December 31, 2013

Grocery Store Fried Chicken and Weird Chicken Around Town

I have recently 'dined' at the Kroger on Studemont by I-10 and the Randall's at Sage and San Felipe. I had heard some good buzz about the Randall's fried chicken and was anxious to try it out. What did I find out? Read on.

Yes, several people had told me that this particular Randalls' does terrific fried chicken. I went for lunch and two chicken breasts with 2 sides clocked in at $6.00. Their recipe is simple. They use an already prepared, seasoned flour mix (I couldn't get the brand name). The chicken is dipped in water, dipped in the flour mixture, back to the water and the flour mixture for a second time. The result is a crunchy crust. I really really wanted to like this chicken because of that crust. But the salt level was insane. It was so salty that the only way I could get through a portion of it was "for science" (i.e., this blog). I then had to know if they salted the chicken after if came out of the fryer or if this was a result of the prepared seasoning mix they were using. They don't salt. It is the mix.

Kroger's also uses a prepared, seasoned flour mix. They just dip the chicken in the flour and deep fry it. This results in a thinner crust. Their mix is less salty. All in all not terrific, but also not a bad fried chicken. And it is cheap.

Sparkle's Burger Spot at the corner of Leeland and Dowling is a treasure and very under the radar. Their hamburgers and chocolate shakes are some of the best in the city. Their fried chicken, not so great   I am afraid. They marinate the chicken pieces in creamy Italian dressing, flour it and deep fry it. Interesting idea but it doesn't really work. The waffle was good, though.

Al Aseel Middle Eastern is another treasure that is still under the radar.Their take on fried chicken uses a (I think) chickpea and flour or chickpea dry mixture, deep fried, resulting in a thin crunchy crust. Not my most favorite chicken on the planet but I LOVE this place. The half chicken order (for only $7) came with the most delicious mezze of tahini, baba ganoush, two pita breads - hot and soft, and a sweet tomato salad called Turkish salad that immediately brought back wonderful memories of the shawarma sauces at the shawarma places I ate at when I was living in Holland. And then, the chicken comes with another salad and is served on top of excellently seasoned basmati rice. You may find that you don't like the fried chicken here, but I guarantee you will love this place.

The Breakfast Klub is a place that I haven't been in years. I went by recently and, sure enough, the line was outside and around the side of the building. They have really mismanaged that space, as you place your order at the counter and then they turn it in to the kitchen. Thus, a really long line all of the time. If this were Gus's in Memphis, I might tackle that line. But from what I've heard, the chicken isn't that much better than what you would find in the Kroger deli. If I ever get in, I will update this paragraph with a real review.

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