So, what could be interesting enough to drag me out of blog-hiding and make me want to post before I burst? Well, I have a restaurant recommendation for you, but only if you happen to find yourself in Wynne, Arkansas. Then again, if you find yourself in Wynne, Arkansas, chances are you already know about this place because it might be the only restaurant in town.
Let me back up. As I mentioned earlier this year, work has been crazy. At the end of the day, I barely have the mental energy for Words with Friends, never mind assembling a coherent blog post with pictures and catchy titles and crap. These days Instagram is more my speed. Ooooh, pretty picture, yay! Tap the little heart thingie. Wheeee! Okay, now I need a nap.
Also, I haven’t been cooking anything all that new or different or exciting. See lack of mental energy above. Which isn’t to say I haven’t been cooking anything delicious, because I have. But all that extra time and thought to taking pictures and maybe remembering what I did? Not so much.
Back to this work thing. The latest incarnation of intense busyness for me means travel to the great state of Arkansas. You can read all about my last trip there, including my first and still only trip to a Sonic, right here. This time I spent a whole work week there, and in advance of my trip, I loaded up my Nook with books from some of my favorite bloggers including David Lebovitz and The Bloggess herself, Jenny Lawson. I chose to read Jenny’s book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, on the airplane on the way down and was literally snorting from laughing so hard, but yet trying to hold it in at the same time so I didn’t sound too insane, but which was probably worse because it probably sounded like a quietly wheezing hyena, which would explain why the lady next to me told me later she was kind of concerned because she didn’t know if I was crying or laughing.
So, with the Bloggess on my mind, imagine my surprise when I walked into J.B.’s Steakhouse in Wynne, Arkansas and saw this guy on the wall.
It’s like James Garfield, only maybe slightly less joyful. But just as disturbing! Over by the hostess stand there was also this handsome fella:
I only wish there were two of them so I could call them foxen like Jenny would. There was also a bobcat lounging on a shelf on another wall, but I neglected to take a picture of it. I was probably just hoping nobody was going to throw it in my lap, and if you have to wonder why, I suggest you read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened immediately if not sooner. Actually, you should read it whether you want to know about my newfound bobcat-in-lap fears or not, because everyone needs to laugh like a muzzled hyena on an airplane now and then.
Taxidermy-Chic décor aside, the real draw at J.B.’s is the food. A friend at the office down there suggested the shrimp dip as an appetizer but I couldn’t. I was too distracted by the fried crawfish tails.
We don’t get crawfish very often up in Massachusetts except at Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou, dotting the top of the chicken etoufee. This however was a nice heaping portion of them, which I had already half massacred before I took this picture. Okay, I did share a few with my tablemates, but not many. They were scared about taking too much food from me after my performance the night before at Corky’s, where I out-ate five men at the table with their sad little “regular” portions of ribs that they didn’t even finish while I polished off a full order. Amateurs.
We also got the sausage and cheese plate, which was kind of like a southern-fried antipasti. There’s dry rub dusted over everything, including the pickled okra. Do not fear the pickled okra! It’s crispy and delicious.
And here’s my entrée, the filet mignon which was lightly seasoned and cooked perfectly despite the thickness of the cut – there were no burnt edges and raw center, just amazingly tender beef, in a barely-need-a-knife kind of way. I cleaned my plate, including the delicious baked sweet potato. The real star of the night though was this:
J.B.’s also makes ribs but they only have so many racks per night and they recommend you call ahead to reserve one. One of my co-workers got lucky because there was one rack left this night. And I was lucky too because he cut off one bone for me to try.
I don’t even say “y’all.” But these ribs could make anyone do things they normally wouldn’t.
People, I like ribs. I have had the ribs at the renowned Rendezvous in Memphis more than once, and I have even bought their dry rub to bring home and re-create. As I mentioned about the feeding frenzy from the night before, I’ve eaten Corky’s ribs too, another Memphis favorite. And they were all good, depending on if you are more of a dry rub or wet rib kind of person. But these… these ribs!! They put them all to shame. I don’t even know what to call it. They were tender, but not greasy. They had some texture and sooo much flavor, but not flavor from a heaping helping of dry rub or sauce. They are served with a big bowl of barbecue sauce on the side but I am not sure why, they really don’t need it. They are a thing of beauty, just as they are. And you know the next time I have to go to Arkansas, I will definitely be calling J.B.’s and reserving some for myself.
Oh, and there was pie. J.B.’s mother makes all the desserts and that night there was praline pie which sounds really southern so I had to go with that. And then they rolled me back to the hotel.
After a week of ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, steak, cheesy enchiladas and a questionable foray to Larry’s Pizza buffet, I am back home and attempting to detox with lots of salad and chicken. But those ribs at J.B.’s are still haunting me. I will be back, y’all.