Truth be told, my mother never made fried chicken at all. We didn't do fried chicken in our neck of the woods - the closest we came were fried chicken cutlets - fried chicken was reserved for people in the south. There was a reason it was called southern fried chicken. But pan fried, now that's something else.
This week on our way home to Arizona, we stopped at a place we've driven past at least a hundred times. I saw a billboard and couldn't get the words out of my mouth fast enough to make sure Ed would stop quick enough. I was babbling and pointing. "Panfriedchicken. At the next exit. Panfriedchicken. Pan fried! Now. Next exit. There!" What? I was hungry.
The place was just off the highway (exit 179 on I-44, as you can see on the menu) and had pah-lenty of truck parking. We parked, hopped out, and ran into a FedEx driver on our way in and his way out of the place. He recommended the pan fried chicken (duh), some kind of sandwich called The Big Pig, and a few others things. He gushed about how he eats there every week and that everything was good.
It was late in the afternoon, so the dining room was fairly empty. Once this table left, we had the place to ourselves. Needless to say, the waitress was very attentive.
We told her we'd never been before, that we saw the billboard, and then took a few minutes to look at the menu before ordering the house special - Pan Fried Chicken! Actually, Ed got the chicken (with an extra breast for me) and ordered mashed potatoes and creamed corn on the side. Creamed corn always looks pretty questionable but is usually pretty tasty.
I got The Big Pig sandwich. We decided we'd split the meals - I'd give him half my sandwich, and he'd give me that extra chicken breast I made him order. The pork tenderloin on this sandwich was just that - a tender loin. The piece of meat hung over the bun by at least an inch on each side. I ordered tater tots to go along with it.
Everything was incredibly delicious. The sandwich was delicious, but I LOVED the chicken. The waitress explained pan frying - the pieces were dredged in their flour and spice mixture, and set in a pan with canola oil that just covered half the chicken piece. Eighteen minutes on one side, eighteen on the other, and it was done.
The thing I loved about the chicken was the fact that it wasn't at all greasy. Sometimes, with fried chicken, you get a very crispy piece, but the coating holds onto a lot of oil. This breading was crispy, done perfectly, and the inside was super-freaking juicy. And hot. I'm in love, and I'm going back.
We also ordered dessert. The waitress forced us. OK, so she didn't exactly force us, she merely suggested some of their home made items. I felt as if I really should be having something. They had pies and cobblers, ice cream and bread pudding. I was sort of in the mood for a fruit filled pie, but I thought passing on a bread pudding made with cinnamon rolls, topped with caramel and nuts would be akin to drowning a kitten. So I had the bread pudding, and Ed ordered chocolate cream pie.
Then, the waitress came over with another dessert, and as she set it on the table said, "Just because I really like you guys, I'm going to give you some blackberry cobbler on the house. All I heard was "cobbler" and "free". It was amazing.The fruit was delicious, the cobbler was tucked away underneath, it was warm, and she topped it with ice cream. Ed and I were in heaven. It wasn't cloyingly sweet, which I really liked. We ate the ice cream because it was melting, but we took the rest of our desserts to go. Twice the delight - now and later.
They also have a 66-ounce burger in honor of Route 66, and they do a burger eating challenge similar to the 72-ounce steak deal that The Big Texan in Amarillo offers. They even have a little setup, with a digital clock counting down the minutes as you eat.
If you're passing through Missouri, you should definitely make plans to stop. Usually, we seem to get through here in the wee hours of the morning, but I'm definitely glad this time I was awake and bored enough with the scenery that I resorted to reading billboards.
Turned out advertising really does work. Good thing I didn't see one of the many billboards Missouri is famous for, like “Missing Jesus In
Your Life?” or “Pure Pleasure Adult Megacenters”.
This would have been a completely different post.
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2011: Awesome All-Star
2010: Have Pots And Pans, Will Travel
2009: This One Contains A Young Rider
2008: When She’s Not Sleeping, She Tries To Look Purty
2007: Eddie McSteamy Friday
2006: Pepparkakor Cat
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!