Sometimes neighborhood spots you go to on a regular basis for one thing can occasionally surprise you with something else. Down the street from me is a Happy Donuts, that ubiquitous, not really a chain, sort of a whole in the wall, sometimes sketchy, everyday donut shop serving up the basics from old-fashions to apple fritters. I've been to the one located at 3rd and King Street near AT&T Park more times than I'd care to admit. At one time this place was in danger of disappearing due to high rents, property values and whatever other shenanigans San Francisco real estate holds these days. Somehow, it overcame these odds, several different owners and sort of a makeover to maintain it's corner spot and be mine (and sadly boat loads of baseball fans) go to spot for a quick donut fix. In all the years I've visited they have served other stuff there like sandwiches and fried stuff, but I never really paid attention. I'm just here for the donuts--as they say (more like blinded by the donuts). A few years ago, the current owners added something called "Famous Louisiana Fried Chicken" to their moniker and while I'd briefly glanced at the menu, I'd never really considered it. One day last week, I'm not sure why, I was hankering for some fried chicken and when the Safeway near was actually sold out, I thought, well, why not give this a try. They've been serving it for awhile now, so if it wasn't any good they'd have stopped right? Seemed like as a good a reason as any to give their chicken a shot.
The menu has various permutations of 2 pieces or more plus sides--from wings and legs and thighs and breasts and so on. (Wait, is that all the chicken pieces?) After staring at the menu for a bit trying to decide how hungry I was I went with the 3 piece with two sides and a biscuit for $10.50 (after tax). I chose slaw and corn on the cob as my side. Here's what I got.......
....and I have to say, I got more than I thought I would. The corn turned out to be a whole cob, not some cobbette like other places. It was straight out of the boiler hot, even after I got it home. I was able to roll on some butter and it was tender and tasty like childhood summer nights in the South. Okay, maybe not, but it was still better than most. The slaw was also a nice mix of 2 kinds of cabbage and carrots with not too much mayo. It needed a little black pepper for my taste, but it was still chilled, crisp and a nice side dish. The biscuit was pretty big, though not as fluffy as it could be and slightly on the doughy side. Still, with a little (more) butter it was a decent attempt at something that even heartier chefs have had trouble producing in this town.
As for the chicken, I got a breast, thigh and wing. They were lightly battered and fried crisp. These are also larger than I was expecting, particularly the breast which was huge and a meal in its own right. The chicken was perfectly cooked and the keeping to the Louisiana theme, the coating on the outside had a nice little spicy kick too it. Not so much that it would burn your tongue or kill your taste buds, but enough to add some flavor and make it more interesting that it normally would be. Reminds me of Popeye's Chicken, just with less breading. And I didn't even have to add butter to it!!
What can I say, I liked everything I got, I mean yikes, how often does that happen? It's like finding a new reason to appreciate an old favorite you've gotten used to for something else. It's not like I need another reason to hit up Happy Donut, but in the case of this chicken, it's as good a reason as any. Who knows, maybe I can talk them into doing some sort of fried chicken donut sandwich thing. I'm almost positive it would be a big hit with the ballpark crowd, because when you are beer drunk nothing hits the spot like some salty sweetness. Umm, so I've been told.