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fried chicken reviews soul food Southern California

Steady Grubbin’ at M&M Soul Food – Los Angeles, CA

Last time we were in LA, we met up with our friends Don and Cristy for dinner. When I asked Don where we should meet up, he said, “How about M&M’s?” I thought I hadn’t heard of M&M’s, but when Don told me it was the soul food place that was immortalized in the Ice Cube song “Steady Mobbin’,” the lyrics instantly popped in my head:

Since one time’s so hot
Got me stash spot in the hooptie for the glock
And I’m rollin’ on rims
Eating soul food, neckbones from M&M’s

Now we didn’t order any neckbones, and honestly, I don’t remember seeing them on the menu, but if I can say one thing about M&M’s, if it’s smothered in gravy, it’s probably good.

They were out of short ribs by the time we got there, so I got the smothered oxtails instead. The oxtails were almost falling off the bone and as you can see, portions at M&M’s are generous.

Smothered OxtailsSmothered Oxtails
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Ad Hoc fried chicken reviews soul food Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (12/31/07)

In honor of tonight’s biweekly fried chicken night at Ad Hoc, I thought I’d share the amazing New Year’s Eve brunch Ad Hoc offered to close out 2007.


Chicken and Waffles

The menu was centered around one of my favorite foods—fried chicken and waffles—and it’s something I’ve always wanted Ad Hoc to offer as a regular meal. I don’t know if they’ll make it a New Year’s fixture, but I was just glad I had the opportunity to experience this glorious meal. Pictures of the full spread follow the menu, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.


Salad & High Tea Sandwiches
baby mixed greens with sherry vinaigrette
ham and cheese, cucumber mint, lobster salad sandwich

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Fried Chicken & Waffles
spinach and poached eggs, hoppin’ john
fingerling potato hash with hobbs bacon

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Capriole Dairy’s
Crocodile Tear

cara cara orange marmalade
and candied pecans

~

Huckleberry & Banana Parfait
with house granola

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Ad Hoc beef chicken fried chicken soul food sous vide Thomas Keller

A Comfort Food Christmas

This year, instead of a traditional Christmas dinner, we decided to do meal composed of comfort food, i.e. fried chicken, beef short ribs, flap steak, mac and cheese, bacon smashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. The fried chicken and short ribs were inspired by the food we’ve had at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, and in fact, the fried chicken recipe is based on the Ad Hoc version that was published in Food and Wine magazine in October 2007.

What this actually means, of course, is that we cooked all the entrees sous vide. I got a 60C/140F water bath going and started the beef short ribs on Dec. 22 so that it would cook for 48 hours. I added the flap steak, which I found really cheap at Costco, to the water bath about 12 hours before serving. The chicken was brined overnight as specified in the recipe and then placed in the water bath about two hours before we started frying. The 140F temperature is a little low for chicken, but we were still going to fry it so getting it up to the “safe” temperature of 160F wasn’t too much of a concern.


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Overall, these were the best sous vide dishes I’ve made to date. After getting some tips from Nick, Ad Hoc’s general manager, on a trip to Ad Hoc the day after Thanksgiving, the short ribs we produced were perfect. I might try them at a lower temperature next time so they’re a little more rare, but I stuck with 140 because we were working with chicken, as well.

The flap steak was initially a stop gap in case we didn’t have enough food, but they ended up being one of the stars of the dinner. After removing from the water bath, I seared them really quickly on one side for appearance’s sake and then cut them on the bias for presentation.

The chicken probably didn’t need to be cooked sous vide, but I’ve been doing it this way to ensure that the chicken is really moist and tender when it’s finally served.

I’ll post the recipes for the mac and cheese and smashed potatoes later, but in the mean time, you can see what they looked in the slideshow. My cousin brought corn and salad (not pictured) and the delicious chocolate tunnel cake that finished the meal.

It’s been a couple years since my wife and I took over the cooking duties at major holidays, so the main goal is to make sure that my mom likes the food. So far she’s been impressed, but I’m trying to figure out if we should do something more traditional next year, or should we start a sous vide short ribs and fried chicken tradition for the holidays?

What do you think?

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Best of Inuyaki fried chicken reviews soul food waffles

Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

If you ask me what my favorite restaurant in the whole world is, I will immediately say “Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.” Aside from my parents, it’s the one thing I truly miss about living in Southern California. There are some places here in the Bay Area that have tried to capture the magic—Home of Chicken and Waffles in Oakland being the most prominent—but it’s just not the same.

The concept of eating fried chicken and waffles on the same plate sounds crazy to most people at first, but for some reason, the salty/sweet combination works. Like sex, it’s all about chemistry, and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles is a 20-minute food orgasm on a plate.


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Now I’ll be the first to admit that Roscoe’s doesn’t have the best fried chicken, but it’s very good, and I usually get mine smothered in gravy. The waffles on the other hand are really, really good…slightly crispy on the outside and served with LOTS of butter and warm syrup (a lot of people like to pour the syrup all over their chicken, as well). From what I’ve been told Roscoe’s syrup is their own secret recipe, and I actually think the syrup is the key to their success.

There are several ways to order at Roscoe’s. My old standby is the #2 Scoe’s Special, 1/4 dark meat fried chicken smothered in gravy with two huge waffles. I generally eat the chicken first and then have the waffles for dessert, but sometimes I mix it up a bit. When I’m with a large group of people, I like to order some of the sides, like red beans and rice, mac and cheese, smothered potatoes, and cornbread.

I’ve been a Roscoe’s whore since the mid 90’s and over the years, I’ve brought almost all my friends, coworkers when we were in town for trade shows (including our Japanese CEO who loved the food but was mad that they don’t serve alcohol), and I even took my parents to the more ghetto Pico/La Brea location. (They got over their initial fears and really enjoyed their food, and my mom asked “why haven’t you brought me here before?”).

It’s also the only place I’ve ever brought anyone where the food was so good, it reduced them to cursing after every bite, i.e. “Goddamn, this is muthafuckin’ good” or “Muthafucker, this is the best food I’ve ever had.”

If that’s not endorsement enough, then what is? :-)

INFORMATION
Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles
Hollywood
1518 N Gower St
Los Angeles, CA 90028 map
323.466.7453

Los Angeles
5006 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019 map
323.934.4405

Pasadena
830 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104 map
626.791.4890

Inglewood
106 W Manchester Ave #F map
Los Angeles, CA 90003
323.752.6211

Long Beach
730 E Broadway Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90802 map
562.437.8355

Categories
fried chicken reviews soul food waffles

Luka’s Taproom

If there was ever a reason to go to downtown Oakland on a Sunday morning, the Sunday Soul Brunch at Luka’s Taproom might be one of the best. Oakland’s not known for its weekend brunch offerings, but Luka’s take on some Southern classics is definitely worth the trek.

Fried Chicken and Waffles, one of my all-time favorites, are served with a side of fresh peaches and cream; a delicious hash of braised oxtail, yukon gold and sweet potatoes is served with two poached eggs and toast; Eggs Luka is a yummy scramble of smoked trout, creme fraiche and chives served with hash browns and toast; and the Shrimp Benedict is a nice twist on a classic breakfast. Of course, we had to split a perfectly fried catfish filet ($4) just to complete the meal. The complementary cornbread was a nice starter and was served with small jars of honey and jam.


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Everything at Luka’s was beautifully plated, and it was nice to see that all the food made with fresh ingredients. Parking is pretty easy on Sunday morning and Luka’s has its own lot in the back, but it’s also a couple blocks from the 19th Street BART station, so it’s accessible from almost anywhere in the Bay Area. So if you ever end up in Oakland for brunch, Luka’s is definitely the place to be.

INFORMATION
Luka’s Taproom & Lounge
2221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612 map
510.451.4677
Web site

Categories
breakfast New York reviews soul food

Amy Ruth’s

After four days of eating our way through New York, including a bit too much Junior’s cheesecake the night before, I was extremely apprehensive about meeting some friends at Amy Ruth’s for breakfast because I was afraid that I was going to break my stomach, especially since I knew I was going to end up ordering the chicken and waffles.


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Now, I don’t really understand the comparisons to Roscoe’s because unlike Roscoe’s, where chicken and waffles is the focal point of the menu, the menu at Amy Ruth’s is so diverse that it’s almost impossible to really judge the place based on just eating one dish. Other dishes you should try include the cinammon french toast, smothered pork chops and the mac and cheese. For dessert, the peach cobbler and the red velvet cake are solid options. Also, ask for the Kool Aid of the Day…on this visit, it was Red.

That being said, Amy Ruth’s waffles are a Belgian-style waffle that’s crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside and positively divine. There’s a sweetness to them when you take the first bite, but then it’s followed by a tanginess, possibly from buttermilk, that adds a whole other dimension of flavor to the waffle. The fried chicken is pretty good, too, but I think Roscoe’s chicken or even Home of Chicken and Waffles in Oakland is better. But overall, I have no qualms about recommending Amy Ruth’s to anyone who is curious about this strange, sweet-and-salty orgasm on a plate…even for breakfast!