The Crack Shack has been on my “to visit” list since it opened. I wasn’t sure if it would be just another hipster place with expensive food or really worth it. Let’s take a look!
The Crack Shack is right next door to Juniper & Ivy (both are owned by Top Chef winner Richard Blais).
The Crack Shack is set into an open patio with all outdoor dining. There are coverings over most of the tables and chairs to protect you from the elements.
There’s also a bocce ball court (to the left of this giant rooster).
[stubborn soda fountain]
They serve Stubborn Soda in their fountain which I hadn’t seen before. They have some interesting flavors such as Lemon Berry Acai, Agave Vanilla Cream Soda, and Black Cherry with Tarragon.
The easier-to-read take out menu.
Plus sweets and drinks.
[crack shack dipping sauces]
The Crack Sauce has a cool array of sauces available for dipping. We tried the Vadouvian Mustard, Buttermilk Ranch, Kimchi BBQ, Baja Hot Sauce and “Cracksup”. There’s also a chimichurri sauce that we forgot to try. Jake thought I might be into the Cracksup but really the sauce that stole my heart was the creamy buttermilk ranch. It had a really nice tangy and herb flavor that I thought tasted great! The others sauces were just kind of meh to me and the Baja hot sauce was just a little too hot for my weak taste buds.
[schmaltz fries / $5]
We spied these on the menu and Jake asked the friendly counter dude what Schmaltz Fries were. He hesitated for a second before he told us but he said “They are french fries cooked in chicken fat.” and I got really excited. He said usually when he tells people their reaction is either “ewww, gross” or “OMG! Yes!”. Obviously Jake and I were in the “OMG! Yes!” camp since this sounded completely and totally awesome to me. And they were COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY AWESOME. Each and every french fry I put into my mouth had a perfect crispy texture and flavor! Even after the fries cooled down they were STILL CRISPY. Dear god. They were amazing. The only thing was they were a little too salty… but that’s it. Otherwise these crazy chicken fat fries were perfect and lovely.
[kale caesar salad / $5 side salad version]
To offset all of the fried food we were about to consume, I made us get a salad. A Kale salad! The Kale Caesar salad was made with shaved kale, fennel, English muffin croutons with a lemon anchovy dressing. This had a great flavor and I loved the crunchy little croutons! This salad was nice and refreshing.
[mini biscuits / $5]
Mini biscuits! I couldn’t resist getting them even though I already thought we had enough food. You make it mini and I immediately want to order it. The mini biscuits come as an order of 6 – I wish there was an option to buy biscuits individually since I don’t think we needed 6.
[miso maple butter]
The buttery little fluffy biscuits come with a side of miso maple butter which was delicious slathered all over the warm, fresh biscuits. It had a slightly sweet flavor which complemented the biscuits really well. I loved them.
[5 pieces of fried chicken / $15]
And now… onto the star of the show at the Crack Shack: The Fried Chicken.
The fried chicken isn’t cheap. 5 pieces of chicken will set you back $15. You also can’t ask for specific pieces (Jake tried to ask for all thighs) because of how they prepare and fry the chicken (which is per bird). They use Jidori chicken here and there’s a little card that explains the chicken they use.
Because they use Jidori chicken, it appears slightly pink when you tear into it – but not to worry, this is how it’s supposed to look! The chicken is incredibly tender, moist, and so juicy. The chicken is so flavorful – all the way down to the bone! Usually I can only taste spices and seasonings in the chicken skin but the fried chicken here was all the way through. I found this surprising since usually chicken meat isn’t super flavorful on its own. I imagine they brine the chicken here to inject it with seasonings (I should have asked).
Jake and I were pleasantly surprised with just how great this fried chicken was. It was full flavored on the inside and out! I used the mini biscuits to make tiny chicken sandwiches as well. Though the chicken is pricier than other places, I got to say that I think it’s really worth the extra cost.
[mocha + cookies and cream swirled soft serve / $5]
Jake got us some soft serve to share! They also had cookies but the soft serve sounded better to me that day. They had Mocha and Cookies and Cream soft serve and he got them together as a swirl. I love that it still had the cone and was served in a cup! I like that method better so I can take my time eating it. When I just have a cone I feel pressured to eat it really fast and usually end up getting brain freeze.
I don’t remember which is which – all I remember is chocolate goodness and lots of lovin’. Normally I’m not a fan of chocolate flavored soft serve but this was really creamy and just the right amount of chocolate flavor. Neither was “too chocolatey” for either of us and it was a nice way to end a very excellent meal.
The day we visited The Crack Shack happened to be May 4th (May the Fourth Be With You!) and we were totally decked out in our geeky Star Wars gear. We’re nerds.
The Crack Shack
2266 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA