Hooters - Costa Mesa
If you are of the opinion that Hooters objectifies women, I agree with you and so do Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who produced a hilarious send-up of the chain on South Park. In it, Butters becomes enamored by a waitress at Raisins. If you haven't, see it here.
But the truth is, come in and you encounter just as many women customers as men. And on this trip (my third in over a decade), there are more families with babies in tow than I expected. PG-rated posters a typical teenager would consider standard bedroom wall decor are the most risque thing about the place.
"Tacky" is the word they use to describe themselves. But a better word is "American". I would argue that Hooters is the truest representation of American culture in a themed-restaurant than Hard Rock or Planet Hollywood.
To me, and actually, to a lot of people, Hooters is more about the wings than breasts. I regard Hooters' wings as better than any of those from the major wing chains, including Buffalo Wild Wings.
And what is more American than Buffalo wings? Answer: All-you-can-eat Buffalo wings on Tuesday nights. This is the night where where you disregard all common sense (you really don't need to eat all the wings you can eat), pay $12.99, then spend the rest of your evening trying to recoup it by consuming about the worst thing a dietitian and your doctor could ever imagine: fried chicken soaked in melted butter and hot sauce.
Doing so is dangerously easy to do. I discovered a disturbing fact about myself that night: I can polish off a round of 10 wings in the time it took the television to take two commercial breaks. By the end of it, I had in front of me the remnants of my gluttony: the cleaned bones of 22 wings, a half-finished basket of curly fries, and a throughly soiled WetNap.
If you choose to attempt to break my record, you should know to avoid filling up on those fries. To quote Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" It is included in the deal as Hooters insurance policy that you don't eat them out of their profits. For sure, resist the temptation to munch on them in the lull between when you've finished your current plate and are waiting for the next. That's what they want you to do.
There are two frying options for the wings: "naked" and breaded. The "naked" way, wherein the wings are dropped as is into the oil, lends itself well to a number of seasoning paths.
The best, in my opinion, is to have them "naked" and coated in Cajun spice, a caustic, sweet and salty dry rub popularized as "bammage". The skin, thoroughly rendered and expertly cooked (yes, I said expertly), takes on a thin-sheened crispness and the presence of a BBQ-potato chip.
A spicy-garlic sauce is second best, a butter-soaked and just-hot-enough lubrication to encourage and propel you to the lip-smacking break-even point on your $13 investment in over-eating.
If you opt to do the traditional hot wing, better to ask for breaded than "naked", as it absorbs the hot-sauce so well that you'll notice there's not a lot of it left to pool on the plate. And for goodness sakes just do the "Hot". The "Medium", it turns out, is equivalent to just asking for it to be soaked in plain butter. It's bland and tasteless.
You'll know you've done well when you toss and turn in bed, suffering from heartburn and swearing off hot wings and all-you-can-anything for as long as you live. And you'll know you are an American when you wake up the next morning and look forward to next Tuesday.
1507 South Coast Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1529
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