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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Fried Chicken’ Category

Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 09:01 AM

Well we are back from a wonderful weekend in Nashville celebrating my lil’ brother’s wedding.  Needless to say due to the business of all of that I apologize that this post is a little bit tardy.

Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a year old and we can hardly believe how fast time has flown!  Adam and I have loved incorporating all these wonderful culinary adventures into our travels, mostly because of the great memories it has made for us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

SIGNATURE DISH

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1. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous’ “Ribs” – Memphis, TN

2. Round Rock Donuts’ “Round Rock Donut” – Round Rock, TX

3. Lucky’s Sandwich Co.’s “Stuffed Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

TASTE

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1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Louie’s – Dallas, TX

3. Twisted Root – Dallas, TX

AMBIANCE

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1. The Silver Palm – Chicago, IL

2. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

3. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

SERVICE

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1. Blue Ash ChiliAnna – Blue Ash, OH

2. PinkberryChristine – Orlando, FL

3. Avila’s – Dallas, TX

PRICE

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1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

3. Blue Ash Chili – Blue Ash, OH

OVERALL TOP 5

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1. The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

2. Manny’s Delicatessen – Chicago, IL

3. Keller’s Drive-in – Dallas, TX

4. Blue Ash Chili – Blue Ash, OH

5. Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous – Memphis, TN

TOP 5 BIGGEST LET DOWNS…NOT WORTH THE HYPE!

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1. Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q – Memphis, TN

2. Willie Mae’s Scotch House – New Orleans, LA

3. Acme Oyster House – New Orleans, LA

4. Drago’s Seafood – New Orleans, LA

5. Juan in a Million – Austin, TX

BEST OF THE REST…HONORABLE MENTION

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Best Burger – Twisted Root – Dallas, TX

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Best Pizza – Giordano’s – Chicago, IL

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Best Sandwich – Lucky’s Sandwich Co. – Chicago, IL

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Best BBQ – The Salt Lick – Driftwood, TX

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Best Bar Food – J. Gilligan’s “Irish Nachos” – Arlington, TX

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Best Cocktail – Pat O’Brien’s “Hurricane” – New Orleans, LA

Three Little Piggies

Most Outrageous Dish – The Silver Palm’s “Three Little Pigs Sandwich” Chicago, IL

Monday, December 13, 2010 @ 12:12 PM

065It has been snowing what feels like non-stop up here in Indiana, and I knew we would have to deal with this reality eventually when we decided to move back to the Midwest, however, I am not sure I was quite prepared for it.  You know God has a sense of humor when he doesn’t let you inch your way back into dealing with the cold and snow! :)  The reason I mention this is because I have noticed that since having to “brave the cold” has become a mandatory part of life these days, I seem to be craving a lot of warmer dishes. You know…comfort food.  Comfort food has for sure been on the brain and I don’t know how many times I have mentioned to Adam lately that I want fried chicken.

Now if you know me, you know the words "fried" do not come leaping across my lips all that often, but when I think comfort food, this is usually a dish that comes to mind.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like fried dishes of a lot of varieties, but any type of chicken in fried form is good in my book…Fingers, Wings, Legs, etc. I’m not picky and am willing to give it all a try; and when you pair those yummy fried treats with anything else I love, you got yourself a deal.  That would be exactly why this next place caught my eye on an episode of Travel Channel’s "Man vs. Food." It paired of the best yummy comfort foods….Chicken and….wait for it…..WAFFLES!

Glady’s Knight and Ron Winan’s Chicken & Waffles has been serving up this unique combination to its Atlanta patrons for many years, but the idea has been around since the 30’s.  Chicken and waffles began being served in Harlem, New York when many celebrities would hang out into the wee hours of the morning.  Often, they would get hungry and couldn’t decide if they wanted breakfast or dinner, so they gave them both!  Gladys Knight decided to continue the tradition in Atlanta and along with Ron Winan and Shanga Hankerson, developed this famed spot that still gathers crowds to this day.

Although it is definitely different, I was very intrigued when I first heard of the combination a few years ago. What’s not to like? Salty fried chicken wings and sweet waffles…yum! But I still wasn’t completely sold, and it wasn’t until I saw the following clip that I knew I had to get me a taste of this combination at some point in my lifetime, and the sooner the better…

 

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Sure…it still sounds like an odd combination, but after seeing that clip it is hard not to want to give them a try, right?  Luckily for us, on our anniversary trip to Orlando, we planned it so we would make it to Atlanta on our first night and right about dinner time.  So sure enough, we arrived that evening and maneuvered through the streets of downtown Atlanta and found this spot very easily.  We were both a little road weary by this point and not sure if fried and heavy food was really what our stomachs wanted, but who knows when we would be able to visit again, so for the sake of the blog, we sucked it up…I know our lives are rough 😉

Like I said…this place is very popular, so we had to wait a little for a table. So while we were waiting, I decided to look around a little bit.  I was very impressed with both the decor and our surroundings.  This is not some old timey or worn out joint. It actually has the feel of a higher end restaurant with tall booths, nicely upholstered and decorated walls, and great lighting.  The walls were decked out with photos and albums from over the years of Gladys and the Pips, which definitely added to the class and appeal. 

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Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long, and as we were walking to our table, we passed some dishes on other tables, and my mouth began to water. I did not need to peruse the menu long if at all.  I’d known for a long time exactly what I was going to be ordering…the Midnight Train.  That would be 4 fried jumbo chicken wings and an original waffle. Adam, on the other hand, knew he would likely get to try many bites of my plate, so he opted to try another dish, a traditional southern classic, Smothered Chicken.  We also got a few sides…collard greens, their house potatoes, and the macaroni and cheese (I mean duh…a given when Adam is ordering), and we didn’t have to wait long at all!

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Yeah… it definitely was a lot of food; and looking back, we likely could have just shared my chicken & waffles with sides and still been plenty stuffed.  The wings themselves were massive and I was barely able to eat 2. Still, they were extremely good!  The flavor of the wings was very unique, not one I had ever had before.  They were crispy and juicy like a wing should be, but the batter had a unique ingredient that provided a bit of sweetness.  Adam was convinced it was maple syrup or molasses. Dunno, but whatever it is, it was good. 

The waffle itself was pretty standard…not the best I’ve ever had, but still good, and I did enjoy how its simple flavors and texture paired with the fried chicken.  Adam loved the smothered chicken. I didn’t much care for it, but I’m also not a big fan of food with gravy. We also both agreed that the Macaroni was AWESOME! As of the other side dishes, I have found that I do no particularly like collard greens 🙂 and the potato casserole….ehh. Still, overall it was a very tasty meal.

SIGNATURE DISH:  I would say that the name of the restaurant makes it pretty clear.  Their midnight train of chicken & waffles is what made this place famous.  However, they have a wide array of other classic soul food favorites as well that they have given their own flair too.

TASTE: The wings were extremely impressive…some of the best I’ve ever had. They are large and meaty and definitely a hearty portion.  At first, I wasn’t convinced 4 wings was going to cut it, but when I could barely make it through two, I knew these wings were something special.  What made them so great was their unique sweet flavor and the fact that although fried they were not overly greasy.  The other dishes we tried were equally good and definitely filling, but the wings were definitely the superstar here.

AMBIANCE: As I mentioned above, I was impressed with the decor and overall appearance of this spot.  It reminded me of a swanky or upscale crooner bar with its deep wood tones and rich colors.  And because their typical dishes are down home soul food, you honestly would expect a much different looking place, but instead it is much more upscale than you would think.

PRICE: Although these are down home meals, their prices do not necessarily reflect that.  I think to match their higher end look, their prices are a bit high too.  The midnight train is fairly reasonable at $10.50, but some of their other entrees like the smothered chicken are $14.50.  In the grand scheme of things, these prices are not exorbitant, but I would think that simple soul food is not typically priced as high. 

SERVICE: Our service was not great.  Our waiter was nice, but not very jovial or patient. I’m not sure if it was just us or that he didn’t really want to be there.  Either way, he just seemed a little short. Perhaps he could tell we were not from those parts…:) Regardless, I felt we were treated as outsiders.

We were exhausted and hungry by the time we arrived at Gladys Knight and Ron Winans‘, but outside of that, we really did enjoy ourselves for dinner.  It was nice to have a warm home cooked meal; and although filling, it didn’t leave you feeling gross or heavy when you left.  I loved the sweet and salty combination of my chicken & waffles. Heck…for the chicken wings alone, I’d be "Goin’ Back to Find…" ;)  I give this soul food hot spot 3 1/2 ‘Little Piggies.’

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Friday, September 3, 2010 @ 07:09 AM

071And we’re back…from vacation that is, and I was more than ready to get back to reality after a week of relaxation and gluttony.  I love vacation, don’t get me wrong.  Traveling and road tripping is the best, however after a week or more I do start to get a bit antsy and start to think about that list of things I gotta do at home.  But speaking of trips and gluttony…this week’s feature came from a long weekend that was just that.  I mentioned previously that we visited New Orleans back in May with our friends, Garrett and Audra, and that this trip in particular had a great deal of PCC worthy places planned out.  I would have to say that since my little blog started, that particular trip had to be the most amount of feature restaurants we have tried to undertake in one trip.  We hit up 7 worthy joints in just 3 days!  True, that does seem pretty crazy and indulgent now, but hey go big or go home right?! :) 

Well, I already told you about our first meal out at Drago’s, which unfortunately left us pretty disappointed, making us look forward to our next restaurant that much more.  In fact, from its notoriety on television, this next place was at the top of my list and it didn’t hurt that they are known for their fried chicken…one of the best evidently.  Willie Mae’s Scotch House has been a New Orleans staple since the late 1960’s, where Willie Mae herself started serving up southern home-style meals to the locals.  Unfortunately, their original location was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but luckily the city stepped in to help them rebuild so they could continue to serve the good ol’ southern favorites, most famously their fried chicken; and when I say famous…I mean famous!  We saw this restaurant featured on both Travel Channel’s “Deep Fried Paradise” and “Chowdown Countdown,” both claiming this chicken as “TO DIE FOR.”  And it doesn’t stop there.  Bon Appetit Magazine even named Willie Mae’s Scotch House as its BEST FRIED CHICKEN winner.  That is some famous fried chicken if I do say so myself, and fried chicken that famous deserves to be tried…(as if I would actually turn down fried chicken :)).  So let’s just say I knew it was a must visit!

We decided we would make it our lunch spot on our 1st full day, and according to our Google map it was “walkable” from our French Quarter hotel.  Well, let’s just say that Google was a little deceiving and between that and the park being closed for us to cut through, we had to walk a good 2 plus miles in the heat, and I was maybe not dressed for walking walking. :)  It didn’t help that Willie Mae’s is not necessarily in the best neighborhood either, and although not funny at the time, it is quite humorous now to think about Adam having to practically drag me away because I thought maybe we should ask the “guys on the porch” for directions. Yeah…blonde moment I know!  After a good trek we finally reached our destination, which we could tell we were close when we saw the house with people gathered all around it, which although at this point we were starving, meant we still had to wait.

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Lucky the wait was not outrageous and we even moved ahead a bit because that couple behind us was not allowed in due to a sleeveless shirt incident.  So I will say it now…Men beware…put on a shirt with sleeves before you venture to Willie Mae’s. 

Walking into the main dining room is literally like walking into the front room of a house, the main dining area is not much bigger than that.  There is another back dining room past the kitchen located in the middle, but overall it is easy to see why people have to gather outside.  When we were seated we all knew exactly what we were getting…fried chicken!  And then we each chose our respective sides.  Garrett and I both chose red beans and rice for our sides to try a traditional New Orleans’ favorite, while Audra went with fries and Adam got potato salad.

081 087 090 096095 Looks pretty dang good huh?  And with all that food we also each ordered some of their homemade fresh corn bread, which actually was not out of the oven until we were finished with our chicken.  But, of course, that was not enough to hold us back, so we all grabbed a piece of chicken and dug in.  The first bite was definitely crispy and juicy.  But what I began to quickly notice was it was also VERY GREASY!  With each bite you could taste the oil that the chicken was cooked in, and because it so heavily battered, that oil seeps into the breading and then squirts out with each bite.

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Don’t get me wrong…I know that this a fried dish and some of that is supposed to happen, but it was a little over the top.  The breading was also entirely too thick in my opinion. and that with all the grease after the first piece or so started to make my stomach feel a little queezy.  I mean, come on…I know that there was an oil spill that week, but this was ridiculous, especially when chickens are on land!…(bad metaphor I know, but we think this was also the dish that put Adam over the edge and caused him to be sick the rest of the weekend).  And as far as the red beans and rice were concerned, neither Garret nor I did enjoyed them.  Whatever spices they used tasted funny and not what I am used to. 

In short, by no means was this the best fried chicken I had ever had, but sadly close to the opposite.  The saving grace for the oily greasy chicken was their corn bread.  When it made it to our table I was not really hungry, but wanted to give it a chance.  Holy cow!  It was so warm, fresh, and buttery, I could not resist eating my whole muffin.  It was the perfect end to the meal, but a meal in which we all left feeling a little sick and kind of surprised by how famous this chicken was…

097Although I know fried chicken is more of a local thing where everyone knows the best place in their town, but I thought since this was so well known in popular culture, my socks were going to blown off and they just weren’t. :( 

 

SIGNATURE DISH: I am pretty sure you realize it by now, but they are most famous for their fried chicken…I’m talkin’ WORLD FAMOUS!  They do have other southern home made favorites, but from looking around the restaurant while we were there, no one else had anything other from chicken. 

TASTE: I don’t know if it because I had such high hopes for this chicken, but unfortunately it just did not live up to the hype.  I would not describe it as inedible, but I don’t have good memories; and there is no way it was even close to the best I have ever had.  As I mentioned, the breading was too thick, too oily, and not really seasoned.  Instead it was just heavily breaded and heavily soaked fried chicken that left a pit of oil in my stomach; and of the 4 or us, only Audra thought it tasted all that good.

AMBIANCE: I thought being located in a house, it was very cute and historical.  It really made you feel at home and was decorated just simple and classic.  Although a bit crowded, it does feel like you are truly enjoying a home cooked meal, especially because you are literally in a home.

PRICE: Each of us ordered the fried chicken dinner which came with one side and then we also ordered the corn bread on the side.  The meal is $15 for 3 pieces of chicken and a large side portion.  This was a little high for three pieces of fried chicken and sides, but my guess is you’re paying a bit for the “best” factor.  Not worth it.

SERVICE: Our waitress was very attentive, but a bit short tempered.  I equated  that to being swamped and it being hard to move around inside, but she seemed to keep forgetting things we asked for.  Also, it kept taking time to get Adam a refill on his Diet Coke…which never bodes well :).

So although I had such high hopes, those hopes were not even close to met; and I have to, unfortunately, give Willie Mae’s Scotch House 1 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’

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