As relative newbies to life in the USA, we still have many things to cross of our list until we can begin to consider ourselves to be fully initiated in this rather confusing country. We've managed to avoid experiencing a properly cold winter (touch wood) this year, so that will have to wait for several more months. I haven't made any attempt to understand American Football. I still don't drink beer. I say 'rubbish' rather than 'trash' and 'lorry' rather than 'truck'. However, I am growing more and more fond of big mugs of American coffee. I have taken up watching basketball (the perfect game with anyone with a short attention span when it involves sitting still and watching something you're not participating in - like me). I do consider doughnuts to be a perfectly suitable breakfast food. And now, after a trip to Wilma Jean, I have fallen head over heels for the perfect Southern fried chicken.
B has been off school for over a month now, and therefore has had much time to research and review his New York must-do, and most importantly must-eat, list. So after work last week I hopped off the subway and followed my nose and rumbling stomach, (oh the joys of working in the restaurant trade where lunch comes 2 hours after breakfast at 11.30am, making for the longest and hungriest of afternoons) down Smith Street to Wilma Jean.
We found a couple of seats at the one table without any children (our fault for trying to eat in Carroll Gardens at 6pm) and ordered a mason glass full of wine (please can 2016 be the year of the return of the wine glass) and a pint of beer (in a beer glass).
A quick perusal of the menu, accompanied by some crispy and addictive fried pickles, and we'd settled upon which chicken options we'd like. The chicken thigh dinner for me: 2 boneless thighs, cheddar grits, collard and pecan salad. The chicken dinner for B: half chicken, tater tots, slaw and a roll. We shared - obviously. The grits were sweet and creamy and something I'd like to eat for breakfast and for dinner please. The greens and the slaw were fresh and the perfect antidote to all the fried-ness we'd surrounded ourselves with. Our initiation into the world of tater tots was a happy one: these fried little shredded potato nuggets will be featuring in my life much more often from now on. And the chicken was exactly as we'd hoped - juicy, delicately falling apart, with a light, salty, crisp batter. Wilma Jean, thank you for being our introduction to the comfort food classics of America. We'll be back very, very soon.
Wilma Jean, 345 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231