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Two Hot Chickens and a Hot Curry

New York Hot Chicken

At the end of May, we took a trip to New York. A few months before, a friend sent me this recipe for the hot chicken at Peaches Hothouse, a place in Brooklyn. We added the restaurant to our New York To Do list and headed there on a Friday night. 

We ordered the hottest level of chicken. It looked more like regular fried chicken than the usual hot-chicken shade of dark red. I judge hot food by the number of beers I drink during the meal. Hattie B’s painfully hot chicken usually requires two beers. By the end of our meal at Peaches, I was still drinking the same beer. The chicken was tasty, and there was a heat that built up gradually. But instead of a table-banging, nose-sweat-inducing heat, this heat was manageable. I wouldn’t call it Nashville-style, though. Maybe spicy chicken. I would eat it again. 

New York Hot Curry 

The next day, another friend mentioned an Indian place that offers a hot curry challenge and a certificate if you finish your food. She really likes certificates, and I really like challenging myself with hot food, so we decided we should eat hot curry for dinner. 

Four people from our five-person party took on the "Phaal Challenge" at Brick Lane Curry House. We had to sign waivers saying we realized we were silly and would not hold the establishment responsible for any physical or psychological pain (I’m paraphrasing). When the food arrived, our waiter let us know we had 30 minutes to finish. 

Photo by Lauren Reid

Photo by Lauren Reid

I do not recommend trying this hot curry at all. Not only is it painfully hot, it’s bad. Curry is typically delicious. This “curry” can only be called that because it seems to be a blend of every hot pepper around. It was hot peppers and nothing else. I finished it with the help of two big beers. I got the certificate, but that was a wildly unpleasant experience. 

(If this was a piece for Upworthy, the headline would be: I completed the Phaal Challenge. You’ll never guess what happened next). 

If you decide to destroy your innards with this curry, my hot tip (pun intended) is to eat as little rice as possible. It only takes up stomach realty needed for more bad curry. 

Boston Hot Chicken

One of the 31 things I said I would miss about Louisville was its proximity to Nashville and hot chicken. While writing that post, I found a place that does hot chicken near MIT. Last night, we decided to see if their “Nashville-style” hot chicken was really Nashville, or New York.

Two things: 

1. We visited State Park’s sister restaurant, Hungry Mother, this weekend to pick up some pimento cheese for an event. We told the gentleman who assisted us that we wanted to try State Park’s hot chicken.

“I will never eat that chicken,” he said. 

2. When we ordered, our waiter asked me, “Have you ever had the chicken prepared that way?” 

“Yes, in Nashville.” 

“Great. That’s the best answer I’ve ever had to that question.” (I didn’t ask him how long he’d worked there). 

The chicken came on a slice of white bread with a few pickles on the side. It was dark red. It was hot — but not esophagus-burning, ear-popping hot. Hotter than Peaches, not as hot as Hattie B’s. It reminded me of the first hot chicken we ever had, from Bolton’s. I only needed one beer, but I think the one-beer level is the level for me. State Park, your hot chicken is perfect. We will be back.