Homemade Halal Cart's Chicken and Rice with White Sauce Recipe

Homemade Halal Cart Chicken & Rice White Sauce Recipe

I remember hearing about Halal Carts when they entered the New York scene a few years ago. Some people I knew went bonkers for it and I never understood why or what was so special about a chicken rice plate with white sauce. When I went to visit New York last year, friends recommended I visit the famous Halal Cart but I couldn't make time for it. Looking back, I really wish I went. 

My recent trip to the Halal Cart located in FiDi, SF has got me wanting more. The chicken rice plate with white sauce was very memorable and is now one of my ultimate comfort foods. I have no idea how it compares to New York but friends tell me it's comparable.

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I knew I had to try to re-create this dish at home, so with a simple Google search pops up Serious Eats' Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce recipe

I made the following modifications to the recipe: [1] using white wine vinegar instead of normal white vinegar, [2] omitted parsley for the white sauce, [3] used only olive oil, [4] did not butter the pita bread, and [5] adding the roasted chicken oil drippings into the rice, which gave it a great boost of richness in flavor - I would highly recommend this. We also mixed in some sorrel with the iceberg to give it a nice lemony kick. 

The dish turned out absolutely delicious and is now one of our favorite recipes! It is incredibly satisfying and the flavors just dance in your mouth. You get the nicely seasoned chicken and buttery rice, then the sweet, tangy & creamy white sauce, heat from the harissa and the cool from the iceberg lettuce. 

I like this almost as equally as the Halal Cart I visited. I like our homemade version a bit more because I'm using high quality ingredients and can make it cater to our tastes. We'll be making this often for dinner. 

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Homemade Halal Cart Chicken & Rice White Sauce Recipe

Fried Chicken Breast and Thighs at the Gold Club (Strip Club) in SF

Fried Chicken Gold Club SF - Bites & Bourbon

I've only been to a strip club once in my life before having lunch at the Gold Club, a strip club in San Francisco. I appreciate attractive women and think that strip clubs are fantastic (with limitations), so when you put together crispy fried chicken and topless women in one place, you bet that I will be there. The overall experience started out a bit uncomfortable and awkward then quickly turned into a nice and relaxing time. The food was good and the crowd was great for people watching. 
 
Just a few weeks ago, my small party and I nervously approached the club right at noon to be greeted by a bouncer who opened the door and welcomed us. Once let in, we walked over to the cashier counter to pay the five dollar minimum cover charge. I traded in my bills for singles in case we decided to sit in the front. 

We entered to see a girl at the very top of the pole sliding downwards to a Lana Del Rey song. It was quite beautiful and amazing to see what some of these girls can do with the pole. Then we made our way over to the buffet where there was a variety of food, such as steak medallions with gravy, Chinese food, a salad bar and of course, their infamous crispy fried chicken.

I was not expecting much from this place but the fried chicken was crispy, nicely seasoned, juicy and moist. It isn't the best fried chicken I have ever had but it is maybe two steps up from the normal fried chicken fast food chains. If I'm considering $5 for all I can eat, that's a pretty good deal that is hard to beat. I say pass on everything except for the fried chicken, brownies and cookies. The cookies were nice, chewy, and soft. There was also a decent salad bar but I didn't touch any vegetables.

The crowd was majority male, a small variety of techies that work in the area, some lonely engineers, and mostly blue-collar workers. 

The setup is a bit strange because you can eat here and watch the show without tipping the girls dancing, which made me feel very uncomfortable because some of the girls were really good and deserved a nice tip. You really only tip if you're sitting in the front of the stage and because it was during the day and no one was really sitting up front, it was kind of sad to see some strippers get little to nothing. 

When we finished up with lunch, we decided to sit up front to get a better view and to start tipping them for the entertainment they're providing. The chat interactions are always awkward for me when I sit up front. It's usually small chit-chat or "fake" chit-chat, where the girl doesn't say anything but leans over and pretends to whisper in my ear. I enjoyed watching their bodies and dance moves up close. 

The visit was awesome and I will go here the next time I want to eat fried chicken and relax with some entertainment. It's a fun place and I look forward to coming back! 

Gold Club on Urbanspoon


Lunch Spots in San Francisco - March 2014 Edition

In March, I went out to six delicious lunch trips (but I'm only going to mention five here - the sixth one deserves its own special post). Patrick and I have been making too much food at home, so I've been enjoying that instead of eating out during lunch. Here's a quick list of the new food and/or places that I've encountered, followed by reviews and photos: 

  • Halal Cart @ FiDi, SF
  • Wine Merchant @ FERRY BUILDING, SF
  • Cowgirl Creamery's Sidekick @ FERRY BUILDING, SF
  • La Fusion @ FiDi, SF
  • Du's Sandwich @ FiDi, SF
Halal Cart Chicken SF

Halal Cart @ FiDi, SF

I have been wanting to try out the Halal Cart. Halal carts are most popular in NYC and because I missed my opportunity to try it while visiting NYC, I am glad that a version of this cart has made its way into San Francisco. My coworkers and I went to check it out and arrived around noon time. There were about 6 people ahead of us. The order fulfillment was fairly quick. I ordered the Halal rice plate with chicken. The chicken was moist and served over a nice amount of buttery rice. The white sauce amplified this dish to the next level - the creamy goodness consists of mayo, sour cream, Greek yogurt, some acidity and seasoning. The dish was very comforting. This is a definite favorite - I will be back here soon. 

Janelle Monae Concert. Photo Credit: @JanelleMonae on Instagram

Janelle Monae Concert. Photo Credit: @JanelleMonae on Instagram

Wine Merchant @ FERRY BUILDING, SF

On a beautiful sunny day in early March, a couple of us decided to enjoy a nice glass of wine accompanied by Boccalone charcuterie and pate served with Acme bread. It was simple and a nice way to celebrate a Friday, especially before we headed off to watch the Janelle Monae free concert sponsored by Salesforce over at Justin Herman Plaza. The concert was awesome - loved her energy and voice. 

Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam Ham Acme Sandwich

Cowgirl Creamery's Sidekick @ FERRY BUILDING, SF

I was in need of a quick lunch, so I made my way over to the Ferry Building as I often do. Rushing through the building and scanning to see what would catch my attention. I ended up choosing a Mt. Tam cheese, ham and grain mustard sandwich on a Acme bun - all of my favorite things! While this is something I'd make myself, it really hit the spot and I was satisfied. 

Roasted Chicken - La Fusion SF
Yucca Fries - La Fusion

La Fusion @ FiDi, SF

La Fusion makes really good freakin' roasted chicken. My coworkers and I wanted to have a nice lunch out of the office and this was the perfect spot. We were seated immediately upon arriving around noon. The service was attentive and the food arrived in a reasonable time. We had an order of the yucca fries to share that came with a small bed of pickled cabbage salad, along with three dipping sauces. The yucca was good but left more to be desired given the price. I ordered the quarter roasted chicken with a preference for dark meat. It was incredible - super moist, seasoned simply and beautifully. As a side, I had the truffled mac & cheese, which I was not a big fan of because the cheese was too smokey and the truffle oil just didn't jive with this dish as a whole; I could not handle the smell combo. That chicken alone makes me look forward to having more lunches here.

Du's Sandwich @ FiDi, SF

If you have been reading my other lunch trip series, you probably picked up on my frustration in the lack of good Vietnamese food in the area. I was craving for a bánh mì, Vietnamese sandwich, and went to the corner food kiosk that I tried a couple of months ago when I had their five spice chicken over garlic noodles. This place sells out of their bánh mì quickly and I can see why. I had the bánh mì with ham; the bread was thick and toasty, and the ham portion was generous. I enjoyed their mayo, pickled vegetables and liver spread. It seems that they sell out approximately 45 minutes to an hour after 12pm, so jump on it - some sandwiches are popular than others! 

 

MISSED THE LATEST LUNCH SERIES? CHECK THEM OUT HERE: 

La Fusion on Urbanspoon

Strange Food: What is Shad Roe? - How to Cook & How It Tastes

Shad Roe Fish Market SF

You know spring is on its way when you spot shad roe for sale at the fancy seafood markets. I was at the Ferry Building's fish market in need of some wild shrimp and was intrigued by this big red sack of roe that I spotted at the market. Holy crap - this thing was as big as my hand! 

Shad Roe | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

If you've never heard of shad roe, it's a sack of eggs from a female shad fish located in the East Coast. This shipment of shad roe was from Virginia. It's considered as a delicacy because it's extremely seasonal and rare to find. I thought it sounded delicious and if it's rare, I definitely had to give it a try. 

I cleaned the roe making sure to not piece the sack. I dipped it into milk then a cornmeal batter, and fried it over medium-low in butter and oil with some minced shallots and garlic. I added a couple of squeezes of lemon for brightness. This gave it a nice crunchy crust.

Shad Roe Cornmeal Shallots | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

The shad roe had a meaty liver taste and mealy texture. It tasted a bit briny but mild in flavor. It's kind of cool yet unappealing how you can see the individual eggs in the photo below. Overall, it wasn't my cup of tea but I was happy to try it out. 

Shad Roe Eggs Cooked | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

Incanto's Leg of Beast Dinner - Incredible Meal to Remember

Incanto, an Italian meat-and-offal centric eatery located in Noe Valley, recently announced that they were closing and will have their last dinner service at the end of March. Thank goodness for luck and timing because Patrick and I recently attended a wonderful dinner at Incanto, for the first time, with some friends. It was a special event not only because we were going to all experience the Leg of Beast dinner for our party of 8 but because I was also reuniting with a friend who I haven't seen in four years! I was excited for a night of catch-up and delicious meaty goodness. 

Incanto Leg of Beast Dinner | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com


Our meal begins with a nice mixture of bread and tapanade, along with some appetizers, a plate of Boccalone charcuterie and a refreshing crisp radicchio salad. 

Incanto Boccalone Plate | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

The roasted vegetables, toasts with salt, mustard, and horseradish, and cannellini beans arrive as sides for the beef shank. 

Incanto Leg of Beast Dinner | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

Now the moment that everyone was waiting for, the leg of the hour....  THE LEG OF BEAST, a bone-in braised beef shank accompanied by 8 large bone marrows full of the richest god's butter. If there was a candid camera shot, it would've captured all of our happy jaw-dropped faces. 

Incanto Leg of Beast Dinner | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com
Incanto Bone Marrow | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

The entire spread was delicious and we enjoyed every bit of it completely clean. The shank was cooked perfectly, nice flavor and incredibly juicy. I loved the fatty gelatinous tendons! The roasted vegetables had a great bite and texture - and the roasted mandarin oranges gave it a nice bitter yet candied-brightness. 

Incanto Leg of Beast Dinner | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

Our waitress applauded us for finishing it completely - apparently, not many parties do. I don't know if that's something we should be proud about...  but we were full and happy (and a bit buzzed from the great wine we had all night). 

The night ended with a savory-sweet pumpkin-apple crostata. The pastry texture was nice and had a good overall flavor but it didn't work for us as a dessert. We all agreed that it was better suited as a breakfast pastry than dessert, which left us a bit unsatisfied with the dessert portion. 

Incanto Pumpkin Apple Dessert | Bites & Bourbon | bitesandbourbon.com

Overall, we loved our dining experience and were happy to have had the opportunity to dine at Incanto. I'm looking forward to seeing what Chris Consentino comes up with for that space. I'm sure the spirit of Incanto will live on within his next venture. 

Incanto, 1550 Church St. San Francisco, CA -  Last day is March 24. 

Incanto on Urbanspoon