mounting a defense of southern food my best friend E and I decided to visit a local practitioner of the fine art for some Friday fish and shrimp.
You can't beat a soul food kitchen. ATL has plenty of high dollar new southern cuisine joints that offer clean organic and farm to table lower fat meals.
But for a rare old school treat -like before you were so tuned into your health and before you worried about being fat- you gotta go to the street style stands and the old timey kitchens that look just like that - tables set up in some grand pa's kitchen with plastic tablecloths and real flowers and sweet tea in mason jars.
Since we were in the art district the best choice was "Curly's" which is a small concrete building that you walk up to from the street and order at a window and then wait at the next window for your food. You can see right in the kitchen everything they do which is frying fish and chicken to order.
The menu is posted on a big billboard outside. When was the last time you saw "Kool-aid" on a menu?
We got Ashley's combo and a couple of sides to try. The macaroni and cheese is exactly as I make it with elbows and 3 cheeses, egg and a hint of cream and nutmeg. They cook it to perfection where the egg is light and airy and the edges have the perfect amount of crispy crunch.
I thought the green beans and new potatoes were too salty but the seasonings and the vinegary edge was tasty. There was a decent cole slaw; nice and cool with the right mix of creamy to slightly acidic. I had iced tea with lemon and I have to say: it was spot on with the right amount of sweet to tart.
Well, here it is. Ashley's combo. Man it was good. You can tell they change the frying oil often. Look at the mac-n-cheese. See that eggy goodness? That is a must. If you come up on some place that serves smooth, creamy and orangey mac-n-cheese, or fails to add a slice of white bread to your order? Then you are dealing with yankee imposters.
What's for dessert? How about an order of fried oreos? We thought we would get one. We got four, and though we protested we "could never" we in fact, did:
The fried oreos were wrapped in a beignet type pastry. The process of frying seemed to render the oreo inside less sweet somehow. The chocolate was a nice contrast to the crispy golden and sugar powdered shell. We did the right thing by getting these, and congratulated ourselves several times during the afternoon for having such good sense and adventurous souls. You can't eat like this everyday - nor would you want to. Eventually your body would indicate in some outward way that it needed kale and blueberry shakes. But can you treat yourself to a Curly's friday now and then? Absolutely you can. And you should.