You may remember that I disappeared for a while last month. It wasn't much of a secret, the website stopped updating and the ParmaDaze Instagram became a travel site for a while.
If you missed all the hoopla, in a nutshell Myself and a few mats hired a car and drove from Louisiana to Cincinatti, then hit Los Angeles and Las Vegas on the way out. Many spectacular (and not so spectacular) meals were had on this trip, and I also managed to track down a couple of parmas.
We'll be here forever if I go through every meal we had, but here are some highlights and I'll bookend the non-parma stuff with a parma at the start and a parma at the end. Enjoy!
SAL & MOOKIES. Biloxi, Mississippi
If you ever watched the reality TV show "Party Down South" Then you know about Biloxi. It's a party and casino town where the sun is shining and the drinks flowed freely (literally, at the casino we stayed in you didn't have to pay for drinks over the bar). Biloxi is Vegas for rednecks, and after much alcohol consumption we stopped into Sal & Mookies New York Pizzeria & Ice Cream for a feed.
We grabbed a table, checked the menu and I shed a tear as I spied the first parma of the trip -
I was surprised to see it actually listed as a "Parmigiana" as every other time I've been in the USA it has been pretty much exclusively referred to as a "Chicken Parmesan".
The others ordered a pizza, I ordered the parma.
The Pizza looked absolutely phenomenal...
Goddamn food envy...
The parma? Not as phenomenal...
Food envy ... increasing!
The parma was okay, as usual with parmas in the US it is considered more of a pasta dish than a pub feed. Rather than one big schnitz my bowl of spaghetti was topped with a few smaller chicken cutlets. It was tasty, a little dry, could definitely have used much more sauce (especially when I finished the parma and was essentially left with a bowl of dry spaghetti). The garlic bread failed to impress.
It was tasty, and much more filling that the photo would lead you to believe. But holy crap that pizza looked good.
BIG PIE IN THE SKY PIZZERIA. Kennesaw, Georgia.
Clearly I had pizza on the brain after Biloxi as a few days later I routed our road trip past Big Pie In The Sky pizza, A pizza joint in Georgia so famous for their giant pizza's they appeared on the TV show Man Vs. Food.
Why? This is one of their pizzas...
I found this photo online. That's not me, I'm not that brave.
It's known as the "Carnivore Challenge" - $50 to attempt, $250 if you finish it between two people in an hour. Unfortunately if you want to participate in the challenge you have to call and schedule in a time, we weren't nearly that prepared, so instead we just opted for pizza by the slice.
Even in slice form its friggin' massive, that tray you see the slice sitting on is what we would normally call a "medium" sized pizza. It was delicious, fresh, crispy and satisfied my pizza cravings perfectly. Would definitely recommend if you find yourself nearby!
HUBBA HUBBA SMOKEHOUSE. Flat Rock, North Carolina
We stumbled upon Hubba Hubba purely by accident. Driving the back roads of North Carolina we stumbled upon a town that reminded me of Hepburn. Small, quaint and trees everywhere (a welcome change from the hours and hours of generic concrete freeway we had been driving on to this point. We got out of the car to stretch our legs and the smell of smoked meat attracted us like one of those cartoons where the wisps of smoke form a giant hand beckoning to come closer.
This place was awesome! Simple and rustic. Place an order at the window and wait for it to be called. The menu was quite extensive for a lover of BBQ...
I opted for the brisket plate with vinegar slaw and cornbread.
Holy jesus this stuff was good. Hands down the best brisket I had ever eaten in my life. So tender it was almost a liquid and absolutely bursting with flavour. The vinegar slaw was different, not exactly to my taste. The cornbread was out of this world, I never knew cornbread could be that tasty.
We left Hubba Hubba satisfied and with full stomachs - quite possibly the best meal we had on the entire trip, discovered completely by accident.
Kentucky Fried Chicken. Louisville, Kentucky
It had to be done, right? We only spent a night in Louisville so we didn't get to see as many of the sights as we would have liked, but one thing we made sure to do was to pay our respects to the master.
Followed by a trip to the first KFC we could find to see it was any better straight from the source.
Verdict? It was pretty much the same. Although a chocolate chip cookie with my crispy strip combo was a welcome addition.
Hang Over Easy. Cincinnati, Ohio
Hang Over Easy is one of those places that makes you think "Why don't we have this in Australia yet?!" It is a hybrid cafe/pub fully licensed that specialises in one thing - Hangover food.
Plenty of taps of craft beer so you can get your hair of the dog, coupled with a menu of items such as Bread Pudding French Toast, Scrambled Eggs with fries and double chocolate chip pancakes. I opted for the Chicken & Waffles...
... And holy crap did it hit the spot.
Someone with money, make this happen in Melbourne and send me an invite.
Buca Di Beppo. Universal City, California
After a day hanging out at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and beers with these blokes at Universal Studios...
Our tummies had the rumbles, so we decided to stop in at Buca Di Beppo.
If you are unaware, Buca is an Italian restaurant chain in the USA that serves all their meals "Family Style", meaning if you order a serve of pasta you get enough pasta to feed the whole family ... and the same goes for their parmas.
"Parmigiana" again! Maybe the yanks are finally coming to their senses.
We ordered our family style parma and, as expected, it was a lot of food...
Basically one serve of chicken parmigiana at Buca is three parmas on a plate and a bowl of spaghetti (we ordered the garlic bread separately ... rookie mistake when only two people are eating).
The schnitzel was much better than at Sal & Mookies, Decent size but hammered a little thin for my taste. The problem with the Buca parma is that all of the napoli was on the spaghetti, meaning you had to combine it all on the plate to get anything but schnitz and cheese.
It was tasty, no Aussie parma thats for sure but definitely the best we had on the trip.
We got through two of the parmas, most of the spaghetti and a bit of the GB before giving up, finishing the meal looking not unlike the bloke from Monty Python's Meaning of Life
Pretty much sums up our entire trip to the states actually!