Saturday, May 30, 2009

San Diego Chicken Pie Shop - A Few More Meals..

Just a preface, for this post I had consciously chosen some less than usual items so that it can be a complement to my original that covered most of the basics. So if you have been led here by a search engine or the likes researching the SDCPS, please make sure to read it first! :)

So yes I do own a SDCPS T-shirt but I also live only blocks away from the place.. In these difficult times I thought it would be nice to follow up on this SD institution (so called by many) that helped feed San Diegans for cheap. My most recently documented menu here where I unfortunately noticed another price increase.

The Liver with Onions is a Tuesday only offering ($8) that I always wanted to try since I enjoyed their Chicken Livers Dinner in the past.

I quickly discovered though that this was a whole different animal, literally and figuratively..

Two huge pieces of well done sliced Beef Liver steaks were covered in lovely grilled onions. The beef liver when thoroughly cooked seems to magnify the distinctive strong iron flavor and texture it is so well known for. This dish is obviously for a person that absolutely loves eating liver. It is closest to its elemental form and served straight up. The grilled onions with its fantastic char and light caramelization were great but almost a necessity for me where a slab of the butter from the made in house bread roll was also nice in breaking some of the monotony (though in fairness some of it was due to the sheer large portion of the dish).

Chose the Cream of Broccoli for the soup.

Always searching for better lighting for my photo-documentative purposes the waitress was kind enough to let me sit in the booth by the window which is usually reserved for guests of more than one.

The pie (Coconut Cream) was to-go as usual. Had it later and it was coconutty and creamy.

The Spaghetti is only available on Fridays ($6).

The pasta was till-it-turns-white-and-twice-the-original-diameter cooked. I think this is how many pastas (especially spaghetti) were served back in the day before the word al dente became a popular term and concept (thanks to Mario Batali?).

A very filling meal for six bucks that included garlic bread (nothing fancy but good with light butter, garlic powder and dry parsley flakes). The plate's also pairing with free coleslaw was a bit odd but I actually enjoyed the pasta sauce which was low in acidity, lightly sweet and with some ground beef. (A great talk by Malcolm Gladwell on American spaghetti sauce here..)

The Hot Turkey Sandwich ($5.75) from their main menu.

The concept of the hot sandwich - a sandwich (sometimes open-faced but not in this case) smothered in gravy is very fascinating to me (as does airline food and meals packaged for astronauts, fyi).

The turkey is the typical dryer breast meat and so the served with lighter chicken gravy makes the two a symbiotic relationship that even mother nature would have intended.

Includes a side of mashed potatoes but does not come with the cup of split pea shown ($1.75). I was playing with the non-dairy creamer btw.. This day the soup was a little on the watery side but it usually doesn't disappoint.

Wished this was also true for the Chopped Steak Dinner ($7). It was quite tough and uninspiring. For the price I would way rather have the Meat Loaf ($6) but you'd have to be there on a Monday for that.

The Corn Chowder soup served this particular day had more flavor than in the past with a garlic (powder?) kick. I later passed on dessert which isn't unusual for me.

The Half Baked Chicken is offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays for $8.

Wow, a half of chicken just as described so I wasn't sure why I was surprised at the site of my plate when it arrived. The seasoning was actually lightly sweet and I may have also detected paprika but none of the other stronger aromatics such as rosemary, thyme or garlic was present. The meat was extremely tender..

Though for the now increased price and to know a whole rotisserie can be picked up at Henry's just down the street for less just made me wonder.

My usual Split Pea Soup. The Blueberry Pie I chose was again to-go.

The Macaroni and Cheese is a Friday only ($6). I had asked for the bacon bits and I don't remember if I were charged extra for it.

Was very mild on the cheese flavor and seemed something more made with milk than a heavy cream. I think I've been spoiled by the multi-cheesed and much heavier versions served by the by now almost mainstream Comfort Food with a Modern Twist category many restaurants have.. But I can see a kid really enjoy this and the budget conscious family attracting place the SDCPS is, I would say it fits the bill.

And maybe it was this that brought out the playfulness in me. Sadly for my mother I like to still play with my food on occasion.. Obviously not in a catapulting peas across the room way but I sometimes get inspirations that I want to try out..

Like a Mac-N-Cheese Sandwich.(!)

A lightly buttered roll with a veggie layer of coleslaw, the main mac-n-cheese, and then a generous sprinkle of bacon bits.

It was... interesting. Could've maybe benefited from a cheesier mac, but still would most likely not be a foundation in creating a new fast food franchise to sweep across the nation.

San Diego Chicken Pie Shops will probably not be multiplying across the city anytime soon either but it seems to be serving a niche that keeps many in coming back. Having said that, the gradual price increases over the relatively short time I've lived here is a bit of a concern.

Not having a sweet tooth, the slice of pie included in some meals had never been a big enticement for me personally and so with some dinners (that I had for lunch) creeping up to $8, I have to say I have a few other options. I will keep supporting SDCPS as much as I can but I hope they remember that it is their job to feed us and not the other way around.
Still you will find pretty good deals on the daily specials board by the entrance. If I ever get around doing yet a third post it will most likely be on them.

Ok I now admit I own not one but two of their T-shirts.. in different colors.. ;)

San Diego Chicken Pie Shop, 2633 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92140


Chubbypanda said...

This looks like the type of place my wife and I love to take the paper to. The Mac & Cheese sandwich is an interesting concept.

Dennis K. said...

Hi CP, definitely a very casual cafeteria style eatery. Thanks for the compliment on the sandwich.. you're too nice, haha. Maybe it wasn't so bad for a quick ad hoc prototype..

caninecologne said...

wow, what a very, very THOROUGH post!!!

i've never been there before. i have a friend who works at the elementary school across the street. she said the food was kind of like cafeteria food and there's usually loads of old people there. not that there's anything wrong with that. that being said, i'd still eat there and give it a go.

great post!

word ver:

Dennis K. said...

Thanks CC! I think your friend described the place pretty well. Not sure if you got a chance to check out my original post but there you can see their famous chicken pies. Cheers

caninecologne said...

hi - actually i hadn't read your original post. will make sure to check it out...

my friend also said you can see lots of prosties hanging out on the corners over there! in broad daylight too. nice.

Dennis K. said...

Ha, I haven't noticed but I do see some shady people down over on the BK side of the block. Maybe they grew tired of chicken pot pies and are now into Whoppers?

Harry Upman said...

Looks like an awesome sandwich. I have to get me one next time I'm out in San Diego. I have to put this up on my blog.