I’ve never hid my feelings for the cuisine of Queen G’s. It’s one of my favorite lunch spots, if not my number one. So once I found out they were celebrating a milestone year this month I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
A quarter of a century is a serious accomplishment for any business, but for a restaurant it is indeed a rarity. There are corporate restaurant chains that don’t last that long. So when a local blows out 25 candles it is worth looking into why.
A fiery redhead by the name of Gaynelle Mathers opened the restaurant in 1989 to much acclaim. Her daughter Carolyn bought her out in 2004, and the redhead tradition continues. In my limited experience redheads are fond of oysters, so I figure that must be the reason Lady C (Carolyn’s kitchen moniker) makes the best fried oysters in town. To be more specific they are the best I’ve ever eaten. Let’s hope that takes this place another quarter century.
The celebration is a bit understated, but will take place this Friday, May 9th during their normal lunch hours. Live music from Tony “The Butcher” Matranga will delight your ears. Prizes distributed throughout the lunch will delight your wallet.
Maybe you win a free tea, maybe you get a $5 coupon off your next lunch, who knows what could happen. But one lucky ticketholder will receive 25 free lunches! I’m sure there is some stipulation that you can’t eat them all at one time. The place only holds about 35-40 including the porch, but that is still an awesome prize.
Make your way on down to 2518 Old Shell Rd and celebrate like royalty.
Trattoria to open in Spanish Fort
Well, I think it may be Spanish Fort. There is a little spot of No Man’s Land on US Hwy 31 heading north past the giant Malbis mall where subdivisions are popping up every other week. They are cutting down trees and naming streets after them left and right. So it makes sense that restaurants will begin heading that way, right?
In the now defunct ice cream/miniature golf business known as Putter’s Dream renovations are underway and the “Coming Soon Trattoria” banner is next to a sign announcing the application for an alcohol license. The other side of the banner reads “Bentz is back!” Take that however you want. We will let you know how it unfolds.
Mother’s Day feta and veggie frittatas
I called my dear sweet mother for advice on what she would like on Mother’s Day. There aren’t a lot of brunch options in Laurel, Miss. It’s a town with less culinary fortune than metropolitan Mobile. The idea of that got me thinking. What if you can’t take your mom to brunch? What if you don’t want to fight the crowds? What if everything is booked? What if your mother is agoraphobic? The answer is bring brunch to her.
First, a little about my mom. We call her Khaki, a nickname that stuck many years ago. She’s a fine example of a human being and deserves the very best (I bet your other children can’t gush about you in front of such a large audience. Wink wink!). She’s a teetotaler, so she doesn’t care about bottomless mimosas or bloody Mary drinks, but she lets me have all I want. She won’t get home from church until after noon. She may have a touch of agoraphobia. She’s going to kill me for saying all of this, but she thinks I am the best of her three kids. That’s because she is so smart.
So I got Khaki on the line. “What DO you want to eat on Mother’s day?”
It was like she had ESP. It was as if the recipe book was laid out in front of her. Without skipping a beat she said, “Vegetable and feta frittatas.”
It’s a handwritten recipe she got from neighbor Lynn Stapleton, who got it from God knows where. “You remember, we had them last year sometime after Easter. You loved them.” Ah, yes. Those things. Those little fancy things. You can call them frittatas, but done in muffin tins they are more like little quiches without the crust. Wait, is that what a frittata is? Lines can be blurry.
It’s easy, and impressive.
Vegetable and Feta Frittatas
2 8 cup muffin tins
6 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 tbsp water
¼ tsp of table salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1 cup canned artichoke hearts without oil cut in chunks
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers (packed in water)
½ cup sliced uncooked scallions
¼ cup cream cheese softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat two 8 cup muffin tins with cooking spray
Beat eggs, egg whites, water salt and pepper until blended.
Stir in spinach, artichoke hearts and everything else until mixed well.
Spoon about ¼ cup into each muffin cup.
Bake until just set, about 18 to 22 minutes.
Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen and remove with rubber spatula.
Khaki suggests serving these with cheese grits and oven bacon.
If you don’t know oven bacon it’s easy and delicious. Place a single layer in a 13 x 9 pan in a cold oven. I repeat, do not preheat it. Use enough bacon for the day. You only have one shot at this. Turn oven to 400 degrees. Cook until it gets golden brown. No need to turn the bacon. It’s ready in about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your taste. Drain on paper towels. Smear a dab of grease behind your ears. The ladies love it.
Happy Mother’s Day, Khaki. And moms everywhere. Recycle.
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