The last three restaurants we went to before I left for home happened to be our very favorites of the 11 we squeezed into our 7-day itinerary. Tartine and Willie Mae’s were two very highly recommended in previous issues of the Los Angeles Times Travel Section.
Tartine is a tiny unassuming place nestled in a residential/industrial area an Uber drive away. A tartine is a slice of bread with a sweet or savory topping. Kaitlynn’s tartine was with butter, jam and brie! Yum!! I had Baked Eggs in Brioche – 2 poached eggs baked in a bread bowl with herbed cream and topped with gruyere. They were both fairly simple dishes and so very flavorful. This place is definitely on my “Go There Again” list.
Willie Mae’s was established in 1957. In 2005 it received the prestigious James Beard Award for “American’s Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region”. It suddenly went from a local neighborhood eatery to a nationally recognized restaurant. Then came Hurricane Katrina, causing severe damage to the restaurant. With help from local and national organizations, Willie Mae’s was able to reopen in 2007. Then came recognition from the Food Network and the Travel Channel as “America’s Best Fried Chicken”. Willie Mae’s great granddaughter now runs the operation.
The nation’s best fried chicken – that remained to be seen. We both ordered the 3-piece dinner with a choice of sides. Between us we got mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, butter beans and fried okra. Boy, how Southern can you get??!! Now – the best fried chicken? You betcha!!!! I never tasted anything so good, so crispy, such yummy breading. We almost forgot about the chicken (which was very moist and tender) the crisp breading was soooooo good!!
AND their bread pudding (served with white chocolate and rum sauce) is also the best I have ever tasted. The restaurant was full, people waiting outside – many driving miles and miles and some like me = from out of state.
Last but certainly not least is our lunch at the Maple Street Café. If we had known how good it was, it would have been our third visit there instead of our first, and it is so close to Kaitlynn’s apartment. The menu is categorized by Zagat as Mediterranean, but it also has an Italian flare and a flavor of its own.
We started with Homemade Mozzarella and Sliced Tomatoes with roasted garlic, onions, fresh basil and a balsamic vinaigrette. An older couple with lovely Southern accents highly recommended the Chicken Lemon and the white bean soup. Of course, we ordered those dishes as well as the Stuffed Shrimp in phyllo dough with a seafood stuffing and topped with white wine lemon butter. Dessert was key lime pie for me and Baklava for Kaitlynn. Everything was top notch including the never empty glasses of iced tea with lemon and mint. It was a perfect last meal before leaving for home.
There is so much more to my trip than the food. But that will be blogs for another time.