I've heard people claim their comfort food is sushi, or stir fry.
Unless it's congee or hum bao, I have to wonder whether they mean the same thing by 'comfort food.' Sure, it means the food you ate when you were a kid, but there's also a deeper biological drive for comfort. Our bodies are comforted by any food that adds extra calories, especially fat calories that provide quick energy to escape predators, or hunt for prey. Fat is comforting because historically it meant you would survive longer in the wilderness.
So, it's no wonder KFC released their Double Down: Two fried chicken breasts sandwiching two slices of bacon and two two slices of cheese. Including the "special sauce" it's essentially three kinds of fat between two pieces of deep fried chicken. A blatant attempt to short-circuit our instincts that borders on obscene.
I don't want to pick on just KFC -- all the fast food restaurants are eager to give you what you crave.
|Sandwich||Calories||Cal. Fat||Grams fat||Mg sodium||Mg cholesterol|
|Double Down||540 cal.||290 cal.||32 g||1380 mg||145mg|
|Whopper||670 cal.||350 cal.||40 g||1020 mg||75 mg|
|Big Mac||540 cal.||260 cal.||29 g||1040 mg||75 mg|
Using this calorie calculator you can see an average person should consume about 2000 to 2800 calories per day, which works out to 500 to 700 calories of fat. Any one of these sandwiches provides 50% of that amount, as well as giving you 30% to 50% of your sodium (sodium RDA is 1500, with an upper limit of 2300).
Fortunately there are local Portland restaurants that provide comfort without selling your stomach to the devil. I'd bet on Pine State Biscuits' flagship sandwich, the Reggie ($7), against the KFC's Double Down any day of the month. The Reggie is a piece of fried chicken with bacon and cheese in a flaky biscuit smothered with gravy. If you're going to eat the Reggie I suggest a good workout beforehand, or bring along a friend. I love this kind of stuff, but it's just too much for me to eat even one of these sandwiches -- just too much 'comfort'. I prefer the simple egg and bacon and cheese in a biscuit ($4.50), hold the gravy. That'll last me from breakfast until 1pm or later.
It's the early bird that gets the biscuit -- even at 8am there's a line. The small space makes seating a premium so if you live nearby, or it's nice enough to eat in nearby Sunnyside park, you might think about getting it to go. Also, the coffee is strong, and I like the variety of hot sauces. Both work well to perk up your body after the carbo/lipo load.
In addition to the sandwiches you can get Southern-style sides such as collard greens, fried green tomatoes and grits. They offer a shitake mushroom gravy if you want vegetarian fare, and the biscuits, at $1.50 each, are flaky and tasty. I see from their website they will also be at the Saturday Farmer's Market in the Park Blocks near PSU.
Pine State Biscuits
3640 SE Belmont Street
Portland, OR 97214
Open 7 days a week, 7am - 2pm