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Ad Hoc beef chicken fried chicken soul food sous vide Thomas Keller

A Comfort Food Christmas

This year, instead of a traditional Christmas dinner, we decided to do meal composed of comfort food, i.e. fried chicken, beef short ribs, flap steak, mac and cheese, bacon smashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. The fried chicken and short ribs were inspired by the food we’ve had at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, and in fact, the fried chicken recipe is based on the Ad Hoc version that was published in Food and Wine magazine in October 2007.

What this actually means, of course, is that we cooked all the entrees sous vide. I got a 60C/140F water bath going and started the beef short ribs on Dec. 22 so that it would cook for 48 hours. I added the flap steak, which I found really cheap at Costco, to the water bath about 12 hours before serving. The chicken was brined overnight as specified in the recipe and then placed in the water bath about two hours before we started frying. The 140F temperature is a little low for chicken, but we were still going to fry it so getting it up to the “safe” temperature of 160F wasn’t too much of a concern.


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Overall, these were the best sous vide dishes I’ve made to date. After getting some tips from Nick, Ad Hoc’s general manager, on a trip to Ad Hoc the day after Thanksgiving, the short ribs we produced were perfect. I might try them at a lower temperature next time so they’re a little more rare, but I stuck with 140 because we were working with chicken, as well.

The flap steak was initially a stop gap in case we didn’t have enough food, but they ended up being one of the stars of the dinner. After removing from the water bath, I seared them really quickly on one side for appearance’s sake and then cut them on the bias for presentation.

The chicken probably didn’t need to be cooked sous vide, but I’ve been doing it this way to ensure that the chicken is really moist and tender when it’s finally served.

I’ll post the recipes for the mac and cheese and smashed potatoes later, but in the mean time, you can see what they looked in the slideshow. My cousin brought corn and salad (not pictured) and the delicious chocolate tunnel cake that finished the meal.

It’s been a couple years since my wife and I took over the cooking duties at major holidays, so the main goal is to make sure that my mom likes the food. So far she’s been impressed, but I’m trying to figure out if we should do something more traditional next year, or should we start a sous vide short ribs and fried chicken tradition for the holidays?

What do you think?

Categories
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

Categories
Ad Hoc fried chicken recipes sous vide

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken (Sous Vide Version)

UPDATE 2/25/08: This recipe is now just a proof of concept. It works, but I think the original recipe, which I’ve modified to include sous vide steps and other tweaks, is a lot better, and taking the time to make the brine makes a huge difference. I’ll leave this recipe up for archival purposes, but for best results, see the original post.

Last week, we made Ad Hoc’s Fried Chicken by following the recipe to the letter, and it was beautiful, juicy and crispy. However, the entire process was a bit complicated because the brine has to cook and then cool completely before using it. A friend suggested cooking the chicken sous vide to ensure its juiciness and allow the flavor of lemon and herbs to be infused into the meat as it’s cooking in the bag. After removing from the water bath, simply dry off the meat, then dredge and fry it to finish it off.


Fried Chicken (sous vide)

BRINE INGREDIENTS
1 gallon cold water
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar

SOUS VIDE INGREDIENTS
1 lemon, thinly sliced
ground black pepper
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1-3 pounds of chicken thighs

DREDGE INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable oil, for frying
Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Simply mix 1 gallon of cold water with 1/3 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of Kosher salt. Add chicken to the brine making sure chicken is completely submerged and store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse the chicken and pat dry. Lightly pepper both sides of the chicken.
  3. Add two pieces of chicken to each vacuum bag. Place a slice of lemon on the skin side of each thigh.

  4. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

  5. Place a sprig of rosemary and thyme on the bone side of the each thigh. Vacuum seal the bag.

  6. Fried Chicken (sous vide)

    • Process the chicken at 160F/71.1C for around two hours.
    • Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and dry them off.
    • Dip the chicken pieces in buttermilk and then dredge them in flour.
    • Fry in 350-375 degree oil until skin is brown and crispy.
    Categories
    barbecue Best of Inuyaki fried chicken fried rice recipes ribs

    Arroz con Tres Carnes

    Okay, so I made up this name, but it definitely fits this dish. As evidenced by my previous post on Prime Rib Garlic Fried Rice, we’ll make fried rice out of any leftover meat. This time, we had three very different meats—homemade Ad Hoc fried chicken, oven-smoked baby back ribs, and Pollo Oregano from Mi Lindo Peru—and the combination was great!


    three meats

    My wife took all the meats, chopped them finely and then fried them in a little vegetable oil to heat through. In addition to the plain white rice that was in the fridge for a couple days, some leftover rice from the Mi Lindo Peru leftovers helped gave the fried rice another subtle flavor. She added the rice to the wok, with some salt and pepper and some chopped green onion. The ribs had some Stubb’s Original Barbecue sauce on them, which added another dimension to the fried rice. Here’s the final product:


    Arroz con Tres Carnes

    I added some more Stubb’s to the fried rice and mixed it around, and it was perfect. The bits of crispy fried chicken with the smoky ribs was an awesome combination. It’s one of the best versions of fried rice my wife has ever made.


    Fried Rice with Three Meats
    Viva Arroz con Tres Carnes!

    Categories
    Ad Hoc Best of Inuyaki chicken fried chicken recipes Thomas Keller

    Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Recipe!

    When I heard that Ad Hoc’s lemon-brined fried chicken recipe was in Food & Wine magazine, I got extremely excited. Normally, I wouldn’t go to the trouble of making this because I’d rather go to Ad Hoc (picture below) and spare myself the work, but I just had to see if I could pull this off.

    Buttermilk Fried Chicken

    Excerpt from Entertaining Napa Style in Food & Wine magazine:

    To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, Thomas Keller soaks it in a lemony brine, then coats and fries it. The chicken, which is served every other Monday at Ad Hoc, is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. “Since Fried Chicken Night only happens twice a month,” Keller says, “people have a wonderful sense of anticipation.”

    UPDATE (2/25/08)
    I’ve had the chance to make this fried chicken a lot in the last few months and have basically finalized it for myself in the updated recipe below. I’ve included a sous vide step, an updated ingredient list and double dredging. If you want to see the original recipe, see the link to Food & Wine magazine above.

    ACTIVE TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
    SERVES: 8

    INGREDIENTS
    16 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (I prefer dark meat, substitute as desired)
    Cooking oil for frying (peanut if you have it.)
    Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

    BRINE INGREDIENTS
    1 gallon cold water
    1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
    12 bay leaves
    1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
    2 tablespoons black peppercorns
    3 large rosemary sprigs
    1 small bunch of thyme
    1 small bunch of parsley
    Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons

    DREDGE INGREDIENTS
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    2 teaspoons paprika
    ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    2 cups buttermilk

    DIRECTIONS

    1. In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add the chickens, being sure they’re completely submerged, and refrigerate overnight.

      Lemony Brine
    2. Drain and rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is really dry and that you scrape off any herbs or peppercorns stuck to the skin.
    3. If you want to sous vide the chicken before frying, add two to three pieces of chicken to each Foodsaver bag, then vacuum and seal the bags. Place the chicken at 140F/60C water bath for at least 1 hour. Otherwise, skip to step 5.
    4. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure chicken is very dry.
    5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, ground black pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with wax paper or use a wire rack. Let sit for 20 minutes and then redredge the chicken in buttermilk and flour before frying.

      The Dredge
    6. In a very large pot or dutch oven, heat oil to 360F. Use enough oil to deep fry the chicken. If you want, you can also pan fry the chicken, as seen below. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches until golden and crunchy and the internal temperature is 160F/60C (about 20 minutes).

      Note: If you cooked the chicken sous vide, you can really just trust your judgement and fry until you’re statisfied with the color of the crust since the chicken is already cooked.


      Turn the chicken once
    7. Transfer the chicken to cooling rack to drain, and keep warm in a low oven (175–200F) while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve hot or at room temperature.

      Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken

    SOUS VIDE NOTES

    • Cooking the chicken sous vide ensures that it’s moist and tender.
    • 140F/60C may seem like a low temp for the chicken (160F/71.1C is considered “safe”), but the internal temperature of the chicken will rise when it’s being fried.

    GENERAL NOTES

    • Chicken should be at room temperature when you’re ready to cook.
    • You can add herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc.) to the oil as it’s heating to infuse it with flavor and then use the same herbs as a garnish.
    • This fried chicken is great the next day, cold and straight out of the refrigerator.
    • See comments below for more tips…some come straight from the source!
    Categories
    chicken fried chicken Korean reviews Southern California

    KyoChon

    I’m not Korean, but I can definitely say that the KyoChon in L.A.’s Koreatown is another reason why it sucks to be Korean in the SF Bay Area.

    All the Koreans I know in the Bay Area lament the dearth of good Korean Food and how all the good stuff is in L.A. This is good for me because I come home to SoCal pretty often and have access to some pretty amazing food. There’s some pretty good KFC joints in the Bay Area (99 Chicken, Oriental BBQ Chicken Town), but none are really as good as KyoChon, one of the most popular fried chicken chains in Korea.



    KyoChon’s chicken is great. The texture of the chicken is perfect and crispy, just like my favorite KFC, Bon Chon in New York. However, Bon Chon’s better sauces, especially their Soy/Garlic, put it ahead of KyoChon.

    There’s not much to the menu (their spicy chicken duk bok kee was pretty good, too), but it’s still a bit confusing with all the different combinations and the lack of explanations. There was a bit of a language barrier also, but despite this, our order was accurate and the chicken was delicious. Waiting for KFC is pretty standard since everything is cooked to order. I don’t know of any other KFC place that has them sitting under heat lamps, which is great because you know that you’re always going to get fresh fried chicken.

    Again, almost as good as Bon Chon, but then again, it’s a lot closer than New York.

    INFORMATION
    KyoChon
    3833 W 6th St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90020 map
    213.739.9292
    Web site

    Categories
    Ad Hoc chicken fried chicken reviews Thomas Keller Yelp

    Ad Hoc (07.31.07)

    Our second visit to Ad Hoc was for a 9pm reservation on a Monday night with some fellow Yelpers. Monday’s are happening at Ad Hoc because every other Monday is Fried Chicken night. It’s also family night for the staff at Keller’s other restaurants, so you’ll likely be eating with many of them…even Thomas Keller himself! Could Ad Hoc take fried chicken to the next, unbelievably delicious level or was it all just hype?


    Baby Iceberg Wedge Salad
    hobb’s applewood smoked bacon, cherry tomatoes and herb cream dressing

    ~

    Buttermilk Fried Chicken
    brentwood haricots verts with garden mint
    and smashed marble potatoes

    ~

    Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog
    candied pecans and honey

    ~

    Assorted Cupcakes
    angel’s food with dark chocolate frosting, lemon curd with lemon buttercream,
    devil’s food with white chocolate ganache.




    I’m not a fan of iceberg lettuce, but the bacon lardons and cherry tomatoes were incredible and made the baby iceberg wedge salad more interesting than it should have been. I ended up making little bite-sized BLTs on my fork.

    The highly anticipated fried chicken was a sight to behold when the platter was placed in front of us, and I can honestly say that this is the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The chicken is fried perfectly and every piece, even the white meat, was juicy and delicious, and the skin had a great crunch. The secret is two-fold. First, the chicken is brined to ensure that every piece stays moist. Then it’s dipped in buttermilk and dredged in breading. This produces fried chicken that retains moisture without being greasy while creating a perfect crispy crust that’s got a bit of tang from the buttermilk.

    The fried chicken was so good, we actually sang to it, accompanied by songs from Ad Hoc’s dinner music playlist.

    (to the tune of “My Girl” by The Temptations)

    I guess you say
    What can make me feel this way?
    Chicken…Chicken…Chicken
    Talkin’ ’bout chicken
    Chicken!

    When the meal was over, we sang…

    (to the tune of “When Will I See You Again” by Three Degrees)

    Oooooh, Aaaaah
    Aaaaah, Oooooh
    Precious moments

    When will I eat you again?
    When will our hearts beat together?
    Are we in love or just friends?
    Is this the beginning, or is this the end?
    When will I eat you again?


    Some of The French Laundry staff that were sitting at the table next to us were amused by our enthusiasm for the fried chicken and told us later that they will always remember us whenever they hear those songs again.

    Our sides were minty haricot verts and garlic smashed potatoes. This combination is so simple and delicious, it’s quickly becoming our go-to side dishes at home.

    I was kind of dreading the cheese course of Cypress Grove Chevres Humboldt Fog with Marshall Farm Honey and Toasted Pecans. We were really full when this arrived because we had asked for a second helping of fried chicken. But amazingly, the cheese course was actually refreshing and it helped me prepare for dessert.

    Dessert course was a collection of cupcakes—angel’s food with dark chocolate frosting, lemon curd with lemon buttercream, devil’s food with white chocolate ganache. The lemon curd was easily the best of the bunch, with the devil’s food with white chocolate ganache coming in third.

    The second-best cupcake of the night came from our friend Grace, who coincidentally brought some carrot cupcakes with her to share with our party.


    Grace's Carrot Cupcakes

    Grace’s creations featured a light, carrot cupcake with hints of ginger and orange zest topped with a cream cheese frosting and almond slivers. The accomodating staff at Ad Hoc even plated them for us and served her cupcakes next to the house cupcakes. We were trying to get them to serve one to Thomas Keller, but that didn’t happen. At least we tried!

    INFORMATION
    Ad Hoc
    6476 Washington St
    Yountville, CA 94599 map
    707.944.2487

    Categories
    chicken fried chicken Korean Northern California reviews

    Oriental BBQ Chicken Town

    Oriental BBQ Chicken Town serves up some amazing Korean fried chicken (KFC). KFC sets itself apart from other kinds of fried chicken by serving the chicken covered in a variety of sauces. The sweet/spicy sauce and the soy/garlic were in abundance within our party and were huge crowd pleasers. I think they also serve it up plain, and they also make a killer roasted chicken. But for the true experience, the sauces are really where it’s at. My favorite was the soy garlic because it had the best flavor and wasn’t completely drenched in sauce like the sweet/spicy chicken.


    Sweet/Spicy (left) and Soy Garlic (right)
    (picture courtesy of mia k.)

    While the chicken is the star here, there’s actually a whole mess of other Korean dishes available. We ordered some duk bok kee (rice cake and fish cake in spicy sauce) that was really good. Towards the end of the meal, there was some bu dae chigae, a great noodle soup with SPAM and hot dogs in it that was also a winner.

    A Korean meal wouldn’t be complete without soju and beer, and there was plenty to go around. The favorite of the night was the yogurt soju, which is basically soju mixed with Yakult, a sour yogurt-like beverage. Seriously, I think yogurt soju is now my favorite drink. We also tried a strawberry soju, but it tasted just like Robitussin. If you’re into Korean beers, there’s plenty of Hite and OB to go around.

    INFORMATION
    Oriental BBQ Chicken Town
    6101 Telegraph Ave.
    Oakland, CA 94609 map
    510.595.5338
    Oriental B.B.Q. Chicken Town on Urbanspoon

    Categories
    chicken fried chicken Korean New York reviews

    Bon Chon

    “Our Chicken uses none sticky sauce which helps you eat stylish.”

    That’s a quote from the take out menu I picked up at Bon Chon as we were leaving…and it’s the truth. Actually, on the flip side of the menu, the pictures of its trendy, industrial interior makes Bon Chon look like it’s really a night club. Turn the lights off, put on some crappy K-Pop/gay techno/80s music, and you start understand the vibe at Bon Chon. It’s loud inside, which is normal when your walls and floor are concrete, but Korean hipster vibe aside, the fried chicken here is great.


    “At Bon Chon, it’s all about eating healthy —
    minimized fat, high in protein, and low in cholesterol.”

    “Soy Garlic Sauce – Prevents cancer, cold, asthma and heart disease
    Hot Sauce – Contains Vitamin A and C, which are good for you skin and body”

    I find it amazing that Korean Fried Chicken is being marketed as health food, not just at Bon Chon. Hell, maybe they’re right. I’d love to be a true believer, but maybe I’ve been brainwashed by Western media to believe that fried foods are supposed to be bad for you.

    We split a combination platter of drumsticks and wings between the five of us, half soy garlic/half hot sauce, so we’re super healthy now! The soy garlic sauce was great, subtle garlic flavor and there was a hint of sweetness to it. The hot sauce was even better and left my mouth sizzling for about 20 minutes after. The skin was crispy and true to form, not sticky, so I was not only healthy, beating cancer and getting a daily dose of vitamins, I was a stylin’ too.

    If all the health food claims end up being true, then all hail Korean Fried Chicken and pass me a drumstick!

    INFORMATION
    Bon Chon
    314 5th Ave
    New York, NY 10001 map
    212.221.2222
    Web site