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TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
12497 posts

TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
Dear Friends,

When I think of Southern food, I think of The Dinner Bell in McComb, Mississippi. We sometimes made the jaunt there when going to the family compound in the Landmass. For a few years, it was part of our Christmas tradition, whereby we went to a Christmas tree farm not far from McComb, perhaps in Natalbany, but I really do not remember the place’s name, such are the consequences of traveling outside the city. Sitting around the table with Mother, Uncle, Sister, cousins, and sometimes father, spinning the wheel, which I believe they call a Lazy Susan, as though I was playing Wheel of Fortune, brings a smile to my typically sullen face. I never left hungry, having my fill of freshly fried chicken, collard greens, lima beans, mashed potatoes, cobbler, and other classics of Southern cuisine.

These trips were before that fateful accident on the Huey P in 1992, and I had not yet developed that phobia to bridges, especially the Causeway and the I-10 over the Spillway. While I tell people I have never been to the Northshore, what I mean is I have never been to Mandeville, Covington, and that part of the Metro area. I have been to Slidell and Hammond, but most people do not consider these tangential towns part of that northerly place that brings residents equal parts shame, for not living in New Orleans, and pride, for not living in New Orleans.

When Mother decided to take me on a day trip this weekend, she first wanted to bring me to McComb. I balked, fearful of that bridge westward. So resolute to eat Southern food was she that she responded to my negativity, “TulaneLSU, then we are going over the Danzinger, Twin Span, Pearl River, Pascagoula, and Mobile Bay bridges.”

The prospect, of course, frightens me. But these eastern bridges do not petrify me like the northern and western bridges. Perhaps this courage comes from repeated exposure to them, thanks to our biannual trips to east of Destin. Or perhaps there is a mystical explanation, as these bridges head eastward, the same direction to which all cathedrals point, to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Whatever the reason, Mother loaded me in the Mercedes and then loaded me with Benadryl, to make my passage slightly easier. I still have not urinated since this morning, thanks to the 150 mg she gave me.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002747988_5fc7f4a8c5_k.jpg


What I did not realize was that Mother had searched online and found a restaurant called Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. It is located in a newly developed theme park called AWO, or should they call it A Woe to whomever is investing in it, in Foley, Alabama. This theme park has all the optimism of a landless Easterner pitching his tent and toting his plow in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, circa 1925. Unfettered optimism and greed often end with broken dreams and a bowl full of dust.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003526367_8639e3fbf7_k.jpg


Mother and I arrived to this AWO and found the Disney-like streets completely empty. The sound of silence echoed off the newly built brick walls. Even though there were no employees out cleaning the streets, they were as clean as if they had been paved yesterday.

There was a jeweler shop here, quite an odd location for a jeweler, indeed. I ducked my head in to ask the jeweler, “Where is everyone? Is it always this quiet?” He answered affirmatively. “Is this because of the corona virus of 2019?” I inquired.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002748468_da1096d13b_k.jpg


“Nope, this place has been open two years and no one is ever here.”

I have seen ghost towns depicted on Western movies, and this had the same feel and sounds of that. I heard every single footstep I took. How often on pavement do you notice every single of your footsteps? That is how quiet it was. Visually, though, everything was new. Perhaps a better comparison for this place would be the empty cities of China, built for residents but not yet populated, like Nanhui New City.

The main draw of the park is the Six Flags-esque rollercoaster land. While I begged Mother to let me enter, she resisted. “We are not here for that lollygagging. And you still have not finished your sentence for getting banned from Jazzland.”

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003269741_d6e9539ae7_k.jpg


Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003384356_39ff755b74_k.jpg


Mother’s reference is to an incident between me and a female, not a lady, in 2000. That summer, I had a season pass to Jazzland, the crown jewel of the East, that was revoked because I “harassed other customers.” What management failed to impress upon my parents during that meeting was my entire argument -- it was really an impassioned discussion -- with that lady centered around her prurient outfit that had no place in a place for families and adolescents. Mother’s memory of my foibles is greater than my memory for small details.I still blame this disagreement on her forcing me to live with Captain Mike in Bucktown, U.S.A. the following summer.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003269936_f52f7e1013_k.jpg


Already, AWO has seen the closure of Wahlburgers. Although officially people are saying that it closed as a result of the virus shutdown, our waiter told me that it closed because it never achieved any significant level of business during its three year run at the park. A restaurant owned by an Irish rapper from Boston failing in Alabama? Is nothing certain anymore? I was happy to be able to see its sign before it leaves the park. Signs are gifts to and directions for us.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003269846_db87c6a93c_k.jpg


Unlike other theme parks, the faux city is outside the gates of the rides, so walking the area is encouraged, even if your parents do not allow you to ride the rides. The stores look inviting, but like some of my birthday parties, no one accepted the invitation.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002748193_710920715c_k.jpg


Whatever the fate of this place, the developers continue to throw money at it. "Build it and they will come" must be their mantra. If people are not going to come, then by my leg, we will keep building. Construction of an indoor waterpark is currently underway. There are also a good number of sports fields, baseball and soccer, already constructed. I imagine the developers hope this will become a sports and recreation mecca for the South. To me, this whole complex appears to be a chimera.
This post was edited on 6/13 at 9:58 pm


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
12497 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003680732_1a83e0eb7f_k.jpg


Before entering the restaurant, Mother required that I rub my hands with isopropyl alcohol and put on my N99 mask, which I was happy to do because the last thing I want to do is be guilty of spreading this virus to others. They say the incubation period is anywhere from one to fourteen days before you would develop symptoms, so masks are essential, friends.

The building is rather nice on the outside, fitting with the theme of the restaurant of the faux city. It reminds me of a ship as well as Bass Pro Shops and Joe’s Crab Shack. The signage is adequate, though not spectacular or memorable. The photos of Paula Deen, of whom I had never heard her name before today, look Photoshopped, with obnoxiously sparkling cobalt eyes.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002747953_1c548a273e_k.jpg


Upon entering the open restaurant, one comes to the gift store. Apparently, this woman is famous and quite popular. So beloved is she that people flock to take pictures with her cutout, as though she were a President. I did not.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002748988_cce15f932f_k.jpg


So much junk to fill one’s kitchen is sold in this shop that it made me sick. The only thing that caught my eye was the basket with Christmas ornaments. It is a terrible sin, but I have a compulsion to buy Christmas ornaments whenever they are before me. And this I did. I ended up with twelve of these Butter Y’all sticks. I hope some of my dear friends, SuperSaint and buttocksinclarse (free buttocks), will appreciate them when they arrive anonymously one day at their residences.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002748588_fbe7b448dd_k.jpg


Before eating in any restaurant for the first time, I always inspect its restrooms. One can learn quite a lot about a place by first doing a thorough twenty point inspection of these forgotten rooms.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749323_3d6e7d3df2_k.jpg


Overall, the bathrooms were adequate and did not turn me off the restaurant nor give me unfair optimism for it. The tiles were a pleasant grey. The urinals accommodate those of short stature, but none for one who is over 76 inches. I pity whoever puts his shoes on those mats, and worse yet is the one whose job it is to clean those mats. Why would you have material below a urinal? It seems very unsanitary.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749083_49fa123e92_k.jpg


The toilets had good water pressure, an important feature when eating in a restaurant that calls itself all-you-can-eat. What a disaster it is for a restaurant’s toilet to overflow. There are two urinals, two regular sized toilet stalls, and one stall for those with a handicap or those needing to change a child’s diaper.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003527057_c80e7b2d0c_k.jpg


Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003526952_3f82cbebfc_k.jpg


Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002748693_142159ac16_k.jpg


The sinks are clean and well appointed. I understand that these backlit vanities are now the rave, but I do not like the look, preferring a more classical, Victorian look.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003527422_16ffbae301_k.jpg


I asked Mother to take some pictures of the ladies’ bathroom, but she would not. “That is the most absurd request I have heard this year. Keep it up and I will leave you here.” Friends, I tried, but I am sorry to inform you that I cannot give you a review of the other bathroom.

The restaurant is currently serving at 50% capacity, per Alabama state law. The crowds were very light, so it was not an issue. The servers even had room to allow us to have a window seat. The view is quite enjoyable and relaxing.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003271716_4cfdecdf32_k.jpg


I started with a tap water. One does not know a place without tasting its water. AWO’s water lacked any character. It was flat, forgetful, and forgettable. The only similarity with New Orleans Sewage & Water Board water was its clarity and wetness. Still, it was likely better than what the server was pushing -- sweet tea. Nothing is more appalling to me than destroying tea with sugar. Tea is made to be sipped slowly and without diabetes-inducing sugar. It disgusts me that people in the rest of the South drink that candy tea. It is likely a big reason so many people are obese.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002750378_1cc132b9c1_k.jpg


One rude woman across the way was drinking both a sweet tea and an alcoholic beverage. She was overweight, loud, and obnoxious. I heard every word that came out her mouth, even from thirty feet away. She made the atmosphere less enjoyable for me.

The service was sophomoric, friendly, and overall, incompetent. I get that the restaurant likely is struggling to find help right now, and even in good times, the best you can get is a high school student. Nonetheless, when you are charging $20 per person for lunch, some level of competence is expected.

The restaurant bills itself as all-you-can-eat, just as the great Golden Corral. I did not eat all I could eat, largely because it took so long to get my food refilled. The menu is simple, you choose two or three entrees and four sides. It is approximately $20 per person at both lunch and dinner. At any point you can order more of the items you have already chosen. Do not try to order additional sides or entrees, or they will upcharge you.
This post was edited on 6/13 at 9:44 pm


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
12497 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
I almost forgot, you were here for the Top 10 dishes. Let me type no more. I now present to you TulaneLSU’s Top 10 dishes of Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen:

10. Broccoli casserole

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749853_fd447431f4_k.jpg


Frozen broccoli loaded with cheap, industrial cheddar and some crackers one might think would taste good, but it really does not. It also has loads of unpleasant onions in it. The carbs, sodium, and fat might mask the foul flavors of this dish for the cattle, but my palate could not stand it. It was the worst of the dishes I tried.

9. Black-eye peas

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003527867_01c792c257_k.jpg


Another unpleasant side I received were these peas, also likely frozen. They were overly salted and had too much distracting gravy-like substance in them. I do not often eat black-eyed peas, but when I do, I want the peas to be highlighted, not hidden. Deen’s hides the peas.

8. Friend chicken

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50003271626_a171c67bce_k.jpg


Deen’s prides itself on the fried chicken, but I found it on par with Church’s. It did not help that I asked my server for breast of chicken each time. And every time, save one, the server brought me a thigh. The batter was thick, but not particularly flavorful. Popeyes is significantly better, and the KFC buffets one occasionally finds serve better fried chicken.

7. Neon green beans

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002750018_8d6c8f0cef_k.jpg


Another frozen item, these green beans had an artificially green appearance. Like the black-eyed peas, they were doused in oil and cooked with meat. The meat, I believe it was scattered roast, was tasty. In truth, I prefer canned beans microwaved to these beans.

6. Collared greens

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002750108_cb28c879ea_k.jpg


The greens were fine, but lacked the richness and acidity one expects from good greens. Sure, they tasted fine, but they could have been so much more. More vinegar and spice were needed.

5. Vanilla Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749453_6990ad2614_k.jpg


The server talked it up as a classic. Although it tastes very nice, I could not help but think, “TulaneLSU, you’re eating 700 empty calories.

4. Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749393_03e8a0c164_k.jpg


Mother let me have her dessert, as she was quite disappointed with the entire meal as well. The chocolate version was slightly better than the vanilla one. An oily brownie is probably the best comparison I can describe.

3. Mashed potatoes

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002750178_176528e0fc_k.jpg


I have never had mashed potatoes that had as much butter as these potatoes did, and I have had some very buttery potatoes. If you have never tried TigernMS12 or Brtigerfan’s potatoes, I suggest you get some, because their potatoes are much better. Trust me on this one. Anyway, due to the butter, the flavor was nice, but the potatoes were runny, the consistency of stool after eating half a gallon of blueberries in an hour.

2. Spare ribs

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749943_f644d77f30_k.jpg


These ribs had delectable flavor, a smokiness that takes quite a bit of skill. If you ever have the misfortune of eating at this establishment, be sure that you choose the ribs as one of your entrees. My complaint regarding this one is that they give you such a small portion that, unless you are insistent that they continually bring out more servings, you will never get an ample amount.

1. Cheddar biscuits

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749563_271cb0987b_k.jpg


Servers bring out the cheese biscuits as soon as you arrive, hoping you will satiate that American appetite with cheap bread rather than meat. It is a deliberate technique I am sure corporate pushes on all locations. Like some of the Brazilian steakhouse buffets, and indeed, like Golden Corral’s delectable yeast rolls, much care has gone into making these filling breads taste amazing. Deen’s biscuits are the best tasting item on the menu, without question. I consider that as big a condemnation of any restaurant as possible.

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50002749678_daf6df504b_k.jpg


In the end, the sum is as bad as its parts. Is one supposed to eat from the serving bowls and plates or heap them all together in one watery mess? I tried both ways and found neither amenable. Paula Deen’s may satisfy her fans, but for those who know not of this queen of butter, her restaurant’s food falls, or rather, slips on its oily residue to a real low. Deen’s could learn from an generous institution of the people like Golden Corral. At the GC, one has liberty to serve himself to Southern foods, not to mention perfect sirloin steak, as often and as bountiful as he pleases. Deen’s could also learn a thing about decent food there, food that is both cheaper and significantly better than the oily mush that trickles out Deen’s Family Kitchen like The Bank of Dirt’s water faucet in Rango. 1/10.

Faith, Hope, and Love,
TulaneLSU
This post was edited on 6/13 at 11:56 pm


OTIS2
LSU Fan
NoLA
Member since Jul 2008
45814 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
Lay off the weed, man. Your brain is fried.


lsumailman61
LSU Fan
Gulf Shores
Member since Oct 2006
6625 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
He’s right about AWO or OWA it’s a desolate barren wasteland until they legalize gambling in Alabama. No reason to drive 30 minutes North of the beach when you are paying for a beach vacation.


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150
MeridianDog
Mississippi St. Fan
Home on the range
Member since Nov 2010
11789 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
Yes, Free Arse!


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131
ThreeBonesCater
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Dec 2014
140 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
That's the most in depth review of a men's room I've ever seen in my life. Kudos


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221
Bigfishchoupique
Member since Jul 2017
4033 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
quote:

I asked Mother to take some pictures of the ladies’ bathroom, but she would not. “That is the most absurd request I have heard this year. Keep it up and I will leave you here.”


Would Mother have really left you behind ?

Should we have CPS look into your situation?

Thanks for the post. I enjoy every one of them.


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121
TheHarahanian
LSU Fan
Duh
Member since May 2017
14093 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO

Greens are not collared.

The word collard comes from “colewort”.


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40
Jake88
George Mason Fan
LSU/Saints Fan
Member since Apr 2005
49843 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
It's OWA, but I suspect you know that.
quote:

There are also a good number of sports fields, baseball and soccer, already constructed. I imagine the developers hope this will become a sports and recreation mecca for the South
Those fields have been bustling for several years now and pull in kids' teams from all over the South for tournaments multiple times per month. Nice little racket for a small town.

You drove that far for what is obviously a purveyor of frozen, precooked food? You and Mother couldn't do a bit of research into a smaller more authentic place located along that three hour drive?
This post was edited on 6/14 at 7:52 am


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70
captainahab
Nicholls St. Fan
Highway Trio8
Member since Dec 2014
1386 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
Friend,

You took the picture from the wrong side of the sign. Its OWA.

Thanks for the review and please give my regards to Mother.

Faith, Hope, and Love
Captainahab


barbapapa
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Mar 2018
1944 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
I appreciate the update on this fine bathroom's water pressure


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21
cssamerican
Member since Mar 2011
5702 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
The only food item that is really good at Paula Deen’s is the sweet potatoes.
This post was edited on 6/14 at 9:57 am


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00
ellishughtiger
Georgia Fan
70118
Member since Jul 2004
19475 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
quote:

Sitting around the table with Mother, Uncle, Sister, cousins


I know you went to St. George’s then later on Ecole Classique for upper school but is your sister’s name Abbigail, Newman C/O 2003?


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01
UnoDelgado
Covington
Member since Nov 2019
116 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
The Destin and PCB locations lasted 6 months.


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Legion of Doom
USA Fan
Old Metry
Member since Jan 2018
2400 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
The consistency of stool after eating a gallon of blueberries!!!!

You really hit your stride today TulaneLSU. This is great! As Mr. Clean would say “shake the haters” and keep up the stellar work!


TastyJibblets
North of I-10
Member since Jun 2018
611 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
quote:

Mr. Clean

Another poster that has smoked himself retarded


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31
BamaCoaster
LSU Fan
God's Gulf
Member since Apr 2016
3057 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
Not sure why so many downvotes.
This dude takes time and effort to write in the style of confederacy of dunces, post pics, and nails the reviews.
OWA sucks, and Paula Deen’s is awful.
Like another poster said, if they don’t get a casino, they are doomed. They are building an indoor water park, so maybe that’ll save them.


DeCat ODahouse
LSU Fan
Premium Member
Member since Jan 2017
605 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
quote:

I hope some of my dear friends, SuperSaint and buttocksinclarse (free buttocks), will appreciate them when they arrive anonymously one day at their residences.


Free buttocks!


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Cold Drink
LSU Fan
Member since Mar 2016
3482 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 dishes at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, AWO
quote:

I asked my server for breast of chicken each time. And every time, save one, the server brought me a thigh.
Too shiny


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