tibby’s new orleans kitchen

seems kinda fitting that we would eat at a New Orlean’s kitchen tonight – on the eve of one of the most massive floods in the recorded history of the Mississippi River.  A sign on the wall read, ‘God willin and da creek don’t rise…’  We ate at the few months old Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen tonight with a friend and friend of a friend.  It was on my Orlando To-do list and is by the creators of Tijuana Flats and I am sure they must have plans to expand to multiple locations as it feels like a really bankable restaurant.  I think that will be doable as it really was one of the more enjoyable meals I’ve had in a long time.  We tried both new and familiar dishes.
I kicked it off with a nice strong hurricane-rummy, yummy and strong!  For an app we tried the New Orleans Cheese Plank – a crispy fried pepper jack sitting on creole sauce-one of those things it is better you run out of before you want to stop eating. Z had an andouille po-boy and loved the flavor and texture.  I had a Parish Country Fried Steak and andouille grits.  It was all nested on red wine andouille gravy with crispy fried nuggets of sausage.  Why can’t I make grits that taste like this?  To cap it off we had beignets doused in powdered sugar-fluffy and sweet.  A fun night with good food-excellent.

smothered andouille grits and miles to go

I finished mile 12 of a figurative marathon I am running at work.  Upon taking on the gift shop at work 6 months ago I found a jumbled warehouse, storeroom and overcrowded shop with an outdated and unkempt inventory.  Yesterday at 3:30 I finished hand keying the inventory that remains after six months of cleaning and feverish sales.  Whew.  Now I need to organize and clean up the remains and think about the product mix going forward.  And while I have a way to go I have also come a long way.
When I returned home last night I made super luscious creamy white stone ground grits with gravy smothered andouille for supper.  Mind you we didn’t eat until 8pm but it was lovely and cozy for an October evening.  I modified a recipe of Emeril‘s that I found on foodnetwork.com.  I didn’t want to fuss with shrimp and cut the grits he called for by half.  It definitely still serves 4.   I could also have grits with a couple of fried eggs and a sprinkle of extra cheese and be a very happy girl.

This will easily take you and hour and a half to cook.  But slow cooked stone ground grits are worth every minute.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large spear of celery (1/2 cup?) diced
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 package andouille sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick(I used New Orleans Style Johnsonville precooked from the market)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 recipe Creamy Stone Ground Grits, recipe follows
  • We splashed a bit of Tabasco on top


In a saute pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 4 to 6 minutes for a medium brown roux, about the color of peanut butter. Add the onions, peppers, and celery. Season with salt and cayenne. Continue cooking until the vegetables are wilted, about 8 minutes. Add the sausage and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and cream. Bring the liquid to a simmer and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. To serve, spoon the grits in the center of each serving bowl. Spoon the mixture over the grits. Garnish with green onions.

Creamy Stone Ground Grits:
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cups stone ground white grits
1 cup grated white Cheddar

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine the water, milk, salt, pepper and the butter. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Stir in the grits. Turn way down and cook for 1 1/4 hours, stirring occasionally. (The grits will stick to the bottom of the pan, so make sure not to scrape the bottom of the pan. If the grits absorbed all of the water, add some hot water to thin out I had to add about an extra cup, I suppose it would depend on your grits to begin with.) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese. The grits can either be served immediately or prepared in advance and reheated.

If preparing in advance, grease a pan with a teaspoon of butter. Pour the grits into the pan and reheat in a 400 degree F for 15 minutes.

fried green tomatoes

I relish them – the fried green tomatoes.  I couldn’t see the draw before I ate one.  After I ate one I wanted another one later. A thick sliced green tomato breaded in a slightly spicy thick coating. I had two sandwiches, this one, a smoked vegetable, fried green tomato, fresh mozzarella with basil aioli on focaccia.
And another one (not pictured because my photos didn’t turn out) which is completely grand for many many reasons.  Fresh made wheat bread, bacon, lettuce, a fried green tomato-classic-and a fried egg.
The moral of the vacation story.  Be it food, cities, thing to do, try new things. You might just find yourself pleasantly surprised.

going north to the south


we’re on a short holiday from work. I have been begging for a bit of a road trip for a couple of months now and we headed out this morning for Charleston, South Carolina. It’s about a seven hour drive from Orlando proper. We made a brief stop about five hours into our journey for lunch in Savannah, GA at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House. Bubba is the brother of Paula Deen, the butter and bacon -toot, toot! queen herself. We chose his menu over hers and we weren’t disappointed at all. Z had hand battered chicken fingers and I had a crab cake po’ bubba with sweet tea. Sweetest tea ever! I drove a bit after lunch and over this crazy tall bridge that took us right over the swamp into the lowcountry.