No, I didn’t forget the apostrophe in “Popeyes”; that’s how they spell it. Recently, my ex-wife Kelli and I (along with her man, Alex) took our kids to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis for a day of education and fun. If you live nearby, it’s well worth your time. That place kicks ass, for realz. Don’t worry, I was speaking (or typing) facetiously when I said “for realz”. I don’t really talk like that. Anyway, after playing at the museum all day, everyone was ready for a filling meal. We had initially planned on waiting until we got back to town to eat, but the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on 38th in Indy caught our eyes. We’d recently discussed the fact that none of us had ever eaten at Popeyes, and everyone seemed down for some fried bird. So we made it happen, and am I ever glad!
For starters, the restaurant seemed pretty clean. There was a children’s area that had books, small toys, and kid-sized chairs. As a parent of 4, I really appreciated that. The kids entertained themselves while we ordered food for everyone. The kid’s meals were reasonably priced at $2.99, so we didn’t break the bank feeding our clan. I hadn’t eaten all day, so I went for the 3 piece chicken meal, with dark meat. They offer regular and spicy chicken, and I naturally opted for the spicy. I chose red beans and rice to go along with my chicken and biscuit. I ordered some whole pickled jalapenos, simply because I’d never seen them on a side item menu and it seemed novel. My meal rang up at a little over eight bucks. Not bad for a 3 piece meal and a drink. Feast thine eyes upon the treasure:
It was difficult to accurately judge just how spicy the chicken was, because I took a huge bite of one of the jalapenos before anything else. Yeah, I know. Some food critic I am…. The chicken was hot, moist and meaty on the inside. The outside was crispy and pretty much perfect! Better than KFC, fo sho. I could see some kind of reddish-orange seasoning occasionally peeking out from beneath the skin, which I’m guessing was the spicy flavoring. The biscuit was good, but not outstanding. For a fast food biscuit, it was more than adequate. Buttery, fresh, and not hard or dry at all. It reminded me of a Hardee’s biscuit, which isn’t a bad thing. The jalapenos were, well….pickled jalapenos. It’s kinda hard to screw those up. Open the jar, dump them in the styrofoam bowl. Mission accomplished.
The real star of this meal was the red beans and rice. I’ll be completely honest and admit that I’d never had this particular iconic Creole dish before. So maybe a fast food place isn’t the best spot to have my first taste. I may not be a Lousiana food expert, but dammit, I know what I like. And I like Popeyes red beans and rice. I could make a meal out of that stuff, seriously. The beans had a wonderful smoky pork flavor, and went perfectly with the steamed rice. Shit, my mouth is watering again just typing this. The chicken was good, but this stuff wins the gold medal. I’m kind of pissed off that there’s no Popeyes in my city, because I want some more red beans and rice. I’m not sure if I want to try making the stuff myself, so I may just have to wait for another excuse to go to Indianapolis.
The kids all had fried chicken with mashed potatoes, which received thumbs up from them. Kelli dug her chicken, as well. She did mention that the mashed potatoes had a strange, uniform lumpiness to them that she didn’t care for. She said it seemed as if the lumps were purposely put into the mashed potatoes. Hmmm…worth noting. Alex ordered fried catfish, and was kind enough to tear me off a chunk. It was excellent, from what I could tell. The breading had a good cajun flavor, and wasn’t overly salty. I may give it a shot next time.
Our cashier was friendly, and didn’t screw up our order. I should mention that, because it’s an important part of the restaurant experience. We even sang a verse of “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States of America together when it came on the radio in the restaurant. I would have given her a hug, if it weren’t for the counter between us. Well that, and the fact that she probably would have thought I was weird and thrown me out of the restaurant. Yeah, so maybe not the hug. A high five perhaps? Maybe I’ll just respect that customer/cashier barrier that exists in most circumstances. The one thing I have to deduct points for is the restroom. It was in pretty sad shape, but not any worse than you’d find in any gas station. The knob on the sink came off when I turned it on to wash my hands. I thought about stealing it, but quickly remembered that I’m 29.
If Popeyes were a grade school student and my dining experience was a homework assignment turned in to me, the teacher, I’d give it a 93%. Good job, Popeyes. You get an “A”, and a little “scratch and sniff” sticker that has a monkey eating a banana on it. The sticker says “I’m bananas for you!” and smells like bananas. Popeyes wins 😀
As a super special bonus for putting up with my meandering, often annoyingly aimless product reviews, I’m including a list of the songs that played on my Ipod while I wrote this review. I’m not sure if that’s really any kind of bonus or not, but it’s happening. Enjoy:
Ace of Base – The Sign
Juliana Hatfield – Necessito
Toto – Africa
Rocky Horror Show (original Roxy cast) – Time Warp
Devin Townsend – Truth
Concrete Blonde – The Sky is a Poisonous Garden
Spacehog – The Horror
Pearl Jam – Hail Hail
Minor Threat – Straight Edge
Tiamat – Angel Holograms
Amon Amarth – With Oden on Our Side
Wu-Tang Clan – Da Mystery of Chessboxin’
Britney Spears – Stronger
Faith No More – The Last To Know