Sometimes life is about a big glass of Brunello and some amazing Tuscan steak and sometimes it's about down-home chicken and waffles. And even though we wish that every trip outside of NY was to Italy, that's just not possible (though I do have an aggressive lottery plan in place, which may yield this desired result someday). This weekend's travel outside of NY was about Maryland and Chicken and Waffles and family, which made it a great trip.
Chicken and waffles is awesome because it's chicken and waffles. Even more so because that chicken is fried, and who doesn't love fried chicken? If I had to declare a relationship status with fried chicken, it would be "complicated". Some might call it "bat shit crazy". Tomato/tomahto. I say it is complicated because I have requirements. There is nothing simple or straight forward about my preparation or consumption of fried chicken. Let me explain...
I rarely fry chicken at home, but when I do, it's a something of a process. I marinate the chicken overnight in buttermilk laced with hot sauce and smashed garlic cloves, roll it in seasoned flour and deep fry it until it is GBD. When it's on the plate, it's a thing of beauty. But to get to the beauty shot, you have to endure a huge mess and the frying leaves the house kind of stinky for a few days and of course, it requires that I have repeated and prolonged contact with raw chicken, which really wigs me out. So, I don't make it that often. I think it's safe to say that if I make you fried chicken, I really, really love you. No, really.
Also, fried chicken is not the healthiest thing on the menu, so if you are going to have it out somewhere, it needs to be really good. There is nothing worse than ordering fried chicken and receiving a plate of soggy, tasteless or worse, underdone chicken. GERMOPHOBE ALERT! The mere sight of underdone chicken gets me running for the shower and a prophylactic dose of Imodium. No can deal.
We went to Maryland for a 5K run for cancer research for a family member who is fighting the disease. Now don't get ahead of yourself, I didn't do anything crazy, like run. I walked. Mock if you will, but it was about support, not race time (although I think officials that timed the race were a little annoyed when I sauntered through the finish line around dusk). Whatever. OK, I exaggerated that slightly. We finished in time for a late breakfast and since I was with other folks that actually ran, a hearty breakfast of chicken and waffles was in order.
Restaurant and bar shopping in this part of Maryland can be a little challenging. There are lots of chains. Chains as far as you can see. There is no fun in that. But we lucked out and found this local joint in Owings Mills, called Granny's.
Granny's bills itself on its website as "good down-home cooking". Finding that home is slightly daunting, but worth the hunt. It's kind of buried in a shopping center that is buried inside a corporate office park. It's not a "blink and you'll miss it" kind of place. It's more of a squint and go slow until you find it kind of place. But it's totally worth the eye strain.
I went in to Granny's on a mission. And although their menu was full of delicious sounding things, for this visit, I was laser-focused on the chicken and waffles. I ordered the classic, which came with 5 wings. They also offered it with chicken tenders, but c'mon, I'm not five. I want to be wrist deep in chicken grease or it just isn't fried chicken.
Let me tell you, they sling a MEAN waffle; it's fluffy, golden brown and topped with an ice cream scoop of whipped butter. And the chicken is fried properly. They pull it out of the fryer when it is juicy and tender inside and crispy golden outside. And although I was mildly distracted by the tasty side of fried apples that it came with (kind of like a bowl of apple pie innards), it was all about the sweet and savory combo of chicken and waffles. Heavenly!
I mean, just look at it. Did you not drool immediately? If you answered no, get thee to a doctor, have your pulse checked, something is just wrong. That's what yummy looks like. It was good enough for me to consider calling Owings Mills MD, a food destination. And that's saying something.