Cold weather always puts me in the mood for comfort food. I usually head to the kitchen and make a rich and deeply satisfying Bolognese, a beef stew served over cornbread, or maybe even fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s not only the food; it’s also being in the kitchen with the stove on full blast, making for a warm and cozy setting. If I have a friend cooking with me, then it’s even better.
But what do you do when the craving for comfort food strikes and you just don’t feel like cooking? Well, let me tell you, there are tons of options. As we have discussed so many times before, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is blessed with an amazing array of great restaurants, and many of them have killer good comfort food on the menu. Here are a few of my favorite.
I have to start with Vietnamese pho. Anthony Bourdain called pho “a steaming bowl of goodness,” and I agree completely. Most of our Vietnamese restaurants (there are a good handful) have a variety of pho choices. My favorite is thin sliced beef and meatballs, but the chicken is also a great choice.
My next choice would be the bouillabaisse at the Thorny Oyster in Bay St Louis (The Pearl Hotel). You just don’t find this French classic on many menus, it is a challenging recipe, but the one at the Thorny Oyster is simply one of the best things I have had to eat on the coast in years.
Another one of my top picks is the ox tail stew at CB’s Jamaican Jerk, now located in Biloxi. It is so savory, delicious, and filling, I promise you if you have it for lunch, if there is room for supper at all, it’s going to be a light salad. CB’s also has fabulous jerk chicken and smoke ribs.
This choice may take you by surprise, but I love the fried chicken and veggies at Hartz Fried Chicken in Ocean Springs. Two pieces of perfectly cooked fried chicken, three veggie sides and a roll (if you get takeout as I do), is just $10. It’s so good that it reminds me of home.
If I am in a Mediterranean mood, I head for Stalla at the Beau rivage. Their menu is loaded with good things, but I just love the mussels, served in a spicy tomato broth, Sambuca, cherry tomatoes, and grilled bread. Pair that with a good glass of dry white Italian wine, and you are in heaven.
I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point. There are lots of choices if you are in the mood for comfort food on a cold winter’s day on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!