Thursday, December 2, 2010

A constructive review of Miss Hattie's Cow Patty restaurant.

Folks, we have a new restaurant in Kingsland. It's called Miss Hattie's Cow Patty.

It's located at 105 N. Lee Street (the Kingslander's name for Hwy 17.) If you are coming from east of Hwy 17 on Hwy 40 (i.e., from St. Marys) take a right onto Hwy 17 (okay, "Lee Street.") After you turn right, the first building on your right is the used appliance store. The restaurant is in the first door of that next building, right next to the cheesy quickie marriage joint. If you can't find parking on the curb, just do what I did - go down to the parking lot for the EMA building (the old post office) unless, of course, a hurricane is coming.

As you will see below, they have a very interesting menu that I look forward to working my way through, IF they work out a few start-up bugs. I would note, however, that between my two grandmothers and one great-grandmother, other than the pies, puddings and cobblers, they never ever served up anything remotely like the other interesting stuff on this menu. I'd love to know where these folks grew up.

When you walk in the door, you are warmly greeted by at least one, if not several, staff members. The place looks immaculately clean with pleasing decor and ambiance. Contrary to the canard on Topix, there was no unpleasant odor whatsoever, much less that "odor that you get when you cook with gas (and yes, I would know it if I smelled it - both of my grandmothers cooked with gas (great grandma used a wood burning cast-iron cook stove until the day she died in her 90s!)

My friendly waitress was prompt to hand me a menu and take my drink order - unsweetened iced tea.

The tea, served in a Mason jar, was a huge disappointment. It was extremely weak. Later, what turned out to be the middle-aged woman who had made the tea stopped by my table and asked how everything was. I believe that the worst thing you can do is lie to people trying to make a go of a new restaurant. I politely told her that the tea was much, much too weak and that "Down south, we like it strong." I told her that the solution was very simple: instead of putting just one of those premeasured bags of tea into the tea maker, put two. Works like a charm. She said she would. Caution: when you go, take a look at some one's tea before you order. If that has not been corrected, try a milkshake or water - and tell them why you did not order the tea.

I ordered the "Miss Hattie Moo" (see menu.) Note: It came out with a least a quarter of a cup of those always nasty, cheap, dill pickle chips. I removed those immediately. No, it does not say on the menu that it comes with pickles, but look up above that where it says "All burgers topped with lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and Dill Pickle Chips..". You guessed it: ALL of that plus what was listed for the Miss Hattie Moo, specifically, came on one burger. The raw tomato completely overpowered the fried tomato taste which I was looking forward to. The caramelized onion flavor was also lost amongst the sea of competing flavors. The roasted garlic cream cheese was good, though I wish it had not been refrigerator-cold. Room temp would have been better.

Now, let's talk about the meat. I phoned them up after I got home to make sure I had the right patty weights for the three different burger sizes. You can see in my handwriting that they are ostensibly 6 oz., 4 oz., and 3 oz.

I ordered the $6.95 Big Moo-sized patty which is ostensibly 4 ounces or a quarter-of-a-pound. I've cooked a many a quarter-pound burger patty. Trust me, the pre -cooked weight on this hand-made (i.e., in store) patty was not a quarter of a pound. It was about twice the thickness of the meat on a Krystal burger and about twice as broad. Incredibly, in spite of it being so thin, whoever cooked it managed to send it out raw in the middle, a fact which I did not discover until I was about to eat the last bite.

Suggestion: Go with one, high quality, 80/20,  frozen, 1/3- pound burger patty. Take them straight from the freezer and onto the grill. They are every bit as good as fresh and I will not have to worry about how thoroughly you washed your hands before hand-making the patties and I will know for a certainty that the pre-cooked weight I'm paying for is what I'm actually getting.

The hamburger bun was quite different than any I've ever had and quite good. That's a keeper.

Now, the menu says that their skin-on fries are fresh sliced , real potato French fries. If that's true, more the pity because it is really hard to screw up fresh fries but they did.

As a former fast food manager, I can just about assure you that those were frozen potatoes (albeit cut from whole potatoes as claimed) and tell you what went wrong.  The fries came out limp and soggy and  room temperature. That will invariably happen to some degree when you let frozen potatoes thaw before you cook them. The ONLY way to make frozen fries that rival fresh is to literally reach into the bag of fries while it is still in the freezer and hard frozen, pull out just enough for an order or a basket full, and then immediately immerse them, still hard frozen, into the hot grease. Grease temperature is critical. The ideal temp for French fries is 360 degrees F. My guess is their grease was not quite hot enough for one of three reasons: A, they had the thermostat on the Fryolator set too low and it never reached 360 degrees, or, B, they were putting in too many fries at one time and causing a precipitous drop below the critical 360 degree temperature of the grease, or C, they forgot to turn the Fryolator on the minute they walked in the door this
morning and it did not have time to reach steady state operating temperature.

I also asked for a small sample of their chili. It was, as I suspected, a mediocre version of what I call red neck chili. No self-respecting Hispanic cook would claim it. Along with a copy of this critique, I am mailing the owners a copy of my chili recipe I hope they will take advantage of this chance to become famous for the best, authentic chili in the county.

In conclusion, I wish them well. I'll give 'em a couple of months to get it together then go back and try out some of their other very interesting dishes.

To enlarge menu, click on each page once, wait a second, then click on it again.

Note: An exact copy of this review went in the mail to the owners of Miss Hattie's on 12/3/10, along with a signed note wishing them success.


J. Williams said...

Give them the bean chilli mix info, it is so good,

Jay Moreno said...

I already did. I printed it out and sent it along with the exact copy of my review.

Thanks for the compliment. Glad you like it.

For a good cold-morning breakfast, try making an omelette's with my Killer Black Bean Chili. I like to add some raw white onions and top it off with grated extra sharp cheddar

Jay Moreno said...

An "omelette's?" I haven't had my second cup of coffee.