Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Smothered Chicken (Creole Lunch House, Lafayette LA)

SMOTHERED CHICKEN

THE SPOT: CREOLE LUNCH HOUSE, LAFAYETTE LA

Creole Lunch House is an old home turned diner in Lafayette, the heart of Cajun Country in South Louisiana. It’s a lunchtime favorite with blue-collar workers and downtown office workers alike, and definitely not on the tourist or guidebook radar (yet). You’ll see the oyster shell parking lot and the little wooden sign next to the institutional green wooden siding of the house. The unpretentious décor of Creole Lunch House includes artworks by local artists, although it’s mostly a nice afterthought to the basic tables and chairs. The real art is the food. You’re really there for the little chow line to sample a small smorgasbord of Southern specialties, cooked with love by the Creole ladies of the house.

Little Chow Line at Creole Lunch House, Lafayette LA

THE DISH: SMOTHERED CHICKEN (over rice & gravy)

Southern style smothered chicken would have as many variations as there are Southern grandmothers, but the basic ingredients include onions (yellow and green), celery, bell pepper, oil, flour, salt, and pepper. Some folks use bacon drippings and/or chicken stock to enhance the gravy.

I’m not sure the exact recipe the Creole Lunch House ladies serve, but the smothered chicken there is awesome. And you can choose from a fantastic offering of side dishes that include Southern favorites like rice dressing, rice & gravy, yams, collard greens, and cornbread muffins.

If I lived in Lafayette, I’d probably eat at Creole Lunch House two or three times a week, as the main dishes vary daily, and the hearty plates would be my lunch and a good leftover dinner. (Do you see all that styrofoam take-out packaging??)

To me, the food is more Southern and soul, but there are some Creole specialties as well. This is South Louisiana, after all. The sweet ladles at Creole Lunch House really pile it on the plate, so go hungry.

Smothered Chicken Plate, Creole Lunch House, Lafayette LA

THE GRADE: EXCELLENT (4 out of 5)

THE DAMAGE: under $9 for a lunch plate and soda. unbelievably cheap.

THE SKINNY: CREOLE LUNCH HOUSE

713 12th Street, Lafayette, LA 70501

Phone: (337) 232-9929

Website:  Nope

Creole Lunch House sign

Creole Lunch House sign

Cornish Game Hen (Sodini’s Bertolucci’s, South SF CA)

THE SPOT: SODINI’S BERTOLUCCI’S RISTORANTE, South San Francisco CA

Sodini’s Bertolucci’s is the kind of old-school Italian joint that you would imagine finding in downtown Las Vegas, or in Eastern New Jersey. With its giant signage, black-and-white awning, and exterior murals of Italian landscapes, it’s a holdover from another era, and a surprising discovery off the main drag in South San Francisco. Giant, framed turn-of-the-century European posters, a wraparound gold-striped curtain, a garden fountain, and swirling red booths that swallow you like the jaws of Jonah’s whale make the interior like a Sopranos backdrop, but cleaner.

THE DISH: CORNISH GAME HEN

God bless the place that has Cornish game hen as a menu staple. I wish more restaurants served the lovely young bird. It’s the daily lunch special at Sodini’s Bertolucci’s on Tuesdays, and on the dinner menu that night as well. (Lunch specials here also include soup or salad; I thought the traditional minestrone was good.) The plate has not one, but two hens, perfectly roasted and seasoned with salt, pepper, with fresh rosemary sprigs tucked in. The fowls lay atop creamy polenta, with seasonal veggies (like squash) along for the ride. The veggies are unremarkable, but the polenta is great.

Like other dishes I’ve enjoyed at Bertolucci’s, the portion is enough for lunch and a take-home snack or light dinner. For the price, it’s a solid value but, more importantly, it’s delicious. 

THE DAMAGE: $14, lunch (includes soup or salad) and $19, dinner

THE GRADE: EXCELLENT (4 out of 5)

THE SKINNY: SODINI’s BERTOLUCCI’s

421 Cypress Avenue, South San Francisco, CA

Phone: (650) 588-1625

Website: www.sodinisbertoluccis.com

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