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Random bites: Soul food

Paula Deen may still have 'em lined up around the block and Il Pasticcio may be selling out for Southern fried goodness, but the best Southern chow bar none in this county comes from the Soul food kitchens - big and small - that dot the landscape.

From decidedly urban dives to suburban eateries - I'm salivating when I see fried whiting, oxtails and pork-fat laced veggies standing parade rest on the steam table.

That's why I was stoked when I stepped inside Brown's Family Restaurant this week. Its twin, Sisters of the New South on Skidaway Road, pumps out awesome eats, but I took to the spacious and bright interior of Brown's like a duck to water.
Or a hungry dog to fried chicken. Yeah, I passed on turkey wings, ground sirloin patties and baked chicken for crispy on the outside, tender on the inside fried chicken.

No, this down home fry won't win a beauty contest against the Colonel, but frankly, I preferred the light breading and emphasis on flavor. My portions of breast and wing were plenty, especially given the nicely crisped skin.

Sides of fried okra and corn - and a big chunk of mildly sweet cornbread - made this meal a rib-sticking delight - even on a 100-degree day.

Sure, that was helped along by a cheery server and an endless giant glass of sweet tea - but this is food worth the drive. Start looking to the right about 200 yards beyond the 516 overpass.

The only thing I saw missing...pie. We need more pie in this town.

3718 Ogeechee Road/ 232-8608

Rumor mill...
Among the grist this week is news of a new craft beer bar on the west end of Broughton Street and a new bar and eats joint on the west end of Congress Street. No names or opening dates yet, but cheers all around for these entrepreneurial-minded folks! Street team, feel free to dish me info...

The secret's in the technique
I was reminded this week how far Chef Keith Latture has come with the Sandfly BBQ. I slip in and out from time to time and have noticed that this is no longer a hit or miss operation. In fact, with each passing day, Latture and his pit crew dial their fabulous 'cue in a little tighter. Count on pulled pork and ribs for sure - and if the chicken's hot off the smoker - it's a winner.

The strip mall eatery is also gaining character. I don't usually get into aesthetics, but the ticky-tacky décor is really starting to give Sandfly BBQ a real "BBQ joint" feel.