Tag Archives: Chicken

Peruvian chicken in Madison: Estacion Inka

We were so sad to hear that one of our original beloved Peruvian restaurants, Inka Heritage in Madison had closed! On a recent trip to Madison we looked them up to learn about their hours, only to find out that they were closed for good. Fortunately, we learned that the owners went and opened up another restaurant, this time a more casual spot in downtown Madison: Estacion Inka (604 University Ave, Madison, WI 53715). Unlike the more upscale vibe of Inka Heritage, Estacion Inka is a casual quick service place where you order at the counter and sit at the few tables in this clean, bright storefront. However, don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s simple appearance, the menu has many of the same favorites as Inka Heritage.

Here, the focus is on roast rotisserie chicken, which comes in a variety of sizes and permutations. Peru is known for its obsession with the perfect roast chicken, and we have tried a few dedicated Peruvian chicken spots in Chicago like D’Candela, so we are glad to see this type of restaurant come to Madison. We were at Estacion Inka on a weekday for lunch, and there is even a very attractive lunch special of a quarter chicken with rice and beans for a staggeringly cheap $5.65. You can also get a quarter ($7.99), half ($9.99) or whole roast chicken with one side: French Fries, Black Beans, White Rice, Cilantro Rice, Sweet Plantains, Fried Yucca, or Salad. There are some pre-defined options if you can’t choose, including the Caribbean special with rice, black beans and plantains ($8.99). We ordered the lunch special and Caribbean plate, and devoured every bite.

The chicken was tender and juicy with crispy skin, and the sides were on point. Another key element is the slightly spicy aji pepper sauce to slather on your chicken, which really brought it up a notch. Smoothies round out the menu, including M’s favorite flavor, Lucuma ($4). The tres leches cake ($3.50) and the alfajores looked tempting, but we were so full from our lunch that we had to stop at the smoothie. While we mourn the loss of Inka Heritage, Estacion Inka is a great stop for anyone in Madison craving some Peruvian flavor at a great price.

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Amazing Peruvian chicken at D’Candela

peruWhen we think of Peruvian food, we usually make the beeline for the ceviche, one of Matt’s favorite dishes OF ALL TIME. However, another thing Peru does really well is awesome, crispy, juicy rotisserie chicken. And sometimes you are not feeling fish, you are feeling chicken! So where to indulge this craving? One stop that came highly recommended, specifically for chicken, was D’Candela (4053 N Kedzie Ave. Chicago IL), part of a boom in Latin American chicken restaurants in Chicago. D’Candela does have a lot of other Peruvian dishes on its menu, including ceviche as an entree (but not an appetizer), and other classic dishes we love like papas a la huancaina and arroz chaufa. But this review is entirely for the chicken. You can order pretty much any size that suits your fancy from a whole, half or quarter chicken – and you can choose between the white or dark for the quarters. The prices are pretty reasonable too ($16.95 for a whole chicken with 2 sides, and a quarter chicken and 2 sides for only $6.85)! Many people were getting their chicken to go, but D’Candela is a BYOB, so why not stay a while?

Chicken

We got two orders of quarter chicken, one light and one dark meat. You also get to pick two sides ( sides =  French Fries, House Salad, Fried Sweet Plantains, Yucca, Rice, Pinto Beans) – so we went with the fried yuca and plantains for the complete meat ‘n’ potatoes experience. The chicken came with yellow aji sauce for dipping, which was excellent, particularly for the yuca. The chicken had a nice crispy exterior, but the meat was moist and juicy. Even the white meat was completely succulent. No grease, either. This was some tasty chicken, and there is definitely no need to make it home when you can get it here. We think we will be fulfilling all of our future chicken cravings at D’Candela. Washed down with a cold chica morada (purple corn drink), we can’t think of a much better dinner!

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The best roast chicken in Lisbon: Frangasqueira Nacional

portugalOur noses led us to the Frangasqueira Nacional (Rua da Imprensa Nacional 117, Lisbon, Portugal). We were on our way to another restaurant in the area when we smelled the delicious roast chicken and spotted the tiny shop down the travessa. We knew we absolutely had to return, so we stopped in a few days later. Though the name is a tongue twister, don’t be intimidated – it just means “national chicken shop.” True to form, all they sell are ribs, sausage and the piece de resistance: roast chickens! Though everything looks great, obviously you are here for the chicken.

Frangasqueira Nacional

Frangasqueira Nacional

This is a take-out-only shop and 2/3rds of the store is given over to a giant charcoal grill with an expert griller manning it. When we popped in on a rainy night, the entire grill was full of spatchcocked chickens with various stages of char, and a small line of hungry Lisboetas. Everything in the shop is sold by weight (chicken is €16 a kilo), along with a small selection of extras including fries, rice, tomato salad, chocolate cake, and a refrigerator of cold drinks and beer. You can get your chicken plain, or with spicy piri piri sauce, which was billed to us as only a little hot (don’t worry it isn’t too hot at all). They are crazy about piri piri in Portugal, a sauce made from malagueta peppers, citrus, lemon and garlic. The non piri piri chicken baste was also flavorful, with a hearty helping of salt and garlic.

Frangasqueira Nacional

Grillmaster at Frangasqueira Nacional

A blackboard informed us that a chicken was usually about 3/4th of a kilo, so over 1.5 pounds, which we figured was more than plenty for the two of us. As you can see, unlike in the US, these chickens appeared to be of a normal size. With a side of rice, our whole meal clocked in at less than €12. Don’t worry about having to cart home an unwieldy bird: the grillmaster had a huge pair of scissors with which he cut the chicken into about 8 pieces expertly and efficiently. This seemed like the perfect size for us, but if you would prefer a sampler, there are a variety of deals where you can get a combination of meats for well less than €10.

Frangasqueira Nacional

Chicken’s ready!

There is no place to sit inside the shop, but if the weather is nice, a perfect place in would be in the elegant Príncipe Real garden, which is only a few block away and has an awesome quiosque. We opted to take ours home, where it fed us for 2 meals! Even after a half hour subway ride home: the chicken was delicious, juicy with a crispy skin. It was amazing and certainly one of the best roast chickens we have ever had! We are so happy we found the Franguesqueira, it has become one of our go-to Lisbon places. If you are in the mood for a good, cheap and comforting meal, we can’t think of a better deal in the city.

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A Visit to Parson’s Chicken and Fish

Parson’s Chicken and Fish
2952 W. Armitage
Chicago, IL

Being out of the country off and on for nearly 2 years, we tend to be pretty far behind most food trends in Chicago. By the time we go to a restaurant, it has already been written up by everyone and their cousin. However, for once we are able to get somewhere before it has totally fallen off the radar. We had the fortune of visiting one of the hot spots of the summer (complete with outdoor patio): Parson’s Chicken and Fish. We arrived at Parson’s with two of our friends on a Thursday night, which we figured would be a slightly off hour. Fortunately we were right, and were able to get a table for 4 outdoors nearly right away.

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The atmospheric outdoor setting is a large part of Parson’s appeal. The restaurant itself was a former fast food joint, and only has a few booths. However, the outdoor area in back of the restaurant is pretty huge, and consists of semi-shared picnic tables with striped umbrellas, an open air bar, and whimsical strings of Christmas lights everywhere. The atmosphere is convivial, and there is even a ping pong table to keep you occupied if you wait (which you may have to on most nice nights).

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The menu itself is pretty focused, and consists mainly of Southern American classics, especially chicken and fish, as the name would imply. The fried chicken is billed as “Amish” and you can get it grilled or fried (of course we chose fried). The fried chicken, which we figured would be the showpiece of the restaurant, was in fact extremely delicious. The chicken had a savory, crispy cornmeal breading, and was fried to perfection, with a piping hot exterior and juicy interior. We ordered a bucket of chicken for the entire table to share ($24 for the bucket and toast), along with a helping of Texas toast (perhaps our eyes were bigger than our stomachs). The bucket contained about 12 pieces of chicken, and the chicken breasts were cut in half for easier eating – though they were somewhat difficult to identify.???????????????????????????????

We also ordered a basket of fried fish ($16 for 6), which we agreed was somewhat less successful than the fried chicken, and was pretty greasy. We also enjoyed the sides: hush puppies ($4) and ceviche ($10). The ceviche was Mexican style – with a tomato-y sauce – it was good but a somewhat small portion. The hush puppies were heartily enjoyed by all – they were particularly light and fluffy – also full of bacon pieces. We finished up our hearty country picnic with a slice of lemon curd and blueberry pie from the inimitable Bang Bang Pie Shop (the pie changes regularly), which was particularly excellent. With pie like that, we hope to visit the pie shop itself soon. Parson’s Chicken and Fish is a great place for a tasty meal on a nice day, and a large part of the charming experience is being outside. Better get there before fall!

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