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Restaurants & Bars

The Chicken Pie Challenge

Will Owen | Jan 26, 200712:13 PM     6

Okay, so we finally stopped at Henry Moffet's in Lakewood, and when I posted something about it there was a flurry of responses along the lines of Oh, the Moffet's in Arcadia is the real one, No, Henry Moffet's is better, Are you insane, stuff like that. So since the Arcadia place is practically in my backyard and I'd never been, and as there were several Yays mixed in with the (mostly) Nays, I figured I needed to check it out.

I really should listen to you guys more carefully.

The joint was packed, at 11:30, with a lot of people old enough to be my parents, and some of THEM seemed to be eating with THEIR parents. That's OK, old people can have good taste, too. The room is comfy and homey, lacking only Windsor rocking-chairs with those tie-on cushions and a ticking mantel clock to be like Grandma's. The waitperson was youngish and friendly, and when I asked for chicken pie (listed on the menu as either a la carte for $4.15 or a dinner at $9.05) she told me there's also a Lunch version, adding potato, vegetable and bread for just a dollar over the a la carte. Sounded perfect to me. She'd practically just put in my order when it appeared on the service shelf, leading me to suspect it had probably not been cooked fresh just for me. The contents of the plate tended to confirm this.

The potatoes, described on the menu as "whipped", were the whipped-est little wad of spud substance imaginable - maybe they were trying to do one of those trendy foams? Like what I shave with, only starchy. The gravy was a warm goo, tasting primarily of poultry seasoning that Mr. Moffet bought a barrel of back in 1948, and he's down to the dusty sweepings at the bottom. The green beans were real, overcooked just enough, and requiring only a little salt to be worth eating. The pie was actually pretty nice (as several people have noted), with a much nicer gravy, very tasty chicken and a good firm, rich crust. The bread was just tragic - a giant puff of cottony white with a leathery crust, and it was like eating cotton, too - retreating before the advancing teeth, then firming to a rubbery toughness. Devoid of flavor, too - perhaps better that way.

It was all cheap enough: $5.72 with tax, and I left a dollar for the waitress; none of it had been her fault, and given that crowd I'd bet she very seldom gets a tip she can fold. I had to wait quite a while at the register, as that area was crammed with people buying pies to go. I think maybe that's what I'll do next time.

So my next move will be a parallel lunch down in Lakewood. Anyone care to join me?

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