Friday, September 20: React to this term: comfort.
my initial reaction to this is: FOOD! comfort food… nom nom nom. i am not sure exactly what that says about me but now my head is spinning with biscuits & gravy, fried green tomatoes, mashed potatoes, apple pie, mac & cheese, fried chicken, cheddar grits, banana pudding. my stomach is growling & my mind has become food fanatic putty. i won’t be able to focus until lunch now, thank you very much jenni! so since we’re on the topic i felt that i should do a foodie review of my favorite comfort food restaurants!
jacob’s pickles \ new york, new york
beer, biscuits & pickles. this is my mecca for down home cooking. i have a very hard time narrowing down my menu choices & usually over order so that i can have a few bites of all of my favorite things. i recommend you start with the fried pickles, the fried green tomatoes or even get 8 type pickle assortment (my favorite are the special sours. but basically you have to try the pickles….) — by now you are probably getting thirsty & you’re in luck b/c they have GREAT craft beers options as well (and cocktails). i recommend doing the NY beer flights to get a taste of the local breweries but the firestone wookie jackie is an amazing IPA option. you can also add BACON to any beer. & if you aren’t a beer drinker (shame on you) then try the apple pie moonshine or the honey julep. next up on the menu is sausage gravy smothered chicken sandwich & the organic cheese grits. i would also probably throw in a mac & cheese. it’s best to go with a group, go big or go home. & then to end your delicious meal, top it off with the fried oreos!!!! they are the best i have ever had (& i’ve had a lot of fried oreos in my day). they also offer a beer float, i shit you not! left hand milk stout with vanilla bean ice cream! & also another noteworthy menu item is the chicken & pancakes. mmmmmmm. i could never get sick of this place. they have so many amazing options & EVERYTHING is delicious.
loveless cafe \ nashville, tennessee
okay so where do i start?!? oh yeah.. THE BISCUITS!!! these are seriously the lightest most scrumptious biscuits ever in the whole world, for the history of man kind. amen. i wish that everything was served with them throughout my life (& that i would not gain weight either). they are made from scratch every day & served with homemade preserves (equally delicious). but loveless is a little cafe that has been around since 1951 serving comfort food basics: fried chicken & biscuits. the basics, but doing them the right way. there is usually ALWAYS a wait to get into this gem but it is completely worth it. there is a little farm store next door where you can shop while you wait & buy things you don’t need like mini jars of jam & cookbooks & other things to fill your knick knack factory at home. but on the docket, i highly recommend you eat 100 biscuits, followed by the standard fried chicken (or watermelon ribs, b/c those are awesome too) & for sides, oh my word, the options!!!! i would go with mashed potatoes or the caramel sweet potatoes as a must (but i am a starch fiend), the mac & cheese & the fried okra. & of course we can not forget dessert (i never skip dessert) the made from scratch banana pudding is famous for a reason – b/c it will change your life!! they also serve legit moonshine cocktails here out of mason jars which is adorable. & although i have not been for breakfast yet — it is on my bucket list.
the busy bee cafe \ atlanta, georgia
so my first piece of advice for this famous spot is, do not walk there. that is all i will say. take a car. but once you get there you’re good to go! the cafe has been around since the 40′ s & they serve traditional southern meals. go for the smothered chicken (in gravy of course) along w/ the mac & cheese & the broccoli casserole. the collard greens are pretty awesome as well. & the sweet tea lawwwwwd the sweet tea! i could drink gallons of it. this is definitely more a of a no nonsense type restaurant but they get right down to the important stuff… the food! & our server was as sweet as our pie, which was a peach cobbler, which melted into my mouth & into my soul. you won’t leave feeling “light” that is for sure.
redhead \ new york, new york
start it off right with the fried green tomatoes. they are the best i’ve had. they’re also served with a ranch sauce that is out of this world. follow that up w/ the fried chicken (are you seeing a pattern here?!?) it is buttermilk fried & served with market greens, strawberries, almonds, cornbread. they also have a side of watermelon that is soaked in tequila that i did not try that i am still thinking about to this day. i must go back for it. but we did venture to get the famous bacon peanut brittle they are known for & everybody gets a free cookie HURRAY!!!! the spot itself is small & there is often a wait. but if you get there before 6 you should be okay!
hill country chicken \ new york, new york
so in case you haven’t had your fried chicken fix, i have for you yet again, fried chicken. they have two types here 1) your traditional fried chicken which is seasoned to perfection or my personal favorite 2) the mama els recipe which comes fried with a crunchy cracker crust! so crispy & then so tender. it’s mouth watering. & if you don’t like chicken the sides here are enough to get your engine going. they have cheesy fried mashed potatoes. let me REPEAT, CHEESY FRIED MASHED POTATOES. when i saw this menu item i was downright giddy & it lived up to my expectations, it is amazing. the fire & ice pickles & the mac & cheese i recommend as well & of course the biscuits. i always recommend a biscuit, there isn’t enough of them out there. they also have shiner bock on draft! what a delightful surprise. & to top it all off they have a separate pie menu.. that’s how many they have. the makers mark bourbon pecan pie however is my favorite hands down. if you get the salted margarita pie with a pretzel crust though… i’ll have a bite.
s’mac \ new york, new york
for the most amazing mac & cheese on the planet, head to s’mac. it is basically subway of mac & cheese – you can make your own choosing from a variety of different cheese & meet & veggie combos. then they bake it all in your own personal skillet & top it with breadcrumbs. it is an instant stomach ache but so completely worth it. it’s hurts so good (as the saying goes). they also have their own combos you can choose from, of which my favorite is the alpine — a swiss mac that keeps you coming back for more. gruyere coupled with its partner in crime, slab bacon. & my favorite combo that i created myself, let us call it the mrs toes tuna casserole , including pecorino & manchego cheese along with tuna (or chicken) & spinach w/ garlic. it is the most amazing concoction. if you go to s’mac order it by it’s name, maybe they’ll name one for me! ha! they also have to die for peanut butter cookies, if you can fit anything else in your belly. & a small selection of craft beers. &&& to top it off they offer a “take & bake” option where you can bake it at home to enjoy. s’mac in my living room in my pjs?!? YES PLEASE!
bob evans \ multiple locations
and seriously stop with the eye rolls when you see this on my list. bob evans has THE BEST biscuits & gravy EVER. and i am b&g connoisseur. this is followed up by hardees b&g. i have yet to find another restaurant that compares to these two chains, surprisingly! but here the biscuits are so soft & fluffy & the gravy is seasoned to perfection with that slight tinge of spice mixed with the sausage. i just drooled on my keyboard. i have not once been able to eat only one order. i think they believe there is something wrong with me when i order a double for breakfast, but hey, we don’t have these places in new york so when i find them, i splurge! i also need a nap by 10am afterward. PS if you know a good b&g place in NYC send it my way. seriously, i’ll go tomorrow.
virgils \ new york, new york
chicken fried steak! how could i have forgotten such a comfort food staple? OY, virgils i am so sorry, forgive me. because you have the best (and the BIGGEST) chicken fried steak in all of the world. the ‘georgia’ chicken fried steak is a corn flaked, potato chipped saltine crusted steak, smothered with country gravy. yes it’s battered in corn flakes & potato chips?! hello! it’s crispy & will make your tongue to back flips with excitement. good luck finishing it all, it is also about the size of your head. i get mine served w/ mac & cheese & cornbread. & virgils also has a handful of craft beers one being their very own virgils ale, which is a pretty great little pairing.