Chicken Battle 2: Electric Boogaloo

Sorry for the delay — it was a great battle, with a late addition from Delaware courtesy of @RudeTanks. In the end, there was a clear winner — Pastificio took the top spot on 7 of 10 ballots, with Ioannoni’s getting 2 first place votes and Tony Luke’s getting a single first place vote. Here’s how the overall rankings landed:

1. Pastificio: The Chicken Cutlet Italian from Pastificio was a force to be reckoned with, getting top marks for its bread (Abruzzi Brick Oven bread), broccoli rabe (fresh and flavorful, with a hint of red pepper) and chicken (perfectly cooked). The only complaint was that there wasn’t enough cheese, which oddly enough turned out to be a common complaint for all of the sandwiches except for Tony Luke’s. If you’ve never been to Pastificio (next to Chickies and Pete’s on Packer Ave) it’s worth a trip — pretty much any of their cutlets are fantastic (especially the Buffalo Chicken Cutlet) and they also have delicious fresh pasta.

 
 

2. Iannoni’s was a late addition to the contest, and it was a great one. The sandwich was massive, with a thick, tasty cutlet that hung out the sides of the bread. Says RudeTanks, PUT THIS IN YOUR GPS AND DRIVE IT 624 East Basin Road, New Castle, DE (302) 322-5000
 
 
 

3. I’ll be honest, I was a little surprised at how good the Tony Luke’s sandwich was, but the cutlet tasted great, there was plenty of cheese (though the provolone wasn’t that sharp) and the rabe was chopped and very flavorful. The only downfall was the bread, which was a little too doughy for my taste.

 
 
 

(Tie) 4. Chickie’s / Cosmi’s – Fourth place seems too harsh — both of these were good sandwiches, but the competition was tough. Chickie’s had a real garlicky broccoli rabe, which I really liked but some people found unpleasant. Cosmi’s pounded their cutlet flat and wrapped it around the rabe, which I thought worked well.

 
 

5. Shank’s was the only disappointing sandwich of the group, which was surprising — I’ve had good sandwiches from Shank’s many times before. But their Chicken Cutlet Italian just didn’t stand up to the rest. The chicken was tough, overcooked and had a weird purple-ish color to it. Also, the rabe had a strange mustardy taste to it — something was off.

 
 

So there you have it. What did we learn?

  • Pastificio’s is the winner.
  • All of the sandwiches were good except for Shank’s.
  • I enjoy conducting these taste tests much more than writing about them.
  • These Friday Throwdowns make everyone in my office uncomfortably full. We probably shouldn’t do this more than once a month. I guess it would be nice to do some sort of healthy food battle, but where’s the fun in that?

If you’ve tried all of these sandwiches and want to fill out the survey, go here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GD3NDCN

Friday Throwdown – Chicken Cutlet Italian

Whenever people from out of town ask me if the best cheesesteak is from Pat’s or Geno’s, I usually slap them in the face as hard as I can. Mainly because I like to slap people, but also because I believe that if you come to Philly the two sandwiches you must try are the Roast Pork and the Chicken Cutlet Italian — a delicious chicken cutlet pounded flat, breaded, fried and served with sharp provolone and either broccoli rabe or spinach.

Today’s Throwdown will be a Chicken Cutlet Italian Sandwich battle between several worthy competitors:

Also, don’t go to Pat’s and Geno’s, go to John’s Roast Pork if you want the best cheeseteak in the city. But first try their roast pork — you can skip the line of people waiting for the grill.

Friday Throwdown Results – Winner Winner Chicken Lunch

 Our first Friday Throwdown was a success in that everyone ate lots of delicious chicken and we conducted our first survey using Survey Monkey. Admittedly, there were some problems with the Throwdown. We got wings from KTown and the gas station but a mix of wings and other pieces from Federal Donuts, which made comparison difficult. For example, my favorite piece overall was the Za’atar thigh from Fed Nuts but I liked the wings from KTown the best. Also, Fed Nuts gives you the whole wing, while the other places breaks them down. And the Gas Station Chicken (GSC) was breaded and fried but not glazed like the others which really made it a completely different animal…well, you know what I mean. Anyway, here are some of my observations, along with some comments from the survey, Zagat-style:

Federal Donuts: We got 12 wings (6 Chile Garlic and 6 Honey Ginger) and 2 halves (Za’atar and Harissa). Opinions ranged from  “great flavor” and “encompasses what great fried chicken is” to “thoroughly unimpressed.” In my opinion, the larger pieces were better than the wings, and the Za’atar was my favorite. Also, the Japanese style pickles that come with each order are fantastic.

 

GSC: We got 9 regular and 9 spicy wings — believe it or not, they were made to order in a pressure cooker. Everyone loves an underdog, so perhaps GSC benefited from lower expectations. Testers felt this was a “classic wing” that was “impressive for where it came from” but one person commented that “the flavor was a little off.” I personally enjoyed the GSC and felt like it was above average fast food fried chicken — a different kind of crispiness and flavor, but very good.

K-Town: So it would appear that K-Town was the winner, with the highest overall score among the three offerings. We got 10 each of the Soy-Garlic, Honey-Sesame and Spicy wings.  Most raved about the unique crispiness of Korean fried chicken, saying “the texture it produces is without comparison” although one  person felt that they were “drenched in way too much sauce.” I personally enjoyed the batter of the K-Town wings the best although I would have liked the spicy wings to be a bit more spicy.

So there you have it. If you want to look at a summary of the survey data, click here. Obviously this was a very small sample size (9 taste testers) so I am opening up this survey to the vast PhoodAddict.com audience — 6 absolute unique visitors yesterday according to Google Analytics, including one from Iran (fried chicken diplomacy!)  I had to alter it slightly so that a response isn’t required for all of the questions, since I’m fairly certain not many people have been to Federal Donuts, K-Town AND the BP on Essington Ave across from Pacifico. The free version of Survey Monkey handles up to 100 respondents. I’m pretty sure my head would explode if 100 people visited this site and filled out the survey. Actually, I’m pretty sure my head would explode if anyone outside my office actually visited this site.

Most of the visitors I’ve had to this site post weird long spam comments about Ugg boots. It kinda freaks me out. So please, if you are a real person and not an Ugg-obsessed spam robot, post a comment or tweet at me. Even if it’s just to say that this site sucks and I should shut it down.

 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Fried Chicken Friday Throwdown

In honor of Friday the 13th, we will be having our first ever PhoodAddict Friday Throwdown. Basically, it’s just an excuse to eat lots of food and tweet/blog about it. Since my office is the sweetest office in the world, we are going to get fried chicken from three places and do a very detailed, scientific study and assign a numerical value to their respective places in the fried chicken universe. To be clear, all three of these places are awesome in my book. This is just to determine who is the awesomest. The three places are:

Federal Donuts - The most hyped fried chicken in all of Philadelphia, and deservedly so. We are going to go with Chile Garlic and/or Honey Ginger.

Sammy Chon’s KTown BBQ – They just opened a Chinatown location and feature wings in Honey Sesame and Soy Garlic.

Gas Station Chicken – There aren’t many places to eat right near my office. It’s pretty much crap from the Ambu-lunch (an old ambulance turned into a lunch truck) or fried chicken from the gas station. When we preparing to move into our office last spring, Gas Station Chicken was a regular meal. It was surprisingly fresh and tasty, and we ate so much it made us sick and damaged our self esteem, which is the hallmark of many good foods.

FAQ’s:

Is this really fair? All three places are pretty different? I know, this is not really an apples to apples competition. And to be clear, you won’t go wrong getting chicken from any of these places. But come on, you’re reading a blog called PhoodAddict, did you really expect sound journalism or science?

I thought you said it would be very detailed, scientific study? I was being sarcastic, idiot. But there will be a survey, courtesy of the good folks at Survey Monkey. My office will complete the survey first, then I will open it up to my massive audience (Google Analytics says I had 3 absolute unique visitors yesterday!)

You should have included <name of fried chicken place> in the contest! We can only eat so much chicken, but if you have suggestions, tweet at me, son. Resurrection Ale House’s chicken is great, but they unfortunately don’t do takeout. Also, I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy Popeye’s, but one time I went to the one on Broad Street and a lady who was missing an eye was hanging out by the entrance. And she didn’t have an eye patch, it was just an open socket. I swear this is true. I am a fat guy who has a blog called “PhoodAddict” so I got chicken anyway, but it was still pretty disturbing.

Don’t you have a job? Don’t you do any work at your job?  Yes,  I have a job and everyone in my office works really hard. We also all really enjoy food, which is why group eating events like the Pizza Olympics and Wing Eating Contests (I ate 25 and finished second to last in my office) are a regular occurence.

Vetri Garces Turkey Bowl 2011

This morning we (like all the chef’s on the field) took a break from cooking to go over to Franklin Field and watch Marc Vetri and Jose Garces’s restaurants staff compete in the third annual Turkey Bowl. The annual flag football game has $10,000 up for grabs for the winner’s charity.

It was a great game with Team Vetri coming out on top. Jeff Michaud was the MVP, and the Vetri Foundation came away with the charity donation. Family, friends and helping a great cause. Can’t think of a better way to start Thanksgiving.

Photos courtesy of Heather DiPiazza Photography