In college I helped lead a co-ed flag football team and am thrilled my alma matter, the University of Missouri, joined the SEC. Each year at work, I organize an NFL play-off bracket contest and celebration pot-luck. Normally I’m the commissioner for a girls only fantasy football league titled Girls Playing the Field (we took a break this year). Imagine my excitement when I heard this.
The Mangia Bene catering company, owners behind Sal and Mookie’s, Broad Street Bakery and Bravo!, is having a contest for $1000 worth of Super Bowl party food. A never-ending sucker for a bargain, awhile back I signed-up to receive their coupons and was automatically registered for this contest. Little did I know until recently, I actually qualified at random as one of ten finalists!
How to Help
Starting today and ending at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, I need as many votes as possible at this survey link. Please vote only once. This is how you can help:
* Click the survey link and vote for me – I’m listed first and my name is Erin
* Spread the word by using one of the Sharing buttons below (Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit)
* Bribe your friends with cookies to do the same (it’s the path I like to take most often, cookie bribery)
To my loyal readers and random internet users, if I prevail in this contest then I will post self-deprecating, chubby childhood photos for your viewing pleasure. People are regularly doubtful that I went through a rather round period from fifth to eighth grade. These photos exist and I’m willing to prove it.
I apologize now for the upcoming promotion of this throughout the week and as always, thank you for reading. In the wise words of Hank Williams, Jr. – let’s get ready for some football!
Jackson has a large appetite just waiting to be satisfied.
This past weekend Appetite for Jackson was the buzz around town. It was a free event featuring $5 plates from local restaurants, craft beer and area bands – a trifecta of fun benefiting the Craig Noone scholarship. And Andrew Zimmern was going to be there. Needless to say, I was pumped!
A Travel Channel television host and food personality, Andrew Zimmern has made a name for himself eating the bizarre and unknown, among other ventures. He was in town filming for a future show (Appetite for Life – I believe), getting a full taste of the South. My closest brush with his celebrity was being able to take a photo and observe as he expertly worked the crowd.
Entering the beautiful Art Garden at the Mississippi Museum of Art, the party was in full swing at four in the afternoon.
The event had drawn a remarkably large crowd on a somewhat blustery January day. There were extremely long lines (Disney World worthy) everywhere, for everything. I stood in three lines before giving up due to the wait and discovery they had run out of food. A long night laid ahead because after just over two hours vendors were running out of food left and right, they had at least four hours to go.
My husband wandered off in search of food and returned triumphantly holding two containers of sushi from the Wasabi Sushi and Bar booth. He rescued me from a minor hunger meltdown. I don’t know if it was the desperation or the eight hours since my last meal talking, but the sushi was wonderful.
Trying to hold out for the music but growing colder as the sun crept toward the horizon, we ended up walking to The Elite.
I love everything about this event and hope it returns next year with a vengeance, plus a few improvements. I’m no professional planner but a small flyer of the vendor booth layout, short line dividers, clearer details on the website and more food (and drink) would be extremely beneficial. Being the inaugural year, it has room to evolve. (I’d help!)
I’ve always been surprised at how few events are held downtown, despite the fact that Jackson is the biggest city in the state and the capital. Observing the high turn out and enthusiasm from this event alone, it’s clear the desire exists. Let’s hope Appetite for Jackson returns bigger and better next year, our stomachs are counting on it.
Appetite for Jackson
Anyone who greets me with with a freshly baked cookie is a friend for life.
The Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast innkeepers, Joe and Bebe, must have a lot of friends because that’s exactly how our stay began.
Having procrastinated on securing accommodations until after the holidays were over, I was in a panic because our annual mother/daughter New Orleans trip was two weeks away and nearly every establishment I checked was booked. Being new to the points/travel game, I started searching chain hotels in the French Quarter but found none less than $300 a night. Then I tried low balling bids on Priceline with no success.
Unwilling and unable to shell out a thousand dollars for a hotel, I focused my search on B&Bs. I remembered our positive stay at the Royal Street Courtyard Bed and Breakfast but unfortunately they were full. Luckily after combing through Tripadvisor, I came across a thread on New Orleans B&B and Inns and jotted down a list of possibilities after reading user reviews.
Comparing location, availability, amenities and cost narrowed my options to the Avenue Inn and Sully Mansion. They both had available rooms with two beds. Ready to ensure we had a place to stay and always looking for a deal, I was intrigued by the “Book it Now” offer under the Special Deals link on the Avenue Inn website. One short call later and we had a room.
I drove in Friday afternoon, picked my my mom from the airport and headed to Saint Charles in search of the Avenue Inn. Bebe called us a couple times to confirm our arrival and make sure we weren’t lost. There is no sign labeling the inn but it’s right next door to a New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Co. restaurant.
During check-in, that’s when we were handed two warm, chocolate chip cookies and listened to Joe explain the house parameters. I felt bad for rushing him through his spiel, but we had reservations for Boucherie.
We stayed on the second floor in room #11 which has two double beds, a table, an armoire, vanity mirror and dresser, private bath, television, two walls of windows and plenty of space. The wireless internet is kind of slow, but it sufficed for being free.
The Avenue Inn is a great place to stay in New Orleans for many reasons, here are some of the highlights:
In a previous life Joe and Bebe have years of corporate hospitality service behind them, which has complimented the ten or so years of running the B&B. Read about them on the website.
At one point Joe mentioned that a majority of the general public doesn’t even consider B&Bs when traveling, which I believe due to the number of rooms open when looking online. So, I kind of want to keep this a secret but our visit was wonderful and I highly recommend staying at the Avenue Inn.
Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast
4125 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115
Toll Free 1-800-490-8542
Santa better get out his stretchy pants.
In the spirit of the holidays, I
demanded suggested we have a Christmas Cookie Exchange at my office.
You get to taste a large variety of cookies, take home a plateful for later and pick up a new recipe or two along the way. Some people aren’t experienced or frequent bakers, so I encouraged participation over baking from scratch because I would rather more people join the fun.
Having never organized a cookie exchange before, here are tips I learned:
My friends were kind enough to humor me, like they often do, and we had a fabulous cookie showcase to behold. Below are listed and pictured the ten cookies, including the recipe used unless otherwise noted.
1. Amygdalota (Greek Almond Cookies): Elly Says Opa
3. Cranberry Cookies: Cooks.com
6. Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies: RecipeLand.com
7. Rolo Pretzel Turtles: Steamy Kitchen
8. Otis Spunkmeyer’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: Food.com
9. Mini Chocolate Whoopie Pies: Eat Drink Pretty
These were my contribution and not only were they adorable, but also very easy to make. Unlike the three day hoopla it took for Cake Balls, these were quite simple and fun. Did I also mention adorable?
10. Chocolate Squares
This recipe was written on an index card (love that), but this Gooey Butter Cake recipe from AllRecipes.com is similar if you use a chocolate cake mix. They arrived after the above photo was taken but are pictured below.
I’ve been deemed unofficial baker for every event we’ve attended or will go to this month. Although it’s a flattering responsibility, I’m busy cooking, planning, partying or exercising so I can keep eating these baked goods.
Meanwhile, there have been a handful of changes in the Jackson restaurant scene. I tried to compile most of what I can think of below. If you know of any other new restaurants or changes, just let me know and I will add it to the list.
No, I’m not taking about NKOTB the boy band heartthrobs of the early 90s. The following restaurants are new-to-fairly-new establishments in the Jackson metro area.
3716 I-55 N
Jackson, MS 39211
in LeFleur’s Gallery
4800 N I-55, Suite 6B/7A
Jackson, MS 39211
The Copper Iris
115 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39201
2947 Old Canton Road, Suite G
Jackson, MS 39216
Cosmopolitan Cafe on Facebook
1029 Highway 51, Suite D&E
Madison, MS 39110
1100 John R. Lynch St., Suite 6A
Jackson, MS 39042
Wasabi Sushi and Bar
100 E. Capitol Street, Suite 105
Jacksno, MS 39201
These restaurants have changed addresses or opened a new location in the recent months.
AJ’s on the Lake
223 Ridge Way
Flowood, MS 39232
They are now across the street from their old location on Poplar Street in Belhaven.
925 E. Fortification Street
Between Kat’s Wine Cellar and Fenian’s Irish Pub
Steve’s Uptown Café and Bakery
200 S. Lamar Street
City Center, Downtown Jackson, MS
6961 Old Canton Road
Ridgeland, MS 39157