Sunday, December 12, 2010

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
(714) 427-0755

Olives Gourmet Grocer - Long Beach*

*Special Thanks to Monster Munching location scout Cecile for the tip on Olives.


At 11:19 AM, Blogger christoofat said...

Yah know...this place is right around the corner from my work. And yet...
I've been invited by co-workers to join them for lunch several times. But each day after work I drive by it & the smell of the deep fryers exhaust wafting in the air is just so unappetizing I can't bring myself to partake. I feel for the waitstaff, I'm sure that smell must permeate their bodies at a molecular level in time.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger digkv said...

You know what edwin, i'm glad you think hooters has the best wings because i agree! I've never had wings as good as Hooters, and I actually love the breaded wings, since that crispy crust soaks in that sauce so well. Hooters has truly amazing declicious wings that can't compare to most other places I've been to, and it can be damn cheap if you go during happy hour or during the all you can eat. noms now i'm craving some wings.

At 2:55 AM, Blogger mark said...

Hooters has some good wings. My biggest gripe is the fact they don't give you "all you can eat sides" as well. After ten wings, you kind of need something to cut through the taste, and I don't want to keep ordering french fries; should be part of the deal, you know?

At 11:21 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Ah, that aroma is like ambrosia to my nostrils. Paradoxically, it doesn't smell like much inside. Beer more than anything.


Yes, I'd call them out if it weren't true, but Hooters wings are so far, unmatched in my opinion...especially now that Kyochon is all but gone.


I'm in complete agreement with you. I was thinking they would give up some durned celery sticks or something, but they even charged a few cents for blue cheese and ranch! I still made out like a bandit, I think.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger christoofat said...

They must use an excellent ventilation system! =)

At 2:46 PM, Blogger RunEatRepeat said...

Never been there, but I did want to say I'm happily reading again after a stint in MD where I had to make myself not read your blog so I didn't see what I was missing out on.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I'm trying my best to suppress a corny ventilation-Hooters joke right now!


Welcome back! ...To this blog and OC! I only wished I organized my blog better for your use!

At 8:26 PM, Blogger craftsister said...

I really love your blog and read it every week. But just so you know, starting out by acknowledging that they are objectifying women doesn't actually get you off the hook. Not only are you giving them your money, but you are encouraging others to do the same. I don't care how good their wings are, or that women are eating there, too. If we care about the half of our population that have breasts, we should not be using them to sell things. Kinda disappointed.

At 7:46 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Thanks for the comment. I value level-headed objections such as yours and was actually wondering when someone would chirp up, especially in light of the N.O.W. protest on Hooters, which coincidentally came the week after I wrote this post.

Let me start with this. If these wings were served at Chippendale's, you'd still see me reviewing them, though I'd have to try extra hard to hold back the hot dog jokes.

It's a fact that our culture uses the sexuality of women to sell things. Before the protest, Hooters was an insignificant blip. Watch TV a few minutes, walk around at the mall and this becomes self-evident. There are only a few cultures that don't do this. In some of those cultures, burqas are worn.

I am not defending Hooters have-it-all attitude (the point of the N.O.W. protest), nor am I siding with N.O.W. Personally, I don't give a damn. From a macro-perspective, I think the controversy is a win-win for both. Headlines bring in more customers and more members.

And if any family decides they'd like to go to Hooters for dinner after knowing full well what to expect there, it's their prerogative, it's their right. I hope they try the Cajun wings.

If you'd like to discuss this more with me, feel free to e-mail me at elmomonster75 at Apart from our spirited dialogue, (which I'm glad you started), I'd very much like to keep the rest of my blog discussion forum focused on food.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

At 12:30 PM, Blogger ChowNoir said...

Have they improved their recipe in recent years? I love chicken wings and am perfectly happy perched on a stool watching games and munching on wings for a few hours.

But I've been disappointed every time I've been to a Hooters. We hit that one in Costa Mesa a few times a few years ago and never liked it enough to make it a regular haunt. And my friends and I would have been perfectly happy to find an excuse to be at a place where we could be around scantily clad women serving us food while watching games.

Of course given your positive experience, I now have an excuse to go back and do more *ahem* research on the food and ambiance.

P.S. I found it amusing that the word verification is chiests and at first glance I thought it said chests.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the worst wings ever and the fries sucks too.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Hope your "research" goes well! ;-)

Their naked Cajun Wings rules above all else. Easily my favorite wings, ever. I don't recommend (as I did in the review) the disappointing original naked Medium.


The fries are filler. Nothing more.


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