My Top 10 Chicken & Waffles in the Bay Area

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Chicken & Waffle @ The Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland.

Here’s 10 versions of chicken and waffles taken from around the California Bay Area. I’ve ranked them according to my own personal preferences, although the middle of the pack could easily be shuffled on any given day. I’m pretty adamant about the top two on this list, however, and have long championed the Brown Sugar Kitchen and the Boon Fly Cafe as my favorites in this category. The Boon Fly Cafe actually offers my favorite version of fried chicken in the Bay Area (Ad Hoc’s fried chicken included), although some of the other restaurants on this list are certainly close contenders. In the waffle category, it’s a bit of a different story; the Brown Sugar Kitchen is the hands-down winner, and every other restaurant is a distant second. Even going simply by the photos, you’ll notice [… read more …]

Chicken & Waffle @ Auntie April's Soul Food, Hunters Point, SF

Don't get me wrong, I'll take a little more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a little more.

Ever since the San Francisco Giants found a new home outside of Candlestick Park, I haven’t had much reason to journey down to Hunters Point anymore. But chicken and waffles is motivation enough to make the trek, and I was interested to follow up on a tip that I had heard about Auntie April’s Chicken n’ Waffles. The waffle, compared to the one I most recently tasted at the Brown Sugar Kitchen, didn’t have the same character or panache, but that said, it did arrive hot and well-buttered. It was still tasty, just not crispy or especially memorable. The fried chicken, on the other hand, was incredibly good, crispy to the last bite, even after I slathered it liberally with hot sauce. It’s some of the best fried chicken in the city. The kicker, however, was that the entire [… read more …]

Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles, San Francisco

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The 1/4 chicken and two waffles @ Gussie’s, San Francisco (this combo would be known as ‘Scoe’s Special #1 at Roscoe’s in Los Angeles).

When I was producing talk radio back in my early days in Los Angeles, a stop at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles became a weekly Sunday night ritual. Having Roscoe’s as a late-night dining option was truly a godsend, especially since their Pico-La Brea location was midway between K-Town (home of the KLSX studios) and the Los Angeles Westside (where I lived for more than 10 years). Having visited Roscoe’s well over 100 times in my life, I’ll always remember that restaurant as the very model of consistency — always perfect — with devastating fried chicken. The waffles at Roscoe’s were also brilliant, totally by the book, served with the right kind of whipped butter, and accompanied with warm maple syrup.

Since I’ve relocated to [… read more …]

The Fried Chicken & Waffles @ Lois the Pie Queen, Oakland

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Chicken & Waffle @ Lois the Pie Queen, Oakland.

I’m set to revisit the Bay Area’s best chicken and waffle options, now that it’s been a couple years since I’ve hit up spots like Auntie April’s and Gussie’s. I’ve also never had the opportunity to snap a decent chicken-and-waffle photo at Lois the Pie Queen, which has been remiss on my part. So, first things first, the chicken and waffles at LPQ, pictured above. The chicken is nicely breaded and perfectly cooked through, while the waffle is in the style of Roscoe’s, wide and thin, with shallow pockets (I believe “pocket” is proper waffle terminology). You’ll notice that at Lois the Pie Queen, the chicken and waffle arrive on separate plates, which works well for those who don’t like their hot sauce to co-mingle with their syrup. But for me, I’m all for the melange of hot and [… read more …]

The Pulled Pork Sandwich @ B Side BBQ, West Oakland

Pulled pork sandwich with Yukon Gold potato salad.

Pulled Pork Sandwich with Yukon Gold Potato Salad @ B Side BBQ, West Oakland.

I’m writing this latest entry under a bit of culinary duress: I’ve just recently returned from House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, and not only did I vanquish the Henry VIII cut (along with all of the standard side dishes), but I earned the fabled “bonus slice” of red meat, and I devoured that one, as well. A hot fudge Sunday followed, and the wine flowed freely — some high-end Napa Cab, a little Left-Bank Bordeaux, some Barolo from 1999 — it was an epic feast with some old college buddies. But that’s beside the point. Everyone already knows about HOPR, since it’s been a San Francisco institution since 1949; I’m actually here to make a brief, albeit lethargic, pitch for B Side BBQ in West Oakland, which I believe just opened last [… read more …]

Yesterday’s Photos: Little Skillet, Pizzeria Picco, and San Francisco’s Botanical Garden

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Three-piece Chicken and Waffle @ Little Skillet, San Francisco. Seven packets of Crystal Hot Sauce is the perfect amount for this scenario: Two for the leg, two for the thigh, three for the breast.

Since I’ve recently taken up golf (again), many of my weekends have been spent out burning up the links, rather than trawling the Bay Area for choice eats. But let’s face it: Mark Twain might’ve said it best when he quipped that golf was a good walk, spoiled. Either way, I needed more of a sure thing, and an excursion into San Francisco had become long overdue. I arrived at Little Skillet about an hour before closing, and naturally ordered their three-piece chicken and waffle, which was the largest portion on the menu. An offshoot of Farmerbrown in the Mission, Little Skillet defines the term hole-in-the-wall, occupying a quaint window space among the converted [… read more …]

Breakfast & Lunch: Photos from Napa Valley Wine Country

Cachapas Pernil, Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, Oxbow Market, Napa

Though I had been to Pica Pica Maize Kitchen before, I hadn’t actually tasted the cachapas pernil (#7) until I attended the Napa Valley Chefs’ Market a few weeks ago. The yellow corn pancake is just sturdy enough to provide the exterior, with a flavor profile that’s slightly sweet. The cachapas pabellon (#3), which is shredded skirt steak with plantains, is also a tasty alternative.

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Market Burger, Market Restaurant, St. Helena

As far as cheeseburgers are concerned, the Market Burger is an adequate choice, although the shredded Fiscalini cheese in the photo above reminds me of McDonald’s diced onions. This shredded cheese aesthetic has never really appealed to me, especially since a well-melted slice of cheese features so much more panache.

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Chicken and Waffles, Fremont [… read more …]

Urban Foraging, Los Angeles: 10,000 Calories in 48 Hours

Before last month’s trip to Los Angeles becomes as hazy as when I actually lived in Southern California, I need to address my sojourn down to the 405 and the 10. I’ve been dragging my feet far too long on this one, so allow me to begin by stating that I once enjoyed a 10-year, love-hate relationship with the L.A. Westside, at the end of which, I had finally had enough. But there were definitely some good times along the way, which is why I tell people, “It’s still a great place to visit.”

My advantage as a visitor to Los Angeles, however, is that after 10 long years of residency, I can still remember most of the shortcuts along the side-streets, I have decently instinctive knowledge of every single turn along Sunset Boulevard, and most importantly, I know where I can get a good bite to eat. Of [… read more …]

Chicken & Waffle @ The Brown Sugar Kitchen, West Oakland

Oakland Booty: The apple cider syrup can almost make you forget about maple.

The Brown Sugar Kitchen is a great little breakfast-lunch spot located in West Oakland, a vibrant little oasis flanked by imposing industrial buildings on every side. The restaurant is hardly a secret these days, and it seems to be flirting with “destination” status — a place that bustles with regular neighborhood-type business, despite being so far removed from any actual neighborhoods. Every time I’m there, I tend to wonder where most of the patrons come from, although by the looks of them, I’m pretty sure they’re either trekking down from Berkeley, or else heading west from Rockridge and Piedmont. As for me, I drove 40 miles from Napa, just in time to catch the restaurant’s last hour of lunch. My trip, of course, was motivated by chicken and waffles, and my obsessive compulsion to suss [… read more …]

The Demon Lover @ 900 Grayson, Berkeley

Whole Lotta Beige: The Demon Lover (also known as fried chicken with a waffle). Shoestring onions are pictured in the BG.

Given my last post, I suppose that a fried chicken theme is emerging here. It’s what I’m into at the moment. That said, I decided to head to Berkeley to catch a movie and to see about the oddly-named “Demon Lover” at 900 Grayson. I’m really not too sure about the name of this particular dish, although I do recall a movie named “My Demon Lover” from 1987. The film starred Scott Valentine, perhaps better known as Mallory’s obtuse biker boyfriend, Nick, from the television series “Family Ties” (later episodes only). “My Demon Lover” was a classic slice of 80s cheese, and a movie that I always associate with “Once Bitten” and “Mannequin.” What an unfortunate era.

The Demon Lover at 900 Grayson tastes like it looks, [… read more …]