Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles changed my life.
I’ve dabbled in vegetarianism, most recently for nearly eight months, while, admittedly, cheating about once a month on average. A few years ago I did 6 months. Ideally, it’s a diet I would love to consistently pursue for a variety of reasons. I will continue to limit my meat intake to perhaps twice a week, for reasons I’m too lazy to extrapolate upon at this moment.
However, if you are unfamiliar with the health, moral, and socially-beneficial reasons for reducing or eliminating your meat consumption, I recommend the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. The book may be even better for those already familiar with the information on an intellectual level, but who maintain a psychological distance or detachment that keeps them ordering cheeseburgers and chicken wings. This book will compel you to internalize your doubts about eating meat, and convince you those doubts are completely founded.
The book avoids the feeling of a didactic lecture by being more of a memoir of Foer’s personal food choices, and the dietary choices he begins to make for his newborn son. He merely presents the facts and explores the standards he creates for himself based on those facts, succeeding wonderfully at mixing emotion and reason.
Oh, and there are pictures! Nothing gruesome, just some creative use of graphs and simple images. For example, the beginning of one chapter features a rectangle spreading across both the left and right pages, with the following caption: “In the typical cage for egg-laying hens, each bird has 67 square inches of space – the size of the rectangle above. Nearly all cage-free birds have approximately the same amount of space.” To look at it another way – the way you’re looking at it now – that’s about 2/3 the size of your computer screen, in that space, from birth to death.
So, all that being said, I choose now not to discuss the often vile scenes of the contemporary food industry, the cruel conditions of animals manufactured to biologically absurd conditions with growth hormones, the environmental devastation of factory farming, or the very great possibility that so many of our health problems stem from eating this factory-farmed, mutant meat.
Instead I choose to be a hypocrite, shameful and with a meat-laced mustache, because all emotion and reason and all that wonderful veggie truth is sometimes still not as powerful as the alluring lie of a dead animal prepared in an Austin food trailer.
For I have seen my vegetarian hope’s greatest foe, stared into its greasy, chicken-fried eyes, and have lost. In fact, I didn’t lose – I willingly surrendered, gave up all the battle plans and government secrets with no torture, no torture at all. Yes, Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles, suggested on more than one occasion by more than one friend, finally slayed me. Drunk on Bulleitt Bourbon (Sponsorship? Pretty please? Seriously, I could afford going down to part-time if I had free booze.) from Rio Rita on East 6th street, and high on buildup from my friends John and Sarah’s championing of the legendary fried-chicken waffle taco, I experienced what can only be considered a culinary grudge fuck.
Yes, meat had been scorned for too long, and it was a vengeful comeback, rough and violent, but ultimately satisfying and even demon-releasing.
The facts, bare but powerful:
The waffle is the taco.
Fried chicken goes inside.
The not-so-secret secret – you apply both syrup aaand hot sauce. Unfortunately, my journalism powers were weakened due to aforementioned libations, and I do not know the exact type, brand or… anything really, about those two sauces. And, based on the conditions in which I will undoubtedly eat it again, I can’t make any promises. I simply may never know.
Some reviewers on Yelp have commented on the appearance of the fried chicken – “either overcooked, re-fried one too many times or the oil is never changed. In any case, fried chicken shouldn’t be dark brown in color.”
I don’t give a shit if the fried chicken is magenta, if it tasted the way it did at two in the morning. Sure, I know I had whiskey-mouth and everything tastes like an angel’s pussy at that point, but hot diggity-dog, that was some good eatin’. The waffle was only barely crispy and began to further soften after the sauce application, but I found it delicious.
Verdict, with a caveat: The Fat Thumbs of Justice, sticky and greasy and lil’ lapsed vegetarians, are up high for Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffle Taco.
Caveat: I ate it in the dark, drunk.