Times are changing for me and for St. Philip’s. A few weeks ago at our Annual General Meeting we had a vote and we are now in the process of closing the parish. We are hoping to do this in such a fashion that the majority of the parishioners will remain together. However, it will take time to work through how exactly that will work over the course of the next few months. So in the interim I’m revisiting some of the restaurants, like Chicken Chef, that I may not get to visit in the future.
Needless to say, for us as a parish this means we will go through many things, likely for the final time. Take next week. Next Sunday will likely the be last Sunday we share together in the configuration we currently share. At the same time, we will be celebrating several baptisms during the service. So even as this current expression of St. Philip’s comes to an end, we will be celebrating new life and a new expression of the Church, the body of Christ.
These moves will also make a bit of change in which I eat out. So, I thought I’d like to revisit some of the restaurants in the Saint Boniface area that I haven’t been to for several years. The Chicken Chef on Marion is one that I visited just over four years ago. I’ve gone once or twice since. One of the nice things about this place is that it’s relatively quick and it’s only about four blocks from the church.
I got to the restaurant at about 1:45 pm, so the main lunch rush was over, but there were still quite a few tables in use, and two or three people came in after I arrived. Owing to it being a little later I ordered a large lunch. I started with a bowl of soup and then ordered the chicken and rib dinner.
I don’t if this has gone into effect at all Chicken Chef locations, but the location on Marion has taken to using tablets when taking orders. I happened to get a server who was using it for the very first time. It took a couple of seconds longer, but the order got placed correctly and reasonably quickly. When I placed the order I asked for my soup first to be followed by my entree. One thing that comes with the new tablets is that request actually gets added on to the order as it goes into the kitchen.
The soup is homemade, and there was lots of broccoli florets in the broth, and a good covering of cheese on top.
Ribs can be a messy dish. Actually, they should be a messy dish if they are properly sauced. However, along with wings, it’s always hit and miss as to whether or not you’ll get something to keep your fingers clean as you eat them. Some places only give you serviettes, Some give you a couple of wet wipes, which seemed to keep getting smaller and drier as the years go by. Chicken Chef on the other hand provided a proper finger bowl, with warm water, lemon and several serviettes.
The chicken and rib dinner, featured a half-order of ribs and two pieces of chicken. You also get two sides with your meal. One from the large side category and one from the small side category. I chose the mashed potatoes and gravy from the large side category, and coleslaw from the small side category. The potatoes were a bit lumpy, but the gravy was rich and plentiful. The Coleslaw was good and not over dressed.
The half rack of ribs was a little on the small side. However it was well sauced and the meat was pretty much falling off the bone. Both the chicken breast and the wing were well breaded and the chicken in both pieces was quite moist. All in all a satisfying lunch.
Now, you may get the impression from some of my latest posts that I”ve been going all trendy with my eating habits. However, I still like to go out and find some old-fashioned comfort food. One such place a few blocks from where I work is the Chicken Chef located on Marion Street. We didn’t eat out a lot when I was a kid, but this is the kid of restaurant we would most likely eat at.
Chicken Chef started out in Carman, MB, and has grown to where they have 40 locations in three provinces. They are indeed a local success story. As the name implies they special is chicken, specifically the deep fried kind often associated with the Bluegrass State.
Chicken, because that`s in the name.
My first visit I decided to go with the obvious choice and have the chicken dinner. The chicken was well cooked well cooked and the skin nice and crispy if a little greasy. However, the grease is part of the experience at a place like this. It came with a large serving of fries and a macaroni salad. The actual order is one large side and one small side. The fries and salad were my choices. The macaroni salad was the most impressive part of the meal. The ingredients were quite fresh, and unlike some such salads it wasn’t drowning in mayonnaise. Plus, despite the appearance, the portion is quite substantial.
Chicken Chef Burger
While chicken is there main item, the overall menu is fairly broad. The next time I went in I ordered the Chef Burger. Advertised as coming with the works, there was a healthy sized burger, along with all the toppings. I upscaled my large side to go with the sweet potato fries and ordered the baked beans for my small side. Once again the small side was very flavourful. I also liked that the sweet potato fries were fairly firm in the middle.
This trip I was feeling a little hungrier so I ordered dessert. I ordered my favourite pie, blueberry. This turned out to be a really good choice. The crust was good, but the filling was the star. The natural, slightly tart flavour of the blueberries shone through. You can get it with ice cream, but I prefer my pie like I prefer my scotch, straight.
The coffee is reasonably strong. It’s also bottomless cup with meals, so it has that going for it. The service was friendly and efficient. The one thing I did find amusing was the number of opportunities to spend an extra quarter or so. From wrapped mints to claw machine they seem to have them all. For a change of pace, and memories of childhood meals out, Chicken Chef wasn’t a bad choice for me.