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Root-Beer Man
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2017/10/14 21:38:06 (permalink)

Into The Eye Of The Storm

Well, this last week was our fall break road trip. This year we decided to skip going to OBX and went with a roadtrip to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We left on Saturday morning, headed for Nashville and points south, despite the looming presence of Hurricane Nate heading for a landing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We made it to our lunch destination in Nashville with no problems, but did have a wait of about an hour or so to get a table. Boy, is the Loveless Cafe a crowded venue. It was well worth the wait, though. Gave me time to peruse their little shop and buy a bag of grits for future use.

 
I was really impressed with the biscuits. So light and soft and oh, so delicious!
 

 
It was difficult to choose what to eat, so I went with my favourite. Country Fried Steak. Yes. The Loveless Cafe serves Country Fried Steak and calls it that, (not Chicken Fried Steak). The creamy white gravy is really good, too, as were the mashed potatoes and the greens. The steak is pounded out quite thin and was very tender. A real winner.
 

 
The rest of the family had a Honey BBQ'd Chicken that tasted quite nice.
 

 
The Loveless was well worth the stop and I'd go back again in a heartbeat.
 
Our next run took us to our overnight stay in Huntsville and a later dinner at Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, AL. Since we had eaten rather late at Loveless we weren't very hungry so we settled for a sampler plate of chicken, brisket and pulled pork. Plus desserts. As always the meats were really good. The pulled pork was a winner and the chicken was a close runner up. Nice and juicy. The pies were winners, too. The Lemon Ice Box pie was really good, but the meringue was a bit much for me.

 

 


 
Next up...into the hurricane and on the Coast.
 
#1

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    leethebard
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/14 22:01:14 (permalink)
    Oh that food looks amazing. That plate of biscuits looks perfect!
     
    #2
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/14 22:12:21 (permalink)
    leethebard
    Oh that food looks amazing. That plate of biscuits looks perfect!
     


    They tasted perfect, too. I don't recall ever having had a biscuit anywhere else that was quite as good.
    #3
    phlmaestro
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/14 22:14:07 (permalink)
    Great start. My wife and I loved our meal at the Loveless Café when we were in Nashville a couple years ago.
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    mar52
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/14 23:49:33 (permalink)
    So far I'd like to copy your trip.  Both are on my list and I'll probably never get to them.  That sample plate is calling me!  Great report so far.  Looking forward to more!
    #5
    IndianaPete
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 09:00:05 (permalink)
    Nice report.  I looked at the first pic before reading and thought "hey that looks like the Loveless Cafe!".  Big Bob's on my list now.
    It looks like you're headed down I-65 to Mobile and then over.  A couple weeks ago I saw on TV the Blowfly Inn in Gulfport, MS, looked interesting -- crab cake stuffed flounder, gumbo.
    #6
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 11:51:43 (permalink)
    IndianaPete
    Nice report.  I looked at the first pic before reading and thought "hey that looks like the Loveless Cafe!".  Big Bob's on my list now.
    It looks like you're headed down I-65 to Mobile and then over.  A couple weeks ago I saw on TV the Blowfly Inn in Gulfport, MS, looked interesting -- crab cake stuffed flounder, gumbo.


    We skipped going the Mobile route, since that's where the hurricane was centered for the most part. We went on I20 to Birmingham and Meridian, MS and then took I59 to Hattiesburg and HWY 49 straight to Gulfport. That let us skirt the western edge of the storm an is our usual route to the coast.
    #7
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 12:24:54 (permalink)
    The next morning we awoke to the rain from the already breaking apart hurricane Nate. Wanting to get a start on the day we went off and had breakfast at a nearby Cracker Barrel and then hit the road. Driving was an adventure, as we headed to Birmingham. It was driving rain all the way there. Our first planned stop was to get some pie at Bob Syke's in Bessemer, AL. Sadly, when we arrived they were closed. We were Traveling Man'd. So, we got back on the road and headed for Gulfport, not knowing what the food situation would be, given the hurricane's proximity.
    When we arrived in Gulfport, I was happy to see clear skies and no damage to the city. The local Waffle House was also opened and serving food, even though their parking lot was empty. We checked into our hotel and headed out to find some food at our favourite restaurant on the beach, The White Cap. Sadly, they were closed due to the storm so we drove a bit further on and found a relatively new place. Felix's Oyster Bar is a satellite restaurant of the well known one in New Orleans (across from the Acme Oyster House). They were open and doing a good business, so we gave them a try, since so many other places were still closed. It was a good choice.
     
    My daughter and I split a dozen oysters on the half shell and they were some of the biggest, meatiest oysters I've had in a long time. Fresh from the Gulf and very tasty. We were both happy.

     

     

     
     
    Those were followed up with fried shrimp platters for myself and my wife. Great shrimp. The hush puppies were laced with corn and jalapenos. Not a favourite, but not too bad.
     

     
    My wife also tried their BBQ shrimp app. It was not a winner and really tasted like shrimp in a gumbo base, rather than the classic NOLA BBQ shrimp in butter sauce. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't BBQ shrimp.
     

     
    My son had the fried catfish plate and it was really piled on. Very tasty, but really a lot of fish.
     

     
    My daughter decided on grilled ahi and was disappointed that it was heavily spiced, (she has a really low tolerance for spicy heat). Live and learn.

     
    After dinner we took a walk along the beach and admired the lights of the city along Hwy 90.
     
    The next morning, (after sleeping in) it was up and out to head for NOLA. We stopped in, at daughters pleading to the local Krispy Kreme for breakfast and coffee (I must admit they do make a good cup of coffee and the donuts aren't bad, either). We had to make a stop in Kiln, MS for my beer judge wife to visit the folks at Lazy Magnolia Brewing. They've got a nice setup and even do some nice food for a brewery. They are a bit off I-10, but well worth the stop if you want to get a tasty adult beverage or some onion soup in a big, handcrafted bowl.



     
    Next up...New Orleans.
     
     
     
    #8
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 12:31:35 (permalink)
    Pie & Biscuits...what a one, two punch...love it!  
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    IndianaPete
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 12:35:15 (permalink)
    Done that route, born in Hattiesburg.
    As an historical aside, did you know that Hwy49 was designated to be an interstate route, but state govt said no?  With limited access, farmers in the area objected.
     
    Our family traveled to the Jackson, MS area and the coast dozens of times over the years.  We started before interstates and then couldn't decide on the best route:
    (1)  I-65 to Nashville, I-40 to Memphis, I-55 to Jackson
    (2)  I-65 to Birmingham, then I-20 to Jackson
    (3)  I-70 to Illinois, down I-57, Arkansas, Memphis, I-55.
    (4)  I-65 to Mobile.
    It turns out that these 4 routes are almost identical in distance, even the one to Mobile since it's pretty much a straight shot.
    After 60 years of this, I found that (3) is the fastest, presumably due to missing all major cities (I live on west side of Indy), except for about 10 minutes thru the corner of Memphis.  I include this aside since you're a fellow Hoosier.
     
    Looking forward to more pics!
     
     
    #10
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 12:46:13 (permalink)
    IndianaPete
    Done that route, born in Hattiesburg.
    As an historical aside, did you know that Hwy49 was designated to be an interstate route, but state govt said no?  With limited access, farmers in the area objected.
     
    Our family traveled to the Jackson, MS area and the coast dozens of times over the years.  We started before interstates and then couldn't decide on the best route:
    (1)  I-65 to Nashville, I-40 to Memphis, I-55 to Jackson
    (2)  I-65 to Birmingham, then I-20 to Jackson
    (3)  I-70 to Illinois, down I-57, Arkansas, Memphis, I-55.
    (4)  I-65 to Mobile.
    It turns out that these 4 routes are almost identical in distance, even the one to Mobile since it's pretty much a straight shot.
    After 60 years of this, I found that (3) is the fastest, presumably due to missing all major cities (I live on west side of Indy), except for about 10 minutes thru the corner of Memphis.  I include this aside since you're a fellow Hoosier.
     
    Looking forward to more pics!
     
     


    I've traveled route 3 before. Not a favourite of ours. I definitely prefer going the Nashville route. Waze suggested that this go around, but we ignored it and went the Nashville/Louisville/Indy route.
    I do remember that 49 was supposed to an interstate. I remember, as a kid traveling from Gulfport to my hometown of Meridian all the time and Hattiesburg was always under construction. Had to detour by and through the college all the time. I remember having to take Hwy 11 to Hattiesburg, before 59 was completed. Man, that dates me.
    #11
    phlmaestro
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 14:48:55 (permalink)
    Those fried shrimp look fantastic.
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    leethebard
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 16:16:54 (permalink)
    Nice looking catfish.
     
    #13
    tmiles
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 16:26:26 (permalink)
    Nice pictures of true Roadfood. It looked great! Thanks for posting!
    #14
    will_work_4_bbq
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/15 18:59:30 (permalink)
    Everything looks wonderful!  Hate that you missed Bob Sykes...they are, indeed, closed on Sundays.
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    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/16 17:56:19 (permalink)
    After the stop at Lazy Magnolia Brewing we hit the road for New Orleans and arrived about an hour later. We made our way to our usual hotel, The Hotel Dauphine Orleans and checked in. The afternoon was spent wandering the Quarter, seeing the sights and getting rained on. All in all not a bad afternoon. We went back out after making our way back to dry off and made a few purchases (some Aunt Sally's Pralines, some hot sauce and a few other things not available outside the South. What I'm going to do with the yummy Raspberry Chipotle Tabasco Sauce is still up in the air, but it is really tasty).
     

     

     

     
    All the walking about had managed to work up a good appetite so we headed for one of our favourite spots in the Quarter, Remoulade on Bourbon Street. While the restaurant was open Bourbon Street was all torn up with ongoing construction that stretched for blocks. Fortunately, they left the sidewalks open.
     

     
    Once again, my daughter and I split a dozen oysters on the half shell. They were smaller than the previous nights offerings from Felix's but were tasty nonetheless.
     

     
    My wife and son both got an order of Shrimp Arnaud, (Gulf Shrimp in Arnaud's nicely spiced remoulade sauce. A nice horseradish based sauce).
     

     
    For an entree' I went with the stuffed crab and a side of onion rings. The crab was nice and light and chock full of crab. Very flavourful and an excellent rendition of the recipe. The onion rings were the best I've ever had and, unusually, I finished all of them. I highly recommend them if you need a side at Remoulade.
     

     
    My wife went with the main reason we came to Remoulade, the BBQ Shrimp. These are a winner in any terms and were really good, from the heads to the tails. So very tasty!
     

     
    My son had their rendition of the classic Muffaletta and was really pleased with it. Not pictured is my daughters Roast Beef Po' Boy which she really liked, too.
     

     
    Dinner was, as usual at Remoulade, a winner. We decided to follow it up with something sweet, so we ventured over to Royale and visited a sweets shop we'd never been to, Sucré. What a nice little place! They sell hand crafted candies, pastries, marshmallows and gelato. We were there for the gelato and they had a nice array to choose from. I went with the cafe au lait and it was delicious. We came back on our last day and purchased some drinking chocolate and marshmallows. The Tahitian Vanilla marshmallows are wonderful and have a nice homemade taste to them. Avoid the salted caramel. Not tasty in a good way at all.
     

     

     

     

     

     
    We went past an art gallery on the way back to our hotel and I was taken with the subjects of the artist. Wish I'd had the kind of money they were asking for, I would have bought one.
     

     

     
    Thus ends Day 1 of our short stay in New Orleans.
    post edited by Root-Beer Man - 2017/10/16 17:59:14
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    will_work_4_bbq
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/16 20:27:24 (permalink)
    Wow!  It just keeps getting better!
    #17
    leethebard
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/17 04:37:20 (permalink)
    Enjoying this report......
    #18
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/17 07:42:23 (permalink)
    Your NO selections really made me hungry!  Love all of them!
    #19
    Wintahaba
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/17 13:21:10 (permalink)
    SO far...so GREAT...Thanks.
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    mar52
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/17 22:32:06 (permalink)
    I've stayed at The Hotel Dauphine.  As I was checking in, everyone else seemed to be checking out.   I remember looking out of my room into the courtyard as a hurricane's outer bands were hitting.
     
    Your food pictures are outstanding.  I just love the food and quirky art of New Orleans.  I'd also buy one of those dogs if I were able.  The trick is to first hit a big jackpot at Harrah's and leave Harrah's with it.
     
    You're doing the town right!  I'd love to try Arnaud's shrimp in remoulade sauce.  The picture is quite inviting.
    #21
    rumaki
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/18 17:23:38 (permalink)
    I visited Sucre when I was in New Orleans last February. Absolutely superb hand-crafted macarons.  I especially loved the pistachio.
     
    That said, I have to say that the shop itself had an insect problem.  There were small flying insects (not fruitflies and not gnats) clustering around the chocolates in the display cases.  So we passed on them. 
     
     
    #22
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/19 14:57:56 (permalink)
    The next morning we slept in a bit then headed to breakfast at the Cafe Du Monde. The weather was quite warm already, almost hot enough to make me want a frozen cafe au lait. We got orders of beigents all around and I had a large hot cafe au lait. As always the pastries and coffee were nuclear, necessitating much blowing and waiting. Everything was quite good, as usual.
     

     

     
    I've always liked the view of Jackson Square from the rise.
     

     
    After our visit to the Cafe', we made our way over to the Aquarium of the America's. It's always been a place we and the kids have loved to visit on our visits to NOLA. It's not the biggest aquarium around, but it is a really nice one, even if their prices have gotten kind of high.
     

     


     








     
    After spending the morning at the aquarium, we decided we needed some ice cream, so we took off for Creole Creamery, a truly outstanding ice cream emporium.
    We all went with the $5 sampler and everyone got a good variety of flavours. I went with the Creole Cream Cheese, Black and Gold, Red Velvet Cake and Cafe Au Lait. There wasn't a bad flavour in the bunch. The Red Velvet was a pretty mild flavour, but the Black and Gold was chock full of tasty goodness and the Cream Cheese was really tasty. I've never had a bad, or even mediocre ice cream here. It's well worth a visit on a hot afternoon!
     

     


     

     
    After our ice cream foray, we popped over a 1/2 block to Zarra's grocery and I picked up a good amount of Camellia peas and beans to take back to Indiana. They were a lot cheaper than buying online and worth the trip.
     
    Supper that evening was at the Acme Oyster House. Despite the line outside we only waited about 10 minutes for a table. That's a record. Sorry, in advance for the photo's. The lighting inside is dominated by red neon.
    My daughter and I split yet another dozen oysters, (why would you not get oysters at an oyster house?) and these were better than a bakers dozen. Fresh and meaty, these were some of the best of the trip.
     



     
    Mt entree' this night was the fried Gulf shrimp. These were perfectly fried and oh, so good. I got a cup of red beans and rice and hush puppies for sides. No complaints about any of them. Their red beans and rice are some of the best in the city.

     
    Dessert was probably the real reason we came back. Acme Oyster Houses Pecan Cobbler is out of this world good. My only wish is that they'd use a better ice cream, as they used to. Regardless, it was really good.
     

     
    Next morning, our last in NOLA, we got up and ran out to the Cafe' Beignet over on Royale for breakfast. My daughter and I had the beignets and a cafe au lait. My son had a nice plate of French Toast and my wife had yogurt. The beignets were OK, not as good as Cafe DuMonde, but passable. The coffee was OK, too. All in all, I prefer DuMonde's product.
     



     
    After a quick trip around the corner to Sucré to pick a few things up, it was back to the hotel to check out and head for our next stop on our trip, Memphis.
    post edited by Root-Beer Man - 2017/10/19 17:37:17
    #23
    scrumptiouschef
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/19 22:15:24 (permalink)
    Hate that you didn't get to run by Rampart Food Store for the best under the radar catfish po boy in the entire city.
    #24
    rumaki
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/20 09:22:40 (permalink)
    I like Cafe Beignet a lot.  I prefer it to Cafe du Monde because 1) it's closer to the Hotel Monteleone, where I usually stay; 2) they have resident cats; and 3) it's less likely to be crowded (at least in my experience).  I have found the beignets to be just fine; I'm not a coffee drinker, so that's not a consideration for me. 
     
     
    #25
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/20 14:27:14 (permalink)
    That shrimp at Acme looks great!
     
    Root-Beer Man


    And here's Chris Christie, checking on illegal bridge closures back home...
    #26
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/21 18:30:15 (permalink)
    After breakfast we checked out and headed north for Memphis. Lunch was just a few gas station snacks along the way, since there really wasn't much between NOLA and Memphis. We got checked into our suite at the Holiday Inn at Memphis University, (a really good hotel and quite affordable) and prepared for dinner. Last time we tried to eat at Central Barbecue there were lines outside the building. This time we had no problems getting in, getting a table and having their 'Que.


     
    My wife and daughter had the 1/2 slab rib plate and my son had the brisket. I had the Combo Plate Ribs, with pulled pork and brisket, sided with beans and greens. The pulled pork was great. Light and tasty, it went really well with their mustard sauce. I recommend it highly! The brisket was no great shakes and was a bit tough. Not very flavourful, either. The ribs were nice and meaty and well smoked. I got them half and half (half dry/half sauced). The only issue I really had with the ribs, which were pretty good, was that their rub was far too hot on the spicy scale. It certainly triggered my daughter's spice reflex. Relying on heat rather than a usual Memphis style rub is a bit of a failing, for me. They were good ribs, mind you, just too far into the heat range. There are better ribs in Memphis. I'm glad we got to try Central BBQ, but it's a one and off for me. The beans and greens were really great, though! I recommend them!
     

     
    Next day, after coffee, hot chocolates and pastries at a nearby Starbucks (sorry, WJ. We're fans) it was off to the zoo. We had missed the zoo in NOLA but my wife and I wouldn't miss our childhood favourite zoo, this time, (she's from Memphis and I used to live up the road in Millington).
     










     
    Lunch today was a quick stop at a Sonic for a few appetisers and some drinks. Dinner was going to be something I'd been wanting for a few years now. A trip to Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken for their chicken, (originally seen on an episode of Triple D). Last time we'd tried to eat there we arrived just a tad too late. This time we had plenty of time. We got there about 2 hours before closing time and the place was pretty empty, except for a couple from Georgia (the husband had a fried bologna sandwich with their sauce and he was raving about how good it was! That was a good sign!). I ordered the 3 piece (mixed white and dark) with potato salad. My son ordered a huge plate of wings, came on 2 plates) and my daughter got a burger (which she really liked). My wife had some plain chicken which was really good, she kept dipping it in the sauce on my plate, LOL) My son and I both got our chicken dipped in their sauce, mild (next time I'll do the Hot, though). The sauce was fantastic. Sweet and vinegary with a beautiful hint of heat. It was addicting in the extreme. The chicken was fried to perfection. Almost no breading on it at all, just a dusting. The skin, even under the sauce, was crispy and the meat on all the pieces was wonderfully moist and perfectly done. This chicken blows Gus's out of the water. There's no comparison. I'll definitely be going back to Uncle Lou's next time I'm in Memphis. The potato salad was also very good with a nice, mustard tang. Avoid the desserts, though. They weren't very good. Apparently, they spend all their considerable talent on the chicken. The strawberry shortcake and banana pudding were not very good. The sweet tea was well done, though. I really liked it.


     
    And that's that. We ended our visit to Memphis on a true high note. The next morning we dropped into Starbucks again and hit the road for home. We had a very nice Fall Break vacation eating in some of our favourite places, (and one new awesome place). Can't wait to get back to Uncle Lou's though. I'm still craving that chicken!
     
    #27
    scrumptiouschef
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/21 22:56:12 (permalink)
    Great report. Plenty good eats in Memphis. Next time try Payne's 1762 Lamar Ave, Memphis, TN 38114
    #28
    ChrisOC
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/22 09:46:28 (permalink)
    Great report, wonderful pictures! 
    #29
    Root-Beer Man
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    Re: Into The Eye Of The Storm 2017/10/22 11:49:13 (permalink)
    scrumptiouschef
    Great report. Plenty good eats in Memphis. Next time try Payne's 1762 Lamar Ave, Memphis, TN 38114


    If we had had an extra day in Memphis Payne's would have likely been our next stop. We went to Central because we had not been able to get in there a couple of years ago. We had also talked about Interstate, as a back up. Next time, perhaps.
    #30
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