A recent visit to the Mellow Mushroom at The Loop led me to discover some new top-notch menu items. None of them have anything to do with pizza! The hip joint with the killer pie is now offering selections such as Muffalletta Cheese Bread. How can that not be good?
Zydeco Skewers are an unbelievable creation of shrimp, pineapple and andouille sausage on a stick with their tangy/spicy Zydeco sauce.
The Shrimp Hoag'boy looks like more than I could handle with a ton of grilled shrimp, mushrooms, caramelized onions and pesto mayonnaise. Did I say I couldn't handle this? What a joke. I handled one tonight, and I swear it may be one of the top three sandwiches in Mobile. The pesto mayonnaise makes it.
Don't forget the Shrunken Head Salad with applewood smoked bacon, shrimp, blue cheese crumbles and Zydeco sauce. These New Orleans-themed items will only be available for a limited time. Please beg the staff at Mellow Mushroom to make these things permanent!
**A taste of Taste**
Taste wine bar had its grand opening last Thursday night in the former Double Olive location near the Loop. The place could not have been more packed. People were spilling out into the streets and parking lots in handsome attire. We wish them well. Interesting thing about that building, when it was the Double Olive I got kicked out of there for playing bluegrass (I was playing jazz standards and swing tunes) at their open mic night, and nothing could have been more delightful. It was my proudest achievement.
**It's corny, but it's a-maize-ing**
Head on down to Loxley and just south of the interstate on Highway 59 is an amazing little corn maze. Roast some corn and bring the kids, or get smashed on corn liquor and see how fast you can do it! It will be entertaining for you as well as the innocent onlookers.
**Chick-Fil-A Fall Festival**
Chick-fil-A in Spanish Fort is having its Second Annual Fall Festival Oct. 21. The young and young at heart can show up that evening for a bevy of things to do and fun things to eat. Expect parking lot hayrides, mini caramel apples (while supplies last), games, prizes, and even decorate your own pumpkin to take home! Don't worry, mom and dad. It doesn't cost anything.
Children will receive a free four count kid's meal with any adult meal purchase. EAT MORE CHIKIN!
**This is the last time, Mac Dixie**
I'm sure my readers think I am "on the take" from all of the Winn-Dixie comments in this column, but I've got one more and then I will shut up. Our favorite new grocery has upped the ante in the seafood department with fresh sushi made daily (or while you wait). It's very good. Not Master Joe's good, but good.
I noticed the cold beer offering has scaled down a little, but the wine department has exploded! Few grocery stores and not every liquor store carry "Andy's Best Buy In Italian Reds," known formally as Ruffino Chianti Classico. This is my go-to wine for steaks, pasta, cereal and boredom. I was also excited to try Ruffino's Aziano, a much lighter chianti with a much lighter price tag. Think medium bodied and kind of nutty. That's how I like them.
**Toothpick Pie: Family reunion and Sunday picnic fave**
My favorite dessert in the world (those are strong words) may be one my grandmother, Jane H. MacDonald-Carey, has made for the better part of my life. Mammaw Mac's Toothpick Pie is unmatched in my book. Most folks know it as dream pie. The "toothpick" moniker came from yours truly, when as a child I noticed the grid pattern of toothpicks that held the plastic wrap away from the topping. The name stuck.
The dream pie at Cheryl's cafĂ© runs a close second, but can't quite convey the love of a grandmother in its ingredients. Cheryl's grandkids may beg to differ.
A recent family reunion in Laurel, Miss. gave me a chance to score the recipe. It seems like a lot of work, but it is worth it.
A cup and a half of flour
A stick and a half of softened butter
A cup of chopped pecans
Combine flour and butter, then add pecans. Pat down into a 13 x 9 baking dish and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool. Wait, maybe she meant cool. Either way, I'd let it come down to room temperature.
One 8 ounce package of cream cheese (softened)
One cup of sugar
One carton of Cool Whip, divided (save the container for leftovers)
One box each of vanilla and chocolate instant pudding mix
Three cups of milk
In a large mixing bowl combine cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add half of the Cool Whip. Spread this mixture on top of your super cool crust.
Mix both puddings with milk. When the pudding begins to set, pour it over the cream cheese mixture. Cover the top with the remaining Cool Whip (we are making layers here, folks). Stand toothpicks in a grid-like geometric pattern and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, but do not freeze.
This is great for breakfast, midnight snack, dessert or picnic. I'd rather have it than ice cream. I can eat it all year long.
Have a safe Halloween and let's come up with some recipes for leftover candy! A great way to recycle! Until next time, get them candied and caramel apples ready and watch the stores for my favorite apple, the Macintosh.