Upon entering the original Chickie's and Pete's, on Robbins Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, I was whisked a few years back in time by the fantastic aroma of crab spices. It was all I could do to contain my enthusiasm as I ordered for our table!
Crab fries, cheese on the side!
Folks- it just doesn't get any better than this. The concept is easy enough (crab seasoning on french fries), but the following that Chickie's crab fries have is legendary. So much so that Lincoln Field (where the EAGLES play) has a Chickie's and Pete's and the most popular food ordered is...you guessed it...crab fries. They're crispy, hot, crabby and the cheese to dip them in is so good- and a mystery. Nobody can figure out what it is. People have tried to duplicate it without success. It's american cheese, it's creamy and doesn't harden as it cools. It's rich and delicious, and exactly what a crab fry needs to be dipped in!
Two orders of hot shrimp (the real test since recently trying to duplicate the recipe from memory)! The shrimp were spicy and definitely loaded with italian herbs. The hot shrimp I made are close, TLMM even said she likes mine more (awww, so sweet). I noticed that the real thing has more garlic chunks and more herbs and probably no butter. The taste is like no other!
As I was savoring the hot shrimp, the lobster tails arrived. They're small and plump and (I think) cooked with paprika. Very good.
The littlenecks - fresh and perfect with a little dip in the butter.
The mussels deserve special mention because of the red sauce. It's thick, garlicky and worthy of eating by itself with a spoon. In fact, I couldn't stop myself from doing so! One person in our party is from Boston and considered seafood her own comfort food- and she said these were the best mussels she had ever tasted. I savored every bite, trying to commit all of the flavors to memory.
Chickie's and Pete's keeps their recipes a secret- and for good reason. Nobody does it like they can. We all enjoyed our dinner, especially me- finally back at Chickie's- I felt like the luckiest girl in the world...and the eggs.