That's right, Mrs. Butterworth's. Not malt liquor, or champagne, or even the tasty little Austin cider I set out to pair Frenchy's Chicken with. All of those are good, the first being classic, but this isn't good pairings, it's perfect pairings and if the Houston Press didn't sift through all the good ones how would we find the gold?
Skip the waffles, step aside Aunt Jemima and watch how Frenchy's and Mrs. Butterworth's slow dance across the stage. Think Love Serenade by Barry White. Oh yeah.
Mrs. Butterworth's is as it says; "so thick, so rich. And still... just as sweet." I can't exactly tell what gives it that standout buttery flavor, that is only matched by its caramel perfume, but upon inspecting the label it's either the molasses, or the natural and artificial flavor. What Mrs. Butterworth's does behind closed doors is entirely her business, but on behalf of all of us, keep up the good work. Okay sure, you could dress this combination up with some la-di-da Vermont maple syrup, but I feel like Buddy the Elf would agree with me when I say, let's not. Sometimes you come across combinations that are just stupid good, and this happens to be one of them.
Let's begin with the fried chicken; dark meat all the way and especially the thigh piece because the fried skin to meat ratio is much higher. The best bite is crunching into the money spot where it's 80 percent hot fried skin and 20 percent actual chicken thigh. In fact, it's the initial smell of fried chicken skin, while standing in line at the open air 3919 Scott St. location, that gets you fired up. Frenchy's Chicken, a creole gem in Houston since 1969, is a go-to for most fried chicken lovers.
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The breading is crispy-thin, spicy and teetering on the edge of very salty. All that just begging to be sweetened, which is why pouring Mrs. B all over is the ultimate. And THEN, they sell these pickled jalapeños for 35 cents each. As if it couldn't get any better, the vinegary-heat makes a great alternate bite. Hot or cold, Frenchy's Chicken is a total joy and should be guarded if left in the refrigerator of an office break room or family home or late-night party. Next time, grab a bottle of queen B to go with.
One 12-piece dark fried chicken box will run you around $14 after tax and a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's is around $3 (Sold separately.)
The Houston Press is searching for perfect food pairings and where they can be found. We welcome reader suggestions and ask you to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.