I had long been a fan of Hickory Hollow, especially during those times when I feel my clothes are fitting a little too well or when my cholesterol is too well-situated in the normal range. Hickory Hollow has long been a place to get a lot of fairly tasty, hearty – and often fried and far-from-cardiologist-approved – calories for a very fair amount of money. A large order of their signature chicken fried steak is the way to be a glutton on the comparative cheap. Called the “Large Rancher – the ‘Saddle Blanket’,” the largest of the chicken fried steak accompanied with a bowl of thick, white gravy and served with fries or mashed potatoes, gravy and a trip to the salad bar is just $12.99. The medium and small (their term) sizes are similarly very fine values at $10.99 and $8.99, respectively.
A few years ago, after somehow missing dinner the night before, I felt that I was entitled to a bit of caloric indulgence at subsequent lunch, and Hickory Hollow came quickly to mind. Though maybe not the gold-standard among local chicken fried steaks – the first one I had at Punk’s was a good deal better – Hickory Hollow’s version is tender and flavorful enough to be enjoyable, enjoyable enough for you to finish if you are ravenous (or very large). There is a tremendous amount of calories for the money here.
As popular as the chicken fried steaks are at Hickory Hollow, an order of the large size is seemingly rare enough to warrant stares from fellow diners, tellingly, many of whom were morbidly obese and every single one was overweight. The chicken fried steak, sharing space with mashed potatoes, could barely fit on the very large metal plate. I didn’t mind the stares. I was famished and went there to be a pig, and I was, successfully finishing the steak – aided by some black pepper and shots of the cayenne-laden Louisiana hot sauce – potatoes, blue-cheese-dressing-topped salad, too, and even scraping the plate for gravy and bits of fried crumbs with some very white bread after finishing everything else. I felt good. So much so, my heart skipped a beat.
Well, maybe not.
101 Heights Boulevard, 77007, (713) 869-6300
8038 Fallbrook, 77064, (281) 469-5323