New Class: Exploring Sparkling Wines

wine bar class flyerJoin and The Wine Bar for a Tuesday, Dec. 30 class at The Wine Bar!

Event: Exploring Sparkling Wines
Date: Tuesday, December 30
Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Place: The Wine Bar, 401 S. Lamar
Price: $35 per person; includes four sparkling wines, freshly baked bread and a pairing of small appetizers.

Purchase Tickets Here

The Wine Bar is teaming up with to present Exploring Sparkling Wines, just in time for New Year’s Eve festivities.

In this class, you will taste and learn about four (4) sparkling wines, including an American (Domain Michelle extra-dry), Italian (Ecco Domani Prosecco), Spanish (Jaume Serra Crystalino Cava), and French (Dumangin et Fils Champagne Cuvee’ 17).

Reservations: There are only 20 spots available for this class so reserve your space now by purchasing a ticket through the PayPal link here.
Questions? Call The Wine Bar at 662-238-3500 or email Liz Foster at at


Oxford’s After Hours Hangout: Square Pizza

square pizza 2By Danny Toma, staff writer

If you find yourself on the Square on any given Friday or Saturday night, especially during a football weekend, you might imagine you were suddenly dropped into the middle of a big metropolis. The sidewalks are full of people shuffling from bar to bar, and there’s an exciting buzz to all the activity taking place. It feels like a smaller version of Bourbon Street or even Times Square.

But then, when the clock strikes 10:00 p.m., and you feel like getting something to eat, the big city illusion fades away. Nearly every kitchen on the Square closes down for the night. Nearly every kitchen, but not all of them. Staying open every night until 30 minutes after the bars shut down is Square Pizza, which offers a simple menu of pizza (either whole or by the slice), sandwiches (roast beef, turkey-bacon, and meatball), salads, and chips.

Square Pizza owner Tate Moore used to play in the rock-and-roll band Kudzu Kings (and still makes occasional appearances) until he decided he needed, in his words, “a real job.” Originally hailing from southeast Ohio, he decided to open a place that served the kind of thin crust pizza topped with provolone cheese that he grew up with, and which is common to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. He confidently believes that his pizza is the best for 1,000 miles.square pizza 1

Whether because of his late hours or because they share his sentiment, Oxford’s nighttime party goers seem to agree, as Moore says that it’s this crowd that “pays the bills.” But Square Pizza is not just a quick stop for the after-hours crowd. Sporting a cool-funky interior that was inspired by the Hoka, Square Pizza can be a quiet refuge from the outside world during times when the bar crowd hasn’t arrived yet. The pizzeria sports a 1980s Ms. Pacman game in the back and even a fully stocked bookshelf with everything from magazines to crime novels to travel books (I was particularly intrigued by the Victor Book of the Opera, a work last published in 1976). The walls are an encyclopedia of Oxford band posters with some advertising gigs in such long-lost locales as Opal’s and Syd and Harry’s. Framed over the kitchen area is a New Orleans Saints jersey once belonging to Ole Miss legend Deuce McAllister.

square pizza 3Square Pizza is open for lunch every day except for Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., while evening hours are a bit more eccentric. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the restaurant opens at 6:00 p.m., while from Monday to Wednesday, it doesn’t open until 9:00 p.m. In all cases, they are there when the downtown starts to shut down, and if you are one who likes to be at your local watering hole until closing time, you still have a half hour for that late night (or early morning) slice before heading on home. Square Pizza will take a short break between December 24 and 29, but will return to help you ring in the New Year.

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 contributes to on a regular basis.

Lindsey’s Chevron: Gas, Food and Oxford History

lindseys 1By Danny Toma, staff writer

Sitting on the corner of North Lamar and Jefferson, just two blocks from the Lafayette County Courthouse, is Lindsey’s Chevron, a miniature foodie paradise offering up long-lost items from Oxford’s culinary past.

Like a number of gas station convenience stores, Lindsey’s has a food counter. But at Lindsey’s, everything is made fresh, right down to the individually breaded and fried pickles. They have plate lunches, hamburgers, chicken tenders, egg rolls, and burritos, along with plenty of sitting space on the inside for those wishing to linger a while. The biggest sellers are the chicken salad and pimento cheese, sold from a display case alongside individual sleeves of crackers.lindseys 2

The chicken salad is an Oxford tradition, made from Mr. Leonard Levy’s original recipe. Mr. Levy, as long-time Oxford residents know, was the owner of the Jitney-Jungle grocery store that moved in 1960 to what is now the Chancery Courthouse parking lot. By the 1970s, Jitney Jungle sold tubs and tubs of the chicken salad, and Lindsey’s Chevron is one of two places in Oxford that keep the recipe alive.

Lindsey’s can also take care of your sweet tooth with some familiar Oxford treats. In addition to homemade pies and other desserts, they have fresh banana pudding and another Levy dish–Mrs. Levy’s original strudel recipe. And don’t pass up the soft-serve ice cream if you find yourself longing for the days of the Kreme Kup on University Avenue. Lindsey’s soft-serve ice cream mix is the same one used at the original Kreme Kup!

A more recent addition to Lilindseys 4ndsey’s is a full line of homemade salad dressings–Ranch, Bleu Cheese, Honey Mustard, Greek Feta, and “Hotty Toddy” (their version of comeback sauce). They’ve been making the dressings for about six years now, and they’re quite popular. Lindsey’s is also your source for Robertson Farms items (free range eggs and hot sauce) as well as butter from Brown’s Dairy Farm (they plan to start carrying the milk soon).

The cooler has a nice selection of craft beers, including a number of regional microbrewery options, such as Southern Prohibition, Yazoo, Lazy Magnolia, and Ghost River, and the number is ever-growing due to customer demand. Customer demand has also driven Lindsey’s to order unusual items not readily available in Oxford–or even in the South for that matter. These include items such as Shasta Ginger Ale out of Hayward, California, and Uncle Ray’s Chips from Detroit, Michigan.

lindseys 3Probably the only service station in Oxford that still has an air machine that’s completely free of charge–yet another blast from the past. So go inflate those tires, and while you are at it, have yourself a bit of chicken salad, take home some dressing and some banana pudding, and show your support for a store that remembers how things used to be.


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 contributes to on a regular basis.

New York-Style Bagels Coming to 6 ‘N Tubbs

6 n tubbs logoBy Danny Toma, staff writer

For the last three years, Oxonians who crave New York-style pizza have been enjoying it at 6 ‘N Tubbs at 2625 W. Oxford Loop. And soon, you’ll be able to find authentic New York-style bagels there, too.

Serving everything from the traditional, impossibly cheesy round pies that one associates with the Big Apple to thick, rectangular Sicilian pizzas that are tough to find even in New York, this little, unassuming pizzeria feels like a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn rather than a business located in a non-descript strip mall at the edge of a north Mississippi town.

6 ‘N Tubbs owner, Dennis Vanoostendorp, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a native of Orange County, New York, worked in the food business for many years in New York and New Jersey while learning the fine art of pizza-making, New York-style, nearly a quarter century ago.

6 n tubbs pizza

6 ‘N Tubbs New York-Style pepperoni pizza

Following in the footsteps of his brother Dutch, who moved to Mississippi working with the golf industry and later became the proprietor (along with wife Becca) of the famous Tribecca Allie Cafe in Sardis, Dennis came to Mississippi and opened up the kind of place where a true New Yorker (or anyone who has ever visited or wanted to visit the city) would feel at home. Starting in Batesville, Dennis soon moved 6 ‘N Tubbs to Oxford, and is now looking at a major expansion in the near future.

Vanoostendorp says that he began making his style of pizza because it’s the pizza he grew up with. “Pizza to a New Yorker is like barbecue to a southerner,” he says. “Everyone has his favorite place that makes it just right.” Now that he has begun to spread the New York pizza gospel to southern climes, he wants to share yet another northern delicacy with his adopted home–the New York bagel. “Most people around here have never really had a bagel,” explains Vanoostendorp, “The difference being that authentic New York-style bagels are boiled before they are baked, and the entire process is quite labor intensive.”

But Vanoostendorp is a man with a mission. He plans to use the former site of his pizzeria in Batesville as his bagel factory and then sell the bagels–both plain and as sandwiches–out of 6 ‘N Tubbs. While he’s currently missing one crucial piece of equipment needed to be able to start, he believes that he can be in production as soon as the first of the year. When that happens, expect a veritable pilgrimage of homesick northeasterners making their way to West Oxford Loop to pick up yet another reminder of their culinary heritage.

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 contributes to on a regular basis.

Kroger Imports Italian Mozzarella

mozz articleBy Danny Toma, staff writer

One of life’s great pleasures is to travel to the Campania region of Italy (Naples and environs) and eat fresh mozzarella di bufala (or, in Neapolitan dialect, muzzarella ‘e vufara), produced that very day, or, at most, the day before. It’s often served with fresh tomato and basil (the insalata caprese) or with thinly sliced prosciutto, but is delicious on its own as well. Even in other parts of Italy, like Milan or Florence, one would be hard-pressed to taste real mozzarella at its finest.

This authentic mozzarella cheese is made from the milk of the water buffalo (think rice paddies, not Great Plains) and, due to the fact that it is one of the most fickle of cheeses, it was rarely found in the U.S., until recently. It simply does not travel well, and once refrigerated, changes texture and taste almost immediately.

That being said, mozzarella that has been refrigerated is still quite good if relatively fresh, and is a completely different experience from eating most of the rather tasteless cheese that has the “mozzarella” label slapped on it. And now, you can try it for yourself. Kroger has recently started carrying authentic Campanian mozzarella in its cheese department, and while most of the current supply was quickly bought up, Kroger management has assured me that they will restock their shelves as soon as they receive a new shipment from the warehouse.

It is not cheap–around $7.95 for a four ounce ball–but if you’ve never had it, it will change the way you think about cheese forever. One word of caution: this is one cheese you don’t want to purchase on sale. The longer it stays on the shelf, the less firm it becomes, and it will develop a rather acrid taste. Buy it as soon as it comes in, take it home, let it drain for a minute or two, and then just cut it into a few slices to serve as a snack or an appetizer while imagining fishermen casting their nets into the sea with lemon groves on the land at their backs and the shadow of Mount Vesuvius looming above.

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 on a regular basis.

We’re Hiring Sales Staff

hiring is looking to build our sales team.

Are you a savvy salesperson who loves food? Join our team and you’ll get to meet and chat with Oxford restaurateurs about their menus and events on a regular basis!

Take a look at the job requirements below and send an email to along with the following information: Your full name, phone number, how many hours per week you’re available, and the reasons why you would make a good sales rep for us.

Must have the following skills:

  • Sales/negotiating/closing experience.
  • Motivation to sell.
  • Personable with people both over the phone and face-to-face.
  • Familiarity with
  • Ability to work on a commission basis.

We offer attractive commission percentages to the right candidates.

No phone calls. Please submit your application to

It’s Collard Time in Oxford (Recipe Included!)

collardsBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Nothing screams “South” so much as a big plate of collard greens, and this is the perfect time of year to find fresh collards across Oxford. Whether one shops at Kroger, Wal-Mart, Larson’s Cash Saver, or Farmers’ Market on North Lamar, one can add a batch of collard greens to the grocery basket at a very reasonable price (the Oxford average is less than 40 cents for a bunch).

Unlike some of our favorite Southern specialties, collard greens are actually quite good for you. Rich in vitamins C and K, and an excellent source of fiber, some studies have hinted that collards may have anticarcinogenic properties as well. Only those on blood thinners need to be cautious around collards (the high levels of vitamin K is associated with blood clotting), but for the rest of us, we can have as much as we want. On top of the good nutrition they provide, collard greens only have about 50 calories per serving.

While we claim collard greens as our own peculiarly Southern dish, the fact is, collards have been eaten across the globe as far back as ancient Greek times. A member of the Brassica oleracea family of plants, which includes such things as cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, collard greens are eaten across many parts of Africa and Latin America as well.

One of the simplest and most traditional ways of preparing collard greens is simply to boil them with a piece of cured, salted meat, such as fatback or bacon. The rich green broth, or pot liquor, is delicious soaked up with a piece of cornbread. Many people, this writer included, believe that the only thing one needs to enhance the flavor at this point is a bit of pepper sauce sprinkled over the top.

As hard as it is to imagine, not everyone is a fan of boiled greens. Thankfully, the number of ways you can prepare collard greens is limited only by the imagination. Below is a recipe that I created for collard green-olive pesto; an easy and tasty recipe that appeared in Gourmet magazine in 2004 (see it here) and went viral, mainly due to its use by Community Supported Agriculture newsletters outside the South whose members had no concept of what to do with the batch of collard greens that showed up on their doorstep with their vegetable basket. Use it when you want to make that mess of greens a bit more “high tone.”

Collard Green-Olive Pesto

Recipe by Danny Toma


  • 1 ¾ lb. collard greens
  • 7 large brine-cured green olives (2 ¼ ounces), pitted
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)


Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut stems and center ribs from collard greens and discard. Stir collards into water in batches, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer collards with tongs to a colander to drain, gently pressing on greens to extract excess water. (If making pasta, reserve water in pot for cooking pasta.) Coarsely chop collards.

Blend olives and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add collards, water, vinegar, salt, cayenne, and pepper and pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil in a slow stream. Turn off motor, then add cheese and pulse to combine. Yield: About 2 ¼ cups


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 on a regular basis.

Oxford’s December Holiday Happenings

IMG_0177We’re getting into the holiday spirit over at, and if you’re the type who likes to fill your December calendar with as much festive fun as possible, we’ve got you covered!

Check out our list of December holiday happenings around Oxford and let us know if we’ve missed anything. Check back often as we’ll be adding to the list when we find out about more events!

Happy holidays!

–Lizholiday arts council


Tuesday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m. (originally scheduled for Dec. 1; postponed due to rain): Oxford Christmas Parade (weather permitting) Parade features festive floats, Santa, the Ole Miss “Pride of the South” band, two high school bands, and members of the Lafayette High School Commodores football team. Starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Sears parking lot and travels down Lamar to The Square.

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Baptist North Mississippi (details here)

Wednesday, Dec. 3, 6-10 p.m.: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in the Circle at Ole Miss followed by A Grand Ole Christmas in the Student Union featuring holiday stories, ice skating, pizza, cookies, hot chocolate, Santa and holiday karaoke.

Thursday, Dec. 4, 6-7:30 p.m.: Gingerbread House Village Opening Reception at the Gertrude Ford Center. (find info here)holiday concert

Fri., Dec. 5 – Tacky Townie Christmas at Proud Larry’s (find info here)

Fri., Dec. 5 – Thurs., Dec. 18: Gingerbread House Village at Gertrude Ford Center open to the public for a free showing of gingerbread houses. Donations of nonperishable food items are encouraged. (find info and all times here)

Friday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.: A Holiday Music Concert at Gertrude Ford Center presented by the University of Mississippi Department of Music (see flyer).

Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. – noon: Santa’s Workshop at the University of Mississippi Museum (more info here)

Saturday, Dec. 6, 5-7 p.m.: Christmas at Camp Lake Stephens. Fun for the whole family with Christmas crafts, photos with Santa, s’mores, appetizers, bonfires and more. (find out more here)

Sat., Dec. 6 and Sun., Dec. 7: Oxford Ballet Company presents the Nutcracker at The Powerhouse (tickets here)holiday at ole miss

Saturday, Dec. 6, 3-5 p.m.: Honey Bee Bakery Christmas Cookie Decorating Class ($65 fee, see flyer)

Tuesday, Dec. 9, 5-7 p.m.: (Open to Chamber Members) Annual Chamber & Economic Development Foundation Christmas Party at the Hampton Inn, Conference Center (more info here).

Tuesday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.: Mediaeval Baebes – Of Kings and Angels Concert at Gertrude Ford Center (tickets and info here).

Thursday, Dec. 11: The Annual Ornament Auction at the Powerhouse features dozens of handmade ornaments by new and established local artists alongside delicious food and beverages from local restaurants. Remember, if you donate an ornament by December 4, you get free admission and a year membership to the ArHoliday Classes honey beets Council! (More event details here)

Fri., Dec. 12, Sat., Dec. 13, and Sun., Dec. 14: Theatre Oxford presents A Christmas Carol (tickets here)

Fri., Dec. 12 (1-8 p.m.), Sat., Dec. 13 (9 a.m.-8 p.m.), and Sun., Dec. 14 (1-5 p.m.): Holiday Art Market at the Powerhouse lets you shop for the art lovers on your list.

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2-4 p.m.: Art Angels Family Fundraiser at the Powerhouse – Benefits the Art Angels scholarship fund, which provides children with access to the arts through classes and outreach programming ($5 per child and $10 per family). Children will be able to make amore holiday 3n ornament, enjoy milk and cookies, have their photos taken, and enter to win a holiday art basket with items from Square Books Jr. Holli’s Sweet Tooth, YaYa’s, and more!

Saturday, Dec. 13, 3-5 p.m.: Honey Bee Bakery Gingerbread House Building/Decorating Class ($65 fee, see flyer)

Sunday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.: Jingle Bell Rock at the Gertrude Ford Center (tickets and info here)

Saturday, Dec. 20, 3-5 p.m.: Honey Bee Bakery Christmas Cookie Decorating Class ($65 fee, see flyer)

hollis santamore holiday 2

Check back often; more events may be posted. Contact us via the comments section below if you know of a holiday event we forgot to mention.

holiday smile 4 u

Oxford’s Year-Round Farmers’ Market

By Danny Toma, staff writer

farmers' market

credit: Farmers’ Market

Wintertime sometimes brings on the blues, especially for those who love to buy their fresh produce at Oxford’s farmers’ markets.  As the outdoor markets close down for the winter, regular customers may feel that they have no place to go until spring for local, fresh, or unusual produce.

Despair no longer. One of Oxford’s best kept secrets is the little store on North Lamar just past the city limits. From the outside, it isn’t much to look at, and if it weren’t for the faded, hand-painted sign that says “Farmers’ Market,” there would be very little reason to stop. But stop you should, because inside is a vast array of fresh produce, meats and fish, cheeses, and all manner of gourmet goodies.

For the last 10 years, owners (and husband-and-wife team), Liz Stagg and Frank Coppola, have sought to provide a place where shoppers can “go local” as well as find one-of-a-kinfarmers market liz coverd items not available anywhere else in town—think Arkansas Black apples, fresh prickly pear cactus pads (nopales), purple and white sweet potatoes, huge batches of winter greens, pasture-raised eggs, tomatillos, and multiple varieties of dried chilies.

Stagg and Coppola, originally hailing from North Carolina, bought Farmers’ Market with the goal of staying as local as possible, partnering with local farms and other producers. They carry Delta Grind grits, High Point coffee, Peeple’s Farm eggs, Mardis honey, Brown Dairy milk, Honey Bee Bakery bread, and much more. From their other store near Batesville, Stan’s Country Store, they also sell meats and sausages that they process on site.

While local suppliers may not always have the items that their customers crave, Liz and Frank seek out the highest quality producers while trying at all times to keep their prices competitive with other stores in the area. Oxford gourmets need go no further for international food items from Latin America and Asia while at the same time stocking up on homemade beef jerky or locally produced pork rinds. They even make their own doggy treats.

So, don’t let the cold weather dampen your appetite for local food.  Drop by Farmers’ Market at 274 County Road 101 (North Lamar) and check out their offerings.  They are always happy to suggest ways to prepare items they have on sale or work with customers looking for the right ingredient for that special recipe. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. (662) 234-9363

Want to know more? Hear a 2011 interview with Liz Stagg’s via the Southern Foodways Alliance here.


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 on a regular basis.


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5 Books for Food Lovers

Looking for a gift for the food lovers on your holiday shopping list?

I’m recommending the below five food-centric books, written by authors based right here in Oxford and the surrounding areas. Now you can keep things delicious and local!

Click on the book title to be linked to purchase information at Square Books or elsewhere. Most of these titles can be purchased at Square Books.




Square Table

Published by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council

An awesome collection of bygone recipes from around Oxford, Mississippi. Proceeds from the book go to support arts in Oxford.



daily journal cookbook


A Taste of the Season Cookbook (2014 Holiday Edition)

A Collection of 500 recipes collected and compiled by The Daily Journal.




pizza book cover


Pizza: A Slice of American History

By Liz Barrett

An insider’s guide to the history of America’s favorite food. Packed with new and historic photographs, fun facts and delicious commentary from pizza journalist and publisher of, Liz Barrett.



sfa cookbook


The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

Edited by Sara Roahen and John T. Edge

Containing more than 170 recipes for some of the south’s most iconic foods, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever appreciated the community written, spiral-bound cookbooks of our past.




Inside My Italian Kitchen

By Luisa Bosco Arico

Born in Italy and recognized for her “Cooking Italian Made Easy” column in the Oxford Eagle, Arico has compiled a cookbook with all of her favorite recipes, ranging from risotto to tiramisu.



Surprising New Pizza Menu

pizza hutBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Toasted Asiago, Salted Pretzel, Peruvian Cherry Peppers, and Honey Sriracha—these these are not the latest offerings at Oxford’s newest gourmet deli, but rather part of a radically new menu being offered at Pizza Hut.

The new menu, which features six new sauces, five new ingredients, and items such as customized pizza crusts and extra sauce drizzles to finish off the toppings, has been available in Oxford for about a week, but, according to local Pizza Hut employees, it’s still relatively unknown to local diners, most of whom are sticking to the menu items they know. This could soon change as more people become aware of the additional choices Pizza Hut has to offer.

For those of an adventurous nature, the combinations possible are almost endless, as one can choose from sauces as diverse as creamy garlic Parmesan, premium crushed tomato, or a medium spiced Buffalo sauce, and add on to these either the new or the traditional Pizza Hut ingredients. There are also new combination pizzas available, such as the “Pretzel Piggy” (garlic Parmesan sauce with bacon, mushrooms, and spinach with a salted pretzel crust and a balsamic sauce drizzle), the “Giddy Up BBQ Chicken” (barbecue sauce topped with grilled chicken, bacon, red onions and flavored with toasted cheddar crust and a barbecue sauce drizzle) and many more.

Will Pizza Hut’s bold move into more exotic ingredients appeal to the local gourmet market?  That’s for you to decide.


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 on a regular basis.


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 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 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.




Free Lebanese Cooking Classes Nov. 20 & Dec. 4

lebanon flagBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Lebanon, the home of the ancient Phoenicians and the site of the Biblical cities of Tyre and Sidon is one of the great crossroads of the Middle East. Inhabited by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Sunni and Shi’ah Muslims, and the mysterious Druze, its people speak Arabic and French, with minorities of Armenian, Greek, and Kurdish speakers. With such a rich and cosmopolitan heritage, Lebanese cooking is widely considered to be one of the richest in the region and shows Arabic, Turkish, and French influences.

Now, right here in Oxford, Mississippi, you too can learn the secrets of this delicious cuisine and best of all, can do it absolutely free of charge. The Oxford Activity Center (corner of Price St. and Molly Barr) will host two nights of Lebanese cooking classes, presented by Ms. Lena Hand, on Thursday, November 20th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Thursday, December 4th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If interested, contact Deb Helms at (662) 236-1157 or at As of this writing, there are still about 10 spots available, so act fast so as not to miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity!


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 on a regular basis.

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

Little Easy Catering: variety of of holiday casseroles. (662) 236-5737

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.