Samuel Muston: On the Menu
Gus's world-famous fried chicken; Fudge Kitchen; Don Julio tequila; Man Food
This week I've been eating... Gus's world-famous fried chicken
Yes, they're not terribly modest at Gus's. That name even predates GQ naming it "a meal that is worth flying to" in 2001.
So getting off a plane to Memphis, Tennessee, steadying myself against the heat, I made my way to the restaurant on a broken-down street in the city that gave the world rock'n'roll.
The first thing that became obvious is that they aren't lying with that name – the whole world and his mother was waiting outside. It was the largest congregation of lard-arses I have ever seen. I took both to be promising signs.
When my four companions and I got in, we ordered 16 pieces and sides of slaw and greens. It came as a poultry mountain.
The batter was crisp, gold as late wheat and hot as hell (temperature and cayenne spice). The chicken was perfect, juicy, pretty greaseless and well worth getting on a plane for. Well, maybe. gusfriedchicken.com
I realise this is shaping up to be quite an international column this week but don't turn over yet, for I have seen the future of dining – and I don't like it. At a dinner in New York a group of us were treated to "family-style dining". The antidote to the small-plate plague, it involves large mounds of food plonked at strategic points around the table. Nice idea, you might think, but then you're not accounting for British reticence. The plates went around the table more times than a second's hand, everyone taking minuscule portions so as not to seem greedy. I left hungry.
There is something I particularly like about fudge in the summer months (such as they are). The softening of the texture, the stickiness given to it by the warmth appeals to me hugely. It appeals doubly so when it comes from the Fudge Kitchen; it sells a gourmet riot of handmade different fudgy products. There are dipping sticks of milk chocolate fudge with their heads immersed in white milk chocolate. Fudge spreads in all the flavours Wonka could have imagined (butterscotch is best) and the coup de grace to all weight-loss programmes – drinking fudge. fudgekitchen.co.uk
Most of us are familiar with Don Julio tequila. It has long been a back-bar favourite. Well, to celebrate its 60th year it is producing a very special bottle indeed. The bottle is amber-coloured and elongated like the agave plant from which the liquid inside is made. And the drink? Smooth as silk with bits of spice and some softer creamier flavours, the result of two years in American white oak barrels. Tequila, but not as we know it. £160, selfridges.com
I hate the name of "Man Food" pickles and dips – can girls not stand up to a pickled shallot? But the taste of it is something quite special. The brand sells bread and butter pickles, piccalilli and smoked tomato sauce and they each come very close to grannies'-own levels of pleasantness. £3.95, welovemanfood.com
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