wing crawl / san diego wing week
San Diego Wing Week is here!
It’s a week long event that offers special deals on wings – mostly $5 baskets of wings. There are also $10 deals, usually wings and beer, available at all participating locations. Tomorrow (the 20th) is the last day for San Diego Wing Week so I felt it was my duty to post about this today instead of another Portland post (but that’ll be later this week).
LET’S DO THIS.
1) South Park Abbey
We did our first stop in South Park at the South Park Abbey. South Park Abbey had the most sauce choices for our crawl that day. The only one we couldn’t pick for the $5 basket was the Tough Guy – but since our waitress told us it was super duper spicy anyway (sign a waiver, wut) that didn’t bother us.
After some soulful discussion, we decided to get two baskets of wings at each stop. Most places seemed to have at least five wings in a basket so it was perfect since there were five of us!
Our first flavor was the Dirty Wings. She couldn’t really tell us what was in this exactly. It was kind of sweet and spicy with hints of other flavors in it. There was a bit of heat coming from the sauce but the heat didn’t last long or linger at all. It reminded me a tiny bit of Thai sweet chili sauce but with more flavor and depth.
The wings are smoked and then fried and then sauced. I felt it was hard to detect the smokiness of the wings, especially since they got deep fried. Their process for cooking the wings seemed to suck a lot of the juiciness out them.
[garlic buffalo wings]
Our second choice was to pick something else that wasn’t quite run of the mill. We went with the Garlic Buffalo wings. The garlic offset the buffalo sauce a bit. Lynn though it was better than regular buffalo sauce (which she doesn’t like). I liked you could see the bits of garlic in it but otherwise it was kind of an unmemorable sauce.
The five of us all agreed that the dirty wings were better.
Little note: their $10 special was wings + a burger!
South Park Abbey
1946 Fern Street
San Diego, CA 92102
We all piled into my car and headed up to North Park. Our next stop was actually at Endzone but when we went in to ask about their San Diego Wing Week special, the bartender told us they had just changed their wings and the ones listed on the Wing Week site didn’t apply. It was supposed to 4 pork shank “wings” but now the deal was you got one “wing” (also pork) for $5.
Um… one? Are you serious? For $5?
The bartender even admitted he wasn’t sure why they were doing it that way. But there you go. We decided to skip Endzone. If we still had room we would go back to at least see it. (Spoiler alert: we didn’t go back)
2) The Safehouse
Well, Endzone was a bust but the rest of the spots were within walking distance so no worries! Our next stop was The Safehouse, a Japanese restaurant and bar. They only had one type of wing available for the wing week basket. Their normal menu item is the Spicy Chicken Wings for $6 so it’s not much of a savings. And instead you get the plain wings. The wings are deep fried with a crispy coating on the outside. These were the greasiest wings we tried that day!
I kind of dug the outer crunch and the scallions but it was a little too greasy. They stayed juicy from the outer coating and there was a Japanese spicy mayo on the sauce that was the only source of extra flavor. Everyone felt these were maybe a little bit too plain compared to the last place we had visited.
[piggy steamed bun]
They were also doing a special for their steamed buns – 3 for $10 (normally $4 each) and since we were still hungry, we ordered a few buns as well. Jake and I shared the Piggy bun which had pork belly, bacon, and pulled pork on the bottom. We didn’t really care of the BBQ sauce on it though, but the pork belly had a nice flavor and preparation.
[duck steamed bun]
J.S. and Laura got the duck buns. I didn’t try it and I don’t remember what they thought (or I wasn’t paying attention. Probably both). Sorry.
2930 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104
[hot buffalo wings]
U-31 was a full on bar with a divey atmosphere. We were just about the only group not sitting at the bar and it was quite empty (a benefit to going in the afternoon). It was a “order at the bar” kind of place. They had four sauces: hot buffalo, mango haberno or sweet chili. We decided on the first two, thinking that the mango would offset the haberno and then made Jake go order. Heh heh.
What I noticed right away is that these wings were much smaller and we ended up getting 8 wings per basket. There didn’t seem to be a ton of meat of them and they were deep fried. The Hot Buffalo sauce ended up being much hotter than the Mango Haberno and it did seem extra vinegary.
[mango haberno wings]
I happened to get a wing that wasn’t fully coated in sauce so I hardly tasted any spice or flavor. The wings were very juicy and I noticed that right away. I went back to dip my wing in some sauce from the bottom of the basket and then HOLY MANGO. The sauce was like a fruit explosion and someone commented that it tasted like they were eating fried fruit (ew). I don’t think anyone was impressed by this wing…. unless you’re impressed with how overly mango-y it was. That’s a little impressive.
The regular wing price here is $8. They have a Wednesday Wing special – $0.50 cent wings, minimum order of 6 and must purchase a beverage. The special Jake and I were interested in was on Saturdays they have $4 burgers from 12-6PM! We didn’t want to order a burger though that day – it would have been too much.
3112 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
Our next stop was at Toronado. Their Wings specials and flavors were right up on the board so it was easy to pick and order! They had six flavors, just a couple shy of South Park Abbey. After just having a mango explosion we didn’t to skip the mango flavors.
It was refreshing to see grilled wings instead of fried wings! The wings at Toronado were a big larger and much meatier then a few of the other places we had tried that day. The teriyaki sauce was excellent on the wings and the grilling seemed to give them a bit of extra flavor. The chicken stayed moist and juicy and there was a little bit of sweetness in the teriyaki sauce.
These wings were far and away the winner of the day.
Also wanting to stick to trying new things we went for the Peanut flavored sauce. Again – lovely grilling and good quality wings. You can just sniff and smell the peanut sauce right as it sits in front of you and see bits of peanut. It’s not just a “peanut butter” sauce, either. It’s more like a Thai peanut sauce with other flavors mixed in. Most of our group felt it didn’t quite have enough flavor. I personally was wishing for a touch of sweetness – like a little bit of honey in the background. The sauce wasn’t terrible by any means but could have been a little better.
[garlic ginger teriyaki wings]
Our last stop was right next door at Redwing Bar & Grill. They didn’t have a lot of large tables or extra seating so we sat at the bar for this one. The bartender popped around a corner and told us the four flavors they have available (Hot and Sour Thai Chili – Garlic Ginger Teriyaki – Barbeque – Buffalo).
We went for the Garlic Ginger Teriyaki since it was a little different than the teriyaki wings from Toronado. We went right back to fried wings! The sauce was a bit sour for my tastes but I loved the green onion on top. These wings were a pretty good size and had a good amount of meat on them and we got 7 wings in each basket. There was an okay outside crunch to the wings. They didn’t seem overfried and the meat managed to stay a little juicy, but not much.
The BBQ wings were just kind of meh though. I didn’t think the BBQ sauce was that exciting.
In the end, everyone liked Toronado the best. Grilled wings, man. They taste so good!
Redwing Bar & Grill
4012 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104
Here’s our whole wing crew at the end of the crawl. You can see we made a little side trip to Streetcar Merchants. I mean… it was RIGHT THERE next to Redwing so it was pretty hard to resist. That’ll be another post though.
Get yourself out for San Diego Wing Week if you can! If you tried some amazing wings let me know all about them! Jake and I are always looking for great wings to try out.