Reality Bites: The World’s Perfect Food (Pt. 2)

Published  June 2015

antigravity_vol13_issue6_Page_10_Image_0001In April, I ate fried chicken at five different locales—this month I’ll look at five more:

Lil Dizzy’s (1500 Esplanade Ave.)
Lil Dizzy’s came highly recommended, so I was very excited to try it. The atmosphere was homey and cute, an old storefront with brick walls, and photos of Kelly Ripa and Barack Obama on the walls (sadly, Kelly and Barack are not together in the photos). They’ve painted “jazzy” images on their drop ceilings, which is an interesting aesthetic decision,  but hey, so what? The waitress was super friendly and the service was fast.

Unfortunately, the chicken wasn’t anything amazing. The skin was crispy and actually perfectly  fried, but there was no discernible seasoning. It just tasted vaguely salty. On to sides—there’s no choices, so like it or not, you get a green salad, steak fries, and potato salad. I despise steak fries so I left them be. The potato salad was of the mashed  variety, and was tasty enough. The salad was of the afterthought-iceberg- lettuce variety. All of that is okay, as I didn’t go there expecting an amazing  salad or anything, but the lack of options was a little depressing. Just to spice things up, I ordered gumbo as a starter, which was a mistake. The gumbo tasted like the kind you buy at the grocery store in a big frozen  tub, nothing but salty, lukewarm preservatives. Come on, y’all, this is just lazy. 4.5/10 “Jazzy” Images


McKenzies Chicken in a Box (3839 Frenchmen St.)
Oh heck yes. McKenzie’s Chicken in a Box is housed in an old McKenzie’s bakery, but interestingly, they don’t seem to use the actual bakery storefront for anything. You walk through the mostly empty storefront to the back, into what feels like an adjoining building, and order at a counter under a gigantic menu board; the whole thing feels covert, like someone is just letting you hang out in an abandoned bakery. So already, this is fun! There’s no seating, so I went to the lakefront and picnic’d. If you’re on foot, though, this might be something to keep in mind as there is really nowhere hospitable to sit and enjoy your chicken within walking distance. The chicken was perfect, and it’s also incredibly inexpensive. The skin was crispy and well seasoned; the meat itself was juicy and flavorful. I have literally no complaints about it! I went with several friends, so we ordered a lot of sides, and there were more that  I’d want to try. The menu here is massive! We got chicken livers (yes, I ordered fried chicken as a side to fried chicken), fried okra, french fries, potato salad, red beans, and for funsies, an eggroll. And when I said it was cheap, I wasn’t kidding—we all ate for about $30.00. The sides were pretty good, if nothing spectacular but overall, I’d highly recommend McKenzie’s Chicken in a Box as the place to go if you’re just looking for a nice, economical box of chicken to bring to a potluck or party. 8.5/10 Disused Storefronts


Church’s (various locations)
Nope. 2/10 Live Chickens Running  Around The Sidewalk Out Front To Remind You Of The Cycle Of Life


McHardys (1458 N Broad St.)
Before I get into my review proper,  I’d like to tell you that I’ve recently learned how to use math in my everyday life, which sounds like a stupid thing to say since I’m in my 30s but hey, no one is accusing me of genius here. What I mean is that the wait at McHardy’s is very long, so I had a lot of time to ruminate on the menu board and prices. I’ve always assumed that the more chicken one buys, the cheaper said chicken becomes, thereby incentivizing bulk purchasing. Not so at McHardy’s, where no matter how much or how little chicken you buy, it’s always $1.016 a piece. If you buy five pieces, it costs $5.08, if you buy 40 pieces its $40.64. Want 90 pieces? $91.44. Therefore, this is not the chicken to buy if you’re looking for something to bring to a potluck or family reunion. On to the chicken! Inconsistent. The order that I got obviously came from two different batches, because I had a thigh that was dry, overly salty, and sad. I also had a juicy, delicious, perfectly fried breast. Neither was necessarily well-seasoned. The fries and rolls were pointless, the coleslaw was perfectly acceptable, and the potato salad was unexpectedly (and delightfully) spicy. Overall, it wasn’t an unpleasant experience, nor was it one that I have any desire to replicate. 5/10 Uses For Math


Melbas (1525 Elysian Fields Ave.)
I hate Melba’s. I literally hate that  place. Remember how they bought  houses, painted them solid colors, and used them as billboards? Remember how they littered N. Claiborne Ave. with signage like some third rate  candidate running for an election that  no one seems to know about? Ugh. But in the interest of journalism, and because someone brought some to a party (so it was totally free), I tried  their chicken. And you know what, it was fine. It was perfectly fine. IT WAS FINE. 5/10 Houses That Someone Could Actually Be Living In But Are Being Used As Big Stupid Eyesore Billboards Instead


Rue 127 (127 N. Carrollton Ave.)
Fried Chicken skins! Okay, so this review was supposed to be all fried chicken on the bone, but I went to Rue 127 a few weeks ago, and when I saw that they offered fried chicken  skin as an appetizer, I had to try it. Fried chicken skin is delicious, duh, and I’m honestly surprised it isn’t marketed on its own more often (my chef friend said that people often use fried chicken skin as a garnish for dishes, and was skeptical when I told her that someone was offering it as a dish by itself ). This was such a fun appetizer; the consistency reminded me vaguely of an Awesome Blossom/ Onion Mum, but somehow lighter. It was served with a dipping sauce that tasted like the sort of thing you’d get at Chili’s accompanying chicken  tenders. 8/10 Skeptical Chef Friends


Endnote: many thanks to Jason, who emailed me to let me know that Munchie’s Poboys in Gretna has Dill Pickle SnoBalls! Y’all know what my weekend plans are!


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