Well hello thar, Albany! Fancy seeing you again! Albany John and I are back from our journey into one of the southernmost states in our great nation – Mississippi! Jackson, MS to be specific.
We flew out of Albany International Airport at the crack of dawn. The Interfaith Community room in Albany International Airport is a great place to hole up if you’ve got a wait for your flight. We arrived the standard 90 minutes before check in and were waiting at our gate within 10 minutes. We spent about an hour in the Interfaith room. Very peaceful and quiet. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a few minutes of quiet time in a loud place.
Our flights to Jackson Evers International Airport landed us there on time and it turns out my Dad’s flight landed at the same time. Neato. My awesome sister in law, Margarita, picked Albany John and me up and we all headed over to her apartment to relax a bit after the flights.
Oh yeah, they have a kid now. He was the whole reason for our trip. Psshhh, way to go baby. Our newly minted Yeh-Yeh (aka, my dad) couldn’t wait to hold the little bugger. Lil Dubs (the baby) is the spitting image of his parents.
After that Margarita took me over to Kroger to shop for groceries for dinner, and I got to peep the heck out of a new supermarket I’d never stepped foot in.
Kroger reminds me of a cross between Price Chopper and Albertson’s, except the employees are all really happy with their jobs (they have a union) and the stores are very clean. They had the Kroger card that was necessary at all check outs, otherwise you’d be paying a LOT more for some items. I bought a bag of chips that were $2.19 without the Kroger card, and $1.59 with the card – That’s over 30% more!
Kroger is also one of the most predominant stores in the Jackson, MS area. They were all over the place, and I didn’t see a Wal-Mart once. So far Jackson, MS is heads above Clarksville, TN, land of a thousand Wal-Marts.
Jackson, MS itself reminded me a lot of the Albany area – Jackson was the central city, but there were many little off shoots within a few miles of each other like Ridgeland (I’d liken to to Troy,NY in terms of close location) and Brandon.
Geographics aside, Kroger was a nice grocery store to visit. They had an impressive cheese section for a chain supermarket. Their prices were on the more expensive side, but they seemed to be selling it all. And the samples were quite nice, too. Mmmm, cheese samples.
The hot bar of the grocery store. In the south, the hot food sections aren’t that bad. While the ‘fried chicken’ at northern grocery stores may be of the ‘rubbery’ and ‘yuck’ categories, the fried chicken here is generally crispy-skinned and juicy.
We didn’t get any, but Albany John and my Dad were mulling over the possibility of a few pieces.
Sushi in a grocery store. WITH SAMPLES. Eh, it was better than our grocery store sushi in Albany, but still… it was grocery store sushi. They really like their cream cheese and imitation crab meat.
We walked over to the seafood counter. They had some very pretty displays, with some “coocked” (tee hee) crawfish at the center. At $5.49/lb they were more expensive than I thought they’d be. My brother explained that the prices on crawfish jumped a lot after the BP oil leak.
I found prices overall to be on par or more than grocery store prices here. I thought prices would be lower in the south. I was most surprised about beer prices in the grocery store – they were as high or higher than prices here in New York! I mean, we’re NYers and taxed up the wazoo. What gives with expensive beer in Mississippi grocery stores?
HELLO, ANDOUILLE! Margarita picked up some andoille sausage to make gumbo for dinner. Boy, did it have some kick to it!
We made dinner together, which was lots of fun. I miss hanging out with Margarita and Bro and cooking something up for the boys while they hang out and do Man Stuff (video games). And oh man, their new apartment is really awesome.
Mmm, gumbo! It was so awesome. Shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage! Margarita found this kick-ass roux in a jar. It made making gumbo MUCH easier. I know, I know, scratch is awesome, but it would have taken forever to make enough roux, or get it to the right color.
I also wanted something to drink with dinner, so we popped off to a local liquor store. Bro has been regaling me with tales of insanely cheap booze in Mississippi. So naturally I had pictured a magical land of liquor stores with $5 stickers on them, cashiers dispensing jello shots, and a fountain of wine in every store.
Totally not the case. The liquor prices in MS were higher than in New York.
I peeped around one of their local package stores and found a bottle of Mississippi wine. It seemed fitting to serve a local wine with a local dish for dinner. It was $7.95 for a bottle of Old South brand Sweet Magnolia wine, a Sweet Muscadine Table Wine.
It was not good. I don’t know if the store doesn’t sell too many of these bottles and it was starting to go bad, or if the wine itself just isn’t good to begin with, but… Eugh. It tasted like it was turning into sherry. Cloyingly sweet and not good with anything.
That was the end of Day One in Mississippi.