I’m a little late on updating y’all on a great week-long road trip I took in June to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to cater a party for Billy Reid’s Annual Shindig. Billy Reid is a clothing designer with a shop and anchor store housed in a great old southern building in downtown
Florence, Alabama. Billy Reid has retail stores throughout the south and in NYC. You can take a look at his collections at www.BillyReid.com. Billy is a southern gentleman that appreciates good food, drink and music so we hit it off years back as he was getting his Houston store open and we’ve been friends ever since. I pulled together some of my old buddies (A.K.A The Band) to make the journey with me. Here’s how it went…
The week started out in New Orleans and then on to Cocodrie for some good southern Louisiana Gulf Coast fishing. My Goode buddy Bear Evans lives in Houma just down the road from the fishing camp where we stayed. Bear showed us some good ol’ southern hospitality and rolled out the red carpet for us while we stayed on the coast. We fished out plenty of red snapper and trout that day but didn’t realize at first that we were going off shore that day…I guess you could say we were a little less than prepared for the five to seven foot seas. One of the band members had a little trouble hanging onto his breakfast (not mentioning any names) so his “chumming” could be the sole reason for our surge of snapper in less than 30 minutes.
Of course if I get within 200 miles of New Orleans, I’ve got to have an “overnighter” there for good measure because it’s one of my favorite cities to visit. It’s good to see New Orleans’ quick rebound since the devastation ofHurricane Katrina. In New Orleans we hooked up with my new good friend Mitch for a great dinner at Jacques-Imo’s Cafe,www.jacquesimoscafe.com. We stuffed ourselves on alligator cheesecake, fried chicken, paneed rabbit and mirliton with fried oysters and a tasso hollandaise. All the while, the familiar tunes of the Rolling Stones, James Brown and Pink Floyd filled the air. The alligator cheesecake was out of this world! If traveling to NOLA, Jacque-Imo’s is a MUST stop. We continued our great tour of the local hangouts off Frenchman street and took in some great music. Mitch owns one of the oldest bars in NOLA and I guess by a rite of passage we had to have a little Absinthe. Absinthe is a wormwood liquor that was consumed by the masses in NOLA back in the 1800s. It was banned for 100 years but the ban was lifted recently, allowing producers to distill it again. I’ve gotta tell you that when in NOLA, stop by Jean Lafitte’s and try it out!
On Friday, we continued on to Muscle Shoals, Alabama for the kick-off of the weekend shindig. Billy has a great historic home right smack dab in the middle of Florence, Alabama where he threw a backyard BBQ catered by Jim and Nick’s out of Birmingham. The party continued with live music and bourbon slushes (click HERE for the recipe!) at their storeand several musicians performed. The weekend was a mix of media, musicians and New York types…Naturally, we fit right in!
Saturday, the party started at noon on the lake. The house where the party was held was located right on the Tennessee River with a resort-style pool and stage for the great musicians that played throughout the afternoon. I brought my Texas-Style street taco bar with me and Goode Company’s own Margarita mix master Alex (A.K.A. El Diablo) from our Goode Company Seafood Katy Freeway location.
Call him “El Diablo” next time you stop by and you’ll get a good smile out of him.
It was all hands on deck at that point in time! Good thing I was traveling with some of my buddies that have plenty of “on the spot” kitchen know-how from their own experience in the restaurant bidness. We fed these hungry people from 11:00 AM to 8:30 PM until all of our rations were gone! I got a call from a guy in Dallas that was at the party and wanted to know if we would bring the taco set-up to Dallas for a party he is having–we just might have to get the band back together! A big Texas thanks to Billy Reid, K.P. and Jake for treating us like royalty while we were there!