Join us today at 11 AM to chat with food critic Ann Limpert. Have a question about the newly announced RAMMY award nominees? The dining trends we are obsessed with—and over—right now? Or maybe you just need a dinner recommendation. Leave a question now for Ann, and she’ll get to as many as she can.
Ann: Good morning! Hope you’ve all had great weeks and have some outdoor drinking or dining plans at some point today.
I just stopped through the still-in-progress Quarter Market at Ballston Quarter—on the ground floor of what was once the Ballston Mall—to check out Hot Lola’s, the fried chicken sandwich stall from Himitsu chef Kevin Tien. The complex is currently a maze of white-washed wood and Instagram-bait spaces (floating rainbow-sprinkled pop tarts on one wall, a lounge that looks inspired by the Beverly Hills Hotel), and downstairs, staffers were readying the Ice Cream Jubilee stall and Turu’s, the Timber Pizza stand. Hot Lola’s is branded to the hilt—there were t-shirts for sale, and my Coke bottle was swaddled in an orange Hot Lola’s koozie.
But anyway, the sandwiches.
There are four heat levels, ranging from not hot at all to “too hot.” I went for the two in the middle—level two, which had a nice numbing Szechuan quality, and level three (“OG hot”), which was way spicier. It left my mouth tingling for the next half hour—but it wasn’t the kind of kick in the mouth that leaves you begging for milk (if you’ve been to Prince’s in Nashville, you know what I mean). A squishy sesame bun griddled in chicken fat, cool picnic-style slaw, and a few slices of pickle all work hard to counteract the heat. Both were really tasty, well-balanced sandwiches, with legit fried chicken (the thigh meat stayed relatively juicy, and you could hear the batter crunch). I’d happily scarf either one again.
Curious though, how it will do in a mall that also has a Chick-fil-A. Because it is not cheap ($11 for the sandwich, plus a four percent employee-wellness charge and a tip screen that pops up asking for 18 to 22 percent…you can customize it too, but that range is what you automatically see). Not out-of-the-realm for high-end sandwich prices, but higher than many are probably willing to spend for a desk lunch.
Anyway, onto your questions! Ask them in the form below; the chat transcript shows up underneath.