RL Reeves Jr reports on the US soul food scene

Todd Price, formerly of New Orleans Times-Picayune has landed on his feet. Writing for Lafayette’s Daily Advertiser, Price recently visited Laura’s II, an old-school Acadiana hotplate joint. Laura’s specializes in ‘back of the stove’ cooking, that south Louisiana specialty where the cook puts a big black pot on a gas burner on the back of the range and lets it roll all-day-long.

“Lafayette, these surrounding areas, this is the melting pot of big sauces, rich gravies, black-pot cooking,” she (Madonna Broussard) said. “Really, I would say Magnalite cooking. When you go to college, your mom will probably send you with one Magnalite pot to cook with on your little burner.”

Read Price’s review

While it’s sadly true that Archibald’s in Northport, Alabama has seen better days, you can still get a good plate of barbecue off the old cinder block smoker. It won’t touch your memories of when George was on the pit but if you concentrate on how great the sauce is, and not on how the ribs needed an extra 20 minutes on the fire then you’ll eat pretty well. Robert Moss, writing for Southern Living, hit up Archibald’s recently and filed this report.

Let the debates begin. Travel Noire has issued their top 50 Black-owned soul food restaurant list for 2019 and right off the bat we’ve got a problem. Green Acres Cafe on 29th Avenue North in Birmingham did not make the list. That is a serious omission. See if you can find other errors here

Ezell’s Catfish Cabin in Memphis has new owners. Charles Ezell started the business back in 1971 and had a long run before sliding into the role of landlord for another operator. That began the long, slow decline of the business. A decline that ended when the Ezell family sold the operation to Bevis Bell recently. We’re heading to Memphis next month for a long weekend and we’ll report back upon return to New Orleans. In the meanwhile check out this article.

Mary Lamb opened Ma Mary’s restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida in the 1940s. Miss Lamb had a 40-plus year run before selling the operation to Tommie C Williams in 1989. Sadly, Miss Williams passed in 1994 and the business was soon shut down by her husband, Isaac.

Now the Williams’ daughter, Jennifer Young is preparing to step into the world of soul food by reopening the restaurant with a new marque, TC Bakery Featuring Ma Mary’s Kitchen. Young has already made one sage move; she’s hired Miss Vivian who was her mom’s head cook. If you’re in Tallahassee expect plenty hotplate foods like “smothered pork chops, baked chicken, ox tails, and turkey and dressing.”

Our Tallahassee days are long behind us but we still enjoyed reading the article about the resurrection of an old soul food classic.

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