State's Sweet Potato Crop Should Be Good In 2019

VARDAMAN, Miss. -- Spring rains created two sweet potato crops in Mississippi, and the later-planted crop is shaping up to be better than the first as harvests get underway. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the state’s sweet potato crop was 42% harvested as of September 22nd. Analysts put the crop at 40% fair and 57% good. Mississippi annually grows 28,000 to 30,000 acres of sweet potatoes, mostly in Calhoun County and surrounding areas. Calhoun County alone has 9,190 acres of sweet potatoes this year, up slightly from last year’s acreage. Other acreage is scattered across the Delta and in Tate County. Mark Shankle, a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Expe

Executive Chef Labron Alexander Serves Up New Takes on Mississippi Favorites

“The culinary world actually chose me, not the other way around,” said Labron Alexander, Executive Chef, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. Chef Labron grew up in the Mississippi Delta where he attended St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood. The school was small and students were selected to assist with tasks in the school cafeteria, managed by Ms. Rose Griffin. One of Labron’s pastimes included helping Ms. Rose make her famous peanut butter cookies for special occasions at the school. “We usually took out the trash or washed the pans, but it was all worth it to have the chance to help Ms. Rose with her cookies. She took me under her wing, and that was my introduction to the culina

Get On Island Time With a Visit To Margaritaville Resort and Doe's Eat Place

You’ve undoubtedly heard a thing or two about the James Beard awarded steakhouse, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville’s and the restaurant’s famous steaks, tamales, and desserts. What you may not know is that a family-friendly, island paradise-type resort inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett is now open on Biloxi Beach. Even sweeter, Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is home to the state’s southern-most Doe’s. The restaurant offers a private spot to enjoy the restaurant’s signature steaks and dishes inside the bustling 23-story non-casino resort boasting a 50,000-square-foot entertainment center complete with zipline roller coaster, rock wall, and arcade games and

Ermanno Costa Wines Are Delicious and Accessible

Simone Ermanno was spending his honeymoon in the United States when he stopped by to introduce his family’s wines, Ermanno Costa. He wasn’t the first to combine business with pleasure, but most of the time, the 28-year-old is working his family’s organic vineyards in the Roero region of Italy’s Piedmonte. “I drive the tractor and my sisters (Fabrizia and Giorgia) are in the cellar,” Ermanno said. They represent the fourth generation to make wine, and, as tradition goes, no one is immune from chores. Ermanno Costa is a small 17-acre, 3,000-case winery that bottles only estate wine from their lots of chardonnay, arneis, barbera, brachetto and nebbiolo. The winery is located on the north side o

Fuddruckers Opens Location Along Casino Row In Robinsonville, Miss.

ROBINSONVILLE, Miss. -- Fuddruckers and longtime Louisiana-based franchisee Richard Abadisian have just unveiled the Texas heritage brand's newest location in Robinsonville, Miss, just south of Memphis. Ideally situated at 711 Lucky Lane in Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel, the 2,500-square-foot restaurant brings a dynamic home for the "World's Greatest Hamburgers" to Robinsonville's bustling Casino Row. Unique to the location is daily breakfast service from 6 until 11 a.m. This is the fourth Fuddruckers for franchisee Richard Abadisian, celebrating 18 successful years in partnership with the brand. The veteran restaurateur also owns and operates Fuddruckers in New Orleans and Bossier City, La. Id

Food Factor: Razzleberry Shiver

Eating healthy foods doesn’t mean saying no to all desserts. For me, it means finding recipes that satisfy my sweet tooth but also help me meet my goals for daily fruits and vegetables. This recipe for a frozen treat is low in fat and loaded with fruit and fiber. Plus, it’s colorful and tasty! I like to divide the portions into pretty bowls, even if I’m not having company. It’s a treat to enjoy a cool dessert after a long day and know that it’s good for me! If you don’t have a blender, you can get a workout and make this by mashing the fruit with a fork. You can also use this mixture to make homemade popsicles! Note: our crew found this frozen dessert tasty but a little tart to their taste b

Looking For New York-Style Pizza? It's Closer Than You Think

Pizza restaurants have been around for decades, but there’s little doubt about this "first." Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint brought authentic New York style pizza to Mississippi in 2007 in a unique way. Boasting a Little-Italy themed menu packed with New York pizzas and the cherry on top, an ice cream shop conveniently located within the restaurant, Sal & Mookie’s created quite a stir when it debuted in Jackson’s Fondren area. The Gulf Coast needed its open version, so a Sal & Mookie’s opened in Biloxi a few years ago. But it’s the Jackson location that calls my name most often, so it’s the one I’ll feature. Back to those New York-style pizzas. Before opening Sal & Mookie’

Pinot Gris Is Underrated, Yet Delicious

When you think of the Willamette Valley, you probably think first of pinot noir. Maybe you will think of chardonnay, but will you think of pinot gris? Start thinking. This is one of the most underrated wines of the West Coast. While California is known for a lot of different grape varieties, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known for only a few. Its cooler climate doesn’t allow for long ripening periods that, say, zinfandel requires. However, its slow ripening season with a burst of heat at the end is ideal for pinot gris. It is a grape variety you won’t find in the warmer California region. Pinot gris is actually a descendant of pinot noir and It is known as pinot grigio in Italy and pinot bla

Food Factor: Spinach Dip Makeover

It’s tailgating season, and there’s nothing like a buffet of snacks to rack up the calories. The Food Factor to the rescue! Here is a healthier take on your favorite spinach dip. Instead of chips, serve with cut-up veggies. Be sure to follow food safety precautions and keep your cold foods out of the danger zone. I like to divide dips like this into a couple of smaller containers. That way I can swap out a cold bowl of dip for one that has been sitting out. Another trick is to make an ice bath by nesting a smaller bowl of dip into a larger bowl filled with ice to maintain the proper temperature. Spinach Dip 1 package frozen spinach, thawed, 10 ounces 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream 1 cup plain Gr

Celebrate National Rice Month

September is National Rice Month, so celebrate all month long with these delicious recipes featuring rice. Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers Chicken and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf No Peek Chicken and Rice Pork Fried Rice Orange Wild Rice

Corner Bakery Satisfies the Chicken Sandwich Craze and Much More

Unless you’ve been out of the country the past couple of weeks, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the new Popeye's fried chicken sandwich. Lines wrapped around fast food restaurants across the U.S., causing the sandwich to sell out before every die-hard Popeye's fried chicken fan could sample the new product. I’m not denying Popeye’s knows how to fry chicken, but the only place I’ll stand in line for food (besides the State Fair biscuit booth, of course) is a deli. I never met a deli I didn’t like, and, thankfully, our state is filled with great ones. Corner Bakery Cafe, with locations in Flowood and Madison, is one of my favorites and for good reason. Make that many good - and delicious - reas

Best of Jackson: Cocktails

Whether you like vodka, gin, or bourbon, Jackson's cocktail scene offers something for everyone. Check out some of our favorite cocktails in the capital city in this week's Sipp Jackson blog.

Cabernet Sauvignon Options That Everyone Will Love

We often hear the complaint that expensive cabernet sauvignons are too tannic to drink. It may explain the popularity of merlot, a grape variety that produces smooth, quaffable wines. However, the trend to make cabernet sauvignon more approachable has morphed into a tradition for many California producers. With only a percent of people who call themselves collectors, winemakers realize that most of their customers want their cabernets ready to drink with tonight’s dinner – not a holiday dinner that is a decade away. We’ve assembled a short list of a few cabernet sauvignons that are especially drinkable without further aging. These wines have a fruit-forward character that makes them deliciou

Food Factor: Caribbean Casserole

September is National Rice Month! To celebrate, we made this fast and filling Caribbean Casserole. It’s perfect as a quick weeknight entrée served with a side salad and fruit, or as a potluck dish. If you’re wanting to eat healthier, this type of recipe is perfect. The brown rice and black beans give it plenty of fiber without lots of fat. And if you’re watching calories, this should be one of your go-to choices. For a one-cup serving, you rack up just 100 calories. Considering the average casserole is more than 300 calories per one-cup serving, this easy-to-make dish will help you keep your calories under control. I also recommend looking for lower sodium or sodium-free options when shoppin

Celebrity Chef and Author Line-Up Announced For Literary/Culinary Mash-Up Welcome Dinner

Greenville native and author Julia Reed has put together an outstanding lineup of chefs and authors for the 2019 Literary/Culinary Mash-Up Gala Welcome Dinner that will kick off this year's Delta Hot Tamale Festival in Greenville. So far, the lineup includes John Alexander, Hugh Balthrop, Roy Blount, Jr., William Dunlap, Cole Ellis, Huger Foote, Jason Goodenough, Jessica Harris, John Huey, Jessica Lange, Jane Livingston, Beverly Lowry, Julia Reed, Stephen Stryjewski, Calvin Trillin, Malcolm White, and Rebecca Wilcomb. All proceeds from these events go to further the preservation and revitalization work that is being performed in downtown Greenvill, Miss. For more information on each chef and

Oxford Food Film Fest To Be Held September 17th

The Oxford Film Festival and Oxford Community Market have teamed up for a one-night Food Film Festival that's set for Tuesday, September 17th, at 7 p.m. Admission to the event is free, but donations to both non-profits are encouraged and appreciated. The regular farmer's market will be held at the Old Armory Pavilion from 3 to 6:30 p.m., and the party will continue at 7 p.m. with free hot dogs, popcorn, and other treats for the movies. Chairs will be provided, but bringing extra chairs is encouraged. The Food Film Festival's goal is to generate an interest in local food, and a great way to do that is to find creative ways to partner with other organizations to build community and give people

Delta Meat Market Chef Cole Ellis & GRIT Chef Nick Reppond to Offer Unique Dining Experience

TAYLOR, Miss. – This September, James Beard Award semifinalist Chef Cole Ellis of Cleveland’s Delta Meat Market and Bar Fontaine is excited to join GRIT’s Chef Nick Reppond as special guest chef at the Conference on the Front Porch. The 4th Annual Conference on the Front Porch is America’s only conference dedicated to celebrating the significance of the front porch in society and offers attendees the opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals, to interact with presenters; to celebrate the South; to indulge in good food; and to experience a slower pace of life. The Conference on the Front Porch will be held September 26th and 27th and will take place at The Mill at Plein Air in Taylor

Food Factor: Cauliflower Tots

If you have little helpers in the kitchen, put them to work making these tots. I love how versatile this recipe is – it can be an after-school snack, an appetizer, or a healthy side dish. Bonus points for making vegetables FUN! Don’t tell anyone, but these tasty tots aren’t just for kids. The serving size is just 5 tots, but at 70 calories per serving, I don’t feel too guilty when I eat two servings. I just feel full! Plus, the texture is best when these are freshly made. The recipe makes about three servings, depending on the size of your tots. While filming this video, we decided to test both parchment paper and foil to see if one cooking surface resulted in superior tots. We preferred the

Scrooge's Is a Jackson Favorite That's Gotten Better With Age

I admit it. I often write about restaurants to which there’s some nostalgia attached. The ones that remain in my thoughts and tug on my heartstrings are places I frequented years ago when I first moved to Jackson. Many, like Bennigan’s, Steak and Ale, Dennery's, Pasquale’s Pizza, Gridley’s and Red, Hot and Blue barbecue places, and, everyone’s favorite, Olde Tyme Deli, to name a few, departed long ago from the Jackson landscape. However, a few long-time eateries are still around to rekindle special memories and create favorite dishes. Scrooge’s Restaurant and Pub has moved from its original location on I55 North near Northside Drive but, thank goodness, it’s still serving many Scrooge's fans

Anyone Will Enjoy Super Tuscan Wines

There are many examples in the history of wine when the impulses of winemakers have revolutionized the industry. We think of the pioneers who grew vines on California mountainsides where no one feared to tread or through the enormous rocks of the Rhone Valley. We think of pioneers like Abe Schoener of California’s Scholium Project who is creating very expressive wines by abandoning or adjusting conventional wisdom. We think of the young French winemakers, such as Michel Chapoutier, who rejected his ancestor’s winemaking techniques to forge new and successful directions. And, in today’s column, we think of the winemakers in Italy’s often maligned Chianti region who created the now famous “sup

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