: Broma’s Deli in Brookhaven, Mississippi has a big menu full of Southern favorites. It’s a convenient stop for Tiger fans on their way to Starkville this weekend when LSU takes on Mississippi State in the team’s first away game of the season. (And first full game after last week’s weird lightening cancellation.) Hungry travelers might need a reliable road food option, and Broma’s has good chow right off I-55.
Throughout my childhood, my paternal grandmother was constantly armed with a bottle of Tabasco. Bland food was the enemy, and there was a lot of it around back then in restaurants, the occasional hospital room and church suppers. In her mind, it all needed correction. She’d reach into her purse for a standard issue 60 ml. bottle of Tabasco, and start dousing. Fast food fries would go from pale beige to orange in a matter of seconds.
That tradition stayed with me when I left Georgia at 18 for college in Washington, D.C. This was forever ago, when dining halls produced food that was crazy tasteless, and I took great pleasure in taking out my own secured bottle of Tabasco. Maybe all that Tabasco love was foreshadowing, because I ended up going to graduate school at LSU soonafter, and then finding myself never able to leave Louisiana.
But in all these years of food writing from Baton Rouge, I’d never written about Tabasco. I was thrilled a few months back when I got a magazine assignment on the McIlhenny family that granted me a behind-the-scenes tour of Avery Island and the Tabasco plant.
What an incredible institution this condiment is.
For last 10 years as New Orleans has marched back from Katrina, and for many years before that, I’ve spent a lot of time dining out in this luscious exotic American city. My husband John and I are among the thousands of people who live in a Louisiana city other than New Orleans (yes, those exist), making it easy to head to the Crescent City for regular food adventures. From our home in Baton Rouge, New Orleans is just over an hour’s drive, and when you live that close to a city whose culinary scene always reveals something new, you end up there for a lot of milestone birthdays, anniversaries and stolen weekends. After all, the money saved in plane fare is extra dough for food and drink.
But weekends don’t last forever, and choosing where to eat in a city lousy with great restaurants is tough. Sure, it’s hard to make a mistake, but it’s also fun to leave feeling like you’ve done your due diligence. By the time we hit our 15th wedding anniversary this year, John and I had finally perfected the right formula for choosing where to eat.
Here’s what’s interesting about Vermont. Farmers markets and farmstands are out in the middle of nowhere sporting the most centerfold-worthy produce you’ve ever seen. There they are, situated along rural roads and byways with no trace of other retail around them holding fruits and veggies so lovely they look like they never wore dirt. Vermont’s farmstands I find particularly intriguing because they’re quiet little gourmet markets at the edge of functioning farms, and God bless ’em, they’re often open seven days a week, (a completely different arrangement than the weekly farmers market many of us enjoy). Here are a few glimpses of Crossroad Farm, a 30-year operation in Post Mills, Vermont. It was a favorite spot of my grandmother’s, who spent her summers in the area. My family and I love visiting here.