I remember the first time I went to check out Chica's. It was right when they opened, and the spot intrigued me because It was the only place serving Nashville hot chicken in Toronto. How exciting right. I walked in and tried to order the spiciest they had. I wanted that experience, and if you're going to have Hot in your name then you better be damn hot. So I walk up, ask for that good good, as hot as it gets, and I get stopped. The guy serving me warns me that they're Nashville hot is hot hot. I say thanks, but no thanks. I got this. He makes sure with me again. Brother, I'm good. Hit me with the good stuff. He turns around, does what he does, takes my money and hands me my chicken. Now, it's hot, but this isn't my first rodeo. I come to find out that the dude serving me was the owner, and he was impressed that I actually appreciated the heat. We talk the whole time I'm eating, and he's telling me that he gets his peppers personally grown for him. He's worked on the heat for a while now, and he appreciates that I enjoy the flavor and it's not just nuclear in my mouth. Trust me dude, I appreciated it back then, and I'm still doing so to this day.
Now, there's a difference between going out with your girl and ordering that steak and having it come straight off the grill nice and hot, and being with your girl and getting that uber eats and having that same steak that's now a puck from being in the back of the dude's backpack. Some foods just don't travel well, and knowing what does is an art. I firmly believe this. Chinese. Sushi. Thai spring rolls. Perfect for delivery. At the top of the list, and you can't convince me otherwise, is fried chicken.
In a way it kind of makes sense. The chicken is protected by this beautiful fried crunchy layer. Fried foods travel amazingly well, because once it's fried and crispy it's going to be like that for a while. Let's take fried chicken. It's good piping hot, good after it's been out for 15-20, and good the next day. That's why in this time, when all I can get is take-out, I go for the safe bet. Good choice buddy, good choice.
I'm a fan of the Junction. At the heart of Keele and Dundas, there's something about the architecture that makes the area feel old-timey, and it's got a bunch of dope small little spots for food and other shit. A cool area. What I also go to the junction for is my fried chicken.
The concept is real simple at Chica's Chicken. You order your chicken, figure out how hot you want it, and pick a side. You feeling thirsty? Get that drink too, you deserve it. The idea behind hot chicken is magical. Ya it came from Nashville, whatever. But it's fried chicken dipped in spiced oil and tossed in that chili powder that makes your boy sweat. Is there a more perfect sounding food than that?
I love Chica's because first and foremost, above everything else, the fried chicken is correct. It's massive, it's juicy, and it's damn crispy. One of those where you can rip off a piece of the batter on the edge and it's the crunchiest bite of the whole thing. The chicken is juicy, even after that 20 min travel with me back home. Almost as if insulated from the elements, the breast is moist and perfect. I had the half chicken so I got a piece of everything, and the dark meat was fatty and juicy and the white meat wasn't dry, which is huge in itself. This monster is not meant for a knife and fork. You honor it by picking it up with your hands. The entire thing is crispy and spiced with the oil, but not greasy. This is important. I only get the hottest, and whatever oil they got and spice they hit it with get's the nose a little runny. It tastes fucking good too, which is much different than heat that's just there to blow your head off. I hate that shit. I can't taste anything and you got me hurting the next day. The little pieces of fried chicken skin fall off as I bite in, covered in heat and following back on to the bread for later.
No question here that the chicken is the star of the show, but the sides here all serve a purpose. Let me break it down to you quick in list format.
- fat and crinkle cut so when they're fried they get real crispy
- salted with intention so I'm tasting salt in every bite
- built perfectly to dip in buttermilk ranch when taking a break from chicken
- chicken sits on top of it, so during the trip home all the hot oil and fat and spice get absorbed by this white slab of goodness
- acts as a heat insulator for the leading actor, the chicken
- great to rip pieces off and make a mini sandwich with the chicken, pickles, ranch
- bread and butter pickles aren't my fav, but they're still pickles
- bring welcome acidity that is real helpful to cut through the heat after my12th bite
- they give you a bunch of them
- it's ranch
- has dill and chives which I love and it's a sauce which I'll always have anyways
- becomes a very affective counter heat source that taste's delicious
That's all I got for you when it comes to Chica's Chicken. They do a bunch of things right, and what they make is addicting. The heat is so good, and trust me when I say that their hot is damn hot. Support local businesses, everywhere and anywhere.