Monday, January 30, 2012

Big Menu

It was a good one, this weekend was. Had a great Saturday night into a great Sunday morning, that turned into a lazy Sunday night.

W and I had the ultimate small town Saturday night with friends. The closest real town (one with a drug store) is 20 minutes away, Yazoo City. We made plans to go to Thomas Johnson's Yazoo Market for a 5-course meal. Yazoo Market, better known as Yazoo Tomato, is an awesome little place up the hill from downtown. He serves a tasty meat and three, and his lunch menu also includes a variety of different sandwiches. He also sells fresh fruit and veggies at the right time of year, casseroles, pies and desserts, seafood, local honey, jelly, pickles, and what not. It's the go-to place in Yazoo City in my opinion for the freshest produce and quick, pick-up eating at lunchtime. I love to stop and get a grilled cheese with everything on it. I get our local honey there too so we won't get allergies in the spring. 

But anyway, we were told Mr. Johnson had started something inventive: to start serving supper at his place on the hill, one group at a time. A gourmet 5-course meal only on Saturday nights and only one group. So we got a group and went. 

When we got there he had a delicious appetizer to eat while we socialized before we sat down. It was a real transition for the place. He had placed a large table where the fruit and vegetable stand was. There were gorgeous camellias and magnolia leaves on the table. In short, totally different atmosphere from the hustling and bustling environment of Yazoo Market at lunchtime.

5 courses, all wonderfully delicious. To start us off, we had an oyster dish that was spectacular. And I'm not huge on oysters. But these oysters tasted pretty much like Heaven. Then for the second course, we had risotto in a parmesan cheese solidified shell. You know this was my second favorite dish because I love parmesan cheese like I love my cats and some of my distant family members. It was awesome. I don't know how he did it, but it was perfect.

After that, shrimp salad. This was my third favorite course. I wish I had more details and the real names, but I can't even remember the names of some of my old friends from college now, so what would you expect? Then the main and fourth course, grouper with asparagus with some kind of special sauce. Due to vegetarian limitations, I did not have what everyone else had. But I heard enough to know it was fabulous: veal. Veal is a big no-no in the natural, animal free world of the vegetarian. But apparently, it tasted really good. Mr. Johnson was kind enough to take me into consideration about that. 

Last course was hands down my favorite. The dessert was some kind of Nutella Tiramasu, topped with whipped cream and a huge, juicy chocolate and white chocolate covered strawberry on the side. 

During supper, we sipped wine that we had brown bagged in there, and also he gave us each a shot of Yazoo beer (brewery is in Nashville) for tasting. Jack and Elinor, Michael and Whitney, Sarah Cobb and her boyfriend Jack, W and me: it was a fun and lively group. 

What I loved the most was how Mr. Johnson described what he had prepared after he served it. I just needed a pen and pad so I could write down all he told us. It was nice to have that special service and explanation, a real treat! Hope we get to do it again. 

Stylish ladies and gentlemen at the stylish new Yazoo Tomato at Night. 

Shrimp salad. Yes. That remoulade sauce almost made me cry. 

I am getting so frustrated that my stinking pictures are showing up like this. But this is the Nutella Tiramisu. Amazing. Chocolate and hazelnut. Oh-my-goodness. Favorite course right here.

Good food and great company. 

We had a fine time, some good laughs and conversation, some tasty treats, some wine and beer, and I was sad when the dinner was over. I highly recommend coming to Thomas Johnson's five-course meal at Yazoo Market if you're ever passing through Yazoo City.

I have been thinking lately that maybe the majority of my big Saturday nights are over now that I live in the country. But I have been proven wrong. There are little treasures like this in all these little towns surrounding us. This delectable supper is a prime example of the real fun you can have with friends on a Saturday night in the Delta. 

A great Saturday night is always followed by a great Sunday morning. I have solid proof of this tracing back to high school. And I loved those Sundays in the sorority house at Ole Miss: everyone sitting around with makeup still on and hair disheveled, talking about the night before, laughing our heads off. But not even that amazing time in my life can compare to this:

Yesterday morning was weird and foggy. But when this happens, the sun always looks so mystifying in all that mist. I thought it looked so neat with the cypress trees and lake. I wish things looked as good in photos as they do in person because this really took my breath away. 

Also on this day, duck season is officially over. I know I've said that I like duck hunting, and it was fun the morning that I went (love to watch the geese flying over), but I'm a little glad to see it go. I know my husband is sorry to see it go, so a part of me feels for him. But I think it's time. In the last couple of weeks there, these men are trying to savor every last minute of the season. And so there are parts of my flawed personality that are excited that the other woman that we call hunting has left. That's all I'm saying. I will try to work out my relationship with this pastime next year. As for now, good riddance. 

Anyway, we were so super active in the middle of the day and by night, we were as lazy as two fat cats. W and I made the best fries I've ever had in my life. I know if you know me, you've heard me say that before. But I mean it this time. We made some sweet potato fries that I will never forget: I came up with this seasoning of cinnamon, white pepper, and salt. My mouth is literally watering right now thinking about them. It's lunchtime, isn't it? And I was thinking, "I am the best seasoner of sweet potato fries on this planet." And then I thought, "I am probably the most conceited seasoner of sweet potato fries on this planet as well." 

So there are little pieces of other people's creativity to enjoy all over the place. You might even catch the innovative bug and come up with something creative yourself. I'm sure you can probably come up with something better than seasoning (although not better than the actual seasoning). Just when you think I've humbled...

Liza Jane

PS: I have some news so tune in tomorrow. 

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