By Cheryl Pruett
Count the ways to enjoy chicken during September’s National Chicken Month
No wonder there’s a national chicken month. Chicken is such a versatile ingredient that it deserves a tip of the hat, a deep bow, and a snap-to salute. September is the month to celebrate chicken. So many dishes. So little time.
Chicken can be a casual food or be part of a traditional American meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And, of course, chicken dishes also bring global flavor from Italian, Thai and Peruvian to Japanese. Chicken knows no borders.
We all have the quick favorite chicken go-to. Fried chicken remains popular such as KFC in San Juan Capistrano or Chick-fil-A at Outlets at San Clemente and Plaza Del Obispo in San Juan Capistrano.
Or chow down on fire-grilled chicken at El Pollo Loco in Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. Chicken wings provide another quick chicken fix including locations such as Wing Stop in San Clemente.
Apparently, the newest TikTok to follow is Chicken Check In, the Tik Tok account of the National Chicken Council. It focuses on nutrition, sustainability and animal safety: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a refresher on dishes to savor during National Chicken Month and beyond. Naturally, this is a short list of options.
Luna Grill, 32525 Golden Lantern, Dana Point. 949.481.6800. lunagrill.com.
Mediterranean cuisine brings out the chicken kabobs and chicken pita sandwiches. At Luna, the Greek seasoned chicken can be served with basmati rice and various Greek sauces.
Maki Yaki Japanese, 34119 PCH, Dana Point. 949.234-1235. makiyakijapanese.com.
It’s not all about sushi. Popular chicken dishes include chicken cutlet plate with panko breaded chicken and a Bento chicken breast prepared teriyaki style served with salad, California roll, steamed rice and miso soup.
Traditional American dish
Tavern at the Mission,26860 Old Mission Road, San Juan Capistrano. 949.240.2229. tavernatthemission.com.
Orange County restaurateur David Wilhelm and partner Gregg Solomon bring a traditional dish to the menu with D’s honey buttermilk fried chicken served as a main meal with mashed potatoes, Blue Lake green beans and thyme cream gravy or served as a fried chicken sandwich.
The buttermilk fried chicken as a brunch entrée is served with malted waffles. Take your pick.
Inka Mama’s, 111 W. Avenida Palizada (Old Town Plaza), San Clemente. 949.312.2423. inkamamas.com/san-clemente.
A chicken menu standout is arroz con pollo: chicken stewed in a cilantro, onion and garlic sauce and served with cilantro-infused rice and pickled red onions.
Another example of chicken Peruvian-style is Verde Pollo, a chicken breast filet smothered in garlic, lightly breaded and pan-fried (served with pasta in spinach and basil cream sauce).
Fratello’s, 647 Camino de los Mares, San Clemente. 949.661.5200. fratellosonline.com.
Chicken Italian-style ranges from Chicken Marsala with sauteed mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce and the equally as famous Chicken Piccata in white wine, garlic, lemon and capers.
Other choices for the chicken include a variety of styles a la vodka, Parmigiana, saltimbocca (layered with prosciutto and provolone) and chicken Romano (artichoke, mushroom, onion).
Thai Paradise, 3551 Camino Mira Costa, San Clemente (bordering Capistrano Beach), 949.489.9914. thaiparadisesanclemente.com.
Flavors abound in the popular chicken Sa-Tay, seasoned chicken on skewers served with peanut sauce and a cucumber dip. Try the stuffed angel wings, Thai-style fried chicken wings stuffed with glass noodles and served with sweet chili sauce.
Cheryl Pruett is an award-winning journalist and editor, having covered Orange County city and county topics to the food scene for Orange County Register, Patch.com and local magazines. She has called Dana Point/Capistrano Beach home for more than 30 years.