Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Possibly the happiest event of my life to date.

I can't believe I did my entire New York write up without mentioning our finest hour: The Brooklyn Fried Chicken Cook-Off.

Tiring of persistent drizzle we fell into a small neighbourhood 'pub' where we were delighted to discover $3 pints of weak beer. We decided that this was as good a place as any to regroup and decide where to head next. It was then that the eagle-eyed Ceilidh spied a sign on the door and went to take a closer look. This friends, was the sign:
We made some enquiries with the fellow who appeared to be in charge, and imagine our delight when he said that the chicken was not only free, but that we were actively encouraged to eat as much as we could. This was surely turning out to be the best day of our young(ish) lives.

Excitement was building as dozens of locals brought trays and dishes of family recipe fried chicken through the door and placed them on the pool table at the back of the bar. I overheard snippets of conversation in which secret ingredients were discussed in hushed tones. Apparently Cap'n Crunch cereal makes a good addition to batter. Talk of brining and soaking in milk abounded and I realised that there's a lot more to fryyyyyin' chicken than I had ever imagined, I suddenly felt very English indeed.
People also carried in great serving dishes of sides; coleslaw, potato salad, mac and cheese and pickles to place alongside the trays of chicken glistening under the lights. Sauces were nestled amongst the foil trays, with some opting for traditional barbecue, others choosing Thai chilli sauces or even infused vinegars to dip their chicken into. I went virgin on all of mine in the interests of a level playing field.

On the orders of the master of ceremonies we pounced on the table, piling our plates high with pieces of friiiiied chicken and returning to our table to chew enthusiastically on the bones and swill it down with watery beer. We then marked each chicken out of ten, sadly I was pretty lax in my marking as I'd failed to note the contestant numbers in my excitement to consume as much as humanly possible. When will I learn?

We finished up with a summer berry cobbler and yet more beer before groaning off into the night clutching at our bellies. The bar also had a free brunch station at the back offering bagels with various toppings which you could just go and help yourself to. I think there really ought to be more free food in bars and pubs in the UK, surely it'd be helpful to soak up some of 'binge drink Britain's' rowdy behaviour?

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