On Boxing Day, L and I had dinner at our family friend’s house. We originally planned to meet up for a double date at Cocoru but decided to meet at her house instead. For this post, let’s listen to “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynrd.
Celia told me she was ordering from Steveston Pizza, a restaurant well-known for its extravagant seafood pizzas. I told her I would bring takeout from L.A. Chicken, the O.G. for fried chicken in Richmond.
When I arrived at L.A. Chicken, there was already a long line-up. The small shop is managed by the owner and his wife. He would ring up an order, run to the kitchen to pack up the food, then hustle back to the register to take the following order. What struck me was how patient, and appreciative each customer was throughout this process. The majority of customers looked like regulars, and each would respectfully nod, thank the owner profusely for being open, and leave a tip in appreciation for his hard work. When it was my turn to order, I could see the visible stress on his face and the whites of his eyes as he glanced at the growing line. He looked like he was having a panic attack.
When I arrived at Celia’s house, I mentioned the owner looked like he was having a meltdown. She laughed and mentioned she’s eaten at L.A. Chicken for years and the owner always looks liike that, even in the middle of the day when the business is quieter. She equated the owner to the Soup Nazi in Seinfield and said he is a maestro when it comes to fried chicken. I disagreed and thought it was his wife who was the unsung hero, as I saw her cooking up all the chicken.
I laid out my 10-piece spread ($34.99) with half spicy, half regular fried chicken, gravy, fries and nuggets ($8.99). I read the spicy chicken has a crunchier batter than the regular chicken. Celia ordered an Earth Pizza ($28), Pepperoni ($20) and a Fiume Pizza ($32).
I only tried the Fiume Pizza because I can’t resist seafood. This pizza was piled high with enormous pieces of crunchy pesto shrimp. The smoked salmon and creamy white sauce were so flavourful and each bite was bursting full of shrimpy goodness.
The spicy chicken wasn’t very spicy. The seasoning was subtle, and the batter was extra crunchy. What made this chicken stand out from the other fast food joints was the juiciness and plumpness of the brined chicken. I liked the ratio of the meat to batter too. I find Korean chicken is more batter and sauce than meat. I also found the meat quality at L.A. chicken better than Popeye’s or KFC. L.A. Chicken makes good homestyle fried chicken.
The chicken nuggets were covered in a crunchy, crumbly breading. The meat was springier than McDonald’s nuggets and didn’t deflate or harden as the meat cooled. The fries were average and nothing special.
When I came home I told my mother Celia over-ordered. My mother asked me why Celia ordered so much food. I said I didn’t know. Celia had so much food leftover, she said she would ask her mother over for lunch. The following day, Celia’s mother called my mother and told her that her daughter made her come over to finish up the pizza. Hot gossip travels fast. Thanks, Celia for a lovely night.