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The Best of Mediterranean Cuisine Can Be Found in Jackson

The word “Aladdin” conjures up the character in the folk tale of Middle Eastern origin found in in The Arabian Nights. The addition of “Mediterranean” creates an irresistible picture of mystical, magical food originating from Greece, Spain, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, and other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Even though we’re located in the Deep South, authentic Mediterranean cuisine is readily available, thanks to Aladdin Mediterranean Grill on Lakeland Drive in Jackson. Situated in the historic Fondren Business District, Aladdin is a favorite spot to enjoy lamb dishes, falafel, baklava, and many other Mediterranean specialties. The exterior may be unassuming, but

Mi Sueno Wines Were Built on a Dream and Are Perfect For Your Thanksgiving Spread

For centuries, immigrants have been coming to California to live their dream of making a living from West Coast’s fertile soil. Italian immigrants with iconic names like Gallo, Mondavi, Sebastiani, and Martini struck gold with grapes. But their successes weren’t built on pretty labels, celebrity names, or clever marketing schemes that have propelled modern-day wine producers to instant wealth. The success of the immigrants was built on long days of hard work. There is no better representative of this pioneering work ethic than Rolando Herrera, pictured below, who moved permanently from Mexico to California at age 15 to embark on a long, but progressive, journey from dishwasher to winemaker.

Careful Prep Can Result in Healthy, Safe Holiday Meal

Getting a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving meal on the table requires careful attention to detail. STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A few, simple preparations can mean the difference between achieving a healthy success or suffering a major disaster during the traditional biggest meal of the year. Courtney Crist, assistant professor of food safety with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said one common mistake in food preparation happens at the very beginning. She recommended not washing the turkey before cooking it. “It is virtually impossible to wash bacteria off the turkey, and liquids that splash during washing could transfer bacteria onto surfaces in your kitchen, other foods and

Make Thanksgiving Conversation Cards

We all know the holidays can bring together family members with a wide variety of opinions. To keep the conversational train on the tracks, try out our table talk cards this holiday season. This is a fun way to get your group to put down their phones and engage with each other. Maybe even throw in a few of your own questions. Make it a tradition in your family. Best of all, these cards don’t have to be put away until the next holiday. You can use them year-round whenever your family gathers around the table. Visit the Extension website to print a PDF of the cards. If children will be a part of your celebrations, have the ingredients on hand for this Thanksgiving “Turkey” Sandwich. Older chil

A Seafood Legend Is Worth the Trip Across State Lines

If you read my column with any regularity, you know my love of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is strong. However, every now and then I venture further east to Alabama and Florida to enjoy their beautiful beaches. A recent trip to the Gulf Shores area was the perfect antidote to Mississippi's frigid fall temps. A visit to a genuine seafood legend since 1983 was the icing on the cake. Whether you’ve realized it or not, driving in to the Gulf Shores beaches via Highway 59 South, you’ve passed the Original Oyster House Restaurant countless times. It’s been a staple in the Bayou Village Shopping Center, otherwise known as the “Oyster House Boardwalk,” for decades, reigning supreme when other seafood

The Perfect Wine Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Feast

As we close in on the mother of all feasts, the last thing on your mind is probably wine. Most likely, you are more focused on where everyone will sit or how you’re going to come up with a menu that satisfies free guests – gluten-free, allergy-free, meat-free. Relax. Breathe. Grab a glass of wine. We got you covered. The least of your worries is wine because it is hard to go wrong with whatever you choose. The traditional turkey is a neutral meat that marries well with many reds and whites. The trimmings are so varied – tart cranberry, sweet yams, creamy gravy – that no one particular wine works. So, it doesn’t matter much – give your guests choices. Having said the sky is the limit, we can

Food Factor: How To Roast Brussels Sprouts

Eating seasonal vegetables helps you get the most nutritional bang for your buck. Brussels sprouts are wildly popular right now and are easy to prepare. Roasting Brussels sprouts helps bring out their natural sweet and nutty flavors. The recipe we used calls for a drizzle of lemon juice. I’ve also seen recipes with maple syrup, or a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled over the cooked sprouts, but this recipe is perfect for folks avoiding sugar. We used this printable recipe from Oregon State University Extension’s Food Hero program. Note: the recipe calls for 1 pound, 8 ounces of sprouts, or 1.5 pounds. The small mesh bags in the vegetable section are usually 1 pound, but in the store’s refr

Think Outside the Oven This Holiday Season

When most families think of holiday cooking, they typically picture baked goods and time spent in the kitchen near the oven. This year, you can take your seasonal meal prep outdoors with cooking methods often overlooked during the winter: grilling and smoking. As one of the most popular dishes during the holidays, turkey is an easy way start creating festive flavors using a grill or smoker. To help keep your bird tasty and juicy, this Art of the Turkey Brine requires just a few simple ingredients before transferring the turkey to the grill. Pair it with this Sweet ’n’ Savory Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing that combines a soft, familiar interior with crispy edges. If you’re aiming to create d

Salvation Army Turkey Drive Set For Friday, November 15th, in Jackson

The Salvation Army will be collecting turkeys to be handed out in their social services department. These turkeys will provide meals for families who cannot afford to purchase one for the holidays. Swing by the Kroger on I-55 N in Jackson between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and donate a turkey or two for a hungry family, and join the #FightForGood this season. The Salvation Army is also looking for bell ringers this season. Our new system makes it easier than ever to sign up to ring a bell at on of our iconic red kettles, and every hour you ring provides much needed funds for Salvation Army programs right here in Jackson. By taking one day shift or ringing, your group can provide a week's worth of

Chef and Food Personality Leigh Ann Chatagnier Shares a Special Family Menu for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather to give thanks. Chef, food personality, and founder of My Diary of Us created a delicious menu for Thanksgiving that is sure to wow friends and family. “I created this menu with the idea of loved ones gathered in the kitchen helping to prepare a special Thanksgiving meal to share together,” Leigh Ann explains. “This menu is perfect for large family gatherings that you may be hosting, but also is makes a potluck offering for a party or dinner throughout the holidays. Each recipe is unique, but simple enough to make in any kitchen. This special Thanksgiving menu is one of my favorites because not only are the recipes simple enough to make

Fauna Foodworks to Host Supper with Chef Carla Hall and Chef Enrika Williams

Chef Carla Hall Fauna Foodworks will present Supper with Chef Carla Hall and Chef Enrika Williams on Friday, November 22, at 5:30 pm at the Smith-Robertson Cultural Museum in Jackson. The intimate dinner and its menu is inspired by local recipes that are featured in Chef Hall’s latest cookbook, Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration. VIP guests will receive a signed copy of the cookbook and will get to chat with Chef Hall during a cocktail reception prior to the dinner. This event is open to the public, but tickets are limited and can be purchased through Eventbrite. For more information, contact Chef Enrika Williams at 404-512.8499. Supper with Chef Carla Hall and Chef Enrika Will

South Mississippi's Steaks Are Almost As Good As Its Seafood

After listing friends’ and readers’ top picks for steaks in the central and northern part of the state, it’s time to turn the focus on south Mississippi. With its close proximity to the Gulf Coast, it’s an area best known for seafood, but believe me when I say, great steakhouses are plentiful. If the sight of chickens and other animals roaming outside combined with a scenic river view is your idea of atmospheric dining, Cowboy Jim’s Riverside Restaurant is your kind of place. Located in the Lone Star community between Collins and Prentiss, Cowboy Jim’s (pictured below) is a sprawling lodge-like building on the banks of the Bouie River filled with antique and vintage items of every descriptio

Sip on Zinfandel This Thanksgiving

Zinfandel is considered to be America’s red grape, although its origin is hardly American. Thanks to the advent of DNA grape analysis, zinfandel’s origin was first traced to the grape variety primitive grown in southern Italy and then more recently to the Adriatic region. None of this really should come as a surprise because the New World countries depended on Europe for agricultural products. Zinfandel didn’t just happen – it came from somewhere else. Nonetheless, as the all-American holiday Thanksgiving approaches and colder temperatures set in, zinfandel becomes a popular choice for wine enthusiasts. Popular among Italian immigrants who came to California to make wine, zinfandel would hav

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams: What's the Difference?

Sweet potatoes and yams. They’re the same thing, right? Not really. They look and taste different. Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are sweeter with a smooth, thin skin. They are short and blocky with tapered ends. U.S.-grown sweet potatoes usually are copper, rose, red or purple with orange, white, or purple flesh. Yams (Dioscorea sp.) are starchy with a rough, scaly skin. They are longer and more cylindrical with protruding flesh that some call “toes.” They can range from Irish potato-size to 5 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. They are also botanically different. Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family of plants, called the Convolvulaceae family. Yams belong to a different

Charred Chef Wins Title at Inaugural Culinary Gladiator Battle

GULFPORT, Miss. – Five local chefs battled for the Top Culinary Gladiator position at the 37th annual Chefs of the Coast Food & Wine Gala on October 20th at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi. Milton Joachim, chef at Charred: A Steak & Oyster Bar in Ocean Springs, took home the title from the inaugural Culinary Gladiator Battle, pictured right. Island View Casino Resort’s Charley Bowers placed second, and Shaggy’s Chef Scott Duplantis placed third. The Culinary Gladiator Battle is a mystery basket competition, requiring competitors to prepare judges’ plates from the items in the basket along with produce and seasonings of choice from a shared pantry. The chefs had l

Coast Restaurant Association Recognizes Local Restaurants With Partnership Awards at Chefs of the Co

Island View Casino Resort was a recipient of the 2019 Partnership Award, presented at the 37th annual Chefs of the Coast Food & Wine Gala on October 20th in Biloxi. GULPORT, Miss. – The Mississippi Coast Restaurant & Beverage Association recognized three local restaurants with the 2019 Partnership Award. The awards were presented on October 20th at the 37th annual Chefs of the Coast Food & Wine Gala. Scranton’s Restaurant, Stinson Group, and Island View Casino Resort were honored with the award, a glass flame-shaped trophy. This is the first year the Coast Restaurant Association has presented this award. “The Partnership Award is in the shape of a flame, and this is symbolic in that these aw

Best Steaks in Mississippi, Part Deux

My decision to highlight some of the best steak houses in Mississippi was cause for concern. The thought of readers disagreeing or questioning the absence of their favorite steak restaurant gave me pause. However, response was positive after the first installment, and many wrote to say they planned to visit some of the north Mississippi places I mentioned. This week, I’ll focus on some – not all – of the best locally-owned steak restaurants in the Jackson metro area. There’s no way I can list them all, but here are a few on my and others’ top places to enjoy a steak dinner. I’ll start with an “oldie but goodie.” Tico’s has been around for nearly 30 years on County Line Road. Always packed wi

Best of Jackson: Pies

When you're in the mood for a big ole slice of pie, or if you need a whole pie for any given event, the city of Jackson has delicious options to fulfill any pie craving. Check out some of our favorite places to grab a slice or a whole pie in this week's Sipp Jackson blog!

New Zealand Wines Are Delicious and Affordable

Several years ago we had the opportunity to taste the wines of Greywacke, a New Zealand producer in the Marlborough region, with winemaker Kevin Judd. The long-time winemaker at Cloudy Bay Winery, Judd was introducing his wines to America when we met him. More recently we were able to catch up with Greywacke’s recent releases with Richard Ellis, who concentrates his energies on winery operations and marketing. The U.S. is Greywacke’s second largest market behind the United Kingdom. Greywacke’s wines are set apart from the ocean of New Zealand sauvignon blanc imported into the U.S. by price and quality. Many of the New Zealand major brands currently available to US consumers fall price-wise i

High School Culinary Students Compete at Chefs of the Coast

St. Martin High School culinary students won first place in the Chefs of the Coast Cooking Competition on October 20th in Biloxi. GULFPORT, Miss. - Culinary students from four local high schools competed at the 37th annual Chefs of the Coast Food & Wine Gala, hosted by the Mississippi Coast Restaurant & Beverage Association on October 20th at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center in Biloxi. Participating schools included Biloxi, Gulfport, Moss Point, and St. Martin high schools. St. Martin High School placed first in the cooking competition, winning a trophy, student medals, and a $500 cash stipend supporting the school’s culinary program. Second place winner was Moss Point High
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