Mississippi’s Best Bar

When it comes to beer, Draft Magazine knows its stuff, and if they say a bar contains some great brews, well, we believe them. So when they named The Mahogany Bar in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, one of America’s top beer bars, we decided to check it out. Our conclusion: Once again, Draft got it right! The brewpub serves up more than 140 beers, including all five Mississippi breweries on tap. A drink menu with five pages of beers means everyone (even beer belittlers) can find something to suit [... more]

Houston’s Underbelly

Chef Chris Shepherd describes his hometown of Houston, Texas, as “The most secretive and dynamic culinary destination in the country.” At Underbelly, Chris does his part to make that claim true. Upon entering the eatery, you notice the modern Southern architecture—tall open-rafter ceilings, handcrafted wooden tables, and expansive windows—and the wall of photographs displaying the people who have inspired Chris over the years. He and his staff design the weekly menus to accentuate seasonal produce, fresh catches of seafood, and local grass-fed beef (butchered in house). With [... more]

Poppin’ Tags

Where can you find delicious restaurants, horse and buggy rides, fresh produce, and handcrafted goods all in one beautiful location? Historic Charleston, South Carolina’s City Market creates the ultimate shopping experience for tourists and locals alike. Business booms at this open-air market with about 100 vendors hawking unique products. If you’re a fashionista hooked on the new thrifting trend, browse through the vintage-inspired jewelry and accessory booths. Check out Rewined Candles for beautifully designed scented candles or stop for a sangria at Mercato Italian Restaurant. You’ll make [... more]

Build Your Own Manhattan

At Article 14, a Midtown Atlanta bar, you choose the bourbon or whiskey, vermouth, and bitters to customize your Manhattan. It’s a great concept for Manhattan aficionados, but a bit too intimidating for me. I prefer the A-14 Martini, in my opinion, the best apple martini you’ll ever have. If you’ve sworn off apple martinis based on the overly sweet ones you’ve had in the past, put your prejudices aside and try this one. You won’t regret it. Need something to nibble on? Get the lobster pasta—it’s [... more]

Groundbreaking Blues

The Blues began in the fields of Southern plantations and took hold in honky-tonk hole-in-the-wall places. So for an authentic Blues experience, head to Clarksdale, Mississippi’s divey Ground Zero Blues Club. (Some people even believe that Clarksdale is the birthplace of the Blues.) Co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman, the bar presents live music four nights a week. National acts occasionally occupy the plywood stage, but more often than not, you’ll find local musicians following in the footsteps of great Delta Blues artists. Good things are often repeated, [... more]

Everything But Overalls

The Overall Company is certainly both a local favorite and a beloved tourist attraction for those who pass through Opelika, Alabama, on their way to an Auburn University football game. Named for a pre-Civil War overall maker that once occupied the building, the artisan pop factory/coffee bar/restaurant/live music venue keeps people coming back with its unique and eclectic offerings. The restaurant resembles a large renovated barn with its rustic, down-home feel. The simple menu features only a few delicious specialties, but anything you order won’t disappoint. After [... more]

Like Home, But Better

When investment banker-turned-chef Harrison Keevil opened Brookville Restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, he vowed to deliver “honest home-cooked food” using ingredients from the region—many within 100 miles or less. This obsession with freshness means new items on the menu daily, with some staples—Chicken and Waffles, Tasso Grits—making regular appearances along with a few “out-there” choices such as Fried Pig Head or interesting spins on such classics as the BLT (gouda, bacon, and Granny Smith apples served on French bread). Keevil’s “homey” pledge extends to the restaurant’s cozy second-floor [... more]

The Heart of Savannah

With quaint B&Bs and intimate inns, Savannah has long been a romantic getaway for couples. But once you’ve chosen a hotel, where do you dine? Locals know that Maxwell’s in Savannah is the place to go for a romantic evening. Besides an upscale atmosphere, there’s a talented pianist/vocalist on site that ups that love-is-in-the-air atmosphere. Maxwell’s keeps the menu choices limited because it offers nightly specials according to what’s in season. Be sure to end your evening on a sweet note…I recommend the key lime cheesecake or [... more]

Let’s Do Lunch

When a beloved dinnertime restaurant announces weekend lunch service, foodies rejoice. So celebrations are eminent at Cane & Table in New Orleans, which launched brunch-heavy lunch service from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in February. Some favorites from dinner (such as the whole fish choices) make an appearance, along with lunch-only sandwiches (the Cuban and Ropa Vieja get shout-outs) and an omelet option. And since Cane & Table was founded by bartenders, drink specials abound along with their already-famous cocktails by mixologist Neal Bodenheimer.

Mississippi Martini Madness

I wanted to try a local spot in Jackson, Mississippi, that was known for its food and a large adult-beverage selection. Hal and Mal’s popped up on my radar when a friend from the Hospitality State suggested I give it a try. I walked in and realized it was far from a run-of-the-mill restaurant. The building used to be a freight depot, and if the walls could talk they would have interesting things to say. The martini list, with more options than I could count, may have [... more]

Rolf Lives Up to the Hype

On a recent trip to Nashville, I absolutely had to make a stop at Rolf and Daughters, which Bon Appétit just named one of the best new restaurants in America. I wanted to find out for myself just how great it is. Situated a little out of the way from the honky-tonks on Broadway in the more residential area of Germantown, the restaurant has all the trappings of trendy spots: craft cocktails, communal tables, pendant lights, industrial accents, relaxed server attire. But—confession time—I dig all of this [... more]

Raising the Brewpub Bar

Take a burgeoning craft-beer mecca, add a high foodie quotient, and you have a recipe for lofty expectations for new Charleston, South Carolina, brewpubs. But Edmund’s Oast has a special ingredient: Charleston native chef Andy Henderson, who worked under James Beard award-winning chef Mike Lata at FIG. Taking that experience, Henderson developed a made-from-scratch meat-lovers’ menu including a charcuterie program, cured swordfish, lamb meatballs, and more savory choices with the aim to “be authentic without being pretentious.”     

Fusion Confusion?

Don’t call Cardamom Hill chef Asha Gomez’s cooking “fusion” as she has a disdain for the word. She’ll quickly tell you it isn’t fusion at all, but simply the food she grew up eating in her native Kerala, India. Unlike in other parts of India, Kerala cuisine doesn’t use heavy sauces. Also absent are the extremely hot peppers used in most Indian cooking, The result? The true flavors and aromas of the food come through. Favorite dishes at Cardamom Hill in Atlanta include the Goat Biryani, Kerala [... more]

A Bistro in the ‘Burbs

Some people say that the northern ’burbs of Atlanta don’t have good spots to eat. Well, I say they’re sorely mistaken. Case in point: Bistro VG in Roswell, Georgia. A proven standby for locals, the restaurant has enjoyed success for decades—an eternity by Atlanta standards. White tablecloths and linen chair-back covers impart a more sophisticated feel than many of the surrounding restaurants. The mostly “modern French cuisine” elevates it as well. Recently, we chose the spot to celebrate my hubby’s birthday. We dined on tried-and-true favorites—the Calamari [... more]

A Southern Gastropub

In Jacksonville, Florida’s funky, artsy Riverside community, The Blind Fig has gone through several transformations with solid support throughout its evolutions. First a food truck, then an eatery bearing the name The Salty Fig for its first year, The Blind Fig is the brainchild of brothers Jeff and John Stanford. Being dubbed a forward-thinking restaurant, The Blind Fig delivers by creating a gourmet, seafood-heavy Southern menu. Try the pork belly and oyster sandwich (yes, “and”) or the cast iron blue crab mac ‘n’ cheese with a truffled [... more]