The Dish: "Chicken & Biscuit" and "Tennessee Chicken Sandwich" at Tex Tapas
The smell of warm, buttery chicken and biscuits coming toward you can only leave one feeling fireside on a cold night.
Neil Young's “Harvest Moon” drowsed in the background on this dreary Tuesday. Soft brown lights lit the main room in such a way that, combined with old Neil’s trailside campfire vibes, I was taken to a number of places, coming out of the brisk morning air to a roadside diner during a busy morning commute; a ranchhand's blue-grey awakening, hard on the cattle drive.
It’s a coffee and biscuits kind of morning.
Father John Misty added a solemn swing to the somnolent reverence of the morning with “I Love You, Honeybear” as the first dish arrived.
Chicken & Biscuit
Okay, so let's start from the ground up on this one: the biscuit exists in some happy limbo between heaviness and airiness, with the right amount of honey to brighten the biscuit up without oversweetening it. The chicken feels like coming home for the holidays. It's got a slight peppery earthiness, like the best of any home-cooked meal. The coleslaw is like a caffeine kick to a cozy standard — the tang is cut by a nice sweetness that one might find at home in a lighter, more fruit-based breakfast dish, but that snuggles up here just fine to these warming, buttery carbs.
Joywave's “It's a Trip” kicked in, adding an ominous but not unwelcome southern gothic to the air — a slightly sinister Nashville swagger that paired like a good glass of whiskey with the newly arrived Tennessee Chicken Sandwich.
Tennessee Chicken Sandwich
Now let’s start by saying this: this chicken sandwich earned its pickle. No, really: the chicken itself was like a shotgun wedding between heat and crunch, and when they threw in the kick of those sweet, tangy pickles, you really see why a few slices of pickle go on any good chicken sandwich. They're joined by some jalapeños and coleslaw, which both continue to up the ante on this flavor-filled jubilee.
And for when you need a break from the headliner, the side of mac and cheese is a creamy, mellow distraction that’ll help you wind down just fine from that sweet, sweaty heat. It’s a playful little nod to soul food — a dash of breadcrumbs over baked macaroni and cheese, perfect for Tennessee barbecue, and perfect for this sultry chicken sandwich. The side dish cuts through the heat like a smooth bass line overtaking a blues rhythm with good, fat ol' funk.
“So Young” by Portugal. The Man delivered just such a groove, with a punchy bass groove and a slow burn gallop, marching heavy like a funeral dirge; that sensual, swanky sort of groove that you'd find in some dimly-lit Beale Street club if you ever made your way to Memphis. And you just might want to dust off those boots and shine that buckle after you get a little of this fire in you.
So by the end of it all, I was in some kind of deep-fried paradise, somewhere between a brisk, winter morning spent warming my belly on biscuits, and a fiery bite of something to beat the Devil on some sinful country evening.
Photos by Garrett Smith
Header image layout designed by Christopher Rodgers