Amazing Fried Chicken at Chica’s Chicken

Chica's ChickenLocation: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/chicaschicken/

Recently, I had the Nashville hot chicken sandwich from Porchetta and Co. and was thoroughly unimpressed; it was bland, disappointingly mild, and dripping with flavourless grease.  It was a surprisingly mediocre sandwich from an otherwise great restaurant.

Clearly, the problem was not with the dish itself, because I just had the version from Chica’s Chicken, and hot damn it was so good.

The menu here is exceptionally simple; it’s pretty much just bone-in chicken, chicken wings, and a chicken sandwich, along with a variety of sides.  I got the quarter chicken (dark, of course) with a side of coleslaw.

Chica's Chicken

There are three heat options: mild, medium, and hot AF.  I ordered hot, which prompted the woman behind the counter to warn me that it was indeed very hot.  She mentioned Carolina Reaper peppers (currently the hottest pepper in the world) along with another pepper I can’t recall.

It’s so good.  The chicken is perfectly cooked, with an amazingly satisfying level of crispiness on its skin and abundantly juicy chicken.  And the flavour is explosive; aside from the level of heat, their spice blend is outstanding.  It’s some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

Chica's Chicken

As for the heat: it’s hot enough to make you sweat and to clear your sinuses, but not so spicy that it feels like something you should be eating on a dare.  It’s great.

It comes on a plain slice of bread (de rigueur for this style of chicken), which soaks up all of the amazing grease.  It also comes with a side of ranch for dipping, which was a huge upgrade over the typical Hidden Valley; it was creamy, slightly garlicky, and a little bit sweet.  It was a delicious compliment to the intensely spicy chicken.

The creamy coleslaw was great, too; I normally prefer vinegary coleslaw, but versions like this make me second guess myself.

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Chicken Strips at the Burger’s Priest

Location: 1599 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.theburgerspriest.com/

I love Buffalo sauce.  I know there are some people who find it too vinegary, and I totally get that, but me?  If you toss something in Buffalo sauce, I’m going to eat it.  It doesn’t matter what it is.

The Burger’s Priest recently introduced chicken strips to their menu; you can get them plain or tossed.  Obviously I went with tossed.

They’re quite good.  The exterior has a good amount of crunch, and the chicken inside is nice and tender.

And I don’t need to tell you that good-quality fried chicken is delicious when you toss it in Buffalo sauce.  That just goes without saying.

The Burger's Priest

It comes with a side of ranch, as well as your choice between BBQ sauce and something called G14.  I got the G14, and man, whatever that was, it was crazy delicious.  It was tangy, a little bit spicy, and seriously addictive.  Easily one of the best dipping sauces I’ve had in a while.

I should note that there are some consistency issues.  Two of my chicken strips were as described: crispy, tender, delicious.  The third was somehow simultaneously overcooked and undercooked.  The chicken was completely dry, and yet the batter was doughy and underdone in parts.  You can kind of see what I’m talking about with the batter in the picture below.

The Burger's Priest

With all of the Buffalo sauce and the dipping sauce it wasn’t a huge issue, but it was an issue nonetheless.

Decent meat pies from Nadege

Nadege in Yorkdale mallAddress: 3401 Dufferin Street, Toronto
Websitehttp://www.nadege-patisserie.com/

I just got a couple of meat pies from Nadege in Yorkdale — beef bourguignon and chicken basquaise — and they were both fine.  they were so middle-of-the-road that I’m having a hard time mustering up the enthusiasm to even write a few words about them, but this is a food blog.  It was food.  Let’s do this.

They both had the same puff pastry crust, which was light and flaky, if a bit dry.  Like everything else about these things, it was fine.

Nadege in Yorkdale mall

They heated them up for me, but clearly not enough, because they were vaguely hot in some places, and lukewarm in others.

The beef bourguignon had big, tender cubes of beef interspersed with carrot chunks.  It wasn’t bad, but nothing about it particularly stood out.  There just wasn’t much going on, flavour-wise, and the sauce was nonexistent — it was just dry chunks of beef and carrots.

Nadege in Yorkdale mall

The chicken basquaise had big chunks of chicken interspersed with pieces of peppers (red and yellow peppers, I think?  I ate this just a couple of hours ago and it has already almost completely faded from my memory).  Like the other pie, it was a bit bland.  It was also entirely sauce-less, and the chunks of chicken were kinda dry.  But it was fine.

I know I’ve said “fine” an awful lot, but it’s really the best word to describe these things.  By tomorrow they will have both entirely receded from my memory, like they never existed.

Waffle Double Down at KFC

Waffle Double Down at KFC

As ridiculous as the Waffle Double Down looks (and yeah, it is ridiculous), it’s basically just an oddball presentation of chicken and waffles.  And everybody loves chicken and waffles.  So it follows that this thing must be pretty good too, right?

Right?

Well… it’s not awful, I’ll give it that.

The Waffle Double Down is actually pretty simple: it’s two fried chicken patties encasing a Belgian waffle with maple aioli.

Waffle Double Down at KFC

I sort of figured that the aioli would be subtly sweet, but I think it might actually be sweeter than just plain maple syrup.  As soon as I unwrapped the sandwich (assuming that this thing even qualifies as a sandwich, which is questionable), the maple aroma hit me in the face like a ton of bricks.

And that was one of the main issues: the sandwich is way, way too sweet.  I like the combo of sweet and salty, and I quite like chicken and waffles, but this is leaning way too hard in the direction of in-your-face sweetness.  It’s almost dessert.

The other issue is the chicken itself.  You can get it regular or spicy; I went with spicy, because if someone asks you if you want something spicy, the correct answer is always yes.  And it’s not bad — the exterior was crispy and tasty, with a decent kick.  But the chicken was overcooked and dry, and since there’s so much of it, that’s an issue.  I had to constantly chug water between bites just to keep my mouth from completely drying out.

Waffle Double Down at KFC

The waffle was exactly what you’d think it would be.  If you’ve ever had prepackaged Belgian waffles, then you know what you’re getting.  It’s fine.

I actually wish that they’d drop the gimmick and just make this a regular waffle sandwich.  Because as it is, there’s an absurd amount dry chicken and not enough waffle.  The proportion is off.  It doesn’t taste right.

Oh, and this thing cost about $10.50 with tax, which is crazypants.  It is absolutely not worth that much money.

Me Va Me

Me Va Me - Jerusalem Mix Laffa
Location240 Queen Street West, Toronto
Website: http://www.mevame.com/

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting a heck of a lot from Me Va Me, and so its level of quality was actually a pretty delightful surprise.

They have a decent amount of stuff on their menu, but I homed in on their laffa wraps.  I had a pretty great experience at Dr. Laffa a few months ago, so I was hoping for more of the same.

(For the initiated, a laffa is thicker and more substantial than a pita; it’s somewhere between traditional pita bread and naan.  It’s delicious.)

They have a few different wraps on the menu, including the mysterious Jerusalem Mix.  There’s no mention of what this is anywhere on the menu, so I asked: it’s a mixture of chicken liver, heart, thigh, and sauteed onions.

it’s hard to tell from my shoddy picture, but this thing is crammed to the gills with stuff.  They give you a very, very generous amount of meat, and cram a ton of other stuff in there as well (the usual assortment of pickles, veggies, and sauces).  I asked for everything except for onions, because raw onions are the worst and no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise.

Again, you can’t tell from my terrible picture, but this thing has heft.  It’s about the size and weight of a newborn baby: those with smaller appetites are advised to share.

I was getting worried that it was going to turn out to be overstuffed, but somehow, all the various flavours worked perfectly together.

Foremost were the various chicken bits that make up the Jerusalem Mix.  Seriously good. It was perfectly cooked, with the juicy thigh pieces working perfectly with the liver.  I like liver, but even if you don’t, the flavour is mellowed out by the sauteed onions and all the the other stuff.   I’m not entirely sure that the heart was necessary — there were a few vaguely rubbery pieces that I’m assuming were heart.  Still, tasty stuff.

I don’t think the laffa itself was quite as good as the one from Dr. Laffa, which was amazingly fresh and close to perfection.  But taking the whole package into account, I’ve gotta give the edge to Me Va Me.  All the stuff they mix in there worked really well, and the chicken itself was above average.