When I went to New Orleans in 2016 it was one of the best experiences of my college career. Although this answer might change depending on whose asking, the highlight of the trip was definitely discovering the cajun cuisine, and of course hurricanes on Bourbon Street.
I’ve gotten small tastes of NOLA from time to time, like at Buttermilk & Bourbon on a recent trip to Boston, but it took me far too long to finally get a taste of NOLA in my own backyard.
Hattie’s Restaurant in Saratoga is famous for it’s fried chicken. In fact, with recipes dating back to 1938, the restaurant has been frequented by notable chefs like Bobby Flay and was named #18 out of 75 best fried chicken joints in America.
I’ve technically eaten Hattie’s before, tasting soup at last year’s Chowderfest, and ordering a sandwich from their Chicken Shack location in Wilton Plaza. But finally experiencing Hattie’s in her full glory was everything I had expected and more.
I went for brunch on a cold and rainy Saturday and was happy to be immediately seated. Since I had already looked up the menu the night before, there was no time to waste. I ordered the chicken and waffles with a side of sausage gravy. Although I was initially planning on sticking to water, there was no looking back when the waitress asked if I wanted a drink and suddenly without really even thinking, “Yes, a hurricane please” had already come out of my mouth.
A soft waffle, fluffy and melt in your mouth delicious, topped with crispy fried chicken, flavorful and both white and dark meat, there was nothing but bones left when I was done. Although the combination of maple syrup and sausage gravy may seem off-putting to some, for me it was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet.
I already know I have to go back to Hattie’s because while I have no regrets about the chicken and waffles, I sacrificed the crab cakes benedict to have it, and that’s just brunch. The hot chicken has been widely regarded as the best of the best, and the all-season French Quarter patio brings me back to Louisiana without ever having to get on a plane.
If you’re looking to celebrate Mardi Gras, I have a feeling that Hattie’s will be a pretty fun time.