No Better Place to be than Betsy’s on Magnolia


Nice little ice cream spot called Betsy’s, but don’t look for her serving the cones, she’s always out in the front of the shop just chilling. #betsysicecream

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

When in Laurel, Mississippi, look for a blue VW Beetle outside of an ice cream shop. Then you’ll know you are at Betsy’s on Magnolia, a sweet little ice cream shop giving good vibes and a great ice cream experience, which includes sitting out on their deck and savoring every taste.

Betsy’s makes you reminisce about that yesteryear experience called friendly customer service. Remember that? I noticed the young man at the window giving out lovely welcoming greetings, polite instructions and finally a “Y’all come back!” farewell. When you live in faster paced cities, a little southern hospitality goes a long way for the soul. And it went down so lovely with my coffee dipped vanilla soft serve with heath bar toppings on a traditional waffle cone.

Can you hear the angelic choirs singing? Okay, that’s just in my head.

MCCN Editor, Monica Johnson enjoying her Betsy’s on Magnolia ice cream experience.

Betsy’s offers vanilla, chocolate and swirl soft-serve, and you can get it dipped for a hard shell covering with flavors like cherry, blue raspberry, white chocolate, coffee, cake batter, and more.

Betsy’s on Magnolia Ice Cream Shop, Laurel, Miss.

Now ice cream toppings are optional…or are they? Just peruse the menu and one of the toppings will eventually pull you in. There are rainbow sprinkles, Nerds, Pop Rocks, shredded coconuts, Oreos and Lucky Charms marshmallows. Are you starting to get the fun factor? We can’t stop there because your cone selection isn’t limited either. Try their red velvet waffle cone for a different twist.

Betsy’s on Magnolia’s is a sweet, laidback, Laurel, Mississippi experience. And what a great little place to sit down, relax, and enjoy your ice cream one lick at a time. For more information, visit Betsy’s on Magnolia website.

Maryland Mallet

Maryland Mallet is located in Westminster, MD and offers an abundance of seafood dishes, as well as meals for people who do not like seafood. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff is friendly and always smiling. My friend and I split the steamed shrimp and mushrooms stuffed with crab imperial.

The shrimp were perfectly seasoned but out of the two, the mushrooms were the best in my opinion with heaping mounds of crab imperial. For the entrée, I chose the soft shell crabs and my friend ordered the filet and crab cake. We decided to order a side of crab imperial, which we used as topping for our dishes.

Shrimp for two at Maryland Mallet

Dessert was very tempting, but I was quite full by then and even took one of the crabs home. For a beverage, I ordered a margarita and it was a perfect pairing with the food. During the summer months, all-you-can-eat crabs is also offered, and sitting around the table topped with brown paper while cracking into hard-shell crabs is a perfect way to spend a summer evening.

Contributed by guest contributor Michele Yaruta. Visit the Maryland Mallet online.

Bunny Chow is Served!

Bunny Chow is served! Photo Credit: Gourmandise (Flickr)

South Africa is home to the Durban Indian cuisine called Bunny Chow. It is most popular amongst Indians and other ethnic groups in the Durban area. Okay, I know you are wondering…okay I was wondering, “Why the name bunny chow?” Here’s what the website, African Bites, says, the term “bunny” is another variation of the word ‘Bania,’ an Indian class of traders who sold this tasty street food.

Bunny chows have an amazing presentation. This hearty dish is filled with curries using traditional recipes from Durban: mutton or lamb curry, chicken curry, trotters & beans curry, and beans curry.

Other varieties found across the country, using less traditional Durban-Indian food, include chips with curry gravy, fried sausage, cheese, eggs, and polony. These are all popular fillings; the original bunny chow was vegetarian.

Bunny chows are often served with a side portion of salad containing grated carrot, chili, and onion salad. (Full disclosure: I did have to look up onion salad.) This mixture is known as sambals and includes chopped tomatoes, onions, and green chilies served with white vinegar.

Bunny Chow is oftentimes shared with another person. The street food comes in quarter, half, and full loaves. The main characteristic of a bunny chow is the gravy-filled bread (from the curry fillings).

When in a Durban area, just ask for a “quarter mutton” or the more colloquial saying is “quarter mutton bunny.” Of course, just exchange the wording for the actual size and filling you want to order. You will most likely receive your Bunny chow in takeaway bunnies, which are that bunny boxes that retain heat and prevent leaks from the curry.

Take a look at this video telling you where to find some of the best Durban bunny chow in South Africa.

*Thank you Wikipedia

Black-Eyed Peas Cook-up

Need a black-eyed peas recipe? We have something different than the over the stove beans and rice. Try making a black-eyed peas cook-up!

Cook-up rice is a traditional Guyanese one-pot rice dish that consists of rice, a variety of meats, and fresh herbs that are cooked in coconut milk. It’s definitely a great option for New Year’s day! Check out the ingredients for this classic black-eyed peas cook-up recipe from our O.G. Multi Cultural Cooking Network site.

The first Image is the black-eye peas cook-up being prepared and the second image is the final result.

3 lb boneless chicken thigh (or whatever meat you like)
2 lb medium shrimp (optional)
1 medium onion
½ bunch green onions
4 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
3 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
Hot pepper to taste
5 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 medium tomatoes
2 bouillon cubes (chicken flavor)
2 tsp Goya Adobo
2 cans of black-eyed peas
2 stalks of celery with lots of leaves(diced)
1 sweet red pepper (optional but looks good)
4 tbsp vegetable/olive oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2½ cups rice (parboiled or jasmine)
1 coconut or (1 can coconut milk)
3 cups of water

See the instructions for black-eyed peas cook-up. (Recipe by MCCN contributor Grace Oliver)

A Holiday Tea Tradition

Written by guest blogger Michelle Yaruta

Christmas tea at Kate Pearl Tea Room in Westminster, MD has become a holiday tradition for my family. We dress up, from the youngest, who is 10 years old, to the oldest, and make a day of it. The owners and employees of the tea room take great care in decorating, down to the last detail. The staff is always friendly and goes the extra mile to be accommodating.

The tea is served in courses and can take 1 and ½ hours to 2 hours. Every year the menu changes and the tea room can accommodate vegetarian patrons and those with allergies. The first course this year was an orange cheesecake dip, served with pretzels. This was followed by a chocolate chip scone, complete with clotted cream and raspberry jam. A salad followed with feta cheese, pomegranate, and raspberry vinaigrette. After this, was an apple cider beef stew and a holiday drink that was topped with a lemon and pear foam.

The main dish was a three-tiered appetizer, sandwich, and dessert presentation. The appetizers consisted of spinach puffs and bacon, sausage & stuffing meatballs. The next tier had a pork tenderloin on baguette, topped with cranberry. And the dessert was a mint meringue, a sugar plum cookie, and a chocolate-covered cherry made to look like a mouse. And just when you think you cannot eat another bite, a small scoop of ice cream with peppermint crumbles was served to finish up the meal.

As always, we left full and happy. Tea is never a disappointment and we will continue to go back every year. The menu is ever-changing so it never gets boring. In addition to Christmas tea, Kate Pearl Tea Room has special themed events throughout the year.

Sunset Bay Cafe, Miramar Beach, FL

View from Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort-Bayside

Recently, I had the pleasure to visit Miramar Beach, FL for my birthday weekend, and I was so pleasantly surprised by the family-friendly travel haven. I stayed at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Bayside and loved my view of the bay and the beautiful trees and landscapes. There was so much to enjoy! The first morning when deciding on breakfast I tried the restaurant on the property called Sunset Bay Cafe.

I had already gotten the scoop from the resort’s shuttle drivers that this was a very popular breakfast spot. Seriously, the cafe definitely gave me Jimmy Buffet, Pina colada vibes but I’ll admit, I’m just the cheeseball to enjoy that sort of thing. The Sunset Bay Cafe sits right off of the bay and has large spacious windows to gaze out into the great blue beyond. You can even go outside to eat right by the water.

Enough of the scenery! Let’s talk about what decorated my plate. I had the blackberry pancakes complete with whipped cream and maple syrup, and some scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon and coffee to complete my walk on the wild side. My cousin and mother joined me and both ordered the Sunset Platter, which included eggs your way, English muffin, choice of bacon/sausage and some divine fried potatoes.

Our orders were pretty basic, but it was also so delicious, ample portions and the kind of place where you know you could be a regular if you lived in the area. We got there relatively early but no sooner than we got there the placed filled up quickly with brunchers. Again, we missed the stand-in-line rush because we had received the press release from the shuttle drives before we even set foot in the restaurant. Thank you Sandestin shuttle drivers!

Now, like I said, our orders were basic but their menu really isn’t. They serve breakfast and lunch and among the breakfast choices are: strawberry cream cheese waffles and French toast, Banana Brûlée waffles and French toast, shrimp and grits, breakfast croissants and all kinds of omelets and Benedicts. The Sunset Bay Cafe lunch menu includes dishes like seafood tacos, shrimp grilled cheese and yardbird among other things.

Congratulations are are in order for the cafe! The votes are in for 2021’s Best in Destin Best Brunch Award, and Sunset Bay Cafe won for the second year in a row. That’s quite an endorsement in an area where there are so many good places to eat. So if you are looking for a bonafide foodie spot when visiting the Emerald Coast, follow the local lean and grab a table at Sunset Bay Cafe.

Thinking about Georgian Cuisine? Think Khachapuri!

Khachapuri from the Adjarian and Samegrelo regions of Georgia
(Photo Credit: Andrew Butko, Wikipedia)

Khachapuri is a favorite national dish of the Democratic Republic of Georgia. It is a Georgian stuffed cheese bread that is typically eaten for breakfast or as a side dish. It’s typically made by using a round of dough and adding loads of cheese in the middle.

Perhaps the most popular version of khachapuri derives from Adjara, a region of Georgia on the Black Sea. It’s called Adjaruli Khachapuri, which is an open-faced, boat-shaped yeast bread loaf that’s often layered with the regional imeruli and sulguni cheeses. These cheeses are not easy to find in the states to Saveur magazine recommends a low moisture mozzarella and a tart feta for the closest authentic Georgian taste.

Right before taking the stuffed bread boat out of the oven, an egg yolk is added to the center of the molten cheese and baked for another three to four minutes. Upon taking out the khachapuri, a slice of butter is added with the egg and stirred into the cheese for some amazing Georgian eating.

(Photo Credit: Denis Dmitriev, Flickr)

Find the recipe for Adjaruli Khachapuri on In addition, you can also check out the recipe for Megruli Khachapuri, which is from the Samegrelo region, which also borders the Black Sea.

Holiday Turkey Stew

Got a few turkey leftovers? We know exactly what to do for that! To say my father enjoys cooking would be to say that the Empire State Building is sort of tall. He loves cooking and he can always be counted on to know what to do with leftovers. Zero-waste is the aim so let’s make some turkey stew.

Now this is a family recipe so please know that these measurements for the most part are a dab of this and a pinch of that. But it’s meant to be a casual dish so have fun and if you add a little more turkey or mushrooms or whatever, it’s all good.

Turkey Stew by Carl Johnson

2 tbsp of Olive Oil

1 tbsp of butter

Frozen mixed vegetables

3 cups of water

1 cup of mushrooms

2 cups of cubed potatoes

1 cup of Elbow macaroni

1 tbsp of poultry seasoning

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

2 cups of cubed Leftover turkey (Pick turkey off the bone then cube it. Measurements can vary. Dark meat is best but white meat is fine)

2 tsp of cornstarch

  • Coat the Botton of your pot with olive oil and add butter over a low flame.
  • Add mushroom and a cup of mixed vegetables and mushrooms.
  • Once this combination is soft, add turkey to the mixture.
  • Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning to the mixture and stir the mixture on low for a 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add water and then the potatoes and macaroni to the pot.
  • Let it cook for about 30 – 40 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch to thicken.

Serving time…get it while it’s hot!

Christmas Mocktail

Photo from

Alcohol Schmalcohol! Okay, that’s not a word but it is a feeling, especially for those who want to enjoy a good drink without actually imbibing. So thank God for alternatives like mocktails. Try this Christmas mocktail, served on ice with equal parts of the following beverages.


Cranberry juice
Orange juice
Pineapple juice

The Sprite can be switched out with sparkling water or club soda. If you want to get fancy, you can dip the rim of your glass in sugar. It’s all very fun and festive.

I wish they all could be a Crackings experience

Lobster Gouda Grits at Crackings in Destin, FL
(Photo by Monica Johnson from KODAK Digital Still Camera)

I came. I ate. I was more than satisfied. In fact, everybody I came and ate with was satisfied as well. Now, we did have some expert advice about where to go for breakfast in Destin, Florida. MCCN editor, Crystal Johnson had been to this destination before, but it’s nothing like experiencing something for yourself. And yes, she was absolutely right…Crackings was definitely an awesome breakfast experience.

The restaurant does serve other meals like brunch and lunch, but we came for breakfast and it did not disappoint. The menu had items like Lobster Gouda Grits…oh my goodness; Croisseignets, an out of this world cross between a croissant and a beignet; Banana Foster, which is your choice of pancakes, waffles or French Toast, made from scratch with brown sugar banana liquor butter cream sauce, fresh bananas, topped with powdered sugar, pecans, and whipped cream. The Banana Foster is an event unto itself.

I don’t know if I’ll get back to Destin Florida anytime soon, but if the good Lord allows it, I’ve already decided that I want to try the Fish & Grits for my next visit. But truthfully, there are so many other delectable dishes on their menu. It serves up fantastic options for experiencing the gulf’s phenomenal seafood. I don’t think you can go wrong! When in Destin, I know that at some point, I’m definitely going to breakfast at Crackings.

Crackings has two locations in Florida (Destin and Santa Rosa).