Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Fave: Southern Diners

I grew up in the Deep South, so of course I grew up with Southern food.  When I was a little girl, we traveled back and forth between Savannah and Atlanta (and we lived in both these cities at different points).  A highlight of all trips up and down Georgia was stopping at little Southern diners.  There was one I recall near Milledgeville called Tick Tock.

I have been vegetarian for a long time (27 years!), but long before I went vegetarian, I loved a veggie plate.  Thankfully, one of the things that Southern diners specialize in is veggie plates.   If you are vegetarian, you have to make sure you go to diners that do not season vegetables with meat, or they have a "V" for vegetarian on the menu for veggies that are cooked vegetarian style.  Thankfully, there are several great Southern diners in my city that serve vegetarian vegetables.  Hooray!

If you go to a Southern diner, the menu may be printed, or it may be a simple xerox page that lists the veggies of the day.   It may be posted on the wall (also easy for diner owners to change daily).  There may be a little serving line, like a mini-cafeteria, where you pick the vegetables you want.

A veggie plate is typically three or four veggies.  My meal above has fried eggplant, corn, and applesauce.  You will always find a wide variety of vegetables, like: fried okra, fried green tomatoes, squash souffle, tossed salad, collard greens, blackeyed peas, fruit salad, potato cakes, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, stewed apples, cheese grits, tomato pie, sweet potato souffle, and more.  Most of the diners I go to serve cornbread on the side.  Of course, the beverage of choice is sweet tea (iced tea that is sweetened with sugar immediately after brewing, so it is perfectly sweet).  I rarely get desserts at a diner because I am too full from vegetables!  The most common dessert at Southern diners is fruit cobbler (peach, cherry, blackberry, etc.).  

The restaurants vary, but the atmosphere tends to be casual and cozy, often with old photos or vintage items on the wall.  (Many of these places have been in business for years and years.)   Service is casual and friendly. 

Do you like Southern cooking?  Any favorite Southern diner stories or meals to share?   I'd love to hear from you in the comments, below.

9 comments:

Patrice Foster said...

Interesting love to read. Thanks for sharing.

Aimee Fauci said...

I LOVE Southern cooking! Of course my favorite is chicken fried steak, chicken or just fried chicken, fried okra, corn and mashed potatoes! I could , however, do a Southern veggie plate without a problem!

Birdhouse Books said...

Thanks for visiting! I am now craving fried okra -- it is one of my faves.

Julie is Coco and Cocoa said...

I love fried green tomatoes! I had some in Savannah that I will never forget :)

Birdhouse Books said...

Savannah is a great restaurant town!

Mary Huckaby said...

Yum-Yum! I grew up on some great southern cooking! And speaking of fried okra, I was craving okra yesterday and looked up a healthy (Paleo)recipe for it. I just stirred 3 cups of cut okra with a tablespoon of Olive Oil. Then salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. It was delicious, and satisfied my craving. (I know I cheated by using Olive oil. It's not allowed in the Paleo diet.)

Birdhouse Books said...

Mary, I know you grew up with great Southern food! Your okra recipe sounds yummy. I need to try it. I love okra and sometimes just crave it. I even like boiled okra, which I know a lot of people don't care for.

Madaline said...

OMG. How I'm dying for some real Southern Food! Your post made me want mashpotatoes, green beans - all of it! And mostly I want to make tomato pie - but without cheddar can I do it!?

Birdhouse Books said...

Madaline, I am also a fan of tomato pie! You could substitute another cheese, or if you are vegan, you could use Daiya or another soy based cheese?