But, of course, all that was just delicious build-up for the event itself because, at last, after all the breast jokes and posturing, there was fried chicken to eat. This was where the rubber would meet the road, which the chicken would cross (or something like that).
Charleen Badman (billed as "Badass Badman" for the fight, er, throwdown) and her trusty assistant Sacha Levine took the end spot toward the windows in Noca's long exhibition kitchen.
Noca's crew stayed at the other end, while Claudio "Italian Stallion" Urciuoli planted himself in the middle, turning out pastas for the 20 (possibly oblivious) folks who showed up for the regular menu.
He also made creamy mac and cheese (loved the sturdy rotelle pasta) as an $8 add-on, which felt like a slightly odd mash-up of classic American and classic Italian.
Reservations were booked weeks in advance, and over the course of five hours, 155 fried chicken fanatics showed up to taste-test the birds.