God bless chicken and waffles.
But truly, today’s food experience at the Screen Door Restaurant was a beautiful revelation. Friends (and my old high school teacher) had praised it for its authentic and hearty Southern cuisine. And being a novice in this culinary category, I happily acquiesced to test my usual Asian taste buds and plunge right into the heart of America.
The interior was fashioned like a rustic country house with dark wooden walls and floors. I lost count of the jars upon jars of pickled vegetables that lined the shelves, and the hubbub of conversation was pleasant. People milled around outside with mugs of Stumptown Co. coffee and breezy summer outfits, a sure sign to me that the restaurant’ reputation was stellar and its tables were packed. I joined the throng and patiently waited forty-five minutes (so worth it though) for a spot out out on the patio while people passed by me periodically and gaped at my pony crutches.
At last, the hostess ushered us (me and the parentals) out to the patio edged by a charming wall of plants with curling stems. It was a gorgeous day, and we enjoyed the fresh air while seated at a simple wooden picnic-style table with benches. During the forty-five minute waiting period I had ample time to choose my selection, and, you guessed it, I decided on the chicken and waffle.
At first, the combination sounded absurd. I never pictured those two together, but then I realized that it was true, you know, what they say–“opposites attract.” Because Chicken and Waffle, however different they are, make a perfect couple. The dish arrived as a giant sweet potato waffle, beaming with a reddish hue and loaded with a stack of giant pieces of buttermilk-fried chicken.
The flavors astounded me–the fried chicken batter was exceptionally spicy and rich, and the waffle soaked up the chicken’s juices and complemented it with a sweet, mild flavor and a hint of cinnamon. And when I dipped a hefty slice of the chicken and waffle in pure maple syrup, my palette couldn’t have been happier. My favorite part was indeed the fried chicken–its crispy batter peeled away easily from the wonderfully tender meat and I vowed from that moment on to never look at a KFC drumstick the same way ever again. My parents also agreed that the Screen Door was a truly excellent place–its food is fresh, artfully simple, and authentic.
So the chicken and waffle proved to be a noteworthy couple. I have to say that I’m truly happy for them. Truly.
Price: 6-13 dollars