My Long-Expected Report

20 Nov

I have this tendency to undergo epic journeys-one akin to travels out of Hobbiton and into Mordor for food experiences.

Courtesy of thelandofshadow.com

Take 45 minutes to sit around at Baked? Sure.

6 blocks for a free Godiva truffle(perks of Gold Rewards)? Why not.

So, when I decided to go all out for a heart-pounding bike ride and breakfast, I was adequately prepared to venture. I had tied my shoes, done my research, and the only thing missing was a team of 30 other pilgrims on this most religious and edifying trip.

The location? Hominy Grill, who has been a bit of a fall-back story for The New York Times.

Its fame is legendary, its food repudiated for both the taste and ability to separate two camps: purists that call it “fake Southern fare,” and those who appreciate the dishes regardless of origin or geographical pretenses.
After my extensive bike ride, the creeping chill of the morning, and the uncertainty about my week sifted away as brewed coffee sifted in, and after I burshed the corner of the brown paper table cover, I arrived in the second camp and found an excellent and bright place.
It was early (7:45ish), but the waitstaff was on it, and they seemed so eager to help out that the kitchen door kept swinging open and close. My coffee came in a mug and both smelled and tasted like the kind I used have at church get-togethers: comforting and definitely positively percolocated. The waitress, and aged woman with a pony tail and a smile, never let the cup get a quarter empty. The decision on a dish easy: the monstrous and notorious Big Nasty.

Courtesy of geezopeez

If this trip was an allegory for Lord of the Rings, Big Nasty( a colossal combination of fried chicken, cheddar cheese and sausage gravy (with peppers) on a biscuit) was not only Sauron, but the Lonely Mountain and probably Mordor, too.
It arrived in what seemed to be a smaller entrance, one without fires and fanfare. Very understated and stealthy.
It didn’t look like a heart attack on a plate, so beyond the fact that it was fabulous, it also gets points for toned down presentation.
The gravy reminded me of chicken pot pie filling-the texture reminded me of the comforting filling. The cheese cheese was incorporated-not floating-in it. An easy to cut biscuit kept the crunch with the chicken, which was easily the best part. Most fried chicken sandwiches (you know who you are) are very dry, and while this one had the advantage of having a pepper-studded gravy lava-lanche for moisture, the chicken itself was still more substantial than others. The biscuit wasn’t greasy and the chicken was moist-so every texture and surface of this bad guy came in the right place.
A little bit of Tabasco (from practically a gallon-sized bottle) gave just the right kick to the gravy that was a bit bland without it.

I could write a review on the service, who gave me a refill and to-go cup after I paid that I of course managed to dump on the way home (the tragic loss of a companion), but that’s another story.

I think the whole place knows that it’s good and respected, but also knows why it got there. The server’s dance and the constant feeling of optimism that comes from their atmosphere is what got them in the Dining Guides, and though I’m not a Southern-food expert, I do care about the feeling behind food, and the journey that took me to the epic distances brought me to a breakfast that kicked off my day well.

Hominy makes me happy.

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