The New Trend: Fried Chicken

Food trends.  You can’t avoid them if you enjoy eating at any white tablecloth restaurant. 

Long ago, it was pesto.  Pesto not just on pasta, but on chicken, mayo and aioli, bruschetta, you get the idea.  I’m so over it.

Then there were sun-dried tomatoes.  They were in salads, breads, pastas, pizzas, spreads, just about any and everything.  This trend hasn’t fully died, but it has died down.

Most recently, there has been the most annoying of all trends: foam.  What the hell is this all about?  Fancy foams that accompany a plate taste like nothing, look like nothing, and add absolutely nothing.  Enough said.

chick-and-waff.jpg Photo by J. Low

But now, there is a new trend on the horizon.  It’s called…fried chicken!  This is no new food innovation, of course.  It’s just our basic primal need for a big hunk of meat, fried.  I can get on board with this food trend!

Here are some places in San Francisco that have recently either helped start or jumped on the bandwagon of this trend.  Of course, there are so many other places to get some that I haven’t mentioned here, but feel free to place a comment and let me know about ones you’ve tried elsewhere.  I can’t vouch for the quality of each restaurant’s fried chicken since I haven’t tried them all, but I have visited a few of these places, and they make very tasty versions, indeed.

Town Hall (San Francisco)

Say what you will about the noise of this place, the inconsistant service, or the cavernous space.  Bottom line is the food here rocks!  There’s nothing like a plate of their expertly prepared fried chicken and finishing off your meal with an order of Butterscotch and Chocolate Pot de Creme.  It’s a heartattack of a meal but you’ll love every minute of it.

900 Grayson (Berkeley)

Their chicken and waffles (known as the “Demon Lover”) is the best version of the dish that I’ve ever tasted.  Perfectly crisp, perfectly flavored, hardly greasy, quality meat.  Simply mouth-watering.  Oh, and that homemade buttermilk waffle it’s served on ain’t so bad either.

Chez Panisse Cafe (Berkeley)

This legendary restaurant is known for it’s innovative use of local ingredients, perfectly prepared.  San Francisco Chronicle Food Editor, Michael Bauer’s recent blog entry touts the merits of their verson of this dish.  And apparently, it’s not to be missed.

PPQ (San Francisco)

Yes, I know this is a Vietnamese restaurant, but have you had their Five Spice Chicken?  To die for!  Once you try it, you’ll know why it’s on this list.  Just go.

Bakesale Betty’s (Oakland)

This place has gotten so much attention lately, but their lines out the door say it all.  They’re all waiting to get their hands on Betty’s now famous Fried Chicken Sandwich.  She makes the chicken in-house, places two breast pieces on each huge sandwich, and then piles on a vinegary, spicy cole slaw for a great flavor and texture contrast.  Not to be missed.

Man, why did I write this post without a good piece of fried chicken on hand?  What was I thinking?

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