While not as adventurous taste and texture wise as raw clams (YUCK!!!...still traumatized), this was a big challenge for me. Fried foods are no longer in my lifestyle vocabulary. I was a slave to them, and sugars, for many years. And I assure you that living off of fried food and sugar is not living at all. However, even though I have always been intrigued by it, I have never tried chicken and waffles. I've been to Roscoe's...didn't get the chicken and waffles. I've been to Home of Chicken & Waffles...didn't get the chicken and waffles. I think the combo of fried chicken with giant waffles and ladles of syrup frightened me, and made me remember the way I used to eat.
Well this challenge is all about trying new things so I decided that this would be a great addition to the list. On my last morning visiting Portland, a friend and I perused the Saturday market and had planned on eating at one of the many food trucks or food vendors. No such luck. NONE of them offered a menu which I was comfortable and happy to order from. It was all just really questionable food, although seemingly undeserving of my usual questioning, so I declined and we headed towards the city center to find alternatives.
This is how it usually happens: I'm somewhere new, have no idea what's available or in close proximity to me, yet I happen to stumble upon a restaurant which is exactly what I am looking for. And that morning was no different. I passed by Bijou Cafe and shamefully, I totally had a "judge a book by its cover" moment. It looked unexciting inside. But by the time I got to the end of the block and saw that the cafe was full of people and had a line in wait, I realized that that's a better indication of the quality inside. So, I turned around and went in. It lacks character and they played it safe with the interior design but the menu was sparkling and I soon learned that their philosophy is centered around "slow food" and that they source from local, sustainable, small family farms. Just what I like to hear.
I WAS going to order an omelette. Then I WAS going to get the chorizo scramble. I was. Boring and predictable. But the special on the board kept calling me. It was a plate of fried chicken and cornmeal pancakes with spicy red pepper marmalade and honey butter. What?! That sounds amazing. So I was bold and ordered it. And I have to tell you I am grateful I did. The flavors in this dish were unreal. I mean mega delicious. And because it was gluten free and not your typical syrup soaked chicken and waffles...it was more savory and enjoyable.
I will admit that afterwards I was burping for about an hour or so...total grease burps and the number 1 reason I don't typically eat foods like this. But ask me if I regret it?