02 November 2016

Giddyap and Go

You’ve rustled up your crew, pulling them out of swimmin’ holes and well-needed naps, and they have a hankering for some down home cookin’, but your stomach is angry and you don’t have time to get the fire started and cook up something yourself. If you’re in Fort Wilderness, then I have just the tonic for what ails you, if you’re not, then you’re up a creek without a paddle! Tucked away between Trail’s End and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a quiet little spot where you can grab a meal and mosey on back to your cabin, campsite, or down to he shows of Bay Lake.

If your family is anything like mine, you’re going to need a mess of food to appease them, and P & J’s Southern Takeout has just the thing, the Giddyap and Go. The meal consists of ten pieces of friend chicken served up with cornbread and you choice of two sides between macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes and gravy. The sides can also be ordered individually, so we opted for all three to give you folks a well-rounded review.

The cornbread is warm and soft, with just a hint of sweetness. It comes with half a dozen fair sized hunks, so no one should be complaining about the portions here. Now, I like to have something to dunk my cornbread into, but in a pinch a little butter and honey will do nicely, and this cornbread serves as the perfect vehicle for just such trimmings.

Moving over to the side dishes, I think it is all a matter of what you’re looking for. I prefer my macaroni and cheese to be a bit more on the dry side, but this soupier version tends to make children really happy. I think it’s because it’s so messy. The coleslaw is fresh and has a nice bite to it, perfect to reign in some of the saltier flavors present at the table. Last, but not least, is the mashed potatoes and gravy. Again, it was a bit runnier than I would have liked, but there were some nice hunks of potatoes in there so I cannot complain too much. As for the gravy, it was great brown gravy and I wound up drowning not only the potatoes but my chicken and cornbread in it as well!

The sides are all family-sized, but those are going to be some small portions depending on how big of a group you’ve rounded up. I would opt for either a few additional sides or, if you order all three like we did, make everyone pick two sides so everything stretches a bit further. Also, since you are at the campground and could conceivably cooking something else up, consider whipping up some baked beans or a quick salad at your campsite or in your cabin.

Now we’ve come down to the main attraction, the fried chicken. You’ve heard how good the fried chicken from Hoop-Dee-Doo is, right? And how its neighbor, Trail’s End, has the same delicious friend chicken, right? Well, my friends, you’re in luck because P & J’s Southern Takeout uses the exact same fried chicken too! The batter is crispy, the chicken juicy, and it tastes just like the fried chicken you might have grown up with on your back porch. If you were lucky enough to have a mother or grandmother who knew their way around a fried chicken that is! In all honesty, it is the best fried chicken on property behind that which can be found at Chef Art Smith's Homecoming, hands down, full stop.

The next time you’ve been running around the parks all day and haven’t stopped to consider what you were going to cook up back at your Fort Wilderness campsite, give P & J’s Southern Takeout and the Giddyap and Go a try. It may not be everything you need for a full meal, but it is a great jumping off point. Plus, the fried chicken is the top of the bill here, and it is definitely worth all of the hype!

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