Celebrating Southern: Food and Drink

Morning y’all!  It’s HOT here in DC…but I’m sure you southern ladies can relate.  I met some friends for happy hour last night and all of the tourists getting on the metro looked wilted.  Kids were pouring sweat and looked grumpy, Mom’s and Dad’s had that tone in their voices and everyone seemed confused on how to buy a metro card.  Note-while bringing your kids to experience the history of DC is wonderful, doing it during the scorching hot months of July and August is not.  Do yourselves a favor and save any family vacations for spring or fall.


Ok, let’s talk southern food with Leslie-possibly one of my favorite things ever!  Y’all know I like to eat around here!  I think we’re all familiar with southern food-fried, unhealthy and positively delicious!  Now that I’m a little older, one of my favorite things about the south is how much work goes into preparing food at holidays, family dinners and celebrations.  Everything is cooked with love-and butter. 🙂 Some of my favorite dishes are my Mama’s biscuits and gravy, my Aunt Della’s mac and cheese, my Nana’s pineapple hash brown casserole and my stepmom’s twice baked potatoes.  Aunt Kelly, your deviled eggs are on the list too. 🙂  

I’ve had to take a little hiatus from southern foods since we moved to DC.  It’s kind of a double-edged sword-I really miss some of my favorite restaurants, but the non-chain restaurants here are fabulous.  Seriously, I don’t think we’ve tried a restaurant here that is bad!  You can read about some of my favorite DC eateries here

But, even with all of the wonderful places to eat here, I really miss a few restaurants in particular.

Chick-fil-a-If you haven’t had their chicken biscuit for breakfast, you haven’t lived.  I’m pretty sure these will be served in heaven because, yes they are THAT good.  A Chick-fil-a food truck just came to DC-right after I started my new job in Maryland. 

Cracker Barrel-I remember taking my roommate to Cracker Barrel in college (she was from Memphis) and being shocked that she had never eaten at Cracker Barrel.  I think she was a little shocked about everything being covered in butter!  True story-when Nick and I first started dating, we went to Cracker Barrel and I couldn’t decide between the chicken sandwich on sourdough or the French toast breakfast. Since we were newly dating, he decided to be nice and said, “get both.”  I’m sure he never thought I would do that, but I did.  And ate both. 

Sweet Tea-The first time I ordered tea up here, I had to dump a gallon of sugar in it.  Sorry, but unsweet tea is for the birds.  On one of our recent trips home, I swung by McAlister’s and was in sweet tea heaven.  We had sweet tea at our wedding and Nick’s Dad had to add water to his because he couldn’t handle all the sugar!

Calhoun’s-This restaurant is only in the East Tennessee area, but if you ever come to Knoxville for a UT football game (and duh, you should), you must eat at Calhoun’s on the River.   

Larry’s-I’m sure you’ve never heard about this little diner (I couldn’t even find a website).  It’s a diner in Springfield, TN where my Nana and Pop (Dad’s parents) live and it’s a gem.  It’s seriously like stepping back into the 50’s and we don’t make a trip to Springfield without a visit to Larry’s.  Nana and Pop and the family go every Saturday and Pop meets the boys for coffee on Wednesday’s at Larry’s….this has been going on for as long as I’ve been alive and they have the same table waiting every Wednesday and Saturday.   

Adelaide’s-Kingston girls, you must have lunch here!  I had lunch with some of my girlfriends last time we were home and it’s such a southern spot.  It’s an old Civil War era home and they serve sweet tea, sandwiches and desserts.  I loved it! 

I promised yesterday that Nick was going to talk about food that we southerners tend to ignore.  Now, I’ll admit that I used to be super picky and if it wasn’t what I was used to, I wasn’t eating it.  But the boy has expanded my horizons a bit!  Have any of you southern girls every heard of huckleberries?  They use them for everything in Idaho and they were foreign to me when we went for a Christmas visit and I was offered huckleberry pie. 

Take it away Nick!  Ladies, it’s his official blog debut. 🙂

Everyone’s familiar with the stereotypical comfort food and drink of the south – fried everything, pit BBQ (Mmm), collard greens, sweet tea, jack and moonshine. There’s a reason why the southern states make up 12 of the 13 US states (MI) with obesity rates OVER 30%! *He about had a heart attack the first time he saw my Aunt make cream tacos and dump a pound of cheese in the pot.   What you should know if you’re not from the south (like me), is that southerners don’t tend to venture far from their comfort zone (pun intended), and if you are from the south (like my wife), you should know that the rest of the US offers some tasty food reminiscent of their European descent. 

My family landed here from Germany in the 1800s, bringing with them some traditional German foods that we still enjoy to this day. Have you ever had a runza? What about goulash, pierogies, braunshwager, krautwickel, kinklings or one of my favorites, sh#t on a shingle? (Pretty sure that last one isn’t a traditional dish) I’m sure you’ve had a bratwurst, but don’t forget the sauerkraut! Check out the pics below to see what your southern palate has been missing.

Sauerkraut is literally fermented cabbage, but it goes great with sausages and mustard. My mom actually found out she was prego with me after eating a whole jar in one sitting!


The runza is specific to the German population in NE and the surrounding states, consisting of a doughy bread pocket with a filling of ground beef, onions, cabbage and seasoning. The term “runza” is actually a trademarked restaurant name now.

Goulash (or goulasch) is a tomato-based stew with meat, noodles and vegetables, so basically it’s German hamburger helper.

Try braunschweiger for a snack (named after Braunschweig, Germany). It’s actually a type of liverwurst, but it goes great with anything. Just think of it as spam and don’t tell anyone what it really is (my dad never told me).

Krautwickel is a savory dish of cabbage leaves rolled around a filling of minced meat. You’ll need lots of ketchup for this one. 

My buddy’s dad makes some mean pierogies, which are dumplings baked with onions and stuffed with potato filling or cheese. Are you seeing a trend here? 

And for dessert, try a fasnacht (german for carnival), which is basically a fruit-filled doughnut. In Maryland (where we live) they’re called kinklings, and are only sold on Shrove Tuesday (the day before lent). They’re traditionally made as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar and butter before lent.

So, have any of you southern gals tried any of these foods?

8 thoughts on “Celebrating Southern: Food and Drink

  1. Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! says:

    All that German food made my mouth water. YUM! Sweet tea is delicious but as a Northern Girl I enjoy unsweetened when I can get it. Of course I dump some lemons AND a bit of no cal sweetener in the mix. Just makes me feel healthy 😉

    DC in the SUMMER is awful for sight seeing. As a native I know this first hand. My hubby almost thought about going during the July 4th week but with all the power outages we opted for Baltimore instead!

  2. Casey says:

    Found you over at A Blonde Ambition! SO FUN that you had your husband talk about his traditions too! They all look incredible. My mouth is watering though, just THINKING about McAlister’s tea. And Adelaide’s…love those simple sandwiches on white bread – I bet with Duke’s Mayo, yes? haha

  3. Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! says:

    Girl… if there is ONE THING I miss more than anything (minus my father and my friends of course) in Maryland it’s the SEAFOOD!!!! Have you gone for all you can eat crabs? Or have you been instructed how to eat them? If you have and want to try them I suggest going to Mays Seafood in Frederick (it’s out by the mall). But instead of getting all you can eat I suggest ordering yourself and your hubby a dozen of the XL or Jumbo whatever they call them. It will be 6 each but more than enough to fill you up. If you have time to travel look into Jerry Seafood in Bowie, MD – My father took us there this past vacation and I am SPOILED by their crabcakes for life. They are called CRAB BOMBS 10 oz or 6 0z of backfin, lump crab meat! SOOO good! It’s been so long since I’ve been home I couldn’t tell you any more awesome places but I will ask my father for a top 5 list and report back to you. Last year I didn’t get to come home for the summer and missed out on all the good seafood!!!

    Hit up places in Baltimore too – I hear they have great seafood places!!! Happy hunting!

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