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Transsexual Fried Chicken Taste-Off

Transsexual Fried Chicken Taste-Off
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  • Transsexual Fried Chicken Taste-Off

    Post #1 - June 21st, 2004, 8:40 pm
    Post #1 - June 21st, 2004, 8:40 pm Post #1 - June 21st, 2004, 8:40 pm
    There has been a murmur or two that certain Chowists perhaps have their minds in the gutter, when it comes to making innuendo-laden cracks at the dinner table. Then again, there are times that you innocently go out to try as many forms of Asian fried chicken as can be found on Lawrence Ave., and find yourself hanging out with Filipino transsexual working, uh, gals, singing karaoke and displaying copious amounts of starboard cleavage.

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    This was about two weeks ago but since GWiv has not posted on it yet I feel it's important to record it for posterity before it is lost to the ages. As you may have gathered from the psychedelic vinyl tablecloth, the location for this bowl of incredibly sour tamarind soup was Isla Pilipina, 2501 W. Lawrence. Though IP is fairly new, the fried chicken is much older. That is, it's Mike's fried chicken, held over from a previous business in the same location, and discovered somewhat mysteriously by Rene G, who found it in the phone book and somehow intuited that Mike's Fried Chicken would be a stunningly good Asian chicken joint rather than the Greek-owned diner it sounds like.

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    Clearly there's fish sauce involved because the tangy, excellent chicken was, to my taste, more or less indistinguishable from the Thai fried chicken available at Spoon, TAC, etc. What distinguished Isla Pilipina from those sober institutions was the presence of the two working gals, singing quite off-tunely some weird Asian semi-melody accompanied by wan Hallmarkish karaoke visuals. GWiv, in his ever-ingratiating way, complimented one of them on her singing, which got back a scoffing laugh. (I had never noticed before his marked resemblance to Colonel Tom Parker.) When he started to attempt to convince her of PDaane's and my dancing skills, however, we decided it was time to move to the next stop on our tour.

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    The next stop was Great Sea, another storied chicken place in days of old. In fact, Cathy2 just mentionedit:

    Cathy2 wrote that GWiv wrote:To me Great Sea is a one dish restaurant and I, and most all of their customers, order the fried chicken with sauce. The version at Great Sea is plump, crispy frenched chicken wing drumetts served in an oily scallion, chili sauce with slightly sweet undertones. The fried chicken with sauce tastes a lot better than my description reads and is their version of a popular Korean snack that can be found at most Korean groceries.


    Otherwise Great Sea, 3254 W. Lawrence, is the most stodgy and stereotypical Chinese restaurant imaginable-- zodiac placemats, paper lantern light fixtures, the works. Despite the raptures some have gone into about the chicken, I found it one-dimensionally hot that night, and wasn't terribly sold on the black goo, to the point that I can't really even remember what it was. The wings were kind of small, too, compared to the next place's. As we left there, GWiv muttered something about it being an off night. Could be. Or it could be an off restaurant. Hard to say based on one visit.

    Our last stop was the Hourglass, 3658 W. Lawrence, a Korean bar whose combination of frontier rustic fixtures, bits of plastic greenery and weird classical touches (Roman busts, suits of armor) suggested a miniature golf course built inside a bar inside a mausoleum. Or as I said as we walked in, "This is what it would have looked like if the Japanese had won."

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    The chicken looks the most fakey-tasting in the bad flash lighting here-- for that matter GWiv looks like the guys who keep Lenin looking fresh have been giving him a makeover, too-- but like GWiv himself, it was most unusual and full of life, with a cinnamon undertone (the analogy with GWiv has stopped by now) which was most interesting. We also had a shrimp scallion pancake which was good for soaking up what we'd drunk up to that point:

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    So, a most enlightening evening had come to an end. Final score: Isla Pilipina and Hourglass both made excellent chicken, while Great Sea should get another chance. Likewise, a heated battle for weirdest ambience was narrowly won by the singing transsexuals of Isla Pilipina, though the Hourglass is highly recommended in its own right.
  • Post #2 - June 22nd, 2004, 5:39 pm
    Post #2 - June 22nd, 2004, 5:39 pm Post #2 - June 22nd, 2004, 5:39 pm
    Excellent. Viva Hourglass, Moraeshigae, my favorite.
  • Post #3 - June 23rd, 2004, 7:54 am
    Post #3 - June 23rd, 2004, 7:54 am Post #3 - June 23rd, 2004, 7:54 am
    Mike,

    As you know I am a fan of Great Sea's spicy chicken wings, though either Great Seas was having a slightly off night when we were there or pretty much everything is going to pale for a few hours after karaoke singing transsexuals and Isla's fried chicken.

    Ambiance wise I would pick Hourglass over Isla, no matter how entertaining after one, maybe two, numbers karaoke gets old, but the combination of the ever engaging Mr. Im and the Hourglass interior are endlessly entertaining. Not to mention the fact that Hourglass serves booze and Isla does not.

    I have a couple of good pictures from the evening, which I will post later today. By the way, could you have found a worse picture of me to post? :)

    I should also point out that Isla has two types of fried chicken, chicken pieces, either from the menu or steam table, and whole Mike's Fried Chicken. The chicken pieces are good, though nothing special, Mike's fried chicken is the killer dish. Isla also has deep-fried marinated pork hock, though they were out the night we were there.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

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