Tasting Thomasville: Old Mexico and Granddaddy’s Barbeque

Tuesday Revews-Day

Continuing on our search for staple restaurants in our new town, the next box to check was Mexican!

Todd and I had our first date at a Mexican restaurant. Six years later we brought our families to that same restaurant for our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. We have a few favorite places in Tallahassee (La Fiesta, El Jalisco, Morelia) and several places we’ll not step foot in again. We take our enjoyment of Mexican food seriously, is what I’m trying to say.

Old Mexico is located downtown, on North Broad Street, so is walkable when the weather is nice. It was sweltering when we visited back in June, so we drove to avoid harshing the promise of a Margarita with heat stroke! It’s a bit dim inside of Old Mexico, and like a lot of large, boxy spaces the noise level can get pretty high, but that’s not something that bothers us in general.

They put their drinks on the front/cover of the menu–a fact I had not figured out when I was trying to figure out what types of Margaritas they had. Instead, I just ordered my usual: on the rocks, with salt, large! Now, when I said large I suppose I was expecting a double. Something along the mug size that other places have. Old Mexico’s large Margarita is the size of my head and not watered down like a lot of the fishbowl drinks you get at happy hour specials in Tallahassee.

Pardon the low-lit grainy shot: combo of dim restaurant and my previous phone's habit of adding extra shadow to front-facing pics!

Pardon the low-lit grainy shot: combo of dim restaurant and my previous phone’s habit of adding extra shadow to front-facing pics!

I’m sad to say that I couldn’t get anywhere close to finishing it, but I gave it a good, Dollhouse try!

Todd’s regular-sized strawberry daiquiri was large enough on its own, so I’ll still with that size unless I know I’m gonna be there a while!

Onto the food:


I am a big fan of chiles rellenos and it’s sort of my litmus test at any new Mexican place I try. I was a bit surprised that they were round, but they tasted amazing (and, no, it wasn’t the Margarita tasting for me). (Yes, there was the usual flour breading on them, I ate some of it–again, knowing my personal FODMAP limits helps me work around these sorts of situations–but also left some of the breading behind. It was worth it.) We’d also ordered a tamale–another good indicator of overall quality–and it was just as amazing as the rellenos.


Todd was just as enamored of his meal (burrito platter that he’d already tucked into before I got a picture), so I think we’ll definitely be going back. After all, he didn’t get a chance to try their flan, yet!

A few weeks later we were pondering our options and decided to try out the local bbq scene. Now, in Tallahassee, local chain Sonny’s is nice and reliable and they do have a location in Thomasville, so we could have always gone there. But where’s the fun in that?! Instead, we tried a place some of Todd’s coworkers liked, Granddaddy’s Barbeque.

It’s rather informal inside: you order at the counter and they call your name when you’re order is ready for pick-up. One thing that puzzled us about their menu was that you could get the trio combo of chicken, ribs, and pork for less than the Pick 2 combo… Not really much deliberation went on after seeing that, as we both got the trio to get the best idea of what this place was all about.


Indulgence in the name of research. Honest.

For sides (ahem, “trimmins”) Todd ordered the Brunswick Stew and the Mac & Cheese, while I got the coleslaw and fries. The one thing this place was missing was wet-naps on the self-serve station or the tables: this is messy eating! And you’ll smell like smoke (meat smoke, not cigarette smoke–even if Georgia does still allow smoking sections in their restaurants) when you leave. But these are not necessarily bad things.


The ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, if a little fatty on our visit. The chicken was surprisingly moist, and the pulled pork was tasty, though not my favorite of the three. Todd was a fan of the Brunswick Stew but said the Mac & Cheese tasted like your typical Velveeta mix, nothing special there.

I have a feeling we might order their Family Pack or Plantation Platter for the next gaming night as it seems about right for sharing with fellow carnivores. For our next visit I’ll scale back my order to maybe their loaded nachos with chicken or pork, and there’s still the smoked turkey and brisket to try.

Of course, there’s more than one local bbq place in town, so who knows, Granddaddy’s might have some competition for our favorite. That remains to be seen!

Next time on Tasting Thomasville: frozen treats and a Greek-Southern fusion that really hits the spot (and tugs on the heartstrings).

Grill Mastery


Ah, yes, weather permitting (and even sometimes not), thousands (millions?) of grills across the country will be fired up to char something with family and friends.

My first tip for the grilling-minded is for barbecue chicken and it comes from Mom. She takes leg quarters and marinates them in Italian dressing (straight from the bottle into a large baggie and if you can let it sit overnight in the fridge, even better), to start, and then pre-cooks them a bit in the microwave. Now, don’t shriek, it’s actually an excellent idea since it’s SO tough to get the chicken to cook evenly on the grill without one part getting over cooked or it taking forty forevers. So you par-cook the legs in the microwave and THEN put them on the grill to finish cooking and get that lovely caramelized finish and a good brush with the barbecue sauce of choice.

Did you know that chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees? Now you do. Get out those meat thermometers and make sure the fleshiest bit is up to temperature before serving yourself or your guests. Pork should also always be cooked fully (no pink!) to reduce the risk of trichinosis. Beef and lamb can be cooked anywhere from 140 (rare) to 170 (well done) without too much worry (though why you’d want well-done lamb is beyond me!).

Most recipes suggest throwing out the marinade once it’s been used but you can actually use it for a sauce IF you bring it to a boil and keep it boiling for several minutes (5 is a good number) to “cook” any of the raw meat juices that are in there.

Finally, a true tale of grilling no matter what. It was my high school graduation party and the house was pretty full of guests. The plan had been to grill but the weather was atrocious: rainy and grey. But, the show must go on so Mom changed into her swimsuit and shorts and went outside with an umbrella to tend the grill as needed. Of course, if you’ve got the grill lid in one hand and tongs in the other, how are you going to hold the umbrella? In your cleavage, of course.

So don’t let a little water dampen your party this Memorial Day weekend.

Random Appetites: Bono’s Barbecue


Bono’s Put Bar-B-Q
Locations in Florida and Colorado

The second husband introduced me to Bono’s in Gainesville on one of our trips down to Orlando and I have to say that might just be one of the best things to come out of that marriage 😉

I was told they had the best smoked turkey. Ever. And I was told right. Most smoked turkey breast tends to be kinda dry, at least in my experience. Not Bono’s. I don’t know how they do it (I suspect a deal with some dark overlord), but their turkey breast is moist and flavorful, you don’t even need any sauce!

But speaking of sauces, there’s another stand-out in the Bono’s smoke pit: the Mustard sauce. Technically known as the Original 1949 Sauce, this mustard sauce is the tops, be all end all of meat condiments.

Granted, they also offer pork (tasty), chicken (standard) and beef (can be dry, needs the sauce!) along with 3 other sauces in their stable: Sweet & Tangy, Hickory Red and Smokin’ Pit Hot sauces are all available to try and bring home in bottles behind the register. Next to the mustard I’m partial to their sweet sauce, as I am with most places, but usually don’t even bother when the beloved Mustard sauce is on the table.

Side dishes range from green beans redolent with bacon (very salty so it might actually be salt pork instead of bacon), the usual fries, sweet potatoes and (Todd’s favorite) the deep-fried corn on the cob. I’ve also ordered their potato salad (which is the only side not made on the premises, according to our waitress)  and their squash casserole.

Now, at every barbecue some rain must fall. There have been a few less-than-stellar experiences at Bono’s. As I hinted above, the smoked beef was rather dry on our last visit (both Todd and I ordered it with similar results) and their Texas toast is often similarly dry (I like mine with penty of garlic butter, thank you very much, and last time there was almost no butter and definitely no garlic!). But probably the worst item we’ve ever had there were their onion rings. It’s sad, right: how can you screw up onion rings? I’m afraid they did, though. While nice and large (always a good start) they were coated with such a load of heavy, caked-on, barely seasoned batter which made the size overwhelming, and not in a good way. The sauce they came with was good, though.

So if you find yourself in one of the many cities along the Florida east coast (or Gainesville, or, you know, Colorado?) with a Bono’s and you want some good smoked turkey, Bono’s is the place to try! And if anyone is brave enough to order the “Hawg Size” portion of one of their plates, please take a picture and send it to me!