Chicken and Waffles a la Danny

eggotyson nuggets

There is a really interesting restaurant in downtown Raleigh called Beasley’s Chicken + Honey.  Ashley Christensen has become a famous local chef and entrepreneur who has worked to bring good food and spirits to our city.  She owns Beasley’s.

This hip joint has tables with stools and serves fried chicken on a waffle – with honey.

I ate there a while back, and it was good.  Reminded me a bit of my grandma’s southern (South Carolina) cooking.

After the girls went one night with Uncle Jesse and came back with rave revues, I figured Ashley might be on to something.  I’m always looking for new meals!

So – I bought a box of Eggo’s and some Tyson chicken nuggets.  I plugged in the toaster and turned the microwave on high.

I was so looking forward to THE early evening question…

“Dad, what’s for dinner?”

“You’re gonna like this one!  Remember when you went downtown with Uncle Jesse to that cool restaurant?”

“The one with chicken and waffles?”

“Oh yeah,” I said with slight bit of swag.

I am THE man!  I couldn’t believe I was so clever.  I remembered something they liked and had put this meal together ON MY OWN!

As I brought the plates to the table, I could see their faces fall.

“Get the ketchup,” Michelle dourly requested.

DJ was more blatant in her criticism.

“This is disgusting.  Can I eat the waffle now and come back in thirty minutes for the nuggets?  It’s like two different meals.  YUCK!”

I don’t understand.  They do this on Good Morning America every week!  They have a model come out in a very expensive dress that looks nice, and they find a similar outfit that came from Walmart.  No one can every tell the difference.

I mean it was the exact same combination that Ashley had served up the week before – which they loooved!

What is wrong with these people who live with me???


Verna’s Two

Posted by Danny

My father-in-law plans a great trip.  And the best part about taking a journey with him is that you get to experience things that a normal tourist might not experience.

On our second night in Hawaii, the restaurant where we were planning to eat was packed and on that side of the island, there weren’t really other options.  So Pops pulled out his trusty tourist guide and started driving.  About 20 minutes later, we pulled up to Verna’s Too.  I’m surprised there was enough enthusiasm about the first Verna’s to open a second.

The guide-book described Verna’s as an inexpensive burger joint where all the locals hang out.  That was true.

When we first drove up, Michelle turned up her nose and said she wasn’t hungry.  The kid has a good sense about these things.

The woman at the window took our order with a ballpoint pen and a scrap of paper.  Her outfit was tight.  I was thankful the half wall covered the waist down.  Her form-fitting tight tank top was the same tan color as her skin.

She handed the order back to an older woman standing behind the grill.  She wore bedroom shoes and held the spatula in her hand; there was no smile.  She had a job to do and was focused on the griddle.  I got the sense she began her career at the original Verna’s as a very young woman.  She’d handled an order for 11 on many, many occasion.  This was not a problem.

The tiny dining room reminded me of the arcade at Permastone Lake, my summer haunt as a child.  I remember Undercover Angel playing on the jukebox as I ate snow cones with Steven Mozena my best childhood friend.  Their dining room floors were similar, concrete with a thin layer of wet sand on the top.  There were two options for sitting: a hard orange table with matching benches on the right and another on the left.  We split up – each booth only held 4.

Jesse was clear in his request, “NO MAYO.”  We all know to keep the mayo and, incidentally, garden peas, away from Uncle Jesse.  Almost makes him sick.

When his steak sandwich came out, the “special sauce” seemed an awful lot like mayonnaise – same color, same smell, same thick saucy consistency.  It wasn’t fully opened when it landed in the bottom of the 24 gallon metal trash can lined with a yard bag.  I suspected that they’d emptied palm tree clippings earlier that day to make room for the dinner rush.

It’s his own fault.  Who in their right mind orders a steak sandwich from a woman with sweat rings circling her armpits?

Our friend from behind the counter doubled as the food deliverer.  A side window opened from the kitchen to the gritty dining room.  She’d peak at the incoming meal and announce the next fare.

Michelle turned her nose up and anticipated my displeasure.

“Don’t get mad at me.  I told you I wasn’t eating that stuff.”

How could I argue?  She’d just seen her 33-year-old uncle toss half a cow into a Glad bag.

I opened my tin foil, the burger was hot.  Michelle nibbled at my fries.  The ketchup bottle looked clean, and I love me some ketchup.

I sniffed the bun as it neared my mouth – I had to do it if for no other reason as an example for my kids.

And it wasn’t half bad.  Sort of reminded me of a two-day old Hamburger Steak, Jr., from the Chargrill, reheated in the microwave.

I’ve decided my family is snotty.  The food wasn’t the issue for my kids, it was the atmosphere.  Somehow I’ve raised girls with country club taste on a YMCA salary.  How did that happen?

Golden Corral or Bust

Posted by Danny

Jesse sold DJ on the Golden Corral.  He built it up like it was a trip to Disney World.  And their enthusiasm was infectious!  I, who harbors ill will toward a buffet, even got a little excited.

Our plan was to venture out on Saturday night after our long afternoon of shopping.  Jesse got last-minute tickets to the Hurricanes game (where incidentally he was tossed out for, according to him nothing).  He was visibly shaken that he might not be there when the girls were introduced to this gourmet mecca.  I think he almost turned the free ticket down – tough call for Jesse –

Front row at a sporting event versus the GC buffet

Sports won.

We walked in the front door on Saturday at 6:30 with my father-in-law only to find the lobby spilling over with eager “ready to bingers”.  With Jesse not there to coax me, I quickly decided we should return, with him, at a later date.

Tonight was right.  We all skipped our afternoon snacks and after picking DJ up from dance, headed around the corner to shove as much food in our mouths as humanly possible.

There was no line at 8 pm on a Wednesday night.  We walked right in to the beverage bar.  I sprang for soda, something I only do on special occasions.  THIS was that special day.

I started with a walk through, perusing the vast troughs of food.  Jesse joked that a shuttle bus would come by every ten minutes to take the kids to the far end of the buffet.  Heaven forbid we walk while experiencing a 6,000 calorie feast.

Michelle got a steak that was larger than her head.  She held it, in its entirity, on the end of her fork and chomped on the sides, juice dripping down her arm onto her white shirt.   

There was Chinese, Mexican, American, Italian, and seafood.  Country biscuits, yeast rolls, cornbread, cheese biscuits – and we tried them all.  We threw more food away tonight than we eat at most dinners.  We had soup, we had egg rolls, enchiladas and okra.  You want turkey and dressing or beets?  They’re down past the Indian fare.

When we could take no more, our stomachs jammed, we headed to the desert bar.  All three of the kids returned to the table with eyes lit up like Christmas morning.  Stephanie’s dessert plate was packed with chocolate pie, chocolate covered marshmallows and fruit, and soft serve ice cream sprinkled with M & M’s.  To top it off, at Jesse’s suggestion, a big fat yeast roll.  Nearing the end of the seventh course, I looked at Stephanie, the bread hanging between her lips. 

“Stop eating!” I strongly suggested.

“I just can’t Daddy,” she replied.

I thought we were through.  But the piece de la resistance…pink cotton candy – with no ferris wheel or Carnie in sight.  It was too good to be true.

On the way home, I heard the crumpling of paper.  Glancing in the rear view mirror I could see Michelle munching on saltine crackers she’d pocketed from the soup bar.

“Enough!” I shouted.  “We’ve had enough!  If you put one more thing in your mouth, you’re going to explode.”

“OK Daaad, but why are you driving so fast?”

“No particular reason….I call first dibs on the downstairs bathroom!”

It could be a very long night.

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