southpaw social club / downtown – san diego, ca
I waited until the very last day to use my LivingSocial deal for Southpaw Social Club. Like the LAST DAY. LivingSocial put it into the “expired” section of the app and I freaked out a little but then I realized they probably don’t expire it by time so I knew the sucker was still good. Jake came with me as my cohort for this trip (not a surprise, I’m sure) and we enjoyed a nice evening out. Lucky for us there was no Padres game that evening and we were able to park across the street from Southpaw and Petco park on a Tuesday. Amazeballs.
The menu(s) come on clipboards! The office supply lover in me liked this little touch.
We sat in a booth near the bar. I took a photo looking back into the dining room and outside dining area. On the left you can see part of the shuffleboard table. They do BBQ on the weekends and game days but it seems unlikely we’ll ever be here on the weekend (but maybe a game day).
Our super friendly, chatty and fun foodie minded waiter gave us some complimentary popcorn to munch on. It was a little stale but we still ate all of it since we’re crazy pants. And we were hungry. Put popcorn in front of me and I’ll eat it. Probably even if it’s stale. I can’t seem to resist the allure of popcorn.
[double cooked garlic honey chicken wings / $10]
Our waiter highly recommended these and we were kind of eyeballing them anyway (yeah, I’m still into my “I WANT WINGS” phase). They had buffalo, garlic honey, sweet chili, spiced maple or thai caramel. The thai caramel kind of caught our eye in a “what do you think that’s like” kind of way but in the end we went with the waiter’s recommendation of the garlic honey wings. These were not fried wings – I think they were either grilled or baked but they had a really excellent texture. There were crispy-like bits from being a bit charred. The wings were large and stayed juicy and moist on the inside. I didn’t really taste the honey in particular, but they were slightly sweet. They’re also not really “OMG GARLIC” but it’s a little more subtle in the sauce. Jake and I really liked these.
[grilled chicken sandwich with southpaw style fries / $12]
Our waiter really raved about this and said it was the one item he got over and over again so we felt like we HAD to try it. But, I should have known maybe it wasn’t the sandwich for me since the only green topping on it is arugula. Arugula is okay to me if it’s mixed in with other greens but by itself I find it to be too strong and overpowering with it’s peppery flavor. This is what happened here. Even without the arugula though the chicken was a little overcooked since it was really flat and kind of dry. It did have a blue cheese spread on it that I enjoyed and the bun was nice and fluffy but I’d order something else next time. Sorry, waiter dude.
The Southpaw style fries were excellent though. “Southpaw” style means that the fries are thin cut fries topped with Reggiano cheese, fried onions, and jalapeño slices. Don’t worrry, I avoided all traces of jalapeño. These were really good – I liked the addition of the cheese and fried onions!
[southpaw mac / $12]
Mac and Cheese constantly calls my name. I wasn’t really sure about this one thought since it has PEAS in it. Ugh, peas. I don’t like the texture of peas – they’re weirdly mushy on the inside and I hate that. Pea soup I’m totally fine it – I really like it – but actual little peas need to stay out of my food. Despite that little shortcoming, we ordered this anyway. Mostly it was the promise of “pretzel crumbs” that intrigued me.
I was surprised that the listed “pretzel crumbs” turned out to just be whole mini pretzels… uh, what? I can say that I have never seen mac and cheese served with pretzels on top before and quite frankly, I think they should have chopped them up to be finer and more like the promised crumbs. They were unwieldy and weird with the mac.
Despite the peas and the weird presence of pretzels, the mac itself was really good. They use Vermont white cheddar and applewood smoked bacon in the dish. The mac was super creamy and very rich from the white cheddar. I love the creaminess and overall flavor but I couldn’t just order this as my whole meal – it’s too rich! Much better as a side dish. Since Jake and I shared everything this was sort of like our side dish with the chicken sandwich.
[cinnamon roll bread pudding]
There wasn’t a dessert menu to look at but our waiter told us about their two desserts – a housemade brownie sundae or cinnamon bread pudding. Since we’ve never had (or heard) of cinnamon roll bread pudding before that was clearly our winner for the evening.
Our waiter explained that this is made completely from scratch (they make their own cinnamon rolls). It had a nice balance of being tender but still firm (some bread puddings can be way too moist) and it had a nice eggy-custard like texture. There’s lots of swirls of cinnamon once you start digging in and there’s toasted walnuts as well to give extra crunch. It’s topped off with creamy vanilla ice cream and a vanilla sauce that was so so so good. This might be one of the best bread puddings I’ve ever had!
Jake and I shared an enjoyable, quiet evening here on a baseball-less night in Downtown. I’m sure weekends and ball game days are crazy so we appreciated the quiet serene atmosphere on this evening. It was fun chatting with our foodie waiter who loved to talk about food almost as much as we do! We’ll definitely be back to explore more of the menu and hoping grab that cinnamon roll bread pudding again.
Southpaw Social Club
815 J Street
San Diego, CA 92101