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Chick N' Friends, Long Reach Village Center in Columbia


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Fried chicken requires a Goldilocks touch -- too greasy and it's fast food, but doctored too close to healthly and you might as well buy something off a rotisserie.

Chick N' Friends takeout in Columbia serves up delicious chicken -- moist and full of flavor, not just the taste of crust. To me, the difference is that they cook in batches. On my favorite visits, I have waited up to 10 minutes for our order, and we sit on a bench outside with chicken so hot that you have to pull it apart with forks.

Normally, I'm a skinless chicken guy sauteing with a little Pam. But it's a guilty pleasure to crunch through fried chicken so I'll drive a little extra to the Long Reach Village Center. I can't coat my kitchen with oil, and I always wonder about the boxes sitting under the heat in the supermarket deli or KFC. I'll go back to Chick N' Friends, especially for the white meat. The breasts were so moist, and the large pieces of meat balanced well with the crispy skin. (Not that I didn't nibble every piece of meat and skin from the wing as well!)

At its best, Chick N' Friends tastes like home cooking in the best possible way. The corn bread muffin was moist and tasted like corn. The collard greens were tender without much seasoning. And the sweet potato pie was superb. Lightly sweet with a smooth texture, but the taste of something hand made. The crust was firm, and, even where it was slightly burnt, that made the pie taste like something that I'd gotten from a friend.

Chick N' Friends roasts chicken if you want a heart-healthy option. It also fries several types of fish, and there are waffles available all day. Next time, I'm going to try the chicken and waffles - or maybe the wings. Recognize this is a takeout place, but, in good weather, you can sit on the benches around Long Reach's flower-filled courtyard.

Also -- the WPost raved about Chick N' Friends this month.

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