Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Simple pleasures

I have been laying low since the weekend. Did a bunch of chores on Monday and Tuesday, been doing some yoga, cooking at home, and had a job interview yesterday. Should hear back about that at the end of the week...

Today, my day was wide open so I decided to attack my list of Places To Go and Things to Eat a little bit.

I went to Willie Mae's Scotch House, a James Beard award winning southern restaurant in the Fauberg Treme, for a fried chicken lunch. I got there just after it opened at 11am- the place is small and popular, with the fried chicken cooked to order, so it's worth it to beat the crowd.

So anyway: YUM. Ordered the plate of chicken with a side of butter beans. I'd heard that they will take white or dark meat requests, but I didn't request my beloved dark meat. I assumed I'd get a breast, a wing, and a leg or thigh. I ended up getting a breast and 2 wings. Initially, I was disappointed, but seriously, that chicken was awesome. The crust was amazing- not super crunchy, but almost tempura like with a little spice to it. The white meat was surprisingly moist and beautifully cooked, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

The butter beans were OK- nicely cooked but surprisingly kind of bland. I didn't finish it because I filled up on the superior fried chicken.

I really liked the food as well as the lemonade they make (really excellent!) There's some controversy about this place, because it gets a lot of hype and is very popular, so there's often a long wait for both seating and eating. I ended up getting a takeout order to bring to Tom at the office- I requested the dark meat and got a leg, a thigh, and a wing. Scored major points there- he loved it.

So, after delivering chicken to my man, I went home to digest my fried food and watch Top Chef reruns. I wanted to go get a Sno-Ball at Hansen's Sno-Blitz, but had to wait out a thunderstorm first.

Hansen's is a New Orleans institution- has been around since 1938:

I'd agonized over what flavor to have before I went there. Everything sounded so good! Cream of Nectar? Satsuma? Sno-Blitz? Wild Cherry? Cardamom? I decided on a combination of Cardamom and Cream of Coffee, with condensed milk on top. The lady there asked me if I'd ever tried Cardamom and Cream of Coconut, which- DAMN LADY, don't make this harder than it already is!

It was quiet there, because the weather wasn't great - on the real hot days in the evenings and weekends the line can be pretty long. The ice is shaved to order and the sno-balls are made carefully and with much love, so it's not a super quick process. I was chatting with the lady making my sno-ball and she mentioned that she had just developed a gingersnap syrup which- OMG, must bring Tom there immediately.

My cardamom/cream of coffee with condensed milk was AWESOME. You get a spoon and a straw. I scooped up the ice and ate it-ooh, cold and icy, but so smooth. Then it got melty and I sipped it up through the straw. Man, that was good. Refreshing, sweet, but not too sweet. Not too rich, and extremely easy to eat on a hot sticky day. There's a sign inside that says that the Sno-Blitz "air-conditions your tummy" which so quite correct!

I highly recommend both Willie Mae's and Hansen's and look forward to visiting them both many times in the future. Are they transcendent tourist destinations that will change your life? I don't know about that, but I do know I'm REALLY happy that I live here and can go to these places whenever I want. Except when Hansens is closed in the winter, of course.

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