Tag Archives: Fried Chicken

Tallahassee’s Seminole Wind Buffet is a Breath of Fresh Air for Lovers of Scratch Cooking

28 May

We typically pass through Florida’s state capital of Tallahassee at least a couple times each year. Our standby meal stop along this route was normally a little further down the road in Live Oak, FL. Sheryl’s Buffet in Live Oak is really good, but it was time for us to step out of our comfort zone and try something new.

Seminole Wind Country Buffet was suggested to me by a friend who works at Florida State University. He stops by Seminole Wind once or twice a month and raved about the fried chicken and the fresh veggie dishes. He stated he would like to visit more frequently, but his diet simply wouldn’t allow him to do so. The guy has obviously got to get his priorities straight!   

The Florida Seminole Indian theme is apparent both inside and out of the restaurant. So are the Christian messages, religious art, and fish symbols. These folks obviously love the Lord and that is more than just OK with us. The people who work and dine at Seminole Wind are quite friendly. They will stop and chat and not think twice about lingering more than a minute or two. Some may find this uncomfortable. I love it. Reminds me of the good old days when people knew how to make idle chatter. An elderly gent in a straw hat told us it made him feel good to see my teenage boys eat so well. A little old lady pinched 14 year old Travis on the cheek (face, not rump) and exclaimed, “You sure are cute!” It took several minutes for his beet red face to return to its normal shade.

As a lifelong Virginia Tech Hokies football fan, I have been brought up to cheer against the rival Florida State Seminoles. But I never let that loyalty get in the way of a good home cooked meal. And, in this case, I’m pretty glad I didn’t.

The crunchy fried chicken at Seminole Wind is one of their buffet stalwarts.

The made-from-scratch biscuits should also earn a spot on your plate.

Vegetables at Seminole Wind. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Let’s kick it off with the rutabagas. Flat out the best I have ever tasted. Sorry, Granny … it’s true. Great collards here too. As good as you’ll find anywhere.

I have always loved carrot & raisin salad — when it’s made correctly. It certainly is at Seminole Wind. We even made some room for the fresh cucumber & tomato salad and it was (no surprise here) first rate too.

Here (above) are the rutabagas in all their glory — stellar!

My platter (above) following my first trip to the buffet. Yes, several more trips followed in short order. Butter beans, biscuit, collards, cuke & mater salad, carrot raisin salad, fried green tomatoes. Oh yes, almost forgot to tell you about the fried green tomatoes. So doggone good! Pretty much went all veggie the first pass thru — who needs meat with fresh veg like this???

Dessert choices are pretty amazing as well. I would strongly suggest a big fat slab of the strawberry cake. I went back twice and am not ashamed to admit it. It consists of a moist strawberry cake, topped with real strawberries and a light whipped cream frosting. The juice from the berries works its way throughout the cake. This adds to the moisture and the fruity flavor. So simple, so deadly.

Jesus is Lord at Seminole Wind — as this large wall mural will attest.

Former FSU Football Coach Bobby Bowden is also worshipped in these parts.

The lunch buffet is, well, one of the best we’ve ever encountered. And it’s only $4.99 six days a week. Yup, $4.99! It’s about double that price on Sundays and it’s still an incredible value. We hit Seminole Wind twice (once each way) on our most recent drive to South Florida. What does that tell you?  

Seminole Wind – 2226 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL

(850) 385-8718; www.seminolewindrestaurant.com

Zac Brown Band – Chicken Fried

20 May

How could any blog called Dixie Dining not dig this???

Finding Martha’s Place

18 Apr

We all know that Martha Washington was our country’s original “First Lady.” But you should also know that Montgomery, Alabama’s Martha Hawkins is the South’s “First Lady of Soul Food.”  The only other lady who could possibly make lay claim to that title might be North Carolina’s Mildred “Mama Dip” Council. We’ve dined at both places and actually prefer the delicious downhome offerings at Martha’s.

Martha’s Place is located on Sayre Street in downtown Montgomery, where Hawkins has created something of a soul food empire. Over the last 20 some odd years, she has made a mighty name for herself among locals who have a deep appreciation for authentic home cooking. Each dish on Martha’s buffet line is created with great love and attention to detail. It all tastes fantastic — and it is truly good for your soul.

Martha also runs a thriving catering operation.

Pick up her book “Finding Martha’s Place” – a moving read!

Celebrities from all over the world have come home to Martha’s Place.

She is such a sweet lady — we enjoyed finally meeting her!

We enjoyed our lunch in this bright, cheerful setting.

We found an authentic Mose Tolliver folk art piece on the wall.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mose_Tolliver

My first trip thru the buffet line – fried bird, collards, butter beans, cornbread, and some amazing au gratin potatoes. Everything was simply fabulous. The chicken was crispy and flavorful on the outside while retaining its moisture on the inside. I only wish the plates (and my stomach) were bigger!

The perfect picture of pure plump poultry perfection.

The collards were just like Granny’s – the highest praise possible.

Words can’t describe the goodness of Martha’s pineapple bread pudding.

The restrooms are spotless & there is always a Bible within arm’s reach.

We found Martha’s to be a very special place. It is filled with love, nice people, and some of the best soul food you will ever put in your mouth. So what’s not to like about all that? Make sure you visit — and soon!

www.marthahawkins.com

Sheryl’s Buffet Does Live Oak FL Proud

16 Apr

sheryls-ext1

The last time we ate at Sheryl’s it was on a tip from a web site we have come to trust. This time we didn’t need anyone pushing us in their general direction. We made the trip gladly! Live Oak is a nice little Southern town. It feels much more like Alabama or Georgia than it does Florida. But I guess that could be said for much of the northern third of the Sunshine State. The people are so darn friendly at Sheryl’s — we have been treated like family each time we have visited.  In fact, we arrived just a few minutes from closing time (they are open from 11:30 a.m. ’til 2:30 p.m. daily) and they suggested that we call ahead next time if we are running a few minutes late and they’ll keep the place open for us. How ’bout them apples???

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The fried chicken and the charcoal-kissed pork ribs (yes, they were cooked outside over coals) were the stars of the show on this particular afternoon. I added some turnip greens and some stewed okra and I was ready for business! Step one was to grab myself a big glass of ice cold sweet tea (they make it right here at Sheryl’s); step two involved splashing some Texas Pete Pepper Vinegar on my greens; while step three was to annoint the slimey okra with a few drops of Tabasco hot sauce. Finally, I ladeled out a small cup of the sweet, dark BBQ sauce (step four). It was all pretty amazing — the chicken some of the best we’ve ever tasted. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, with none of that typical  greasy aftertaste.  

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I was bummed to find that they were completely wiped out of Sheryl’s homemade banana pudding, but that disappointment soon disappeared when I spied the squares of red velvet cake on the nearby dessert table. Our server Debbie was super pleasant and highly efficient. She dished out the “sweeties” and “darlins” with the best of ‘em while anticipating our every need. We were even awarded with a complimentary cartoon map of Live Oak and surrounding Suwannee County. This is probably the closest we’ll ever get to receiving a key to the city.

The true key to Live Oak, FL is good folks and good downhome eats. So please stop in the next time you’re on the road between Gainesville and Tallahassee. It will stimulate the local economy and your taste buds, y’all!

Sheryl’s Buffet in Live Oak, FL

27 Oct

We enjoyed a late lunch on Sunday afternoon at Sheryl’s Buffet in Live Oak, FL. This quaint little town along the fabled Suwannee River makes for a perfect setting for a good old down-home country feeding frenzy. I first learned of Sheryl’s place on a web site called www.florida-secrets.com . Check it out — pretty cool site. Anyway, Florida Secrets promised “tasty, homey, and you can’t beat the price.” Sure sounded like our kind of eatery.

As you can clearly see from the platter above, I loaded up. And I’m not ashamed to say I went back for seconds …. and thirds! Wow — where do I begin? The fried chicken was super crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. I normally prefer white meat, so I reached for a big honking breast. My sides included a warm yeast roll, sliced candied yams dripping with melted mini-marshmallows, pork-laced turnip greens (I kicked them up with some Texas Pete hot sauce), cut green beans, and fresh white zipper peas. You may also notice a small bowl of cole slaw just above the yeast roll. The slaw was perfect … just the right temp (cool) and texture (crunchy). It was minced very finely and had just the right blend of mayo and a hint of sugar. My beverage of choice was a sweet tea spiked with a lemon wedge.   

My second run (not pictured here) was highlighted by stewed tomatoes & okra, a ketchup-kissed meat loaf, and an amazing dessert which requires a bit of a description. Imagine, if you will, an expertly whipped vanilla eclair mousse dusted with very finely crumbled vanilla wafers. Man, you wanna talk about light and fluffy and deeee-lish??? It was truly amazing. When I asked our waitress, she went straight to the source — the young lady who prepared the treat. Her “awww shucks, wasn’t nothing” attitude spoke volumes about the eatery’s lack of pretention. I complimented her profusely, which quickly inspired several diners around us to revisit the sweets table. I will get this recipe and (I’m willing to bet) they will be more than happy to oblige.

If you’re ever crusing near the intersection of I-75 and I-10, please do not miss out on Sheryl’s Buffet. We’re told the menu changes frequently and features such down home goodies as baked lasagna, chicken and dressing, fried pork chops, squash casserole, and a bubbly macaroni & cheese. Sheryl’s is open from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Sunday thru Friday. Drive to 515 SW 5th Street and look for the big red barn-like structure — you can’t miss it! Call 386 362-2898 (or the local fire station) if you get lost.

Popeye’s Still Good in a Pinch

11 Sep

As many of you know, I am not a big fast food guy. In fact, I usually go out of my way to avoid any fast food experience. However, I must say that an occasional visit to Popeye’s is not necessarily a bad thing. It had been a while since I’d given them a try. Most likely because I have normally had equal or better options for tasty fried fowl and/or authentic Louisiana specialties. But we now reside in SW FL, where it can be pretty difficult to find anything remotely Southern. I had not found any decent fried chicken and was not even sure if it existed here. Someone asked me the other day about my favorite fried chicken in Sarasota and I drew a complete blank. It was time for me to remember what it tasted like.

I hit the drive thru at Popeye’s on Highway 41 just north of downtown Sarasota. It is not the best part of town and the clientele is mostly poor, working class folks. There were several vehicles in the lot when I pulled up — most of them were pick-ups and city-owned cars. I ordered a spicy chicken breast (yes, I’m a white meat guy), a buttermilk biscuit, and a side of red beans and rice. The crispy breast was scalding hot and delicious. The buttery biscuit was just as good as I had remembered. And the red beans and rice — while not quite New Orleans quality — really hit the spot. It all cost less than $5, so the price was right.

So — who has the best fried chicken in Sarasota? Right now I would have to say Popeye’s. It’s certainly not as good as Mom’s … and a far cry from Uncle Lou’s fabulous honey-dipped bird in Memphis. I guess my next stop will be KFC. It has been ages since I have darkened their door. Who knows? Maybe a taste of the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices will rekindle some deep, childhood memories. Or perhaps it will be a colossal disappointment. I’ll give it a shot and see what gives. Stay tuned!

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