As the author of yesterday's top ten list of the best fried chicken in the city, I wanted to discuss the findings of my arduous journey completing what shall henceforth be known as Operation Fried Chicken.
During OFC, I went from Bayview to North Beach, Hayes Valley to the Richmond, all to taste fried chicken. And though an assignment to eat a copious amount of the stuff might initially sound like a dream come true, I assure you, tasting my weight in chicken was no easy task.
On the upside, it certainly gave me a solid grasp as to what sorts of variables exist in the fried chicken world: Is the meat brined or not brined? Is the skin crisp or soggy? Was it dredged in a secret spice blend or a simple flour mixture? Did it come with dark meat and white meat? Did the restaurant supply me with an appropriate amount of napkins or was I going to blind on-coming traffic with the greasy glare shining off my face?
On the downside, however, I also had to endure a few hyped spots that fell short in all of the above categories, leaving me with a feeling of disappointment -- and mild indigestion (Boxing Room and Hot Sauce and Panko, I am totally looking at you).
Honorable mention most definitely goes to the hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop Naked Lunch for its fried chicken sandwich. Butter lettuce, an actually flavorful tomato (from Early Girl Farms), garlic aioli, and a fried Mary's Farm chicken breast all on a pain de mie roll makes for a solid lunch in North Beach.
And a hat tip to The Front Porch in the Mission for its famous fried chicken bucket. And although the sandwich was tasty -- and pretty much anything eaten out of a bucket is a great thing -- the OFC competition was fierce and sadly only ten places could make the list.
But I imagine in due time some other naive soul will embark on a similarly gout-inducing mission and could very well come up with an entirely different list of the top ten spots for fried chicken in the city because as I just learned, in S.F., we do good fried chicken. And when that day comes, I will happily pass the torch -- and the Tums.