Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I Love Lucy's

Well, we definitely didn't drive to dinner last night - although I never cease to be surprised how draining even a 15 minute walk can be in Austin's summer heat.

If you're an Austinite, you'll probably already know that Lucy's is the fried chicken spin off of local upscale eatery Oliva. If you're a tourist like me, you simply spotted it on the way to buy milk at the local HEB and thought it looked good. Either way, it's definitely worth the walk from central SoCo, no matter how warm the evening.

Lucy's seem to like frying stuff. Livers, gizzards, tomatoes, oysters - even meatloaf - all get popped in the deep fat fryer. This isn't a bad thing. Nor are the deep fried devilled eggs we had for a starter. Sorry, appetizer.

At long last we're getting the hang of eating out in America. Back home, we're used to eating out being the main activity of our evening - yet here, we've found ourselves walking out of even upmarket restaurants less than an hour after we entered them thinking "err, what now?".

[Devilled Eggs - Deep Fried]
If you haven't eaten in the US, the speed at which restaurants operate at can come as a surprise.

The nightmare scenario for a waiter is that there might be a moment in the evening when there is no food on the table.

This must be avoided at all costs, as if their tips get reduced by a dollar for every minute of food free table.

Entrees (main courses) always arrive as the last mouthfuls of starter are swallowed (if not earlier). Desert orders are taken halfway through the mains to ensure they arrive the very second the knife and fork are put down.

[All The Good Stuff]
We've tried explaining to waiters we're in no rush. We've even learned that the term for how us awkward Europeans do things is called 'eating coursed out'. But it doesn't work. Waiters hover saying "do you want your mains now?" every fifteen seconds. Food arrives, goes back, comes out again. You can sense a feeling of rising panic.

So at Lucy's we kept things calm by simply not telling them what we wanted.

[Pink but Powerful]
First we had a watermelon margarita (yum, far too easy to drink in quantity) while we read the menu. Slowly.

Then we ordered the devilled eggs, but wouldn't be drawn on whether we wanted anything else. (The eggs, by the way, are delicious).

For mains - when we did, eventually, order them - we went all-American. A basket of chicken pieces, corn bread, bowls of mac cheese and sweet potato. The waitress suggested putting honey (in little sauce sachets) on the chicken, and there's no doubt I'll be trying that at home.

A great meal, and we will absolutely be back. I need my meatloaf and gizzards.

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