Payday brings with it a slight replenishing of available funds for food and entertainment and, since dining out counts as both, I was looking to grab something for lunch. Then, trouble in paradise: my girlfriend was in meetings at work, and my sister had brought her lunch. With nobody available who understood my tendency to hijack people for last minute lunch runs, I contemplated my options. I needed someplace close, fast, preferably inexpensive and with a small enough menu selection that having someone else along whose food I could pick at in order to do a more balanced write-up wouldn’t really matter. That’s when I thought of Kickin Chickin.
Kickin Chickin is part of what I’ve come to think of as “the mobile international food court”. In a gravel lot at the northwest corner of Fairview and Maple Grove in Boise, there are currently three food trucks: Giacinto’s Italian Gourmet (better review hopefully coming soon), Lili’s Tacos (review definitely coming soon), and this odd little truck. This isn’t a cute turn of phrase, it’s literally a little truck, roughly half to two-thirds the size of its neighbors.
This goes well with their relatively straightforward menu (though additions are coming at a fairly regular basis it would seem).
I was, I think, the first customer of the day. Most of the trucks around town usually get their days started at 11:00 the same as this one, and that’s when I showed up. The man running the show was getting in a last cigarette before work, but had it crushed out and was at the window by the time I reached it. He tried pretty hard to push their new wrap sandwiches (they’re apparently trying to work out a delivery system for these sandwiches to businesses in the immediate vicinity), but since the business seemed to be founded on their “chicken bites”, that’s the way I went. I thought hard about it since I haven’t had the best luck with fries lately, but in the end I tacked on their curly fries and a soda. I snuck around getting some pictures while my order was being prepared so I missed the beginning of the process, but I returned to the window in time to see my chicken being breaded and seasoned. So, bonus points for not bringing out a big plastic bag of pre-constructed chicken bits from a cooler or freezer in the truck, and extra for taking cards along with cash, even though this is the first truck I’ve been to that charged tax.
The cook was a young guy and friendly, so we chatted a bit while he worked and I enjoyed the smell of bubbling grease and spices (I swear if I closed my eyes I would have thought I was on a carnival midway). He explained how it’s really only himself and the owner who usually work the truck, that they’ve been making the rounds of the local festivals (they’re at the Boise Music Festival today, as a matter of fact). We discussed the other street food vendors in the area, and of course the merits of street food over typical fast food. He told me that there will soon be a snow cone vendor joining them in their gravel lot, and that there was a Mexican gentleman recently looking into a space there as well, though what he plans to sell when Lili’s Tacos is already there and doing booming business he didn’t know. I of course said that I’d prefer an Asian noodle or rice bowl stand. Before long, my order was up and I was back to the office to enjoy it.
From the start I’d expected “chicken bites” to be nuggets, popcorn chicken, or something in the middle, and that’s what I got. I had been given the option of ketchup, sweet barbecue sauce, smoky barbecue sauce, honey dijon or ranch to go with my food. What the cook actually said was “with your fries”. I wondered at this but just went with the smoky barbecue. The first bite of chicken dipped into that sauce knocked my tastebuds for a loop. The next bite was sauce-less and much better. The chicken was simply seasoned so well that it didn’t really need the sauce’s help. The fries were another matter, a little on the greasy side and limp the way curly fries often are, but hot and salty nonetheless, and they definitely benefited from a dunk in the barbecue sauce. In the end, I wish I had skipped them, because it was really all about the chicken. I promise I’m going to start using my better camera more often, but in the meantime check this out:
That is unadulterated white meat there, the way you’d make it at home, not ground or processed. And the breading which seems so thick when you’re looking at it is really just the perfect amount to coat the chicken and perfectly uniformly applied, thinly enough to not turn into an oil sponge. My sister has a wonderful economy with words when it comes to food, and when given a piece to try she simply said “now that’s my kind of chicken”. I would have to agree. It’s definitely not health food, but it’s fast, fresh, and delicious.