When a restaurant has been around so long, putting out consistently great food the entire time, it's easy for us food writers to forget as we're off searching for the next best thing.
That's the whole point of this column, of course, but it's especially so when it comes to Chicken Box, tucked way up there in freeway-less La Habra. But, for 39 years, this tiny one-room shack has been slinging fried chicken that bests sorry KFC on flavor and shames Mrs. Knott's on value.
The best bet is the chicken meal for two ($11.98). With six pieces of chicken (two legs, two thighs, a breast and a wing), you'll have enough to share or leftovers for round 2.
It's the method called broasting that gives Chicken Box chicken its light, nearly greaseless crust. A cross between pressure cooking and deep frying, the method renders the bird's flour-dredged skin as crispy as a Lay's chip with a crunch that maintains after 20 bites (I counted); a brine makes the meat flavorful and juicy.
If you're partial to wedges, try the broasted potatoes. The skin on each fat stick crackles before yielding a steaming, pillow-y inside that's awesome with ranch. There's a choice of salad (go with creamy coleslaw) and warm rolls with butter and honey.
Chicken Box's special isn't an everyday meal, both for the arteries and to save on gas, but one that is worth the trip every time.