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Ad Hoc Foodbuzz fried chicken reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Fried Chicken and Waffles

When the prospect of participating in Foodbuzz’s monthly 24, 24, 24 arose again a couple weeks ago, the first thing that popped into my head was throwing a chicken and waffles party. Fried chicken and waffles is one of my favorite meals in the whole world, and being from Southern California, I was first introduced to this combination at the world-famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood. Personally, I think Roscoe’s waffles are much better than their chicken, and the real secret to Roscoe’s greatness is in their amazing syrup.

thigh and waffleRoscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

When I moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago, it was hard to find a decent substitute, and the Roscoe’s that was in Oakland at the time was a substandard knock off of the L.A. original. Over the last few years, chicken and waffle options in the Bay Area have improved, especially when the Home of Chicken and Waffles, which was originally slated to be an official Roscoe’s franchise before the owners decided to do their own thing, opened a few years ago in Oakland’s Jack London Square. It still isn’t Roscoe’s, but it satisfies the craving.

A classic combinationHome of Chicken and Waffles

The most decadent versions of chicken and waffles I’ve had have been at Sunday brunches at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville. Ad Hoc’s fried chicken is so popular that it has developed a cult following and is the featured entree at the restaurant on alternating Mondays. The recipe was first published in Food and Wine magazine a couple years ago and my post about making the fried chicken is one of the most visited pages on this site.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and WafflesAd Hoc Fried Chicken and Waffles

On a recent trip to Williams Sonoma, I stumbled upon a display featuring the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit, a recent expansion of Thomas Keller’s exclusive line of products for the retail chain…

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit

…that also includes the Bouchon Bakery line of products.

Bouchon Waffles

When I saw the Bouchon Bakery Yeasted Waffle mix, I decided that this 24, 24, 24 event was going to turn into a throwdown: the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit v. Ad Hoc fried chicken from scratch and the Bouchon Bakery Yeasted Waffles mix v. the Best (and Easiest) Yeasted Waffle by Sheryl at Crispy Waffle.

I met Sheryl on Twitter after she started following me, and her blog immediately got my attention because I had been looking for a good waffle recipe since inheriting a Krups Belgian Waffle Maker last year from a friend. Her “Easiest, Crispiest, Yeasted Waffle” recipe really lived up to its name and it’s the recipe I always turn to when I get a waffle craving. (See my Crispy Waffle post from March.)

Chicken Showdown
I deviated from both recipes instructions by cooking the chicken sous vide before dredging and frying. I do this because I’m paranoid about undercooking chicken, and cooking it sous vide for an hour at around 140F/60C ensures that the chicken is cooked and helps keep it juicy. This allows me to focus solely on the color of the fried chicken when it’s frying in the oil.

Water bathVacuum sealed chicken taking an hour-long, 141F/61C(ish) “bath”
Post-Sous Vide chickenIt doesn’t look that appetizing fresh out of the water bath, but after dredging and frying, it’s heaven.

On the surface, both batches of fried chicken I made looked identical, but on flavor, the scratch recipe beat the kit by a mile. The main difference between the scratch recipe and the kit is in the brine. The scratch recipe’s brine calls for fresh herbs and spices, honey and lemons, and these flavors really come through in the final product.

Fried ChickenThe “scratch” batch of fried chicken.

The fried chicken kit relies on a brine packet of dried spices and seasonings instead of fresh, but the most glaring omission was the lack of lemons. As a result, everyone who tried the kit’s fried chicken said it had a strong pepper flavor. I wonder if lemon powder could have made a significant difference, but I think the inclusion of fresh lemon zest and juice into the brining liquid would have been a pretty simple step for most home cooks.

Waffle Throwdown
Although we were dealing with two yeasted waffle recipes, there were a couple differences in how they’re put together. Sheryl’s recipe uses dry instant yeast and calls for a refrigerated overnight rise, while the Bouchon mix uses active dry yeast that is proofed for 10 minutes before mixing the batter and has a rising time of 90 minutes. Sheryl also adds a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract to her batter.

The Bouchon Bakery mix produces waffles that are incredibly light and more delicate than Sheryl’s waffle, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. Personally, I found them to be a little too airy, but I was still astonished at how light and crispy they were.

Bouchon WaffleBouchon Bakery Waffle

That doesn’t mean Sheryl’s waffle was heavy by an means. It was still light and crispy but had just a little more weight and texture (dare I say gravitas?) than the Bouchon Bakery waffle, as well as a creaminess in the middle that every good Belgian waffle should have.

IMG_0677Sheryl’s Crispy Waffle

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Belgian waffles, preferring the thinner traditional waffles like the ones they serve at Roscoe’s. I even picked up a traditional waffle iron to test out some buttermilk and cornmeal waffle recipes to serve along side the yeasted waffles, but I couldn’t find one that I liked enough to feature alongside the fried chicken. Sourdough waffles are generally served at Ad Hoc, but I didn’t have a sourdough starter on hand (or the time to start one), so I tabled that for another time.

If there’s one thing I learned during my research, it’s that I really like Belgian waffles now, especially the yeasted variety, and I am now in the market for a better Belgian waffle iron, preferably one that flips. I think I’ll save the traditional waffle iron for moffles.

Thanks to Foodbuzz for helping to make this event possible. I had a lot of fun researching and cooking one of my favorite meals for my friends. Plus, we generally have a hard time getting this group of friends to come up to Ad Hoc with us, so this was a way that I could bring a small piece of our favorite restaurant home for them to experience. But most of all, I hope it inspires you to seek out fried chicken and waffles wherever you live, or better yet, make it yourself! :)

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Ad Hoc breakfast Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc Debuts New Brunch Format Sunday

Ad Hoc is changing things up for Sunday brunch, offering several options over two courses instead of the previous three-course set menu. It’s also going to be cheaper; the new brunch price is $24, down from $39.

The first course will feature pastries from Bouchon Bakery, as well as a choice of fresh fruit or a yogurt parfait. Next is a choice of an egg dish, sourdough waffles, stone-ground oatmeal, and a special for the day. The oatmeal will be served with a number of jams, syrups, granolas and sugars. There will be no dessert course, but cookies for the table will be delivered with the check.

The impetus for the brunch changes occurred when Thomas Keller came into Ad Hoc one Sunday for brunch with a pancake craving, but that morning’s menu didn’t really feel like breakfast. Keller felt simpler and more traditional breakfast options should be available for brunch and worked with the Ad Hoc team to make it happen.

We’ll be there Sunday to check it out and will report back. The sacrifices I make for my readers…I tell ya! :)

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Ad Hoc breakfast reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – 4/12/09 (Easter in Yountville)

It was another beautiful spring day in California, a perfect backdrop for Easter in Yountville. Of course for us, that means a visit to Bouchon Bakery to pick up some goodies before brunch at Ad Hoc. We really need to explore more of the area, but it’s hard when you can drop into Bouchon Bakery and get an Easter egg-shaped Thomas Keller Oreo.

We were also lucky enough to score one of the last chocolate doughnuts in the shop. It’s a brioche doughnut filled with chocolate custard and then dipped in chocolate frosting laden with crispy chocolate balls. These are usually gone pretty early in the morning, but apparently they did a second batch for Easter.

Ad Hoc is debuting a new brunch format next weekend (I’ll write a separate post about this soon) and Easter was kind of a “soft opening.” It started with a mixed berry yogurt parfait with warm banana bread. The banana bread was great…lightly toasted and topped with a really nice honey butter.

Instead of the whole main entrée being family style, every diner got their own entree, corned beef hash and poached eggs, but the waffles were served family style.

Two poached Alexandre Dairy hen eggs topped a hash made of perfect, crispy potato strands mixed with Snake River Farms corned beef brisket. The eggs were nice and runny and were great when mixed into the hash.

Dessert was a brownie with vanilla ice cream and salted butterscotch sauce.

Overall, it was another fabulous Ad Hoc brunch, and I’m excited to see how the new brunch format works out. We’ll be back in Yountville next weekend to find out. :)

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breakfast recipes waffles

Crispy Waffle’s Crispy Waffle

I inherited a waffle maker from a friend a few months ago, but the romantic notion of making waffles on weekend mornings ran into a few obstacles, namely finding a good reliable waffle recipe and the motivation to cook after rolling out of bed. Last week, I found both.

Sheryl, a Filipino American ex-pat in the Netherlands, runs a food blog called Crispy Waffle, and her “Easiest, Crispiest, Yeasted Waffles” recipe is a great example of truth in advertising. Instead of baking soda and baking powder, she uses yeast as a leavener and lets the batter rise overnight in the fridge. I followed her recipe exactly and cooked the waffles for around 5 minutes. Here’s what I got:

Crispy Waffle's Crispy Waffle
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Ad Hoc breakfast Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – New Year’s Eve Brunch 2008

What more appropriate way to close out the year than by feasting on Ad Hoc’s second annual New Year’s Eve brunch. Last year’s was a glutton’s paradise, but it was also Ad Hoc’s first time offering brunch.

Ad Hoc started regular Sunday brunches on March 23, streamlining the meal into a smaller three-course affair that easily competes with their dinners. I think it’s a great way to introduce people to the restaurant, and if you haven’t had brunch at Ad Hoc, there’s always 2009! Here’s the menu:

NEW YEAR’S EVE BRUNCH

Red Leaf and Radish Salad
red oak lettuce, smoked tuna, red pepper dressing

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Liberty Farms Duck Confit and Sourdough Waffles
chilled broccolini, crimini mushrooms,
poached hen egg

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Baked Apples
shortbread cookies, raspberry whipped cream

 

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I forgot my camera, so I had to use my iPhone’s janky camera, but it’s not so bad when there’s a lot of natural light. Still, you can’t go wrong by closing out the year with duck confit and waffles!

Happy New Year and Good Eating in 2009!

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Ad Hoc chicken fried chicken Northern California reviews Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc – Mother’s Day Brunch

We weren’t with our mothers this year, but I’m sure they would have loved this brunch… :-)

MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH

Smoked Trout Salad
Romaine spears, celery hearts, toasted walnuts,
fuji apples, creamy pepper dressing

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Fried Chicken-n-Waffles
wilted spinach, slow cooked hen egg,
hobb’s bacon, vermont maple syrup

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Strawberries and Cream
strawberries, mascarpone cream, shortbread cookie.

 

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Ad Hoc Northern California Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (Easter Brunch)

It was a beautiful, glorious Easter Sunday, Thomas Keller was in the house (eating, not cooking), and Ad Hoc served up an amazing brunch featuring Duck Confit and Waffles. If you haven’t heard, Ad Hoc is now offering Sunday brunch, with seatings available from 10:30am–2pm. Here’s some pictures for ya while you decide whether or not you want to make a reservation. :-)


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Ad Hoc fried chicken reviews soul food Thomas Keller waffles

Ad Hoc (12/31/07)

In honor of tonight’s biweekly fried chicken night at Ad Hoc, I thought I’d share the amazing New Year’s Eve brunch Ad Hoc offered to close out 2007.


Chicken and Waffles

The menu was centered around one of my favorite foods—fried chicken and waffles—and it’s something I’ve always wanted Ad Hoc to offer as a regular meal. I don’t know if they’ll make it a New Year’s fixture, but I was just glad I had the opportunity to experience this glorious meal. Pictures of the full spread follow the menu, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.


Salad & High Tea Sandwiches
baby mixed greens with sherry vinaigrette
ham and cheese, cucumber mint, lobster salad sandwich

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Fried Chicken & Waffles
spinach and poached eggs, hoppin’ john
fingerling potato hash with hobbs bacon

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Capriole Dairy’s
Crocodile Tear

cara cara orange marmalade
and candied pecans

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Huckleberry & Banana Parfait
with house granola

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Best of Inuyaki fried chicken reviews soul food waffles

Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles

If you ask me what my favorite restaurant in the whole world is, I will immediately say “Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.” Aside from my parents, it’s the one thing I truly miss about living in Southern California. There are some places here in the Bay Area that have tried to capture the magic—Home of Chicken and Waffles in Oakland being the most prominent—but it’s just not the same.

The concept of eating fried chicken and waffles on the same plate sounds crazy to most people at first, but for some reason, the salty/sweet combination works. Like sex, it’s all about chemistry, and Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles is a 20-minute food orgasm on a plate.


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Now I’ll be the first to admit that Roscoe’s doesn’t have the best fried chicken, but it’s very good, and I usually get mine smothered in gravy. The waffles on the other hand are really, really good…slightly crispy on the outside and served with LOTS of butter and warm syrup (a lot of people like to pour the syrup all over their chicken, as well). From what I’ve been told Roscoe’s syrup is their own secret recipe, and I actually think the syrup is the key to their success.

There are several ways to order at Roscoe’s. My old standby is the #2 Scoe’s Special, 1/4 dark meat fried chicken smothered in gravy with two huge waffles. I generally eat the chicken first and then have the waffles for dessert, but sometimes I mix it up a bit. When I’m with a large group of people, I like to order some of the sides, like red beans and rice, mac and cheese, smothered potatoes, and cornbread.

I’ve been a Roscoe’s whore since the mid 90’s and over the years, I’ve brought almost all my friends, coworkers when we were in town for trade shows (including our Japanese CEO who loved the food but was mad that they don’t serve alcohol), and I even took my parents to the more ghetto Pico/La Brea location. (They got over their initial fears and really enjoyed their food, and my mom asked “why haven’t you brought me here before?”).

It’s also the only place I’ve ever brought anyone where the food was so good, it reduced them to cursing after every bite, i.e. “Goddamn, this is muthafuckin’ good” or “Muthafucker, this is the best food I’ve ever had.”

If that’s not endorsement enough, then what is? :-)

INFORMATION
Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles
Hollywood
1518 N Gower St
Los Angeles, CA 90028 map
323.466.7453

Los Angeles
5006 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019 map
323.934.4405

Pasadena
830 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104 map
626.791.4890

Inglewood
106 W Manchester Ave #F map
Los Angeles, CA 90003
323.752.6211

Long Beach
730 E Broadway Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90802 map
562.437.8355

Categories
fried chicken reviews soul food waffles

Luka’s Taproom

If there was ever a reason to go to downtown Oakland on a Sunday morning, the Sunday Soul Brunch at Luka’s Taproom might be one of the best. Oakland’s not known for its weekend brunch offerings, but Luka’s take on some Southern classics is definitely worth the trek.

Fried Chicken and Waffles, one of my all-time favorites, are served with a side of fresh peaches and cream; a delicious hash of braised oxtail, yukon gold and sweet potatoes is served with two poached eggs and toast; Eggs Luka is a yummy scramble of smoked trout, creme fraiche and chives served with hash browns and toast; and the Shrimp Benedict is a nice twist on a classic breakfast. Of course, we had to split a perfectly fried catfish filet ($4) just to complete the meal. The complementary cornbread was a nice starter and was served with small jars of honey and jam.


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Everything at Luka’s was beautifully plated, and it was nice to see that all the food made with fresh ingredients. Parking is pretty easy on Sunday morning and Luka’s has its own lot in the back, but it’s also a couple blocks from the 19th Street BART station, so it’s accessible from almost anywhere in the Bay Area. So if you ever end up in Oakland for brunch, Luka’s is definitely the place to be.

INFORMATION
Luka’s Taproom & Lounge
2221 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612 map
510.451.4677
Web site