Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drop Kick 'Bucket' for Fried Chicken with Flash

one sixtyblue's new "Fried Chicken & Champagne" deal happens every Wednesday. (Photo: one sixtyblue)

Who needs KFC when some fabulous top local chefs are putting their own unique spin on the classic Southern staple:

The Bristol's Chris Pandel visited Charleston, S.C., earlier this year and he couldn't wait to get back in the kitchen to hook up some of the dishes he sampled while there. Right now, he's doing a country-fried quail he's dubbed "Southern finger food." First, he marinates the bird in a molasses-maple brine before rolling it around in cornmeal and deep frying it. Then he gives the side dish of okra the same cornmeal treatment. Complemented with a house-made buttermilk ranch dressing, this down-home dish is certain to satisfy. $14.

one sixtyblue just introduced a new Wednesday night deal in the Blue Bar. Get ready for Fried Chicken & Champagne, chef Michael McDonald's mouthwatering meal that's certain to become a favorite in these parts of the Randolph Street Restaurant Row. For $8, you'll get two pieces of Amish-raised chicken that's been flavored with espresso grinds and gumbo file, then fried until golden. The bird's served with hand-sliced potato wedges, Asian pear coleslaw and buttermilk drop biscuits slathered with homemade honey butter. The bubbly, however, is extra: Dom PĂ©rignon ($25 a glass) or Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial ($8 a glass). If you're not doing champagne, they also feature a nice selection of craft beers for $4.

And Art Smith's glamorous, celebrity haven, Table Fifty-Two, has been 312DD's favorite Sunday night delight since it opened a few years ago. That's the only night they serve ginormous portions of Art's signature buttermilk fried chicken paired with mashed roasted garlic Yukon Gold potatoes for $18. That's more than enough food, trust us, but you'll definitely want to get a side or two. We recommend the three-cheese mac; braised collard greens with smoked turkey; or hand-cut fries with Manchego cheese and smoked paprika.

Fall's Best Ball Showcases Rising Star Chefs

John des Rosiers, executive chef/owner of Inovasi in Lake Bluff, is one of many rising stars set to cook at the annual "Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball." (Photo: Inovasi)

It seems like there's some chef-focused fĂȘte going on every week, where the city's anointed culinary kings and queens gather for a good cause while doling out signature bites of sweet and savory stuff.

But the Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball, now in its 21st year, is the one that started them all. In its early days, the event was a modest Sunday brunch in a court yard, but now it's a grand affair, boasting the A-Listers (Stephanie Izard, The Drunken Goat; Jimmy Bannos, Heaven on Seven; Paul Kahan, Blackbird) as well as those on the come up (John des Rosiers, Inovasi; Michael Fiorello, Mercat a la Planxa; Nick Lacasse The Drawing Room).

What we love about this event is that it caters to both the foodie and the fashionista with two parties in one: The high rollers come early for The Chef's Table ($250), a VIP, seated dining experience that's very intimate with the chefs. Immediately following is the Chef Tasting Party ($100), a walk-around cocktail event that's high energy with apps from the star chefs, deejay, open bar, casino gaming, an interactive photo booth and live music.

The Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball occurs Oct. 16 at Macy's (111 N. State St.). The Chef's Table (which includes the Chef Tasting Party) starts at 6pm; Chef Tasting Party goes down 8pm-12:30am.

Check here for tickets and the full celebrity chef lineup.

Now there's a video too!