As an Arkansas native, there are many things I miss from the South. One of them is the ability to float around on the White River that ran through town while my best friend's dad caught what would be fried for dinner -- catfish.
Now that I live in a desert and I don't fish much, I set out to find that flaky and perfectly battered catfish to satisfy my cravings.
In This Corner: Jamburritos Cajun Grille Express
The Setup: Jamburritos is a food truck. And as the name implies, these folks like to serve up the Cajun cuisine a little different by wrapping a burrito around their etouffee. To find where they are stationed for the day, check out their monthly calendar or Twitter feed.
The Good: For only $8, this catfish came paired with jambalaya rice with andouille sausage and a small salad. With a hint of spice and lemon, the catfish had a Cajun twist on the usual bland take on catfish. The meal also came with some salsa, which was a great dip.
The Bad: Although the fish was flaky, it was too crispy for my liking.
In The Other Corner: Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles
The Setup: We all know Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles for exactly that, fried chicken and waffles. There are two locations in the Valley, and the one south of downtown Phoenix was recently renovated, taking away its hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. (In a good way.) The other location is in south Scottsdale.
The Good: Out came my catfish platter with two fried fillets, a bowl of fried okra, beans and rice, and cornbread. Battered and fried to a golden brown, the fish was crispy and flaky with a classic salt and pepper taste. The taste and the crispiness worked in perfect harmony.
The Bad: Honestly, I have no complaints except the $14 price tag.
And the winner is...Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles. Both restaurants had a great taste, but Lo-Lo's catfish was flawlessly fried. It's worth the extra money.