As I was cruising through the food news during the week it came to my attention that Hot Sauce and Panko's building was being demolished and they would be moving out to an as yet unknown locations. This was one of the first places I reviewed nearly 5! years ago when I first started this food blog thingy (it was also one of the first to get a lot of views). You can read down memory lane on that experience by clicking here. While they will be reopening somewhere, sometime, just thinking about it got me wistful for when I first started blogging with the innocent thrill of "this will be fun", "maybe it will turn into something", "I could make a career out of this!" Okay, so maybe a couple of those didn't really turn out to be true, but whatever. I still find small joy and fun trying out far flung places on the edges of San Francisco. Obviously I still find this worth it since I'm still doing it 5! years in! Did I mention that already? Anyway, I figured why not hit them up again before the building implodes and see how the years have been to them.
I think the signs are trying to tell us something.
It was a rainy Sunday when I went by, which seemed apropos as it was raining when on my first visit. Walking in, it seems they've lost some of the space they had before. Looks like a wall was put up to create a business next door. Thus it was TINY! They had several tables to sit and eat last time but now there are just two small ones right by the window and it is the definition of cozy dining. I think it's because they don't encourage eating in but takeaway instead as even their website says no dine in. I arrived just after opening and it was just me and another patron getting a to go order. Last time I went in for the fried chicken sandwich combo with onion rings and sweet potato fries. This time I decided to go with their specialty and order some wings.
They have a fair number of flavor choices and they also offer a combo deal with a waffle. I'll be honest, while I've had my fair share of chicken and waffles, I still don't really get the combo. I guess I could look at it like it is just another fried meat like bacon or sausage to go along with a breakfast treat, but you know, years of conditioning have kept me with the "it's a dinner food not a breakfast food." I went all in with the combo and picked a wing flavor I though would go with a waffle, the garlic, Parmesan, bacon. Hey, it's got bacon, that's a breakfast/brunch food. In my mind it sounded good.
The order came up pretty quickly. Here's the waffle. Pretty standard as far as waffles go. It is made to order and comes hot, has a nice crispy outer exterior and is pretty big. When I ordered she asked if I wanted butter on it. I laughed a bit before saying yes, as seriously as possible. I think she thought I odd or something--I just didn't feel like explaining my butter love and just let it go. Though, as you can see, it is just a ball on top, but I was afraid to ask for more. It isn't a terribly sweet waffle batter which works as they syrup they serve is. I used it as more of a suggestion across the top instead of drowning it. It was pretty tasty, but I didn't get quite the butter melt I was hoping for as once you pull these things off the grill they seem to cool quickly, particularly when there is a chill around you. While I'm not a waffle fanatic or anything, as far as waffles go, it was good.
And these are the garlic, Parmesan, bacon wings. Wings is sort of a misnomer on menus these days. These are the old school full size wing you get in a box of fried chicken. They are the drummette and that other piece that together make up a wing. Not sure when these became separated, though I have to say, flashing back to my waiter days in the 80's, they were doing the same thing then too. Served hot and crispy out of the fryer they are loaded with a slightly oily sauce that has all 3 ingredients mixed into it. Most of the oil separates down into the bottom of the basket at least and you do get pieces that are fully coated in bacon, Parmesan and garlic. I guess with wings there are really only 3 ways to go wrong--overcooked, under cooked and crappy sauce. Fortunately, these wings did not meet any of those criteria and were cooked properly and crispy, even with the coating. The garlic wasn't too overwhelming and you do get the tang of the Parmesan. The bacon is in bits and there is plenty of it to get small notes of smoky, though they are not so much crispy bits as they not overly chewy bits. I can't say I'm some wing expert, but I did like these and managed to finish off the basket and the entire waffle too. It was my first meal of the day and I was hungry--no judgements.
While I was there noshing on my plates at one of the small tables, a steady stream of people were in and out of the place even on this rainy day to get their supply of wings. I'm guessing Sunday is one of their busier days with football and what not. And the phone rang consistently too with to go orders being taken (something I'd highly recommend). Seems the popularity of this place continues and considering they stick to one thing mostly they do a pretty good job of it. And have a clientele to show for it. Granted it is a hike to get out here and parking in this part of town can be particularly challenging, but while they are still open, it'd be worth a trek out there. Right they are closed for the holidays and reopen January 2nd. After that, they say they will probably be there for a couple more weeks till demolition. If you'd like to start your new year off tastily, swing on by when they reopen, before the wrecking ball begins its swing.