Saturday, July 29, 2006

Culinary Adventures in LA: Part 1: Roscoe's

Located on Gower st in Hollywood, Roscoe's chicken and waffles is a local icon. It was opened in 1976 by Mr. Hudson, who, according to the website, noticed three things when he moved to Los Angeles in the early 70's:
1. All the restaurants in Hollywood are inside hotels.
2. There were none offering late-night food.
3. There were no restaurant serving both chicken and waffles! (Insert shock here)

I first heard of Roscoe's while on a pre-moving day visit to Los Angeles. I was wandering the hotel, gathering brochures, and within the pile of glossy paper was the African-American's guide to Los Angeles. It recommended Roscoe's as a must-do late-night food stop. Hmm, sounds interesting, I thought, then over time the thought of Roscoe's faded from my memory.

When Paul arrived in Los Angeles, he revitalized my craving to try Chicken and Waffles together. I had a lot of questions. Was the chicken fried? What kind of waffles are we talking about here? Is there syrup? DO you eat the chicken and waffles together, or one first? It was imperative to go.

So on a warm Thursday night, G, Paul and I piled in the car and drove to Hollywood. We figured out of the five locations, Hollywood would be the most entertaining. We got a primo parking space right outside the restaurant, where street parking is free in the evenings. During our short wait, we met a cute family from Wisconsin in the narrow entranceway. We all commented on the delicious smell coming from inside. After a few minutes, we were seated and began perusing the menu. After no deliberation, we all ordered variations on the same meal: 1/4 chicken with waffles, with our without gravy, side of greens, biscuit, and an order of chicken giblets to share.

The room was small, with room for about 50 people, and the lighting was really weird, it had a red glow- almost like a nightclub. (Hence the weird picture)

Our food arrived. The chicken breast was dry, and all the chicken was missing that "crunch" that I expect when biting into a piece of fried chicken. The seasoning was also very mild. The waffles were ok, but only marginally better than Eggo's. I prefer waffles to have a crispness to them, while these could have been steamed, they were that soft. As for eating the waffles together with the chicken, it was pretty boring. Also, if you pour syrup on your waffles, then eat it together with the chicken, all you can taste is the syrup. The giblets were better, crisp and crunchy. Overall, I wouldn't go back here, although I'm glad I experienced it.

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