The 999 Market and Super Deli

The Best Chicken in Town?

Chicken Wings & Drumsticks

I reluctantly left the house for a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. Reluctantly, because my depression has kept me housebound for most of the past two months. But I couldn’t put it off any longer, and Ed was kind enough to drive me to the clinic. I’d catch a bus home afterward.

The appointment resulted in my antidepressant prescription being increased, and I had an hour to kill before the next bus. The bus stop was across the street from the 999 Market and Super Deli, and their sign proclaimed “The Best Chicken in Town!”

I had curiosity, hunger, and time to kill. $7.50 got me 6 wings, 4 drumsticks, and a cold drink. Sitting down on the curb, I started eating.

First, everything had just come from the fryer, so it was nice and hot. Second, everything was crispy and perfectly seasoned. Third, even though I had asked for 3 drumsticks, I got 4 for the same price. This has always been the case each time I’ve eaten there.

Yes, I confess: this was not my first time eating their chicken. But it was the first time since I quit smoking, and it tasted even better.

I’ve written of the joys of dark meat when it comes to poultry; the same is true today. If anything, this afternoon’s repast has only strengthened my beliefs.

And their claim to the best chicken in town? Let me put it this way: KFC could learn something from these folks!

Cholula Green Hot Sauce

And the Lost Art of Thumping on the Bottom of the Bottle

It’s no secret around our house that I like spicy foods. Indian, Thai, Cajun, Mexican — I love them all, but not for the reason you might expect.

It’s the blending of spices rather than the heat that I love. And sometimes, the heat is merely a result of a particular blend of herbs and spices. Still, I must confess: a generous dash of hot sauce can take a boring meal and turn it into a culinary adventure.

Probably the most obvious example of this is Buffalo Chicken Wings. Since their introduction in a bar in Buffalo, NY — hence their name — they’ve pretty much become standard fare in bars, restaurants, Superbowl parties, and backyard barbecues all across America.

All because of the hot sauce.

But that’s not the only use. And while the sight of someone pouring ketchup on their scrambled eggs makes me queasy, I use hot sauce on my own eggs. Breakfast and brunch wouldn’t be the same without them.

Which Brings Me to the Point

I went grocery shopping the other day. One of the items on my list was a particular brand of hot sauce made right here in Rochester. I figured a local store would be a good source of local products, but alas! Top’s is not Wegman’s, and so I had no luck. I really needed to replace my Empty bottle of Frank’s RedHot, but I wanted to try something different.

When I saw the green bottle of Cholula, I made my choice. Poblano and jalapeño peppers! I was intrigued. I was already familiar with their original red hot sauce — indeed, I had had it on my omelet that very morning — so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I love it! My only complaint, if I can call it that, is that it’s a relatively thick formula compared with its red cousin. While the red comes out of the bottle with a few shakes, the green refuses to budge unless I hold the bottle upside-down and whack it on the bottom.

But it’s definitely worth it. It also happens to be the inspiration for this story, as the idea came to me over tonight’s dinner: sausage, hash browns, and eggs.

What’s For Breakfast?

Long before Bill Cosby recorded his skit about giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, I had already wondered why it was okay to have a donut for breakfast, but not a piece of cake? And why were sugary cereals preferable to donuts?

I even asked my mother about this once, but like so many childhood inquiries, my questions were unable to generate any useful answers.

Lately I’ve been wondering. Why do breakfasts often feature hash brown, but not mashed, potatoes? Why do we serve rench fries with hamburgers and hot dogs, rather than. mashed or boiled? Well, okay–boiled potatoes in a potato salad.

I can’t stand to even be near to someone who puts ketchup (a tomato-based sauce) on their eggs, and yet I was quite put out this morning when I realized I had no Frank’s RedHot sauce (another tomato-based sauce) to put on my omelette.

(As an aside,growing up, one of my brothers hated tomatoes but loved tomato juice, while the other one loved tomatoes but hated tomato juice. And don’t even get me started on my German great-grandfather who insisted on spreading good German mustard on his pancakes.)

And the greatest mystery of all: Does anybody drink milk with their pizza? If not, why not? My mother always served us milk with just about every other Italian dish, so why not pizza? It was the same ingredients just arranged differently.

I believe that beer is the perfect accompaniment to Chinese or Mexican food. But for Indian or Thai? Thai iced tea or Masala Chai.

I’m pretty sure most of us prefer American versions of Chinese cuisine to the real thing. I mean really? Baby octopus?

Then again, I prefer TexMex to Mexican food. I had a couple of friends who spent a spring break in Mexico, and complained that there wasn’t a single Taco Bell in the whole country! They had to eat REAL MEXICAN food! Oh, the humanity!

And even this blog, which is ostensibly about food, is more about culture and my own personal philosophies of life. It’s just that most of my insights occur over breakfast or dinner, or as is more often the case, a nice cup of tea.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have any hard and fast breakfast rules? Or do you believe as I do that when it comes to food, rules are meant to be broken?