Monday, October 1, 2012

Los Angeles Fried Chicken Festival Pt 2

 For those of you who saw my last post about the Los Angeles Fried Chicken Festival, you were probably wondering "Where the hell is the chicken?" Let's just chalk up the black and white photo essay to the inspiration of the excellent rye whiskey that was being served. As for the chicken, Callie managed to get through all eight recipes, while I only got through the first six. That said, cold fried chicken is brilliant for lunch, doubly so if it's a curry version from Byant Ng (Spice Table). Presented in the order we ate them, not by rank!

#1: Jiltada
This was an amazing spicy-sweet Thai fried 
chicken. Even if this wasn't the most perfectly cooked 
chicken, the ultra-spicy sauce as a condiment
and the assortment of sides tied this dish together. I love 
Jazz's take on Southern Thai cooking and this  
recipe shows how she can take unassuming ingredients
and make something better than the parts.

#2: Baco Mercat
To call us biased toward Josef's work in the 
kitchen doesn't do justice to the raw skill and
direct but complex ideas he creates. This time
he opted for a lightly Morrocon take on fried
chicken that had hints of exotic flavors peeking
out from one of the most perfectly cooked pieces
at the festival (was there preserved 
lemon in there?) The cute shishito peppers on the side 
provided a pleasant bitter contrast to the rich 
chicken. The general manager had also brought a tasty,
lightly sour shrub to make drinks with that
was the perfect pairing for the oily chicken
all around.

#3: Border Grill
I'm always hit or miss on Border Grill (as well 
as completely unimpressed by Street) but
I will give it to them that they know 
Latin flavor combinations exquisitely 
well. This is a Southwestern tostada with
an heirloom bean salad, frisse, and peppers.
This was one of the more fun dishes at the event, even
if the focus wasn't really the fried fowl. If only
I could have gotten a margarita. 

#4: Mo-Chica
Again, Ricardo's modern take on Peruvian food
is a perennial favorite of mine. No surprise that his
extra crunchy fried chicken with fried 
potatoes and verde sauce was outstanding. Honestly
the potatoes were the best side at the event. This
dish would pair gloriously with a funky,
off-dry Spanish white wine. I really need to
hop on the expo line to get back downtown
and check out his new joint.

#5: The Coop
I want to say something nice about this dish
since the two chefs hosted the event in their new space 
(if you wondered, yes, it was the location from Kill Bill).
That said, this dish a complete trainwreck. It was
something with raw cherry tomatoes, black-powder
fried chicken, some sort of melted ice cream, 
melon balls and a strange sauce. The flavors didn't 
merge and the ice cream was a pool of 
lukewarm sweet goo in the bottom of everyone's
plate. It was such a mess of a dish that I couldn't
even fathom what they were going for and was so
unpleasant that I likely won't even be
be visiting their restaurant. Sorry...   

#6: MB Post
Neither of us had heard of David LeFevre or his 
restaurant. However their interesting breading (almost 
like it was wrapped in it's own biscuit) was combined perfectly with their
immaculate frying technique. I had one of these
deeply spiced pieces of chicken the next day for a 
heavenly lunch. Hefty but refined, it made me want
to visit MB Post for sure.

#7 Mozza
Mozza, especially Pizzeria Mozza, ranks high on
my list of amazing food in Los Angeles (and
not just for their generous wine pours coupled
with ultra-fresh mozzarella). That said, their chicken
was probably the most technically perfect
but simultaneously had the least character. It reminded
me of a bland and extra salty version of Ludo's chicken.
However, it's one redeeming grace was it's brilliant, 
buttery, tiny biscuit. Mozza's chicken couldn't possibly
 keep me from being in bliss every time 
I eat at their restaurant though!

#8 Spice Table
Ng's food, especially those glorious wood-roasted pig's tails
which are so far from being even "third date food" that you
might want to be solidly married before attempting to
eat them in front of your significant other, tends toward
an overwhelming cascade of flavors and textures. It was 
no surprise that his extra-crunchy curry chicken
with umami-loaded gravy potatoes was a complete winner. 
As good the next day as it was the first. 

Looking at my reviews, you can clearly see 
that I prefer some more funk in my food given 
that Spice Table and Baco's takes were my top choices. 

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