Master of the Pit: Nick Reppond

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Nick Reppond monitors the pit at Lamar Lounge.

By Danny Toma, staff writer

In the beginning man discovered hogs. The hogs were cooked over a slow fire. Man discovered that they were good.

Years later, man began cooking only select pieces of the hog, and the memory of whole hog barbecue faded away, left to be carried on by latter day keepers of the flame.

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Barbecue runs through Reppond’s veins.

One of these flame keepers is Nick Reppond, pitmaster for Lamar Lounge, the only commercial whole hog barbecue operation in the state of Mississippi. While smoking the entire pig is the oldest, most traditional way of making barbecue, and is still the norm in much of eastern North Carolina, it had all but died out in Mississippi until Lamar Lounge brought it back in the summer of 2013. Now, barbecue aficionados can make the pilgrimage to 1309 North Lamar and taste the difference for themselves.

Lamar Lounge smokes three to four hogs per week, on average. The process starts between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 pm. Reppond fires up the blend of oak and hickory (with some pecan) and gets the hog fest underway. He starts with a relatively high temperature of around 300 degrees to sear the pig, but then drops it to around 200 degrees for the rest of the cooking time. It’s not a scientific process, as the heat is usually measured by placing a hand on the cooker, but the product comes out consistently well–the result of years of barbecue experience. He leaves the smoker in the hands of his associate for the rest of the night and returns early in the morning to finish it up. By 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m., the meat is ready to be served in the restaurant for lunch and supper.

Reppond has spent his entire life around pork. Growing up in Memphis, barbecue runs through his veins like smoky sauce, and he even spent a few years on the Memphis in May competition circuit. In addition, he worked many summers on his family’s hog farm in north Louisiana, so making barbecue as a living seemed foreordained. Perfecting his skills with such luminaries as Rodney Scott of Hemingway, South Carolina (Scott’s Barbecue) and Sam Jones of Ayden, North Carolina (The Skylight Inn), he returned to Mississippi to take on the role of pitmaster at Lamar Lounge.

All of Lamar Lounge’s hogs are sourced through Homeplace Pastures of Como, which breed pasture-raised, heritage hogs (Red Wattle-Duroc mix) that are well-taken care of and humanely slaughtered in a special facility in Summerville, Tennessee. These hogs forage well on their own and are never housed on concrete. In addition, the Red Wattle breed goes back to the very origins of the American colonies, so, in tasting Lamar Lounge’s barbecue, one gets a chance to sample pork as it used to taste before factory farms and mass production.

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Find customer reviews for Lamar Lounge on EatingOxford.com by clicking the photo above.

Reppond says that the restaurant’s focus is to continue concentrating on making consistently good barbecue. Because of the long absence of whole hog barbecue from the Magnolia State, it doesn’t have the strong following it does in other parts of the South, but Reppond is confident that as more people come to know it, they won’t settle for anything less.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

New York-Style Bagels Coming to 6 ‘N Tubbs

6 n tubbs logoBy Danny Toma, staff writer

For the last three years, Oxonians who crave New York-style pizza have been enjoying it at 6 ‘N Tubbs at 2625 W. Oxford Loop. And soon, you’ll be able to find authentic New York-style bagels there, too.

Serving everything from the traditional, impossibly cheesy round pies that one associates with the Big Apple to thick, rectangular Sicilian pizzas that are tough to find even in New York, this little, unassuming pizzeria feels like a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn rather than a business located in a non-descript strip mall at the edge of a north Mississippi town.

6 ‘N Tubbs owner, Dennis Vanoostendorp, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a native of Orange County, New York, worked in the food business for many years in New York and New Jersey while learning the fine art of pizza-making, New York-style, nearly a quarter century ago.

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6 ‘N Tubbs New York-Style pepperoni pizza

Following in the footsteps of his brother Dutch, who moved to Mississippi working with the golf industry and later became the proprietor (along with wife Becca) of the famous Tribecca Allie Cafe in Sardis, Dennis came to Mississippi and opened up the kind of place where a true New Yorker (or anyone who has ever visited or wanted to visit the city) would feel at home. Starting in Batesville, Dennis soon moved 6 ‘N Tubbs to Oxford, and is now looking at a major expansion in the near future.

Vanoostendorp says that he began making his style of pizza because it’s the pizza he grew up with. “Pizza to a New Yorker is like barbecue to a southerner,” he says. “Everyone has his favorite place that makes it just right.” Now that he has begun to spread the New York pizza gospel to southern climes, he wants to share yet another northern delicacy with his adopted home–the New York bagel. “Most people around here have never really had a bagel,” explains Vanoostendorp, “The difference being that authentic New York-style bagels are boiled before they are baked, and the entire process is quite labor intensive.”

But Vanoostendorp is a man with a mission. He plans to use the former site of his pizzeria in Batesville as his bagel factory and then sell the bagels–both plain and as sandwiches–out of 6 ‘N Tubbs. While he’s currently missing one crucial piece of equipment needed to be able to start, he believes that he can be in production as soon as the first of the year. When that happens, expect a veritable pilgrimage of homesick northeasterners making their way to West Oxford Loop to pick up yet another reminder of their culinary heritage.

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and contributes to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

5 Books for Food Lovers

Looking for a gift for the food lovers on your holiday shopping list?

I’m recommending the below five food-centric books, written by authors based right here in Oxford and the surrounding areas. Now you can keep things delicious and local!

Click on the book title to be linked to purchase information at Square Books or elsewhere. Most of these titles can be purchased at Square Books.

–Liz

 

SquareTable

Square Table

Published by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council

An awesome collection of bygone recipes from around Oxford, Mississippi. Proceeds from the book go to support arts in Oxford.

 

 

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A Taste of the Season Cookbook (2014 Holiday Edition)

A Collection of 500 recipes collected and compiled by The Daily Journal.

 

 

 

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Pizza: A Slice of American History

By Liz Barrett

An insider’s guide to the history of America’s favorite food. Packed with new and historic photographs, fun facts and delicious commentary from pizza journalist and publisher of EatingOxford.com, Liz Barrett.

 

 

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The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

Edited by Sara Roahen and John T. Edge

Containing more than 170 recipes for some of the south’s most iconic foods, this book will appeal to anyone who has ever appreciated the community written, spiral-bound cookbooks of our past.

 

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Inside My Italian Kitchen

By Luisa Bosco Arico

Born in Italy and recognized for her “Cooking Italian Made Easy” column in the Oxford Eagle, Arico has compiled a cookbook with all of her favorite recipes, ranging from risotto to tiramisu.

 

 

Free Lebanese Cooking Classes Nov. 20 & Dec. 4

lebanon flagBy Danny Toma, staff writer

Lebanon, the home of the ancient Phoenicians and the site of the Biblical cities of Tyre and Sidon is one of the great crossroads of the Middle East. Inhabited by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Sunni and Shi’ah Muslims, and the mysterious Druze, its people speak Arabic and French, with minorities of Armenian, Greek, and Kurdish speakers. With such a rich and cosmopolitan heritage, Lebanese cooking is widely considered to be one of the richest in the region and shows Arabic, Turkish, and French influences.

Now, right here in Oxford, Mississippi, you too can learn the secrets of this delicious cuisine and best of all, can do it absolutely free of charge. The Oxford Activity Center (corner of Price St. and Molly Barr) will host two nights of Lebanese cooking classes, presented by Ms. Lena Hand, on Thursday, November 20th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Thursday, December 4th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If interested, contact Deb Helms at (662) 236-1157 or at dhelms@oxfordms.net. As of this writing, there are still about 10 spots available, so act fast so as not to miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity!

 

About Danny Toma:

After spending time exploring Italy, Ireland, Poland, Israel, Iraq, Germany, and, perhaps most exotically, Washington, Danny Toma is now back in Oxford to stay after a 22-year career with the U.S. Department of State. He enjoys dining out, as well as cooking in, and will be contributing to EatingOxford.com on a regular basis.

Winner List – Oxford’s Best Eats 2014

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A few months ago, we asked EatingOxford.com readers to participate in a 40-question survey to help choose the best in Oxford’s restaurant scene (best burger, catfish, sandwich, shrimp & grits, chef, customer service and more).

The votes have been tallied and the winners are listed below. In addition to finding the list here, you can locate it easily at any time via the “Oxford’s Best Eats” page on EatingOxford.com.

We hope this will inspire you to explore some new restaurants in Oxford; let us know your thoughts about the winner selection in the comments section below.

–Liz

 

Newk’s Eatery

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  • Best Sandwich
  • Best Soup
  • Best Salad
  • Best for Healthy Eating

My Michelle’s

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  • Best Catering/Tailgating

Ajax Diner

  • Best Plate Lunch
  • Best Vegetarian Selection
  • Best Country Cooking

Snackbar

  • Best Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant for a Date

Boure

  • Best Customer Service
  • Best Restaurant for Hanging with Friends
  • Best Restaurant for a Business Meeting

Handy Andy

  • Best Burger
  • Best Barbecue

Oxford Grillehouse

  • Best Steaks

Ember’s

  • Best Biscuits

Tre Amici

  • Best Italian

Soulshine Pizza Factory

  • Best Pizza

Tequila’s

  • Best Mexican

Jinsei

  • Best Sushi

Rice & Spice

  • Best Asian

Bottletree Bakery

  • Best Bakery

Big Bad Breakfast

  • Best Breakfast
  • Best Brunch

Popeye’s

  • Best Fried Chicken

John Currence

  • Best Chef
  • Best Restaurateur

Buffalo Wild Wings

  • Best Wings

High Point Coffee

  • Best Coffee

Ya Ya’s

  • Best Frozen Yogurt

City Grocery

  • Best Shrimp & Grits
  • Best Bartender (Chip Moore)
  • Best Bar

Oxford City Farmer’s Market (loop)

  • Best Farmer’s Market

Chick-fil-A

  • Best Fast Food

Lamar Lounge

  • Best Fries

McAlister’s

  • Best Sweet/Unsweet Tea

Chevron 4-Corners chicken on a stick

  • Best Late-Night Snack

Taylor Grocery

  • Best Catfish

 

Be the first to know Oxford food news. Click here.

Attention restaurant winners: If any of you still need winner certificates, please contact Liz@EatingOxford.com.

 

 

 

All is New Again at Rooster’s Blues House

roosters signIf you haven’t been to Rooster’s Blues House lately, you haven’t been.

A new kitchen, new menu, new chef (Jeff Robertson), and new specials are all beckoning new and seasoned customers up those familiar wooden steps and onto the balcony of Rooster’s Blues House at 114 Courthouse Square.

Owner Scott Michael says that the newly condensed menu focuses on three amazing burgers, wings, smoked barbecue nachos and Rotel house fries. “Our Coldwater River burger is a hefty 16 ounces of meat topped with bacon, jalapenos, Rotel, and homemade barbecue sauce,” says Michael. “We want people to know they can come here for burgers, fries and wings and find the best prices on The Square.”roosters menu

And speaking of great prices, every Tuesday night, Rooster’s Blues House offers every item on its menu for only $5, and Monday nights have become famous for 25 cent wings and $3 pitchers of beer.

Rooster’s regularly hosts live music on the weekends and tunes into the Ole Miss game on the televisions, but did you also know that you can  grab dinner there any night of the week and enjoy lunch on the weekends? The kitchen is open 7 days a week, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday to Sunday the doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the lunch crowd.

Don’t miss happy hour and late-night drink specials, and keep up with the latest food specials and band appearances via the Rooster’s Blues House Facebook and Twitter pages.

–Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Chef Kelly English Opening Restaurant in Oxford

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New Food Truck: Serrano’s Tacos

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credit: Serrano’s

If you’ve been on The Square past 11:00 p.m. recently, you may have noticed a new addition to the late-night landscape–a food truck called Serrano’s Tacos serving up Tex-Mex tacos and quesadillas.

Serrano’s Tacos is run by three Ole Miss students: Stuart Monteith, Eric Olsson, Andrew Bracy, and executive chef/general manager Samuel Rubin, who is a third-year culinary student at Johnson & Wales.

EatingOxford.com caught up with chef Samuel Rubin to get the scoop about the food truck, so we’ll all know where to look for it, and what type of food to expect.

Eating Oxford: When and where can we find the truck?

Rubin: The hours vary from weekend to weekend, but will always be posted on our Facebook and Twitter. This weekend we are open from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday. The truck will be parked between Soulshine Pizza Factory and Abner’s.

Eating Oxford: What’s on the menu?

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credit: Serrano’s

Rubin: Our two staples are breakfast tacos, which are made up of eggs, cheese, chorizo, and bacon all rolled up in a warm corn tortilla, and chicken quesadillas with avocado, cilantro, grilled onions, and tomatoes. We also make our own green salsa daily from fresh tomatillos. Everything is made from scratch on the truck. The rest of the menu changes daily and is based on what’s fresh and what the chef can dream up (see a sample menu here).

Eating Oxford: How long have you been running a food truck?

Rubin: This is our first time running a food truck and it was in the works for six months before finally opening at the beginning of October.

Eating Oxford: Many have had to fight the city over food truck regulations. How have you bypassed this?

Rubin: It took us a long time and a lot of permits to finally get our truck on the street.

Eating Oxford: Do you set up in locations other than Oxford?

Rubin: We are only in Oxford at the moment. On game weekends we cater and are open more of the time, but on off weekends our goal is to cater to the late-night crowd.

Have you tried Serrano’s Tacos yet? Let us know about it in the comments!

–Liz

 

 

 

Class Wrap-Up: Flaming Desserts

IMG_8142Flaming Desserts, last Tuesday’s Eating Oxford Institute class held in the downstairs cellar of Locals Restaurant & Bar was fiery and delicious.

Seasoned chef Roland Shnider, with 50 years experience in kitchens abroad and in the U.S., showed attendees how easy it can be to create show-stopping flaming desserts at home–without setting off the smoke alarms.

The class learned how to make Cherries Jubilee, Crepes Suzette, and Bananas Foster, while sipping wine and noshing on appetizers. IMG_8144

With plenty of dessert and ice cream to go around, everyone departed with a sugar high and a new yearning to set fire to desserts.

View more photos from the event below; all photos were taken by the Daily Mississippian’s Giana Leone. Thank you to everyone who came out for a fun evening!

–Liz

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Don’t miss our next class, where you’ll learn to Create Top-Shelf Margaritas and Authentic Guacamole at Casa Mexicana. The class is scheduled for Monday, October 6, at 5:30 p.m.  ($15 admission; limited seating; tickets available here)

–Liz

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Win My Food Press Trip! Nourish – Reclaim Real Food

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Photo: MS Modern Homestead

Mississippi Modern Homestead in Starkville, Mississippi, will present NOURISH – RECLAIM REAL FOOD, Friday, September 26 to Sunday, September 28.

Registration is open until September 8, with just 20 spots available.

I’m unable to attend, but the Nourish event coordinators have agreed to let me pass my invitation along to ONE lucky Eating Oxford winner! The winner will receive a full weekend of education, meals and housing (a $290 value). The catch? We just want you to have a good time, snap some photos, and tell us about your trip for a post on the Eating Oxford website. Email me at Liz@eatingoxford.com and tell me why YOU should win. We’ll choose a winner this Friday, August 29.

Event/Retreat Description from website:

Chef Marion Sansing cuts through the bombardment of the latest health craze and brings participants back to the traditional kitchen for real nourishment. Participants will become confident in the kitchen and in making healthy food choices that will impact health for the rest of their lives.

True nourishment is not just about what we eat; it is also about the quality and source of our foods, and how you prepare them. Learn the kitchen crafts of the past, preparing in-season, wholesome, locally and sustainably grown foods for your well-being. You will gain a good understanding of: nutrient-dense foods, beneficial fats, fermentation, bone

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Photo: MS Modern Homestead

broths, pasture raised meats and eggs, proper preparation of seeds like legumes, grains, etc., and about health risks in industrial food. We will also cover general kitchen skills like: making the most out of nutrient dense ingredients, making the harvest last, fitting traditional kitchen crafts into a modern life style and the art of the perpetual meal. Feel confident to make good food choices for a healthy lifestyle and learn to make sense of all the nutrition information you hear about every day.

Registration is $245 to $290 (this price includes meals, housing, and workshops)

Schedule of Events:

Friday Evening:

3-5 pm Check-in, relax, find a bunk and meet your retreat-mates.

5:30pm  The best part of our weekend retreat is by far the meals. Chef Marion Sansing rolls out 6 all-star meals throughout the weekend. Join her for dinner and fellowship.

7 o’clock Setting Up Your No Waste Kitchen

Saturday

8 o’clock  Farm Fresh Breakfast

9:00am-12:00pm  Canning and Drying

12:30-1:30pm  Fresh and Local Lunch

1:30pm  Condiments

3 o’clock  Healthy Fats

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Photo: MS Modern Homestead

5 o’clock  Dinner is Served

7:30pm  Hot cocoa and visit by the fire

Sunday

8 o’clock  Farm Fresh Breakfast

9-11am  Fermentation/Culturing

11 o’clock  Final luncheon, clean-up and farewells

Find Tickets Here

 

Family Cooking Night: Tuesday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m.

kid cookingEating Oxford Institute: Family Cooking Night with Good Food for Oxford Schools

Family Cooking Night invites parents and children (max 4 per family) to a night of cooking with Sunny Young, director of Good Food for Oxford Schools and Richmond Smith, a former chef of the New Orleans Saints and current nutrition services director for the Oxford School District.

Tickets are not available at the door. Please pre-order via Brown Paper Tickets to secure your place to this limited-seating class.

Attendees will create a salad, dressing, and shrimp dish utilizing ingredients from our local Oxford City Market.

The class will be held at Della Davidson Elementary School on Tuesday, August 12, at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $30 per family (4 per family max).

Find the Facebook event page here.

Eating Oxford Institute is a monthly food-centric class hosted by EatingOxford.com, in partnership with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Oxford Parks Commission.

 

July 15: Southern Foods Done Light

tims class flyerTickets are now available for the second Eating Oxford Institute class: Southern Foods Done Light with Tim Woodard

In this class, Tim Woodard, owner of Little Easy Catering, will show you how to make some of the same food he serves inside his popular restaurant, imparting all of the delicious flavor you want, but with less fat and calories than the typical southern fare.

Sample several menu items as Tim walks you through the process of preparation and provides tips and ingredient swaps for lightening up your favorite dishes.

The class will take place at the Oxford Activity Center (corner of Molly Barr and Price St.) at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15. Tickets are $35/pp and include food and beverage.

Purchase Tickets

Visit the Facebook Event Page

***Eating Oxford Institute is a series of food-centric classes, held monthly, and hosted by EatingOxford.com, in partnership with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Oxford Park Commission.

STUDENT TESTIMONIALS
“The Eating Oxford Institute is a wonderful opportunity to engage with smart instructors in a fun, relaxed environment–to acquire new cooking skills and advance one’s nutritional awareness.”
Robert Saarnio
Director, University Museum & Historic Houses
University of Mississippi

Class Wrap-Up: Juicing for Health and Energy

IMG_5027Our first class in the Eating Oxford Institute series was held Wednesday night at The Powerhouse.

Attendees learned the benefits and techniques of juicing from Melody Sharp, owner of Living Foods (formerly Local Flavor).IMG_5096

Melody showed the difference between styles of juicers, how to get the most bang for your buck out of fruits and vegetables, tips for any fruits that need to be peeled/cored before juicing, and more.

The class sampled fruit and vegetable juices, participated in questions and answers, and all departed with a full-size juice, recipe card and coupon.

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We loved having Melody share her knowledge at a fun evening of culinary learning!

Check out the great write-up by LaReeca Rucker in today’s Oxford Eagle, too!

Don’t miss next month’s class, Southern Foods Done Light, taught by Tim Woodard on July 15 at the Activity Center. Details Here.

 

***Eating Oxford Institute is a collaboration between EatingOxford.com, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and the Oxford Park Commission.

(Thank you to Giana Leone IMG_5021of the Daily Mississippian for sharing her photos from the event.)

Calendar of Classes for Eating Oxford Institute

juice for flyer 2Will we see you at our first Eating Oxford Institute Class this Wednesday, June 18? Ticket sales end Tuesday night. Secure yours here.

The Oxford Citizen ran a story last Friday about our upcoming classes. In case you missed it, here’s a rundown so you can mark your calendars…

Wednesday, June 18: Juicing for Health with Melody Sharp from Living Foods (formerly Local Flavor)

July 15: Southern Foods Done Light with Tim Woodard from Little Easy Catering

August 5: Kid’s Shopping/Cooking Class with Sunny Young from Good Food for Oxford Schools

September 16: Holiday Flaming Desserts with Roland Schnider from Locals

October 7: Easy Flatbreads with Chef Lee Craven from Tu Country Catering

November: TBA

December (day TBA): Know Your Champagnes with Kevin Brooks from The Wine Bar

***Eating Oxford Institute is a collaboration between EatingOxford.com, Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Oxford Park Commission.

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Opening Soon: A Food Truck with No Wheels

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