Location


Bone Daddy’s is a restaurant that’s easy to miss in an evaluation. It’s a barbecue restaurant in Texas, but their best barbecue may be their smoked chicken wings. It’s a restaurant with a largely female staff dressed in a revealing style: short skirts, tight leather vests. The staff is professional in my experience, very much so. Asking staff what is good here won’t hurt you a bit.

img_6859

I did a bit more than that. I asked waiters in restaurants nearby. They pointed out the strengths of the food aren’t in the traditional sliced brisket, but in other dishes, like their stuffed jalapenos and their wings. On one of the days I showed, the chopped brisket was better than the sliced. Ask staff what is good here.

Sliced brisket sandwich. Not bad, but other meats are better here.

Sliced brisket sandwich. Not bad, but other meats are better here.

Their chopped brisket was more flavorful than their sliced.

Their chopped brisket was more flavorful than their sliced.

The stuffed jalapenos are excellent, with BBQ chicken and cheese.

The stuffed jalapenos are excellent, with BBQ chicken and cheese.

The smoked wings are the "must order" here, richly smoked and delicious.

The smoked wings are the “must order” here, richly smoked and delicious.

This is a good spot to watch football. Get seated in the right spots, and you’ll have wall to wall televisions on either side of you. If a local team is playing, the effect is pretty amazing. Beers here run from American industrial beers to craft beers. The craft beer selection tends to Texas brews, Southern brews, and tends to lighter beers (witbiers, pilsners and the like). That said, even if you tweet every beer you’re served via Untapp’d, you should find plenty to drink here.

One last word about staff. Often staff in restaurants of this kind have the habits of incurably spoiled brats, spending more time with friends and themselves than their own customers. I saw none of this here. The impression overall was of a professionally trained staff that knew what they were doing, giving both large parties and small groups adequate time to order food. There is a lot of tag team staffing here. On a typical day, multiple staffers will be involved in delivering food to a single table.

My impressions may been affected by the staffer I had on my first visit, who later I found was a part time bartender. That leads to the last word of advice if you’re in a restaurant whose pretty girls are part of the routine: if you can’t get enough service, head to the bar. The best of staff will be there. They will be the most busy, but you’ll get treated right.

Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke
8856 Spring Valley Rd
Dallas, TX 75240
(214) 575-3050

Bone Daddy's House Of Smoke on Urbanspoon

This eatery occupies the spot long held by El Chico in this town, and is a more focused eatery than the stock Mexican chain. Their focus is fajitas, and they do a solid, not spectacular, job of providing this Tex-Mex staple.

img_6831

img_6833

We came at lunch, and they plate a better lunch fajita than most do.

img_6834

As you can see, the fajitas are served in a metal liner on the wooden plate. Plating on metal is important, as it’s part of the presentation. A good shop will spray citrus juice into a hot liner before serving, so the dish arrives steaming.

img_6837

Chimi V’s manage to do a solid job with things like tacos and enchiladas as well. In all, Chimi’s is a respectable lunch spot, and can be recommended on those grounds.

Chimi V’s
2050 Old Minden Rd
Bossier City, LA 71111
(318) 741-3144

Chimi V's Fajita Factory on Urbanspoon

Bar-B-Q Shop is a spot we tried on the way home from Dallas, a recommendation of Marie Let’s Eat and notably, a favorite of the 3rd Degree Berns blog. It is an example of Memphis style barbecue, one that is less focused on smoke and more on sauce, really. Outside of the basics, like pulled pork and ribs, Memphis style has a dish called ‘bbq spaghetti’. We managed to try that as well in our trip here.

BBQ spaghetti.

BBQ spaghetti.

This style is not without its critics. Full Custom Gospel BBQ’s Daniel Vaughn, the barbecue critic for Texas Monthly these days, had very little good to say about the ‘cue here. Georgia BBQ Hunt tweeted that he’d not found a Memphis style eatery he was very impressed by. Both critics are heavily influenced by smoke-driven ‘cue, as really, am I. But some times other elements of the meal: ambiance, quality of service, commitment to a style, really count. This is one of those places.

On the way to Memphis we passed these untracked Bradley Fighting Vehicles being towed on trucks.

On the way to Memphis we passed these untracked Bradley Fighting Vehicles being towed on trucks.

Dry rub ribs and more

Dry rub ribs and more

Smoked turkey sandwich.

Smoked turkey sandwich.

Service here, we felt, was close to perfect. The people in the store were friendly, the care taken to our meal evident. The meats were pretty much as others have described, very light on smoke, very heavy on sauce. I felt the stock sauce was ordinary, but Bar-B-Q Shop’s spicy sauce was exceptionally good.

And though it doesn’t look like much, the bbq spaghetti was actually pretty good too.

To be fair, this excursion into the Memphis style isn’t going to stop me from looking for the smokiest meats around, but a meal or two at the Bar-B-Q Shop in Memphis isn’t going to hurt the hard core smoke hound. The quality spicy sauce, the tender meats, the care with which this restaurant treats customers goes a long way towards having a pleasant meal.

Bar-B-Q Shop
1782 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 272-1277

Bar-B-Q Shop on Urbanspoon

Romie’s surprised us, a fine little lunch spot that would be successful pretty much anywhere. Featuring a meal and 3 at lunch and enormous sandwiches, this spot is a perfect stop on the way to Alabama from Memphis, TN.

That’s what we were doing recently, returning from a trip to Dallas by way of the Shreveport area. Rather than heading south through Meridian and Tuscaloosa, we went a little north, through Memphis and then down to Birmingham. After a stop in Memphis, we reached Tupelo around lunchtime. Asking the folks at the local gas station where to eat for lunch, Romie’s was recommended.

Romie's catfish po-boy, marinated cukes and tomatoes.

Romie’s catfish po-boy, marinated cukes and tomatoes.

Grilled chicken on wheatberry bread with fried green tomatoes.

Grilled chicken on wheatberry bread with fried green tomatoes.

img_6889

I’d say the lunch was a hit at our table. Yes, if we travel this route, we’d be happy to stop here again.

Romie’s Grocery
804 W Jackson Street
Tupelo, MS 38804
(662) 842-8986

Romie's Grocery on Urbanspoon

This Memorial Day we headed out to Savannah, not having been in ages (in fact, the last Savannah trip we took predates my last camera). It was an emotional necessity. After arriving, I pretty much ate and collapsed, sleeping hard almost all of the night. I want to compose my thoughts and offer specific suggestions in a couple follow up posts, but for now, I’m trying to sort through thoughts and such and talk about more general issues in terms of a Savannah trip.

Sights and sounds unlike most American cities.

Sights and sounds unlike most American cities.

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay near Savannah, your best bet is out by the airport. Hotels close to River Street tend to charge around $200/day during the peak (summer) season. You can beat this in part by coming off peak (e.g. February and March), but I can’t promise you any bargains anymore. The inexpensive hotel I used to use is now a grassy field.

Of course, with a 4 hour drive from Atlanta to Savannah, Savannah is suitable for a one day tour. Drive in, fight for parking, and leave, either to home or parts north and south.

If you want places to eat that appeal less to the tourist and more to the foodie in you, the walk along Bay Street will be more accommodating than River Street itself. Yes, there are bargains along River Street but you have to look. Nice seafood places tend to run high 20s to low 30s for their fare, and after having great experiences in Tybee Island and indifferent experiences along the River (the Cotton Exchange being a welcome exception), best to save your seafood dollars for a jaunt towards the Island.

I highly recommend the Discovery Map rendition of Savannah, and you can get one in advance here. Don’t click on the state. The Savannah map is in the dropdown below. If you’re already in Savannah, you might check out Dub’s Pub, because that’s where I picked up my copy of the map. Another resource is the work of Michael Karpovage, a Roswell GA resident. His Savannah Historic District Illustrated Map“map of Savannah is available on Amazon.com.

Connect Savannah is a tabloid format publication that appears to mirror Creative Loafing in many regards. When we arrived their “Best of Savannah” issue was on the news stands. They have a web site, and “Best of Savannah” has a prominent place on their front page currently.

Almost completely over the top are the candy stores along River Street. If you have a child from age 6 to 60, it is very hard to resist Savannah’s Candy Kitchen or River Street Sweets. These have become must stops when we show, and when my daughter was little, she cried so hard when we were trying to leave, it took us another half hour to get home.

Yes, well known Atlanta foodies with small children, I’m waiting to hear about the response when your youngsters see the place.

img_6478

The collection of children's books here is phenomenal.

The collection of children’s books here is phenomenal.

Bookstores: There is a spot called Books on Bay that deals in antiques. In particular, they are very interested in old children’s books and series. Things like old Oz books, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and to my once 12 year old mind, a surprisingly large collection of Tom Swift books of various and sundry kinds. I was a voracious reader of Tom Swift Jr and have always held a certain desire to read a few of Tom Swift Sr’s books. They have quite a few of these there. Yes, Grant Goggans, if you like comics, I suspect you could get lost in this store.

img_6486

Biggest surprise in Savannah? In many respects, It might been Dub’s Pub, also called Dubs, a Public House. It was near where we were staying, easy to access via stairs and an alleyway. They are advertised on Urban Spoon as a gastropub, though it was hard to tell when we went. They were down to only tacos when I arrived. Their beer selections are good, however, and they sell beer flights. A flight is 5 different selections of beer, 4 ounces each, all for a reasonable price. I had never had Tybee Blonde before, and sandwiching that between a Bells and a Allagash wasn’t so bad at all.

Pork and shrimp tacos from Dub's Pub.  The shrimp, if I recall, had a delightfully spicy bite to it.

Pork and shrimp tacos from Dub’s Pub. The shrimp, if I recall, had a delightfully spicy bite to it.

The tacos at Dubs were really good. The vibe is more that of an upscale sports bar, with some quality food. I didn’t eat enough to pass judgement on “gastropub or not”, but nothing I saw or had would lead me to think otherwise.

It was nice enough that on a quiet day, I’d not have any issue taking my family to Dub’s.

Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
225 East River Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-8411

Savannah Candy Kitchen on Urbanspoon

River Street Sweets
13 East River Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-6220

River Street Sweets on Urbanspoon

Dubs a Public House
225 West River St
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 200-3652

Dubs a Public House on Urbanspoon

PS – Savannah Red reviews Dubs in an article titled “Low Tide and Zombies at Dub’s Pub“.

It started when my wife and I decided we wanted to take a look at Rice University, and the little chapel where we were married back in 1983. It’s been 29 years and some change so far, and by December 17 on 2013 we’ll have been married 30 years. So we drove out of northwest Louisiana, where we go for Christmas, and where my dad stays, and headed south. We used a GPS, as I wasn’t familiar with the roads. Highway 59, which forms most of the path south, is a lot wider and a better road than the one I remembered. It’s also a faster trip, closer to 4 hours than the 5 to 5 and a half I used to remember.

Once we toured the University, we looked in the “Village” district for landmarks we remembered. Almost none remain from my time in Houston, but this one immediately caught our eye.

img_6196

img_6197

Kahn’s deli, in its first incarnation, appeared in the 1980s, with Mike Kahn as its owner. The new owners (version 3) were nice enough to pull out some photos and chat up the past of the restaurant.

The original owner, Mike Kahn.

The original owner, Mike Kahn.

The walls are new, as owner #2 imported the brick from New York City. At this point, the emphasis is to recapture the taste of the original deli, as the folks I spoke to told me they ran every recipe through Mike, to see that it met his standards.

I didn’t eat at Kahn’s when we were there, but I loved it back in the day. It’s one of the few holdovers in the Village from older times.

While I chatted up Kahn’s, my wife and daughter found this place and bought plenty of sweets.

img_6195

Afterwards, I couldn’t talk my family into Kahn’s, but another old time restaurant did gain their approval. Goode Company Barbecue was ranked as perhaps the best Houston BBQ back in the 1980s. With barbecue culture growing, and the ever growing emphasis on smoked meats, barbecue gurus such as Full Custom Gospel Barbecue* no longer rate it as Houston’s best, but certainly good, and further, accessibility and the ease with which they serve food keep it popular (A #1 Urbanspoon ranking in Houston in the barbecue category, as I write this).

img_6201

img_6202

It is an easy place to get into and get out of, even if the parking is limited. We were eating roughly around 4 on a Sunday, so we didn’t have a lot of competition for the few parking spaces in front.

beef brisket, slaw, Goode Company's take on jambalaya.

beef brisket, slaw, Goode Company’s take on jambalaya.

Ribs and turkey. The one rib I tried was excellent.

Ribs and turkey. The one rib I tried was excellent.

We tried Goode Company’s turkey, their brisket, their ribs and their sausage. In our hands the meats were real barbecue, clearly smoked, but at times a little underwhelming. The brisket was a bit disappointing, the ribs were very good, the turkey and sausage satisfied our eaters. If Goode Company were to be pulled out of Houston and dropped into Atlanta, I don’t think it would rank up with smokehouses like Fox Brothers, or Heirloom BBQ, or say Big Shanty Smokehouse. It would be in the second tier of barbecue restaurants, a bit like Spiced Right, owner #2, on a good day.

So, after Goode Company we went on to the House of Pies. Despite what others might think, this place is about the pies and only about the pies.

img_6217

img_6210

This is a long time favorite midnight and later eatery. The exotic crowds you would see at this place around 2am made it something of a legend in these parts. A good portion of the late nighters were people from the Montrose district (Houston’s equivalent of San Francisco’s Castro Street), which led to some politically incorrect names back in the day.

Somehow, it just seemed tamer. The apple pie, while good, didn’t seem as big as we remembered. I recall an apple pie that was a fist and a half tall in the middle. Is my memory playing tricks on me? perhaps. However, the French Blackbottom was still there, and diabetes or no, I had a bite of this one. The best of the pies may have been the Bayou Goo.

Sodas at House of Pies are huge.

Sodas at House of Pies are huge.

French Blackbottom. In the 1980s, my favorite pie from this eatery.

French Blackbottom. In the 1980s, my favorite pie from this eatery.

The apple pie seemed so modest. Were our memories playing tricks on us?

The apple pie seemed so modest. Were our memories playing tricks on us?

Favorite pie this day was the "Bayou goo".

Favorite pie this day was the “Bayou Goo”.

After, my wife threw out a shocker, and said we should start driving east right then. And after nearly being killed by a road rage special just outside of Beaumont (someone passing on the right on an Interstate when my car was on the right), we stopped outside of Lafayette, and in the morning, had breakfast at Cafe des Amis in Breaux Bridge LA.

The meal went over well. It started with beignets.

Wife and daughter loved the beignets.

Wife and daughter loved the beignets.

The mix of eggs and etouffee in the “Eggs des Amis” was something my wife could really get into, and I was appreciative of the mix their “Bit Hat” provided. This was easily our best meal of the trip, and my wife hugged our waitress by the time we left.

Eggs des Amis. Etouffee is peeking out from under the eggs.

Eggs des Amis. Etouffee is peeking out from under the eggs.

Big hat (omelette and etouffee) with some andouille grits.

Big hat (omelette and etouffee) with some andouille grits.

After that, New Orleans.

Seen on the  way to  New Orleans. Wine by the glass?

Seen on the way to New Orleans. Wine by the glass?

The problem was, we had to get in, eat, and get out fast. And in what was perhaps a mistake, we chose Parkway Bakery and Tavern. It was a mistake in part because the path the GPS took us through looked at times like alleys in a miniature Italy. I feared for the safety of our tires. It was a mistake, in part, because we arrived in the middle of a Carolina – New Orleans football game, and the crowd at the eatery to watch football was huge.

Side of the eatery, showing a lot of the outdoor seating.

Side of the eatery, showing a lot of the outdoor seating. It’s hard to see, but the body of an old Ford, probably a Model A, is covered in plastic behind the fence.

A football game was on and the crowd was substantial.

A football game was on and the crowd was substantial.

A plaque on the wall  (see also this link; dates on link and plaque are slightly different) told the story of the eatery. Opened in 1922 as a bakery, it became a sandwich shop in 1932 and has been rebuilt at least once. The meal, once the wait was over, was good. Crusty bread, but softer than what you might get at Paneras (soft bread is actually an old fad, started among the rich). Old fashioned and yet satisfying.

Thre sandwiches, fries, banana pudding. Yes, the pudding was really good.

Thre sandwiches, fries, banana pudding. Yes, the pudding was really good.

Beef, with gravy,

Beef, with gravy,

Sausage po boy.

Sausage po boy.

Any eating past this point were mere snacks, and frankly, couldn’t compare to the drive. But, oh what a drive it was!

Kahn’s Deli
2429 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77005
(713) 529-2891

Kahn's Deli on Urbanspoon

Goode Company Barbecue
5109 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 522-2530

Goode Company Barbeque on Urbanspoon

House of Pies
3112 Kirby Dr
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 528-3816

House of Pies on Urbanspoon

Cafe Des Amis
140 East Bridge Street
Breaux Bridge, LA, 70517
(337) 332-5273

Cafe Des Amis on Urbanspoon

Parkway Bakery and Tavern
538 Hagan Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 482-3047

Parkway Bakery & Tavern on Urbanspoon

~~~
*The author of the FCG Barbecue blog is the fella accompanying Tony Bourdain to barbecue joints in the Austin episode of No Reservations.

Our waitress said, “The chef told me, a Dreamlands rib done right should taste like a pork chop.” Well, they are tender, but not fall off the bone tender. Some meat does stick to the bone. The ribs are juicy, and you can smear juices ear to ear and feel like a 3 year old again. The ribs are huge and the serving enormous.

White bread and sauce; comes with the ribs.

Cooked to evoke the taste of a pork chop. Dreamland’s rib servings are enormous; their ribs are flavorful and juicy.

What they are not is appreciably indirectly smoked. Sauce and rich meat carries the flavor. The meat itself is cooked for 45 minutes to an hour over hickory flames.

This place is hard to find, even though we’ve been to Tuscaloosa plenty and stopped in hotels mere blocks from this place. When I set the closest location to the original Dreamlands in our GPS, I took a small wandering road through a bunch of hotels back to a more residential district. At a three way intersection, I turned right and there it was.

It is a plain, simple eatery, with very little on the menu. Sausage, ribs, and rib sandwiches pretty much are the choices. Order your food, it comes out. Servings are, as previously stated, enormous. The food is what it is. It will not be the favorite of a smoke head, but the juicy ribs are delicious nonetheless.

Other Dreamlands reviews of note:

3rd Degree Berns
Cynical Cook
Marie Let’s Eat

Dreamlands
5535 15th Ave E
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
(205) 758-8135

Dreamland Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 248 other followers