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Southern Fried Comfort

November 15, 2016

Would you believe that I’ve never roasted a turkey?

It’s true. In those rare years when I’m not attending a large family feast, or spending the day with friends, I’ve made a small meal with all the familiar flavors for the immediate Fussy family. But because there are just four of us, those meals have focused around a roast chicken.

This year, we’re going to attend one Thanksgiving with friends, and follow that up with a Saturday Thanksgiving with family. You might think that I might be staying away from turkey until then so I don’t burn out. But you would be wrong.

Don’t underestimate the importance of training.

Anyhow, turkey can be prepared in many different ways. Last night I got to enjoy a southern style preparation with a group of friends, and that was a very special treat.

The Flying Chicken and Rare Form Brewing came together and treated the Yelp Elite Squad to a pre-thanksgiving feast. This isn’t something you just have to read about and envy. The Flying Chicken will deep fry you a turkey and send you off with all the sides, biscuits, and desserts for $135. That’s a 12 pound bird, which with all the trimmings should feed about 10 people. And Rare Form Brewing sells growlers to go, and you can pick those up right around the corner.

Let’s just take a moment and reiterate a key point above. Deep. Fried. Turkey.

Man, it’s been a long time since I had one of those. They were all the rage for a while. Everyone was buying outdoor cauldrons, and creating conflagrations as boiling oil spilled over the edge of the pot and onto the open flame. And even if you don’t, should your turkey not be 100% dry, lowering it into the oil is an arm burning experience as minuscule droplets of water sends small spurts of boiling oil into the work area.

Plus, you need to purchase a shocking amount of oil to fry your turkey, and then you have to dispose of all that oil. It’s no wonder these fell out of style.

That said, deep fried turkey is delicious. And now I can vouch for the one at The Flying Chicken. It’s not breaded, which is even better, because then you get to enjoy the beautifully golden and crispy skin. These brined birds are full of flavor, with moist white meat, and tender dark meat.

It’s a real treat.

With the turkey we drank the Rare Form Brewing collaboration with The City Beer Hall. Together they made Dia de las Puertas, a sessionable porter made with smoked vanilla and chili. I was really impressed with how well the Rare Form beers paired with food. They were distinctive enough to display their character and add complementary and contrasting flavors, but not so bombastic as to overwhelm to delicate flavors of turkey and the sides.

That was true for the Sexy Beats IPA which was served with chicken, fennel, and cranberry tartlets, as well as for the Members Only brown ale which went remarkably well with the deep fried cinnamon biscuit balls.

Deep. Fried. Cinnamon. Biscuit. Balls.

If you buy the Thanksgiving package, Ian and his team will send you off with pies that they make in house. But the Yelp crew got another bonus treat out of the fryer. Even though I was stuffed, I thought I could take down two of these crisp, tender, aromatic beauties. I couldn’t. But one was enough to end on a happy note.

We didn’t even get to talk about the comfort of carbs, because we had those with the meal too. Maybe mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese can get their own post soon, you know, since comfort is going to be the theme for the week. Or perhaps the month. Potentially even longer.

Let me close with this. As comforting as the food may have been, it felt great to be surrounded by friends. We put aside the troubles of the world for a couple hours and were able to come together, smile, and laugh.

Thanksgiving is around the corner. For some, it may be more somber than it has been in the past. But this is a meal that’s built around food that makes you feel good. It may also make you feel sleepy, and that’s okay too. Think of it as a contented feeling of inner peace.

That’s something a lot of people could really use right around now. And for some food may be the only way to achieve that state at the moment. Give yourself permission to put the diet away. For one day, forget what you know about carbs, fat, and sugar.

Trust me on this one. You won’t regret it.

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