Monday, 30 July 2012

Dante Fried Chicken

"Finger lickin' good".

Now that's over with, onward with a story about fried chicken.

In anticipation of heading back home to the States this (!) weekend (!!) BB and I decided to prime our palates with an American food amuse bouche in the form of a one-weekend-only fried chicken cookout.

The fittingly-named creative agency Protein had flown over the international former taco and now fried chicken impresario Dante from LA specifically for the affair, and for good reason - the man knew his way around a fryer.

We kicked off the ghetto gourmet evening with some Hennessey apple slushies (notice the nips below), which churned away through the meal in the agency's entrance and coffee bar. I couldn't help feeling sad for every office lacking a slushie machine (ours included, though soon to be rectified).

We sat around communal tables, adding to the picnic feel of the event, and tucked into our starters, a trio of black eye pea hummus in endive, buttery-rich smoked cheese grits topped with shrimp and a sweet-smoky-spicy andouille cinnamon cornbread with honey butter. America.

After demolishing the picnic-sized portions, we sat, literally licking our chops, in anticipation of the fried feast to come. And it didn't disappoint.

This was not your "Insert-American-State Chicken Shop" chicken - tender and boneless slabs of the stuff was perched on top of vanilla-coconutty waffles and drizzled with "Apricot Crack Glaze" (the best flavor of Crack Glaze), the sweetness providing a great contrast with the chicken's deeply savory and lip-tingling shell. It was served with an Asian-inspired cucumber salad, kimchee, and some unreal deviled eggs topped with crispy leeks.

For dessert? The only slight disappointment of the evening. A "21MC Choco Cherry Pie" would have been a perfect "21MC Choco Cherry" - it consisted of some juice-plumped cherries with a flourish of cream, but was unfortunately served with an unidentified doughy puck, seemingly a black sesame biscuit which had decided not to rise. It had, however, been dipped in dark chocolate in an attempt to resuscitate, and after scraping the chocolate off the UDP, the choco-cherries and cream were perfect.

Meeting the man himself after the meal, we spent some time debating NY vs LA (food and/or rap) and agreeing on the superiority of American eats vs English, as Americans under the influence of slushie are wont to do. And wandering home full of waffle, I couldn't have been more excited about returning to the deep-fried homeland.

So a thank you to Dante (and cheeky nod to the high-low culture that was) - the food was Divina.

[For some much nicer snaps (and a chance to see the man at work) check out Protein's own coverage of the event.]

Dante Fried Chicken

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