Bubba’s Fried Chicken

fried chicken

The hardest part about traveling and teaching classes, which I’m doing this week in Texas, is that I’m not on vacation and hence there’s almost no time to do all the things in the various cities where I am that people tell me I should do. Or I should rephrase that and say that I don’t have the time to eat all the things that people tell me I should eat.

corn and corn bread

It’s exquisite torture to be in a town famous for, say, barbecued ribs or fried oysters po’ boys and not be able to get me some.

People kill me by recommending coffee roasters, bakeries, breakfast spots, and Tex-Mex diners and I want to be taking fastidious notes to hightail it to those places, but my schedule is tighter than Nancy Grace’s bob and the few minutes of free time I have per day barely gives me enough time to shower and shave. For example, this is my typical day during this week while I’m in Texas:

7:02am: Abruptly wake up as thin sliver of sunlight comes streaming through beige hotel curtains, which is exactly pointed at my eyes.

7:55am: After debating if I can justify paying the price for hotel breakfast, I head down to beige (or mauve) dining room for $19 bowl of granola and $5.50 cup of coffee.

8:30am: Head back to beige room to pack and get ready for 10am flight.

8:57am: Distribute dollar bills to hotel employees wishing me a nice day, then get in cab. Lie to driver that I’m a mortgage broker from Nebraska to ensure no further conversation will take place. Realize that coffee is kicking in and that I need a restroom. Immediately.

9:45am: Arrive at airport. Strip down at TSA and let men in uniforms fondle my genitalia to protect my fellow passengers. Listen to bellowing businessmen talking about sales projections for the upcoming year, wonder who “Bill, in Des Moines” is and why the other hundred and fifteen people in waiting area need to know about what a “dynamite” guy he is. Fortunately they head to airport bar which will medicate them for flight and perhaps lower their voices a few decibels.

11:10am: Flight lands, find baggage claim and a cab to head to another beige (and mauve) hotel.

12:15pm: Arrive at hotel. Distribute dollars to eager bellhops for getting me and my suitcase inside their door safely.

12:18pm: Emergency bathroom trip foiled by housekeeping asking if I need ice, and front desk calling a few seconds later to make sure room is okay.

12:21pm: Urge to use bathroom rescinded. Vow to try again tomorrow.

12:30pm: Lunch—half bag of peanut M&M’s or Clif bar because I’m too cheap to pay $28 for a turkey sandwich at the hotel restaurant.

12:33pm: Since I can’t figure out how to get connected to hotel’s Wi-Fi network, crawl under covers and cry, eyeing mini-bar.

12:35-2:30pm: Grab remote control and watch back-to-back episodes of Swift Justice with Nancy Grace. Finally realize that answer to give guests at classes who ask why I moved to France.

2:30pm: Head to cooking school to prepare for class.

3:00pm: Meet and talk to everyone. Insist on two double espressos. Then another one.

3:04pm-5:50pm: Chaos.

5:51pm-6pm: Panic.

6:01pm-6:29pm: Hide in bathroom stall while you pull yourself together. Ignore pounding on door to see if I’m okay.

6:30pm-8:45pm: Teach class.

8:46pm-9pm: Gulp down two glasses of wine.

9:01pm-9:05pm: Thanks assistants profusely for preparing everything to make me look like I know what I’m doing.

9:06pm-9:32pm: Sign books, eat three desserts.

9:57pm: Back to hotel, eat salad in shower. Decide that even though half-bottle of wine in mini-bar costs the equivalent of feeding a family of four for one day, weigh the benefits, and open it. Kick myself for not taking the complimentary bottle of tequila from hotel room in Mexico.

10:15pm: On the verge of passing out, rinse socks and unmentionables, drape them over heater, get into bed.

10:17pm: Get out of bed to push towels under and around door to block out light coming in from hallway.

10:23pm: Get out of bed to use hotel hangers with clips to close beige (or mauve) curtains and block light from floodlights which illuminate the hotel façade, and my room.

10:44pm: Get out of bed because urge to use restroom at long last kicks in.

10:45pm: Realize it’s a false alarm.

10:46pm-Midnight: Watch tv thinking it’ll help me sleep.

Midnight-6:12am: Stare at hotel room ceiling wondering why I had all those espressos. Growing concern about this Nancy Grace person.

6:13am: Fall asleep.

7:01am: Wake up, pack, mentally prepare for Southwest scrum, head to airport. Check wallet to make sure I have plenty of singles to distribute upon arrival.

As you can see, there isn’t that much time to do anything but take care of my basic needs. The only brief sliver of time is just after midday. And as fascinating as Nancy Grace and her hair are, a gift is when someone says they will pick you up at the front door of your hotel, take you to lunch, then drop you back off at your front door an hour later.

Bubba's fried chicken

I was able to make a break in Dallas and when someone asked if I wanted Tex-Mex, Thai, bbq, or fried chicken, I had to pick the fried chicken because out of all the foods in the entire world, if I had to choose the one food I like more than anything else, that would be crisp fried chicken.

So how happy was I when I parted the beige hotel curtains of my room and saw my friend pull up in her car. I ran down and hopped in, and we blitzed over to Bubba’s.

fried chicken

(One a side note, what’s funny about Texas is that no matter what barbeque or fried chicken joint you go to, someone will later on tell you afterward that there is another place—one that’s much, much better, in another part of town.)

At Bubba’s, there’s not a lot of choice; it’s either dark or white meat. You pick a few sides, grab your plate, pour your own soda, iced tea, or lemonade (they had no idea what an Arnold Palmer was, so the help yourself drink bar was a good idea), then head to a table.

fried okra corn on the cob

To say I was in crispy-skinned heaven is an understatement and I was trying to be prudent after a week of stuffing my face with Mexican food in Mexico. But if faced with an entire chicken, fried, I could without question eat the entire platter. Or yes, the whole extra-crispy bucket.

Fried okra? Never had it before, but I’m in. (And I’m sure someone will tell me that in Dallas, there’s a much better place to get that.) But it’s tough to pass up corn on the cob and cole slaw. A nice round of cornbread with some butter and honey, a cold Arnold Palmer, and I’m ready for another class…in just a few hours.

Bubba’s Cooks Country
6617 Hillcrest Avenue
Dallas, Texas
(214) 373-6527

132 comments

  • David: Get thee a sleep mask before your next trip!

  • I love how you tell a story!!! This was so much fun to read!!!

  • Oooeeee this post had me in stitches! I bet every single person who travels as part of their living can identify with your descriptions. Thanks for such a great laugh!

  • [as giggling dies down] Hanger clips! Genius!

  • Thank you David for a wonderful class tonight here in San Antonio. I’m bummed I forgot my book for you to sign. I loved the chocolate cake with the white chocolate caramel sauce and the floating island with the almonds. I think I liked the almonds more they were addicting. Again thanks for a great class and have a safe trip back. Don’t forget to stock up on Reynolds wrap.

  • i grew up (and out) eating mary beth vineyard’s (bubba’s former co-owner) beer biscuits and cherry cobbler at bubba’s in snyder plaza.

    thanks for the blissful reminder.

  • My days are similar when I stay at a hotel for a legal conference. Good to know someone else experiences the paralysis caused by difficult wifi. Thanks for this!

  • David, I agree with so much of what you say but…mauve is offensive. I’m sure it doesn’t mean to be but it is so—just horrible and blah.

  • “10:23pm: … use hotel hangers with clips to close beige (or mauve) …

    That one is priceless, David! I’ll have to remember it next time I need to shut those curtains close! *smile*

    I am surprised that fried okra was new to you. Must have to do with living on the West Coast! Living on the East Coast. I miss fried okra more than anything! Even though at the big markets the one or other forlorn looking basket of green, but puny okra tempts me to buy it, I resist, well knowing that I cannot recreate at home that authentic Southern fried okra I crave.

    I wish you success with all your endeavors, the one or other great food highlight, and safe travels!

  • So this is what you had after your trip in Mexico? Been following your tweets on twitter, very funny! The chicken looks divine! nice and crispy just as it should be :)

  • oh, David, you’re so funny :-) I wish you more time to enjoy your stay!
    And fried okra? Oh, my my my, haven’t had that in ages. Maybe a good thing, to keep my arteries alive and kicking.
    Have you had the pickled okras? Get some if you haven’t. That’s another thing for your list ;-)
    All the best,
    Adrian

  • David,
    I know all about beige! I am a Southwest flight attendant and would have loved to have you on my flight, although I would have only peered at you from afar so as not to seem groupie-like and annoy you while you try to get comfortable in the horrendous middle seat ;) I am also from Dallas and loved fried chicken in all varieties. Love the post! Hope I actually see you on one of my flights

  • Thanks for writing this. It makes me feel more American and good about it. Living in Europe the food is good but it must be presented in a certain style. Whereas in America you just accept food for what it is…crazy good. And now I feel less guilty about eating free hotel cookies and raiding the mini bar.

  • amy: I was on a few Southwest flights so we must have missed each other. I did find it funny how obediently Americans line up for their Southwest flights; another passenger saw my ticket number in line and said, “Oh, you’re ahead of me.” No wonder Southwest doesn’t fly to Paris–that would never fly there! : )

    Vicki: I have a terrific sleep mask, a Tempurpedic, but I sometime forget to bring it to bed with me..

  • I laughed out loud at your Nancy Grace comments. That woman scares me. I would totally use her as a reason to move from the US. I would also add Jane Velez-Mitchell to that list. :)

  • Being a food lover and up-and-coming foodwriter myself I love your blog! I also wish I could have caught you when you were still in San Antonio because you have to check on Chris Madrids! It’s a buger place on Blanco and a San Antonio landmark. I write about it in my blog but that still does not do it justice. Best burgers I have ever had, anywhere!

  • Damn. That fried chicken looks goood. Thankfully, we have good fried chicken here in California, too. I’ve been dying to try Brown Sugar Kitchen’s chicken (and waffles), right here in Oakland. If it’s good enough for Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list, it’s likely good enough for me: http://www.brownsugarkitchen.com/ Have you been?

  • I live in Dallas and I can’t think of a place with better fried chicken than Bubba’s!

  • You are absolutely hilarious…great rundown of your busy day! Good choice on the fried chicken, probably can’t find that in Paris. ;)

  • David, if I’d known how dang funny this post was going to be, I would have waited to read it until I put the sleeping baby in his bed! However, he is washable so the wine I spilled on his head as I giggled isn’t a huge problem ;) You are talented *and* hilarious!! I was so bummed that I missed the open spot in your Austin class, and will be waiting anxiously for your turn through here next year (assuming we still live here then!). Are you SO glad to be back home again and in your own place, with whole bottles of wine and curtains that close?

  • Um, yummy!!! Was Bubba’s willing to share that delicious looking fried chicken recipe?

  • First time ever reading your post. OMG, I’m at work (health care) so I had to try to control myself for literally lauhing hysterically out loud. Thanks for making everything picture clear.
    JWL

  • You are really amazing… you have a lot to share and I am enjoying every part of it. The best thing really to remember a place is to bet a taste of their best foods and the good thing is adopting them at home. The fried chicken looks so delicious and I am hungry already.

  • Great post, David!
    Two things: fried okra are to Southerners what (french) fried potatoes are to the rest of the country. More regional flavor. Beloved!
    Second thing: get thee to a doctor for an exam on that bathroom thing. I hope you were joking, but I do love reading your blog and I’d be sad if…

  • Sleeping mask and earplugs – essential for sleeping anywhere apart from home.

  • I am dying laughing. Not about your travel, sleep, bathroom predicaments, but because: 1. I live in Dallas and have had Bubba’s fried chicken many times and it’s delicious. 2. Yes, there always is one more better place to try. 3. My entrance into the culinary world in 2001 was as an assistant in the culinary school at our local Sur La Table. I was in charge of our traveling chefs (this was considered a perk and I loved it.) who were in town to teach a class and sell their latest cookbook. I often picked up the instructors at their hotel and got to share behind the scenes information, but sometimes the glare in their eyes was evident (Yes, it’s Thursday and your in Dallas.) Of the hundreds of chefs I worked with, most were wonderful to work with, a few became friends, and only three were not nice. I’m sure you would not have been in that category. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Texas and can come back when you can relax more.

  • Carol; Yes, the “..you know, ________ (fill in the blank) is much better!” It’s like everyone in Texas is trying to give you an inferiority complex! ; )

    Since you worked in a cooking school, the biggest challenge for me is remembering the names of all the wonderful assistants that help to make the class happen. I am terrible at names to begin with, and travel compounds it. I feel bad when they ask me to sign a book for them at the end, sometimes, because I have to ask their name. Most understand but a few gave me a “look”… Next time, I’m going to write them all down when I arrive and memorize them.

  • You know, the fried okra at Bubba’s is pretty good, but if you want really good fried okra you have to go to Danny’s in Athens!

  • Nothing like good Southern fried chicken. The fried okra looks like a treat too!

  • If you come to N.O. I would love your to be able to get the recipe for Jims Fried Chicken which was the fare of a restaurant on Carrollton Ave when I was a teen and young adult in the 50′sd and 60′s. It was greasy but platonic. I heard the chicken was battered and rolled inCorn Flakes. You would have a lot of us old people happy to be able to enjoy it on our way out.
    Lois

  • Hi- re travel bathroom issues: I discovered Colace when I was pregnant and I swear I will never travel without it again. Gentle and not bad for you- try it!

  • abbie: I don’t normally have, um, those kinds of issues. It’s just when traveling your system goes topsy-turvy with the time changes. Or at least mine does!