As a Miami native, I've had my fair share of diverse cuisine. However, these cuisines typically consisted of different variations of Latin dishes. I consider myself from the south geographically, but I don't quite consider myself from the south culturally. Bearing this in mind, it's no surprise I've never had a good ol' Southern meal. I decided to lose my Southern food virginity at one of Tallahassee's newest Southern establishments, Gritz n Greenz.

I make my way down Tennessee street to arrive at Gritz n Greenz. Upon walking in, I'm greeted by the hostess and hear Christmas country music playing in the background. The ambience is set. I sit down and the waitress asks me what I'll be drinking. If there's one thing I know about the South, it's to always choose sweet tea. Always.

I open the menu and my eyes jump to the most bizarre thing I find on the menu. Fried green tomatoes. Fried. Green. Tomatoes. Who fries tomatoes? I knew a stereotype of the South was that a lot of foods were fried, but I never expected tomatoes to be included in that. As a tomato lover, I'm intrigued. I order it as an appetizer with no hesitation. 

Now, I'm having trouble choosing what my main course will be. Will it be the famed chicken and waffles combination or the restaurant's renowned gritz n green? The waitress assures me both options would suffice for a traditional Southern experience. I go with the chicken and waffles because I craved something sweet. And a side of collard greens. I contemplate the combination of the greens with my meal, but then again, it's chicken and waffles. I'm interrupted by my plate of fried green tomatoes. Whoa.

Tiffany Ospina-Suarez

The first thing I noticed was that they were glistening in oil. I have to fight the strong urge to blot it with a napkin before eating. I resist and enjoy the full oily experience. My first bite without the sauce is good. My next bite dipped in the sauce is superb. I immediately ask the waitress what's in this sauce. It's called their secret southern sauce. Emphasis on the secret. 

Then, my chicken and waffles come in. Oh, boy. Again, the inner healthy eater in me wants to blot it, but this sight is just too beautiful to alter it in anyway. 

chicken, waffle
Tiffany Ospina-Suarez

Just one bite in, the chicken is juicy and perfectly seasoned. The waffles are soft and flavorful without syrup. But of course, I can't resist dipping my chicken in the special Southern sauce. The collard greens were nothing like I expected. I thought they'd be like any average vegetable side, but it's so much more. Drenched in its juices and flavors, it tasted like an entirely different group of food to me. I know I'll now be getting my daily vegetable requirement through greenz.

Halfway through my meal, the owner comes up to me and asks how I heard of his recently-opened spot. After some chit chat, I reveal to him that this has been my first time trying Southern food. "So you had grits, right?" the owner asks. "Maybe next time," I reply. Moments later, he brings a small side of their best three-cheese grits. Now that's what I call Southern hospitality. After one bite, I instantly regret not getting this as my meal. All the more reason to come back.

Apparently, I've been missing out on a lot. Good thing I've got four years in this lil' southern college town to become a southern food connoisseur. If you haven't tried Southern food yet, oh, bless your heart. Get started on it right now. Now, if you need me, I'll be licking my bowl of grits clean.