Tag Archives: fried chicken skin

93. Fried Pickles–Chips, not Spears

12 Apr

Ever since I moved to Seattle, the 5 Spot has been one of my favorite restaurants. Along with their eclectic selection of American comfort foods, they feature special regional menus that change every few months. And it’s not just the menu that changes, y’all; they redecorate the whole restaurant (including the bathrooms). You’ll find all manner of kitch from the featured region like Mardi Gras beads and masks for New Orleans or the particularly impressive donkey and elephant paper mache mobiles for the Washington, D.C. theme. (I couldn’t resist the Marion Barry Cakes – pancakes covered in marionberry sauce and topped with candied macadamia “rocks” and a sugar crystal butter ball. Dee-Lish-Us!)

What does any of this have to do with fried pickles? Well, I’m getting to that. But first let me tell you about what goes on in the restrooms. Or one of the things, anyway. As soon as you walk in, you’ll hear a bad radio drama that will sound vaguely familiar. It will probably take a few moments to figure out what this is supposed to be, unless you cheat and look at the sign on the wall that tells you. The first few times I encountered this, I thought it a travesty that someone would butcher classics like “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” or “Charlotte’s Web.” Then I found out who was doing it: the 5 Spot staff. How loveably dorky!

Now to the fried pickles. Many years ago, I spotted fried pickles on the 5 Spot menu. “Hallelujah!” I shouted (inside my head), and promptly ordered a batch. Imagine my surprise when what arrived at my table were not crispy, delicious, deep fried dill pickle chips. No, folks, these were spears. Spears!! After a few mishaps such as this (I can’t even talk about the Fried Catfish Incident), I’ve learned not to order anything the 5 Spot tries to pass off as “Southern.” (With the exception of the fried chicken from their regular menu. It’s actually pretty good.)

If you’ve never had Southern-style fried pickles, you might be wondering why spears would be so appalling. After all, they’re still pickles. They’re still deep fried. Yes, yes, but spears and chips are worlds apart when it comes to pickle/batter ratio. In my mind, there’s no such thing as too much batter. I’m still waiting for the restaurant that will sell fried chicken, minus the chicken. Don’t get me wrong. I like chicken, but I LOVE the battered and deep fried skin.

Good news: They DO sell fried chicken skin.
Bad news: In Malaysia

Given the popularity of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, this ought to be a no-brainer. I mean, what do they do with all the leftover skin? It’s 2011, y’all. How is it possible that nobody has invented chicken rinds?

Some of the best fried pickles I’ve ever had came from Kismet’s, a little hole-in-the-wall Greek restaurant in Brandon, MS, of all places. If you like regular fried pickles and ranch dressing, wait till you try their version with Greek seasonings and feta dressing. Yum!

I wish I could tell y’all where you can get some tasty fried pickles around here. Alas, I do not know. The ones at The Counter are semi-decent, emphasis on “semi.” After a quick search, I found folks on Yelp raving about the fried pickles at The People’s Pub. Just when I was starting to get my hopes up, I learned that they serve SPEARS. Sorry, Seattle Yelpers, but y’all don’t know what’s good!!

Photo Credits, Flickr Creative Commons: Chips basket and pickle spears by Robyn Lee, chicken skin by Phil Lees.

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