Poppy + Rose

National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day will be observed at Poppy + Rose with the launch of the waffle fried chicken sandwich featuring a sunny side egg, crispy frid chicken thigh, house hot sauce and maple syrup.

traditional American foodie treasure will be honored with National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Downtown, there are plenty of options — from Howlin’ Ray’s in Far East Plaza to Lucky Bird at Grand Central Market. This year, get a whiff of something truly fresh at Poppy + Rose.

Chef Michael Reed and Kwini Reed are the talented and indefatigable co-owners of Poppy + Rose in the Flower District. The couple have weathered a dramatic year.

Although most Downtown restaurateurs can likely make a similar claim, the Reeds emerged as community activists in the dark days of the pandemic. They helped create a support network for neighborhood businesses, while initiating and participating in feeding programs for the growing homeless population, extending into the district from nearby Skid Row.

That didn’t stop them from opening their first dinner-service restaurant — Poppy + Seed — in Anaheim’s Packing District in February to positive reviews. The prospect of rising to the challenge of National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day seems simple by comparison. 

Those sandwiches are designed and served by Michael, a classically trained graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and a veteran of kitchens specializing in haute cuisine.

“The fried chicken and waffles and our classic fried chicken sandwich have been on the menu for the past seven and a half years, since we opened,” Michael said. “Just recently we added the fried chicken and waffle sandwich, which is a brown butter waffle with our house-made hot sauce and a fried egg.” 

Fried Chicken Sandwich Day at Poppy + Rose will be observed with the launch of Michael’s fried chicken Benedict sandwich.

He can wax eloquently on fried chicken’s allure.

“For me, it’s something that’s comforting,” he said.

“It’s crunchy. It’s savory. If you want it to be sweet, it can be sweet. For our fried chicken sandwich, it’s very simple. It’s just really good fried chicken that actually has really good flavor. A crunchy exterior, a good brioche bun, aioli, our spicy house-made pickles. When you put those simple combinations together, it’s just one of those craveable, enjoyable dishes.”

Kwini added, “It goes well with everything. You can make all kinds of meals with fried chicken. It’s a pastime with me. I’ve been making fried chicken with my dad since I can remember. Everyone’s fried chicken can taste differently and still be great. (With) fried chicken, you can put your own spin on it, your own little twist to it and make it good.”

So, what’s the twist at Poppy + Rose? “There are two different things that really go into our fried chicken that we pay close attention to,” Michael said. “First off, it’s high-quality chicken, and then we basically brine that in buttermilk. So, most people could brine their chicken in a saltwater solution. We opt to brine it right in the buttermilk and we make sure it’s sitting there for at least 24 hours prior to actually using it.” 

Why buttermilk? “It’s basically the acidity level of the buttermilk and the enzymes that are in there in the buttermilk,” Michael said.

“It helps with the tartness. Fried chicken can be greasy, but when you buttermilk it, it cuts down on that feeling of being greasy because you have the acidity, plus the enzymes that help tenderize the chicken, from sitting in the buttermilk long enough.

“The other top-secret part is the flour. We have our signature spice blend that we put into our flour mix, and that’s what gives it that wonderful flavor.”

In the meantime, as the pandemic dust slowly settles over their quiet precinct in the Flower District, the Reeds roll with the latest round of punches. 

“We’re having the same issues that every other restaurant is having with staffing,” Kwini said.

“It seems, as a consensus, it’s not getting any better. And now we’re having to deal with checking vaccines.

“Actually, right now, to me it feels a little bit more challenging than when we were in the pandemic. Customers are a little different. There’s a lot happening at once. So, we are really suffering, as far as retaining people and keeping people (on staff).”

The latest mandate for vaccination proof has added another challenge pitting staff against customers. 

“You have this dynamic of the customer getting upset and lashing out at staff,” she said.

“A lot of times, the reason staff is in rotation is because they’re tired of being short staffed and they’re tired of customers being mean to them. It’s kind of this circle of effects.”

The latest roil of difficulty hasn’t dampened the Reeds’ engagement with their communities.

“We are still giving back to the community. We have a (food distribution) next week with the (nonprofit) Brown Bag Lady,” Michael said. 

“We are starting to figure out how to put down our community-giving roots in Anaheim.” 

They are planning a meal giveaway to local families in need, as the holidays approach in November. By the way, the latest news is the 2023 opening of Poppy + Rose West Harbor in San Pedro.

“We are working hard to make sure that we get back to being cohesive and back to what — I don’t want to use the word ‘normal’ — but just to operate in grace,” he said. “We all went through hell this past two years. We all had challenges. The motto now moving forward is ‘Blame it on my head and not my heart, and deal with people that way.’

“We’re grateful to be outside and be among each other. Happy that we still have places to eat and to congregate. And we’re appreciative of people who fought hard to stay on their two feet to make it through, so that we can be here to welcome you with open arms.”

By Frier McCollister

LA Downtown News Contributing Writer

A

traditional American foodie treasure will be honored with National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Downtown, there are plenty of options — from Howlin’ Ray’s in Far East Plaza to Lucky Bird at Grand Central Market. This year, get a whiff of something truly fresh at Poppy + Rose.

Chef Michael Reed and Kwini Reed are the talented and indefatigable co-owners of Poppy + Rose in the Flower District. The couple have weathered a dramatic year.

Although most Downtown restaurateurs can likely make a similar claim, the Reeds emerged as community activists in the dark days of the pandemic. They helped create a support network for neighborhood businesses, while initiating and participating in feeding programs for the growing homeless population, extending into the district from nearby Skid Row.

That didn’t stop them from opening their first dinner-service restaurant — Poppy + Seed — in Anaheim’s Packing District in February to positive reviews. The prospect of rising to the challenge of National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day seems simple by comparison. 

Those sandwiches are designed and served by Michael, a classically trained graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and a veteran of kitchens specializing in haute cuisine.

“The fried chicken and waffles and our classic fried chicken sandwich have been on the menu for the past seven and a half years, since we opened,” Michael said. “Just recently we added the fried chicken and waffle sandwich, which is a brown butter waffle with our house-made hot sauce and a fried egg.” 

Fried Chicken Sandwich Day at Poppy + Rose will be observed with the launch of Michael’s fried chicken Benedict sandwich.

He can wax eloquently on fried chicken’s allure.

“For me, it’s something that’s comforting,” he said.

“It’s crunchy. It’s savory. If you want it to be sweet, it can be sweet. For our fried chicken sandwich, it’s very simple. It’s just really good fried chicken that actually has really good flavor. A crunchy exterior, a good brioche bun, aioli, our spicy house-made pickles. When you put those simple combinations together, it’s just one of those craveable, enjoyable dishes.”

Kwini added, “It goes well with everything. You can make all kinds of meals with fried chicken. It’s a pastime with me. I’ve been making fried chicken with my dad since I can remember. Everyone’s fried chicken can taste differently and still be great. (With) fried chicken, you can put your own spin on it, your own little twist to it and make it good.”

So, what’s the twist at Poppy + Rose? “There are two different things that really go into our fried chicken that we pay close attention to,” Michael said. “First off, it’s high-quality chicken, and then we basically brine that in buttermilk. So, most people could brine their chicken in a saltwater solution. We opt to brine it right in the buttermilk and we make sure it’s sitting there for at least 24 hours prior to actually using it.” 

Why buttermilk? “It’s basically the acidity level of the buttermilk and the enzymes that are in there in the buttermilk,” Michael said.

“It helps with the tartness. Fried chicken can be greasy, but when you buttermilk it, it cuts down on that feeling of being greasy because you have the acidity, plus the enzymes that help tenderize the chicken, from sitting in the buttermilk long enough.

“The other top-secret part is the flour. We have our signature spice blend that we put into our flour mix, and that’s what gives it that wonderful flavor.”

In the meantime, as the pandemic dust slowly settles over their quiet precinct in the Flower District, the Reeds roll with the latest round of punches. 

“We’re having the same issues that every other restaurant is having with staffing,” Kwini said.

“It seems, as a consensus, it’s not getting any better. And now we’re having to deal with checking vaccines.

“Actually, right now, to me it feels a little bit more challenging than when we were in the pandemic. Customers are a little different. There’s a lot happening at once. So, we are really suffering, as far as retaining people and keeping people (on staff).”

The latest mandate for vaccination proof has added another challenge pitting staff against customers. 

“You have this dynamic of the customer getting upset and lashing out at staff,” she said.

“A lot of times, the reason staff is in rotation is because they’re tired of being short staffed and they’re tired of customers being mean to them. It’s kind of this circle of effects.”

The latest roil of difficulty hasn’t dampened the Reeds’ engagement with their communities.

“We are still giving back to the community. We have a (food distribution) next week with the (nonprofit) Brown Bag Lady,” Michael said. 

“We are starting to figure out how to put down our community-giving roots in Anaheim.” 

They are planning a meal giveaway to local families in need, as the holidays approach in November. By the way, the latest news is the 2023 opening of Poppy + Rose West Harbor in San Pedro.

“We are working hard to make sure that we get back to being cohesive and back to what — I don’t want to use the word ‘normal’ — but just to operate in grace,” he said. “We all went through hell this past two years. We all had challenges. The motto now moving forward is ‘Blame it on my head and not my heart, and deal with people that way.’

“We’re grateful to be outside and be among each other. Happy that we still have places to eat and to congregate. And we’re appreciative of people who fought hard to stay on their two feet to make it through, so that we can be here to welcome you with open arms.”

 

POPPY + ROSE

765 Wall Street Los Angeles

213-995-7799   poppyandrosela.com