MG Eats Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville!

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Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, 119 19th Ave S, Nashville, TN.

Nashville = Hot Chicken! Timing it just right, I got into Nashville for an early dinner. Of course, there was a line out the door, but it moved right along. The menu was simple, but mouthwatering Southern fare. I was happy to see different levels of heat you could order. I can do hot, but not “wipe the sweat off my dead head” type hot! To be fair, I ordered one piece mild and the other hot. I’m glad I did, aint nobody got time for a mouth on fire!

Chicken and fries were the perfect match. The chicken was a slam dunk! Juicy, seasoned, and hella fried good! Hot was HOT enough, so glad I didn’t go extreme for Damn Hot heat level. Nice little place, fab food, awesome staff. I’d like to return and enjoy even more of this Nashville icon.

5 out of 5 perfect poultry points!

Mad Girl Eats Fish Tacos in Ensenada Mexico!

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The Ensenada open air Fish Market is at the seaport/marina on the main coastal highway, Federal Hwy 1. Downtown is directly across the street.

Ensenada = fish tacos. The home of the fish taco, the first, the best. Strolling past the myriads of open-air restaurants along the seaport fish market, they all look similar and have boisterous greeters to reign you in. Chef Rick Bayless was here and had me intrigued to return! Let’s eat!

Fresh seafood, beautiful dishes, so much to choose from! Fish tacos, of course, ceviche, and shrimp cocktail washed down with a Corona and life is good. Delectable lightly batterfried fish with fresh cabbage on homemade corn tortillas, just add the abundant choices of salsa and crema placed on the table with a squirt of lime, and you’re ready to rock n roll. The ceviche was placed on a tostada topped with sliced avocado. Oh so amazing. The shrimp cocktail had generous amounts of shrimp, fish, and octopus! It doesn’t get better than that!

Absolutely delicious, fresh, clean, amazing food. I wish I lived closer!

Check out the Fish Market restaurants at the port, or across the street on many corners of downtown. Peruse the fish market itself while there, you’ll appreciate it if you’re a Foodie. It was my first encounter with Geoduck (Gooey duck) beside what I’ve witnessed on Chopped! Interesting.

5 out of 5, fresh and freakin’ awesome food!

Mad Girl Eats Little Goat Diner in Chicago!

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Little Goat Diner, 820 W. Randolph St, Chicago, IL. Located in Chicago’s West Loop.

Little Goat Diner is the little sister resto of Stephanie Izard’s mega famed Girl and the Goat restaurant across the street. You walk in and the interior is far from any ‘diner’ I’ve ever seen.Think chic industrial.  Super busy per usual at lunch time, I opt for a sandwich to take out and am directed to the Bakery bar area. After perusing the menu, I decide on a signature goat item, the Goat Almighty. As you can see by the photos above, it was aptly named.

I opened it up and was like….Holy Toledo Batman, this is a gargantuan burger! How do you even begin to eat it?! Let me lay it on you….it consists of a goat burger, braised beef, bbq pork, pickled jalapenos, salsa verde, onion rings, cheddar cheese, and  pickles all inbetween a yummy bun. The only way I could possibly take a bite is by halves…top and bottom. It was fantastic, but the only thing I couldn’t get was a good overall sense of all components in one bite and how they worked together. Other than that, it was good!

Little Goat offers an awesome menu for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Diner food twisted into something special. My next trip back I want to try a Pork Belly Pancake, a Smoked Pork and Toffee Crunch Shake, a delight from the Bakery, or maybe something coo coo crazy from their Breakfast menu which they serve all day. I love that!

Diner Hours: Sun – Thurs 7:00am – 10:00pm, Fri – Sat 7:00am – 12:00am  Bakery Hours: Everyday 6:00am – 6:00pm.

http://littlegoatchicago.com

Don’t be surprised if wait time for a table is an hour. Reservations accepted for Dinner only.

4.75 out of 5 points.

Mad Girl Eats Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans

Willie Mae’s Scotch House, 2401 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA.wpid-photogrid_1434995370905_wm.jpg

Willie Mae’s is renowned for their fried chicken and soul food, and has stood the test of time since 1957. This restaurant is so beloved, the community gathered together to rebuild it after Hurricane Katrina ravaged it. It was the first site to be re-built in all of New Orleans. Now that speaks volumes about the food and the family that own it. Divine! All along the dining room walls, you see awards and dignified recognitions. It is pretty impressive!

Of course the only thing to try on your first visit (or any visit, say many), is the fried chicken. So load me up with chicken, some homemade mac and cheese, and a sweet tea…. and we’re ready to throw down! Soon after ordering this blissful looking plate arrives. Generous portions and the fried chicken, say what?! It’s not what any Colonel or Sailorman’s chicken looks like. This is magical. Layers of light tender crust, amid the juiciest chicken I’ve ever encountered! I mean, one of my bites squirted chicken juice up into my eye…and no worries, just comical. That was some amazing chicken. A great fry, moist, gentle flavoring, OMGoodness. The mac and cheese was cream, gooey good, but no one told me about the spice! This stuff had a definite kick. I’m not complaining, I ate every bangin’ morsel. It came with a side of peas, which made the plate pretty, but I’m not a fan, unless they come in a pod. The meal was something you MUST experience.

Willie Mae’s rocked my world!

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm. Closed Sundays.

Street parking, right off the bus stop 250 feet, easy in and out.

Willie Mae’s, a New Orleans institution. Get there.

5 out of 5 absolutely perfect points.

Mad Girl Eats Bern’s Steak House in Tampa

wpid-photogrid_1427921862101_wm.jpgBern’s Steak House, 1208 S. Howard Ave, Tampa, FL.

From the outside, the building that Bern’s is housed in doesn’t look like much more than a stucco-ed warehouse. No windows, no grass, just a big black top driveway with a Valet stand and double doors. Once inside, wow. A two-story lobby welcomes you, drenched in red, velvet, gold, a huge mirror and mega lighting…talk about moody! A line to check-in at the host desk awaits and you better be there by the time your reservation states, or watch out, they don’t play. Reservations* are a must, and all of your party must be present before you are seated. So, basically, get it together!

Seated in one of the lovely well-appointed dining rooms, you can tell this is an upper echelon Steak House. The menu offers whatever your carnivore heart desires, especially their various steaks, thickness, weights, and tips. The most flavorful of steaks for 2 when ordering rare, is the Strip Steak. Their steaks are aged for optimum beefy flavor. Opting for one large steak of 22 oz, which is 2″ thick, cooked to rare with a slightly warm center, then cut in 2 pieces tableside. A brilliant way to give you a perfectly cooked, juicy steak. The steak entrees come with French Onion soup and toasts, House Salad, Baked Potato, 2 vegetables, and fried onions. Foie Gras was ordered to top the steak.

The food came methodically and perfectly timed. The soup was luscious. The house salad was beautiful as it looked like a mini version of a Chopped Salad. Fab! The baked potato was large, and was ordered with all the toppings and a great accompaniment for a hearty steak. The vegetables were fresh and cooked just to done, and fried onions were delish. Excellent sides. The steak. Oh the steak. It was perfection. Beautifully cooked, bounding with flavor, freaking amazing. Moan-worthy. The addition of foie gras on top was out-of-bounds! Rich, smooth, damn scrumptious. It definitely wasn’t needed, but it was wanted 😉

Bern’s is legendary and continually ranks in the top 10 of Best Steak Houses in the Country.They also have one of the largest wine collections anywhere, so I got a fantastic glass of Rose’ to round out my experience. This was worth every penny and I look forward to returning to this absolutely spectacular restaurant. Not to be missed, their Dessert Room upstairs.

http://bernssteakhouse.com

Hours: Sun to Thurs 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Fri and Sat 5:00pm – 11:00pm.

*Reservation requests are accepted on-line with a 72 hour advance notice. For special inquiries, call 813-251-2421.

5 out of 5 perfect points. Undeniable excellence.

Mad Girl Eats The Fry Bread House in Phoenix

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The Fry Bread House, 1003 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ. Also one location in Mesa, AZ.

Fried dough. Fried bread dough! FRIED! What is not to love and admire about this?! Absolutely nothing, especially after experiencing this Native American goodness for myself!

I walked in and had no idea what to order besides just fried bread. I had a feeling that no matter what I had, it was going to be spectacular. Thankfully, the sweet girl at the counter helped me along the way to make decisions. They have a nice size menu, so I appreciated the guidance. For certain, I wanted the Powdered Sugar and Honey Fry Bread ( my sweet tooth always wins), along with a couple of savory fry bread tacos to try. After ordering at the counter, you get your drinks, find a table, and patiently wait for the party about to happen in your mouth.

Upon delivery, I was blown away at how gigantic these tacos were. Dang! Not your taco chain-type size. Yeow! The green chili beef taco was bursting with flavor and impressive, but wow, a bit too spicy for me. The chorizo taco was a perfect amount of spice and kick. The fry bread itself it AH-MAZ-ING! Although the fry bread tacos were huge, there was enough room for dessert, and it didn’t disappoint! Sweet but subtle. I could eat this every morning with my coffee. Really. At was an awesome finish to a freaking fantastic meal. I can’t wait to go back and try more!

If you are in the Phoenix area, you MUST stop in and experience this Native American treat.

Hours: Mon – Thurs 10:00am -8:00pm, Fri and Sat 10:00am – 9:00pm, CLOSED SUNDAYS.

5 out of 5 flipping great fry bread points!

 

Mad Girl Eats Central Grocery, New Orleans

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Central Grocery, 923 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA.

When visiting New Orleans, there are certain New Orleanean specialties you most definitely need to try. One of the most popular is the Muffuletta. A large round, sesame topped, almost focaccia dense ‘bun’. Inside are meats and cheeses, and an olive tapenade that sends this sandwich over the edge of righteousness. Central Grocery is home of the ORIGINAL MUFFULETTA, so why not try the sandwich where it was first created?!

Ok, Central Grocery is just that, a small old- timey Italian American working grocery store. They just happen to have a sandwich counter and a table and stools in back to eat at. Order, pay, and gather your food first, then make your way towards the table, it is family style seating. There is a soda machine back there to have a drink with your meal. There were two of us, and a normal Muffuletta is gigantic, so we opted for a half order and cut that in half. It was plenty!

Nice textured Italian bread, flavorful salami, ham and provolone, with their fab chunky olive salad to brighten and heighten the taste buds. A satisfying sandwich, however, I’d like a bit more meat. Many restaurants in New Orleans will offer a Muffuletta. If you’ve never had one, try the original first.

Long lines form during peak season, just be patient. Their website is uber basic.  Always call ahead for hours 504-523-1620.

4.25 out of 5 tasty tidbits of flavorful fun-in-a-bun.

Scotchies in Jamaica

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Scotchies, Drax Hall, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The original. 2 more locations on the island.

Jamaica + Foodie = Jerk chicken! Just outside of Ocho Rios lies a place call Scotchies, a well-known restaurant to locals and visitors alike. Guy Fieri and his family recently ate there while in port on a cruise. Touted as “the best jerk chicken and pork” by his crew and many others, I knew my stop in Ocho Rios had to include eating at Scotchies.

You do need to take a taxi there. After numerous, and I do mean numerous, taxi drivers hounding and getting into my “dance space” to get my fare, finally a kind gentleman at a fair price whisked me away down the seaside highway to this hidden island gem.

You see nothing but greenery from the road, but once past the gravel lot you enter paradise. The sights of a Caribbean gardens, sauntering pathways, and the smell. A mix of fresh ocean air, island flowers, and meat smoking on the grill. Oooh weeee! That scent instantly makes my mouth water.

Stepping up to the order window, jerk chicken, jerk pork and festival is high on my wish list, so let’s try! Stepping down the line to hand in my ticket for my lunch, I watch the gigantic grills working their magic. Interesting wood logs and large sheets of metal roofing are used to adjust the temperature. My order is ready, scotch bonnet pepper sauce is in a cup on the side and I’m ready to go sit and enjoy.

Scotch bonnet pepper sauce is up with in heat level with Habanero. Be careful. The jerk chicken is awesome, juicy and not overly spicy. I hate when the spicy heat overpowers the flavor of the meat. The jerk seasoning is the perfect balance and both the chicken and pork is hands down fantastic. Smoky, juicy, spicy. Ya Mon!

Festival was a great pick for a side. It is a cross of a squishy breadstick and cornbread…but fried. It is yummy and inexpensive, just try it and don’t ask questions. Thank me later.

Tip: Taxi will try to rip you off, they start at $50 or $60 to take you to and from this restaurant. They will go down to $30, I got my ride for $20. Make sure your Taxi is licensed. There was so much food, I shared some with Woody, my driver. Menu prices are in Jamaican currency, not US. Half chicken, 1/4 lb pork, festival, 2 drinks = $17 U.S.

4.5 out of 5 worth-the-trip Mon!

Mad Girl Eats Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack in Houston

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Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack, 5230 Westpark Dr, Houston, TX.

Located in Houston , this rockin’ burger spot is a hidden gem under the twists and turns of a freeway overpass. It is a funky Texas-proud shack specializing in burgers….buffalo burgers tp be exact. They offer mighty-fine beef as well.  After a long day on the road, I wanted something substantial with heft to it and a meaty beefy flavor.

Buffalo wasn’t new to me, so I went with my gut, and tastebuds. I ordered up some juicy hunks-o-beef, a Border Burger with some wake-me-up flavor and  a classic wonder, Bacon Cheeseburger.  A few moments later, I was in burger heaven. Thick, juicy, done to perfection…rare.  I hate an overcooked burger, and they did it up just fine.  Quality beef flavor, with the addition of melty Monterey Jack cheese and zesty picante sauce, the Border burger was outtabounds!  Plenty bacon and cheese layered on the beefy goodness of the Bacon Cheeseburger was a hit. Bubba’s Burgers.. big and brawny, just like Texas.

Hours:  Mon-Sat 11am-10pm,,  Sun 11am-8pm

Parking lot in front. Small dining area inside, dining outdoors on the porch available. As seen on the Hungry Detective on the Food Network.

http://bubbastexasburgershack.com

4.75 out of 5  meaty tastes of Texas’ finest.

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