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Unique Eats

Article and photos by Kathleen Walls



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Guests enjoying their bibical dinner

Biblical dinner in The Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia has to rank as number one in the unique category. LaGrange's history goes back to the Revolutionary war but this local museum will take you even farther back. The Center, a unique attraction about anthropological finds in the Holy Land, has guides dressed in biblical costumes to explain life in that time frame. You can even enjoy a "Biblical Meal" served in a realistic setting. The museum offers two rooms with reclining tables where you sit on cushions on the floor to eat just as people in the first century would have done. The “Jerusalem Biblical Meal Room” is a copy of one discovered at Pompeii. The “Mount Zion Biblical Meal Room” is a replica of one discovered at Herculaneum.

Be prepared to eat as people then did with no silverware. Not as messy as you might think.  It was a lot of fun and really delicious. The meal was a  recreated Passover with chicken; unleavened bread; nuts; olives; sun-dried fruits; “bitter herbs,” such as radish, parsley and onion. There were several Middle Eastern dips all served with wine or water. The server explained each course as it was served.

Afterwards, a walk around the museum offers a lot of insight into the way of life of people of the era. Authentic Bedouin tents, replicas of tombs and many other exhibits usually only read about in biblical literature.

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The beautiful tinkling fountain at the Court of Two Sisters

Court of two Sisters Jazz brunch combines the highest culinary art with musical talent to create a uniquely New Orleans experience.  In New Orleans, food is considered a deity and food preparation a mystical experience. To say the least, the art of fine dining has been taken to a new high in the Big Easy. At no place is this more true than at the Court of Two Sisters. I experienced one of its Jazz Brunches and have to agree this place is first-rate even in a city known for its over-the-top dining.

When you step through the huge double doors leading to the largest restaurant courtyard in New Orleans, you are transported to a different realm. It would be so easy to believe you stepped back to the late 1800s and were visiting the home and notions shop of two aristocratic Creole sisters, Emma and Bertha Camors. With just a bit more imagination, you might feel you had stepped back even farther into the home of Sieur Etienne de Perier, royal governor of colonial Louisiana between 1726 and 1733. The history of this upscale eatery is impressive, but the present-day food and service live up to the legendary past. The premises served as home to these and many other historical personages before finding a niche as a fine-dining establishment.

Drop in any day and sample the famous Jazz Buffet. More than 80 items, many unique to New Orleans cuisine, fill the buffet boat. If this isn’t enough, you can order specials, such as their own version of Eggs Benedict that never fails to please.   The quality and quantity of the food will guarantee you will linger for a leisurely meal, but the icing on the cake is the trio of jazz musicians who add to the ambience.

Whether you dine indoors in one of the three dining rooms or in the courtyard letting the tinkling fountains compete with the soul-stirring music, you will know you are in New Orleans. Only here could history, music and food combine into such a perfect package.

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Gil Logan is might proud of his train cusine

For a superb meal on wheels try the Old Kentucky Dinner Train  in Bardstown, Kentucky. You enter through the old depot. The original part of the depot dates to 1853. The train is pulled by either a1940 or 1941 engine and has three dining cars and their own kitchen car. An average excursion is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. They also do murder dinner theaters, wine mixers and kid excursions. 

Unlike many excursion trains, their meals are cooked right on the train. Chef Gil Logan is also unique. Very few chefs can boast that their food is "fit for a queen" but Logan can. As executive chef for the Kentucky Derby's Levy Restaurant at the Downs, his position for six years,  he actually prepared a meal for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the 2007 Derby. The royal family travels with their own kitchen staff but upon learning that Gil favors locally grown, organic foods, they decided to enjoy his brand of fancy country cooking.

Gil is a self taught chef who began cooking at the age of eight. Thankfully for all who travel on the Old Kentucky Dinner Train he has never stopped experimenting with food. This is a wonderful place to try a Kentucky Hot Brown, toasted bread topped with a generous portion of roasted turkey breast, covered with mornay cheese sauce and topped off with bacon and tomato. It is baked until it is bubbly and golden brown and garnished with parmesan cheese.

For dessert try the Chocolate Choo Choo, A chocolate engine filled with Chantilly cream and dark chocolate mousse riding on a chocolate raspberry track.

No matter what you try, there are no wrong choices here. It's a train ride made in culinary heaven.

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Troy and Cindy prepare to serve some hearty chow

Deep South meets Old West when Troy and Cindy Reddick bring their Skillet and Spurs Chuck Wagon Meals right to you in the Vidalia/Statesboro area. I was attending a Georgia Media Marketplace in Vidalia and Statesboro and had the good fortune to enjoy one of their meals. They served the best flank steak I have ever eaten cooked in a truly unique way. All their food is cooked over an open fire in black cast iron pots.

To add to the ambiance, Troy and Cindy are dressed in authentic 1880s period costume. Their "kitchen" is an authentic looking chuck wagon from the days of the cow drives.

Although this was a unique experience for me., I was pleased to learn that there are actually chuck wagon cooking competitions. Recently, the Reddicks entered two such competitions. One in Pigeon Forge, called “Saddle Up” Tennessee and a second in Cartersville, Georgia. Called “Cowboy Gathering.”

In both competitions, the Reddicks won First Place in the Meat Category. They  took Second Place in the Dessert Competition in Pigeon Forge.

I'm not surprised. Any cowboy worth his spurs would have been clamoring to be first in line when the Reddicks are rustling up the grub in their little covered wagon.

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The WhistleStop Cafe stays busy all the time

Juliette, Georgia's  Whistle Stop Caf� is a movie legend but it's also a real working restaurant. I never ate on a movie set before and will never forget the experience. Of course, fried green tomatoes are the thing to order but there is a lot more good simple food on this menu.  And you are not limited in your fried green tomato choices either. They offer Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches or a Fried Green Tomato Salad which had your traditional salad with ripe tomatoes topped with fried green ones.

Even the menu is unique here. On the bottom it has a notation "Please, do not steal the menu." There is a reason for this notation. Their menu is cut as a country bunny. It is filled with unique items such as "Rooster Strips" and "Biddie Bites" which are none other than chicken strips and  nuggets just cuteied up a bit. Then there is the "Yard Bird Fillet," none other than a fried or grilled chicken sandwich on a bun. This one alone would make it worth stealing the menu: "Chicken Delight" Noted, Janet washed the greens. Granny fought off the gators for these fresh green, we added tomatoes, carrots, Vidalia onions,   cheese, cracked bread and your choice fried or grilled chicken tenders. And where else can you order a "Poke Salad."

The building was originally built in 1927 by Edward L. Williams, Sr. He and his wife, Miss Lillian, ran a general merchandise store there for 45 years until 1972. After the movie, Robert Williams, who had inherited the building, decided it was perfectly cast as a cafe and formed a partnership with friend Jerie Lynn Williams and started the "Original Whistle Stop Cafe."

The entire main street of Juliette is a postcard from the past. There are antique stores, boutiques and even an old Opry House where musicals are held on the first Saturday of the month. In October, there is a Fried Green Tomato Festival with Street vendors, live music and great food both days.. The entire town d�cor is perfect small town Deep South. The atmosphere is perfectly friendly Old South. Need I say more?

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The cameraman gets a close up on Secrets of  Louisville Chefs Live

Although eating on what was once a movie set was fun, dining on a television show live was also a really different experience. I already wrote about Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live in Louisville, Kentucky in a past issue but it's worth rereading as a unique place to dine. See the article here

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A guest hops off of the City Taste Tour bus for a quick photo

Who would have ever thought eating and drinking on a bus could be something special but when our Louisville, Kentucky hostess introduced herself, "I'm Leslie, a happy, fun-loving woman who decided to take my love of eating, drinking and Louisville, and create a new venture called 'City Taste Tours'. I'm having the time of my life!" and so were all her guests. We saw many of Louisville's historic, cultural and food related destinations while sampling an appropriate beverage or nibbling on a tasty treat.

Leslie began her tour on the Indiana side of the river with an antique candy factory called Schimpff’s Confectionery.  This family run candy store has been making unique candies since April 11, 1891 and in the Louisville area since the 1850s. Of course we got to sample the goodies.

Other stops include Churchill Downs, Old Louisville, Germantown, the Highlands, Butchertown, Thomas Edison House, Cavehill Cemetery, the Victorian Mansion neighborhood, St James Court, the Cast Iron District, the world tallest baseball bat, downtown Louisville, the Ohio River, Whiskey Row the grave of Kentucky Fried Chicken magnate, Colonel Sanders and an African cookie shop whose owner visits her native land regularly and returns with some delightful treats and more!

The tour will stops at many of these spots so you can do a little tasting and shopping.

While in route, you'll get to taste the Modjeska, Benedictine, the Mint Julep ,the Kentucky Hot Brown, a Bourbon Ball and even a few surprise treats.

City Taste Tours was voted #1 Attraction in Louisville by both and the City of Louisville Tourism website.










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