Evening Picnic Fare at Funky Chicken

Wednesday: freezing; Thursday: warm and sunny; Friday: raining. The weather's certainly been funky these past weeks, and as a result, one day I'm craving hot soups and pot pies, and the next, salads and watermelon. No matter what the temperature, however, fried chicken always sounds appealing.

Why is that? Eh, I'll let the scientists figure it out.

On one of the warmer afternoons this past week, I had fantasies of picking up some fried chicken and sides and holding an impromptu supper picnic for me and my husband. I was semi-successful, as my better half ended up staying at the office until 2:30 a.m. to work on an anti-trust suit (yay, corporate law). So much for a romantic picnic.

But all was not lost, for winner winner, I got my chicken dinner at Funky Chicken.

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For just about $27, Funky Chicken offers a "Family Style" combo meal to go that "serves 2-3." They should probably specify "2-3 normal people," because even though this package includes an entire chicken (approximately ten pieces), two large sides, and four biscuits, it feeds only one Joanna and one-half Wyatt (my husband). We're just at that level of gluttony in our marriage.

All of this is a moot point, anyway, since Wyatt was trapped at the office and I had the run of the house and my pick of the choicest chicken pieces. Funky Chicken offers you a choice of slow-roasted or crispy (fried) chicken; I went with the latter, probably more out of habit, though after catching a glimpse and a whiff of the former, I'll definitely change it up next time.

The crispy chicken exceeded expectations. I've had lot of delicious fried fowl in my day, and Funky Chicken's version had all the hallmarks of the classic delectable dish: a thick, crunchy variegated batter exterior and a soft, juicy white meat interior. Clearly, there's some sort of acidic or buttermilk tenderizing process involved and some skilled temperature regulation, as I know from experience that properly cooking the flesh without burning or over-crisping the skin can be difficult.

I chose Brussels sprouts and macaroni and cheese as my sides, expecting to have one serving of greens to satisfy my compulsion to eat something healthy for supper and then three-plus servings of pasta. The reverse happened. I don't know what kind of world we're living in in which roasted Brussels sprouts are able to triumph over decadent, completely faultless macaroni and cheese. The sprouts didn't even contain the usual savory crutch that allows vegetables to compete with heartier entrées. If I'm not careful, next time I might even order double Brussels sprouts as my sides.

Thank God, however, for the cakey buttermilk biscuits, of which I ate three, leaving one for Wyatt. They came with butter but needed none; I enjoyed their sweet-sour flavor and light texture, far lighter and less oily than found with the butter bomb biscuits common to fast-food restaurants.

You don't have to read between the lines to tell that I ate more than my fair share of the "family-style" meal. The leftovers are in my fridge, and I've vowed to leave them alone so that someone else (ahem) can enjoy them. This offer, however, expires at midnight.

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