Taste of Home in Oxford: Ole Miss vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

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The Grove makes for the best tailgating, and kicking back, in the football world.

Every once a while, even I need to take a break from writing football analysis to share the other side of SEC football — tailgating and traditions. No one will argue that Ole Miss wins this competition each year.

There’s something about life outside the press box or on the field that I miss. While I still get to play dress-up in game-day attire, I don’t always get the chance to indulge on game day.  So I decided to share some of my favorite game-day activities with our readers each week.

I originally was going to call this series “Taste of the Town.” Then, I realized that there is no place like home no matter if you’re the home team or the visitor. When I first began working in football, I lived out of a suitcase and in an airport. I was fortunate to experience some of the best game days nationwide. But I always made sure, amidst the hustle and bustle, to make wherever I was feel like home.

A few homelike comforts made life more enjoyable than restless — and introduced me to many great places to enjoy game week outside of the stadium. Though we always wish we could be at the Vaught on game day, we sometimes have to create that stadium experience in our living rooms, or favorite bar, or in our tent at the Grove. No matter where you are, you can always find a group of fans to cheer on your boys each Saturday all day long and into the night.

So my first stop on the Taste of Home tour is the Ajax Diner on the Square, which was one the first places I stopped by to prepare for an Ole Miss game at the impressionable age of 17. What I love about this place is it’s down-home feeling in tight quaint quarters. The restaurant surrounds you wall-to-wall with the heart of the eclectic fun that is Oxford.

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Ajax specialties are great down-home cooking.

Nothing fancy but just good ol’ fashioned home food. Its ambience and menu exemplify the melting pot Oxford and Ole Miss have become. It continues to evolve with the times, but still remains true to itself. Those are the types of places where I know I can get rowdy watching a game enjoying a home-cooked meal while washing it down with a Shinerbock or a sweet tea. You’ll never feel out of place — whether you’re a local or a visitor.

There are so many picks on the menu that I could rave about. Something for everybody —  whether you’re looking to indulge or avoid that freshman 15.  Ladies and dudes, you can find it at Ajax.

One of the dishes I highly recommend never gets old and is just as good as the first time I had it. The turkey and dressing with any of the sides and jalapeño cornbread to top it off will do the trick pre or post game this Saturday.

If that doesn’t hit the spot — I can’t help you, folks? If you want a twist on that sweet tea, you can turn it into a Texas Tea or Hotty Toddy with a kick at Ajax’ great bar full of libations. If you stop by later in the evening after the game, you’lll be in store for a musical treat as Ajax transforms in to an intimate musical venue for your listening pleasure.

Dress it up or dress it down. Ajax is a true taste of home on any day of the week. I can’t wait to get mix into the mix there this week! For more info on Ajax Diner, visit them at www.ajaxdiner.net

Lee Ann Herring Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. You can follow her on Twiiter at misskyus2011.

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