We’ve featured a lot of unique restaurants on our blog. But none compares to the culinary experience we had earlier this year while road tripping across the south. Flabbergasted (yes, that’s the name of the place) is known across the South for its vintage jellied beef ring and was by far, the most interesting place we’ve eaten yet.

Steve and Ann at Flabbergasted

Known for its outrageous renditions of retro and vintage American cuisine, including fondue and liver pate, Flabbergasted opened in 2014 in the small, rural town of Truco, Mississippi. We would not have known about it, but for our Canadian friend, Roger Speer, whom we met on a cruise several years ago. Here he is with his with his wife Jane having lunch with us on the Amalfi Coast last summer. 

Jane Roger Speer

Roger and Jane, had been following our blog as we toured the south, and sent us a text about Flabbergasted. We’ve had many wonderful foodie experiences with Roger and Jane and trusted their opinion. So, it seemed worthwhile to venture off our intended route and make a pit stop in Truco and we stopped for an early dinner.

First, a cocktail

Steve at Flabbergasted

Our dining experience began with cocktails. I had the Aviator Crashing, which was a spin on the classic Aviation cocktail, but with Bailey’s Irish Creme instead of creme de violette (sorry, I forgot to take a photo). Steve had the Dirty Manhattan, which was a lot like a bourbon Manhattan, but with olives.

Flabbergasted Dirty Manhattan

He loved it so much, he asked the bartender for the recipe so we could make it at home. We recreated it this weekend and shot this instructional video below so you can make it at home, too.

On to dinner

Our Flabbergasted server, Hank, recommended we each try an appetizer and then pick one or two of the outrageous retro entrees to share. I ordered the cottage cheese ring starter and Steve had the pureed spaghetti soup.

Flabbergasted

The cottage cheese ring wasn’t too bad. Apparently, these rings were popular in the 1950s. I found it on a vintage recipe website HERE. The one at Flabbergasted was served cold with a chilled vegetable medley in the center. It was good. Different, but good, I guess, considering the vegetables were chilled and I’m not a huge fan of lima beans, anyway. 

Flabbergasted

Steve, however, loved the pureed spaghetti! It was basically cooked spaghetti noodles pureed with a flavorful Italian spaghetti sauce, heavy on the oregano. It was smooth and slightly creamy, but with a few remnants of the cooked spaghetti noodles floating around. The spaghetti puree soup was beautifully garnished with a noodle and roughly chopped, wilted basil.


PIN FOR LATER


The main course

For our entree, we decided to go all out and ordered the Jellied Beef Ring. It was a classic 1970s dish invented during the Jell-O craze, we were told. Hank, who was born and raised in Truco, said it has been the most popular item since Flabbergasted opened. He said they often sell out of it early, so if we wanted to try it, we’d better order it quickly. 

Jellied Beef Ring

The Jellied Beef Ring was just as it looked in the picture on the menu (and above). It was made of slightly seasoned browned ground beef, set with gelatin in a jelly mold with spiced pimento-stuffed Manzanilla green olives. The dish was served chilled, family-style on a bed of leaf lettuce and topped with a generous amount of olives. Gotta tell you, when we sliced into it, the slurping sound wasn’t very appetizing but the taste was out of this world.

Unicorn Mac-n-cheese

Knowing that the Jellied Beef Ring would be quite a bit to eat by itself, we opted for a smaller side and ordered the Unicorn Mac-n-Cheese. It was also delicious and, as expected, turned our tongues different colors.

Unicorn mac cheese

This dish began with pasta cooked to a perfect al dente, then coated in a smooth and creamy cheese sauce, served in four different neon colors just like a unicorn! I was so happy we ordered it because let me tell you, this dish was meant for Instagram (especially with the Clarendon filter).  As you probably guessed, we ate the whole thing. Steve may or may not have licked the dish.

Finally, dessert

For the grand finale, we took Hank’s recommendation again and ordered the sweetened bologna cake. (B-O-L-O-G-N-A — remember that commercial?). He told us that bologna cake was a savory dish normally served as an appetizer with crackers. He apologized for the not-so-perfect job on the cake decorating, explaining that the pastry chef had recently broken her pinky finger.

bologna cake


However, the bologna cake at Flabbergasted was more of a sweet and savory mix and was on the dessert menu, instead. Made of thick-cut slices of house-made bologna, this unique cake was layered with a slightly sweet cream cheese and mayo frosting, topped with bright yellow buttercream frosting, and garnished with green olive slices. They must get a good deal on olives at Flabbergasted. 

slice bologna cake

The bologna cake was served on one of those vintage snack trays like your grandma had, along with mixed nuts and … wait for it … three candied Vienna sausages. Yes, Vienna sausages. Not a great compliment in my mind, but whatever.

As we finished our meal…

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Did you really swallow all this bologna? Do you really think we’d ever in a million years eat a jellied beef ring? April Fools! (Now, please help us keep the fun going…NO SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.) Oh, and by the way, “Truco” means “trick” in Spanish. NOTE: No actual bourbon was harmed in the making of this post.

APRIL FOOLS!


For more April Fools’ fun, read about Ann’s first visit to a nude beach, as well as what landed in Ann’s wine during our first class flight from Miami to Houston.

  • And, we have a baby bird! A cowbird, that is. ⁣
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We were so excited when we found eggs in the nest two house finches built in a fern on our front porch in Pawhuska, Okla. When we posted a picture of the nest last week, several readers pointed out that one of the eggs was not like the others - - it was a cowbird egg.⁣
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Cowbirds, it turns out, have kind of a bad reputation. It seems that they don’t build nests of their own. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and let the other birds raise their chicks. The cowbird chicks tend to develop faster than the other nestlings, and sometimes out compete them for food and resources. Because of this, there are those who give advice to remove the cowbird egg from the nest. ⁣
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According to an article we read on the Audubon Society’s website, though, there are several reasons to leave the cowbird egg in place: ⁣
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First, cowbirds are native to North America and have been here for millions of years and we are never going to teach them how and where to lay their eggs a different way. ⁣
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Second, cowbirds are, like all other songbirds, protected in the US. In short, it’s illegal to remove their eggs.⁣
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Third, cowbirds have been known to check the nests where they leave their eggs and will, occasionally, destroy nests from which their eggs have been taken. As a result, all of the resident chicks would be killed, as well, instead of one or two being outcompeted for resources. ⁣
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Because of these reasons, we decided to let the natural process play out in our fern. We’ll see what happens. But what we do know is that the cowbird hatched first...and that chick is hungry.
  • 🏡 We've had such a wonderful time at our Pawhuska, Okla., home. It felt so good to actually pack a suitcase again, even if we just went to our house there and stayed put. We walked together every day, drove through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, and chatted with friends from a distance on our front porch. We took time to watch the sunset and see a mama house finch care for her babies in our hanging fern. We also explored a state park and found a waterfall. ⁣
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Most importantly, we got to see our daughter, Meghan. She is an ICU nurse in Tulsa and because of her potential exposure to coronavirus, we'd not spent any time together in months. But Ann found a way to create a safe (and decorative) outdoor space for all of us to visit, share a few meals, and just be in each others' presence. We can’t tell you what a comfort it was to see her again. ⁣
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In this time of sickness and uncertainty, it was nice to have a clean, safe place to get away. We are so thankful to have found this gem of a town, so many supportive and caring friends here,  and a second place to call home.
  • As we've been home since March 12, Steve has taken up bread making as a hobby. His sour dough starter is looking promising, but he also found the easiest four-ingredient artisan bread recipe that is so impressive. ⁣
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We've shared the results a few times on social media and many of you have asked for the recipe, so he wrote a blog post about it. We've included a link in our bio with step-by-step instructions on how to make it. ⁣
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If you bake this artisan bread, we'd love to hear about it (and see a photo). Just be sure to tag us @postcardjar. ⁣
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We love this bread plain, with olive oil and seasoning, as toast with almond or peanut butter, and grilled for bruschetta. If you use the #Noom app like us, it is about 100 calories a serving (12 servings in loaf).
  • As we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, we hope you will join us in honoring others in a time of reflection, gratitude and respect. ⁣
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Both Steve's grandfathers and Ann's grandfathers all served in the military and fought in WWII. We took this photo a few years ago at Wyuka Cemetery in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where Ann's grandfather, Donald Shrewsbury, was laid to rest.
  • Today is the day! This afternoon our friends and fellow travel writers @lindseyranzau and @coleranzau are taking over our Instagram stories and we can’t wait for you to meet them.⁣
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⁣They are travel experts on everything Minnesota and will also be sharing some of their favorite Midwest destinations in honor of #NationalRoadTripDay! ⁣
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⁣Lindsey and Cole have traveled the world and love finding hidden gems and writing about them on their blog, Look About Lindsey (link in bio). You’re going to love their personalities as much as their incredible photography so be sure to watch our stories and say hello.⁣
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⁣And, to see our picks for best Midwest road trips, follow @lindseyranzau where we’ll be taking over her IG stories. It’s going to be a blast and we hope you’ll come along.
  • We are so excited to announce that Minneapolis-based travel writers Lindsey and Cole Ranzau of the blog Look About Lindsey will be taking over the Postcard Jar Instagram stories Friday, May 22! In celebration of National Road Trip Day, we are trading places (and IG stories!) to show each others' followers some of our favorite Midwest road trips and destinations. ⁣
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We encourage you to check out our stories tomorrow to meet Cole and Lindsey (they are so much fun) and follow @lindseyranzau where we'll be sharing some of our favorite Midwest travel experiences on their Instagram stories. When the time is right and you feel you can travel safely, we hope you'll consider a road trip in the Midwest. ⁣
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You can check out the Look About Lindsey blog at the link in our bio. ⁣
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@natdaycal @pilotflyingj
  • The @pwmercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, reopened today. We have talked to folks here who said employees have been working hard to clean and sanitize everything. On our walk today, we noticed that hand sanitizer that was readily available, tables were spaced out, and Merc employees were wearing face masks in accordance with CDC recommentations. We hope visitors to our little town will also do their part to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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