Jun 24, 2015

Hooray for the Hollywood Café, Robinsonville, Miss.

Of all the destinations I frequent when I travel, I can’t think of any location that looks more out of place than the islands of casinos and the strip of commercialization that connects them that appear out of nowhere in the north Mississisppi Delta about 15 minutes north of Tunica, Miss., and a half hour south of Memphis, Tenn. 

Yet, somehow the Tunica Resorts area works, probably for the reasoning that Las Vegas works in the middle of a desert.  There’s not much else there.  And, in fact, the casinos that were built in part of unincorporated Robinsonville, Miss., starting in 1995 were at one point the third largest gaming destination in the country (the ever-expanding gaming industry has since pushed it back to eighth place).  To me, the draw was a fun, affordable halfway point in between my home and New Orleans.  The rooms are typically cheap, the slots are often loose and the atmosphere is undoubtedly mini-Vegas.  I thought The April would love it. 

The April did, in fact, love the Jacuzzi suite I chose.  But here’s the problem if it turns out crowds, noisy casinos and giant imposing glitzy structures aren’t your thing:  Your dinner choices at Tunica Resorts are either at the casino or a smattering of fast food joints and chains near an outlet mall on that same commercial strip surrounded by cotton fields. 

We almost resorted into driving into Memphis until I remembered the one place in old Robinsonville (the only place, in fact) that, thanks to my love for the blues, I’d always wanted to go to:  the Hollywood Café

Jun 17, 2015

A soulful side trip to the Old Country Store, Lorman, Miss.

If you’re a food aficionado like me, you’ll go out of your way to try a classic restaurant, diner or roadside stand that has achieved legendary status among those in the know.  In fact, you’re liable to go out of your way to make that destination an important component of any road trip you’ve planned.  Fortunately for me, The April and I think similarly, and I’ve been converting her to a fellow food fanatic.  So it was no surprise to me when she discovered a place I had not even heard about but which was reportedly worthy of a side trip on our way back from New Orleans. 

Jun 4, 2015

A commoner drinks at Napoleon House, New Orleans

If I had to name one place on my regular rotation of French Quarter hangouts I wished I frequented more often, it would have to be the Napoleon House.  After all, Napoleon House has everything you look for in a classic New Orleans drinking and/or dining experience.  It just happens to be on a quieter section (at least to me) of Chartres Street slightly shielded from tourists who aren’t as “in the know” as they should be.

Fortunately, I remembered to introduce The April to the Napoleon House on our most recent visit to the Big Easy.  As it turns out, it was one of her favorite stops of the entire trip.  

Doesn't she look happy?

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...