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In Defense of Junk Food

February 28, 2010

Today, I had friends over. In the midst of packing all of my things to move back to California to be with my sick father, I realized that I needed to see somebody. At the very least, I had to see somebody before Ren came home late from a night of retail. You see, I am the type of person that likes people around, so there is only so much time with only my thoughts that I can handle. So, I called up my friend Robert (an ex-retail colleague) and we decided to watch bad movies and embrace the more animalistic side of gastro-desire, the junk food side.

Now, as a gourmet food person and one that tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is rare that I fully succumb to such a desire. But as we all know too well, there are times that you just have to embrace the dark side. Tonight was such a night!

My mouth salivated as I looked over all of the take-out menus that we had collected over the past months. Would I do pizza? The man inside my stomach shook his head. Would I do Chinese? Again, a swift turn. Well then there is only one option left for a person in Clinton, Connecticut at ten o’clock at night, Chips Pub III.

A local legend, Chips Pub had been the third incarnation of a mad scientist’s grease inspired wet dream. It has everything from their signature garbanzo burgers to meatloaf to fried seafood. If you want greasy goodness, it is the place to go, and it can be quite reasonable if you don’t order drinks and stick to the menus first page. Thus, as the commander of this mission, I ordered up a greasy feast for two and later, when Ren came home, three of us. First, I ordered the buffalo shrimp. Trust me, if you like shrimp (and not the bay kind) and you like them fried, you are going to love this dish. They fry them in a light batter, alike to tempura and then toss them with their buffalo sauce (which tastes way better than Frank’s Red Hot). They give you more than six and more than eight. I counted 20 shrimp! It is a good deal.

I also ordered the nachos. After living in DC subsisting on little more than cheese and chips and originating from CA, I would like to call myself a connoisseur of the cheesy treat. Chips Pub nachos are good, but not great. Their cheese is delicious and they top it off with their chili (which is also wonderful – spiced to perfection and enough beans and meat to leave nothing lacking), but they skimp with the guacamole, salsa, and fresh veggies. I would be shocked if I found out they made their guac fresh, their salsa definitely came from a pace bottle, and their definition of fresh veggies are bottled jalapenos. But, if you are looking for quantity and pretty good nachos for the price, they will definitely satisfy.

And last but not least, I ordered their chipotle pesto chicken sandwich with steak fries. The chicken was real chicken breast (not a patty) and if I could have chipotle pesto smothered on everything, I would. The pesto was amazing. I would kill for the recipe. It was very spicy (by East Coast standards) but also the flavor of slow roasted chipotles and fresh basil melded together brilliantly. The fries were also great: crispy, flat wedges of golden goodness.

Rob, Ren, and I ate our way through the entire meal with little left. I was drinking bloody mary’s and screwdrivers all night. Needless to say, it was a great night!

In essence, everyone needs Chips every once in a while. If only we could all have an open-late local destination with enough cholesterol bricks to sate all the junk food hunger pangs. In Worcester, we had Wings Over and here we have Chips Pub III. Hopefully, when I move back to California, I can find such a local grease pot. So, here’s to junk food! Now, I am going to go hit the treadmill.

– Chris

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