by Kara Kimbrough
A handful of Mississippi restaurants are so memorable that I sometimes daydream about living nearby in order to dine there on a regular basis. A few that come to mind are Mary Mahoney’s and BR Prime in Biloxi, Taranto’s Seafood in Woolmarket (technically Biloxi) and 10 South in Vicksburg, to name a few. Paul’s Pastry Shop in Picayune is also on my favorites list. With thousands of world-famous king cakes emerging from its bakery and homemade delicacies served in the café, it’s a destination that has it all and then some.
As mentioned last week, Paul’s is known far and wide for its spectacular Mardi Gras sugar-encrusted king cakes enhanced with a variety of fruity and creamy fillings. They’re sold in select supermarkets and can be shipped direct to your home. But, it’s even better when you drop by the sprawling shop in the heart of Picayune and pick up a hot king cake fresh from the oven.
And here’s the real reason why a visit to Paul’s is never a bad idea. It’s not just your average king cake bakery. Paul’s is truly destination dining courtesy of the Mardi Gras Morning Café serving lunch; a full-service bakery; wedding cake shop and party room. Browsing through the building fragrant with the aroma of thousands of baked goods, viewing and sampling beautiful cakes, pastries and creative meals takes dining to a new level.
For starters, each morning the bakery offers a lineup of homemade breakfast or brunch items guaranteed to get your day off to a great start. Paul’s delicacies to enjoy with coffee or for takeout range from apple fritters and turnovers to cinnamon rolls, plain and jelly filled doughnuts, scones, muffins and quiche Lorraine, which can be purchased by the slice or simply pick up an entire pie. Baked goods are reasonably priced ($1 to $3 range) and always fresh and delicious. Or, pick up a dozen of your favorite treats to savor all day long.
When lunchtime rolls around, there’s something for every taste at the café. Daily specials are especially popular, offering a touch of nearby New Orleans on dishes like Paul’s Redfish Oscar. This delectable dish ($12.98) consists of Cajun grilled redfish topped with shrimp cream sauce over a bed of wild rice and grilled asparagus.
Other specials include pulled pork served with cole slaw and fries ($10.95), grilled filet mignon wrapped in applewood smoked bacon with sides of potatoes or vegetables ($13.95); seafood cakes or soft shell crab Long Beach ($12.95) served with pasta, shrimp and crab and mushroom sauce and last, corn and crab bisque ($8.95) served in a bread bowl.
Other signature favorites are Paul’s burger combo ($8.95); grilled muffaletta ($7.95), Paul’s signature BLT on wheat berry bread ($6.95); fried shrimp basket ($9.95) and Reuben sandwich ($6.95).
Sandwich combos ($8.99) are also a popular choice, especially since a long lineup of meats, cheeses and toppings can be selected to build-your-own towering creation. Each sandwich comes with a drink and chips.
Or, choose a garden salad ($7 range) and top it with your choice of chicken or shrimp. Other options are remoulade shrimp salad ($10.95) and tuna or chicken salads ($7.99).
Wraps ($6.95) filled with shrimp or chicken and your choice of toppings are a great choice with one of Paul’s sides, ranging from potato salad to sweet potato fries to mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce.
You can’t leave Paul’s without stopping by the bakery to select a few treats for the drive home. I’m not exaggerating when I say this bakery offers more varieties of petit fours, cupcakes, pies, cakes, cookies, cheesecakes and other specialty dessert items than almost any bakery I’ve ever seen. At last count, close to 50 varieties of pie were on the menu. The real dilemma is deciding which one to sample, making a return trip almost a necessity.
If you visit:
Where: 1 Sycamore Road, Sweet A, Picayune
Phone: 601-798-7457; toll free: 800-669-5180
Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday; open 9 am to 6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Lunch is served 11 am to 2 pm; coffee and other beverages served all day.
Visit http://www.paulspastry.com for more information.