Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

Inevitably I'll get feedback from readers suggesting new places to try or new dishes or items to sample.

I guess I like to share some of my favorites because I like it when others suggest stuff to me. I think of it as a community-wide food guide where we all share our ideas and suggestions for good food to eat in and around town.

Here are a few of mine:

Catfish at Moes Original BBQ — I've included Moe’s in past columns because I love their smoked wings and pork rinds. But I went there to eat the other day and the cashier suggested the catfish. I was skeptical and joked with her that if it wasn't any good I’d blame her completely and would have a word with her manager for her leading me astray. But let me tell you, the catfish was excellent. It didn't come as a big fillet but as smaller pieces. I think it was the batter that made it. It was flavorful and had a good texture to it. I certainly enjoyed every bit of it and would recommend it to anyone.

Red syrupy fruit salad at Duffy’s Deli — You know when you're in the line to order at Duffy's and there's the regular salad bar then the fruit salad the broccoli salad? Well I've always seen that red syrupy liquid and never thought to try it. I did the other day. It’s pretty delicious. It is fruit soaked in a sweet red syrup. It has bananas and I think melons and grapes and maybe other fruits. Now I'm sure it might be a little sugary for some but it was just the right amount of sweet for me. I'll definitely be getting that when I visit Duffy’s again.

Tacos al Pastor at El Zarape — Now y’all know I go on and on about the chicken soup at El Zarape on Broad Street. It's my favorite in town. My friend Ansley prefers the chicken soup at Las Palmas. To each his own. But Zarape has recently revamped their menu and have added one of my favorite dishes — tacos al pastor. Traditionally, Al Pastor is pork marinated in a combination of dried peppers, spices and pineapple. Then it's cooked on a vertical rotisserie or spit. I don't know how exactly how the cook it over at Zarape but the finished product is delicious. As with all authentic tacos, I like to order mine on corn tortillas and with a little cilantro and onions. I like to pair the tacos with their guaca-mex which is their fresh, chunky guacamole. So good.

Massaman Curry at Yummy Thai — I don’t go to Yummy Thai on Broad nearly enough. But when I do I go for my tried and true favorite dish. Massaman curry is a sweet curry dish made with coconut milk sugar, peanuts, potatoes, onions and the meat of your choice. It’s served with rice. It definitely has a sweetness to it. If you usually have pad thai or other noodle dishes when eating at Thai restaurants, I think you should give the massaman a try and see if you like it.

Greek salad at Bella Roma — When I'm in the mood for something light and flavorful, I'll order the Greek salad at Bella Roma (next to State Mutual Stadium). With Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, green peppers, onions, cucumber and of course delicious feta cheese, this salad is packed with flavor and I feel like I'm eating a little healthier when I order it. The Gyro plate is also a favorite of mine.

Pintos at Homestead — I haven't been over to the Homestead Restaurant (on Kingston Highway) in a while but I need to get back there to enjoy those delicious pinto beans. My friends Brittany and Tripp introduced me to this place years ago and it remains one of my favorite little places to go. They’ve got a menu full of great items but my favorite thing to do is to get the salad bar and load up on a big bowl of pinto beans. I don't know exactly what they put in those beans but it seems to taste a little better than most other places. Get over there and get you a bowl. I think you'll be glad you did.

Thai chili soup at Rusan’s — Don't quote me on this but I believe this delicious soup is only available on Rusan’s lunch buffet. But double check that, I could be wrong. Anyhow, this is a hot, hearty, thick soup packed with all sorts of deliciousness. Since it's getting colder, it's the perfect dish to warm you up and clear up your clogged sinuses. It’s a little spicy (to me) but there’s so much flavor in this soup that I promise you'll like it. I usually load up a plate with several small pieces of sushi, then fill a bowl with this rich soup and it's the perfect meal.

Now there’s also a couple things that have been suggested to me that I need to try. I’ve been told my several people that Rhino Smokehouse and Catering is a great place to eat. It’s on Martha Berry Highway in that same shopping center that Food Lion is in. I've heard great things about it and can't wait to try it. Also, I have friends who swear up and down that the smoothies over at Spartan Smoothies are really good. It’s over there off Riverside Parkway near Shane's Rib Shack. My buddy Jeremy is always posting on Facebook about it and I've yet to get over there. But I will.

If you’ve got any suggestions for favorite dishes or drinks in and around Rome that you think I should try, please let me know. I’ll do my best to try them all and tell readers about ‘em.

Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune