I’m always looking for places to quell my southern food cravings on this coast. So far the best option remains Chick-fil-a, which has started opening locations around LA. When I first got here, I was told to try Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles to see how they compared to my home cuisine. My first thought was, what the heck are “chicken and waffles”? Yes, I spent my entire life in the south and never came across chicken and waffles. I did a little research to see if I was the most deprived southern child ever, or if this was our own version of the fortune cookie. If you aren’t aware, fortune cookies are not Chinese despite their ubiquitous presence in Chinese restaurants. My hypothesis was correct, chicken and waffles are popular in Baltimore and Pennsylvania Dutch country, not the south. While they are considered “soul food”, ultimately they’re a northeastern delicacy. It’s nice to know that I’m not crazy and this is, in fact, a Yankee misconception of southern cuisine. That being said, I have tried my share of chicken and waffles if no other reason than I love the combination of sweet and savory.
On a first date with the only other person from Alabama I met at USC, we went to Roscoe’s. Just like that date, I haven’t had a second encounter with Roscoe’s, but I do recall the waffles were good and the fried chicken was okay. While exploring our new neighborhood, the boy and I walked to Caulfield’s for brunch a few months back and lo and behold, chicken and waffles were on the menu.
We started the bottomless mimosa brunch with whole grain blueberry muffins and an apple turnover. Then we shared lemon ricotta pancakes (delicious!) and chicken and waffles. Syrup and fried things are a heavenly pair, but to me, chicken and waffles is no greater than the sum of its parts. It sounds nice, but the pairing is pretty unnecessary and I prefer them separately. Our brunch dessert was Florentine doughnuts filled with vanilla pastry cream, which pushed us into a carb and sugar coma.
During a day in Santa Monica, we brunched at Country Kitchen. Some friends had touted the “country” fare and I felt obligated to pass judgment. Let me start off by saying if a menu has any item that begins with the phrase “Gluten-free”, you are not at a southern restaurant. We split the chicken and waffles and the classic eggs any style to round out our breakfast.
Both the chicken and waffles were yummy, but again I don’t feel the need to make the pairing a staple of my diet. Country Kitchen serves them with gravy in addition to syrup, which is a nice touch. The coleslaw on the side is the epitome of an LA interpretation of coleslaw, sans mayonnaise with tortilla strips. Our selection of honey ham steak, blueberry mini-muffins, deep fried tater tots, and scrambled eggs was a satisfying and classic American breakfast no matter what part of the country you’re from. There were some other menu items that piqued my interest and I’d like to return for lunch or dinner. The Country Kitchen is connected to sister restaurant Seasalt Fish Grill, in cause you’re more interested in the seaside than the countryside. The boy is a seafood lover so I’m sure we’ll try it as well.