Friday, April 29, 2005

Gastronomic Time Machine: Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant

Imagine being taken back a few decades when life was simpler. None of the hustle and bustle that you feel now as a responsible (?) adult. Technology was practically nonexistent--no cell phones, no internet, no BLOGS. When all that was important to you was growing up around the people that meant something to you. And family dinners and gatherings were an important, regular event.

Well I was lucky enough to be taken on a ride on this time machine tonight. A friend of mine decided to have her birthday dinner at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm. Wow. Random place to have a birthday dinner, I thought. But I was excited to take the trip down memory lane--I haven't eaten here since the late seventies/early eighties when I was just a kid.

The last time I ate at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant was when my aunt, uncle and two cousins from Hong Kong came to visit my family in the states. Wanting to show them all the usual California attractions, my dad piled all of us into my family's yellow station wagon and headed down to Southern California. Of course, we did the Disneyland thing, and my parents also decided to take us all to Knott's Berry Farm to make all the kids happy. This was back in the day when Knott's Berry Farm didn't have much going on--I don't even think they had Camp Snoopy. I remember my cousins and uncle going on the parachute ride and being so scared. I, of course, did not go, because I was too chicken shit at the time, and I thought they were sooooo brave for going on that ride. After we finished the park, we all headed to Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant to eat: eight Chinese people having fun together grubbing on fried chicken thinking that this was as American as one could get.

Knott's Country Chic

Today, the restaurant remains very much unchanged--same country decor, same yellowish-tinged walls. We all ordered *what else* the Fried Chicken Dinner (or variations of it) and yes, that's pretty much remained unchanged as well. To start, country biscuits, cream of chicken noodle soup, and a garden salad. The fried chicken came up next, served with mashed potatoes with a yellowish country gravy and a side of corn kernels. Finally, for desert, their famous boysenberry pie. All washed down with a tall glass of boysenberry juice, with enough sugar in it to keep any kid up for like 3 days. The food is still cafeteria-chic, served on tan-colored plastic serving dishes, and is not gourmet quality by any means but still tastes the same as yesteryear. Complete course meals are so retro, don't you think? So reminiscent of old shows we used to watch on TV where mom cooked bread, salad, soup, a main course, vegetables and desert every night for dinner.

Tonight, I totally felt like I was a kid again.



Shucks, the time machine dropped me back off in 2005 and I'm back to using the internet, and my cell phone and my digi-cam. But just like the good old days, the nine friends and family members that were there tonight had a great time just being together. And that's what it's all about.

Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant
Knott's Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 220-5200

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