(The blog is back at least temporarily. We are limping along…)
Wednesday August 27, 2014
After a quick goodbye to Betsy we were on our way to Biloxi. This is our longest travel day yet so we settle in and let the miles tick by. Since we had such a long way to go we decided to skip breakfast, nibble on protein bars and hold out for lunch.
When we were getting hungry Rich was in the mood for Chicken Fried Rice. Rich and I have a history of Chinese food “tragedies” (Actually, Rich almost always orders CFR and is generally happy with it. I, however have had some severe misses with my orders. I am not really keen to go Chinese, but figure I will try again). I made it my task to look for a place on our way. Reviews weren’t looking so good in nearby Natchitoches. I expanded by search to the town of some size – Alexandria a little west of Baton Rouge. Bingo! Yelp directed us to Chopstick – a new restaurant that had nothing but very positive reviews.
Chopstick looks nice enough, sleek modern interior with sushi bar, pleasant Asian servers, and a soothing soundtrack. Rich ordered his usual chicken fried rice, while I opted for a pork BBQ dish. Unfortunately, as soon as the food came out, we knew another tradegy was unfolding, and this time Rich was along for the ride. My pork was supposed to be something like char-siu. The pork slivers, however, were completely dried out and tough. The char-siu seasoning was red, but we decided it tasted something like a reduction of cherry popsicles, or maybe Vick’s children’s cough syrup. Unpalatable. So bad I could not stand to waste any appetite and left it untouched.
And Rich’s chicken fried rice? He likes this dish because it is hard for the kitchen to mess it up. The dish came out hot, but with only a sprinkling of vegetables and pieces of cooked egg whites. Where was the chicken? Then we figured it out. This restaurenat does not even use real chicken. Instead they use little chopped pieces of a chicken-like product loaf. Then, instead of frying it, they just throw it in with the rice to steam. The result is jelly-like tasteless white pieces that looks like egg white.
Rich ate about 1/4 of his rice, then placed his chopsticks in a big “X” over the dish (a signal to the kitchen). I did the same.
We’re actually doing this restaurant a big favor with this review. Anything to hasten bankruptcy.
Needless to say, lunch did nothing to revive and refresh us for the remainder of our journey. We consoled ourselves with plotting how to post a scathing review of Chopstick on Yelp and looking forward to a nice meal tonight in Biloxi. When the water of the Gulf finally comes into view we know we are close to our destination.
The next couple of nights will be spent at the Palace Hotel in Biloxi. The Palace is located on the coast along the “Casino Row” which sprung up in Biloxi since we left school in Mississippi. We stayed there during our last Florida road trip and really enjoyed the Smoke Free casino and hotel. The plan is to chill here and play golf tomorrow.
Last year we had a fantastic dinner at the bar of Mignon’s – their fancy pants steakhouse restaurant. Even though it goes way against our MO (never go back to the same place), we decide to give it a try and it works out great. The bartender – Gina – is the same as last year. She is amazing and reminds me of what I like about Mississippi. She tells us she remembers our faces from last year.
While we are studying the menu, the couple beside us tells us that we should order the burger special. They are both chowing down on huge, delicious-looking burgers. They tell us we should split. Gina explains that chef has created a special burger with carmelized onions, gruyere cheese, bacon, garlic aoili, etc. It is paired with a glass of special Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet. (The couple tells us that the wine is fantastic and that we won’t want to share it). We place the order for a split burger and supplement with a shared Caesar Salad.
Gina comes outwith a beautiful tray of freshly baked and sliced bread accompanied by both garlic/salt butter and pecan butter. OMG. The memory of this bread comes racing back to both of us. How could we have forgetten the bread? I could make my meal of this bread and our salad. However, when the burger arrives it looks fantastic. Gina sets the glass of Cabernet in front of me. It is the largest pour I have seen anywhere and it is wonderful.
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and chatting with the other patrons and Gina.
The casino floor is calling. I have to take most of my wine with me – I can’t finish it and definitely don’t want to waste it. I end up carrying it around with me all evening and sipping judiciously. Rich and I find our favorite machine of last year – the “blinged out” Crystal/Gold machine. However, it is not giving us an inch. We move on and try several others. No dice. We are not even winning enough to make it fun.
Rich heads up to our room to look at the route for golf tomorrow and see if he wants to ride his bike there. I remain in the casino for a bit longer hoping to cash in like I did at the Tropicana in Laughlin in July. (Read about it here). Not gonna happen. I finally give it up and turn in. It is late (at least for fogies like us) and I already have it in my mind that I want to get up early and hit up the workout room in the morning before golf.
Can’t wait to try our hand at our first round of Southern golf tomorrow. I haven’t golfed in almost a week and am going through withdrawal…