Wayside Takeout (Ol' Virginia Fried Chicken)

subject: Wayside Takeout (Ol' Virginia Fried Chicken)
take-out vehicle: lots of styrofoam
cost: $15.64

When I was growing up, I had a friend who everyone knew was going to be a scientist. His dad was a scientist, his mom was a scientist, he played the cello; we just knew. That was fifteen years ago. Now, to absolutely no one's surprise, he's a scientist. Luckily for me, however, he's not one of those theortical electro-quantum-nuclear-chemical physicists who only hypothesize about things that don't matter to me. No, my friend Stephan studies important things, like why I can go nuts at Wayside and not worry about having a heart attack five minutes later.*

And it's a good thing, too. In addition to the goodness pictured to the right (which, in case you're curious, includes five pieces of chicken, two orders of hush puppies, and single-person portions of green beans, mac'n'cheese, and cole slaw), my wife and I also ordered baked beans and banana pudding. Wee!

I'll be honest, I'm not really sure how to critique Wayside. You either love it or you don't...and frankly I've never met anyone that doesn't. The chicken was crispy, greasy, succulent, meaty...basically everything that fried chicken should be. Both the green beans and the baked beans tasted mightily of pork—ham hock and smoky bacon, respectively. And the hush puppies? Magical.

I guess the only real stumbling block for me was the cole slaw. It wasn't really bad, but it was just really ordinary. And kinda soupy. Okay I take it back...it was bad. It didn't really have any flavor other than diluted mayonnaise, and the ingredients were all but unrecognizable. Given everything else on my plate, though, I wasn't really that put out. For the record, I also picked up three completely unnecessary condiments that weren't particularly good (honey mustard, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce), but really, all these sides were merely hangers-on; it was the chicken that brought me to Wayside, and it's the chicken that'll keep me coming back.

* I'm sure this is a criminal over-simplification of the biological science involved, but whatever. It helps me not feel guilty. Yay for scientists!**

** Seriously, though: run some laps, people. Eating fatty fried fat is awesome, and maybe it won't solidify all your arteries, but have some sense. Fruit's good, too.



subject: Feast!
take-out vehicle: paper bag
cost: $7.63

In all honesty, the Main Street Market is one of my favorite places in Charlottesville. I have no idea how many times I've been there, whether it be for fish, flowers, picnic eats, or kitchen supplies, but I had no idea that Feast! was such a happening weekday lunch spot. It was kinda crazy. I was especially surprised by the fact that most of the customers were cute sorority-type girls. (Not that I'm into sorority girls necessarily, but you know, I can appreciate them. Anyway...)

Though tempted by the rows of pre-made and handsomely wrapped sandwiches, my patience paid off in the form of a panini-pressed grilled cheese with roasted tomatoes and roasted turkey. As a whole, it was rich and flavorful. As components, the bread was slightly oiled and crispy, and the cheese, turkey, and tomatoes were dense and satisfying. I wouldn't want it during the summer months, but it sure hit the spot today.

The white bean salad I chose as a side turned out to be an excellent counterpoint. It offered a light vinaigrette dressing, briny capers, crunchy carrots and celery, and of course plenty of white beans.

All in all, I really have no complaints, though if I were in a hurry I'd probably have to opt for the pre-made selections. My wait turned out to be kinda fun, however, since it gave me a chance to browse all the other goodies around the store. There were fancy wines, salts from every sea, sweet meyer lemons, a ridiculously cute blonde, all kinds of artisan cheeses...(sigh).

I love that place.