Memories shared over chicken salad

When I think of chicken salad I have lot of memories. My Mother-in-law makes some really good chicken salad that my younger sister absolutely LOVES!! If there is a reason for a celebration she always asks for me to have her make the chicken salad. If it’s been awhile she will ask for her to make her some just for her. And she WILL NOT share so don’t even ask.

Other memories related to chicken salad are meeting up with my girlfriends at our favorite place Bella’s. I’m not sure how we even ended up there the first time, but it became our place. Bella’s was on 280 in the Lee Branch shopping center. They had the absolute best chicken salad. Sadly they closed a couple years ago, I emailed the owner to see if she would sell me the recipe, but I never heard back from her unfortunately.

We would meet up there and 2 of us always got the chicken salad and fruit plate, another would be between the chicken salad and fruit and the chicken salad and green salad plate and the other always got pasta salad. We never wavered. Truthfully I didn’t know that they had anything else on the menu. When lives got in the way and we weren’t all able to make it to Bella’s Jeff decided that he’d go with me. I didn’t know if there would be anything there that he’d like because I didn’t even know what was on the menu. He found a sandwich that he liked. Sadly it was toward the end of the business when I finally took him there. He only got to eat there 2 or 3 times.

One day my friend from Georgia came for a visit and we had to have Bella’s. So we load up and drive to Lee Branch to find that they have closed. That was a very sad day. So then we were lost and unsure what to do. So I told them that I had heard that O’Carr’s in Cahaba Heights was like Bella’s. So we went and gave it a try. It was good but was no Bella’s. So O’Carr’s has become my go to now for a good chicken salad with fruit and nuts. I’ve tried places like Chicken Salad Chick, but it’s just not the same.

This has been a hectic week at work between systems not working right and the shear amount of work and not to mention we have an annual audit coming up to prepare for. I’ve been at least 45 minutes late leaving work everyday this week. Today like most Friday’s was fairly light. I had taken a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, but after I got my morning work I realized that I could take an early lunch. So at 11:00 I went to check out the O’Carr’s in downtown Homewood near our new office. I knew to get parking in that area that I’d need to go early. It’s a small place, there was like 12 or 13 tables. When I got there there was one other customer and her kids finishing up. By the time I left there was quite a crowd. As the lunch rush was picking up I noticed that the majority of the people were getting chicken salad. So I guess that is their most popular item.

The flavor of the chicken salad was good. The grapes in the chicken salad could have been cut into smaller pieces. On the fruit side of my plate, the grapes  would have been better had they been seedless, nothing like popping a grape in your mouth and crunching something hard. The piece of peach wasn’t very sweet. The pineapple, nectarine, banana, kiwi, cantaloupe, honey dew, strawberry and orange slice were all good. I’m not really a fan of the banana chips and raisins that they put on the plate but hey I ate them. I did not however try what appeared to be a slice of grapefruit. I’d rather not have something sour with all my sweet fruit.  I also like the variety of crackers that they give with the chicken salad.

You can find a copycat recipe online for their chicken salad. I’ve tried to make it, but it’s not the same, I’d rather just go there and get it with all the fruit.

If you want to give them a try then you have to check them out early as they are only open for lunch. This particular location is open 10:00 to 3:00 and closed on Sunday’s. So they are not a dinner destination.  There is a new location downtown near the Pizitz Food Hall.

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