Inspiration struck having just watched Outrageous Food on the Food Network. It was briefly mentioned that nothing says comfort food more than hot wings. And so a Comfort Food Examiner must heed to the call of the hot wings. And where else to go but Hot Wings Cafe, after all the name says it all. Hot Wings Cafe boasts of the best wings in town, or so they say.
The wait was non-existent this time. Seats were readily available. If you seek happy hour prices at a wing place then this is not your spot, although the prices are reasonable regardless.
The food came out (rather too quickly from the kitchen). The wings were on the table and ready even before the side orders came. Half hot and half mild, with sides of onion rings, curly fries, and fried zucchini.
As previously deducted, the wings did come out questionably too fast from the kitchen. It was rather cold on the inside, and was not tender, fall off the bone. It resounded like a *ting* from a microwave oven. Not that w can prove that, but the texture and meat was a little tough in the drumsticks. Also plans for a 911 call was not on the to-do list, so some of the raw pieces were put aside. The hot was not hot, it was peppery than spicy. And it did not help that the wings were not freshly cooked. The vinegar together with the pepper completely overpowered in each bite, no layering nor complexity at all. And the mild was not much help, just a notch below in taste.
Saving grace were the side dishes. The curly fries needed a better hand with the salt, but were crispy nevertheless. The onion rings were the star of the show, the batter was thick enough, the onions had a perfect bite left to it, while stuck with the other pieces. Although beware, as soon as this plate gets cold you can actually taste more like the old frying oil that hasn't been changed for years. The fried zucchini was surprisingly still crunchy, quite al dente, but the batter did not stick to the vegetable at all. That part was disappointing as it looked like eating a 50-cent vegetable anyone can get a Farmer's Market, only this one was quadruple the price.
The peach crumble a la mode was definitely not made from scratch. Although forgivable for canned peaches, the dough was flaky enough but did not stand a chance against the peaches and caramel sauce underneath. It was too measly to survive, and all you're left with are warm peaches and the cold store-bought ice cream.
And when you get your bill to pay, you feel more apparent disappointment (about $35 per person). Steep for a few pieces of wings, fries, zucchini, and onion rings, plus a couple of drinks (2 each/4people). And on a game night, get ready to watch and know how to read lips. You won't be able to hear anything, and they will not turn it up, per management. With no explanation at all. If still willing or have no choice, order a lot or you will be told to leave.
Hooters would have been a better choice in comparison, honestly. At least more than the food, you also get entertainment when the TVs on and the games are more audible. And the food is not bad either (I have a preference for the oily breaded wing, but love hot wings too only if they're cooked right).
Inspiration does come from all walks of life, any place at any time. (Note: Anthony Bourdain and Newport Tan Cang). But some are more successful than others. This was an off-day for inspiration. But sooner or later, more will come to entice and engage us once again into an idea. Let our eyes dance and mouths drool at another thought, 'til then.
Hot Wings Cafe has three locations in Los Angeles. But for lesser wait, try the one at 7011 Melrose Ave LA CA 90038. T: (323)930-1233. They do serve beer and wine, accept major credit cards, as well as serve catering sizes (call at least 24hours ahead for large orders).