Wednesday, January 16, 2008
In her many years of life, Lunch Lady has learned to be wary of some things—such as entities that proclaim themselves to be something that only time and audiences should be able to decide. For example, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey's presentation of "The Greatest Show on Earth"; Michael Jackson's self-declaration as the "King of Pop"; and Fox Sports saying they have "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." They all make Lunch Lady a little nervous. If they didn't, she might have called this column "The Best, Wittiest Thing You Will Read About Food This Week." But she would never be so presumptuous.
Ever careful with the validity of adjective usage, Lunch Lady enlisted some friends and decided to do a little investigative reporting this week on the accuracy with which certain Jackson restaurants describe themselves.
Majestic Burger (1491 Canton Mart Rd., 601-899-8822) is on target with their name. The vast number of options alone at this new restaurant in Canton Mart Square could deservedly be called majestic, and the quality of those options solidifies the title.
You can design your own burger with a turkey, veggie or all-natural, hormone-free beef patty on a white or wheat roll, with your choice of cheeses, raw and fresh vegetables, and condiments. Lunch Lady's favorite is a turkey burger on wheat with avocado, tomato, lettuce, (raw) red onions and cheddar. It doesn't get much better than that.
In addition to the design-your-own options, there are Majestic Burger creations like the Majestic Burger itself (beef patty, applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and comeback dressing) and the portabella mushroom sandwich (a grilled, marinated portabella mushroom cap with red bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and basil mayonnaise). The miniature cheeseburgers (four to a plate) come in turkey or beef. And Lunch Lady just wouldn't be Lunch Lady if she didn't recommend the thick and satisfying milk shakes—complete with a bendy straw for the kid in you.
The décor is nothing to sneeze at, either. The funky art deco paintings complement the bold, green and purple hues of the walls and the huge mural on the right-hand wall—sure to get your appetite going.
If you think "majestic" might not be your burger style, perhaps you'd prefer one that's just "cool" or even "super." Cool Al's (4654 McWillie Dr., 713-3020) and Stamps Superburger (Dalton St., 352-4555) may be just what you're looking for. Their menus offer a variety of spices and flavors from all over the world that definitely make the restaurants "cool." And Cool Al's veggie burgers are even more exciting than the (already amazing) hamburgers. Don't just settle for fries—jazz up your side items with your choice of seasonings or by getting sweet potato chips instead. And the quality of the food itself is surely nothing less than "super."
Special investigative force Will Hippler and Amanda Dubourg checked in with their report on The Elite (141 E. Capitol St., 601-352-5606). These recent college graduates say that they're a good deal younger than the general clientele there, but that just shows that wisdom comes with age.
"The veal cutlet is to die for … and to live for," Dubourg said. As are the rolls and the beer served in cans (elite, indeed!). Hippler gets particularly excited about the two kinds of gravy you can choose from; his favorite is the country style. You can get a three-course meal for less than $20 at this downtown establishment—a meal so good you'd likely be willing to pay more. (Don't tell the owners.) Dubourg suggests starting with the gumbo and following it up with the breaded veal cutlet. Finish off your feast with their famous lemon chess pie.
Lunch Lady would like to note that it's an even bolder claim to name yourself not only an adjective, but the adjective, but The Elite seems to be pulling it off acceptably. Well done.
Next up in the investigation was Crazy Cat Bakers (4500 I-55 N., Suite 173, 601-362-7448). Just how crazy are we talking? "It's crazy how their ingredients can be so fresh," Detective Lunch Buddy reported, but he added, "It's actually pretty chill in there."
You can eat there every day for lunch, and they make your sandwiches right in front of you and serve them with chips or a green salad. Lunch Buddy's favorite is the meatloaf panini, which he calls "so rich." For something lighter, try the ham, cheese and asparagus on sourdough bread or the tomato panini with basil pesto mayonnaise.
Lunch Lady's own exposure to Crazy Cat's food has, embarrassingly, been limited to special events. They were peddling their devil's food cake and other delicacies at Stewpot's fund raiser, Taste of Mississippi, last March when they had just opened, and tiny versions of their desserts were arguably the best treats at the Mistletoe Marketplace opening gala.
It's risky business putting an adjective in your own name, but these Jackson restaurants aren't merely talking themselves up. They're that good. And if you find somewhere else with an adjective in its name, don't just sit at home and wonder—go out and investigate!
Describe your own favorite Jackson food and send Lunch Lady the details at foodies@