Chick-fil-A vs. Portland Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Chick-fil-A is causing traffic jams around its new location at 185th in Hillsboro. But are there better choices in Portlandia, and even not so far from it in suburbia? The Atlanta chain last had outlets in Oregon in 2003, and much has changed in the interim for Portland and the rest of the country. Here’s how it stacks up to some local fried chicken sandwiches. They are presented in alphabetic order.

Basilisk Fried Chicken Sandwich
Basilisk Fried Chicken SandwichBasilisk

Basilisk

Basilisk is one of the micro-restaurants at The Zipper at 27th and NE Sandy Blvd. This is what a fried chicken sandwich should be – juicy thigh meat coated with crunchy, savory, salty-enough coating, with slaw and pickles to add a sweet/sour component.  I detected a bit of spice, but I think next time I’ll give it a sprinkle of the sriracha sauce they provide.  If you don’t want chicken, they do the same thing with tofu. This $8 sandwich will fill you up and satisfy you.  I wouldn’t have had room for their Kool-Aid soft-serve of the day.  The Pearl Bakery bun tastes buttery and holds together despite all of the crunchy fried chicken. You can sit inside at Basilisk or the dining court, or outside. Beer and cider are available as well as soft drinks.  They are open for lunch and dinner and I had no problem finding parking a couple of blocks away.

Cackalack Hot Chicken Shack - The Blazer
Cackalack Hot Chicken Shack – The Blazer

Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack

If you’re on Hwy 26 west, take a short detour over to Bethany Village to Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack micro-restaurant. Their fried chicken sandwiches come in three versions. The Blazer has homemade pickles, smoky slaw, and garlic herb aioli and comes with a side. It stacks up as superior to Chick-fil-A, but seating is only available at picnic tables on the sidewalk. Worth the additional mile off the highway.

Chick-fil-A Sandwich
Chick-fil-A Sandwich

Chick-fil-A

The basic Chick-fil-A is prepared and breaded fresh on site, a step up from the frozen, pre-breaded filets and processed chicken burgers you will find at other fast food. The store is large and nicely appointed and the staff is astonishingly friendly and helpful. However, if you want more than a good fried chicken filet on a standard hamburger bun with only lettuce and tomato and packets of condiments, look elsewhere.

CHKCHK Fried Chicken Sandwich
CHKCHK Fried Chicken Sandwich

CHKCHK

CHKCHK on NW 23rd takes direct aim at fast food. It has an impressive chicken sandwich that is make with natural hormone-free chicken, housemade buns, and comes with romaine lettuce and truffled pickle. Housemade sauces are available for 25 cents each. Seating is at picnic tables inside and service was speedy. They also have rotating taps of local beer, plus boozy soda pop creations.

Lardo Fried Chicken Sandwich
Lardo Fried Chicken Sandwich

Lardo Fried Chicken Sandwich

With east side and west side locations, Lardo serves up a bacon-strong fried chicken sandwich.  It features bacon, pickles, ranch, and Crystal hot sauce. They give you a real knife to slice through the custom bun.  For $10, it’s a deal, and you can match it with those great Lardo fries.

Laurelhurst Market Fried Chicken Sandwich (Tuesday only!)
Laurelhurst Market Fried Chicken Sandwich (Tuesday only!)

Laurelhurst Market

On any list of great fried chicken in Portland,Laurelhurst Market is mentioned. You can only get their fried chicken sandwich on Tuesdays. It is delightful and the wait is minor, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. It’s not fast food, but it is great food just as fast.

The People's Pig Smoked Fried Chicken Sandwich
The People’s Pig Smoked Fried Chicken Sandwich with Collard Greens

People’s Pig Smoked Fried Chicken

The winner for “close your eyes and savor each bite” is the smoked fried chicken sandwich at People’s Pig. Deep smoky flavor, delicious breading, spicy mayo, jalapeno jelly and greens on a fantastic housemade sourdough roll. It comes with a hearty side such as collard greens. It’s big enough for 2 meals at $10. The wait is pretty short. The drawback is that the restaurant is very much a bbq shack, nothing even slightly fancy. You won’t care. If you’re tempted by Chick-fil-A, stay on the freeway, cross the Fremont Bridge and head to this N. Williams bbq shack.

Dinners in the Field Back for Fourth Year

The 2016 lineup for the Dinners in the Field series includes 25 events from spring through fall at vineyards, farms, ranches and barrel rooms in the greater Portland area and Willamette. The series is hosted by Chef Pascal Chureau of Field & Vine Events and Allium Bistro in West Linn, Oregon.

St. Josef's Estate Vineyards and Winery Field & Vine Event
St. Josef’s Estate Vineyards and Winery Field & Vine Event

The dinners are a chance to meet the farmers and vintners while having it transformed into a group feast. They are rain-or-shine events held under clear, starry skies or moved to tents or barns as needed. Tickets are $85 to $90 per person for a six- to seven-course meal and beverage pairing, with gratuity included. Only advance tickets are sold. Field & Vine Events Tickets

 New this year is a special Bastille Day celebration at WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill, enjoying their top-rated pinot noirs and farmstead cheese from Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese. Diners can enjoy the hilltop views from Lange Estate Winery and cheese from Portland Creamery. And Tualatin’s Lee Farms joins with Methven Family Vineyards and Indio Spirits. In October there will be a late-harvest dinner at Douglas Farm paired with wines from Owen Roe. The Oct. 15th dinner will benefit Farmers Ending Hunger, with three farms and four wineries at the Sprout Factory event space in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial Area. A live band, Boy and Bean, will perform during the evening’s event.
I joined in the June 11 dinner at St. Josef’s Estate Vineyards & Winery south of Canby, Oregon.  I had never visited this lovely family winery.
Lake at St. Josef's Estate Vineyards and Winery
Lake at St. Josef’s Estate Vineyards and Winery
The guests are seated at tables at the vineyard, and we had a perfect evening to enjoy outdoors. The tables are set in rustic elegance with menus, candles and silverware. Our vineyard hosts told us about their lovely venue and their family history of winemaking. The Lilli sparkling Riesling was so delightful I bought a couple of bottles.
Chef Pascal Chureau introduced the menu for the evening as we enjoyed a variety of wine and a tray of artisan cheese and charcuterie.
Field & Vine Events St. Josef's Estate
Field & Vine Events St. Josef’s Estate

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The dishes are served family-style and we enjoyed a local farm greens salad, seared Alaskan halibut, roasted marble potatoes, grilled broccolini, and braised wild boar. The dester was a lovely lemon cream tart. All featured local, seasonal products.
IMG_8703 IMG_8700
“Dinners in the Field” 2016 Schedule

April 12: Southeast Wine Collective with Pitch Dark Chocolate, 2425 SE 35th Place, Portland, OR 97214

May 14: Kestrel Barn with Owen Roe, 990 SW Long Farm Road, West Linn, OR 97068

May 21: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm & Vineyard with Portland Cider Company, 33814 S. Meridian Road, Woodburn, OR 97071

June 4: Alexeli Vineyards with Portland Creamery, 35803 Oregon 213, Molalla, OR 97038

June 11: St. Josef’s Estate Vineyards & Winery, 28836 S. Barlow Road, Canby, Oregon 97013

June 18: King’s Raven Winery, 11603 S. New Era Road, Oregon City, OR 97045

June 26: Pete’s Mountain Vineyard & Winery, 28101 SW Petes Mountain Road, West Linn, OR 97068

July 9: Stoller Family Estate with Chef Jaco Smith ofwill LeChon Restaurant, 16161 NE McDougall Road, Dayton, OR 97114

July 16: WillaKenzie Estate with Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese, 19143 NE Laughlin Road, Yamhill, OR 97148

July 23: Lange Estate Winery & Vineyards with Portland Creamery, 18380 NE Buena Vista Drive, Dundee, OR 97115

July 30: Lee Farms with Methven Family Vineyards and Indio Spirits, 21975 SW 65th Avenue, Tualatin, OR 97062

August 6: Christopher Bridge Wines, 12770 S. Casto Road, Oregon City, OR 97045

August 13: Fiala Farms with Erath Winery, 21231 SW Johnson Road, West Linn, OR 97068

August 20th: Beckham Estate Vineyard, 30790 SW Heater Road, Sherwood, OR 97140

August 28th: Rare Plant Research and Villa Catalana Cellars, 11900 S. Criteser Road, Oregon City, OR 97045

September 3rd: Fir Point Farms with Ecliptic Brewery & Ribera Vineyards, 14601 Arndt Road, Aurora, OR 97002

September 10: Terra Vina Wines, 33750 SW Ladd Hill Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070

September 18: Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch with Alexeli Vineyards, 35835 Oregon 213, Molalla, OR 97038

September 24: Ardiri Winery & Vineyards, 35040 SW Unger Road, Cornelius, OR 97113

October 1: Douglas Farm with Owen Roe, 15330 NW Sauvie Island Road, Portland, OR 97231

October 15: The Urban Farm Dinner at Sprout Factory, 931 SE 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, Partner with Farmers Ending Hunger

October 22: Stoller Family Estate with Fresh & Wild, 16161 NE McDougall Road, Dayton, OR 97114

November 5: Rosse Posse Acres Elk Farm with Forest Edge Vineyard, 32690 S. Mathias Road, Molalla, OR 97038

December 3: Dobbes Family Estate, 240 SE 5th Street, Dundee, OR 97115

December 10: WillaKenzie Estate, 19143 NE Laughlin Road, Yamhill, OR 97148

Tickets are required: Field & Vine Events Tickets

Disclaimer: as is common in travel writing, the author was hosted to attend the dinner.