Pretty Southern

What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

Archive of ‘Food’ category

Quick Stop at Prissy Polly’s BBQ

IMG_4620As a native North Carolinian, a love for barbecue runs in my blood. This weekend, I made a day trip down to North Carolina from Blacksburg to visit Elon University, where I will go for my master’s degree next fall, and to stop at one of my family’s favorite barbecue restaurants.

Prissy Polly’s Pig-Pickin’ Barbecue, founded in 1991 in Kernersville, N.C., ranks highly on my list of favorite BBQ stops. When we lived in Kernersville when I was young, eating at Prissy Polly’s was almost part of the weekly routine. It had been a decade, if not longer, since I’d last been, and I was quite happy making my return visit.


Prissy Polly’s offers both styles of Carolina barbecue: Eastern and Lexington. The menu offers a wide variety of entree plates, vegetables and desserts. I was quite happy with my half-pound BBQ tray with a side of mac & cheese and hushpuppies (right). Other menu items include fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches and baby back ribs. Be sure to save some room for a dish of banana pudding, pecan pie or cobbler, too! The banana pudding is definitely not something you want to miss.

If you ever travel through the Greensboro or Winston-Salem area, or if you live in the area, I highly recommend a meal at Prissy Polly’s. It’s an easy stop off I-40, and well worth it!

Prissy Polly’s is located at 729 Hwy 66 S, Kernersville, NC, 27284. Visit their website for more information!

hokiebird-238x238Kate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern, and a senior at Virginia Tech, studying communication and English. Originally form Atlanta, Kate plans to graduate in 2014 to launch a professional career in writing and public relations. Follow her on Twitter @kate3robertson. Click here to read her column “Love VT”.

The Top 10 Atlanta Steakhouses

Steak in the broiler at New York Prime.

Steak in the broiler at New York Prime.

When it comes to fine dining in Atlanta, the classic steakhouse is in a category all its own. Atlanta is the Southeast’s mecca for delicious filet mignon thanks to local providers such as Buckhead Beef, Brasstown Beef, and a bevy of other sources for grass-fed beef from local farms.

Before we sit down to supper, here are just a few notes about how we made this list of our favorite Southern steaks:

  • Our top 10 steakhouses all have an Atlanta address which means no Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Marietta, Roswell, or any other steakhouse OTP (that’s “outside the perimeter” of 285) but we still love y’all too!
  • It’s really hard to choose the best, so we ranked our list in alphabetical order.

To kick off our list of the top 10 Atlanta steakhouses, here’s a quote from a famous Southern lady:

My father always said that Fondas can cry at a good steak.”
~ Jane Fonda

BLT Steak served with herb butter in a cast-iron pan.

BLT Steak served with herb butter in a cast-iron pan.

1. BLT Steak – Located inside the swanky W Atlanta-Downtown, its full name (Bistro Laurent Tourondel) is an homage to its founding partner, Chef Tourondel. BLT Steak “integrates traditional elements of the French bistro with an American steakhouse and combines its signature rich warmth and texture with the sophistication and style of Atlanta.”

2. Blue Ridge Grill – A sister restaurant of Bones (both are owned by Liberty House Restaurants) is a true staple in the Buckhead dining scene. The ambiance is inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. Besides 5-star filets, Southern-inspired menu highlights include grilled Georgia Trout, skillet-seared mussels and a sumptuous corn soufflé.

3. Bones – Established in 1979, Bones celebrates it’s 35th anniversary this year. Celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Jim Carrey have dined at Bones. Ask your server to point out President Bill Clinton’s table, along with President Jimmy Carter’s table where he’s dined with his grandson Senator Jason Carter (who is now running for governor).

4. Chops – The flagship steakhouse of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group. Chops was the premier steakhouse of Peachtree Street long before the St. Regis Atlanta opened its doors. The pepper steak is our favorite filet with a cracked peppercorn crust, brandy pepper sauce, mushrooms, port braised shallots, and potato confit. Pair it with a flash-fried lobster tail, served with honey mustard sauce and drawn butter, for a truly indulgent meal.

5. Hal’s on Old Ivy – nestled off a tiny road where Buckhead’s business district meets the neighborhood bar scene, Hal’s is the place as Jon Watson wrote for the AJC:

“Tables of cougars clinking wine glasses eyeball the young professional set jockeying to be the next batch of well-to-do regulars, and local celebrities and politicians routinely make appearances.”

6. Kevin Rathbun Steak – Mr. Rathbun helped parlay Atlanta fine dining to prominent stature. “Only one and a half block from Rathbun’s and Krog Bar, Kevin found an old cotton warehouse and turned it into one of the Top Steakhouses in The U.S. (Details Magazine).” Word to the wise when using GPS, don’t confuse Kevin Rathbun Steak with his newest establishment KR Steak Bar, which opened in the Peachtree Hills neighborhood in 2013.

A perfect medium rare filet at McKendrick's in Atlanta.

A perfect medium rare filet at McKendrick’s in Atlanta.

7. McKendrick’s – For nearly 20 years, McKendrick’s has gone above and beyond to provide stellar steaks and Southern hospitality. Executive chef Thomas Minchella regularly posts recipes to his blog, but dining at McKendrick’s is a true Atlanta steakhouse experience.

8. New York Prime – consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in Atlanta, New York Prime is right up there with the classics in Manhattan. The guys running this joint are some of the nicest damn yankees in the South.

9. Parker’s On Ponce - As Decatur’s only steakhouse, Parker’s was founded in 2008 by brothers John-Thomas and Christopher Scott. Parker’s is a welcome addition to historic Decatur, just four miles east of downtown Atlanta. There’s a ScoutMob for Parker’s for $20, which is almost a free steak! And unlike other steakhouses, Parker’s offers you a side item of your choice including broccoli, mashed potatoes, hash browns, or french fries. Now that’s Southern hospitality.

10. Prime – To round out our list of the top Atlanta steakhouses, we had to include our favorite restaurant at Lenox Mall. Prime is a steak + sushi concept redefining the idea of surf & turf. As part of the Here To Serve restaurant group, anyone with a Friend of Tom card enjoys 10% off their meal.

An honorable mention goes to New York Butcher Shoppe for being the best retailer of prime filets in Atlanta, and across the South. For steakhouse quality steaks made at home on your grill, visit a location near you.

So what did y’all think of our Top 10 Atlanta Steakhouses? Let us know in the Comments below.

Lighten Up Supper – Shrimp with Avocado, Mango, & Tomato Salsa

Shrimp with fresh avocado & mango salsa.

Shrimp with fresh avocado & mango salsa.

This delightful was inspired by a Pinterest recipe we found from Self magazine. We kept it simple with just a few ingredients, making this an easy meal any time of year.

1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 medium avocado, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh limes

The components for avocado & mango salsa.

The components for avocado & mango salsa.

Combine shrimp, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Toss well, then add in the juice of 1 lime. Toss again, then cover and let marinate for 1 hour. Combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro with remaining 1/4 tsp salt, mango, avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeño and juice from lime #2 in a bowl. Skewer shrimp, and grill for 90 seconds on each side (3 minutes total) or sauté in a pan with a bit of non stick cooking spray. Serve atop your delicious, fresh salsa. This dinner is perfect for either two people or to take as leftovers for lunch (served over a bed of fresh lettuce for a tasty salad).

Pretty Southern Fried Shrimp

Southern Fried Shrimp 2

These delicious, Southern fried shrimp were inspired by the recipe on the back of the Kikkoman’s box, but we added our own essence. The secret to our Southern fried shrimp recipe is about 1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Seasoning. For more flavor, go with a whole teaspoon or tablespoon. Frying shrimp is probably easier than frying chicken because these bad boys only take about 5 minutes of prep time, a few extra minutes to heat up your oil, and about 2 minutes in the fryer. Y’all will need:

  • 1 pound jumbo raw shrimp – peeled & deveined
  • 1 1/2 cups Kikkoman Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Couple of grinds of black pepper
  • 2 cups Vegetable Oil

Pour oil into a large sauce pan (or you can use a fondue cooker) and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat eggs in a small bowl until frothy. Pour Panko into a large bowl or deep tupperware container. Combine flour, pepper, and Chachere’s seasoning. Dredge shrimp in flour mixture coating both sides evenly, and shake off the excess. Then dip in eggs (coating the entire shrimp) before tossing in panko. For best results, we like to use the tupperware container with a lid to do a little shake & bake – that way, all the shrimp get an equal coating of breadcrumbs.  In batches of 10-12, fry shrimp in oil. Look for the nice golden brown color.

Southern Fried Shrimp


Serve with cocktail sauce, or a bit of sriracha with ketchup. We like to think this traditional panko breaded shrimp recie has been “Southified”. That’s Southern + Fried = “Southified”. Try using that in a sentence this week, y’all!

Sublime Donuts Serves Up Stars

On one of the coldest days of the year, Atlantans lined up outside Sublime Donuts for a chance to get served by Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. To promote their new movie, Ride Along, which was filmed in Atlanta, the superstars hit the streets to promote their new film. Check out this hilarious clip of the dynamic duo proffering donuts.

Ride Along hits theaters on Jan. 17. For more information, follow them on Twitter and keep up with the conversation using #RideAlong. Here’s the official trailer, and note the beautiful shots of the Atlanta from the air, Phillips Arena, Mitdown, and beyond!