Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Off the Map: This Ain't Bill Cosby's Pudding Snacks

Chocolate Pudding -- Hominy Grill, Charleston, SC
Hominy Grill
The good thing about falling squarely on the side of "not quite sane" is that we have managed to procure friends with specific interests almost as bizarre as ours.  It is for this reason that Vodka finds herself weekending in Charleston, SC, with her friend, Diet Coke.  
No Comment on the Lack of Booze in Diet Coke's Moniker
You see, Diet Coke is on a lifetime mission to visit every state in the union and thus wants to make South Carolina #32 on her list.  Vodka merely wants to eat everywhere, so it is a solid match.
Traveling the Country, Nerd-Style
Our first destination (after both Vodka and Diet Coke get upgraded to first class on their flight, and thus became insufferable human beings) is Hominy Grill, home to Alton Brown's favorite chocolate pudding from the CHOCOLATE episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate.  
This Sign Should More Accurately Read "Breakfast Lunch Dinner PUDDING"
Truth be told, we are hesitant to begin our trip with a selection of Mr. Brown's, as his Best Thing I Ever Ate choices thus far have fallen anywhere on the spectrum from "interesting" to "downright bizarre."  However, the chipper attitudes of Hominy Grill's staff soon puts us at ease, and Diet Coke remarks, "You leave the mid-Atlantic and realize that people are happy." 
Presumably because they eat pudding for breakfast.
And Drink Out of Coffee Mugs the Size of Their Heads
In an effort to not be placed on a diabetic watch list for ordering pudding at 8am, we deign to choose the country breakfast (Diet Coke) and the big nasty biscuit (Vodka) for our entrees.

Followed immediately -- if not sooner -- by said chocolate pudding.
Always Begin Your Day with a Big Cup of Dessert
Set up in the manner of a country dining room (thankfully with individual tables -- we don't commune well), Hominy Grill is bright and homey and decidedly warm (as in temperament -- not temperature.  If it were hot inside, this review would be scathing).  
You Know You're In the South When...
...the Flowers Come In Mason Jars
It therefore comes as no surprise that their food is equally satisfying.  The big nasty biscuit (which, to be honest, Vodka ordered because it had the word "nasty" in it, and she loves a villain) consists of a piece of fried chicken sandwiched between a thick, hearty biscuit, all covered by a healthy portion of sausage gravy.  
So In Other Words, Low-Fat
This dish is almost astoundingly good -- the chicken juicy and just crispy enough, the biscuit doughy and thick, and the gravy one hundred-times better than any breakfast sauce should be.  
A Heavenly Heart Attack on a Plate
The Leaning Tower of Deliciousness
Diet Coke is similarly satisfied by her eggs, grits and toast, even if they do make for the whitest platter of food this side of the Mason Dixon line.
For Once in Her Life, Vodka Thinks They Could Have Sprung for Some Parsley
And then, of course, there is the matter of the chocolate pudding.
Cue Choir of Angels
Now, Vodka loves a pudding, but she is strictly a vanilla type of girl, so she's not sure how well this choice is going to pan out.  In contrast, Diet Coke is insistent that she hasn't tasted pudding since her elementary school Jello-cup days, so when she watches Vodka take the first bite and sees her face glaze over into a show of ecstasy, she leaps for her own spoon faster than she ever has before.
And within seconds, both of us are completely won over.
Yes, We'll Take a Dozen of These To Go, Thanks
This pudding manages to be both thicker and smoother than any we have ever tasted -- almost the consistency of cake batter rather than the soupier pudding varieties.  
The Visual Representation of the Word "Yum"
It has the decided taste of melted milk chocolate, and it is just sweet enough to not be overpowering.  The huge dollop of whipped cream on top is much less sugary than the pudding itself, which manages to cut into the flavor and make the whole thing less overwhelming.

The pudding is downright stupendous.
A Literal Spoonful of Sugar
It is so good, in fact, that we polish off the whole bowl despite the just-after-sunrise hour, and we continue to speak of returning to Hominy Grill to fetch some more pudding for the remainder of our trip.  
And Alton Brown - We Apologize for Ever Doubting You
Indeed, if this is the quality of food we'll be eating in Charleston, the rest of the country better start adjusting its taste buds.
The South Does Pudding Right
In the meantime, we'll be alerting Bill Cosby that we have a new endorsement idea for him.
Hominy Grill's Chocolate Pudding: 5 stars*
*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate


  1. Love me some sausage gravy...yours looked like it tasted so much better than I've ever had.

  2. Chocolate pudding and biscuits? I could live on that.

  3. That entire meals sounds amazing. I'm hungry now, thanks ... grrr ....