Monday, February 1, 2010 at 3:45 p.m.
This month our group chose Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles. While we were there, a little birdie told us that Lo-Lo's will appear in a new TLC series called Craving Comfort, tentatively scheduled to make it's network debut later this month. We went to the Scottsdale location because it happened to be in our 'hood, but we hear the downtown locale would have been a more divey destination.
Last month we achieved dive nirvana with a Ginger margarita and a trip to Chino Bandido. So how did Lo-Lo's stack up?
After tossing around a few mint julep recipes, our host ended up with a Bufala Negra
, a bourbon based drink with a splash of balsamic vinegar and basil. The bourbon gives this drink its southern roots and the muddled basil is like a polite tip of the hat to the mint you might find crushed in a julep.
The cocktail is made with a simple syrup and ginger ale, so the drink has a slightly sweet taste like a julep, but without the toothpaste-y flavor of mint. The balsamic vinegar and bourbon is an unexpected combination but it really works. The drink was mellow and really tasty, just the right cocktail to sip before diving into to a new place.
So we know what we're getting into at Lo-Lo's, southern fried chicken and waffles, but we don't know why.
According to our waitress, the chicken and waffle combo originated in Harlem, where Jazz singers would stumble in after a show during the wee hours of the morning . Too late for dinner and too early breakfast, the restaurant would serve whatever was on hand.
The result was the unlikely combination of waffles and chicken, a pairing which has gone from lukewarm leftovers to solid gold soul food.
The first order of business are the drinks. We order the tea, but we're a little disappointed that Lo-Lo's doesn't serve alcohol. The sweet tea is served in giant jars, no refills needed, and we have some southerners on hand to qualify it as the good stuff.
We all order a chicken and waffle combo, with varying sides of fried okra, mac n' cheese, fried potatoes, eggs, and grits. The okra and mac n' cheese are pretty disappointing. One member of the group comments that the okra seems like it might have been dumped from a frozen bag right into the fryer and the macaroni is more buttery than cheesy.
The grits are a little gummy, but this could have been because we were in so late. The fried potatoes turn out to be tasty. Everything comes with a giant dollop of butter and we all joke that we could probably order a to go box, just for the leftover butter scoops.
One glance at the signage outside and you know that chicken and waffles are the main attraction and we would have all done well to just stick with those. The fried chicken is crunchy but not greasy at all and really really good. The waffles are pretty standard, but well done and the combination of sweet and salty - as in alternating one bite of each, is delicious.
We hit Lo-Lo's on a Saturday night and got lucky, a large party was still going on so we were seated and served at 7:30, even though the restaurant technically closes at 7 PM on Saturdays. The staff was really accommodating, but if you want to go late, hit the joint on Friday night, when they are open until 3 AM.
Despite the fact that we rolled into Lo-Lo's at a decent hour, we're pretty sure the bleary-eyed Jazz greats had it right, this is exactly the kind of food you want to eat after a night at the club or then again, maybe even beforehand.