Hill Country Chicken: is there a Popeyes nearby?

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Dear Food Diary:
Just the thought of fried chicken makes me giggle like a silly school girl on a sugar high. I enjoy it when I’m happy and devour it when I’m sad. Either way, this is a win-win relationship.
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Walked… I mean, hoped and jumped in to Hill Country Chicken… this was an exciting day, Chubby Chinese Boy and I planned our 24 hrs around it. All natural, well treated chicken who eat healthier than I do, sure, sure! I dig, I dig.
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Warm, country home look & feel mixed with Americana, yeah sure! Bring on the comfort food!
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BUT then I saw these hot lamps and pre-fried chicken sitting next to each other… and my heart dropped. If this is inspired by the founder’s childhood memories, I wanna know if his mama served him chicken that was sunbathing under a row of lamps. If so, that would be child abuse in my book. Call me fried chicken diva or whateva’ but I like my fried chicken cooked to order! And if this is what Texas fried chicken is like, I’m driving to another state.
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Oh and if that wasn’t bad enough, all the sides are just sitting there, sad deli style.
Even so, I still gave them a shot… 
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Grape soda and lots of condiments (ketchup, spicy chicken shaker, honey) at hand… we were ready to dig in…
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A little carried away? maybe, but I wanted to give them a fair chance, I wanted to like them… I DIDN’T! This was basically overpriced fried chicken… I like the whole “better quality” chicken and all, but the flavors just didn’t do it for me.
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Mama El’s Fried Chicken is skinless, brined in buttermilk and herbs, then hand-dipped in batter. It was crunchy and all, but skin is where the flavor is! There’s a reason why Japanese Yakitori places have it on the menu! Plus, it’s good for your skin according to my mom. I know, I know, it isn’t healthy bla bla bla, but if you’re having fried chicken to begin with, who cares! Keep the fat/flavor please!!! This was a no go for me, there was just something missing. I felt cheated that I wasted my precious calories.
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Hill Country Classic Fried Chicken, also brined in buttermilk and herbs, double coated in a seasoned flour and dusted with their spicy Chicken Shake had a little more flavor than the skinless option, but nothing to lick your fingers for. Maybe a little more salt would of helped. The skin wasn’t exactly crunchy, slightly around the edges maybe, but not the type that tunes all other noises out for a moment. It was luke warm and not as juicy as I would of liked, my guess, the heat lamps had something to do.
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The sides (pickle, corn, slaw) weren’t too impressive either, so I’ll spare you from reading bland complaints. Our fries were really soggy and droopy, urgghhh, they did remind me of making fries at home as a kid, or my attempt anyways, which is why I never made them again.Again, I’m not complaining about the “better” chicken they use, but for the price, I need some extra crunch and flavor! And it MUST be cooked to order, no ifs or buts. It wasn’t totally bad, but my wallet was hurting, my tastebuds were crying and my mind kept thinking about all the amazing fried chickens I’ve had in the past… like getting my hands on a bucket or two of the spicy/crunchy goodness at Popeyes! Yes, I do like their Louisiana Cajun Fried chicken better, there I said it! “I prefer Popeyes over this”.I guess since Le Grand Fooding 2010, my standards for fried chicken were redefined by the good folks from Seersucker. I’ll admit that I turned into a FCS (fried chicken snob), so i won’t be back to Hill Country Chicken. Next time I’m in the area and have a serious fried chicken craving, I’ll look for a Popeyes. Even though they aren’t exactly fried to order either, at least its cheap and tasty, thank you very much.

P.S. Chubby’s RATING: 1/2
www.hillcountrychicken.com
1123 Broadway (corner of 25th)
212.257.6446

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