8 October 2014
Over the years I’ve spent so much time travelling around the world I sometimes feel I need to spend more time travelling through the US. This past summer I had a long roadtrip through several states, and I decided to take a few days to travel to a part of the US I’ve not been to before. I had to be in Albuquerque in a few days, so I planned the time beforehand to hit a few places I’ve always wanted to visit.
My first stop was Jackson, Mississippi, which was 2.5 hours away by car from Memphis (where I flew into). Most people know Jackson by the song, or by misplaced reputation for the city and the entire state. For one, Jackson is charming and friendly — not what people stereotype it to be. Not at all. I stayed in downtown, which is going through a painful revitalisation process that has turned traffic into utter chaos.
As I was doing research for this short stay in town I found one place that stood out for dining, Parlor Market. This was convenient, as I was staying at the excellent Hilton Garden Inn Jackson Downtown — which used to be the historic King Edward Hotel. The hotel, as well as Parlor Market, are anchors in the redevelopment of downtown and Capitol Street. Gorgeous place, I wish I had more time here. The menu for the hotel restaurant looked awesome too…
I got to Parlor Market at a not-too-late hour and it was moderately busy. A bit dark inside, but a nice space. I chose to sit at the bar, as I was alone as usual. Service all night was friendly and excellent, even when the bar was periodically rather busy. I enjoyed the cocktails and wine from my excellent bartender/server, Adie, as I ordered my meal. I was really looking forward to my choices, even though there were so many options I could have gone with.
For my starter I chose the venison raviolo. A very tasty dish, rich but not overpowering. A solid choice, a generous sized raviolo that had hearty and succulent stuffing. A good start. I enjoyed more wine, very surprised with the diversity of wines here, before my main course arrived.
I saw a lot of duck dishes so I knew this was a good town for duck. And it was. This beautiful duck breast was very flavourful, sitting on a bed of traditional red beans and rice. The duck was cooked perfectly, retaining a fabulous texture and not sacrificing any of the natural flavours. Excellent execution of a very tasty dish!
I was too full for more so I just hung out for awhile drinking, testing my bartender with some of her best creations. It was an excellent way to spend the evening in a still-humid Jackson. Every minute this places grows on me, except the climate of course…
What I like about Parlor Market is that they took the best ingredients they can find locally and did the best they could with them, bringing out the very best without overwhelming them or commit the sin of “over-chef’ing” — which is epidemic in NYC, London and elsewhere. That for me is much more enjoyable than watching some Michelin-starred chef create some incongruous derivation of charred ramps marinated in pheasant jus, flaked with imported bottarga and drizzled with imported sesame oil covered with rutabega foam with spots of artisan mustard and house-made catsup — with an improbable hollowed-out heirloom tomato stuffed with wild boar ham and mountain goat cheese drizzled with anisette-laced liquified escolar oil…
Excellent stuff. Genuine and solid.
115 West Capitol St.