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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Chicken, Cancer & Blotches

On Tuesday, the last day of my spring break, I finally had Korean fried chicken. I first learned about Korean fried chicken several months ago in a Peter Meehan review. Then, not long after, Julia Moskin, the fantastic NY Time's food writer, had an expose on the phenomenon of Korean fried chicken.

So anyway, yeah, I don't know, it seems fried chicken has become pretty popular in Korea, and Korean restaurants here in New York have begun offering their take on poultry immersed in oil. Let me just state right now, despite my limited experience, that Koreans are much better at frying birds than we are.

Tuesday was a big day. I had an appointment with an internist at 11am, for I've been having these funny little pains all over my body, and the first thing one thinks when experiencing minor pains is, of course, cancer. So I had that appointment scheduled, then an appointment with a dermatologist at 4:15 to talk about a reddish blotch that I have on my right cheek. I don't want to go into the blotch in great detail, but basically the story is I had a pimple, I squeezed and messed around with it, and now I have a red blotch. It really sucks and has decreased the quality of my life drastically. Anyway, I had a window in between my appointments to get to Queens and try one of these Korean fried chicken places.

Part of a "do not lean" sign on the 7 train; also, a part of my leg and shoe

After my first appointment (the doctor seemed to think that I was fine, but what does he know?) I made my way to Jackson Heights and met my friend and co-worker at Unidentified Flying Chicken, which has to be one of the better names to exist for a restaurant. My friend and I were the only customers, and the rather timid and nice gentleman, who I have every reason to believe was the owner, took our order and told us to have a seat and wait about 15 minutes, for the chickens are fried to order.

Before 5pm there is only a small area open for eating; after 5, there is a dining room that opens up downstairs

We got a large order of chicken, which includes various drumsticks and wings. There are 4 different flavors you can choose from: soy-garlic, hot, spicy mustard, and sweet and spicy. You can get two flavors with each order, so that half the chicken is one flavor and half is the other. My companion and I were encouraged to try soy-garlic and hot, and so that is what we asked for. We also ordered sweet potato fries.

This would be a picture of the chicken

This would be a picture of the sweet potato fries

All I can say is that the chicken was really great, one of the better eating experiences I've had recently. It's fried twice and the texture is really crispy and crackly on the outside, tender on the inside. The soy-garlic and hot flavors, respectively, were great. I'm not sure which I liked better. The chicken comes with pickled daikon radish, which is a nice accompaniment to the hot, crunchy, savory chicken.

Oh, and the fries were good. Sweet potato fries are a good bit different than regular french fries, a little more starchy, a slight sweetness to them, good no question about it. Before I continue let me make something clear, however: if you go to Unidentified Flying Chicken, sure, get the sweet potato fries, but make sure you definitely get the chicken. I can see some fool getting excited by the sweet potato fries and forgetting to order the chicken. Actually I can't see that, but, anyway, ahem, ok.

So afterwards, believe it or not, we left and took the train back to Manhattan. I still had my dermatologist appointment to look forward to. On the way back I commented to my friend that I was still hungry. It was true, I could have easily eaten the entire platter of chicken myself. So anyway, once I was back in the city I had some time to kill and so I went to Naples 45, a pretty nice restaurant in the MetLife building that has a "to go" pizza parlor.

Pizza at Naples 45

I had two slices, they were good, not as good as the Korean fried chick, though, I don't think. Had my appointment. The dermatologist said I just have to give my blotch time. Whatever. That's easy for him to say. Maybe I'll go back to Unidentified Flying Chicken and rub a drumstick on my blotch - that might help with the redness.

Ok I'm done.