Today we welcome back a guest who is well-known to our readers for her posts which compare and contrast various libations. On this day, however, this contributor tackles another type of taste test…back by popular demand, Noelle Jenkinson…
In the summer that marks the Bi-Centennial of the War of 1812, a battle is waging on either side of the Canada/US Border … Chicken Style!
In the US, an entire food-fight has erupted over Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy’s, stand on same sex marriage. I won’t dip my toes into that fryer, though, ‘cause that’d be whole other blog. Suffice it to say, methinks that chicken wishes he hadn’t crossed that particular road.
The more savoury battle, pun intended, is the one north of the border in Toronto hipster neighbourhood, Leslieville. It’s the battle of fried chicken and we’ve got two great contenders: neighbourhood incumbent, Chick-N-Joy and young upstart, Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken. A little history on our two contenders: Chick-N-Joy is a family owned business that’s been in Leslieville since 1977. Paulette’s, the latest venture of the Delica Kitchen, fired up its deep fryer this past spring.
Now, I’m no aficionado, but I do love fried chicken. Not even childhood memories of a family-wide episode of food poisoning, at the hands of The Colonel, have dampened my taste for fried chicken. So when I do occasionally give in to that craving, I want it to be worth it! My partner and I decided to make an evening of it and invited friends and fellow food-lovers, Donna and Maria, to join in our taste-test. Donna and Maria brought Paulette’s and we provided the Chick-N-Joy. Oh, and in case you were wondering, we paired the meal with a lovely Proseco.
The unveiling brings about our first discussion and comparison: price. For approximately $23 (tax incl.) at Paulette’s, you get 4 pieces of fried chicken, a small dipping sauce, and two donuts (we had a mojito donut and a banana coconut donut). For almost the same price at Chick-N-Joy, you get 10 pieces of chicken and a medium salad. Another observation: Paulette’s, er, pieces are significantly smaller than Chick-N-Joy’s. Chick-N-Joy uses only fresh (never frozen) chicken, but I’ve been told that Paulette’s uses only organic chicken, so perhaps that accounts for some of the difference in price.
Now, not to be shallow, but I have to talk about looks. Paulette’s is a good lookin’ plate of chicken! Because it’s Korean style fried chicken with a tempura batter, the skin is beautifully light and crispy looking. Chick-N-Joy is more of a traditional southern fried chicken. It may not be as pretty, but it’s still a fine plate of chicken. Besides, we’re getting to the best part …. THE TASTE!
Paulette’s has a really light crispy crunch to the batter, but we all agreed that the chicken was on the bland side. We tried the dipping sauce, a Garam Masala sauce that didn’t bring anything to this particular party. Chick-N-Joy, on the other hand, is a really flavourful chicken. While it is a traditional southern fried chicken, it isn’t that buttermilk soaked, have-to-bite-through-a-half-inch-of-greasy-batter-to-get-to-the-chicken kind of skin. Chick-N-Joy is hand floured and is pressure-cooked. We all agreed that the chicken was also fresh-tasting and incredibly moist. No dipping sauce required here.
A final bit of tasting … Paulette’s donuts. The coconut banana was a true cake donut: dense and moist. However, the banana flavour must have skipped class that day, because it was nowhere to be found. We were split on the Mojito donut. Two of us loved the vibrant lime flavour in the glaze and the other two felt it the glaze was very artificial tasting. That said, not a crumb remained from either donut.
The final score: Paulette’s gains points on looks and crunch, but Chick-N-Joy wins the battle on price and all-important taste … and it really is … a matter of taste. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Kids, if you want to try this yourself, grab a couple of friends, some good beer or a lovely proseco and, of course some chicken. Everyone loves a food fight!
Photos by Noelle Jenkinson
To learn more about Noelle see our Guest Chicks page.