bonnie jean’s soul food cafe / oak park | san diego, ca
Jake and I have passed by Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Cafe so many times but were never able to make it in; it was either closed or we were on our where to another place. A week or so ago we finally dropped in to the restaurant when they were still open, only to discover that they had actually closed about 10 minutes ago. They let us look at the menu and after a glance we knew we really had to make the time to come back in.
This past week, KGB Deals had a groupon-like deal for Bonnie Jean’s – I knew the stars were aligning so we could finally make our visit to Bonnie Jean’s!
We forgo-ed our usual Friday night pizza this week to instead try Bonnie Jean’s and we weren’t sorry one bit!
For our appetizer, we got the Mac n Cheese Balls ($5.99). These are not some dinky little mac n cheese balls – I thought we would get like a bunch of little balls of gooey cheese, but instead we got this huge (!) balls of fried macaroni. It comes with a side of ranch dressing which I thought was weird until I took a bite of this appetizer.
The mac n cheese balls have a bit of kick to them with the addition of jalapeno. It’s got a nice crunchy, crispy exterior and the inside is gooey and warm with that spicy kick from the jalapeno. The ranch helps to balance out the heat, which I needed since this was a bit spicier than I anticipated. Jake & T really loved these – I would have liked them better with a little less heat, but I loved how crispy it was on the outside and that they were bigger than I thought they’d be!
You can see part of my Scrabble tile rack to the left of the photo there. Bonnie Jean’s has a large shelf full of different board games for you to enjoy while you ate or you’re waiting for your food to arrive to fill your belly. We started a game of Scrabble without keeping score since there were no scorepads, but quickly gave it up after the food arrived.
This is T’s order – a typical kid’s choice of Chicken Strips and Fries (4 strips + fries – $7.99). Jake snagged me a small bite of his chicken strips – which were really juicy and tender. You could tell these were made in-house and not pulled out of a frozen bag. The fries were also really crispy and golden – so tasty!
Jake and I were both drawn to the same item on the menu – namely, the Honey Pecan Fried Chicken ($12.99). The only differences between our plates were that he got french fries and I got candied yams.
I really loved this fried chicken. I got the dark meat and got three pieces – a thigh, a leg and a wing. I only managed to eat the thigh and half the drumstick before admitting defeat. The pieces were perfectly fried and crispy. Not too greasy or oily. The insides were moist and juicy and the honey pecan glaze gave it that wonderful salty-sweet combo that I love so much. My only complaint is that I wish there were more of the honey pecan glaze on my chicken!
For my sides I got the garlic mashed potatoes. I liked the potatoes themselves but I didn’t like them with the brown gravy – it was too overpowering with the garlic flavor and it just didn’t work for me. The candied yams were really good but they got to be a touch too sweet for me at the end. I didn’t really like the cornbread either, it was just okay – I thought it was a bit too dry.
All in all I really enjoyed our experience at Bonnie Jean’s and I think we’ll be back to have some more of that fried chicken! It’s quite rich and obviously made with love – so it’s not something we’ll be having a ton of – but we’ll be back for some special treats.
Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Cafe
1964 54th Street
San Diego, CA 92105-5406