As I stated from the outset of this trip, my goals largely center around getting college gear at the college towns I pass through and sampling cuisine in each city. Anything that occurs beyond that such as finding the future ex-Mrs. Pendergast or solving some struggling Kentucky town's budget crisis, I'll consider gravy.
With that in mind, I ventured to Hattiesburg, MS, to pick up some Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles gear. Sure, Southern Miss is not a BCS school, but I felt like I needed to make a statement that even though my alma mater's total revenue from athletics is higher than the GNP of some third world countries, I am all about the little guy. So I ventured to the Southern Miss campus, which on a Saturday in July was kind of like New York City in "I Am Legend". Lots of big buildings, lots of weeds, and no other living, breathing organism within 20 miles. The only thing separating me and Robert Neville were a dog and some pigmentation.
Hopeful that there might be a live person selling Southern Miss t-shirts somewhere on campus, I made my way to the bookstore. There was only one problem -- it was closed.
Honestly, I'm not sure what I was thinking. I mean, we're talking about a state in which literacy is basically optional during the school year, and I'm expecting them to keep a store that sells BOOKS open in the summertime? How brain dead am I? Luckily, I made the mistake of driving the wrong way down a one way street on the Southern Miss campus, forcing a campus police car to pull me over, and therefore giving me exclusive access to the only other living, breathing person on campus so I could ask him where in the hell I might be able to get a Golden Eagles tee shirt. So as I sit here dangerously on the precipice of boring you to tears with this story, I will sum up by saying I was able to secure a nice Southern Miss Under Armor tee shirt at an off campus location.
Everyone knows that the physical toll your body takes from sitting on your ass in a car all day can make you hungry, so it was time to find a Hattiesburg staple to call home for the next hour or so. One of the lovely young ladies at the tee shirt store told me that if I'm in town for one meal that I needed to get a burger at Mugshot's. So far be it from me to eschew the advice of a pretty tee shirt selling, fair haired lass. "TO MUGSHOT'S!!", I shouted and then I gallavanted out of the store like a warrior poet.
My first reaction when I pulled into the Mugshot's parking lot was, from the outside, this would easily be the nicest restaurant in Louisiana. My second reaction was how ironic it was to be eating at a place called Mugshot's in somewhere other than Tuscaloosa. (I later found out that Tuscaloosa also has a Mugshot's, thereby restoring cosmic order to my universe.)
Apparently, burgers are sort of the Mugshot's specialty -- kind of like wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, calzones at Nick's Place, or salmonella at White Castle. (Just kidding, White Castle.) Their signature burger is called, of all things, the "Mugshot". Go figure. It's like three burgers tall, with a couple different buns, and lots of fixings. You can see it in the picture here next to the lovely, doublerods-administering Dixie and Shawna. Knowing that the Dreamland Barbecue in Tuscaloosa was in my future on Saturday night, I decided to go for something a little more compact. I went with the Gamble Burger (one burger, lots of chili, queso, jalapenos, and sour cream). It had the word "gamble" in it, so that sounded about right. I was quite satisfied with my choice. My only complaint would be that it was so lathered in chili, queso, and such that it turned into a fork and knife meal about halfway through, and there's something about eating a burger with utensils that makes me feel like a little less of a man. So major points on the food and it's taste, but slight minus points for making me feel like a foo foo cake boy while eating it.
MUGSHOT'S - HATTIESBURG, MS
FOOD: GAMBLE BURGER