Showing posts with label Chicken and waffles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicken and waffles. Show all posts

Succotash (Washington)


Washington may lie in the north east corner of the United States, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get soulful Southern food in DC. As you walk into Succotash, it doesn’t feel like you’re in the South. Open and airy, the building was home to a former bank and the ornate details still shine through. Perhaps the second floor balcony, ringed in a wrought iron divider, pays a bit of homage to New Orleans. If it weren’t so fancy, I’d almost expect people to pelt me with plastic beads

Then you take a bite of their smoked chicken wings ($11) and you’re hit with the flavours. Arriving fairly dark, due to the spice rub, it looks almost burnt but isn’t. The chicken is tender and there’s a nice crispy skin despite seemingly being roasted. Yet, it’s the flavours that impress the most. As Colonel Sanders says, it’s finger licking good.


Succotash also offers some interesting nibbles like the deviled eggs, ordered by the piece ($1.50). The snack starts off like any deviled egg, with creamy yolk piped into egg white. But, they you’re met with a refreshing green tomato relish in the cup between the two. Whose genius idea was that?


The hush puppies ($6) are a bit denser than I expected. But, the batter was flavoured nicely and more of the green tomato relish arrives on the side, making a great condiment for the warm savoury bites.


You may want to consider sharing the chicken and waffles ($23), which arrives four pieces to an order. While the portion size is certainly impressive, the dish itself contained good and bad elements: The chicken had a lovely crispy coating and was fairly moist, but the thigh pieces were over floured leaving soggy parts and the batter could use more flavour. Luckily, we thought to ask for hot sauce.


The dish’s condiments were also a hit or miss. While the pickled okra, something I didn’t think I’d like, turned out surprisingly delicious, the waffles were too dense and mushy. I also could have done without the sprinkling of aged manchego over the chicken, it really detracted from the bourbon infused maple syrup.

Nothing quite shouts out being in the south than a side order of bacon mac ‘n’ cheese ($10). Succotash’s version is bang on in terms of flavours and the pasta isn’t overcooked. Sure, the side is decadent, but it’s not overly oily so doesn’t leave you too glutinous feeling.



You really can find a diverse mix of cuisine in the nation’s capital. At Succotash, you get a great taste of Southern food. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Washington, USA
 Address: 915 F St NW

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Succotash Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Drake Devonshire for brunch (Prince Edward County)


Brunching in the County. The phrase brings to mind a carefree meal … one filled with nature, tranquillity, and of course, wine. It’s an unhurried affair, a meal shared amongst friends. In fact, to date, every trip to Prince Edward County has been with friends.


To prep ourselves for a day of drinking, our first stop was for sustenance at Drake Devonshire. Their menu contains many breakfast favourites – eggs, bacon, and benny. But, it was the semi-lunch options that called out to us. From the chicken and waffles ($21) that swap out the syrup for peaches and cream to the popular Drake burger ($23), which is transformed for breakfast by adding a fried egg with hollandaise and exchanging fries for hash.


Being a huge fan of Mexican breakfasts - I love the combination of hearty & fresh elements without the meat - I opted for the enfrijolada ($17). My first time having the dish, it reminds me of a breakfast quesadilla; the rice, avocado, queso fresco, and vegetables are tucked into a toasted tortilla. Over top was a sunny fried egg, contrasting against black re-fried beans on the bottom. While the dish hit the spot, it needed more seasoning and herbs. Since the table was salt less, I relied on vinegary hot sauce to help add flavour.


For “dessert”, one of their blueberry scones ($11) is a great idea. Not overly large, the warm four-bite pastry with crème fraiche and blueberry jam may give you that sweet ending you need.


Having visited the restaurant previously for dinner and leaving disappointed, it still seemed like an ideal place for a group of six, especially one with dietary restrictions. To our surprise, despite being a sizeable restaurant with Toronto outposts, they were unable to cater to a celiac diner. To make matters worse, Drake wouldn’t allow her to bring in a meal so she could dine with us, citing it would start a precedent. A precedent for what exactly… to be accommodating? Alas, still no warm County charm.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Wellington, Canada
 Address: 24 Wharf Street

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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CLOSED: Fring's Revisited (Toronto)


My last visit to Fring’s was shortly after it opened. After hearing all the hype about the restaurant, I had to experience it in person, secretly hoping to get a glimpse of Drake. Since that first weeknight visit was so busy and loud, I readied myself for a night of drinking and music. Strangely, this return Friday visit was much quieter: we were seated at the bar (surrounding areas had some empty tables) and there was no live performance. Alas, there was still no Drake.

The menu has completely changed and now offers more items. Arriving as crispy golden spheres, the crab cakes ($24) were delicious with plenty of lump crab meat and not much other filler. The sweet seafood was the dominant taste with an herby tomatillo verde and cooling sour cream for contrast. It’s a great starter to share or something to nibble on even if you're there just for drinks.  


In fact, they have a few good options for sharing. The beef short rib tacos ($16) also arrive four to an order and incorporate a fair amount of juicy tender beef held in a crispy wonton shell. Unlike other tacos that tend to be messy, Fring’s was easier to devour as it relied less on sauces for flavouring and more on ingredients like creamy avocado, spicy mango pineapple salsa, sour cream, and a slice of red chili.


While the actual grilled skirt steak ($28) was merely decent – unfortunately, the meat was overdone and the flavours somewhat covered by the chimichurri and thick slices of red pepper - the accompanying Parmesan polenta “croutons” were delectable like a traditional crispy polenta but much creamier and cheesier. 


We had added a side of quinoa crusted onion rings ($10), thinking they’d go great with the steak. At first glance, they looked good – plenty of crispy crust and not overly oily. Then when you bite in and are met with the mealy tasteless crust, the perception changes. When I slathered enough chilli mint yogurt chutney on the onion ring it was a bit better, too bad there was so little of the condiment. Note to self: quinoa and onion rings do not mix.


Thankfully, the tried and true roasted Brussels sprouts ($12) didn’t disappoint. There was enough bacon to make it sinful while still keeping the dish predominantly vegetables, the pearl onions providing a bit of sweetness, and to cut through the typical sweet maple glaze was a generous sprinkle of fresh thyme.


One dish that just wouldn’t arrive was the grilled octopus ($26). Unlike my previous dinner experience at Fring’s, our waitress kept an eye on the dish, coming by to provide us with updates. In the meantime, she provided complimentary truffle fries ($20) and another order of crab cakes (likely from hearing our moans of deliciousness) to keep us placated. Upon receiving the fries, I realized why a side of spuds would cost $20. In lieu of truffle oil, the chefs dust on real black truffles instead. Along with the Parmesan cheese, it makes for flavourful fries!


In the end, we decided to replace the octopus with fried chicken and waffles ($26); plate after plate kept whizzing by so they seemed popular and looked tasty. Although the chicken were pieces of boneless chicken breast, they were still tender; the batter spiced enough for taste, but could still handle the sweet and spicy maple syrup glaze.


The Hong Kong egg waffle was cold and soft, not terrible but definitely doesn’t do the accompaniment justice. Note to restaurants: if you’re going to use the bubble waffle, these need to be made-to-order as it really doesn’t lend itself to sitting around.

As a nice gesture, due to the long wait for the octopus, Fring’s also gave us the replacement chicken and waffles on a complimentary basis. Needless to say, we left terribly full (the walk back to a car a welcomed exercise to help start digest the mass of food), since the one octopus dish was replaced with three heavier items.

Compared to the first dinner, service has improved – staff were more attentive and there were no delays at clearing dirty dishes. Of course, due to waiting around for the octopus, dinner wasn’t a shorter affair (the meal still lasted three hours), but on a weekend I don’t mind hanging out over another drink … with or without Drake.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 445 King Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Fring's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Abbot Pub and Fare (Toronto)


Having recently moved, the change in location means a new local watering hole and a whole slew of fresh establishments to dine at. In the area, there’s a fair number of casual eateries and regardless of the evening, pubs such as The Abbot are filled. Rain, snow, cold weather … nothing will stop North Yorkers from getting a cold glass of ale (or in my case, wine).

As the calamari ($12) was presented, the tell-tale perfect rings signified frozen seafood. Get ready for the shriveled insides and coating that falls off, I thought to myself. Surprisingly, my worries didn’t materialize and the appetizer was decent – the calamari relatively plump and the light crispy coating adhered just fine on the seafood.


It doesn’t seem fair to write about a pub without trying a couple of their staples: fish and chips or a burger. Sadly, the staples are also what the Abbot seems to rest on their laurels with.

I’m told the thick oily batter on their fish and chips ($15) is a typical English style. For me, it’s too heavy and despite the pieces of fish actually being quite thick, still remained buried in coating; especially the ends that were so mummified I had to peel them off. Perhaps if the batter actually incorporated enough of the “Abbot Ale” or there was some other flavour incorporated into the coating it’d be better. Unfortunately, each piece of fish simply tasted like oil … the only respite was once I doused it with a liberal splashing of malt vinegar or added the respectable coleslaw to the mix.


The beef burger ($14 with an extra $2 for cheddar and caramelized onions) looked impressive with a thick patty, colourful garnishes and a fluffy buttered bun. Looks can be deceiving as upon biting through the bun everything was just… so … plain. Aside from the liberal squirt of ketchup, I really couldn’t taste much else. Despite being warned that their burgers are cooked to medium (the proper way any real burger should be prepared, in my mind), the actual patty arrived completely cooked through.  


Maybe it was an off evening and the cooks simply forgot to dip into the spices. Somehow, both dishes were so bland – even the tartar sauce could only add so much interest to the fish and chips. I know what you’re thinking, there’s salt on the table, just sprinkle it on. Sure, this helps a bit but I’m a firm believer that what makes a dish good is the layering of flavours (i.e. having spices incorporated into the beef patty and sauce on the burger bun) so that everything works together. Moreover, making a dish taste good relies more than just salt … that’s just table stakes.

Another visit yielded tastier meals. The chicken and waffle ($20), a special for the evening, had an amazing side: the bacon and Brussels sprouts hash was bang on in terms of flavours as the slivers of vegetable and soft bacon melded together into a wonderful accompaniment. I could have easily had a large plate of the hash as a meal.

Although showing promise, the chicken and waffles just wasn’t executed very well. The coating on the chicken was nicely seasoned (the saltiness pairing nicely with the maple bourbon glaze) and the meat was juicy, yet the breading fell off as soon as the knife pierced through. Chicken meat with hard crispy shards of coating anyone? The buttermilk waffle was made with a delicious batter, but so dense it could have been pancakes; the soft cake-like texture good on its own, but much too heavy for fried chicken.

The sole dish I’d order again is the beef brisket ($22). Each thick slice of meat so tender and flavourful, having been braised in beer. It’s a real "stick to your ribs" comfort dish paired with buttery scallion mashed potatoes. Mmm… meat and potatoes, perhaps this is what pub fare is all about.


The Abbot does offer a great rendition of sticky toffee pudding ($8), served hot in a ramekin that keeps all the buttery syrup soaked into the soft cakey cinnamon bread. Yet, the syrup isn’t overpowering – just sweet enough to bring justice to the dessert, but balanced out by the neutral whipped cream on top that adds a creaminess to everything.


What I’ve learnt from attending the local restaurant: forget about the fried dishes, go for the meat and potatoes. And by all means, save room for dessert!

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3367 Yonge Street

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


The Abbot Pub & Fare Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Dirty Bird Chicken & Waffles (Toronto)



Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles


The age old saying goes – what came first the chicken or the egg? But, when it comes to chicken and waffles, what intrigues me more is why a dish, synonymous with the American South, first commercially served in New York? Leading me to rephrase the question to: what came first the North or the South?

We credit the Pilgrims for bringing waffles to America after passing Holland and introducing the recipe to New Amsterdam, the modern day New York. They even ate chicken and waffles, topping theirs with pulled chicken and gravy.

It wasn’t until 1938, when Harlem’s Wells Supper Club served the chicken in its fried form. Wells, a restaurant frequented by jazz musicians, concocted the dish as a solution to their diner’s eating hours. Too late for dinner yet too early for breakfast, chicken and waffles was the perfect balance offering a satisfying savoury element paired with a breakfast eat. Herb Hudson further popularized the tradition by opening Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, introducing the dish to artists in the area.

Which brings us back to my original thought: how did this New York dish signify the South? The answer may lie within the Civil War of the 1860’s. Previously, chicken and waffles were served, albeit privately, in the South after Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron from France; chicken was eaten with biscuits and gravy, so it’s not implausible that a waffle soon substituted the biscuit.

African American slaves, often fed from their owner’s leftovers, would have developed a liking to the meal, eating it before long church services during holidays. Then the Civil War happened, where coincidentally fried chicken was also served as the cooking method made the poultry less susceptible to spoilage. After the war, when slaves were freed, many emigrated to the North in search of jobs and a better life. Likely it was these first migrants who brought the dish to New York, the dish later served at Wells Supper Club.

The dish’s pilgrimage continues as it makes its way south of the border into Canada. Over the last year, it’s popping up on menus everywhere and at restaurants like Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles, they even cook it exclusively. Dirty Bird isn’t the diners of the U.S.A., rather it’s a casual eatery that’s largely takeout with about a dozen first-come first-serve seats.

Thankfully, the chicken is fried to order – so don’t expect the line to move quickly or the wait to be brief. Their menu is also thigh, legs and wings only; if you want white meat, you’re in for a disappointment. Luckily, I love dark meat so the menu addresses my need and I opted for the Up North Trip ($14) consisting of three drumsticks, a full waffle and coleslaw.

After waiting over twenty minutes and smelling the fried aroma, I was salivating. Upon cracking open the box I was greeted with dark golden chicken pieces and large waffle pieces.

Chicken and waffles

Although the chicken was hot and juicy, the batter lacked seasoning and flakiness – it was really just one step up from KFC with the crust actually reminding me of the fast food chain. The under seasoning I can live with – after all, it’s reasonable to assume diners may want to dunk the chicken in syrup or add some hot sauce. But, the thin skin that lacked crunch was a disappointment.

The waffle was nicely cooked with a crispy airy crust, but would be even better if the batter incorporated more egg and butter to give the waffle a richness to stand up against the chicken. I did appreciate that Dirty Bird served theirs with maple syrup, a nod to Canada, rather than the U.S.A.’s typical thick table variety.

No matter where it originates from, chickens and waffles is a true fusing dish: sweet and savoury in terms of taste; European and American in culture; and dinner and breakfast for meals. Classes converge and taste buds intertwine, but nothing matters when something is finger licking good.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 79 Kensington Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



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