I’m a big West Coast booster, having lived on this side of the country my whole life. The West is the best, baby.
But I appreciate other parts of the country, especially when it comes to a region’s native food and drink. I particularly love cuisine from the Southern states. One of my favorite dishes is shrimp and grits, and I’ve tried it all over the South. I relish the interpretations of it in Georgia the most. When I’m in Texas, it’s all about the barbecue and Tex-Mex dishes (oh, and those fresh margaritas by the pitcher, please). In Tennessee, I search out the hot fried chicken sandwiches and buttermilk biscuits and gravy. When I’m in Florida, I can’t get enough key lime pie and stone crab.
New Orleans is a special place for extraordinary food and drink, from Cajun red beans and rice, shrimp Creole, and jambalaya to muffuletta sandwiches, grilled oysters, bananas foster, beignets, pralines, and cocktails (vieux carré is my jam). I still dream of the most decadent brunch I had at Commander’s Palace six years ago.
Southern cuisine is comfort food at its finest. You can taste the love, and calories, in every bite. With that in mind, we pay homage to the South in this issue by introducing you to the cuisine, with dishes you can make at home and restaurants that serve it.
You don’t have to leave Reno-Tahoe to take a culinary road trip to the South. Many local restaurants offer Southern specialties. Nashville hot fried chicken sandwiches? Check. Black-eyed peas; collard greens; and fried okra, chicken, catfish, and alligator? Yep. Buttery, flaky biscuits with country gravy? Oh, yeah. Low-country boil spilled out onto the table? We have that, too. Edible Reno-Tahoe managing editor Jessica Santina, herself a Southerner, presents them in our cover story.
Learn to make Southern dishes at home with tips and recipes from local experts, including shrimp and grits, Cajun crawfish stir fry, Southern baked corn, fried okra, and fried bacon mac and cheese. Discover the rage that’s sweeping the nation right here in Reno and Lake Tahoe: Nashville hot chicken sandwiches. We even share a story on how to make a Southern staple, sweet tea.
We have all of this and much more — including home, wedding, and health and wellness guides — to explore in our largest issue to date. Big thanks go to our amazing advertisers and you, dear readers, for supporting our efforts.
About the cover Alex Downing, chef de cuisine of The Club at Rancharrah in South Reno, presents an array of Southern food classics at his Reno home. Clockwise from the top, Cajun crawfish, sweet tea, pimiento cheese grits with sausage and shrimp, fried okra, and fried chicken. Photo by Candice Vivien