Comfort food has different meanings to a lot of people. For some, it's chicken noodle soup or pizza, and for others, it's eating an entire bag of chocolate chips by yourself.
To me, one of my top comfort foods is chicken strips. I'm not sure why, it may be because I'm secretly still a child. But I love chicken strips, and I loved the chicken strips I had recently at Brenda's Frozen Custard in Sandwich.
The small diner located just off of Route 34 features 1950s rock 'n' roll-style decor, and a wealth of food, including wraps, burgers, paninis, salads, corn dogs, pulled pork, mac 'n' cheese bites, and, of course, custard. The bathrooms are decorated with the same theme decor, and on the wall near the door leading to the outdoor patio is a sign for Sandwich, resting above a collection of black and white photos from the town's history.
As I mentioned above, there is also a small outdoor patio that I didn't take advantage of because of the weather, but on previous occasions that I've been to Brenda's, I've sat on the patio, and it was lovely; filled with large flowers, and a great place to catch some rays while enjoying lunch.
On the day that I visited Brenda's, I ordered a double helping of chicken strips (a total of six strips ) with ranch dressing because I was pretty hungry. For a side, I ordered what I'm pretty sure is a new side dish, seasoned straight-cut fries.
It was delicious. The whole meal was delicious. It was quick, simple and filling. So filling, in fact, that I ended up taking some of my leftover chicken strips with me to eat later. (They were just as good the next day). I was so stuffed with chicken and fries that I didn't have any room for custard, something I plan to remedy very soon.
Like I said before, chicken strips are a big comfort food for me, so I have pretty high standards. Those standards were met at Brenda's. The strips were long, but not enormously thick. The breading was crunchy; a slight taste of flour with a touch of pepper that didn't overpower the breading. When I ripped into the chicken strips, I could see that the meat was fresh, with steam and plenty of heat.
I also have pretty high standards for seasoned fries, because they're something I surprisingly don't come across that often. The seasoned straight-cut fries at Brenda's were equally delicious – a crunch to the fries with a hot interior that didn't taste like biting into a raw potato. The seasoning was perfectly balanced in all directions with no spices overpowering each other. I was so happy with the fries that I actually ate most of them before I even remembered that I had chicken strips to eat.
For ordering a double helping of chicken strips, a green tea, a side of fries and extra ranch dressing, the cost of my meal was very reasonable, which I was pleased to see. I was served promptly, for having arrived around lunch time, and the employee at the counter gave me a pleasant greeting when I walked in.
Brenda's is the kind of quintessential small-town eatery that isn't found that much anymore, because towns are too busy filling up with chain restaurants that can be found anywhere. But I enjoyed my time at Brenda's, and my freshly-made lunch, which was probably a lot healthier than spending $4 on chicken nuggets and fries at a fast food chain. It's a great place for a family meal with a prime location in town. I'm already planning to go back when the weather gets nicer, because I really want to try some custard. I love custard.
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Record Newspapers. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. The Mystery Diner is not intended to be a restaurant critic but does highlight the parts of a dining experience that he/she can recommend.
If you go
What: Brenda’s Frozen Custard
Where: 205 Wells St., Sandwich
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Mondays.