Checking in

March 2, 2011

Nothing  of great significance to report, other than Grandchild 1 continues to be the most amazingly perfect baby ever born. Very calm, laid-back baby; doesn’t fuss much, except when she’s hungry or has a dirty diaper (which she will NOT tolerate, thankyouverymuch). Child B’s recovery has been slowed a bit by the fact she’s had some sort of infection, which has required antibiotics, which means she’s still on her IV.

Hospital food is not as execrable as some hospital food I’ve had. They have a food court style cafeteria, with Asian, Mexican and a couple of other stations, along with a grill, a deli, a smoothie bar, a salad bar and pizza. I had salad one day, tacos one day, veggies last night. On the whole, I’d go for the tacos, which are $1.89 apiece and healthy sized enough that one makes a meal. I did not know this, and asked for two; it was the size of a big taco salad, which was how I ate it, as there was no stinking way to pick it up and eat it. They had both chicken and beef, and you pick your toppings a la Subway. The pizza was deep dish, and looked pretty cardboardy. The salad bar was a decent salad bar; regular mix, spinach, all the toppings (except radishes; whassupwiddat?), and everything’s fresh. And they have real bacon bits. Last night’s veggies were edible, but little more than. Too much nutmeg in the sweet potatos, and the mac had that unfortunate cooked-way-too-long texture to it, and a bit of an off flavor.

The meal hit of the week has been lunch yesterday at Chappy’s, a Cajun/Creole place about four blocks from the hospital. Quite elegant (white tablecloths and heavy silver at lunch is always nice), but I still got out of there for about $15, tax and tip included, which ain’t bad. They have all the New Orleans specialties, including red beans and rice, crawfish etouffee, shrimp Creole, Andouille gumbo, jambalaya, and so on. I went with the Creole, because I love the stuff. It was a mild tomato-ey sauce, not very spicy at all, but a few shakes of Chappy’s hot sauce cured that. Full of small, perfectly cooked shrimps. The rice was that wonderful every=grain-separate, firm-tender rice that typifies good New Orleans cookery (and I’m not sure how they get it; mine always wants to stick together more than that). All in all, a very good dish.

The star of the show, though, was the bread and butter. Waiter brings out a mini-loaf of tremendously, soft, airy, pillowy white bread and a plate with four scoops of different butters. There’s a standard butter, a garlic butter, a strawberry butter, and — get this — a smoked alligator butter. I kid you not. It tastes smoky, but not alligatory (I’ve had alligator, and have been underwhelmed by it). Awfully good smeared on a slice of bread. The garlic butter is sufficient to ward off all the vampires in a six-block area. The strawberry butter is the star of the show, and I used a crust of bread to wipe the last of it off the plate and contemplated asking for more.

I really wanted bread pudding with pecan sauce, but after about, oh, five slices of that bread (I did NOT eat the entire loaf, which was a tremendous exercise in self-control, I am here to tell you), I could not in good conscience bring myself to eat bread pudding. Or any other dessert, though the Key Lime pie tempted me.

Overheard the waiter telling a diner near me that the restaurant opened in Nashville in 2006, after the owner/chef got chased out of Long Beach, Mississippi, by Katrina. And once he said that, I remembered it having been in Long Beach. I’m glad he’s in Nashvegas now, where it was raining hard enough Monday morning that you’d’a thought it was Katrina come inland.

Chappy’s On Church. Church and Sixteenth, about 3 blocks south of I-40. You and y’mama ‘n ’em make a stop when you’re in Nashvegas. It’s worth it. And out the window you can see Baptist Hospital, where most gorgeous baby in the world was born this week.


4 Responses to “Checking in”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Hospital food is not as execrable as some hospital food I’ve had. They have a food court style cafeteria, with Asian, Mexican and a couple of other stations, along with a grill, a deli, a smoothie bar, a salad bar and pizza.

    In my experience, the food hospitals serve to visitors, doctors, and other staff isn’t that bad (at least tolerable). Back when my first ex was working in the Medical Records department of Barnes (then, now Barnes-Jewish) Hospital in STL, I’d bring our daughter and we’d join her for lunch there when she worked weekends. Not bad, and surprisingly cheap. (Ditto for the food served in the cafeteris at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where I got a discount (since I was a student at Northwestern’s law school, which is on the same campus) and which was open Sundays, unlike the dorm cafeteria.)

    Now the food most hospitals serve to patients… Yes, that should be classed as a crime against humanity, and most of those cooks should be sent to The Hague to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

  2. searee Says:

    I hadn’t realized Chappy’s had re-opened in Nashville. I enjoyed many meals at Chappy’s original Long Beach restaurant. Glad Chappy is serving food that’s as good as ever.

    BTW, the secret in NOLA rice is the way it’s cooked. Boil long grain white rice in water like pasta till you’re happy with the texture, drain it into a cheapo aluminum colander, then set it to steam (covered) over a bit of water in a double-boiler type configuration. Once it comes to temperature, the rice can simmer practically indefinitely as you finish cooking the rest of the meal. I cook brown rice the same way (just takes longer to boil till cooked).

  3. kayatthekeyboard Says:

    Note: If anyone goes to Chappy’s based on this review, please note it’s 18th and Church, not 16th. Parking lot in the rear. And it would be four blocks south of I-40, 2 blocks north of Baptist.

  4. kate Says:

    Sugah always said if you open the top on the rice before it’s “done,” it will stick. Hers never did. I’m impressed she knew just exactly how long to cook it, and manage not to look.

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