Dec 13, 201608:00 AM
The Lighter Side
Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy
New Orleans' "Pengest Munch"
Here's a thing about me: I get excited about things.
I realize that everyone gets excited about things, but I tend to take them pretty far. I'm either obsessed, like 200 percent into a thing or not at all. That's my attention span. So internet memes, where something can rise out of nowhere and into fame (for about 15 minutes and then go away), are perfect for me.
On Friday, I stumbled upon a link for the "Chicken Connoisseur,"a YouTube channel about a kid who travels around London critiquing fried chicken shops. At first I thought, "what even is this?" But this kid, Elijah Quashie, is gold.
I watched all of his videos – a few I even watched twice, just because he's so damn funny and charismatic. He made rating fast-food fried chicken shops very cool, and in only six videos – something Guy Fieri has yet to do in the eleventy-hundred episodes that the Food Network has bestowed upon him.
I messaged my husband, who had already heard of him, because he is cooler than me. I texted friends. Called up my mom. I said, "he's this dapper kid who wears suits and flawless Nikes to fried chicken joints, and calls food 'the pengest munch'!"
Honestly, I had to look up what "peng" meant, but now that I know, it has suddenly infected my daily vernacular. Apparently, it's London slang for either great marijuana or a very good-looking person. So all weekend, I'd look at something I was about to eat and be like, "is this the pengest munch?"
I know people at work are going to love me this week, when everything that looks good suddenly becomes "the pengest munch."
But hey, I get excited about things.
I thought to myself, damn, I really wish this kid could get out of London and come to New Orleans, because we have, without a doubt, the pengest munch. And I know this because I spent some time in London for a work/study program. I've been to their "American" fried chicken shops and believe me when I say that things are so much more peng here. Especially in New Orleans.
Now, I'm not knocking all of London's chicken. I'm sure a lot of it is good – great, even. It's just that the few shops I went to – because my British friends thought it was fun to have me try their American-style food – were not all that great. The "chips" were always soggy and limp, and the chicken pieces were never anything that reminded me of home. The thing I did love, however, was the "strip burgers," which are chicken finger sandwiches. I love how they call them "strip burgers," as it makes a regular old chicken sandwich sound downright sexy. And I have to say that the one at Raising Cane's is the sexiest of all.
Anyway, after watching all these videos, I was hungry. But I didn't go to Raising Cane's, because I know what I'm getting there, and about 90 percent of the time, it's great. The other 10 percent is because the drive from the nearest location to my house renders soggy fries, but what can you do. I didn't go to KFC, Church's or Popeye's either, as I didn't want to go to a chain. And I also didn't want something "world-renown," like Willie Mae's. I wanted a hole-in-the-wall – something not everyone knew about, something I'd only heard of from locals.
I ended up settling on "The Triangle Deli" at Broad St. and St. Bernard, because people tell me good things about it and because it's in a gas station. My husband's favorite gumbo is from a gas station in Kenner, so I thought to myself, why not chicken? Why not the pengest munch at a gas station?
Here's what I got: an 8-piece fried chicken and fries meal at $4.99. Not a bad deal.
*Please forgive me for my food styling, as I sat down to eat this on my bed while watching "The Walking Dead."
A bonus, since the place is in a gas station, meant I could just pick up a diet sprite and peanut butter M&M's for dessert. It was perfect.
The one thing they didn't have was a "strip burger." There are po boys, but not of the chicken variety.
As for the food? Was it the pengest munch?
You guys, the chicken was the pengest munch. Believe me when I say, it was amazing. The chicken had a great texture to it. The skin was crispy, the meat juicy and, even though I got the plain and not the "hot" or "BBQ", it was very flavorful and had a little kick to it. It is definitely worth trying if you haven't already. "How about the fries?" you ask. They were okay. They needed seasoning. And I tend to go for the thin crispy fries instead of what one would call "steak fries," I like crunch.
The next time I go (because I will be going back), I'll probably just say, "only give me 10 fries." I'm sure I'll get strange looks, but I'm used to that. It's cool.
So in closing, I know the "Chicken Connoisseur" kid wants to review more shops around London, but someone get him over here to New Orleans. I need to see him in New Orleans! What can I say, I get excited. I love him.