2 Southern Belles
1301 Springhill Ave.
Mobile, AL 36604
I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about this newspaper, but more than a few of my talented colleagues keep winning awards. I am in good company, though I’m rarely at the office. So, what was going to be a lunch meeting with the incomparable Frank Trice turned into an informal banquet of sorts at Lagniappe headquarters. We weren’t really getting to celebrate with all the winners as we’d hoped; we just got the chance to bring lunch to a couple of the crew.
Frank has been chomping (pun intended) at the bit to review his latest favorite establishment, 2 Southern Belles. Katie and I had been once before for breakfast shortly after their opening, but never for an official review. Of course, I’d love to get elbow deep in this soul/Creole/Latina fusion thing. It was our good fortune we were in charge of feeding a party of five, which called for a massive amount of food.
2 Southern Belles is at the corner of Ann and Springhill. Parking is a little odd at that intersection, but you’ll manage. Plan on takeout. Call ahead, if you wish. There is limited seating outdoors, but it’s just too steamy for me to sweat it out with a hot meal.
Even with our sizable order, it took only a couple of minutes to get us on our way. Back at headquarters, we served it up family style. All five plates came with a pair of sides and a drink.
First we had the meatloaf. A thick slab lay across the Styrofoam, crescent shaped, with bits of peppers and onions visible in the cross section. A steamed vegetable medley, firm but done, consisted of yellow and zucchini squash, carrots and green beans. Pretty good, but not as good as the macaroni and cheese, of which you knew I was about to write. You can’t have meatloaf without baked macaroni and cheese. My only complaint is we didn’t get enough crust. I love a slightly browned cheese.
Fried chicken might have been Ashley’s favorite. The two-piece dark plate had a good crispy skin, and was paired with candied yams (another Ashley fave) which had bits of fruit buried in it. Of course, it also came with more macaroni.
One Lagniappe employee was in luck with chicken and dumplings. They were very much like something a family member would make. My small serving had a lot of tiny bones and a little bit of fat, so someone else at the table surely got the good part. You can tell these gals are really cooking over there. Macaroni and cheese plus another helping of candied yams were there for the taking.
I was eying the smothered chicken. Served over rice, the yellow-tinged gravy was spectacular with the two thighs. You wouldn’t believe it, but there was more mac and cheese. However, the star was a healthy serving of purple hull peas with bits of ham. Had I been at home, there would have been an empty bottle of hot sauce next to the plate.
Though we were all sharing, the plate of the day was technically Frank’s order. The stuffed pork chop was definitely the best thing we had that afternoon. Also served over rice with a touch of gravy plus a yellow corn muffin, the tender, bone-in chop was exactly as we’d hoped it would be. I fancied the green beans that accompanied it, and I’ll not bother telling you about the other side because you already know what it is.
Here is the shocker of the entire excursion: In the midst of all the plate lunches, I wanted to see what else these gals could do. I ordered a hot dog just to try something different. It came with a little cup of toppings that was hard to explain. It wasn’t really chow chow, it wasn’t really cole slaw, but it was delicious. It certainly churched up a plain dog, and got me in the mood for grilling. Also included was a bag of chips.
You can’t have a celebratory lunch without desserts. Banana pudding is always a favorite, and this one was homemade. It didn’t photograph well in the cup, but it tasted great. The sweet potato pie also suffered in looks, but more than made up for it in flavor. Peach cobbler won Best in Show for looks and taste.
If you’re snooty about your drinks, you may want to have a plan B. All of our meals came with a drink, but it was a selection of Best Choice sodas. Maybe they aren’t the BEST choice, but they were fine with me. I actually love trashy sodas every now and then. I ended up with a vanilla cola at the meal and a black cherry on the ride home. Frank had thought ahead and brought a couple of two liters from Publix. Frank is highfalutin.
So, in our haste, we neglected to order anything from the Latin menu, but that is certainly what return trips are for. We tried to nab some flancocho, but they were out.
Looking at the weekly menu, I realized I needed to find a different day to stop in. I’m missing out on oxtails and rice, turkey wings and dressing, pig’s feet, liver and onions, and fried fish. You could go several days in a row and not eat the same thing twice (except the macaroni and cheese). Another reason to swap days is for the outdoor jazz from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, where you are likely to hear Mobile’s own Joe Lewis.
You’re about to see this place jam up, so check the specials on social media, call ahead and get there early.
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