Fried Chicken from KFC is fine. Cooking chicken at home is fine. It tastes good. Good chicken is boring in comparison to the mouth-watering, mind-blowing, unbelievable fried chicken you could get at the places listed below instead. It’s National Chicken Month, so go revel in this crispy, crunchy, greasy (but-not-too-greasy) food!

Fried chicken finds in Los Angeles

Howlin’ Ray’s (727 N. Broadway, Chinatown; 1-213-935-8399)

Anyone who loves fried chicken has heard of Howlin’ Ray’s. That’s the problem. If you don’t mind waiting, this place is great. Their mild fried chicken is fine, but they’re famous for their hot, x-hot, and howlin!

options. I’m a pansy, so I went with the hot. I then proceeded to make my wife eat it because I really am a pansy, and it was way too hot for me. She loved it. This option is on here because I know not everyone is as lame as I am when it comes to heat. Other than the fact that I was drooling for twenty minutes, it was good! It had a great crunch, but it was nice and juicy.

Crawfords (2616 Beverly Blvd., Westlake; 1-213-568-3133)

Fancy is the last word that comes to mind for this place. It’s as close to a dive bar as you can get without going head first off the high board. I have to admit, I wondered if I was in the right place at first. For $13, you can have a paper tray with a chunk of fried chicken, a cup of baked beans or coleslaw, and a freezing mug of Bud.

The coleslaw wasn’t anything special, but I would have paid more for the fried chicken and beer. Feeling frisky? Ask for the hot version and chef Brian Garrigues will cover your meat in chili oil before he sends it out from the tiny kitchen behind the bar.

Mama Joan’s Soul Food (5496 W Centinela Ave., Ladera Heights; 1-310-670-5900)

This family-run business is the place for you if you think heavy breading and fried chicken should never be in the same sentence.

The fried chicken at Mama Joan’s Soul Food is super crispy in the best way possible. It’s made to order and served cracklin’ hot. You also have the option to douse the fried chicken in a tasty brown gravy. I’m doing my best to avoid talking about anything but chicken in this article, but there's too much good food here. You have to have some of the sides while you’re here.

I’d go for the mac and cheese.

From fancy to frugal fried chicken in Orange County

Three Seventy Common - Laguna Beach (370 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach; 1-949-494-8686)

The fried chicken here only appears on the posh restaurant's famous “Fried Chicken Nights.” The next one is Sunday, September 24th, and you want to be in attendance. The bar opens at 4:30 PM, and dinner is from 5:00-9:00 PM. Tickets for adults are a hefty $42, and kids can tag along for $21. It’s Laguna. What did you expect? They could charge you this much for the fried chicken, but the atmosphere and service are really what they’re charging you for. Just a heads up- drinks, taxes, and gratuity are not included in that price. The fried chicken is served family-style with a slew of other sides; at first, you feel a bit like you’re eating a KFC picnic in a fancy restaurant.

Once you bite into the chicken, you forget about your surroundings and lose yourself in the flavorful goodness. Things seem to loosen up once everyone starts eating. I would suggest this as a date night with somebody who you love enough to eat fried chicken in front of but still want to impress. Call the restaurant for reservations before they’re completely booked!

Kountry Folks - Riverside (3653 La Sierra Ave., Riverside; 1-951-354-0437)

Think the exact opposite of what you just read about Three Seventy Common in terms of price and atmosphere. At Kountry Folks, you can get a two piece fried chicken meal with two sides for $11.69 or a three piece meal with two sides for $13.99. You also have the “Wing Ding” option of five wings for $11.69.

The fried chicken is made-to-order and deliciously moist.

Never boring fried chicken in San Diego

The Crack Shack (2266 Kettner Blvd., San Diego; 1-619-795-3299)

The Crack Shack is a bit expensive for fried chicken and no sides at 5 pieces for $15 or 10 pieces for $29. However, you can bring your dog and enjoy a full bar, so it’s forgivable. All of the chicken and eggs that this restaurant uses are humanely raised and free-range. If you’re looking for crunchy fried chicken, you’re at the right place. The six sauces crafted by head chef Richard Blais are the perfect finishing touch. Or, try the (slightly) cheaper option of Chicken Oysters offered in original or hot. These nickel-sized pieces of back meat are lightly fried after they are brined in pickle juice and then topped off with a mustard seed tartar.

Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken, Doughnuts and Coffee (811 Prospect St., La Jolla; 1-858- 291-8191 and 4002 30th St, San Diego; 1-619-546-9010)

This restaurant serves up fantastic fried chicken at both locations, but the way in which they do so depends on which location you choose. While they offer certain dishes like their Nashville Hot Chicken at both places, other types are specific to the location. If you feel like losing your tongue, head over to North Park and sign a waiver so you can try their off menu NashKILL Hot Chicken. If you’re like me and you prefer to keep your tongue, head over to La Jolla for a gluten-free chicken alternative option and a much wider selection menu wise. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to get a donut after you finish your fried chicken!

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