Being the Facebook addict that I have become, I have been following people’s shout outs. I happen to read Anton Diaz’ shout out that he’s at Tagaytay eating at Famous Eli’s BBQ that serves Tom Sawyer’s chicken. I immediately tell John about this place and promised him to bring him there. Before we got married, he had been telling me how delicious Tom Sawyer’s chicken were back in the day. And now I grant him this opportunity to relive his childhood favorite – and then some.
Since I did not grew up eating Tom Sawyer, I asked John to write about it. He gladly said YES. So, without further ado, this is John’s first (and hopefully not the last) post for the blog.
Tom Sawyer’s Krispy Fried Chicken
When I was growing up in the 80’s, our family would have this Sunday tradition of eating out on weekends. Back then KFC was known as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Jollibee wasn’t yet the behemoth of a fast food chain as we know it today. Mcdonalds was considered to be bourgeois fast food as rich and middle class kids patronized it as the “in” restaurant of the time; and then there was Tom Sawyer’s Chicken.
We used to go to their branch in Greenhills. I remember that unlike other fast food restaurants of the time where food is almost always ready in 2 minutes as you order, at Tom Sawyer’s Fried chicken restaurant they let you wait 15 min or so because they cook their chicken from scratch. This means that food is always fresh and piping hot when they serve it. The great thing about Tom Sawyer’s is also the size of their chicken pieces. I can sum it up in 2 words: super size. Their chicken is big. American size so to speak. When they serve it, it is juicy (not oily) and the gravy is just totally amazing and also made to order so when I asked for some extra servings I had to wait about 7 minutes because they were making it on the spot. When they disappeared from the scene as competition from the other fast food restaurants reached fever pitch I found myself longing for that particular Southern style taste that only Tom Sawyer’s could offer. Sure, other Southern style Fried chicken restaurants came and went over the years but none surpassed the taste and quality that I have known to crave from Tom Sawyer’s chicken. So when my wife told me that Tom Sawyer’s was back we planned a weekend to eat there even though it reincarnated as part of the offering in the Menu of Eli’s Barbecue in Tagaytay. I was hoping that the recipe and quality did not change.
I was not disappointed. They still cook and serve it the same way they did when I was growing up. I’m glad they are back after all these years. A cherished memory of childhood relived.
Now a visit to Eli’s barbecue wont be complete without ordering from their main menu. So aside from the delicious Tom Sawyer’s fried chicken we also ordered the fish and fries. The serving is huge, good for maybe 2 people. The side serving of fries which my son loved were huge not the bite size weenies that you get from the local fast food joints back in metro manila and the delicious serving of tartar sauce which my wife loved had a certain flair to it.
The fish was Dory which was soft, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.
I also ordered on a whim 2 pieces of pork barbecue which was ok since my taste buds were already inundated with the fried chicken and the gravy.
They also serve home made iced tea which was very refreshing and was a welcome break from the refined sugar loaded variety of the instant version we all know. All in all, we had a memorable experience dining there and will be visiting them again the next time we find ourselves in Tagaytay.