I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
January 28, 2022
Recently, we ordered takeout from the Loveless Café’s drive-thru Biscuit Kitchen, which operates out of the Shell Station next door to the iconic restaurant. The takeout menu includes many of the Loveless’s most popular dishes, as well as an all-day breakfast menu, sandwiches, and chicken tenders. Since we live just a few minutes away from the Loveless, I’ve been wanting to try their takeout menu for a while. Unfortunately, our experience didn’t meet my expectations. I’d ordered the Hot Chicken Mac Bowl, which looked spectacular online. See for yourself:
Creamy mac and cheese topped with chopped hot chicken, bacon, blue cheese, diced pickles, and a drizzle of ranch, the description read. Okay, say no more. Did you really just put five of my favorite foods in a bowl, stir it up, and expect me to eat it? WELL OKAY I WILL.
But when I took the top off of my own personal Hot Chicken Mac Bowl and eagerly took a bite, I discovered that it was just… okay. Good. But not great. Not particularly memorable. And certainly not anywhere near as attractive as what was pictured. My actual Hot Chicken Mac Bowl just looked like a big gloppy mush, dotted with chunks of hot chicken. I ate about a third of it and then quietly put it in the fridge. In the back of the fridge. Where leftovers go to die.
Sadly, my Hot Chicken Mac Bowl was destined for a date with the trash can three to five days later, once it became abundantly clear that no one in the house was going to touch it. But the very next morning, a strange thing happened. I awoke with an intense craving for creamy mac and cheese topped with bacon, blue cheese, diced pickles, and a drizzle of ranch. Cold creamy mac and cheese topped with bacon, blue cheese, diced pickles, and a drizzle of ranch.
In an almost trancelike state, I rose from my bed and shuffled to the kitchen. I grabbed a fork from the drawer, opened the refrigerator door, pulled out the Hot Chicken Mac Bowl, and dug into the gelatinous goo inside. ‘Am I really going to do this?‘ I asked myself. ‘Yes, Self. I sure as hell am,’ I responded. I took a tentative bite, chewed slowly for a moment, and paused.
It. Was. Glorious.
The chill of the goo subdued the spiciness of the chicken to a point that I could take three or four bites before gasping for water, as opposed to one when the dish was hot. The ranch dressing and pickle flavors had fused into the mac and cheese overnight, creating one of the most satisfying guilty pleasure breakfasts-in-front-of-the-fridge that I’ve ever had the pleasure of scarfing down before anyone else had a chance to enter the room and witness my shame.
Thus it is with pink-cheeked pleasure, reader, that I give my highest recommendation to the Loveless Café’s Biscuit Kitchen’s Hot Chicken Mac Bowl — but only if you take it right home, put it in the fridge, and eat it the next morning when no one else is around, while hunched like an orc over a roasted hobbit leg and wearing your oldest, rattiest robe.
This led me to contemplate something so unsophisticated, so deeply personal, that we never, ever speak of it in a public setting: restaurant leftovers that are actually better cold from the fridge the next day. My favorite food that falls into this category is mu shu pork, from any Chinese takeout place. It’s fine hot, but cold the next day, it’s heaven in a plum sauce-drizzled, slightly stiffened but still totally edible Chinese pancake. Cold second or third-day pizza is another unexpected delight — I recently discovered Marcos’ thick crust cheese pizza is one of many standout options in the cold pizza world. KFC’s chicken poppers are so good cold, I now buy an extra order on the admittedly rare occasions when we hit KFC, so that I can put some in the kids’ school lunches the next day. And I almost always save at least half of any really good filet mignon to savor cold and thinly sliced the next morning. The same is true for medium rare salmon — Chilled and mashed up, it’s exquisite on a cracker one day later.
Honestly, I really feel like I’m onto something here. Now that Nashville has graduated to the weirder-the-better phase of all great food towns, what could be hipper than a restaurant that serves all its dishes cold in plastic storage containers, between one and 17 days after they were made? It could be called Left[Over] by Sean Brock, inspired by the contents of his own personal Sub Zero PRO 48. Artfully distressed bathrobes would be available for purchase in the merch section at the front of the house.
I’d totally hit it.