(By Michael Tierney. Republished with permission from G3 Illustrated)
When I was little, my favorite family member was my Aunt Mooie. Her real name was Mildred; nobody ever really talked about how she got the nickname. Anyway, she was like the small town version of Auntie Mame, but instead of Martini’s and progressive education, Aunt Mooie was all Rice Crispy Treats and vacation bible school. For me, she was a rare and exotic breed of hostess who treasured her guests and poured love and care into every meal she put on her table – from her pea salad to fresh fruit cobblers – she made every guest feel like her most special one.
So this month we discovered Carly Rae’s, a place that is as warm and inviting as the comfort food it serves.
We started with a soup course, Chicken Noodle for me, and White Chili for Jim. Both were hot and hearty just like good homemade soup should be.
For the salad course, I ordered the Pea Salad just hoping against hope that Carly Rae’s could channel some of Aunt Mooie’s magic into the dish, and I wasn’t disappointed. This dish is a delicious creamy mix of tender green peas, cheese, onion and egg in every forkful.
For our main course I chose the “Your Way” Chicken Breast Sandwich, a boneless skinless breast served BBQ grilled or breaded and fried. I chose grilled, and it was like a backyard BBQ on a plate. I added a side of sweet potato fries, another unique dish featured at Carly Rae’s. The fries were sweet, meaty and hand-cut – the perfect addition to any meal. Jim had Walt’s Cajun Chicken and Rice – moist meaty chunks of chicken served on a bed of dirty rice. The dish had full-bodied flavor with a nice, spicy finish.
For dessert, we went for two of the house specials, the Apple and Banana Cobbler and the Chocolate Lava Cake. If you’re a cobbler fan, you need to put Carly Rae’s on speed dial. They have at least one cobbler on the menu daily. The Lava Cake lived up to its namesake; moist chocolate cake with a warm, wet center. With a cup of hot coffee, it was the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
From the pea salad to the cobbler, we left Carly Rae’s with full stomachs and warm hearts – like we’d just had a special experience. Somewhere my Aunt Mooie must have been smiling.
By Michael Tierney