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Chicken fried steak with white gravy, fried okra, and buttermilk biscuits around the Bay Area?

epperjam May 22, 2012 02:19 PM

My friend from Europe has never had southern food. I want take them to a southern meal like I grew up with in Texas but unfortunately there is not much here. I'm looking for:

chicken friend steak and white gravy
mashed potatoes and white gravy
macaroni and cheese
fried okra
buttermilk biscuits and/or cornbread

Many places I've tried use brown gravy or don't have any of the sides. We are based in Berkeley but are willing to drive. Thank you!

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  1. wolfe RE: epperjam May 22, 2012 03:21 PM

    Check Sukie's Country Kitchen.
    Dang no okra.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe
      chocolatetartguy RE: wolfe May 22, 2012 04:34 PM

      What about Brown Sugar Kitchen? I had a so so version at Carrows.

      1. re: chocolatetartguy
        wolfe RE: chocolatetartguy May 22, 2012 04:43 PM

        Don't see them.

      2. re: wolfe
        weshoke RE: wolfe May 24, 2012 12:29 AM

        It's more Deep South than Texan, but Farmer Brown has excellent soul food. Their Little Skillet offshoot also does chicken and waffles very well.

        As a fellow Texan, I commend you for efforts! I've yet to find fried okra like we used to get on Sunday when I was a kid. For my okra fix, I go to Shalimar, which is not Texan at all nor fried, but does the trick.

      3. j
        jaimeabdilla RE: epperjam May 23, 2012 11:14 AM

        My husband, who used to live in Georgia, LOVES the chicken fried steak with gravy and eggs combo at the Merritt Restaurant and Bakery - totally random, I know - but it's good (and more pocket friendly than BSK). I have also heard that MRB has great fried chicken.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jaimeabdilla
          Stephanie Wong RE: jaimeabdilla May 23, 2012 03:58 PM

          Don't think Merritt has fried okra - usually run of the mill steamed veggies. Haven't been in for a couple years -- used love the 2 pieces of fried chicken & waffle.


          1. re: Stephanie Wong
            mayjay RE: Stephanie Wong May 23, 2012 07:23 PM

            The chicken is still really good. I don't know about the chicken fried steak, though.

            1. re: Stephanie Wong
              jan_b RE: Stephanie Wong May 28, 2012 10:08 PM

              Merritt's fried chicken is still wonderful (next best to my mom's) and has very reasonable prices if you get it at the take out window instead of the restaurant. The sides at the take out window are good too, especially the black eyed peas and greens. I've catered several my parties by getting large orders. Good CFS is hard to find in the bay area, but didn't Rico's used to have it?

              1. re: jan_b
                Stephanie Wong RE: jan_b May 28, 2012 11:33 PM

                Is takeout chicken fried to order? I live reasonably closely to get it home still hot if it is.

                1. re: Stephanie Wong
                  calny RE: Stephanie Wong May 28, 2012 11:58 PM

                  I believe that the chicken is fried to order. The one time recently that I ordered by phone I had to wait a few minutes when I got there, because the chicken wasn't ready.

                  I have to remember to go there soon. It's pretty good for takeout fried chicken.

                  1. re: Stephanie Wong
                    jan_b RE: Stephanie Wong May 29, 2012 09:36 AM

                    The chicken has always been pretty hot and fresh when I've ordered it at lunch. Sometimes I've had to wait a for it, sometimes they have it ready pretty quickly, so I don't think it is actually fried to order. Best way to make sure it stays hot and crisp is to eat it at one of the little tables they have in the bakery or out in the little park next to it.

            2. m
              ML8000 RE: epperjam May 23, 2012 12:06 PM

              Buttercup Grill might be worth checking out. A few locations.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ML8000
                chocolatetartguy RE: ML8000 May 23, 2012 12:27 PM

                Is that the place off of 880 near Fruitvale?

                1. re: chocolatetartguy
                  wolfe RE: chocolatetartguy May 23, 2012 12:46 PM

                  Kinda depends on what you mean by near.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                    ML8000 RE: chocolatetartguy May 23, 2012 12:54 PM

                    I've been to the one in Jack London Sq. It's competent diner food in a nicely kept mid-century building, so the chances of finding a decent CFS are good but YMMV. I've never been to the one off 880 and 23rd St.

                    1. re: ML8000
                      drewskiSF RE: ML8000 May 24, 2012 12:12 AM

                      pretty sure they don't have CFS, but i would agree that they have competent diner food.

                2. m
                  myriamg RE: epperjam May 23, 2012 12:52 PM

                  You might try Lois the Pie Queen in North Oakland/Emeryville - 851 Adeline. I've been eating here for going on 30 years and the food is authentic and excellent (usually) cash only though

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: myriamg
                    Mission RE: myriamg May 23, 2012 09:15 PM

                    I thought the OP was asking for Chicken fried steak...not fried chicken?

                    There is a huge difference...most importantly Chicken fried steak is made from a cow.

                  2. Tripeler RE: epperjam May 23, 2012 08:48 PM

                    Seems like this kind of food would be more prevalent in the Central Valley of California.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Tripeler
                      Melanie Wong RE: Tripeler May 23, 2012 09:16 PM

                      Or you need to look for the pockets of the Bay Area that share those food values. My quest 10 years ago for B&G, biscuits and (white) gravy:

                      I think it will be hard to find all those items in the same place. Fried okra is scarce in these parts. Will probably take more than one spot to cover them all.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        Tripeler RE: Melanie Wong May 24, 2012 01:17 AM

                        Yes, fried okra is really scarce. At least, that which is prepared like my Missouri-Okie grandmother used to make it. Fortunately, she taught me how to do it (lots of bacon fat and corn meal) so when I want it, I end up making it myself. CFS and B&G done properly are easier to find.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          Mission RE: Melanie Wong May 26, 2012 10:55 AM

                          What kind of food values are those?

                          And why would you be more likely to find CFS in the Central Valley of California?

                          1. re: Mission
                            ML8000 RE: Mission May 26, 2012 11:23 AM

                            Truck drivers? I have noticed CFS at just about every truck stop, road side diner I've been to. IMO, the CFS is like the BLT....it's hard to completely mess up so it's offered and ordered a lot.

                            1. re: ML8000
                              Malcolm Ruthven RE: ML8000 May 26, 2012 02:19 PM

                              >it's hard to completely mess up<

                              I've had my share of rock-hard and dry CFS.

                              1. re: Malcolm Ruthven
                                wally RE: Malcolm Ruthven May 26, 2012 04:44 PM

                                I think I have only had hard, dry and greasy CFS.

                              2. re: ML8000
                                Stephanie Wong RE: ML8000 May 27, 2012 11:37 AM

                                Sysco has made CFS more widely available,


                                but not necessarily better. I seem to have run into a few of these.

                                1. re: Stephanie Wong
                                  Malcolm Ruthven RE: Stephanie Wong May 27, 2012 07:45 PM

                                  I'm pretty sure the rock-hard and dry CFS I most remember was a Sysco version.

                              3. re: Mission
                                Melanie Wong RE: Mission May 27, 2012 03:20 PM

                                One needs to look in places where the clientele values big, hearty breakfasts to start a day of physical labor and/or hails from Oklahoma or Texas. That's why my hunt for B&G in the thread I linked poked around industrial neighborhoods. Or for an example outside the Bay Area, you can a very good, house-prepped chicken fried ribeye steak smothered in white gravy at Sang's in Salinas where farmhands and descendents of Dust Bowl Okies eat,

                          2. j
                            j mather RE: epperjam May 23, 2012 09:18 PM

                            Ole's Waffle Shop in Alameda has a decent CFK, but no fried okra. Some of the best fried okra I've had is at Souley Vegan on 3rd St in Oakland. They do a vegan mac and cheese that is quite good too, but no CFK.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: j mather
                              drewskiSF RE: j mather May 27, 2012 09:43 AM

                              their southern fried tofu is very good.

                              i haven't had success with their mac & cheese. the sauce is OK, but the noodles have been overcooked mush the two times i've tried it.

                            2. h
                              hannah RE: epperjam May 24, 2012 04:12 PM

                              If you're in the city I think the the hard knox version of CFS is pretty tasty and you can ask for white gravy on the potatoes.

                              1. jillyju RE: epperjam May 25, 2012 04:26 PM

                                The fried okra at The Front Porch in SF is always excellent. Greaseless, perfect little nuggets. The portion is on the small side though.

                                1. r
                                  rccola RE: epperjam May 25, 2012 10:10 PM

                                  No chicken fried steak but BSideBBQ has okra, mac and cheese and cornbread. And the dark and stormy ribs are delicious.


                                  1. s
                                    ShepherdBGoode RE: epperjam May 26, 2012 02:48 PM

                                    Still think the best CFS I've had in Cali is at the Bluebird in Hopland. No okry, though, only ever had green beans there. And, it's been a couple years...

                                    Ole's gets second best--the cream gravy has a bacon-and-honey essence. Yeah, I know.

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