Thursday, May 29, 2014

“Waiter, There’s No Fly in My Soup!”

But more on that later. First a little background information on The Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport, MS.

“The Blow Fly Inn was started as a happenstance operation (originally nicknamed Hickory’s BBQ) in 1961 by Albert & Mary Malone. As the story goes, Al’s good friend Mac (who had a restaurant in the vicinity) was constantly being asked ‘Where’s Al’s Place?’ Well, one day after too many inquiries, Mac gave in to his frustrations and replied, ‘Yeah, I’ll tell you—Go to Pass Rd., take a right and follow the string of blow flies.’ Before long Hickory’s was better known as the ‘Blow Fly Inn.’

“For years, Al tried unsuccessfully to list his ‘Blow Fly Inn’ with the phone company but was always told the name was inappropriate. After several years and many inquiries, the phone company reconsidered and it was finally listed. Finally the Blow Fly Inn found its niche among the restaurants of Mississippi. Mr. Al & Ms. Bert have since passed on and are deeply missed by the entire Blow Fly family…” (blow-fly-inn.com). Today, the restaurant is owned by Scott Weinberg.

We learned about The Blow Fly Inn on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and I was intrigued by the restaurant's “phoenix rising from the ashes” (“…through death comes a new life, and the new life is even more beautiful than before” [answers.yahoo.com]) story. In 2005 the Inn was destroyed by 28 feet of water during Hurricane Katrina. “Now rebuilt and better than ever, the restaurant gladly serves up Gulf food for the locals and travelers alike” (biteandbooze.com).
The Inn sits overlooking not the Gulf but rather Bayou Bernard.

One has the choice of sitting on the dining deck under the leaves of a massive oak tree
or in the air conditioned dining room (important in coastal Mississippi during the summer) with large windows on three sides.
Lover of air conditioning that I am, we went indoors and sat in the virtually empty dining room. (Lunch was late that day and we arrived at about 2:30.)
As you can imagine, references to the blowfly abound. There are children’s colored art hanging on one wall,
the restrooms are appropriately named,
and a blowfly plaque hangs over the doors to the kitchen.
But, alas, one blowfly artifact is no more. At the time of airing on DDD, each dish that came from the kitchen was decorated with a plastic blowfly. But that tradition no longer exists. The manufacturer no longer makes the larger flies and the smaller ones still produced are considered to be a chocking hazard. But there is a basket of the smaller flies sitting next to the cash register and our server brought us one to decorate the basket of bread.
I guess that two old people with white (Chuck) and grey (me) hair can be trusted not to put the plastic fly in their mouths.

But the building is not all that is new from the days when the Inn was owned by Albert and Mary Malone. “…(T)he food is…no longer the Blowfly you may remember from your grandparents’ days. The menu has changed quite a bit since Owner Scott Weinberg took over the restaurant in 1998. He says, ‘When folks come in and see the extensive menu and realize how different we are from all the other restaurants on the coast, they have a tendency to come back again and again.’ The recipes are creations by the restaurant owner, but he is quick to point out that the ‘family’ at the Blowfly makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the consistency and high standards that go into each dish” (gotoplaces.wordpress.com).

We started by sharing a cup of the Creole Gumbo that was featured on DDD.
The gumbo contained shrimp, sausage, and okra in a medium dark roux base that was seasoned with thyme and bay. And in true Creole fashion, it contained a small amount of tomato. And in the bottom of the bowl sat one plump oyster that, generous man that he is, Chuck left for me to eat.

At lunch you can either order from the full dinner menu or the shorter lunch menu with smaller portions. Items on the lunch menu included Hamburger Steak, Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp and Catfish, Creole Pasta (shrimp, crawfish, sausage, bell pepper, onions, and mushrooms in a spicy cream sauce), Seafood Platter (shrimp, catfish, oysters, and stuffed crab), Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Seafood Pasta (shrimp, crawfish, oysters, crabmeat, and asparagus in a white wine sauce), Catfish Fillets, Grilled Chicken Breast, Bayou Chicken Pasta (blackened chicken breast over pasta topped with sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms, and sausage in a spicy cream sauce), and Red Beans and Catfish.

And it was this last item that Chuck selected for his lunch.
In his cookbook Louisiana Real and Rustic, Emeril Lagasse describes the ideal red beans and rice as being creamy and not soupy. And that perfectly describes The Blow Fly Inn’s. Tender beans sat is a creamy base that was slightly spicy and smoky from sausage and hinted of bay and thyme. And atop sat about a half-dozen catfish strips that had a nice cornmeal crust. Keeping our streak intact, the catfish was moist, sweet, and flakey.

His lunch came with his choice of one side and he selected the chopped cole slaw.
This was quite a good version—cold, crisp, and with a light and sweet dressing.

From the list of dinner appetizers, I selected the Shrimp and Grits.
I have come to believe that there are as many versions of this Southern favorite as there are restaurants serving them. This version included sautéed jumbo shrimp, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers in a cream sauce and accompanied by a grit cake.

Now I have a question. When did appetizers get to be so big? I was only able to eat about two-thirds of it and took the rest home. But it was delicious—along with being very rich.

Chuck’s lunch came with a dish of banana pudding and our server wisely brought a second spoon for me.
“Banana pudding is a dessert generally consisting of repeated layers of sweet vanilla flavored custard, cookies and sliced fresh bananas placed in a dish and served, topped with whipped cream or meringue” (wikipedia.org). I can’t remember if my copy of Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars is sitting back in our storage locker in Pennsylvania or whether I donated it to the Wrightstown Library when we cleaned out the house before setting out on this adventure. But I am almost sure that within those pages you’ll find the recipe for the beloved Southern dessert. (I am beginning to suspect that Southerners have a real sweet tooth.)

This was a great start to our dining adventures on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and earns 4.5 Addie. Let’s hope we continue on this high a note.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

3 comments:

adham said...



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adham said...


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adham said...


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