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.

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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.

Mad Girl Eats Café Du Monde

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Café Du Monde, 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA.

Café Du Monde is a glorious, well-known institution in the French Quarter, bringing joy since 1862. It is a ‘must’ when visiting New Orleans. Open 24 hours a day, anytime is a great time for a cup of café au lait and an order of beignets.

The café au lait is made with half coffee (a French heritage coffee and chicory blend) and half dreamy creamy hot milk. One order of beignets gives you 3 warm angelic pillows of fried heaven, covered in powdered sugar. Tende,r flaky, golden goodness pairs perfectly with café au lait. Sitting indoors or out in the large covered patio, there is no better way to start your morning. If you’re lucky, there is live music to enjoy. Either way, you get tasty treats, great atmosphere, and happy people. Enjoy!

Tips: Beware not to inhale while taking a bite of your beignet. You’ll get powdered sugar filled lungs and a coughing fit on top of it….yeah, it happened to me. It’s also advisable not to wear black, as the sugar has a mind of its own…under the ceiling fans. Yes, that happened also. Live and learn, now I’m a pro!

5 out of 5 perfect powdered sugar smack-a-roos!

As seen on “Man v Food” and “Food Paradise” on The Travel Channel.

Mad Girl Eats Pine State Biscuits, Portland

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Pine State Biscuits, 2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR.

Biscuits, who doesn’t love a warm, fluffy, piece of heaven?! I heard the name of this place and I didn’t need to know more, they had me at Biscuits. I arrived around 9:45 a.m. on a Friday, to a line out the door to the corner. The line moved swiftly and found myself at the counter to order within 10-15 minutes.

I order The Reggie, a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and yummy thick gravy. Because I can’t find good pimento cheese just anywhere, I opted for a side biscuit and pimento cheese to round out my order. In full need of a cuppa joe, they gave me a mug as coffee is self-serve. I liked that idea, because I could refill when I needed….not when someone got around to me. In the morning, that means life or death to some. Me.

The place was packed and had a constant flow of new arrivals. When one space emptied, immediately it was filled. I found a seat at the counter that surrounds the grill area. It was entertaining to watch the precision of the staff getting orders out as rapid as possible. No slouching staff here!  Ooh…my order was up, and conveniently grabbed from across the bar.

It all looked incredible. ..and I was starving. First up, the biscuit and pimento cheese. The biscuit was perfection, the pimento cheese was one of the best I’ve ever had. Creamy, sharp, flavorful. Happy. The Reggie was a sight to behold. What could go wrong with fried chicken, bacon, cheese and gravy??? Absolutely freakin nothing! Ohh man, the flavors together were of course phenomenal, but that topping of gravy put it over the edge. If I had one regret, I wish I would have ordered an extra side of gravy. I like my biscuits wet, I’m just that kind of girl 😉

Get here if you’re in Portland. Cool place, good menu and prices, fab food, nice and hardworking staff. It’s a winner.

Hours: Mon-Wed: 7am-3pm, Thurs: 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat: 7am-1am, Sun: 7am-11pm

Free on-street parking in nice neighborhood setting. Usual lines, limited seating indoors and out but table turnover is fairly quick. Bus your own table.  Enjoy!

As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Food Paradise, Unique Eats.

http://pinestatebiscuits.com

4.5 out of 5 biscuit-loving thumbs up!

Mad Girl Eats Hash House A Go Go

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Hash House A Go Go, in the Plaza hotel, 1 S. Main St., Las Vegas, NV. Many more locations.

Hash House A Go Go is more than just a breakfast spot serving hash. It has a full menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner…shouting their theme of Twisted Farm Food! The food porn above has you reeling, dying to know what the heck that behemoth dish is, right? Dinner. Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken and Bacon Waffles. Yeah, I know….holy buckets, let’s dive in and feast ’til we pass out!

Tender juicy chicken, light and luscious bacon waffles, maple reduction with fried leeks…it’s all just too much to take in. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with herb fried chicken, then add sweet and savory bacon waffles and top it with liquefied deliciousness. Moaning…..

It’s heavy duty, so makes a perfect dinner to share, readying you for a long night flipping your wig in Vegas 😉 As seen in Bon Appetit, and on the Travel Channel, Man Vs Food, the Rachel Ray Show, and countless others.

Located inside the newly remodeled Plaza hotel, downtown Las Vegas.

Hours: Sun-Thurs 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat, 7am-1am.

http://hashhouseagogo.com

4.5 out of 5 tastebud screamin’points.

Mad Girl Eats Cochon Butcher in NoLa

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930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA.

Leaving New Orleans, I decided to try Cochon Butcher before exiting the city. The butcher/sandwich shop/wine bar is the sister to the fancier, Cochon restaurant. They make their own meats, sausages, terrines…lush sandwich fixings. Their glass cases are filled with delectable pieces that scream to be tried. Ok, I give….one charcuterie plate please!

An offering from the sandwich menu is also a necessity. The pork belly with mint and cucumber sounded like the perfect mix for a hot day. Easy to eat, lets take them to go!

I could hardly stand to get to the car and start sampling. In car, roll down windows…I still have 15 minutes left on my meter anyway. First up, the sammie. Melty  rich and tender pork belly with mint and cucumber on a heavy-duty farm bread. First bite…first words…”Oh my God”. Nuff said. If a first bite gets me to moan out those words, it’s a winner. The flavors went together so well, I’m planning on using mint and cucumber in many things. I wanted to run back to the Butcher and order another, but I had a Charcuterie plate waiting. A cacophony of beautifully made meats were ready to meet their fate, my tummy.

The plate was very artistic, with sides of pickled okra, slaw, grainy hearty mustard, cracked flatbread, and a generous amount of slices of 6 different meats. Scrumptious!

The only thing I regret is waiting to go there last instead of when I first arrived in New Orleans. I definitely would have eaten there a few more times. Pork Belly sandwich, on my list of The Best in the United States. Boom!

As seen on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate and Meat and Potatoes and The Travel Channel’s The Layover, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and Food Paradise. I would say, all shows were correct in taking the time to visit this restaurant…and so should you. Run, don’t walk. Bourbon Street will wait.

Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-4pm.

Street metered parking. Gets busy, I was there at 9:55 am. No waiting 😉

http://cochonbutcher.com

5 out of 5 mouth-watering points for  tastebud perfection.

Mad Girl Eats Franklin BBQ in Austin

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Franklin Barbecue, 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX.

Stories of early morning starts, at least 2 hour waits in the heat, tailgate atmosphere, running out of food…..all true. All worth it???

Learning that Bon Appetit named Franklin’s numero uno in the country for BBQ,  and given many many more accolades from culinary glitterati, who would pass the opportunity to try it?! But really, waiting in line 2 hours before the place even opens? It is summer in Texas people, you nutso?! Okay, let the adventure begin….

Arrived in line at 9:20am with approximately 75 people in line ahead of me. The restaurant opens at 11:00am.Staff asks what you will be order to gauge what will sell out and when. I was second to last to get ribs. OMG. An estimation of  getting your food is handed down from the powers-that-be from Franklin’s. 1:30pm Yes, I said 1:30pm I should be reaching the counter inside the restaurant to order my food.

The day is overcast, but when that sun peaks out…its a freakin’ nightmare. NO shade throughout the parking lot until you reach the shade of the building…in which you will also find misters to cool. A tailgate feeling for sure. Lawn chairs, umbrellas, coolers, games, and bbq camaraderie. A guy across the street will rent you a chair for  bucks. Girls come thru selling cold drinks. There is a cooler jug of ice water and paper cups next to the building.

Okay, after 4 hours at approximately 1:35, I made it to meat mecca. Ribs and beef brisket please! Order. Get drink. Sit. Eat. Moan. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The best beef brisket I have ever eaten. Hands down the best. Ribs…cannot be beat, but must say they tie with Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City. Worth the wait? HELL YA!

If you show up later, your choice of meats may sell out. Aaron Franklin makes only a certain amount every day. He does not want to warm and resell any meat from the previous day, hence the limited amount. Street parking. Tip: Get there at 8am for shade and best choice. You will get in at 11, when they open with good chance of no waiting. Closed Mondays. Open for lunch, 11am until sold out. Check website http://franklinbarbeque.com

I’ve tried BBQ from every region, all over this United States. Franklin Barbeque, tied for BEST BBQ in America.

As seen on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Travel Channel’s Food Paradise, Unique Eats.

5 out of 5 lick my fingers and smack my momma, that is some amazeballs barbecue!

Mad Girl Eats Paseo in Seattle

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Paseo, 4225 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA.

I heard about Paseo on the Travel Channel. It featured the Caribbean roast sandwich that had people waiting in long lines in hopes of devouring it before they ran out. The place was also located in the cool and funky Fremont neighborhood and was sans sign. Who didn’t put a sign out front of their restaurant?! Ok, I knew I was in for kooky and I was intrigued.

So, lunch started early, they open at 11:00am. I was too far away from home to be turned away and come back to Florida without having tried this roast pork masterpiece. There was a line, but nothing too big. I ordered and breathed a sigh of relief they had a little oink for me.

I took a seat in the extremely tiny dining area. Soon it was delivered and looked amazing. A big beautiful crusty baguette loaded with marinated roasted pork, carmelized onions, aioli, fresh cilantro, and pickled jalapeno. Dang! That was freakin’ incredible-edible. The marinated pork was the deee-lish and truly perfected by the addition of the ‘extras’ loaded on. Certainly moan-worthy.

As I sat and ate, the crowd really started to swell. Happy I made it in when I did! They have opened a second location, 6226 Seaview Ave NW, in the Ballard neighborhood, so your luck just doubled. If you’re ever in Key West, they opened a Paseo there as well. Doin’ the bonus boogie on that!

I would have loved to have another sammie to-go, but the line was long and I had my turn. I should have ordered two! Anthony Bourdain and his show, The Layover on The Travel Channel, were at the Ballard resto a few months ago. He knows his stuff. So do I.

Either way, get yourself there. You can thank me…. and Anthony, later. 😉 On my Top 10 Best Sandwiches in the U.S.

Both Seattle locations closed on Sunday and Mondays. Free street parking.

http://paseoseattle.com

5 out of 5 perfectly marinated Caribbean kisses. Muahz!

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