After quite an intense outing to the mall, my friend and I agreed to treat our famished bodies and tired credit cards with something that would give both a break. I had been told throughout the trip that Bojangle’s would be a good representation of Southern fast food and my friend brought it up as an option as we were loading all of our shiny new things into the trunk. Somehow fried chicken and mashed potatoes sounded like the perfect thing to clear my mind of the roomfuls of stuff that could’ve been mine and those that had recently become mine. So we drove around until we found one of these bright yellow signs close-by. We got the Fried Chicken Dinner, which included a massive wing and a drumstick, as well as some sides and sweet tea, which my friend argued were necessary for me to try to get the full Bojangle’s experience.
The Mashed Potatoes were great, though they were definitely made from powder, as they seemed just a bit too smooth and pudding-like to have been actually pressed fresh from a potato. But this didn’t bother me too much at all – it’s a bit of a guilty secret of mine that I actually love the instant stuff, perhaps out of fondness for the memory of my dad making it for me in the past on the rare days my mom would not be around and he’d have to fend for himself. Warm, smooth and buttery with the far-off, feint flavor of the spud it might have been a long time ago. The gravy was great too, starchy and thick, salty with a very feint taste of meat juice. But mostly just salty.
I’m not sure why exactly my friend had been raving so hard about the Green Beans, since I didn’t think they were anything special. They were offensively overcooked and had a watery flavor to them which wasn’t really remedied by the small bits of what I think was trying to be red chili mixed in there. I would pass on these next time and go for the dirty rice or grits.
My favorite fixin’ was perhaps the buttery Biscuit, crunchy and crumbly on the outside, doughy soft, moist and very airy on the inside. We both tore into these first. They were still hot on the inside, with steam spilling upwards as we split them in two. Not too complex in flavor – it’s all about the texture here, like curling up in a Snuggie and watching a movie on an afternoon you had originally planned to spend at the gym but then didn’t because you found out that the gym closes early that day. It’s just that good. I would recommend dipping a piece into the gravy topping the mashed potatoes, to add some extra salty flavor and moisture.
The Seasoned Fries were good too, crispy at the corners with their spuddy starch maintained on the interior. They were dusted generously with Bojangle’s special seasoning, a Cajun-y thing with what I think was a blend of cayenne, garlic powder and a ton of salt. The seasoning, I noticed, is also sold separately at the register. Dipping these into ketchup was great, with the sweetness of the condiment alleviating the buzz stirred up on the tongue from the salty, spicy dust. Satisfying.
And finally, the crown of our Two Piece Dinner, the wing and thigh. The chicken itself was a guilty little bite, the thick crispy coating sliding off the moist, steaming dark meat which seemed to have a layer of condensed water form between the batter and the flesh. The coating itself was minimally seasoned, though I did taste a feint hint of that seasoning in there. The lung left inside the rib cage was mushy and delicious. Definitely not the even close to the best fried chicken I’ve had, but it hit the spot that day.