Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a fried chicken aficionado. I make a point to visit all the best chicken joints in any given city. Heck, during my last cross country drive, all my stops were mapped by Chick-Fil-A restaurant locations.
That being said, the best fried chicken I've ever put in my mouth is from a small place in Yountville, California. If you are ever in Northern California, especially around Calistoga, plan on making Ad Hoc one of your destinations.
Ad Hoc is one of Thomas Keller's restaurants and offers a prix fixe meal for around $50 a person. The buttermilk fried chicken is worth it, though. Be sure to call first--as they don't always serve it (Monday is usually a good bet).
They use a wet batter but the chicken is brined beforehand and the taste and crunch is exemplary. Perfectly seasoned, it is fried with just a few sprigs of rosemary in the oil to give it an extra dimension for the nose.
Now, I know that it is a bit out of the way for many people. While I encourage the trip, I do want to let you know about a way to cheat and get the experience in your own kitchen. Williams-Sonoma offers those who cook a chance to create this incredible meal at home. The Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit contains nearly everything you need and no-fail directions, too.
Whatever choice you make, your mouth and belly will thank you.
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