Exploring Southern Wines in Oxford

wine photo danny tomoBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Going local is one of the hottest trends in the world of food and drinks, and what better way to accompany that plate of Mississippi food than with a good Southern wine? While the climate in much of the South is not conducive to the growing of vinifera grapes, there are some exceptions in neighboring states, and, if one likes muscadine wine, that bottle can even be from Mississippi. Old South Winery, established in Natchez in 1979 is the state’s sole winery, using exclusively Mississippi muscadine grapes, and it is readily available for purchase in Oxford.

Because of Mississippi’s alcohol laws, stores are limited in what they can sell to whatever the State warehouse has on offer, but there is still a fair amount of variety to be had. The following is a list of Oxford package stores that sell wine produced in the South:

Stores carrying Old South only: Leonardo’s Wine and Spirits, The Whiskey Still, Kiamie’s, West Jackson Wine and Spirits, CM Package Store, and P.J.’s Wine and Liquor.

Poppa’s Wine and Spirits has a rather impressive collection of Southern wines that includes Old South, Ozan (Calera, Alabama), Post (Altus, Arkansas), Vizzini Farms (Calera, Alabama – their “Rebel Red” and “Rebel White” feature a character who looks suspiciously similar to a certain mascot who once frequented Vaught-Hemingway), and Biltmore Estates (Asheville, North Carolina). They also were quick to claim Krutz Family Cellars wines of the Russian River Valley, California as a “Southern” wine in their book, despite its geographic provenance, as the three brothers who run this winery are all Ole Miss alums.

Star Package Store also has a similarly impressive collection, carrying Post, Ozan, and Vizzini wines, as well as blackberry wine from St. James Winery in St. James, Missouri (which qualifies as Southern depending on which map you prefer).

Rebel Wine and Spirits has recently expanded its wine selection and has not neglected its Southern heritage, carrying Old South, Post, and Biltmore Estates, with Vizzini wines currently on back order.

The fairly new package store, Magnolia Wine and Spirits does not carry any Southern wines in their regular stock, but helpfully offered to order anything they could get from the State warehouse.

One final note: I did not count the now relatively easy to find Tula Wines of the Oxford Wine Company as Southern since they are actually California wines. Even so, it is hard to pass up a bottle that has the image of the Lafayette County courthouse right on the label.

 

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

England Dan’s Not Closing

england dansYou may have noticed the lights out at England Dan’s over the last week or so, but co-owner Mike Salts assured EatingOxford.com yesterday that the restaurant will not be closing.

Due to an undisclosed medical emergency, Salts says he has been in the hospital since November 9.

A sign on the door yesterday indicated that the restaurant would be reopening under new management today with updated hours Wednesday through Saturday 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

We all wish Mike a speedy recovery.

–Liz

 

 

Oxford Thanksgiving: Eaten Out or Catered In

thanksgiving postEvery year around this time I receive several emails from folks looking for a place to dine out on Thanksgiving.

More and more people either don’t want to deal with the mess of cooking at home, or they’re coming to visit their children who live in the dorms at Ole Miss and they want to be able to take them out to eat for the holiday.

This year, we also have the Egg Bowl on the same weekend as Thanksgiving, meaning many people will be traveling and not wanting to shop for all of the Thanksgiving fixings.

Since most restaurants in Oxford close for the holidays, I usually end up recommending that visitors try places such as IHOP, Huddle House, Applebee’s and Cracker Barrel (Batesville), which are usually open on holidays.

However, there are a couple of restaurants on the Square open this year….

Lenora’s will also be open on Thanksgiving, offering a small buffet-style dinner. Call 662-236-1144 for more info.

Locals will be open on Thanksgiving with a turkey and dressing brunch. Call 662-234-9594 for more info.

For those who have a space in town to hold Thanksgiving, but would rather have someone else cook, Oxford offers many catering options if you’d like food prepared ahead of time and ready for the big day.

A few options include:

Rib Cage: smoked turkey, smoked ham, pork loin – p/u by Nov. 26, (662) 238-2929

Honey Bee Bakery: hams, pies, breads – order by Nov. 24, (662) 234-2490

My Michelle’s: ham, turkey, dressing, casseroles, etc. – order by Nov. 24, (662) 236-1512

Queenissippi Catering: roasted Cajun turkey, casseroles, desserts, etc. – order by Nov. 23, (662) 609-5475

Lamar Lounge: smoked turkeys – order by Nov. 24, (662) 513-6197

Rebel Barn: smoked turkeys and hams – order by Nov. 22, (662) 469-6227

Mark Davis: variety of turkeys, brisket, pork loin, dressing, etc. – order by Nov. 21, (662) 801-3939

Lenora’s: A variety of Thanksgiving items; order by Nov. 25, (662) 236-1144

Have I missed a restaurant or catering option? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

–Liz

 

Sno Biz Disappearance

credit: oxford citizen

credit: oxford citizen

Did you notice Sno Biz disappear this week?

Eating Oxford reader Shannon Lewis Kellenberger thought it was torn down, so I did a bit of investigating and found a story about it in the Oxford Citizen.

According to the Oxford Citizen, Sno Biz will be moving from the spot it has inhabited for more than two decades in order to make room for an Auto Zone. Sno Biz owner John Sherman told the paper that he’ll be relocating the Sno Biz hut to the shopping center across the street from Beacon in the spring after a few renovations. (See the full story here.)

It will certainly be strange to drive down University Avenue and not see the Sno Biz, but the new location should provide ample parking and lots of room for outdoor seating.

Let me know in the comments what you think about the move and some of your favorite memories from Sno Biz over the years.

–Liz

(PHOTO CREDIT: Oxford Citizen)

Central BBQ Now Serving Oxford

central-BBQ-food-truckCentral BBQ, a staple in the Memphis barbecue scene for 13 years, is now serving its famous barbecue to Oxford via its food truck on Ole Miss football game weekends, according to truck manager Mark Goldsmith.

“Our slow-smoked Memphis-style BBQ, house made seasonings and sauces have been a huge success in Memphis and we hope Oxford will enjoy it just as much as Memphis does,” says Goldsmith.

On Ole Miss game day weekends, the Truck parks at 400 S. Lamar, in the parking lot near Holli’s Sweet Tooth, and opens Friday nights from 9:00 p.m. until around 2:00 a.m. Saturdays it opens for tailgate pick-up orders and lunch straight through until the bars close or they sell out. Contact Goldsmith directly for tailgate orders at truck@cbqmemphis.com or 901-240-8954.

 

Oxford’s Favorite Server: Judy Chrestman Pettit

A couple of week’s ago EatingOxford.com asked readers who they thought was the best server in town, and we received an overwhelming response.

judy at beaconOne of the names that stood out was Judy Chrestman Pettit, who has been a server at Beacon for 18 years!

When asked how she makes customers feel welcome and appreciated, Pettit told EatingOxford.com, “I get to know my customers by name. They feel like part of my family,” she says. “The customers feel at home because they can feel the love in the cooking and in the air!”

Pettit says she enjoys being a server in Oxford because she gets to provide a good experience for her customers, and says she’s never thought of working anywhere else but the Beacon. “I love the customers and my coworkers so I’ve never wanted to be a server anywhere else,” she says.

Her advice for server’s just starting out? “Enjoy what you’re doing!”

Be sure to congratulate Judy the next time you visit her at Oxford’s Beacon!

–Liz

 

 

 

Winner List – Oxford’s Best Eats 2014

SAMSUNG

A few months ago, we asked EatingOxford.com readers to participate in a 40-question survey to help choose the best in Oxford’s restaurant scene (best burger, catfish, sandwich, shrimp & grits, chef, customer service and more).

The votes have been tallied and the winners are listed below. In addition to finding the list here, you can locate it easily at any time via the “Oxford’s Best Eats” page on EatingOxford.com.

We hope this will inspire you to explore some new restaurants in Oxford; let us know your thoughts about the winner selection in the comments section below.

–Liz

 

Newk’s Eatery

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  • Best Sandwich
  • Best Soup
  • Best Salad
  • Best for Healthy Eating

My Michelle’s

my michelle

  • Best Catering/Tailgating

Ajax Diner

  • Best Plate Lunch
  • Best Vegetarian Selection
  • Best Country Cooking

Snackbar

  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant for a Date

Boure

  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Restaurant for Hanging with Friends
  • Best Restaurant for a Business Meeting

Handy Andy

  • Best Burger
  • Best Barbecue

Oxford Grillehouse

  • Best Steaks

Ember’s

  • Best Biscuits

Tre Amici

  • Best Italian

Soulshine Pizza Factory

  • Best Pizza

Tequila’s

  • Best Mexican

Jinsei

  • Best Sushi

Rice & Spice

  • Best Asian

Bottletree Bakery

  • Best Bakery

Big Bad Breakfast

  • Best Breakfast
  • Best Brunch

Popeye’s

  • Best Fried Chicken

John Currence

  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurateur

Buffalo Wild Wings

  • Best Wings

High Point Coffee

  • Best Coffee

Ya Ya’s

  • Best Frozen Yogurt

City Grocery

  • Best Shrimp & Grits
  • Best Bartender (Chip Moore)
  • Best Bar

Oxford City Farmer’s Market (loop)

  • Best Farmer’s Market

Chick-fil-A

  • Best Fast Food

Lamar Lounge

  • Best Fries

McAlister’s

  • Best Sweet/Unsweet Tea

Chevron 4-Corners chicken on a stick

  • Best Late-Night Snack

Taylor Grocery

  • Best Catfish

 

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Attention restaurant winners: If any of you still need winner certificates, please contact Liz@EatingOxford.com.

 

 

 

All is New Again at Rooster’s Blues House

roosters signIf you haven’t been to Rooster’s Blues House lately, you haven’t been.

A new kitchen, new menu, new chef (Jeff Robertson), and new specials are all beckoning new and seasoned customers up those familiar wooden steps and onto the balcony of Rooster’s Blues House at 114 Courthouse Square.

Owner Scott Michael says that the newly condensed menu focuses on three amazing burgers, wings, smoked barbecue nachos and Rotel house fries. “Our Coldwater River burger is a hefty 16 ounces of meat topped with bacon, jalapenos, Rotel, and homemade barbecue sauce,” says Michael. “We want people to know they can come here for burgers, fries and wings and find the best prices on The Square.”roosters menu

And speaking of great prices, every Tuesday night, Rooster’s Blues House offers every item on its menu for only $5, and Monday nights have become famous for 25 cent wings and $3 pitchers of beer.

Rooster’s regularly hosts live music on the weekends and tunes into the Ole Miss game on the televisions, but did you also know that you can  grab dinner there any night of the week and enjoy lunch on the weekends? The kitchen is open 7 days a week, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday to Sunday the doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the lunch crowd.

Don’t miss happy hour and late-night drink specials, and keep up with the latest food specials and band appearances via the Rooster’s Blues House Facebook and Twitter pages.

–Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Chef Kelly English Opening Restaurant in Oxford

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New Food Truck: Serrano’s Tacos

serrano 2

credit: Serrano’s

If you’ve been on The Square past 11:00 p.m. recently, you may have noticed a new addition to the late-night landscape–a food truck called Serrano’s Tacos serving up Tex-Mex tacos and quesadillas.

Serrano’s Tacos is run by three Ole Miss students: Stuart Monteith, Eric Olsson, Andrew Bracy, and executive chef/general manager Samuel Rubin, who is a third-year culinary student at Johnson & Wales.

EatingOxford.com caught up with chef Samuel Rubin to get the scoop about the food truck, so we’ll all know where to look for it, and what type of food to expect.

Eating Oxford: When and where can we find the truck?

Rubin: The hours vary from weekend to weekend, but will always be posted on our Facebook and Twitter. This weekend we are open from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday. The truck will be parked between Soulshine Pizza Factory and Abner’s.

Eating Oxford: What’s on the menu?

serrano

credit: Serrano’s

Rubin: Our two staples are breakfast tacos, which are made up of eggs, cheese, chorizo, and bacon all rolled up in a warm corn tortilla, and chicken quesadillas with avocado, cilantro, grilled onions, and tomatoes. We also make our own green salsa daily from fresh tomatillos. Everything is made from scratch on the truck. The rest of the menu changes daily and is based on what’s fresh and what the chef can dream up (see a sample menu here).

Eating Oxford: How long have you been running a food truck?

Rubin: This is our first time running a food truck and it was in the works for six months before finally opening at the beginning of October.

Eating Oxford: Many have had to fight the city over food truck regulations. How have you bypassed this?

Rubin: It took us a long time and a lot of permits to finally get our truck on the street.

Eating Oxford: Do you set up in locations other than Oxford?

Rubin: We are only in Oxford at the moment. On game weekends we cater and are open more of the time, but on off weekends our goal is to cater to the late-night crowd.

Have you tried Serrano’s Tacos yet? Let us know about it in the comments!

–Liz

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Tapas Bar

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Menu Spotlight: Proud Larry’s Calzone

proud larrys calzoneYou’re on a first-name basis with the Fat Larry, Penne Goat and Lobster Nachos, but when was the last time you had a calzone at Proud Larry’s?

Calzone choices include Italian sausage, peppers and onion; spinach & mushroom; chicken & pesto; meatball; barbecue chicken; or any of Larry’s specialty pizzas made into a calzone. Most are also chock full of herbed ricotta, mozzarella, marinara and fresh basil.

They’re great alone, or with a friend–such as a Larry the Greek salad.

Try one out; you won’t be disappointed.

–Liz

 

 

Closed: Irie On The Square

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Class Wrap-Up: Flaming Desserts

IMG_8142Flaming Desserts, last Tuesday’s Eating Oxford Institute class held in the downstairs cellar of Locals Restaurant & Bar was fiery and delicious.

Seasoned chef Roland Shnider, with 50 years experience in kitchens abroad and in the U.S., showed attendees how easy it can be to create show-stopping flaming desserts at home–without setting off the smoke alarms.

The class learned how to make Cherries Jubilee, Crepes Suzette, and Bananas Foster, while sipping wine and noshing on appetizers. IMG_8144

With plenty of dessert and ice cream to go around, everyone departed with a sugar high and a new yearning to set fire to desserts.

View more photos from the event below; all photos were taken by the Daily Mississippian’s Giana Leone. Thank you to everyone who came out for a fun evening!

–Liz

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Don’t miss our next class, where you’ll learn to Create Top-Shelf Margaritas and Authentic Guacamole at Casa Mexicana. The class is scheduled for Monday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m.  ($15 admission; limited seating; tickets available here)

–Liz

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Video Interview: Favorite Grove Food

Eating Oxford intern Carter Hach conducted his first Man on The Street interview this past weekend during the first Ole Miss home game, asking the question, “What’s Your Favorite Ole Miss Grove Food?” to Rebel fan Randy Hope.

See what Randy had to say, and keep an eye out for our roving cameras next time you’re eating!

–Liz

 

 

Interested in being an Eating Oxford intern? Contact us at Liz@EatingOxford.com.