Friday, February 4, 2011

There's no such thing as a free lunch...except when you have gift cards.

I picked up my Restaurant Week prize package a couple of days ago, and the gift cards have been burning a hole in my pocket. I finally got to use my first one today: lunch at Wild Wing Cafe in the Vista.  I've to to various WWCs in the almost 10 years I've been in the southeast.  (Side note...I can't believe it's been 10 years since I started college!  Where does the time go?)  My problem with WWC is that I'm from the northeast.  We have OUTSTANDING wings in the NE.  And they only come in three flavors: medium, hot, and hot with all of the added hot sauce you want.  I have yet to find anything to really compare to those wings, but when in Rome.....At any rate, I generally don't order wings when I go to WWC, though they do have a wide array of flavors to appeal to people a little less judgmental than I am.

Today's challenge: Eat and view WWC as if I'd never been there before.  Any idea how hard that was?  I know what I like, so I had to force myself to try something new.  And I *may* have forced my lunch date (A) to try something new too.

Because it's Friday and because we could, A & I ordered an appetizer and two meals.  Probably not the smartest plan, since it was lunchtime and we both had to go back to work.  Plus, we've both been to WWC more times that I can count, so it was a little difficult to find something that we hadn't had before.  We ended up ordering the Super Snacker Sampler (wing chips, onion rings, hot shots, fried mushrooms, & mozzarella sticks with assorted dipping sauces).  This big plate of fried goodness was more than enough for two people - we really probably didn't need our meals after that - but would be a great way to kick of happy hour or to snack on with a large group of people.  The fried mushrooms and the hot shots (sausage & cheese pastries) were my favorites.

Lots of wing chips.  And that's marinara sauce in front.  The yellow sauce on the side was honey mustard, and the pinkish one was for the onion rings, though I'm not sure exactly what it was.
Our actual meals were pretty good.  A had the Uptown Burger (sauteed mushrooms, swiss cheese, mayo, and the Wild West marinade).  It's served on Texas toast, and comes with WWC's big fat fries.  I did try a bite of A's burger, and I thought that it was cooked perfectly.  Of course, if you give me beef and mushrooms, I'm pretty content.  A said that the more he ate, the greasier things became.  He said that the Texas toast didn't really hold up against the juice from the burger, but that was really the only thing that wasn't good.  He also is not a huge fan of the fries, finding them to be a little too thick - he would much have preferred wing chips (and really, it's probably my fault he got fries instead of chips because I had pointed out that there were chips that came with our appetizer).  For my part, I like the fries, but I think that the portion size is too big.  They're BIG fries (with the skins still on!), so you really only have room for a handful, if you plan on eating anything else.

I don't think I realized quite how much mayo was on the bun.  
I went out on a limb, and ordered tacos.  WWC has several different tacos available, and each meal has two tacos and rice.  Partly because I couldn't make up my mind, and partly because I wanted to try as many things as possible, I asked our server if it would be possible to get one chicken taco and one steak taco.  He was happy to accommodate my request.  I ordered mine with guacamole & salsa on the side.  Overall, they were pretty tasty, but there were a few things I would change.  The steak taco had Fajita marinated grilled steak, homemade queso, caramelized onions, flame roasted red and greens peppers, pico de gallo & shredded lettuce.  All of these ingredients are things I love.  But I also tend to like my steak close to mooing, so this was a little too well done for me.  The peppers & the onions were perfectly seasoned and absolutely delicious.  The queso really did nothing for me.  I added a little bit of salsa to this taco, and it amped up the heat factor.  The California chicken taco had Seasoned grilled chicken, guacamole, two cheeses, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and our creamy southwest sauce.  Like I said before, I ordered the guacamole on the side, mostly because I'm not a huge guacamole fan, and I'm a little bit picky about it.  In hindsight, I kind of wish I had left it on the taco, because it was great!  It had a great little zing of lime that really transformed the flavor.  The cheese on my chicken taco was a little congealed, and I could have done just as well without it.  What I would really like to do, would be to take the chicken and pair it with the peppers & onions from the steak taco and top it with the guacamole.  That would be perfect.  The tacos were served with "fiesta rice."  I liked the rice.  It was a little bit dry, but that tends to happen when you make things in huge batches.  I loved that there were peppers and corn and black beans in the rice.  I guess that's why they call it Fiesta rice.

Steak on the left, rice in the middle, chicken on the right.

Way too much food, but we cleaned up.  Clearly we weren't going for healthy here.

Our meals were decent - exactly what you would expect for a sports bar chain.  If you're looking for something a little more upscale, go somewhere else.  If you're looking for something super healthy, go somewhere else.  If you want a place you can take the family or a place to kick back and watch the big game, I would definitely recommend WWC.  Our service was great.  Our waiter was on top of things - he even apologized for bringing our drink order too quickly since we hadn't had enough time to look at the menu.  That has never happened to me.  He was very friendly, recommended A's burger, and of course, allowed me to get mix-and-match tacos.

I'll definitely go back to WWC (and not just because I still have gift cards to use there).  It's a great place to hang out with a lot of people.  Most of their locations also feature live music several times a week, and they have some pretty good drink specials.  These vary by location, but all of the information is on their website

Final Rating

I was at the WWC in the Vista. A copy of their menu is here. You can also find Wild Wing Cafe - Vista on Facebook.

Wild Wing Cafe on Urbanspoon

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