Fried Chicken: Preserve 24

Preserve 24

I was having doubts about going to Preserve 24 for their fried chicken. Couple days before deciding to go, I had read what the guys over at The Infatuation wrote about their experience at Preserve 24. They gave the place a rating of 1.2 (out of 10) and basically said everything they ate was crap. Oh boy. But no matter what, I had to find out for myself.

Unlike The Infatuation guys, I went for brunch and not dinner because that’s the only time they serve the fried chicken. I took a seat in the near empty bar at around 12:30p. I ordered a Bloody Mary and the fried chicken.

The Bloody Mary tasted generic and was nothing special. After a moment, my fried chicken came. Sitting inside a cast iron skillet were 3 pieces of chicken (drumstick, thigh, breast), 2 biscuits, and a bottle of honey wasabi ($17). It looked pretty damn awesome but how did it taste? Well, it..was…pretty….damn…..good. The pieces of chicken were crunchy, salty, and juicy. Though if only the meat had a little more seasoning, this dish would’ve been great. Well, that’s what the bottle of honey wasabi was for. Drizzle that all over the chicken! And be sure to ask for a bottle of hot sauce too.

As for the biscuits, I really liked them. They had this really nice crispy outer shell which some people might hate but I enjoyed the crispiness. The inside was nice and fluffy.

Overall, I thought the dish was good and solid.

Preserve 24 177 E Houston St. Manhattan, NY

See what other fried chickens I have eaten for my fried chicken project.

Sheemaker’s Bounty At Untamed Sandwiches

sheemaker's bounty

Here in Brooklyn at a bar called South they serve what they call the Grilled PBJ&J. That’s peanut butter, jelly, and (pickled) jalapenos. It’s an incredible creation, taking something familiar — PB&J — and adding something unexpected — the jalapenos — that makes the sandwich special. The acidity and spiciness of the jalapenos makes the perfect bridge between the peanut butter and the jelly, and the sandwich is grilled so the bread is warm and crispy. I bring this all up because I recently had a peanut butter, jelly, and broccoli sandwich at a restaurant in Midtown. It’s called the Sheemaker’s Bounty, and at first it didn’t occur to me what I had ordered. It’s described as containing “charred broccoli, fried almond butter, and pickled raisin jelly.” As soon as I bit into it I realized that it tasted exactly like a PB&J that someone had jammed a load of broccoli into. Now this isn’t as bad as it may sound. There is actually nothing off-putting about the combination. But unlike the jalapenos in the Grilled PBJ&J, the broccoli doesn’t add anything or enhance the sandwich in any way — well, other than adding some nice green veggies to a PB&J (AB&J?). Does that make it healthier? Anyway, the sandwich was good but I can’t envision going out of my way to get another one.

Untamed Sandwiches — 43 West 39th St

Fried Chicken: Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken

Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken

I LOVE YOU CHARLES! How can you not love Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, a place that churns out great food and great fried chicken? Also for $13, you can do the all-you-eat and stuff yourself silly.

I have read many reviews about this place, some say it’s the best fried chicken while some complain about the actual tininess of the space and the use of heat lamps. All I can tell you is that, both times I went was right when they open on the weekends. I don’t know the quality of the chicken in the afternoon or at night. I can only tell you how the food tasted at 12:30p and it tasted great.

If you have never been to Charles’, you should know that this is not fried to order chicken. It’ll most likely be sitting inside the fried chicken case with heat lamps above it, keeping the pieces of wings, drumsticks, thighs and breast warm. Getting there right when they open is your best bet for getting some fresh hot fried chicken. There’s also the steam table full of mac n’cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas, rice, okra and one time there was even a whole ham. Yes, if you pay $13 for the buffet, even the ham is all-you-can-eat. The fried chicken, with near perfect crispy non-greasy skin, was great but the both times I had them, I thought it needed just a little bit more salt in the meat. Though I just squirted some hot sauce and everything was just fine. The food on the steam table was pretty standard stuff which you can skip if your main goal is the fried chicken but I can’t say no to all-you-can-eat mac n’cheese!

What I really love about Charles’, besides the all-you-can-eat, is the relaxed atmosphere. I know that isn’t for everybody but I love walking in with couple friends, grab a big plate of fried chicken, stack them up real high, and just sit there for hours eating and eating. No fuss, no one to bother you, no need to deal with attitudes. And the best thing, after eating 9 pieces of fried chicken, I did not feel gross or wanted to die which is pretty important for buffets.

Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken 2839 Frederick Douglass Blvd #1, Harlem, New York

See what other fried chickens I have eaten for my fried chicken project.

Wild

Wild

The idea of gluten free has been around for a long time now but I’m still quite not 100% sure what gluten free really means. Is it just no flour? What else has gluten in it? So when an invite to attend dinner at Wild, a gluten free restaurant in Williamsburg, I decided to go. I was curious about gluten free and was hoping to learn something.

We were treated to two gluten free pizzas, the Wild Mushroom Truffle pizza with ricotta and arugula and the Wild White pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, truffle oil and cracked pepper. There were also the house salad with beets, tomatoes, artichokes, and goat cheese, pan seared salmon, wild chicken parm, gluten free penne pomodoro, and couple bites of desserts.

I love that there is a gluten free centric restaurant for people that are allergic to gluten, a place to dine out. But this place isn’t for me. I felt bad as I was eating the pizza because the entire time I was thinking about the slice of non-gluten free pizza I was going to eat when I get home. Am I bad? The flavors were there on the topping, I especially liked the white pie but I just love a good pizza crust way too much to give it up. There were hits and misses for the rest of the menu. The penne was over cooked but nice sauce and the chicken parm was pretty good.

Overall it was a fun night and I got to try some gluten free stuff but I just don’t think I’ll give up gluten anytime soon.

Wild, 340 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg Brooklyn

Chocolate Rugelach At Breads Bakery

rugelach

I have high standards when to comes to rugelach. Most people have probably never heard of rugelach, a rolled pastry of Eastern European Jewish tradition. The dough is usually made with sour cream or cream cheese, and the filling is traditionally rasins-walnuts-cinnamon, though fruit fillings and chocolate fillings are also popular. My cousins’ grandmother, Toby, makes amazing rugelach. So when Donny told me that he’d had some great rugelach at Bread’s Bakery, near Union Square, I decided to try them for myself. They are pricey, so I only got four (not that any one rational person needs more than four rugelach). Are they as good as Toby’s? No way. Are they amazing? Yes they are. The pastry dough is buttery, the chocolate rich and not too sweet. If you got these at a bakery in Paris you’d go home and rave to people about the quality of Parisienne patisserie. Having a source of such great pastries right here in NYC is fantastic — but I already have a better, cheaper source. But if you don’t have your own Grandma Toby, and/or you’ve never had rugelach before, Breads Bakery is the right place to start.

Breads Bakery — 18 E 16th St, Manhattan

Ted Allen And Pepcid Tastemaker

photo1(2)-2

Few weeks ago, I was invited to an interesting event. The Tastemaker dinner, hosted by Chopped’s Ted Allen, took place at Pok Pok NY in Brooklyn. When I got the invite, I wasn’t too sure what it was about especially when the event was from Pepcid (yes the heartburn medicine) and Eater. Thai food doesn’t make me think heartburn and was Andy Ricker suppose to cook the whole dinner from a mystery basket?

I’ve never been to Pok Pok NY and have heard so many great things about it, I decided to check out this event. The night started off with cocktails, signing waiver forms and getting your table number. The bar, the tables and even the restrooms had bottles of Pepcid lying around. Finally, Ted Allen gave a quick speech and afterwards we all sat down at our tables. Dinner was served family style and we all enjoyed yam samun phrai (a herbal salad), Ike’s Vietnamese fish sauce wings, sai ua samun phrai (Thai sausage with chicharron and curry), phak buung fai daeng (stir fried bok choy with chillies), plaa neung bui (whole steamed striped bass with preserved plums), kai yaang tua (whole roasted chicken), and sangkhaya fak thong (sticky rice with pumpkin and palm sugar custard).

Thank you to Eater, Pepcid, Ted Allen and the Pok Pok NY crew for a great night and good food. Everyone was super nice and always great to meet other food people. I can’t say that the meal was amazing like how other people had talked about it but it was definitely good. While everyone was crazy over the chicken wings (I thought they were too salty), I was all over the stir fried bok choy and the salad. Crunchy, light, refreshing, and went so well with the sticky rice. The other dishes were pretty good. I mean, I’m pretty familiar with the flavors so the dishes were good but nothing truly jumped out at me as WOW. I did surprised myself by eating the dessert. If you don’t know, I hate Asian desserts but I didn’t want to offend anyone so I gave it a try and….it wasn’t too bad. The custard was darn tasty.

Thank you to Hunter Public Relations for the invite. I’ve always wanted to try Pok Pok NY and I finally did. Definitely good to have them in the neighborhood.

Pok Pok NY 117 Columbia St, Brooklyn

Red Hook Food Vendors Are Back For Six More Years

Red Hok

Last season when their 5 year permit was set to expire, the future for the Red Hook Food Vendors was up in the air. I couldn’t imagine a summer without eating at the ball fields. Though lucky for us, it was announced early April that they were able to get a new permit that will last for 6 years.

To celebrate their return and also what I like to consider the beginning of summer, a group of us ventured out to enjoy tacos, tamales, pupusas and horchata. The Red Hook Food Vendors is one of my favorite things to do. Besides the fact that I can walk to the ball fields, I can also get some really REALLY damn good food and not have to spend my whole paycheck. Above: for $9 I got a loroco flower with cheese and a chorizo with cheese pupusas plus a big pile of chicharron from the El Olomega truck.

Red Hook Food Vendors, corner of Bay and Clinton St. Red Hook, Brooklyn