Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Knick game/ big chain/ in all my splendor... NYC Part 1 (Hill Country Chicken)

  Hill Country Chicken is a recently opened offshoot of the Hill Country BBQ chain. They are one of the many places in the midst of New York's fried chicken craze. If you haven't been paying attention NYC is crazy about fried chicken like Philly is crazy about cupcakes. Located in the Flatiron District it is a cafeteria style eatery specializing in 2 types of fried chicken. One is a classic style from a family recipe and the other is a skinless bird that is battered and given a seasoning reminiscent of "Shake & Bake".
   I ordered a few pieces of each. I actually enjoyed both styles and was happy that they offer each. I was also pleasantly surprised by the size of the pieces. The breast piece was large enough to be a meal in its self. I am also happy that they carry Boylan fountain soda as well as a selection of other beverages like strawberry lemonade and mint iced tea. They also have a good selection of beer and wines by the glass. If you really want to get classy you can save a few bucks and get a box of wine. The one thing that I thing needs most improvement is the choices of sides. I think the best bets are the fresh cut fries and the fire and ice pickles.
  Solid fried chicken, solid execution. I also like that is by a park. I wish last Sunday's weather was nicer.

Hill Country Chicken
1123 Broadway (corner of 25th)
New York, NY

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nostalgia Accomplished.... (Jones)

   Back when I was contemplating a return to Philly I remember driving past Jones. I saw a packed restaurant that seem to be buzzing with activity one weekday night.  I thought about two things; first that this might be a cool place to grab a drink and also that I might want to work there. A peek at the corduroy pants uniform later I changed my mind. But one thing that always stuck with me was the fact they had Chicken and Waffles on the menu. It has taken years for me to get around to trying it and I am glad I did. Inquirer writer Rick Nichols compared the fried chicken to KFC. After trying it I understand why. The seasoning in the crust is very similar and the overall texture of the crust is dead on. I doubt the have a pressure cooker back there, but you never know. I think the fried chicken here was good. My only minor quibble is that I like a bit more crunch to the skin.
   I do have one major complaint though. The Chicken and waffles wasn't available on the brunch menu. I personally feel there are only 2 times to east chicken and waffles. The first of course would be at brunch with syrup not chicken gravy. The second would be when you are stoned at 3 am leaving Magic City smelling of stripper perfume. Until you can get down to Atlanta however pop on in to Jones for a chicken that will take you back to your child hood.

The Skinny Fat Kid

700 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia , PA 19106

241 Forsyth Street Southwest
Atlanta, GA 30303-3701
(404) 584-5847

By the way magic city is right near the greyhound station. If you find yourself with time to kill before a bus ride...................

Wild Wild West.... Thinking Outside the Box Part 1. ( Distrito)

Yes fried chicken at a Mexican restaurant. And it's sooooooo good.

   It has been a long time since Distrito’s chef de cuisine told me he was putting fried chicken on the menu. I was even fortunate enough to get an early taste of it in its pre-menu stages. The District Chicken was the first time I could remember having fried chicken that I liked more than mom’s. The organic chicken is done in a chile pepper/ garlic brine, sous vide, soaked in buttermilk and coated in a seasoned flour. After frying it is tossed in a Chile/Orange glaze
and served with yuca fries , confit tomatoes and  a salad of poblanos and nopales. 
   This is truly good eating and one of my favorites of fried chicken month so far.

The Skinny Fat Kid

3945 Chestnut Street (entrance on 40th)
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-1657

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Big Greasy....2 a days in New Orleans Part 2. (Willie Mae's Scotch House)

I arrive at Willie Mae's to a scene one would expect of a James beard recognized landmark; a line. Not just one outside but a line inside the back dining room along a wall near the restroom. This place draws tourist. A lot of them. I am sure they all arrived in their air-conditioned rental cars while I am still dripping sweet from my walk. Where's the dedication? Maybe I will freak them out by ordering some chicken at Dooky Chase and eating it while waiting for a table at Willie Mae's.

That's right I am eating fried chicken while waiting in line to eat fried chicken. “Bask in my thugnificience”

The atmosphere is different at Willie Mae's. No tablecloths here, just wooden veneer tables and simple chairs. Just about every table has just ordered and the line is about 20 deep. Each of the 4 seats at the bar are also occupied, so much like Dooky chase I will take it to go and eat outside.
Willie Mae's fried chicken differs from Dooky Chase’s in appearance. The coating seems to have an almost tempura like quality instead of adhering to the meat closely. This is due to a wet batter. Usually when I see skin sitting far off the meat i get nervous that it will slide right off. Results however are delicious. Moist breast meat, great red beans and rice and finally sweet tea that doesn't remind me of an upcoming dentist appointment. This was great fried chicken. I don’t think it is the beast in America as many have called it, but great nonetheless. If you find yourself in New Orleans it is worth the visit and the wait.

The Skinny Fat Kid

Willie Mae's Scotch House
2401 Saint Ann Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Big Greasy....2 a days in New Orleans Part 1. (Dooky Chase)

“Since we have to fry the chicken it will about 15 minutes"
-girl at Dooky Chase-

-Skinny Fat Kid-


  According to google maps Dooky Chase Restaurant is 1.6 miles from my hotel. I know that I could just hop a cab, bus, or trolley car, but if you are about to do what I am, you should just walk. The other chicken spot I am planning to visit; Willie Mae's is just around the corner from Dooky Chase and though the smart move would be to do them a day apart, I am not The Skinny Smart Kid. It’s time for 2 a days.
  With only a short break in between I will conquer both places and then head back to drink the much needed cold beers I have on ice. From the outside Dooky Chase is an unassuming place with a real neighborhood feel. Inside awaits a dining room dressed in white tablecloths and filled with a mixture of southern regulars and tourist. Large framed art hangs nonchalantly on its crimson walls as servers in white dress shirts and aprons dance around the dining room. This is the south you hear about. The sugar sweet hospitality and comfort food served in generous portions.

  It is also a restaurant with history. A staple in the Treme area of New Orleans since the forties it was one of the restaurants that remained shuttered for a stint after Katrina. It is just the kind of place that has meaning for so many of the residents in that community and for food aficionados such as myself. I soon got to find out what all the fuss was about.

  The fried chicken here was truly divine. There are times when you can tell how good something will taste just by looking at it. this was truly one of those. Juicy chicken underneath a crisp skin that is the result of a a coating in seasoned flour after and soak in an egg and evaporated milk batter. This is the first time that I have seen evaporated milk instead of the more common buttermilk but I plan to see if anyone else has used this. I can also give high marks to the sweet potatoes. All in all a great meal and some of the best i have has this month.

  The Skinny Fat Kid 

2301 Orleans Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119-5025

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Other Side of The World (Adsum)



Fried Chicken, Collards, Ham Hocks, Hot Sauce

   Kids say the dumbest things. I remember the often repeated myth of my childhood regarding a shortcut to China. Since China was on the “opposite” side of the globe, you only need dig a hole deep enough to lose out on frequent flyer miles. I was reminded of this fabled shortcut during a recent trip to Adsum.

    I had long planned to visit Adsum for the fried chicken. I was actually planning to wait until mid month because of the hype and to give a new restaurant a chance to breathe. Twitter changed all that. I like it when business people truly explore new technology. I like it more when they actually use it. After reading a tweet about a bacon wrapped corn dog special and some back and forth banter, I decided to head down.

   Adsum is located on the 700 block of South 5th Street and I live on the 700 block of North 5th Street. I am now left wondering if I could grab a shovel and dig my way there every day. I would happily say goodbye to my parfait breakfast for a plate of Chef Matt Levin’s biscuits. I would eat more leafy greens if it were Ramen sized bowl of the collard greens. Hear This! I know it is quite early in Fried Chicken Month for such bold statements; but if you dare serve collards and biscuits with your chicken you will be judged by Adsum’s.

   I could live off the biscuits and collards alone, but the chicken was damn good as well. 3 lb. milk fed Lancaster birds sous vide in buttermilk and herbs. After this 12-24 hour trip in the Hot Tub Time Machine they are dredged in cornstarch/flour mixture and fried to order. Six minutes later getting ready to meet The Skinny Fat Kid. Thirty minutes later I was already breaking my rule about second visits and planning another fried chicken trip.

   I was also treated to the pleasure of speaking with the chef about the process among other things (our burger conversation was filled with quotables). He’s a really nice guy and as cool as I imagined he would be. Then again I would expect nothing else from a guy who tweets about 50 Tyson.
I’m Skinny Fat Kid, I’m Skinny Fat Kid, I’m Skinny Fat Kid,

700 South 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147