Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Straight Up Drama But Some Grubbin' Food--Roscoe's House Of Chicken & Waffles, Hollywood

Mention the word "drama" and I am suddenly taken to my college days when I lived with a roommate who I think invented the word. I think she actually survived on drama, creating it wherever she went and with whomever she came in contact with. Piss her off and she'll stay mad at you for weeks. Her birthday celebration always had to last a whole week and God forbid you didn't attend every single event. Everything had to be a certain way with her and if it wasn't she'd let you know. And the gossiping...oooh, the gossiping. Every day was a new "Oooh girl, and let me tell you...he said and she said...and she said and he said..." Too much of it made me move out and never keep in touch ever again.

So yeah, drama makes my head spin and try to avoid it when at all possible. Sometimes, though, drama is just unavoidable and you just have to deal with it. This always happens, for example, when my entire group at work decides to go out to lunch together. It doesn't usually happen all that much, usually only for people's birthdays, but man, when this group of 14 decides to lunch together, watch out. The other day, it was one of the girls' birthdays and it'd be time for yet another drama-filled group outing. Sometimes, it's not so much self-inflicted drama, like the time we all had the shittiest lunch experience ever at
Louise's Trattoria, but sometimes it is, like when someone says they want all fourteen of us to go to Roscoe's House Of Chicken and Waffles for her birthday lunch.

Yeah, that Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Not the newer, more spacious ones in Mid-City or Pasadena, but the old, tiny, always-a-line-outside-like-its-a-club, Hollywood ghetto fab one. I could smell the drama already.

Add to that the fact that we had a guy in a wheelchair with us and as this Roscoe's has no parking lot and it's street parking only (it's Hollywood, silly!) and we all had to play "human orange cone" as our physically challenged coworker parked his car and wheeled his way across Gower Street. It was like a game of
Frogger at first but fortunately people were nice enough to yield or stop.

And add to that the fact that it was Veteran's Day and that everyone and their mom was already in line at Roscoe's for brunch. We thought we were being smart by arriving "early" at 11:30, but I guess we were outsmarted. "Could be an hour, maybe more, maybe less," the man at the door told us.

"Oh my God, what do we do???"

"Isn't there anywhere else to go around here?" (followed by "Pam, you should know, right?")

"I am not waiting an hour..."

"But by the time we go anywhere else, it would have been an hour."

"I really wanted Roscoe's, though."

"I'm starving!"

As I said , I hate getting involved in drama, but I guess I had no choice. My head went into "search and scan" mode, mentally scanning the streets around Sunset and Gower for restaurants that could accomodate a party of fourteen immediately, had convenient parking (and handicapped parking!), and was in everyone's taste and price range. I'd never had that big of a brain fart in my life. Why is it that I can sit in conversation and spew off restaurant after restaurant, even ones I've never been to before, and all of a sudden when faced with a situation, I can't think of a single one? Finally I thought of
Palms Thai, the infamous singing-Thai-Elvis-but-not-at-lunch place which was right up the street on Hollywood and Bronson. "Oh you can take fourteen of us right now? Great, but let me call you back." I went around to my group to tell them that I had found an alternative. Mixed reactions: "Yeah, let's go!" "Oh maybe we can just wait a little longer." Others just stood there. OK, ya know what? This is why I hate drama. I'm getting myself out of this.

So we stood there, mulling around for twenty minutes to half an hour, hopeful excited smiles turning into pouts and frowns. The people waiting outside did not seem to move, except for some young man who was obviously some hip hop guy and his posse who'd gotten out of their phat chauffered SUV and walked right in with ease. Hmm, helps to be famous I guess.

And I guess it does, or at least to be noticed by someone famous, because we were suddenly let in--ahead of all these people that were in front of us! Now before you start thinking that it was me that got their attention (ha ha!), think again and read on. People looked like they wanted to kill us including some "
Malibu's Most Wanted" gangsta wannabe who started bitching at the host that they'd been waiting over an hour and "Hey, they just got here, how you gonna let them in???" In a most nonchalant manner, the host told Malibu that they seat by party size, end of story. Huh? Someone pinch us please? And if they really do seat by party size, then why is it that the fourteen of us were split up into three different tables? Well, rumor has it (according to some things my coworkers overheard and noticed) that the walk-in celeb , who ended up being teenage hip-hop star Chris Brown who had pulled up in the phat SUV had asked Roscoe's to let us in because of my handicapped coworker. Now we're not totally absolutely sure, but I'd rather believe it's true than not. Makes for a much more interesting story, don't you think?

Fortunately, the food experience was much less dramatic and provided some much needed down home comfort after all of that drama waiting to get a table. Yes, there are things other than chicken and waffles to order here--sandwiches, breakfast foods, etc.--but why on earth would you? There are, however, different combinations of chicken and waffles to be had, and the selection of choice at our table was of happened to be Scoe's Special, a choice of a quarter fried breast/wing or leg/thigh combination, either smothered in gravy or Southern style (basically is a fancy way of saying "plain fried.") and two waffles.

A heart attack would be extra drama

Funny enough, the first time I ever tried Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles was with my Drama Queen roommate back in college. I remember how she acted as if everyone's attention was on her, and that even when she ordered her damn food, she had to be all melodramatic about everything: "Hiiiiiiiiiiii," she'd say to the server, "Hmm, I think I, maybe this...nah, I'll go with that." (And just because the server joked and said, "You sure about that sweetie?" it didn't mean that they thought you were cute, you dumb bitch, they call everyone sweetie.) I also remember being a little hesitant about the odd combo of chicken and waffles at first--I mean, I never, ever imagined having KFC with my Eggo's. I started with a few bites of isolated flavors and textures--JUST fried chicken or JUST waffle--and didn't think it was that big of a deal. But once the syrup started running into the gravy which started running into the crispiness of the fried chicken which started running into the pillowy waffle, man it was all good. And then I think I went on a diet for a week following to make up for all that gluttony.

This most recent experience was no different; well, except for the fact that I had no Drama Queen roommate with me though there was plenty of other drama to replace her. The food was just as grubbin' as always--I loved having a little bit of crispy salted fried chicken, creamy gravy, sticky sweet syrup and fluffy waffle with each bite. Some salty yin to go with some sweet yang seemed to provide the only balance to an otherwise drama-filled afternoon.

After all that waiting, we were extra hungry and decided to order a couple of sides to go with our Scoe's Specials. The collard greens and mac & cheese were a little on the bland side, and I would normally not have liked the smothered potatoes, which were basically scalloped potatoes smothered in gravy, but they came in handy when I ran out of chicken and needed something salty to eat with the rest of my waffle.

Next time I'll just stick with the chicken & waffles

We finished our meals and it was back outside to the real world, once again dodging traffic and playing human orange cone to get our wheelchaired co-worker across the street. Safely and soundly, we all returned to work after a two hour-plus lunch break that seemed like an eternity. Me? I was ready to take a nap. All that drama and all that food makes a girl sleepy.

Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles
1514 N. Gower St.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 466-7453


Passionate Eater said...

Drama at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles is when the waitress/owner snaps at you to "take your elbows off my table!" (Have you had that experience yet?)

I remember visiting that location of Roscoe's when I was in college, and I remember walking out and collapsing face first onto the concrete sidewalk from what felt like a knife to my chest. No worries, it was just a mini-heart attack from the deep-fried chicken, the melting mountain of butter on the waffles, and greasy gravy (probably made from lard). It was one of the best meals I ever had, but probably the worst for me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I just saw Chris Brown the other night at Jingle Ball. He's such a cutie. Now I know he's a sweetie.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Pam, since i'm in the 626 area, the altadena one is the closest. I do like to go to Roscoe's once in a while and gluttonize. I usually start off with the wet fries (gravy fries) and a side of collard greens. Yes, sometimes you do need to add salt to the collard greens. hey do collard greens remind you of the chinese dish w/ virginia ham and greens in soup? usually, it's the free, "lunch special" soup consiting of all the scraps. i do have to say there chicken is good, but my fried chicken vote goes to Mrs. Knott's over at well, Knott's Berry Farm. They have the best biscuits and chicken IMHO.

elmomonster said...

Chicken and waffles are like John Lennon and Paul McCartney; good by themselves, but better together!

Thanks for reminding me how good it is!

BoLA said...

I love it. "Gluttonize." What a great way to use the word - with Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Believe you me... I have not been to Roscoe's... ever. Always on my list of must dos, but haven't yet. And the fried chicken at Knott's used to be my favorite but the last time I went... I just wasn't all that impressed.

Daily Gluttony said...

Passionate Eater,

They told you to take your elbows off the table??? OMG, that's hilarious!!! And I guess you had some of your own drama falling on the sidewalk & stuff...maybe it's a Roscoe's thing? =)


Yes, he was quite a cute kid!


OMG! I always thought Collard Greens tasted like "Bok Choy Gon" or dried bok choy!!!! BTW, I did a piece on Knott's a few months ago. Here it is:


I know huh? They work much better as a team effort!


Oooh, you gotta get yourself down to Roscoes then! If you do, try the one on Pico--it's WAAAY less crowded. Also, see comment to Dylan above for my take on Knott's!