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Star Inn Motel Review Biloxi Mississippi

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Star Inn Motel Review Biloxi MississippiI can stay anywhere I want.  I traveled the globe for business and stayed in some of the most luxurious hotels on the planet.  Actually, you can get sick of them.  I’M NOT KIDDING.

When I travel now, I’m decidedly down market – prefer the lower priced end of the segment, and especially independent mom and pop establishments. Which is what I found in the Star Inn in Biloxi.

It has so many things going for it besides very reasonable rates.  (What we paid for six nites was less than one nite at any of the fancy pants casino hotels down the street).

Comfortable, clean rooms, with everything you’d find in more expensive motels.  Some Jacuzzi suites. Refrigerator, microwave, hair dryer, iron.  King or two queens.  Park right outside your door.  Warm, clean swimming pool.  Modest complementary breakfast each morning, coffee, juice, milk, cereal, yogurt, fruit, breakfast breads.  Free wifi, cable. What more do you need?

Wonderful host family, friendly, helpful.

Spoiler alert.  It is across the street from the magnificent, free, open access Biloxi Beach, which they spend oodles of money keeping pristine. (See the pic below for the very reasonable rules).  Three fun casual restaurants also across the street, a 24 hour Waffle House, and the largest tee shirt/souvenir shop in the area.  Perfect.

I was so impressed I made reservations for a return in a few months.  Hey, one of the best things I did?  Went on a little tour that teaches you all about shrimpin’.  Fun and education.  Book it.

Star Inn Motel Review Biloxi Mississippi

 

Star Inn Motel Review Biloxi Mississippi

Biloxi Beach Rules

 

 

Star Inn Motel Review Biloxi Mississippi

Star Inn Motel Review Biloxi Mississippi

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Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

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Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi MississippiIt was just a gleam in the founder’s eye – to turn an old bait shack in Pass Christian, MS into a food and beer joint.

Hurricane Katrina put his plans on hold for awhile, as it did all of us who lived in the area.

But, as he said “sometime later the sun starting shining again and it was time to get to work.”

And work he has, as in just over a decade there are now five Shaggys along the Gulf Coast. Each the same but unique it their own way.  (Shaggys name is an homage to a coast joint from the 40s).

I hit the one on Biloxi beach, overlooking the shimmering blue Gulf of Mexico.  Shaggy’s menu is typical of restaurants in the area, a mix of local seafood, prepared in various ways, along with appetizers and entrees of American cuisine one would expect to find in almost any casual eatery or bar.  And that’s not a bad thing!

Fresh oysters and deep water Royal Red shrimp too!  Thirsty? Of course Shaggys has all the usual ‘beach type’ drinks and some of their own special concoctions.

We had a drink, her a fru-fru umbrella thing, me a Stella.  Split a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp, before moving on to the seafood platter for two, Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippigrilled and fried shrimp, fried oysters, catfish filets. I didn’t share the catfish.  I’m in my catfish period, for some reason.

The food was marvelous, and it’s fairly priced.  The grilled shrimp has some pleasant seasoning, as did the fried pieces. Naturally there are the two local hot sauces on the table. When you live in or near New Orleans – which one is your preference can be fightin’ words.

Dining on the deck overlooking the bay is marvelous.  The beach runs right up to the rear of Shaggys and there is a fenced in kiddy play area.  Not sure about inside, but your four legged Scoobys are welcome on the deck at Shaggys.  (See what I did there?).

Service by Becky was professional and friendly, despite it being a madhouse.

Check out the whole menu, plan a trip.

The main restaurant hours:
Sunday – Thursday 11AM – 9PM
Friday- Saturday 11AM – 11PM

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

Shrimp Caesar

 

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

Seafood Platter

Shaggy's Biloxi Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi
Shaggys on the Beach Review Biloxi Mississippi

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Hartz Chicken Buffet Review Ocean Springs Mississippi

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Hartz Chicken Buffet Review Ocean Springs Mississippi

Hartz Chicken Buffet Review, Ocean Springs, MSThere are more than a few AYCE chicken buffets in the Deep South. Even some KFC’s offer them. There are even multiple chicken buffets names “Hartz” including a sizable chain in Texas. No relation. Anymore, at least.

For around $10, you can get all you can eat fried or baked chicken, fried fish, livers and gizzards, a dozen or so side dishes, rolls or cornbread, dessert, and soda or tea. YES I SAID TEN DOLLARS!

The food is excellent. I’m not usually a bone-in chicken kind of guy, too much work, but geez louise, go for just the side dishes, you’ll have green beans, collards, and ‘matoes like you’ve never enjoyed.

Corn, mashed, tater salad and more. Really. That hot bar is alone worth the ten bucks. Or just each the cobbler. Go crazy topping it with soft serve. Syrup. Sprinkles.

You are in charge. Disposable flatware and plate/trays make it more economical for the operators and easy for you. Ever seen a flatware dispensing machine? Made by Dixie. I’ll see if I can find a pic online.  Scroll down to see if I was successful.

So go to this place. Crowded all the time, but it’s a buffet, so there’s hardly ever a wait.

Lighter appetite? You can buy some bits and pieces at the drive thru. Here’s the menu.  Open 10:30A – 9P. Since 1975.

Hartz Chicken Buffet Review, Ocean Springs, MS

 

Hartz Chicken Buffet Review, Ocean Springs, MS

Dixie Cutlery Dispenser

 

Hartz Chicken Buffet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hartz Chicken Buffet Review Ocean Springs  Mississippi

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Bootleggers Pizza Review, Biloxi, MS

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Bootleggers Pizza Review, Biloxi, MS

Bootleggers Pizza Review, Biloxi, MSBootlegger’s Pizza in Biloxi, Mississippi touts themselves as the home of authentic Chicago thin-crust pizza. As I live in Chicago part time, naturally I had to check it out.

The downstairs of the facility is for ‘family’ dine-in experiences from their full menu featuring pizza, pasta, wings, burgers and sammiches.  Weekdays they feature lunch specials.

Upstairs they have a 21+ room, with likker, music,  and games.

I went to place an order to carry out, take back to the hotel. I ordered a 14″  “Big Al’s Supreme” – which includes sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, black olives.

It was done quickly, and after decades of pizza take-out orders, I still haven’t learned to open the box before leaving the joint. They either skipped some ingredients or I got someone else’s pie

Not going to hold it against them, because they do indeed do a good job of emulating a Chicago thin crust pie (which we refer to as “tavern style” – made with a cracker thin crust and cut in squares, not slices).

Bootleggers crust makes the grade, so does their cheese, and sausage for flavor and texture.  Sauce is a little bit sweet for my taste, but that didn’t stop me from eating the entire pie. Personal preference?  Larger chunks of sausage, please.

If you’re a regular reader, you know my “true test” of a great pizza is how it tastes the next morning after being left out on the counter over night. And Bootleggers passes the test, bigly. Yuge.

I’m in Biloxi a few times a year.  I’ll be back for another pie for sure.

Bootleggers Pizza. Dine in. Carry out. Delivery.

Bootleggers Pizza Review, Biloxi, MS

Bootleggers Old Chicago Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bootleggers Pizza Review, Biloxi, MS
Bootleggers Pizza Review, Biloxi, MS

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Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

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Biloxi MS Shrimp TourIf you’re vacationing, on business, or just passing through the Mississippi/Louisiana/Alabama Gulf Coast, make plans and time to take the 90 minute Biloxi Shrimping Trip, a tourist attraction since 1954.

Your affable captain and mate will take you on a highly education yet entertaining cruise through Biloxi Bay, explaining the local shrimp industry, the life of the shrimp, all about the different colors and sizes and how they are caught.

A hands-on demonstration will show you a net cast into the bay and pulled aboard to reveal the bounty of the Gulf Coast waters, including shrimp, fish, crabs and more. Each species brought aboard will be labeled and explained.

The trip is only $20, and the return is much more rewarding than what you’ll get in a casino.

In the summer, they sail three times daily, 10:30, 1:30, and 3:30.

Soft drinks, bottled water  and beer are available onboard for a very nominal price.  The entire trip takes place at a slow speed in the placid waters of the protected bay, so it’s a calm, smooth cruise.

If you’re interested in grabbing a mess of Gulf shrimp to take home, at very reasonable prices, the Captain can direct you to the best locations to buy directly off the boats.  I took their advice and was very pleased with the outcome.  Of course they know all the best local restaurants, too, if you need suggestions.

The tour is pet friendly.  Fancy some off-shore fishing?  The same crew can arrange short guided trips on a very economical basis.  Brochure for both outings below.

All departures are from the small craft harbor at 693 Beach Blvd, in Biloxi. Traveling east, the turn in is on your right just past the Hard Rock Casino.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.  Reservations needed ONLY for very large groups:  228-392-8645.

Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

Click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

Biloxi MS Shrimp Tour

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Super 8 Motels Review – Nationwide Chain

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Super 8 Motels Review - Nationwide ChainAfter decades of business travel on the company time, in posh hotels where your every single whim is attended to, I’m happy these days to mostly stay in ‘value priced’ motels. Generally franchisees, locally owned, and adequate for as little time as I will be in attendance.

Super 8 is in the top 5 of the segment, overall I find them well maintained, well furnished and up to date.

I do have two things I take exception to.

While I laud the development of the complimentary breakfast in motels, Super 8 is on the more modest end. No meat, no eggs.  Your ubiquitous Golden Malted waffles (these guys must have made a bucket load of $$$).  juice, fruit, yogurt, bread, cereal.  Adequate.

Second, and most importantly? No matter how many website with the identical rates you show the front desk when you are checking in – they are going to have some excuse or another to charge you more, and they know you’re beat from being on the road and odds are good you’re going to suck it up and pay it.

This month in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and Sikeston, Missouri, in both cases the demanded rate was $30 north of the published rate on hand.

Wyndham?  You need to sort that out. And amp up breakfast. Other than that? No complaints.  (Tho I am old enough to remember that the rooms used to be $8.88).

Locations near you

 

 

 

Super 8 Motels Review – Nationwide Chain

Super 8 Motels Review – Nationwide Chain

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Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL

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Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, ILI’m not a regular. I stopped in one a few years ago and had breakfast, and my immediate impression was they had gone down hill. Pre-prepared heat and eat entrees and such.

I changed my mind last week after dinner at the Paducah, KY location. Immediate impression upon sitting down was the menu had expanded and the prices had been lowered.

And we had an angel of a server in “Abigail.” Young, enthusiastic, new to the job, not yet suffering from the malaise that comes from working in the service industry too long and having to put up with people’s inane requests.

I had the single filet of fried catfish, with choice of sides (fries and greens) and everything was prepared perfectly. $8. Dinners include ‘made from scratch biscuits or corn muffins.’ Didn’t there used to be more ‘pass arounds?’ Maybe not.  Also? “New” Southern Fried Chicken. Superb.

Anyway, it was great. Food was great, Abigail was great.

Menu. https://crackerbarrel.com/menu

Find one near you: https://crackerbarrel.com/locations

Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL

Catfish, fries and greens

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL
Cracker Barrel Review, Mount Vernon, IL

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Sams Diner Review – Waterford, WI

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Sam’s Diner Review – Waterford, WI

Sam's Diner Review – Waterford, WIThere are a few times in my life when I’ve had a plate put in front of me at a restaurant and I’ve sighed and said “this is art.”

When/where this has happened, it’s never been dependent on the price or the number of stars, or some fancy name chef.

It’s about quality ingredients, meticulously prepared, properly plated, and probably a little love thrown in.

Such was the case at Sam’s Diner, a small eatery out in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. It so exceeded my expectations on every level. It’d decorated with rustic Americana, about a dozen tables and booths.

I ordered the ham steak and eggs and was presented with a thick slab of quality ham prepared just the way I requested. I opted for “American fries” for the potato, thinly sliced crispy rounds, and marble rye toast.

Everything was superb including service and follow up, including getting chatted up by the manager and the chef.

It was about a 40 minute drive for me. Well worth it. I’ll hit it again and explore more of the menu.

You can find the full menu on Zomato. It’s pretty ambitious for a small joint.

Thirty miles Southwest of Milwaukee, eighty miles NNW of Chicago (map below). Opens early, seven days.

Sam's Diner Review – Waterford, WI

Ham steak and eggs, American fries

Sam's Diner Review – Waterford, WI

Sam's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sams Diner Review – Waterford, WI
Sams Diner Review – Waterford, WI

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The Norwegian Restaurant Review – Rockford, IL

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The Norwegian Restaurant Review

The Norwegian Restaurant ReviewI grew up in a medium sized city (250,000) that was pretty ethnically diverse at the time. At least “Euro-diverse” largely because the first generation of settlers hadn’t died off yet.

Judging from the telephone book, there were a lot of Norwegians, Finns, and Swedes. Finns seemed to be the most notable, there were food and clothing stores that identified with that market.

As an “unwoke” child growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was acutely aware of people of these origins, and that at least one segment was subject to constant ridicule with “Fin-lander jokes.” “How many Finns does it take…” and so on.

Are Finns on the “bottom of the Scandinavian ladder?” Beats me, and I’ve traveled that part of the world.

Other ethnic groups? I’d hear adults (not in my family, tho) talk about the number of Jewish people in the city (650, one synagogue they said), and the single black family who moved into our part of the city (and was treated horribly) after retiring from the local airbase.

I didn’t personally know any Norwegians until college, when I went to a kind of Norse-centric institute of higher learning. I learned how to drink beer with one Norwegian guy. I had drunken clumsy sex with one Norwegian woman. (Consensual! Ask her!) Damn she was lovely. Is to this day.

So I find myself in Rockford, IL last week, also a place with a Scandinavian or ten, I thought I’d opt for a new restaurant called “The Norwegian.”

They offered a refreshing selection of breakfast dishes with top quality ingredients. (Menu below – click on to enlarge).

I went with the “Croque Madame” (French) curiously not a Norwegian dish at all, but nicely done with house-baked, coarse toasted bread, some variety of quality, thin-sliced ham (Danish?), melted Jarlsberg cheese (that’s Norwegian), a generous dollop of Bechamel sauce (also French) and a soft boiled egg perched atop the sandwich. (No idea on the ethnic origin of soft boiled eggs…..Chinese?)

There was a fistful of some unidentifiable (by me) greens along side.  The plate was delicious. As was their espresso.

All attended to by the most joyful server I think I have ever encountered, despite having been in restaurants of all price ranges in 65 countries. According to the receipt, her name is apparently “Weekend B.”

Although the joint seemed to have plenty of help, kinda seemed to me like she was a bit overworked, she was handling the full bar, both diners and drinkers. With aplomb. And a million dollar smile.

Open for breakfast and lunch, Tues-Sun, and apparently, unless I’m reading it wrong, Thursday afternoon happy hour.  Cozy atmosphere. Apparently live music at times.

You should check it out if you’re in Rockford. It was jammed on a Saturday morning, but table turnover was pretty fast. Two entrees, three drinks, around $34.  Parking in rear. Front facing signage is pretty minimal, so keep your eyes peeled.

The Norwegian Restaurant Review

“Croque Madame”

 

The Norwegian Restaurant Review

The Norwegian Restaurant Review

The Norwegian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
The Norwegian Restaurant Review

The Norwegian Restaurant Review

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Jubelts Restaurant Review Route 66 – Litchfield, IL

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Jubelts Restaurant Review

Pony “Horseshoe” Plate

Dating from 1922, Jubelts is arguably the oldest surviving restaurant on the original US Route 66 segment in Illinois.  It’s about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis.

Functionally a full bakery with attached restaurant, the eatery is open to serve delights from all three meal dayparts.

It was late when I rolled in, and I was really looking for a motel to crash in, but when the lightbulb went off that this place was what I remembered it to be, I had to try it.

Although faced with a very lengthy menu,  as well as a full page of specials, when I’m in central Illinois, there’s really no choice for me but to get a “Horseshoe” – a plate unique to the area that many say originated in the Springfield area.

A “shoe” is two pieces of toast, with your choice of protein on top (burger, ham, pork, bacon, chicken) topped with fries, and then cheese sauce or sausage gravy. Throw in a couple of fried eggs in the middle there, if you’re inclined.

The “pony shoe” is a downsized version, and that was just fine for me; i chose another regional speciality, the fried pork tenderloin as my protein.  A tenderloin in these parts (and Indiana, and Iowa) is a lean piece of pork hammered very think, battered, deep fried, usually served between a terribly inadequately-sized bun.

In this case, it was in the middle of my pony.  Opted for cheese sauce, probably gravy would have been better.

Nevertheless, if you’re getting your kicks on Route 66, plan your day’s drive to hit Jubelt’s. Good grub.  Jubelts Restaurant Review Route 66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jubelt's Bakery & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jubelts Restaurant Review
Jubelts Restaurant Review

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