Since my go-to BBQ spot, Shane's Rib Shack, has closed down, I thought I should probably try somewhere new to get my pulled pork fix. Piggy's BBQ has been on my list of places to try for a while, and so I thought I'd grab a few friends and stop on by for lunch.
At first glance, Piggy's is everything you'd want a down-home BBQ place to be. Booths lined with brick walls, paintings of pigs, an assortment of old license plates, a chalkboard menu and that smokey smell coating the air. I couldn't wait to place my order! But upon seeing the cafeteria style way in which the food was served, I had my doubts. There's a reason why cafeteria food gets a bad name - normally because nothing ends up cooked exactly right. Some food is cold, some food is burnt and some food is stale. It's just not an ideal situation.
But I stepped right up and ordered a pulled pork sandwich anyway. The friendly lady behind the counter eagerly scooped up a large portion of pulled pork and slapped it onto a white bun, with much of it falling over the edge and onto the plate. I slid down the line and was asked what side item I would like with my meal. After perusing vats of mac 'n cheese, green beans and potato salad, I went with the safe choice - french fries. I then slid to the end of the line where I was informed that a fountain drink was included in my meal (a nice little surprise) and promptly forked over the plastic payment.
As I grabbed a seat at a booth, I noticed my friends had pretty much followed in my footsteps with their orders. Three of us got the pulled pork, and one decided to spring for the sausage plate. I have to note that the pulled pork is also available on Texas Toast, but unlike the honkin' slices you'd get at Shane's, their Texas Toast is like the size of a small piece of garlic bread that comes with a spaghetti plate. One of my friends got the Texas Toast option, but most of his pulled pork ended up on the plate vs. the toast. For more substantial sandwich bookends, I'd highly recommend the bun.
Now, I have to give credit where credit is due - Piggy's pulled pork is DE-LISH! All of us that got the pulled pork basically scarfed it down. And with 5 sauces to choose from to douse your pork, there seemed to be an option for everybody. I chose the Ss-weet sauce for my sandwich, as I liked the tangy, savory kick that it provided. Honestly, I went back and doused my sandwich about 3 times it was that good! My friends also enjoyed the Ooo'ey Hot sauce (which they said wasn't too hot) and the Spice'ay Musta' was perfect on the Sausage, I was told. Now, back to the pork itself. It was hot and melty and even included those wonderful crusty pieces of "bark" that let you know that the pork was smoked RIGHT (aka: not in a slow cooker). The bark is that crispy outer layer of pork that contains all of the incredible spices from the rub. These pieces are arguably the most flavorful part of the pulled pork, and they were plentiful at Piggy's.
Now, if Piggy's had an area where it could improve - it would be the side items. As mentioned in the beginning, they really suffered from the "cafeteria" effect. Two of my friends got the green beans, but said they were overcooked. Another got the mac 'n cheese and said (and I quote) "It's not the best I've ever had. It was pretty cold, actually." And another thought the potato salad was "too mayonnaise-y." I wasn't thrilled with my fries either. They looked like nothing more than Ore-Ida crinkle cut frozen fries that you can pick up at any supermarket. With a pulled pork this good, I'd rather see a nice seasoned fry - something like Five Guy's Cajun Fries or Black Bean's Island Fries - served as a perfect compliment to the smokiness of the pork. A french fry with a nice spicy kick would really punch that plate up a notch.
And my friend who got the sausage was pleased as well. He added onions and peppers on top and seemed perfectly happy to eat the entire thing. I'm not a big sausage person, so I'll just have to take his word for it!
Don't get me wrong, I left utterly satisfied and in need of a nap, even if my french fries were subpar. Piggy's definitely has something goin' on with their pork. But when you go in, instead of a side dish - maybe you should just ask for extra pork!
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmospere - B
Taste - B+ (can't give an A because of the sides)
Presentation - C (but BBQ is always sloppy)
Service - A (there's no table service, but they get you through the line rather quick)
Price - $
1887 Capital Circle NE
Tallahassee FL 32308
- Fresh Ingredients
- Inventive Combinations
- A little bit of chaos
Plus, I absolutely love the creativity that they use to come up with their menu items! Their sandwiches boast names like The Picnic, The Guac, Zorba, Black Bird, The Spin and The Hummer (it's hummus, turkey, feta, black olives, tomato, onion and lettuce served on rye-pumpernickel with mayo and house dressing - so get your minds out of the gutter people!). And their salads include interesting offerings like the Chicken Tetrazzini, Tuna and Tabouli and Walnut Gorgonzola Salads. Heck - even the breads that they serve their sandwiches on are out of the ordinary - things like Poppy Seed Rolls, Onion Rolls and Pumpernickel Rolls are sure to spice up any sandwich! Cause there's nothing worse than a boring ham and cheese on white bread is there, people? No. That's right. No.
Now, I'm sticking to my guns on #3. I've never been to a spectacular deli that wasn't it's own breed of crazy. Stand in this line! Order at the counter! Wait till we call your number! NO substitutions! Fight to grab a seat! Get your own drink! Order up! I love the hectic energy that comes with a packed place hungry for delicious food. Put a different way - if you walk into a deli and no one is screaming - RUN! There's an old truth that there is beauty in chaos, and it's never more apparent than at a superb deli.
At Hopkins, the chaos is as follows: you stand in line, place your order, grab your cup, get your drink, snag a seat, wait for your name to be called, pick up your order and dig in. The slew of names being shouted from behind the counter let you know that you're eating at a place that's in high demand. JAMIE! BOB! DIANE! RYAN! KATIE! CHELSEA! SAM! MARY! BUSTER! (Seriously, whose name is Buster??)
On this day, a friend and I traded the hubub of the office for the hubub of the deli. We both ordered salads - she picked a Mini Chef's Salad with the house Parmesan Italian Dressing and I chose the Hopkins Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing. My friend had the right idea ordering the mini, because their portion sizes are off the charts!!! But I absolutely love the cobb salad, and it only comes in a regular size, so I had to do battle with the enormity of it. I'm not ashamed to admit that it always defeats me, but I always put up a good fight!
Her Chef's Salad included lettuce, tomato, carrots, bell pepper, ham, turkey, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, onion and alfalfa sprouts. I'm sure I don't have to tell you again - but all the ingredients were delightfully crisp and fresh and the homemade Parmesan Italian dressing provided a nice tart and tangy kick. My Cobb Salad was made with lettuce, grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, boiled egg, artichoke hearts, tomato, gorgonzola cheese and croutons (I had them hold the onions). I know most people like to do a Cobb with ranch or blue cheese dressing, but honey mustard is my drug of choice. I think the sweetness of the dressing evens out all the saltiness of the various ingredients in the salad. The crispy bacon and seasoned croutons are my favorite parts of this salad - they provide a bit of flavorful, crunchy texture to the dish. Oh - and the artichoke hearts! You don't see them too often on a Cobb, and I like the little zippiness that they bring.
Please, for your own health, check out Hopkins today! If only to hear your name shouted across the restaurant and feel that little flutter in your stomach from knowing that you're about to consume something ridiculously good. JOHN!
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B
Taste - A
Presentation - B+
Service - N/A (there's no table service here)
Price - $
1415 Market Street
Tallahassee FL 32312
Hubby and I love us some good Mexican food. Tex-mex, Cali-mex, Ameri-mex or just good old fashioned Mexican - we love it all! So, when a neighbor told us that their favorite Mexican restaurant in Tallahassee was San Miguel - a place we had never heard of before, we decided to track it down and give it a try!
The initial story of Stinky's Fish Camp in Tallahassee really stunk. After opening a location off Mahan Dr. near the I-10 intersection in mid-Nov 2009, it burned to the ground 18 days later from an electrical fire. I was really excited to try the place out after hearing a lot of great chatter from people who enjoyed the Santa Rosa Beach location. But with the fire happening on December 2nd, and the holidays just around the corner, I had no delusions that I would get to try it anytime soon.
My dear readers - I write this post with a twinge of sadness, for Tally Foodie is leaving Tallahassee. No, you didn't read that wrong - I will be moving out of Tallahassee at the end of July 2010. I have accepted a new job that I am very excited about down in Sarasota. So while I'll still be in sunny FL, I'll no longer be residing in Tallahassee.