Louisiana Fried Chicken & Wings

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So I believe Louisiana Fried Chicken has opened a location here in AZ on a couple of occasions. I remember reviewing one awhile back in Phoenix during my Urbanspoon days and then it abruptly closed without any notice when I tried to return. So the Chandler area is now their newest experiment. Louisiana Fried Chicken & Wings actually came out of LA in the 70’s and has over a hundred locations in the US. The Louisiana name comes from how the chicken is cooked –  Cajun battered and deep fried. They also have fried shrimp, chicken tenders and fish. There are several entree combinations to choose from with or without sides and whatever quantity you want. Side items include mashed potatoes, okra, red beans & rice and coleslaw. There’s a bit of an Asian influence with rice combinations and egg rolls. And they have gumbo too! The family pack combos must be popular because there were several people waiting in the lobby for large to-go orders. The restaurant itself isn’t very large but pretty clean. I thought the chicken was pretty tasty with just a hint of spice and a nice soft crunch to it. They have bottles of hot sauce available that you can spice your chicken up with. Overall Louisiana Chicken is a nice fast casual chain if you are looking for a quick affordable bite of some Cajun chicken (a 3 piece combo will run you about $8). It will be interesting to see how they do in Chandler across from Food City. Btw… they have a couple different slices of pie for dessert and boba tea.

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3 Piece Combo

Louisiana Fried Chicken & Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Urbanspoon -> Zomato

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Today is a sad day. Zomato officially transitioned Urbanspoon into Zomato. They acquired them back in January. I’ve been using Urbanspoon for a few years now and ended up becoming a Prime. I initially used them to time-stamp my restaurant visits for this blog and to help keep me organized. But after I became a Prime, I started to build community with other fellow passionate foodies. I personally put many man hours into posting photos, writing reviews and editing mis-information about different restaurants on Urbanspoon. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly a big fan of this new platform. But Zomato is continuing to keep my reviews, photos and will let me use the spoon back feature for my blog. I have decided to transition to Yelp (not a huge fan either) but will occasionally use Zomato when I can. Thanks for the good memories Urbanspoon and for getting me out trying new places to eat.

Long Live the Spoon!

From Wikipedia: Zomato’s intention, based on information from its CEO, Deepinder Goyal, as reported by John Cook of GeekWire, is to give the company “a nice footprint” as it expands in preparation to “battle industry heavyweight Yelp.” Goyal is reported to have said: “‘The biggest challenge and most fun part of this move, however, is the fight we’re going to be picking with Yelp, … [i]n the market they have dominated for so long. After all, like Mark Twain famously said, it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Zomato reportedly will integrate the Urbanspoon app and Web site over the next few months [of early 2015], “meaning the Urbanspoon brand will be phased out.”

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From Zomato Blog: Needless to say, the road ahead is a long one, and there are big challenges to overcome. For one, we’ll need to ensure that Urbanspoon’s website and app are integrated into Zomato smoothly over the next couple of months, without sacrificing the usability or utility of either. Urbanspoon has built vast legions of faithful followers over the years, and we’ll need to work extra hard to ensure that the finished product is one that users and merchants alike will love and enjoy using.

Sadly, Zomato alienated the Urbanspoon Primes and they all faded away to other food apps. I’m not sure what the future will hold for Zomato, but they ended laying off tons of U.S. staff members after their start and thus far have not replicated what Urbanspoon did here in the U.S. Zomato may be big overseas, but Yelp continues to dominate the market here in the States. There is a Facebook group for former Prime members (pending approval) if you ever want to connect with us. 

Southern Rail

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I started Arizona Restaurant Week off with a bang by eating at Southern Rail Restaurant. I had the pleasure of dining at award-winning Chef Justin Beckett’s restaurant Beckett’s Table during Restaurant Week in 2012 and really enjoyed that experience. I recently sat in on one of his cooking demos and was looking forward to eating at one of his establishments. Southern Rail is his most recent kitchen that opened in 2014. Located inside The Newton (former home of The Beef Eaters) and right off the Valley Metro light rail path, SR has become a popular dining destination for Valley foodies. The Newton is a mixed-use concept space where you can shop, read or dine. In addition to Southern Rail, there is a Changing Hands bookstore, Southwest Gardener and First Draft Book Bar.

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Southern Rail is a beautiful restaurant with lots of open space. It has an open kitchen and a large size patio/bar area. Its rustic-style, nostalgic decor that gives off a warm, hospitable feel. The food has an American Southern theme to it with flavors inspired by dishes from Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi. They also have an award-winning wine list along with a selection of local craft beers. With the Restaurant Week menu, you have the option of choosing from three different menu items for each of your three courses for dinner. Because it was my first time, I went with some of their signature dishes. The cup of Gumbo Ya-Ya for appetizer, the Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Pork Loin for my main course and their delicious Red Velvet cake for dessert. Also included was a local beer (I got one my favs – San Tan Kiltlifter). I was met with great service and enjoyed every bite.

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Gumbo Ya-Ya

Gumbo Soup Ya-Ya

Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Pork Loin

Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Pork Loin

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Southern Rail was a wonderful culinary experience for me. The Gumbo soup was full of flavor and delicious. The Pork Loin was nice and tender and you can’t go wrong with the Red Velvet cake. I’m a huge fan of Chef Beckett and his influence on the growing food culture here in the Valley of the Sun. I highly recommend either one of his restaurants. I look forward to stopping in again on the popular Fried Chicken nights on Wednesdays.

Southern Rail on Urbanspoon

Louisiana Fried Chicken

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Greatness is not “WHAT WE HAVE”
Greatness is “WHAT WE MAKE”

Another Soul Food Chain hits the Valley. Louisiana Fried Chicken is a franchise/chain birth out of L.A. with a New Orleans southern influence to their food. I picked up a Groupon to this place and decided to check it out. Soul food is pretty popular these days with restaurants everywhere adding chicken and waffles to their menu. It will be interesting to see how LFC does coming off the heels of Lo-Lo’s which made soul food a hit here in the valley. The fried okra was great and I loved the sweet potato pie. Overall it was a decent experience. (Note – they have a tendency to close at odd times whenever they run out of chicken or have A/C issues. I tried to return for a second visit and it looks like they have closed permanently. Oh well.)

  • – from their website

Joe Dion was the founder of Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken. Dion came to Los Angeles from Michigan in 1957 with nothing in pockets and inclination to work in restaurants. After a month in his garage with a 30 pound fryer, experimenting with a recipe he says he obtained from New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme, he arrived at a product chicken in a Zesty Cajun batter fried to a soft crunch and finished with a slight, spicy heat.

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3 Piece Pac (with Fried Okra and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy)

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Sweet Potato Pie

Louisiana Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CHEF Movie

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about a movie. But after seeing the trailer to Jon Favreau’s new movie CHEF, I was hooked on seeing it. One reason – food porn. I seriously was salivating as I saw the previews. Plus I was a cook for ten years in the restaurant business and I understand life in the kitchen. Cooking for me has always been both therapeutic and a passion. This is the story of Carl Casper, a cook in L.A. who is trying to rediscover his passion for cooking. He ends up going on road trip in a food truck with his son to get his passion to make amazing food back. The film ended up being a great movie and easily one of my favorite ones of the year. In addition to having a great cast, CHEF also has a great soundtrack. I ended up going with my favorite foodie friends that I love to eat out with. My friend Kim is a personal chef and my other friend Pete is (in my opinion) the top restaurant reviewer in Arizona. He and his wife Monica eat out at different restaurants all over the valley. We had a blast and I look forward to seeing it again!

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Line em up!

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IMG_1383I love going to Angels Trumpet Ale House. 31 craft beers on tap. Only 5 feet of line from the keg to the glass with stainless steel taps keeps the beer as fresh and cool as possible. They are always rotating different beers, so you have to keep an eye on the chalk board for your favorite. And of course they have great food too! A bunch of us got together for some beers for a fun night.

Angels Trumpet Ale House on Urbanspoon