We leave ourselves in your capable hands.”
That was my response when, as we were headed to the car show, Raina asked if we had any idea of where to have lunch. While I was seated behind her, I could sense the look of not quite panic to this response. So we agreed to think about this further.
So we leave the show, get on the 101, get off the 101 and onto the 17 South and suddenly Raina exclaims: “I know! How about Lo-Lo’s. The one in Phoenix and not Scottsdale.”
You might think that Lo-Lo is a woman’s name, but you would be wrong. “Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles is owned by Larry ‘Lo-Lo’ White, the grandson of Mrs. White, the owner of Phoenix landmark Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe.
“Larry began his career in the restaurant business as soon as he was able to walk, talk, and bus a table at Mrs. White's. Later, as an adult, Larry started preparing chicken and waffles after-hours at Mrs. White's…to earn extra money. Mrs. White taught him well. It's not uncommon to hear customers say Lo-Lo's fried chicken is the very best they've ever had.
“The tough economy has seen many restaurants close or cut back staff. But one Valley eatery is doing so well that it's expanding. Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles owner Larry White says there's a big reason why his business is growing. ‘We serve not only the valley's best, but the world's best southern fried chicken, and it goes very well with our delicious golden brown waffles,’ says White… Lo-Lo's is now expanding…from that small 12-hundred square foot house into a six thousand square foot building that's right next door. ’There's a huge warehouse on the corner facing Central…. If the good Lord (allows) we're going to expand and move our Phoenix location into that warehouse’” (Bob McClay at ktar.com).
We arrived at around 2:00 p.m. on that Sunday afternoon and were greeted with the news that there would be at least a thirty-minute wait. And that gave me the time to read the reviews posted on the front windows. One of these extolled the shrimp and grits, and being a shrimp and grits lover, I was sorely tempted. (Bubba's Shrimp and Grits has seven jumbo shrimp sautéed with mushrooms, scallions, and bacon and topped with cheddar cheese over a bed of grits.) But I knew in my heart that I would regret not ordering the chicken.
We were finally seated in a small but interesting back dining room
I decided to mimic my usual order at Sunny’s Fried Chicken in Church Point, LA and chose four a la carte wings plus a side. The list of sides are extensive and include beans over rice, collard greens, mac & cheese, home fries, French fries, red beans, smothered potatoes, string beans and red potatoes, potato salad, rice and gravy, cheese grits, candy sweet potatoes, fried okra, and buttered corn. I chose the cheese grits.
Chuck selected the Lo-Lo’s that came with one wing, one drumstick, and one very large and very meaty breast.
But this was really about the chicken. It was ultra crisp and juicy and the coating had been seasoned with a blend of spices of which garlic was the only one that I could specifically identify. This is now my Number Two all time chicken, only losing to Sunny’s by a hair because Sunny’s wings are larger.
Lo-Lo’s also offers a daily selection of Southern-themed desserts, but they are especially known for their red velvet cake with luscious cream cheese icing and studded with pecans.
“During the Great Depression, families were using less food colorings and extracts. They were just one more unnecessary expense that could be cut out. While the savings was good news for penny-pinchers, it was not-so-great news for the Adams Extract company.
“To counter slumping sales, folks at the company came up with the Adams Red Velvet Cake recipe, a concoction that used red food coloring and butter extract instead of the traditional ingredients. Before food coloring had become the popular way to make the cake scarlet, the hue was much more subtle and was caused by the way vinegar, cocoa, and buttermilk reacted together. The ‘velvet’ comes…from the smooth texture of fine cake crumb.
“Adams’ ploy worked. The new brilliantly-colored cake was a hit with households across the country, and the fact that the recipe was offered on free recipe cards at grocery stores everywhere didn’t hurt either. So, there you have it: the popularity of red velvet cake is the result of a clever marketing ploy. And who can resist that tagline of a bygone era: ‘The cake of a wife time’" (mentalfloss.com).
And finally, kudos to our server Chris for his good humor and his efficiency.
These were the crowning touches to a 5.0 Addie meal.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.