Chow Chicken-Fried Love
posted by August 26 at 16:18 PMon
People love chicken-fried steak. In this week’s paper, Joan Hiller (“Chicken-Fried Vision Quest”) loves it:
As a kid growing up in Katy, Texas, chicken-fried steak day in the lunchroom came twice a week, and I reminisce more than is probably healthy about using a doughy roll to sop up the final globs of country gravy that clung to my hard plastic tray…. I still thoroughly relish each bite of Banquet’s $3 TV-dinner version of the dish, which speaks to the sophistication of my palate, sure, but I know a good—or a cruddy—chicken-fried steak when I meet one. I’m Texan. A certain percentage of my blood is gravy, so if CFS is on a menu, dang if I ain’t gettin’ it. Gotta keep the levels up.
Y’all love it, too. From the mailbag:
My father was born near Chickasaw, Oklahoma, and due to this fact I also have a gravy-positive blood type. Chicken-fried steak was a meal that was often requested, though infrequently delivered due to the labor of cooking it for a family of nine. To this day, it is still the meal that my brothers and I request for our birthdays. Joan’s article brought back greasy, aromatic memories of my chicken-fried childhood.
Finding a good CFS in the Northwest is not an easy task. Most have been passable; some have been Lovecraftian creations of pure fucking terror.
The single best CFS I have had in the Pacific Northwest is from a little restaurant in Centralia called the Country Cousin. I stopped there on my way to Portland last year and I cannot recommend it enough. If you decide to stop there, I would advise you to skip the dining room and head straight to the lounge.
Thanks for the memories.
Alrighty. If you can eat more chicken-fried steak, then go to Tommy’s in Renton. You’ll find it to be better than the rest.
Here’s how I order: CFS, eggs over hard, hash browns and biscuit instead of toast. When it comes to the table, cut the steak and eggs, then mix together with the gravy and hash browns and top it with a few drops of Tabasco… (a lot of drops if you’re using smoked chipotle Tabasco if you can find it someplace else and bring it in).
Please do thank me later.
Beth’s has the best CFS ever. Will check out Cyndy’s. —c.
I am in love with the chicken-fried steak at Geraldine’s Counter in Columbia City. I will be going to Cyndy’s House of Pancakes very soon to try their chicken-fried steak. Thanks for the article. —Nicky
About the best (and best deal) I’ve had on a chicken-fried steak was about ten years ago at the Cozy Diner in Chico, California, a place where you were considered a regular if you had three breakfasts in a row. The CFS was $5.99 and included soup AND salad and dessert (tapioca or ice cream). It’s a bit of a drive, though.
You should really check out the Austin Cantina. Jefe Berkner, the owner and chef, lived for several years in Austin, and he is offering a Tex-Mex menu that includes a real tasty version of chicken-fried steak, with some good sides, too.
The collection of music posters in the restroom is worth the trip all on its own.