Newk’s Express Cafe ~ D’Iberville, MS

Newk’s has to be one of our absolute favorite places to eat. Their sandwiches are fabulous and you can’t find a better soup selection anywhere. On this trip, we came on a Saturday and it was packed. On our way in, we saw their promo where you can text “newksdib” to 57711 for a free drink! Score! One of our favorite things about Newk’s is their condiment station. It has sweet pickles, roasted garlic, peppers, croutons, cheese, capers and a few other yummy things too. My hands are always full on my trip back to the table.

Newk's condiment bar

Newk’s condiment bar

This time, I had the Newk’s Q. It is SO good! It has grilled chicken, bacon, Swiss cheese and white barbecue sauce, all served on their perfectly toasted bread (crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside). I always get soup with my sandwich. The soups are different every day and you always have four soups to choose from. Today I had the Loaded Potato Soup. (It’s wonderful, however, it still comes in a close second to O’Charley’s potato soup.)

Newk's Q with Loaded Potato Soup

Newk’s Q with Loaded Potato Soup

Jason had their Italian sandwich which is loaded with capicola, mortadella, pepperoni, salami, provolone cheese, mayo, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato, hot cherry peppers and a very tasty Italian sauce. Another thing we love about Newk’s are their cups. They are big and perfect for your sweet tea!

Italian with Chips

Italian with Chips

My only complaint with Newk’s would be their side options. You can get pasta salad, cole slaw, fresh fruit, chips or their signature “Tippah County” caviar. They’re ok but they aren’t as “wow” as everything else on the menu. Good thing they have soup!

If you’ve never been to Newk’s, you MUST GO! And definitely try the Newk’s Q on your first visit, you’ll be hooked! Check out their website here.

Newk's Express Cafe on Urbanspoon

Hahn GSM 2011

I picked up the Hahn GSM for $11 on my last trip to Rouses’s in Slidell. It’s always a treat when I get to stop there. They have such a great wine selection and the prices are always lower than they are here in MS. A GSM is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. This is the same blend that goes into a Chateauneuf du Pape.

Hahn GSM 2011

Hahn GSM 2011

We always like to taste wines first straight from the bottle. We then give it a swirl through the aerator to see how it opens up. It usually makes a huge difference. Sometimes we like it better aerated, sometimes not. This wine had a beautiful dark ruby color and bright cherry on the nose. The first taste had light fruit and a similar body to a Pinot Noir. You really got the 14.5% alcohol on the finish. When we aerated the wine, it became more balanced and it really brought out the tannins, some dried fruit and a little spice. We paired it with pizza (not good), some cheddar (good), and chocolate (meh).

It’s definitely worth a try, especially for $11. Just make sure you give it some time to open up (and don’t eat it with pizza!).

Wasabi ~ Ocean Springs, MS

Lucky for me, Tonalea and the kiddos were down for Trinity’s birthday. They came by work and picked me up for lunch. We decided to go check out Wasabi in Ocean Springs. It’s a small place with four hibachi stations and some additional seating for regular dining. It’s bright and modern with a fresh Asian decor.

My beautiful nieces ~ Trinity and Layne

My beautiful nieces ~ Trinity and Layne

The prices were pretty good for lunch. I got my usual, the Chicken Hibachi. I have to say, right now, I’m obsessed with hibachi. I love the salad and the pink sauce they serve in the little dishes! I would eat it every day if I could.

The salad was good and had plenty of dressing. The egg drop soup was really good too, very flavorful and a good consistency. The rice was just ok and the veggies were overdone. The chicken was delicious, though, and we got two sauces. Nowadays it seems like places are cutting down to one. The service was very good. They catered to all our special requests quickly and with a smile! (I apologize for the lack of pictures but it’s hard to focus when you’re having a great time with family!)

I wouldn’t say to go out of your way to eat here. It’s in the same price range as the other Hibachi restaurants in the area and the food is of similar quality. If it’s the closest one, however, go for it!

Check out their menu and specials here.

Wasabi on Urbanspoon

Coffee Fusion Bubble Tea Cafe ~ Ocean Springs, MS

Sometimes I just need a place to go and chill for lunch and Coffee Fusion is the perfect place to do just that. It has a nice, warm coffeehouse feel with couches, a TV, free wi-fi, and three computers. Their menu has a great variety of salads, paninis, croissanwiches, and grill wraps. They even have a breakfast menu which is available all day. Their selection of sides is pretty cool too. For drinks, they have the standard coffee selections as well as smoothies and bubble teas.Coffee Fusion 1

For my lunch today, I had the Turkey, Bacon, and Cheese Wrap with Potato Salad. The wrap was really good and a good sized portion too.  The potato salad was more like a loaded potato salad you might get at a BBQ place (which I like, but Jason isn’t a huge fan).

Turkey, Bacon and Cheese Wrap

Turkey, Bacon and Cheese Wrap

For my drink, I got a Thai Iced Tea with the mango popping bubbles. It might sound odd but it’s a good combination and I LOVE the popping bubbles – each one is like a little burst of pure joy!

Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea

This place is worth a try if you’re in the area. And if you’ve never had a Thai Iced Tea, get one! They are SO good! Get a little more info and check out their menu here.

Coffee Fusion Bubble Tea Cafe on Urbanspoon

Cafe du Monde ~ New Orleans, LA

One of the places that we HAVE to stop at in New Orleans is Cafe du Monde. It’s usually pretty busy but today it was super busy. There was a line down the sidewalk! Luckily tables were turning fast and we got in without too long of a wait.

Cafe Du Monde 1After we finally snagged a table, we waited….and waited…and waited. There was a ten-top next to us and they ordered and got their stuff before our server even came by! Ridiculous! Eventually, we ordered a few orders of beignets, two cafe au laits and a hot chocolate for Griff.

Me and Tonalea

Me and Tonalea

*Important tip: Do not inhale when you try to take a bite of your beignet or you’ll choke! Also, if you’re husband makes you mad, you can just blow on your beignet and cover him in powdered sugar!

Another cool thing about Cafe du Monde is that you can watch them make the beignets. Just take a trip down the alleyway and you can watch the little beignets getting cut fresh and thrown into the fryer!

Cafe Du Monde 2Despite this one bad experience, we will still continue to go to Cafe du Monde. It’s a family tradition and one I will always cherish. If you’re in New Orleans, you have to stop by!

Café Du Monde on Urbanspoon

Louisiana Pizza Kitchen ~ New Orleans, LA

I love going to the French Quarter in New Orleans. The hardest part about going is deciding where to eat. There are SO many good restaurants to choose from. This trip, it was Tonalea, Griffin, and I. We had spent some time walking around Jackson Square and the French Market when we decided it was time to grab some grub. Louisiana Pizza Kitchen was close and I knew it would be good. Unfortunately, lots of other people had the same idea so we had to wait a while to be seated. It’s small inside but the decor is fabulous! It has such a cool vibe.

LPK 3On the tables, they had herbed olive oil, fresh ground pepper, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and parmesan ~ everything you need to go with their yummy pizzas!

My beautiful seester, Tonalea

My beautiful seester, Tonalea

Griffin ordered the Pepperoni Bacon Pizza. It had large, thick slices of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. There was no actual “bacon” on the pizza, it was just the type of pepperoni. He gave it a thumbs up! Tonalea and I shared Roasted Garlic Pizza and the Shrimp Maque Choux. The pizza was topped with spinach, feta, mozzarella, roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. All their pizzas are thin crust. I’m not a huge fan of thin crust, but I’ll tough it out here. The Shrimp Maque Choux is an appetizer. You get five fire-roasted shrimp served on top of a yummy maque choux. I think the shrimp spent a little too long in the fire but overall it was good.

LPK 7 If you’re in the area, I would definitely check it out. The only negative thing I could say was that you had to walk through the dish room to get the bathroom. That’s not necessarily an area you want the public to see.

Check out their website here.

Louisiana Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Half Shell Oyster House ~ Biloxi, MS

We had a nice little Christmas lunch with some co-workers at the Half Shell Oyster House in Biloxi. It’s a beautiful, two-story restaurant. It has an outdoor feel with exposed brick and wrought iron. I think it’s pretty cool that they have a bar upstairs as well as downstairs. It was really busy for lunch but they still managed to get a table for the 8 of us with no problem.

Half Shell 1Jason and I started out with the Voodoo Wings. They were AMAZING. They were sweet with a little spice, boneless and really tender. Definitely a “must try”.

Half Shell 5For my entree, I had the Almond Encrusted Chicken. It was tender and so flavorful. It was topped with a wonderful red pepper cream sauce. I chose the Cajun Boiled Fried New Potatoes for my side. They were tossed in garlic and parmesan and were super delicious!

Almond Encrusted Chicken

Almond Encrusted Chicken

Jason ordered the Pasta Half Shell. You get the choice of chicken or shrimp and he went with the chicken. It was supposed to have sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and artichokes. At first he thought, “wow, they didn’t put much in here”. He got about halfway through when someone else at the table was like “what’s all this stuff in my pasta?”. Apparently the server couldn’t tell the difference between the Pasta Half Shell and the Chicken Alfredo. So, here’s the review on the Chicken Alfredo he ended up with. There was plenty of chicken but needed more sauce. It was a good sized portion for lunch and it also came with garlic parmesan toast. The cool thing is that you get to choose a side with the pastas as well. He ordered the potatoes like I did.

Pasta Half Shell

Pasta Half Shell

I also snagged a bonus picture of someone’s Seafood Pot Pie. They said it was delish!

Seafood Pot Pie

Seafood Pot Pie

Overall, it was a fun lunch. We laughed, talked about our Christmas plans, and exchanged gifts in a great atmosphere with some fantastic food! If you’re in the area, this is definitely a restaurant you should check out!

In addition to Biloxi, they also have three other locations. If you’d like to check out their full menu and list of locations, you can visit their site here.

Half Shell Oyster House on Urbanspoon