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.

Advertisements

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.

Scratching my Head at Konjiki Ramen

Konjiki Ramen
Location
: 5051 Yonge Street, North York
Websitehttps://konjikiramen.com/

I think ramen might just be my favourite food on the planet.  Burgers are obviously a strong contender, but there’s something about a truly great bowl of ramen that’s incomparable.

That’s why the ramen at Konjiki — a seriously acclaimed Tokyo ramen joint that has just opened their first outpost in Canada — was so disappointing.  Their specialty is ramen made with clam, shellfish, chicken and pork.  I was exceptionally excited to try it.

You can either get shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce); I went with shoyu, which was clearly a mistake.  The flavour was all salty soy sauce, which completely wipes out all of the nuances from the broth.

https://tastyburgers.ca/

The thing that’s so irresistible about a great bowl of ramen is how complex it is; it feels like you’re discovering something new with every mouthful.  But there was nothing new to discover here after the first slurp.  It certainly wasn’t bad, but the first sip was exactly the same as the last.

The noodles were quite good, at least, with a satisfying chewiness.  The texture was slightly off in a way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but that’s a minor complaint.

The chasu, on the other hand, wasn’t great.  It was super dry, and just didn’t add much to the bowl.

I also tried the gyoza (which were pork, shrimp, and cabbage dumplings) and the karaage (fried chicken), and they were both tasty, if nothing particularly mind-blowing.

Konjiki Ramen

I should also note that there were some service issues.  I was with a group of four, and two bowls of ramen came fairly quickly.  The other two took an extra fifteen minutes to arrive.  The waitress was extremely apologetic once she realized what was happening, and I got a free egg out of the deal (which was nicely cooked, with a gooey, just-barely-set yolk — but like the ramen itself, it was too salty).

Overall, not the greatest experience ever, and certainly not worth waiting for when there are several other ramen joints right nearby.

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.

Nashville Hot Chicken at Porchetta and Co.

Porchetta and Co.
Location: 545 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://porchettaco.com/

I love Porchetta and Co.  Their porchetta sandwich?  Classic.  Best porchetta in the city.  Their fried chicken sandwiches?  Usually delicious!  Their Nashville hot chicken sandwich?  Uh…

Hey, they can’t all be winners.  And it wasn’t all bad.  The fried chicken itself was superlative, as usual: perfectly-cooked chicken with a crispy, crunchy, tasty exterior.  It’s good stuff.

Porchetta and Co.

Nashville hot chicken is a notoriously spicy dish that involves a post-cooking dunk into spice-infused oil to give the chicken additional flavour and heat.  It’s typically sprinkled with more spices, just to kick up the heat factor.  Porchetta and Co. appear to have remembered the oil — the sandwich was absolutely dripping with it — but forgotten the spices.  The oily coating on the chicken was bland, and worse, it wasn’t spicy.  At all.  The spice level here never registered beyond a mild tingle.  WTF?

The other components of the sandwich — lettuce, mayo, pickles, plain white bread — were fine, though the sugary-sweet pickles were a bit overpowering.