Really and truly, any food that makes you happy is comfort food. But there’s just something a little special about certain dishes – the ones that bring up warm and cozy memories, that can lift you up when you’re sad, the ones like mama used to make you. If you find yourself culinarily-challenged, though, or just don’t want to put the work in that dishes like this require, we are lucky enough to be living in a city where some amazing comfort food creations are abundant. So put your napkin in your lap and get ready to dig into some deliciously comforting dishes.
The Blue Hen Cafe
If you’re from the South or even just committed yourself to the Southern lifestyle, you know the necessity of good fried chicken. Crisp and juicy, Blue Hen serves their buttermilk fried Yard Bird (as they’ve dubbed it) with caramelized onion gravy, grits, and collards. Does it get any better?
Creme de la Cocoa
Pie is comfort food, period. But in this part of the country, that comfort food is often the gooey, sweet, and slightly crunchy creation called Pecan Pie. At Creme de la Cocoa, of course, they called it The Southern Belle, and they serve it in individual portions with a vanilla bean mousse. We can get behind that.
TURKEY & DRESSING
Ned’s Southside Kitchen
Once a year just isn’t enough for Thanksgiving food, and Ned’s Southside Kitchen knows that full well. So to remedy this, they’ve taken out the hassle of holiday dinner, and they’ve put together a plate of turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, and all the fixins.
Terra & Acqua
It’s no secret that pasta is what Terra & Acqua does best. And it’s also no secret that pasta is the best way to cure sadness. So their handmade lasagna, situated between layers of meat Bolognese sauce, mozzarella, Parmigiano, and besciamella should be your new best friend.
The Spot Cafe
There are few dishes more comforting than warm and gooey French toast. It brings back childhood memories of sleepy Sundays, waking up to delicious smells wafting into our bedrooms from the kitchen. Thick slices of bread are dipped in the cafe’s signature batter, cooked until they’re a deep golden brown, and topped with a generous helping of powdered sugar.
SHRIMP & GRITS
Now be forewarned – the Floridian has sidestepped tradition (as they’re wont to do) with some of the details of this dish, but it’s got such good flavor that it can’t be ignored. Their Shrimp N’ Grits is served blackened over Congaree and Penn purple rice grits then topped with flash fried spinach, Corn-Poblano Salsa, and house ricotta.
Meehan’s Irish Pub
When you’re willing the air to be chilly, the breeze to be brisk, and the sky to drizzle, the only way to complete the fantasy is a perfectly put-together Shepherd’s Pie. The one over at Meehan’s is filled with beef, lamb, and stewed vegetables then topped with mashed potatoes and baked golden brown.
Grilled cheese is the signature dish of childhoods all over the country, but it doesn’t mean that this comfort food can’t follow you into adulthood. It just might mean that you get to dress your grilled cheese up a little bit. At Sarbez, you can dress it up a lot. Either with one of their unusually-named preparations or a special creation of your own.
What’s your favorite local comfort food? Let us know in the comments below!