Chicken of the Month

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ScreamingChicken
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Chicken of the Month - Wed, 02/13/13 12:28 PM
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A few weeks ago I decided I needed to be a bit more organized and a bit less random for 2013...in other words, I needed a theme that I could have some fun with.  So after giving it a bit of thought I came up with the idea of expanding my chicken horizons with an emphasis on the fried variety, and doing so on a monthly basis.  The next 12 months may bring some great finds, some clunkers, and probably a lot of "pretty good"s so without further ado:
 
January
 
I've mentioned the Winchester Restaurant at the Edgerton Oasis before and since the menu describes the chicken as "our own recipe" I figured it would be as good a place to start as any.

 
Since it was a snowy day my soup-or-salad option was the chili, and ignoring the "beans/no beans" argument it was very good.  The heat level was fairly mild, the consistency was good, and it had plenty of ground beef and pieces of tomato; it would be just fine by itself.

 
I didn't feel like fried potatoes so I went with mashed, which came with brown gravy.  Now to be perfectly honest I have trouble differentiating between the real thing and instant potatoes, but they didn't seem overly smooth and the gravy was good.

 
But I wasn't there for chili and potatoes, I was there for the chicken.


 
It reminded me somewhat of the chicken I'd had at Jack's Chicken Palace in Dubuque a few weeks earlier: crisp, hot, and juicy but with the emphasis on the meat more than the crust.  So it was a good meal but not spectacular; I don't think I'd call it a destination dinner but it would certainly be on my list if was looking over the menu or sitting at home with a taste for some fried chicken.  The Winchester serves up consistently good food (at least what I've ordered) and this was no exception, although I think I would've rather had more chili in place of the "northern style" (no bacon) green beans.

carolina bob
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Wed, 02/13/13 1:31 PM
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Brad, how did that chicken compare to what we had at Wagner's Village Inn in Oldenburg last fall?    

joerogo
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Wed, 02/13/13 1:54 PM
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Chicken of the Month Club.....Sign me up!

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Wed, 02/13/13 2:58 PM
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So, when are gonna make a long weekend in LaSalle County, Illinois to hit the Fried Chicken Belt?  Ripp's, Smitty's, and The Cherry Supper Club, among others are beckoning.  And we can burn off the calories with brisk walks through Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks.
 
Buddy

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Wed, 02/13/13 2:59 PM
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carolina bob


Brad, how did that chicken compare to what we had at Wagner's Village Inn in Oldenburg last fall?    
Wagner's chicken was much more seasoned, especially in the coating.
 
Now I'm far from being any kind of fried chicken expert but it seems to me that there are 3 general styles of coating: crispness secondary to flavor, flavor secondary to crispness, and an emphasis on both.  Wagner's falls into the 3rd category while the last 2 places I've been are more the 2nd, and I suspect that pan-fried chicken is often in the 1st category.
 
I have this month's visit all lined up and now it's just a matter of finding the time.  "Southern fried chicken" is given a prominent place on the restaurant's menu and I'm hoping that's a good sign!
BuddyRoadhouse


So, when are gonna make a long weekend in LaSalle County, Illinois to hit the Fried Chicken Belt?  Ripp's, Smitty's, and The Cherry Supper Club, among others are beckoning.  And we can burn off the calories with brisk walks through Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks.
Sunday, July 14 would be good from me as I'll be on my way home from Ohio and can kill 2 chickens with 1 stone.
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Wed, 02/13/13 3:01 PM>

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 02/14/13 1:04 AM
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I'll mark my calendar and we'll see what develops.
 
Buddy

buffetbuster
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 02/14/13 6:14 AM
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Love the idea of chicken of the month. This will be a fun thread to watch!

rneiner
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 02/14/13 7:54 AM
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Fried chicken my favorite can't wait for your reviews.                  
 

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Mon, 02/18/13 10:09 AM
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February is a short month so to make sure it didn't get away from me I took care of business this past Saturday at Prairie Diner, in business in Sun Prairie, WI since 1967.  "Southern Fried Chicken" is not only the first listed entree but it even gets it own little box, which tells me they're pretty proud of it.
 
The building is tucked away by McDonald's and Fuzzy's Liquor on Windsor Street, just east of the US-151 interchange.

 
The interior may be a little dated but it was clean and comfortable.  On the other side of the wall is the counter area.

 
I believe fellow in the kitchen is the current owner, who bought the restaurant about a year ago.  I was sitting in the corner by the "front" door, which is really the side door that leads directly into the main area.

 
The soup of the day was a nice, beefy French onion with plenty of but not too many onions; I've mentioned it before but I'm not a fan of the onion stew that some places sell as soup.  And as a bonus the onion pieces were fairly small and soft, which is how I like them.

 
Hopefully one of my visits will be to a restaurant that offers chicken gravy but this day I had to settle for brown gravy on my potatoes - a very good, hearty brown gravy at that.

 
And eventually I did get to the chicken.

 
The first thing I noticed was that the pieces were definitely smaller than usual; the breast (shown above) was the size of the thighs that many other restaurants offer.  But that in no way is a negative because it allowed the chicken to be cooked faster and the meat was tender and juicy, which leads me to believe that Prairie Diner might use young birds.  I much prefer dark meat and always save the breast for last because it can sometimes be dry but that definitely wasn't the case here as it was just as good as the other pieces.
 
The other big hit was the crust.  It was crispy, crunchy, coarse and pebbly with a good flavor and the right amount of seasoning, although I did get one bite that seemed to be a bit salty...perhaps some salt had clumped a little bit during the mixing process.  In any case it certainly wasn't a big deal and this is the kind of crust that kids like myself love.
 
Prairie Diner has a definite local feel as most of the customers and staff appeared to be on a first-name basis with each other, and if it was closer to my house I'd easily make the occasional stop.  In fact, the other boxed entree on the menu is hot roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy and that's one of my favorites so I just might have to make a return visit before too long...

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 04/4/13 10:05 AM
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My choice for March was Toby's Supper Club, a longtime establishment on Madison's southeast side.  I'd never been there before and since the menu lists pan-fried chicken I figured that was as good a reason as any.
 
It's not a very big place and looks like it could've originally been someone's house.


 
The interior is pretty dark and the bar is centrally located with two separate dining areas branching off.  Bar + supper club = old fashioned, which was good but not as sweet as I thought it would be (and I ordered it sweet).

 
The soup of the day was chicken enchilada, which had good flavor without being overly spicy.  The tortilla wedge was a nice touch and dunked well.

 
A small relish plate (I'd already eaten the pickle) and some cinnamon rolls came with dinner.

 
Toby's chicken is pan-fried and I really liked the crisp, lightly-seasoned crust and moist, flavorful meat that wasn't at all greasy.  It'd be interesting to get the opinion of someone who's eaten at Stroud's...are you listening, Buddy Roadhouse?  I appreciated the wet-nap, too.

 
I also ordered hash browns and they were good but unremarkable, and actually did get a little oily at the bottom.  But that was OK, as the chicken more than made up for them.

 
3 months in and no bombs yet...hopefully it stays that way!
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Thu, 04/4/13 10:07 AM>

TnTinCT
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 04/4/13 1:26 PM
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Wonderful pics!! We are always on the hunt for good fried chicken - we have great pizza here in CT, but excellent fried chicken is a lot harder to find. Really enjoying your report.

mar52
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 04/4/13 2:09 PM
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Brad, I like how you think.
 
Here is my chicken of the month:
 

 
That's a chef's hat for those that can't tell.

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 04/4/13 2:46 PM
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I'm listening ChickenMan.  What I'm hearing is, you value my opinion so much, you'd be willing to buy me dinner at Toby's just so you can hear me wax rhapsodic about how it compares to Stroud's.  You got a deal!
 
Buddy

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 04/4/13 3:14 PM
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No problem.  You're a big fan of mini corndogs, right?  You can have a piece of chicken off my plate.
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Thu, 04/4/13 3:15 PM>

agnesrob
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 04/4/13 6:16 PM
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What a great thread! The only place around here that has outstanding fried chicken is my house! I would love to be able to go to a local restaurant to get some good fried chicken!

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 04/5/13 2:11 AM
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ScreamingChicken
No problem.  You're a big fan of mini corndogs, right?
Only if I can get them served with LOTS of ketchup!
 
Buddy

ann peeples
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 04/5/13 5:33 AM
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How fun, Brad! As I cannot make good fried chicken, this is a great thread to follow......always on the look out for great fried chicken!

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 05/12/13 11:01 AM
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April
 
There's nothing like waiting 'til the last minute so my April chicken foray took place on April 30.  I actually got TTM'd at my first choice but fortunately I had a backup plan: Halverson's Supper Club, north of Stoughton on US-51.

 
Back in the 1920's and '30s there were a few cabins on the property, and this is the last remaining one (no longer in service, in case you were wondering).  Look at me being all artsy-fartsy with lens flare.

 
Naturally, being on the shores of a large lake meant access to ice and Halverson's had an icehouse until 1975, when it was torn down to make room for an addition to the restaurant.

 
A true Wisconsin supper club is somewhat dark inside.  Too much light and it's just a restaurant.

 
Halverson's chicken is broasted and I opted for the 4-piece dark meat plate.  Dinner starts with a warm, fresh loaf of bread and it would've been easy to eat it all; I'm surprised I was actually able to exhibit some self-control and leave about half of it.

 
When French onion soup's on the menu it's tough to turn down.  Unfortunately Halverson's version contains more onions that I prefer and therefore the broth was a little sweet, but otherwise it was perfectly executed with cheese over a slice what I suspect was day-old bread.

 
The chicken wasn't disappointing in any way but while it was very good it was just - and I mean just - shy of the chicken from Prairie Diner and Toby's.  Personally, I would've liked just a touch more salt in the breading but it was crispy, juicy, flavorful, and thoroughly cooked...maybe I'm just too picky.  The house special side dish is a parmesan potato cake and I really liked the firm, slightly toothsome shredded potatoes and "I'm here but I'm not going to get all up in your grille" cheesiness.  As you might expect, Halverson's makes a good fish fry potato pancake as well.  And I also liked the vegetables although I couldn't quite pin down the cooking method; they were better than steamed but didn't seem to be quite pan-roasted.  Regardless, the broccoli and cauliflower were excellent, and I hate carrots.

 
Next up...a visit to Oregon, or perhaps Ft. Atkinson.  But not today; it's Mother's Day and you couldn't pay me to go out to eat!
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Sun, 05/12/13 11:06 AM>

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 05/30/13 11:35 AM
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May
 
Over Memorial Day weekend we had a family function in the Chicago area and it was suggested by a couple of Contingent members that it'd be an opportunity to visit a landmark in the world of fried chicken: Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket in Willowbrook.

 
Joliet Road used to be part of US-66 and for many years the Chicken Basket served hungry travelers, and this heritage is noted by plaques in front of and on the building.  In fact, my in-laws (who joined us) had eaten there several times "back in the day".


 
The dining room probably has 25 tables, give or take a few.
 
 
No porcine porcelain here! 

 
I ordered the chicken dinner and it comes with a trip to the soup and salad bar, so I helped myself to a cup of chicken dumpling soup.  It had good flavor and the dumplings were soft without being mushy.

 
Since we were the first people through the door when it opened at 11am we had to wait a bit for the first batch of biscuits.  They're crumbly as opposed to flaky and broke apart easily, but they were warm and slightly salty.

 
The chicken is breaded instead of battered and the breading has a grainy, coarse, sandpapery texture without being overly craggy or knobby.

 
And the chicken inside was perfectly done and quite juicy.

 
The chicken basket comes with fries and slaw so I chose the dinner ($5 more) in order to get mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans.

 
The recommendation was spot-on, as the well-seasoned chicken was outstanding all the way from the crust (excellent in its own right) to the bone.  The potatoes were the real deal and the chicken gravy was nice and thick, and the beans were given equal rights instead of being treated as second-class citizens.
 
Our waitress was very personable and efficient, and was even able to stop by to chat for about 10 minutes or so.  After my mother-in-law mentioned that they had been there back in 1961 we learned that it's not at all uncommon for the Chicken Basket to serve multiple generations of families, whether they're those of former employees or long-time patrons.
 
I lived in the southwestern and western suburbs for 4-1/2 years without ever setting foot inside; the closest I ever came was when we had our wedding rehearsal dinner at the Holiday Inn just north on Route 83.  This was definitely a case of better late than never!
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Thu, 05/30/13 11:40 AM>

mar52
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 05/30/13 12:35 PM
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I almost missed this! 
 
I love the shelf full of chickens.
 
Here's my entry:
 


mar52
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 05/30/13 12:35 PM
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I want that chicken dumpling soup.  Were they like spaetzle?

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 05/30/13 3:47 PM
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Yes, they were very similar.  And just as good.
Unfortunately I didn't pay attention when I ladled my soup and wound up with entirely too much celery, which means "anything more than zero pieces".
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Thu, 05/30/13 3:49 PM>

agnesrob
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 05/30/13 6:12 PM
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What a great looking meal! This is a great thread!

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Tue, 06/25/13 11:07 AM
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June
 
Between Whitewater and Ft. Atkinson lies the hamlet of Cold Spring, home to the Cold Spring Inn.  I first visited the Inn a couple of years ago for the "Drew Burger" but this time it was for the chicken.

 
The inside is quite comfortable, with a supper club-type atmosphere.

 
The 2 soups of the day were seafood chowder and turkey sausage gumbo.  The chowder had a rich, creamy base and was a good start, although I couldn't really identify what was in it other than "pieces of white stuff".

 
I also liked the mildly spicy turkey sausage gumbo, which was a bit heartier than the chowder.  The turkey was pulled/shredded and I would've preferred pieces, but that's a minor quibble.

 
It didn't take long for the chicken, piping hot and fresh from the fryer, to arrive.  The batter was very crisp (I wound up leaving quite a few crumbs) and the meat itself was cooked through and juicy, but I would've liked it better if it had a bit more seasoning.

 
The menu describes the fries as "Brew City", which is a brand of frozen coated fry that's becoming pretty widespread.

 
Overall the meal was pretty good but not quite on the level of my 3 favorites so far, and eating here just a couple of weeks after Dell Rhea's probably didn't help.  But while I might not consider this to be "destination chicken" I certainly wouldn't recommend against it.
 
I was the only person in the restaurant so getting good service wasn't a problem, but even so I should point out that my waitress was very pleasant and had a good sense of humor and conversation skills despite appearing to be under 20.
 
With 6 months gone and 6 months to go I've reached the midway point, and it's looking like the amount of seasoning in the chicken and crust is the biggest factor when determining who makes the "A" list and who comes up short.

mar52
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Tue, 06/25/13 1:48 PM
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It would have been hard for me to decide between the two soups.  The gumbo looks great.
 
That chicken is how I like it.  I like a thick batter that crunches when I bite into it.  Was the chicken juicy underneath?
 
Summer is here!
 


agnesrob
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Tue, 06/25/13 9:46 PM
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Hard for me to have gumbo anywhere because my husbands is so good. The latest most popular favorite here is his turkey and sausage gumbo.
Again, I love this thread!! My husband says my fried chicken is so good but I would love to go somewhere and have it made for me!!
 

ann peeples
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Wed, 06/26/13 4:54 AM
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Brad-love this! I always look for good fried chicken as I cant make it and Bob doesn't like it.
Agnes-I make a mean gumbo as well, but love when I find a good one at a restaurant-Wintzells in Mobile makes a fantastic version!

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Wed, 06/26/13 9:43 AM
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mar52
That chicken is how I like it.  I like a thick batter that crunches when I bite into it.  Was the chicken juicy underneath?
Yes, it was just fine.  Fortunately all the chicken I've tried so far for this thread has been properly cooked.
 
If you like the looks of this chicken you'd like what's served at Nick's in Madison.

CajunKing
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 06/28/13 8:01 PM
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Brad - Unfortunately when you add Chicken or turkey to gumbo and let it simmer very long the meat breaks down into threads like that.
It is a toss up would you rather have chunks of chicken or turkey that arent flavored by the gumbo or have strings of poultry that melt in you mouth with the other flavors.

CajunKing
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 07/12/13 5:26 PM
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Since Brad is on a roadtrip and thus our dinner together wont qualify for this thread I will add this:

 
Fried Chicken Dinner
Bonaparte's Retreat
Napoleon, IN
 
It is a true SE Indiana fried chicken, the skin was crispy and peppery the meat was tender and juicy.

agnesrob
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 07/12/13 9:06 PM
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Well, I guess fried chicken will have to be on the menu this weekend!

Twinwillow
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 07/12/13 9:26 PM
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This thread is AMAZING! I thank y'all!

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 07/12/13 10:44 PM
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Brad and I were supposed to meet at Rip's Tavern in Ladd, IL this Sunday.  Unfortunately his schedule got whipped around so we had to postpone.
 
Full report when the grand event happens.
 
Buddy
 
P.S. Nice shot from Bonaparte's, BTW.
 
B.

tcrouzer
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 07/13/13 8:57 AM
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How did I miss this special fried chicken tour? Wonderful report and photos of your meals! Can't wait for the next installments!
 
There is a BBQ place near me that does broasted chicken and I think that is better than their BBQ. My mom made pan fried chicken just about every week and she became an expert at making it.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Mon, 07/15/13 12:50 PM
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CajunKing


Fried Chicken Dinner
Bonaparte's Retreat
Napoleon, IN

It is a true SE Indiana fried chicken, the skin was crispy and peppery the meat was tender and juicy.
Yes, it was indeed very good fried chicken and CK is to be commended for his choice of Bonaparte's Retreat!  And while it's listed on the menu as a dinner I should point out that it was actually lunchtime when we ate.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 08/2/13 9:17 AM
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July was another month that went down to the wire.  As noted above I did have some chicken while on the road but since that'll be part of a future thread I didn't want to double-dip unless I had absolutely no other choice, so 2 days ago I stopped at DeBroux's Diner in Oregon, WI.

 
Eating at 3:30pm means not having to deal with crowds.  Booths line the wall to my left.

 
If this sign was on the wall and chicken wasn't on the menu you can bet that someone would sue.  Oregon is, after all, less than 10 miles from Madison.

 
I suppose I could've made my own version of hot chicken.

 
Dinner (and at 3:30 I suppose it was truly an early bird) comes with 2 sides so I opted for a cup of chicken dumpling soup as the first.  It was stew-thick with small dumplings and plenty of chicken without relying too heavily on vegetables, and while I wouldn't describe the flavor as rich it had a kind of clean, slightly tangy undertone that I liked.

 
A warm, fall-apart-crumbly biscuit topped with real butter (in Wisconsin it's against the law to not have butter on a restaurant table) arrived with the chicken.

 
The chicken had a light breading that I really liked and the meat was moist and flavorful, but once again I would've preferred just a little bit more seasoning.  Frankly, I think the Indiana fried chicken I've had over the past couple of years may have jaded my tastebuds.

 
The crust may have been thinner than the skin itself.

 
There was still another side dish to be had and I saved it for the end for a reason: this was one of the best potato pancakes I've had in a long time.  It had a great texture, wasn't at all greasy nor too oniony, and the fresh herbs (I couldn't quite put my finger on the flavor) really added a nice touch.

 
I hadn't been to DeBroux's for a number of years (since the name change from BrouxNellie's, in fact) because my previous meal there had been extremely disappointing, but this was by all accounts a worthwhile stop and I'll be going back for more potato pancakes sometime.  And as a side note, I took home a piece of homemade pecan pie for Mrs. Chicken and she determined it to be very good.
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Fri, 08/2/13 9:18 AM>

cousin-ick
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/4/13 7:52 PM
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SC, great thread! I have this bookmarked and will be trying some of these places ASAP!
 

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/4/13 9:08 PM
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Thank you and welcome, Cousin-ick!  I get over into the eastern 608/western 262 fairly often and Waukesha isn't that far away.
 
Have you been following the thread about the Contingent lunch at Fred's in Burlington in a couple of weeks?

myterry2
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Mon, 08/5/13 12:15 AM
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Love the Chicken Basket...eaten there many times...make sure you not only get the mashed potatoes, but also there homemade stuffing....terrific.    There chicken livers are also to die for...nice report with good pictures.

cousin-ick
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Mon, 08/5/13 2:36 PM
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SC,
Thanks for the warm welcome!
Point me to the Fred's Thread, might be interested. If it's the place I'm thinking of, I've got a mildly humorous anecdote to share.
Got friends in Madtown that will come with me to the Chicken Joints you've listed and folks that have been to Dell Rheas and want to return! Yay me!!
 
Just read that the Chicken Basket has livers on the menu, oh my...
 
Cheers!
 
ick

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Mon, 08/5/13 2:44 PM

TnTinCT
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Tue, 08/6/13 11:52 AM
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Great chicken pics, I love this thread. Can't wait for the fall Roadfood trip and the fried chicken at Gus's in Memphis! 

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 08/10/13 12:15 PM
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August will be done in a much more timely manner.  West End Diner in Edgerton has moved into the Main Street space formerly occupied by the now-defunct Vitaioli's and I knew that chicken was on the menu, so this past Thursday I stopped in for supper.
 
The counter was transplanted from West End's former location on Burdick Street.

 
I apologize for the somewhat otherwordly appearance of the photos.  The counter and plates were almost identical shades of white; had I known it would create some strange effects I would've sat in a booth, where a tablecloth is used.
 
The first things I saw were some plates of turnovers fresh from the oven; there were 2 already on the counter and while I was there another 2 came out of the oven.

 
I started with a dish of cottage cheese and after about 20 minutes my order was up.  The green beans were pretty ordinary but I definitely enjoyed the potatoes and gravy.

 
I didn't ask but I'm guessing the chicken was battered and not breaded, as the coating was very crisp and exploded into  tiny pieces when I bit into it.

 

 
At WED they're not afraid to use salt in the kitchen and the chicken reminded me very much of the Indiana fried chicken I've had; in fact, with a little more pepper I think this would've been a very acceptable copy.  I really enjoyed the crisp crust but it was so fragmentable that when I was done I felt obliged to apologize for deep-fried shrapnel I'd scattered about the counter.
 
I was surprised to be the only diner between 5:15 and 6pm but it was a nice day so perhaps the early eaters had come and gone, and others were postponing supper until later.  We've been to West End several times and the food and service have always been good; it's been around since 1998 so it appears to have a good customer base.
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Sat, 08/10/13 12:25 PM>

CajunKing
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 08/10/13 3:15 PM
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Yeah there is not enough black pepper in that batter to be considered SEI fried chicken, we Germans LOVE our black pepper.

lleechef
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 08/10/13 3:53 PM
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SC
Great report!!  Absolutely all of the chicken pictures look good to me.  I love, love fried chicken and MH won't touch it.   

JRPfeff
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 08/10/13 4:25 PM
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I knew MH was a man of distinction.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 08/10/13 8:24 PM
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lleechef

 
I love, love fried chicken and MH won't touch it.
Maybe you should slap a Chef Boyardee label on some to see if that changes his mind!
 
Thank you everyone for all the kind comments so far.  It's hard to believe I'm already 8 months in with only 4 to go.

ann peeples
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/11/13 10:17 AM
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Lisa-we need to do a fried chicken tour-Bob wont touch it either!

buffetbuster
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/11/13 10:28 AM
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SC-
Thanks so much for this splendid thread.  We may end up taking a vote and insist that you keep on adding to it past the 12 months.  My vote for best looking meal so far has to be Halverson's, but the best signage has to be at Dell Rhea's.

lleechef
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/11/13 10:57 AM
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ann peeples


Lisa-we need to do a fried chicken tour-Bob wont touch it either!

I'm all for it!  We'll leave the guys at home to eat Raviolios!!! 

ann peeples
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/11/13 11:49 AM
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That's funny-Bob likes that crap..........lol!

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 08/11/13 3:16 PM
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What the heck are Raviolios? A conflation of ravioli and Spaghettios.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 09/8/13 6:00 PM
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September's chicken took me to Maasz's North Shore Inn just outside Fort Atkinson.

 
The name comes from the fact that Maasz's is located on the north shore of Lake Koshkonong.

 
Dinner is served only in the dining room, which is smaller than I expected and rather dimly lit.  We were given a table right away but at busier times customers order food and receive numbers at the bar.

 
I started with a cup of creamy, flavorful chicken and rice (white and wild) soup that was almost stew-like in its consistency.

 
Mrs. Chicken opted for the salad and Maasz's serves the homemade dressings at the table.  She liked the ranch dressing enough to take home a pint.

 
Maasz's also offers fish fry on Wednesdays as well as Fridays.  It was pretty good although one piece did have a slightly rubbery section.

 
But this thread isn't about fish, it's about chicken, and on Wednesdays one of the specials is a 4-piece dinner for $8.

 
The crust was outstanding, with good thickness and excellent crunch, and the chicken itself was well-seasoned, juicy, and flavorful.  The breast did have a dry spot but the thigh, drumstick, and wing were very good.

 
The potato pancakes were a pleasant surprise; I'm not sure if they're available all the time or just on fish fry nights.  They're smaller in size and fairly smooth as opposed to having well-defined pieces of shredded potatoes, and they had a light onion note.

 
Maasz's was a nice find and judging by the building and decor it's been around for a long time.  I first found it a few years ago on a Sunday drive but this was our first visit, and there's a decent chance we'll return.

CajunKing
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sun, 09/8/13 6:11 PM
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I will have a bowl and a chix dinner!

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 10/31/13 8:53 AM
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For October I decided to stay close to home with Deak's Pub and Grill, a local establishment that's been around for a few years.  Mrs. Chicken and I have eaten here several times and the food's always been good, but I didn't realize fried chicken was an option until I was checking the online menu one day.
 
Deak's is the second business to occupy the building; the first bar had a bad reputation (deserved) and when the current owner took over he cleaned up the place both literally and figuratively.  He didn't have to actually go all Buford Pusser but an article I read a couple of years ago described how he confronted the troublemakers and made it clear that they and their behavior would not be tolerated, and it didn't take long before they were gone.

 

 
I walked in at 10:50 on a Saturday thinking that lunch started at 11:00 but learned that on weekends the time changed to 11:30 because breakfast is served.  However, when I asked if the fried chicken dinner was available at lunch the bartender checked with the kitchen staff and found that not only was it available but there was an order that they'd be happy to batter and drop in the fryer right away.  Nice customer service!
 
The chicken came with side orders of house-cut waffle fries and a crumbly house-made biscuit, and each was very good.  The exceptionally crisp batter had peppery notes that reminded me of Indiana fried chicken and the meat itself was thoroughly cooked and juicy (note the juice breaking through the crust).

 

 
Based on previous experience I had no reason to expect mediocre food but I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised at how good the chicken was and would absolutely order it again.

brisketboy
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Thu, 10/31/13 9:37 AM
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This is a truly great thread. I love love love fried chicken but find that there are no places here in Austin or the surrounding areas that serves a decent bird. The last absolutely spectacular fried chicken dinner I had was at Amos' in Jax beach. Between the chicken the potatoes and the greens it was pure heaven. Thanx SC.

ScreamingChicken
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Fri, 11/22/13 2:39 PM
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While chicken isn't the poultry star of November it still deserves its moment in the spotlight (providing said spotlight is shining on some bubbling oil) so last week Mrs. Chicken and I took a 30-minute drive to the Stagecoach Inn on highway 26 south of Fort Atkinson to see what it might have to offer.  It's tough to tell here but the sign does have neon outlining, although a lot of it's unfortunately not working.

 
By my estimation there are only about 20 tables give or take, so it's a pretty cozy environment and the lighting's a bit more dim than it appears here.  We were actually in the corner and the kitchen access window was over my right shoulder.

 
First up was the relish tray.  I'm not sure what the top 2 items were (1 appeared to contain kidney beans), but the 3-bean salad had a tangy, slightly sweet dressing and the corn relish had a good tomato flavor.

 
The soups were French onion and cream of asparagus, and I chose the former.  It was how I like it: lots of broth and not so many onions it's stew-like.

 
Instead of salad (it's soup and salad, not soup or salad) I chose a glass of tomato juice, which seems to be an item that some places have dropped from the menu.  I like mine with a dash of pepper on the top.

 
With Stagecoach's fried chicken the emphasis is on the crust, which was nicely seasoned and crisp enough to break into crumbs without any real effort.  The mild meat was OK but definitely played second fiddle; this is the kind of fried chicken that kids (from 1 to 92) love.

 

 
Instead of a baked potato or fries I chose au gratin.  They were pretty good but to be perfectly honest the smoothness of the sauce made it tough for me to tell if they were made completely from scratch; however, I did see boxes of potatoes in the kitchen so I'm giving the benefit of the doubt.

 
Overall dinner was fine and I'd certainly order the chicken again, but it doesn't quite distinguish itself from some of the other versions I've had so if I had a taste for fried chicken there's a chance I'd pick someplace a little closer to home.
 
Stagecoach is nice to visit during the week as it can get busy on weekends, especially Friday nights.  We were the youngest diners there and the only ones the waitresses didn't know by name, so that gives a pretty good idea of place it is.
<message edited by ScreamingChicken on Fri, 11/22/13 2:40 PM>

dinein44
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 11/23/13 12:51 AM
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Fried chicken my favorite. this will be a fun thread to watch. excellent fried chicken is a lot harder to find.


myterry2
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 11/23/13 5:30 AM
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Love that fried chicken....many, many good places to have and test it...I've heard good things about places in Peru, IL, and the surrounding area, but haven't been there yet to try them yet.  Funny, bought a new car in Peru in April, but didn't try any food places.

ann peeples
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Re:Chicken of the Month - Sat, 11/23/13 9:34 AM
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Loving this thread, Brad!

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