Lucy’s Fried Chicken

All photographs courtesy of my talented sister, Helen.  Stop by her blog to see more! http://helenthenanny.blogspot.com/  Thanks, Helen!!

Lucy’s Fried Chicken is the new joint from the spectacular folks at Olivia, nestled on a quiet side street just off South Congress.  The fried chicken munching, négligée-clad pin up girl is just the first indication that these people know what they’re doing- this restaurant is an unadulterated delight.

Gratuitous Henry shot. See? He’s delighted already! It was a perfectly balmy spring night, so we opted to sit on the folksy patio.  There are old wood floors and powerful fans, and just-this-side-of-rickety benches,  which gives the whole place a Grandma’s front porch vibe.  In short, it feels like the perfect place to eat a bucket of fried chicken.

The money shot! A basket of that famous fried chicken, surrounded by 6 of the 8 sides on offer: smashed grilled potatoes, collard greens, cornbread dressing, grilled red cabbage slaw, grilled corn on the cob, and Mexican Coke sweet potatoes.  We like to sample!

The fried chicken is pitch perfect.  Shatteringly-crisp crust hugs tender, perfectly-seasoned chicken.  There are other tempting things on the menu, and loads of fun specials every night, but you have to, have to, order a basket of the chicken.  It’s the best I’ve ever had, and I’d be shocked if you didn’t feel the same way.

The sides play a very quiet second fiddle to the headlining chicken. Our very favorites were easily the collard greens (perfect chicken accompaniment!) and the cornbread dressing.  The smashed potatoes, which don’t look it but are laced with something spicy (tabasco?), corn on the cob, and sweet potatoes were all ok, but nothing special.  The red cabbage slaw was not good.  It was almost as if someone had forgotten to dress it.  Or salt it.  It basically tasted like raw shredded cabbage to us, so I’ll avoid that one next time. Conclusion: If you love sides, stick with the collard greens and dressing- you won’t be disappointed.

Lucy’s also has an exceptionally delightful cocktail menu. So delightful, in fact, that the drinks were profiled in a slideshow on Serious Eats.  My sister classed things up and went for the Red-Headed Step Child, which is a careful blending of rum, fresh lime juice, and Big Red.  She loved it.  Though really, what’s not to love?

Henry held onto that drumstick for almost 30 minutes, slowly and steadily gumming off all the fried chicken-goodness with his seven tiny teeth.

Pickles! A Henry favorite.

Interior shot of that gorgeous bird.

Happy baby!

Chicken lips.

The PIE! My god, the pie.  The pastry chef at Lucy’s is a super genius.  I had heard great things about the pies here, and we decided to try a slice of the S’mores (tough decision- they all sound amazing). This was beyond wonderful.  That chocolate layer was rich, smooth, and fudge-y. That’s topped with a layer of house-made marshmallow, and that’s topped with a cinnamon-flecked whipped cream.  Outrageous! Come hungry and eat lots of chicken and pie. Leave happy.

Naturally, Henry loved it too.  We shall eat kale for the next eight meals.

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Komé

Nice shot, huh? I’ve got a real eye for photography- the way I was careful to include the parking lot and that car and whatever that kettle thing is on the roof.  Bad shot aside, komé is a really fun new spot on Airport Boulevard- a place that could use some fun new spots (House Pizzeria aside- that place has still got it!).

It’s super adorable and bright and tidy inside, and it was buzzing with an early lunch crowd when we arrived.  I really wanted to try everything on the menu.  I ended up being torn between sushi, because I don’t get to eat it very often anymore, donburi (rice bowls), and ramen, because I have never had a real, legit bowl of ramen.  It’s just not something you see a lot in Austin.  Here’s what I ended up getting:

This is the Una-Don bowl- BBQ eel over rice, which came with clear soup and Japanese pickles.  I loved it.  Really, probably the best eel I’ve had- so buttery and melty, and Henry got to eat some too! The broth was clear and simple- it tasted like miso soup without the miso, which sounds weird, but I think that’s what it was.  The pickles were fun too.

No- this isn’t all my sushi- as much as I’d have liked to eat three rolls in addition to my slab of eel.  I picked one simple (read: one of the cheapest on the menu at $6) little roll, the Sunshine Roll, with salmon, mango, and avocado (it’s the roll in the middle of the plate).  I ate the whole thing happily, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the eel rice bowl.  I’m far from a sushi expert, but it seemed like the rice was a little underdone- my friend’s roll (on the right) sort of collapsed into tiny rice heaps when you prodded it lightly with a chopstick.  Also, I’m not in the habit of dipping rolls like this in soy sauce because I figure the chefs have already seasoned it the way they think it will taste best.  I think they must plan on you using soy though, because the flavors seemed a little flat. Komé- heed M.I.A’s advice and salt and pepper that mango.

Anyway, I will return to komé happily, and hopefully soon, to eat more of that delicious eel and to try the ramen! Do give me a shout if you’ve tried the ramen here!

Taco More

Chips and warmed salsa, rushed to your table at Taco More, Austin’s best taco joint.

Taco More is the gemmiest-gem you’re apt to find in the strip mall paradise of Far North Austin.  These are, far and away, the best tacos I’ve had anywhere. Despite the street-food style menu, this is a full-blown restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating, friendly waitstaff, and the coolest salsa bar I’ve ever seen (as in: tubs of thinly-sliced cucumbers and radishes nestled between a huge variety of bright and fresh salsas).

We’ve made the trek up to this place (baby in tow) twice, and I’m itching to return.  The tortas are good.  The sopes are better.  But the tacos, on ridiculous corn tortillas, are so good that they’re the only thing I’ll order from here on out.  The carnitas are my especial favorite- so much lovely pork fat flavor, with the al pastor a close second.  The cabrito (goat) and barbacoa (cow head) were also delicious.

The Fearless Critic review of this place notes that it’s “worth the drive from anywhere.” So, for the love of a good taco, get yourself on I-35 N as soon as possible.