Chicken Fried

Let me preface this post by admitting I’ve never attempted to make fried chicken myself. It wasn’t something we ate a lot growing up, but lately it seems to be one of the up and coming food trends.

I think the appeal of fried chicken- like many southern staples is that it is equally appealing when prepared in high brow and low brow establishments.

In the spring, I went for the low-brow version during my first visit to New Orleans. I waited in line, in the rain, for the famous fried at Coop’s Place and thoroughly enjoyed their tasty cornmeal textured  and bayou seasoned fried chicken.

Chicken at Coops Place

Delicious and affordable, the two piece plate satisfied with a generous helping of rabbit & sausage jambalaya (rice simmered with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, local seasonings, boneless rabbit and smoked pork sausage) and coleslaw. Total low brow, low country perfection washed down with raspberry-infused Purple Haze Abita Beer. Laissez les bons temps roulez.

Recently I had the chance to spend a weekend in Napa. After spending the morning touring the amazing collection and grounds of di Rosa, I was ready for lunch. Somewhere in the depths of my memory, I recalled a friend telling me about Addendum, a newer, boxed lunch addition to the Thomas Keller franchise (The French Laundry, Bouchon, Per Se, etc).

Tucked behind Ad Hoc in a lovely grove of trees is a saltbox sized outlet where for four hours a day, three days a week (Thurs-Sat) for about $20 you can dine al fresco (or take to-go) some high brow fried chicken and two sides.

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I was floored by Addendum’s chicken. The thick buttermilk crust was seasoned with sea salt and fresh rosemary for a delightful, savory crunch. The three piece serving was extremely generous, and the buttery corn muffin was flavored with honey. In particular I enjoyed the cole slaw, which had more of a vinegar sauce- not overly mayonnaised.

Altogether, Addendum has the making for a fantastic “pinkies-out” high brow fried chicken picnic the next time you’re in Napa. AND you can say you ate at a Thomas Keller establishment without mortgaging your house.

However, it is my sincere belief that the very best fried chicken is made with love. A couple Sundays ago, my dear friend John shared his family’s recipe with some of us. I’m not sure if it was the ingredients, the ambiance or the company, but hands down, I’ll take chicken fried love any day.

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What’s your favorite place for fried chicken?

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