Doggone Good Time
Dis & Dem
by Jamie Massengale
with Allison Neville,
Brittany Pur vis and Evan Curry
First impressions are important.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. In a sea of restaurants off Highway 98, in what I like to call “retailville,” there is a place I’ve always said I would try, but had yet to finally check it out. Well, I’m happy to report that I have finally eaten at Dis & Dem, and I’m kicking myself for not trying it sooner.
It was the Sunday of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the day after the big parades in Jackson, Nola and Biloxi, and the Food With Friends group was hungry (some possibly hung over). The weather was a little dreary, but a perfect day to check out brunch at Dis & Dem. As Brittany and I walk in, I was greeted with the sounds of Jessie Howell playing music inside. All the doors were opened and despite the rain, it felt nice outside.
BIG EASY VIBES
FRIES DON’T LIE
YO DOG - LET’S TALK ABOUT THESE DOGS, DOG.
The sheer look of the Swamp dog reminded me of the bayous of Louisiana with that awesome flavor from the gator. You eat this dog and you’ll be talking like one of them folks from Breaux Bridge.
through the Pine Belt
SAVORY AND SWEET – BEIGNETS CAN’T BE BEAT
MIKE PETITO, Dis & Dem
Michael Petitto, 54, is originally from Amite, La., where he owned and operated his family’s restaurant, Spitale’s, from 2002-2012. Spitale’s was originally opened in 1921, by Sam Spitale, Michael’s grandfather. Michael is the son of the late Frank and Frances Petitto. He is married to Lori Petitto of Amite, La., and they have a total of six children combined. Michael has four adult children – Michael, Chris, Andy and Kasey. Lori has two adult daughters, Christine and Mikki. They have four grandchildren, Peyton, Cameron, Ty, and Olivia.
- 1/4 lb butter
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1lb crawf ish tails
- 4 T flour
- 2 c water
- 4 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 can golden mushroom soup green onion tops, chopped parsley, chopped
- salt, cayenne & black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a heavy large skillet and sauté vegetables 30 minutes. Add seasonings to taste followed by crawfish tails. Sauté for a minute then stir in flour. Continue sautéing for 3 minutes. Add golden mushroom soup, water, chicken bouillon, and optional green onions and parsley. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and a few generous splashes of Tabasco to give it an extra kick. Serve over rice and with garlic bread.
- 6 small cans tomato paste
- 1 container of seasoning blend
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t onion powder
- 1 t basil
- 1 t oregano
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 c sugar
- olive oil for sautéing
Sauté the seasoning blend and garlic in olive oil until tender and onions are clear. Add the tomato paste, turn heat to low and stir until mixed well. Continue to “brown” the tomato paste , stirring constantly. Add 4 cans of water for each can of tomato paste and stir until mixed well. Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour then add meatballs of your choice. Continue to simmer for another 2-3 hours stirring, leaving top on the pot, but not shut tightly. Serve over your favorite pasta with Italian cheese and garlic bread.
What’s one ingredient that you can’t live without? Tony’s & Garlic.
What’s your favorite type of music to
listen to when cooking? Oldies.
If you could cook for anyone, dead or
alive, who would it be? My mother
What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine? Italian.
What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner? Cook with no seasoning and no bread.
What’s the best part about being a chef? Creativity.
What’s the most challenging part of being a chef? Time limitations.
If not a chef in the Pine Belt, what city would you like to work in? New Orleans.
What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” food? Strawberries and chocolate.
Who is/was your food mentor? My mother.
What’s your favorite food to cook? Italian, burgers and dogs.
Sweet or savory? Savory.
Mild or spicy? Mild.
Wine or beer? Beer.
Salt or pepper? Pepper.
Red beans or gumbo? Can’t live without either.