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Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

I love Fried Chicken. And I love a bargain.

So imagine my glee this past Wednesday evening when I sat down for a fried chicken dinner with all the fixin’s for just $20. That’s the deal each Wednesday at six89 restaurant on Main Street in Carbondale. And if you like great fried chicken this is a must do.

Start with the bird. Half a chicken (that’s enough for most of us to take some home) is cut into plump pieces and fried ever so gently. Not too greasy, not coated with too much crust. Just flavorful, crispy and delicious. It is, and I am serious here, as good as any fried chicken I can remember eating in the last 20 years.

And then there are the fixin’s. Biscuits, just like you’d find in the breadbasket at your Mississippi grandmother’s house if you had a Mississippi grandmother. Mashers (that’s mashed potatoes) with country gravy. Creamed spinach, or other seasonal greens. All of which makes for a hefty plate indeed. As if that was not enough, the meal is preceded by a fresh-as-spring green salad and finished with a sweet apple crisp with a dollop of whipped cream.

It’s Friday morning and I’m still full.

If you can’t finish and want to take your leftovers home, the staff provides a neat little box marked with the date you were there and the name of the restaurant, so when you pull it out of the fridge you know where and when you got it. A helpful little gesture that is typical of the kind of attention to detail they pay at six89.

The fried chicken recipe was borrowed from the famed French Laundry chef Thomas Keller. He has a casual dining restaurant in Yountville California in the Napa Valley, called ad hoc, where he has drawn raves for his Fried Chicken Mondays. He put the recipe in the ad hoc cookbook and it has also appeared in numerous magazines. The recipe has become an Internet sensation as well with bloggers gushing praise.

Mark Fisher at six89 adapted the recipe, gave it his personal touch and created Fried Chicken Wednesdays. Check out six89.com and you can see a fowl video with a sense of humor promoting the weekly dinners.

Perhaps the only downside to Fried Chicken Wednesdays is that the regular menu is also available making it difficult to commit to ordering the chicken. My table, all of whom had come specifically to try the fried chicken, sat and pondered whether we should adjust and improvise when we saw such temptations as the Grilled Duck Relleno, the Lobster and Veal Sweetbreads Pot Pie, and the Forever Braised Cross Six Lamb Shoulder with Salsa Verde. Fortunately we maintained focus and opted for the Fried Chicken Dinner.

For more than a decade now, six89 has been a Roaring Fork Valley treasure. An anchor in the resurgence of downtown Carbondale, it not only maintains its status as one of our best restaurants, it keeps giving us new reasons to make the trip.

And Fried Chicken Wednesdays may be the best one this year.


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