My (Fried) Chicken & Waffle Journey

I have a simple “yes” or “no” question for you. Have you ever heard of “chicken & waffles”? And for those who haven’t this isn’t just regular chicken, we’re talking fried chicken!

Chicken & Waffles

I can’t recall when I first heard of it, but I’ve been dreaming about it for quite some time. Yes, that’s right, I dream about fried chicken & waffles, don’t you?

So first a history lesson, I thought chicken & waffles were a commonly known thing, but after asking around, I had a bunch of people looking at me all crazy-like! It’s definitely a southern dish, usually characterized in the “Soul Food” category and after a quick look through Wikipedia (where else?), the jury is still out on how these were initially paired together.

“As unusual as it might seem, the marriage of chicken and waffles actually has deep roots. Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron back from France in the 1790s and the combination began appearing in cookbooks shortly thereafter. The pairing was enthusiastically embraced by African-Americans in the South. For a people whose cuisine was based almost entirely on the scraps left behind by landowners and plantation families, poultry was a rare delicacy; in a flapjack culture, waffles were similarly exotic. Chicken and waffles for decades has been a special-occasion meal in African-American families, often supplying a hearty Sunday morning meal before a long day in church.”
Some historians believe the dish goes back to the late 19th century, when Southern African-Americans, recently freed from slavery, began migrating to the Northern United States. According to author John T. Edge: “My guess is that it comes from the days when someone would go out in the morning and wring a chicken’s neck and fry it for breakfast. Preparing a breakfast bread with whatever meat you have on the hoof, so to speak, comes out of the rural tradition.”

Well, I was in New York recently and it was time for chicken & waffles. I was told of a great place in Harlem, but knowing my luck with the Subway system, I would have ended up in New Jersey or some other remote place! Next time, I will tackle Harlem, but this time around, I stayed close to where I was staying and found a place in an awesome part of Brooklyn (Williamsburg) called ‘Pies N Thighs’.

Pies N Thighs Menu

When I sat down and looked at the menu, there it was! However, at the same moment, I realized there was no way this could meet my expectations, because at this point, I had built up the combo in my head to be a culinary experience for the ages and unfortunately, I was right.

The positive

  • The plate looked great and when they say chicken & waffles, that’s exactly what it is.
  • The chicken was moist and cooked really well.
  • There was a great cinnamon butter served on top of the waffles.
  • Enjoyed my Arnold Palmer (1/2 iced tea and 1/2 lemonade)

Arnold Palmer

The negative

  • The chicken lacked seasnoning and that is probably my biggest complaint. Me and my uncle agreed that even KFC was better seasoned. The Colonel Sanders does know his chicken!
  • I’m not a waffle expert (is there such a thing?), but I have a sneaking suspicion that they weren’t fresh. They were a little soggy and soft, like they had been frozen, sort of like an Eggo. Well, this complaint is a very close second.
  • I’m a huge fan of extra crispy fried chicken and this was only bordering crispy.

I loved the combination, it was a total get-your-hands-messy-finger-licking-good-experience. I know it can be better and I plan on eating more chicken & waffles to prove my point! We will meet again!

Fried chicken with a drizzle of honey

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16 Comments

Filed under Brooklyn, Chicken & Waffles, Fried Chicken, New York, Pies N Thighs

16 responses to “My (Fried) Chicken & Waffle Journey

  1. you make something so naughty look and sound so so so nice. LOVE.

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      Thank you Linda, that’s a great compliment, especially from someone who makes all sorts of food look naughty and nice:)

  2. Um…ok. Gonna try the place in Harlem and report back, because truthfully that whole thing looks suspicious to me! lol! And yeah, dude…I told you if you’re gonna try anything and the choices are Harlem and Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburg (hippy, artsy, mecca of Brooklyn–which is cool BTW), I would have told you Harlem!

    xoxox It was great to meet you!

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      I know, I know, Harlem would have been better!
      And Williamburg is very cool, I’d definitely consider living there if I ever moved to NY!
      It was great meeting you too:)

  3. Next time you are in TO, we have to go to the Drake. Theirs is sooo good. http://www.tasteto.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/drakechickenwaffle.jpg

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      Looks cripsy and gooood! I may have to re-think Toronto for that Halloween party if we can go to the Drake for Sunday brunch:)

  4. Natalie T.

    Ethan, The Drake has the BEST blueberry pancakes! You must try. Yummm. I’m so hungry now!

  5. Seasonless chicken and waffles that weren’t fresh…oh no! Let me know when you find good crispy fried chicken with fresh waffles.

  6. I had chicken & waffles on the brain in SFO after I had great fried chicken and heard the resto had an off-shoot that did c&w. Now with your post, I can’t get it out of my head. Maybe I’ll search in LA…

  7. I live in Los Angeles and there is a restaurant called Roscoe’s that is famous for chicken and waffles. There is ALWAYS a line out the door. But I had always dismissed it as a novelty, but this post has me thinking I should probably get in line next time I pass by. GREG

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      Roscoe’s is always talked about as one of the”go-to” places for chicken & waffles. You definitely should check it out! Mmmmm chicken & waffles!

  8. But you didn’t try the ‘voted best doughnut’?
    I have yet to try the chicken and waffles, although we saw it on a lot of menus when we were last on tour.
    You still in NYC?

    • Tastes Better With Friends

      Oakey! I would have tackled that dish in every city of the tour:)
      No, back in Canada for now. Hope all is good with you!

  9. This pairing has always seemed odd to me… though, i’ve never tried it, so I can’t really judge. 🙂

  10. Tiffiny

    Try Roscoes Chicken and Waffles if you are ever in Southern California!

    http://www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com/

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