I know what you might be thinking,"Didn't we just talk about fried chicken last week, Blake? Are you just some sort of one-trick food pony? Is your whole life a lie and you're just hiding behind some mask made out of freshly fried fowl?" The answer to all of these questions might be "Yes". But, in truth, the world of fried chicken goes beyond the bun and I think we all know it.
So while we may be living a fried chicken sandwich renaissance, let's face the facts, in this case we know that the chicken came before sando. Humanity wouldn't have evolved to this, it's final form if we hadn't figured out you can boil oil to insane temps then dip stuff in it to both cook it quicker and make it tastier. So without further ado, let's get down to it.
Bone in or out?
Before we dive in there's one thing I want to address about the bones vs boneless debate: It's utter bullshit.
Personal prefrence isn't something we should be arguing about. It should be about passion and finding common ground, learning to appreciate other's passion. I would never let a bone or lack thereof in my chicken stop me from experiencing pure delciousness and it shouldn't stop you either. Admittedly, bone-in wings do tend to be a messier meal or appetizer, but I once had someone tell me an old adage that a man eats like he makes love and I've endeavored to eat like a ravenous beast ever since.
If I'm being entirely honest though, I personally prefer boneless wings or tenders simply because bones get in the way of my Galactus-like devouring of chicken meat. I also find them easier to dip in sauces. And if you're feeling extra elegant, you can always eat them with a knife and fork like proper British royalty.
Okay, now that we've cleared the air, let's take a look at some of my personal favorite Fried Chicken spots.
Returning for a 2nd round this week is the Colonel and his 11 herbs and spices. Like I said before, this is the chain I grew up with and when I'm touring I eat a lot of meals on the go, so I appreciate the consistency. It's not a hometown hero, but I know what I'm getting and if I'm going for just straight up fried chicken on the go KFC is what I'm picking.
If you're ever in Japan you owe it to yourself to go and have the best friggin' wings of your life at Yamachan. They're a salt & pepper style wing that's unbreaded and they are just beyond delicious. Whatever seasoning our human/chicken friend Yamachan is using on these tiny little wings, I cannot get enough of it. I ate an insane amount of these bad boys several times when I was abroad and I can't find anything like it here in the US and it drives me crazy. I've tried several Japanese chicken spots since I got back and while I've had a lot of good meals, nothing hits quite the same. I miss you, my sweet Yamachan...
I don't want it to seem like this local Oakland, CA spot is a runner-up or anything like that because Aburaya is some seriously addictive Japanese-style fried chicken! Every piece of chicken I've had here has been perfect. We're talking pieces of poultry with just the right amount of breading and seasoning cooked for just the right amount of time to get that perfect balance of crispy, flavorful, and juicy. Their sauces are out of this world too. I tend to get their orange honey aioli, but I've also had their regular BBQ sauce and they're both delicious. They've also got a great punk rock atmosphere and their logo is a homage to the Ramone's crest. If you ever have the chance, go here and eat some goddamn fried chicken!
Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles
Roscoe's is where I discovered the holy grail that is eating fried chicken with a waffle and I never looked back. This SoCal chain is legendary and for good reason. It's just flat-out fantastic comfort food that combines breakfast and dinner into an unholy marriage of pure yum. You're also likely to spot a celebrity or two chowing down here. The first time I ever went Mac Dre was sitting at a table behind us. If you can't make it to Los Angeles to try it for yourself, at least do yourself a favor and try some chicken and waffles!
Another chain, but they're making my list for a couple of reasons. For starters, they've got an excellent array of sauces and dips to choose from. I tend to get their Hawaiian and Korean BBQ sauce with a heaping helping of honey mustard or blue cheese. They're also open very late and deliver, which are two things that are super duper important when you're a few episodes into a midnight South Park marathon and those B-loads are just starting to kick in.
Well, I think that may be it for our journey through the land of fried chicken. Thanks for joining me on this trip. I hope you had a good time. If you've got any ideas for our next culinary journey I'd love to hear them! Until then, bon appetit!