Why the chicken really crossed the road…
…To go to the muthaf#$%in’ Twilight Exit to get an order of CHICKEN FRIED BACON!
Lets take this old non-humorous preschool level anecdote back to the beginning. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine had clipped an article out of the Stranger, one of Seattle’s local free press papers, and given it to me. It proudly featured chicken-fried bacon and boasted it’s many rewarding characteristics. I made a vow that one day I would “get a piece of that action” and I posted the clip on my refrigerator. Some time later, my current girlfriend came over and saw my yellowed shred of destiny on the door. She commented on it and, after having endured the barrage that was my excited whimsy of someday possibly partaking in such a delight (she’s, amusingly, a long-time vegetarian BTW), she tells me that she’s well familiar with the purveying establishment – The Twilight Exit, a thrice-relocated dive bar in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. She had a history with the staff and patrons for some time and actually had plans to head there soon and she said it would be her treat if I joined her. My requisite happy dance followed.
Fast forward a couple weeks and we found ourselves there for a birthday celebration or some such. She plunked down my $6 for an order of CFB with a side of their home-made gravy and I did my best to control the tremors of anticipation as I waited.
I forget how many strips there were on the plate (I consumed a lot to drink that evening) but the portion seemed healthy. Probably 6 strips, perhaps more. The bacon was of good size and thickness. I suspect that it may have been Boar’s Head or something similar. I don’t think it was supermarket thick-cut bacon but it was hard to tell. The batter was well ratio’d to the bacon – you didn’t have to hunt for the bacon beneath a rapper’s puffy down jacket of batter. Between the grease from the bacon and the oil from the flying process, the batter wasn’t particularly crispy but it wasn’t mush, either. It was in an acceptable and understandable state in-between but had a good grip on the bacon itself. I got some of the gravy on the first strip and tore in. I recall burning the s#!t out of my mouth. Lesson number one, safety first. Don’t let your excitement override your sense of self preservation. Deep fried bacon is hot and dangerous. Like pizza… only better.
Anyhow, aside from the near-blistering injury to my soft palette, I was doing the Dastardly-and-Muttley joygasm display (copyright Hanna Barbera, 1969-present). If I had a tail, it would have made like a tiny propeller, lifting me to the ceiling where I would have drifted back down in a manner like a gently falling dove feather, all the while glassy-doe eyed and sighing with unbridled contentment. Ok, perhaps it wasn’t that good but it was fully up to my expectations.
Despite lacking a true crispy/crunchy quality to the batter, the consistency was satisfying and the bacon was just right. It wasn’t too salty and was complemented decently by a cold PBR but in retrospect would have gone better with something with a little more body and character, like an amber.
Apparently I made such a fuss that my aforementioned vegetarian girlfriend even broke precedent and tried a bite (bacon is her only weakness – BaconSalt has been a godsend for her. You know that stuff’s veggie-friendly, right? Well, you should). She was less excited than I but respected the might and glory nonetheless.
I give the Twilight Exit’s chicken-fried bacon my full endorsement. It’s the other white meat battered like the other other white meat and it’s very satisfying. I would say the only downside is that after the first couple strips, you can almost feel your arteries begin to harden and the prospect of finishing it becomes strangely daunting. I would treat it like a decadently rich mousse or cheesecake – more than your average citizen can likely handle by themselves in one sitting. I would plan to share an order with a friend or two unless you are of hearty, viking-like stock.
Check it out when you get a chance.