Jen: If I’ve never regaled you with my story for why I have a no-chicken policy, ask me next time you see me (it involves Costco, housesitting, hormone-injected chicken breasts and overgrown, monstrous cats, ew). Recently, however, I’ve been having a lot of chicken moments, including Roast Chicken with Honey and Hazelnuts, ChocoChicken and Dinah’s Chicken and Waffles.
It all started with dinner at the home of my friend Ettman, farm box and Funklafel extraordinaire. Inspired by the goodies in that week’s delivered-to-your-door produce, she decided to whip up Roast Chicken with Honey and Hazelnuts according to her Ottolonghi cookbook, with a side of rice mixed with roast squash, feta and greens. I have to admit I was initially squeamish about the impending chicken dinner, imagining I would only eat a bite to be polite, but once I heard she was adding honey to the mix I was sold. You see, not only is honey one of my favorite substances (I douse my morning yogurt, cereal or toast with it daily, as well as adding it to teas and salad dressings), my mother used to cook us chicken drummettes with honey as kids. Ettman put just enough honey for a hint of aromatic sweetness and unctuousness. The hazelnuts added a contrasting crunch, and just the slightest bit of requisite bitterness to touch on all the taste buds. Because she cooked the chicken bone-in and skin-on, the meat was tender and juicy. That home-cooked meal really got my wheels turning: I told everyone about it and started researching cookbooks.
Next up was ChocoChicken. I had heard about this new concoction of chocolate battered fried chicken and read good reviews about it. I went with Zorn, my fried-chicken loving fiancé and the silent corned beef portion of this blog post. We started with flaky biscuits for appetizers. I guess after honey, my second favorite substance it would be BUTTER, and basically the biscuit was like a butter sponge, in the best way. The chicken came out deeply brown and crackly, and we both agreed that it was very chocolatel-y and chicken-y. The combination works really, really well—so well, in fact, that it’s a wonder these guys (from Umami) are the first to think of it. The only drawback is that they never rehabbed the space back from when it was a sports bar, so there is absolutely no ambience when you are eating this gourmet grub and you sort of just feel like a fried-food eating greaser.
This past weekend, I had my third serving of chicken in the span of two months, which is completely unheard of for me. I probably only eat chicken three times a year, if not less than that. My last but certainly not least chicken foray of recent was at Dinah’s Family Restaurant, famous for their chicken and waffles. The batter is super light, almost imperceptible, and what you are left with is a thin, crispy, spiced skin. The chicken is tender, especially since I only eat dark meat, which tends to have more fat and a smoother texture than grisly, dry breasts. The WAFFLE blew my mind—it was a Belgian waffle, not a flat, yellow Eggo-like waffle that a lot of chicken ‘n’ waffle places offer. The exterior of the Belgian waffle was browned and crisp, and it was just light enough to soak up all that whipped butter and hot maple syrup. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Dinah’s Chicken and Waffles since I had it this past Sunday. I’m already planning a return visit for next week. Who’s joining?
*cornedbeefandrice is making a comeback, so stay tuned! love, Zorn and Jen.