Sunday, January 27, 2008
The Chicken Salad of Broad Street Tour
I was just composing an email to a friend of mine, detailing some of the better places on Broad Street at which one may have lighter meal. Since there are very few establishments where a person can do that (most folks gravitate to the twice fried chicken wings from Jefferson’s and the five pound lunch plate at The Courtyard), over the last year and a half, I’ve managed to narrow the pickins’ down to three. And all three eateries feature chicken salad in various form or fashion.
Nelson's is a hometown favorite; an old fashioned, wooden floor dime-store where you can find horehound candy and handkerchiefs next to sewing notions and hoop-skirted antebellum dolls. And sadly, Nelson’s is no longer called Nelson’s. It is called Gadsden Variety. I wish them the very best of luck with that name change. Don’t they understand that in the rulebook for small towns, rule number one states that “never change the name of a business that’s been in business for more than twenty years under one name?” Regardless of the devastation of the name change, Selena manages to make huge batches of straightforward, no frills chicken salad early every morning to serve the huge lunch crowd they have at Nelson’s everyday. If I get chicken salad at Nelson’s, I usually have it on (horrors!) a croissant and I get a side order of (horrors!) pasta salad (two words for you, “lottsa onion”). I usually feel somewhat bad after eating at Nelson’s because I carb out and feel icky the rest of the day, which brings me to my favorite place to get chicken salad, The Grind on Court. Their chicken salad is really healthy and fabulous. They use a little bit of poultry seasoning in their recipe and scoop it out on a large bed of field greens. Then, they bring it to you with a poppy seed dressing and tiny cheese biscuits. You have a nice choice of libations too. If you are a connoisseur of blue-flavored icy drinks as I know some of you out there are, they have a fantastic blue raspberry slushy concoction that is so good, you’ll give yourself brain freeze while sucking it down. They also have some nice wines that they sell by the glass, and by the bottle for that matter. But the bottles at The Grind look dusty in a neglected way, not dusty in a wine cellar way, which means bad in my book. The redeeming quality of the sad wine state at The Grind is that they are located next door to The Stone Market, which has some very nice wines (and some very funny cocktail napkins, which I love to buy as hostess gifts). Last, but certainly not least on the Chicken Salad of Broad Street Tour is The Downtown Tavern. Barbie makes a killer mess of chicken salad that features red grapes and chopped nuts. She serves it with two kinds of crackers, wheat and butter and it goes really well with a glass of Yellow Tail cabernet sauvignon (well, it goes much better with a glass of chardonnay or reisling, but I always seem to want a glass of Yellow Tail cab when I walk through those doors). It doesn’t matter how busy Barbie is (and she’s forever being left alone to run the whole joint by herself, so she’s always busy), if she has any chicken salad made up in the back and I order some, she will manage to get it for me. She’s just that kind of a server.
Reading: Rolling Stone and everything that has to do with the evolution of library technology. It is for my 501 class (well, the tech stuff is, the Rolling Stone is for my mental wellbeing).
Listening to: Lady Sovereign, Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Cat Power and Feist.