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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chronicles of Roast Chicken

"...Though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgematically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will." -Ishmael, in Moby Dick

A broiled fowl, indeed, is what I most crave.  Actually, that's probably not correct.  What I probably most crave is fried fowl and pie of all sorts.  But I do enjoy a fine roasted chicken, and last night, by the grace of jesus, I was able to enjoy one of the finest roasts a young man can find in this here town.

I'm speaking, of course, of the delicious bird served at Pio Pio, a Peruvian mini-chain in New York.  Their roasted chicken is succulent, savory, and tender.  What really pushes it into transcendence, though, is their green sauce, or picante.  This green sauce is garlicky, savory, tangy and a tad creamy, but not in a gross mayonnaise-y way, and it's absolutely delicious.

I will grant you, my good man, that this is probably not the broiled fowl that Ishmael craved.  It's a bird done in the Peruvian manner, but I'll be darned tootin' if Peruvians have not perfected the roastings of chickens.  There is nothing wrong at all with a classic, simple, American roast chicken, judiciously buttered and judgematically salted and peppered, roasted with vegetables and herbs.  Nothing wrong at all.  But the succulence and pure addictive flavor of the Peruvian chicken at Pio Pio - along with that dreamy sauce - cannot be beat.

Last night I was honored to visit Pio Pio with a real life Peruvian, a man by the name of Will, who also happens to have a world famous Transformers toy collection. I was nervous that Will would not be enamored with Pio Pio in the way that I am.  I was worried that he would consider it a "gringo" establishment (a place for non-Peruvians, particularly pale, white and chubby Americans like myself).  To my delight, Will loved it, and said he hadn't had picante like that since he was in Peru.

Afterward, we rubbed picante sauce over ourselves and ran through the streets of New York yelling like madmen.  A perfect broiled fowl does strange things to men.