Coach Billy Jack reveals he is a master at winning Halloween contests. You will not believe who he dressed up as once! Chely, meanwhile, tackles childhood obesity as only she can by pledging to give away healthy treats. Featured games, Tennessee-Kentucky and Georgia-Florida.
Listen now to the Sept. 17 edition of SEC Pigskin Picks. Prof. Sinclair is not impressed by Coach Billy Jack’s psychic cat, and Chely teaches a boy a stinky lesson. Featured games, Florida-Kentucky and LSU-Auburn.
A few days ago, we stopped in Valdosta, Ga., and were referred to Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant. Mom and Dad’s is a little place in a nondescript building with a simple, retro feel. Black and white photographs of the owners’ family hang on the wall. The owner’s son, who runs the Valdosta location, even stopped by our table to tell us the story of his family’s restaurant history. It was a nice touch. Our server had the perfect combination of knowledge and pleasantness. She spoke with us quite a while and it was enjoyable. (And I’m usually not one for too much gratuitous server interaction.)
Here are some highlights from the menu:
The soup and salad course was a treat. The house salad was crisp and fresh, with a tangy vinaigrette dressing. The minestrone was rich and delicious. Although no one at our table had it, the spinach salad comes served with warm bacon dressing. I’m pretty sure “warm bacon dressing” may be the three happiest words in the English language.
I can speak to the chicken parmigiana. It was fried crispy, and served with a delicious marinara sauce. Naturally, it was topped with mozzarella cheese. It was truly delicious, and it was huge.
The tortellini came with a red meat sauce, and I understand it was delicious as well. Again, the portion was generous.
The wine list featured several local wines, and plenty were reasonably priced. The dessert menu was nice as well.
In all, it was a tasty, fun experience – elegant enough but not stuffy. The dress code is “come as you are,” which is a bit disappointing. There’s nothing wrong with changing out of the T-shirt to eat food this good.
Mom and Dad’s Italian restaurant is off of Interstate 75, Exit 22, in Valdosta. The address is 4143 North Valdosta Road.
By Coach Billy Jack Hoover
Sorry this took so long to write, slackers, but I had a little thing called football season to get going. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Anyway, as you all know, me, Mrs. Coach Billy Jack Hoover and Chely Sizemore (@chelysizemore) spent a few days down in Cedar Key, Florida, back in the summer. Today, I’m going to talk a bit about Cedar Key restaurants.
Cedar Key is down on the Gulf side. All you gotta do to get there is head out west from Gainesville. You hardly even have to touch the steering wheel. But, there are about 5,000 speed limit changes. The people who make the speed limit signs down there must be the dang governor’s family or something. Anyway, Cedar Key is the land that time forgot. It’s old Florida at its best. It is a bit run down in spots, and the locals blame that on the economy. It’s not for everybody. You won’t find any chain restaurants, hotels or stores on Cedar Key. Everything is independently owned, and that is a nice change of place for an old codger like me who doesn’t like all those neon T-shirt shops everywhere. (All the T-shirts you’ll ever need are at www.BeaverDamUSA.com and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.) Chely Sizemore was upset that there wasn’t any goony golf, but she survived somehow.
So here’s quick recap of some of the Ceder Key restaurants where we ate.
Island Room At Cedar Cove – This is one of the fanciest restaurants on the island. I’m not much for places like that, but Mrs. Coach Billy Jack Hoover likes to get dressed up every now and again, so we went there. The atmosphere was like the ‘60s – my favorite decade. The food was pricey but great. I would definitely recommend you hit the Island Room once while you’re there.
Pickled Pelican Bar and Eatery – This place has a great patio out over the water. It’s a fun atmosphere with a typical seafood/burger place menu. Excellent food.
Steamers Clam Bar & Grill – Steamers is the closest thing you’ll find to a chain type beach restaurant. The atmosphere is good with a nice view over the water. You’ll have fun there, but don’t get excited about the food. It’s just aight.
Annie’s Café – This is a locals place. It’s in a run-down building, and that’s just the way they like it. It’s a favorite place for fishermen and old sea salts. The food is surprisingly good, and it’s surprisingly affordable.
Kona Joe’s Café – You know how Chely Sizemore loves her bacon, so we had to go to a couple of breakfast places while we were. Kona Joe’s had the best reviews online, so we went. It’s an interesting place, and the owner is personable. But the breakfast didn’t knock our socks off.
And last but not least, I give you the Island Pizzeria vs. Cedar Key Pizza cage match… You know, you don’t go to the coast for pizza normally, and Cedar Key lives up to that pretty much. Cedar Key Pizza is right in town, so it’s convenient. Island Pizzeria is 3 minutes by car from the hotel area. Bottom line, Island Pizzeria is better. The truth is in the crust, and theirs is a bit better.
Aight slackers, I’ve gotta go. I’ve worked up an appetite talking about food. Remember to follow me on twitter @coachbillyj and follow Chely @chelysizemore.
- Georgia will not be denied another shot at ‘Bama in the SEC Championship game, and they know they have to pretty much run the table to get the opportunity. And that’s exactly what they will do. With Aaron Murray pulling the trigger and sophomore Todd Gurley steamrolling the ball downhill, look for Uga to be smiling until December.
- A Steve Spurrier team always has more answers than questions. They’re ranked #6 pre-season, but I’m concerned about Connor Shaw behind center. He’s talented, but Steve can push a QB a bit hard sometimes. And coming from me, that’s a statement! On the other side of the ball, though, Jadeveon Clowney & Co., are going to cause misery every Saturday. Not much is going to get past the Gamecock defense.
- The Florida Gators took everybody by surprise last year posting a 7-1 conference record. This year, though they will begin the season with QB Jeff Driskel as their most accomplished rusher. That’s a scary thought – especially without a proven backup. Tailback Matt Jones continues to recover from a viral infection, and Mike Gillislee is gone. The other backs are unproven. On defense, the early NFL departure of 3 Gator starters didn’t help things either.
- Question: Who’s the most popular coach never to win a game? Answer: New Tennessee coach Butch Jones. The folks on Rocky Top are ecstatic about having someone to make them forget the Kiffin-Dooley one-two punch. The talent simply isn’t there for the Vols yet, but look for them to win the ones they should, plus one they shouldn’t.
- The biggest question to Vanderbilt’s season right now is how their horrific off-season problems will affect their performance on the field. Just this past week, receiver Chris Boyd was charged as an accessory after the fact in the alleged rape of an unconscious female Vandy student. It will be interesting to see how James Franklin handles the situation, especially as long as police say the investigation is continuing. And let’s make sure and remember the alleged victim here, as her life was changed forever.
- Missouri isn’t ready to compete yet.
- Kentucky made a great hire in Mark Stoops, but the talent isn’t there. But it’s coming. Guaranteed.
As y’all know, Chely Sizemore is always trying to get uppity with the food at The Beaver Dam. So she decided to go down to Apalachicola, Florida, to pick up some fresh oysters. She said she would be going right through Panama City Beach, and she invited me to ride down. She said she knew a place down there that I would love.
Now, I drive an old Ford truck that we took off the road to use for a chicken house for a few years, but not Chely. She has this big black Dodge 4-wheel-drive, with a Hemi and all the bells and whistles. It sounds like a B-52 bomber when it roars by. When she pulls up, I always ask, “How’s the weather up there?” Get it? That’s pretty funny, I think.
She drives the dang thing like she stole it. She’s pretty good about talking (or more like “leaning”) her way out of a ticket, so she doesn’t have to worry about that very often. We blew down through all those little Alabama towns on the way to the beach. Got pulled over four times. The first three times she got out of the ticket as usual. The fourth time was a different story, though. Up walked this big woman deputy with a mustache, a cigarette in one hand and ticket book in the other. She had also had onions for lunch. Plenty of them. After a good chewing out, she handed Chely a ticked to the tune of $239. Chely smiled, thanked her and offered her some sweet tea.
“Why were you so nice to that cop, Chely?” I asked.
“Didn’t you see her, coach? She looked like she’d had a horrible day.”
Yes, the world needs more Chely Sizemore’s. But I digress.
By the time we got to Panama City Beach, I was ready for a break, so Chely let me out at a place called Dusty’s Oyster Bar. Dusty’s says it’s the home of “warm beer, lousy food and ugly waitresses.” And that’s just a joke, because ain’t none of it true. Go see for yourself. It’s at 16450 Front Beach Road in PCB. It is a dive, and that’s a compliment coming from me. Dusty’s has plenty of tourist traffic, but it’s also a great place to get a good feel for the local culture. In the summertime, you have to go at off times to get in, but either way, it’s worth the wait.
The beer at Dusty’s Oyster Bar is cold, and the draft is cheap if you catch happy hour. Of course, it’s an oyster bar, so the raw ones are delicious. You can also get baked oysters on the half shell. They’re like Oysters Rockefeller, but in all different varieties. For instance, you can get Jalapeno, Casino, Mexican, etc. I sampled them all. Excellent!
Of course, they feature all the seafood dishes you would expect, with a big treat being the frog legs.
My favorite thing on the menu was the nachos, though. They’re good enough to make a tear come to Ol’ Coach’s eye. And Chely picked up an order of Dusty’s Seafood Nachos for the ride home.
She came back to pick me up way faster than I wanted her to. I hadn’t even had time to sample everything on the menu, much less dessert. She says she’ll take me back to Dusty’s Oyster Bar the next time she goes to the Sunshine State, and I can’t wait.