Friday, April 27, 2007

San Diego Chicken Pie Shop

Chicken pot pie, one of the most filling foods known to man. When consumed it immediately settles into your stomach, giving you that warm feeling inside that's reserved for the most content of meals.

Now what if i told you you could get a chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, dinner roll, veggies, and a slice of fresh pie for $6?

Not only does your stomach feel warm and fuzzy, so does your wallet from all the $1 dollar bills you're saving from eating a cheap meal.

The question here really is if a $6 dollar meal is really worth it, how good could it possibly be? how horrible must the ingredients be? how run down must the restaurant be that serves it? and do you need some sort of military grade protection to go into that neighborhood to eat?

So Matt and i journeyed off in search for answers at the San Diego institution of chicken pot pie, San Diego Chicken Pie Shop. Apparently this restaurant has been around for quite a few years (60+) and it looks like some of the regulars from when it first came to be still frequent it.

They do take out and dining in, you can order pot pie's to go for 2.25 a piece.

We heard two things about this joint, their pot pie deal (6$) is a steal (i'm a poet and i didn't even know it) (oh my there it goes again) and their fried chicken (8.50) is extra special. So since there were two of us, we ordered one of each.

Both meals come with dinner rolls, a slice of pie, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. The pot pie comes with coleslaw and the fried chicken comes with your choice of soup and salad.

So on to the pictures as i guide you thru a magical journey through my phone's lens. (btw i just ordered a sd1000 so you won't have to subject yourself to my crappy pictures anymore, but if you did for some reason like my rustic picture taking style with the phone .. much love to you).

First up are the dinner rolls. Large floury rolls that rip apart with the softest pull. Since they come out rather warm the butter just melts into it. Very delicious rolls, i'm usually all for stuffing myself with bread but i believe if i ate one more of these rolls i would have died (i had 1), it was so thick , it took some chewing to go down (this is a good thing for rolls).

Next was Matt's soup. They have different soups each day + their standards. Today's selections were Cream of Potato (special), Chicken Soup (below), and Split Pea (obviously for the older generation).
A few seconds after this picture was taken, the bowl was removed from under matt's spoon and into mine. Why you may ask? Because the soup tastes like Campbell's chicken soup with cooked rice added in. Absolutely nothing special about the flavor in the soup. I ate it cause i love rice in soup (sorry i'm chinese) but i definitely wasn't going to pull an Oliver Twist and want seconds.

I didn't take any pictures of his salad, because it was rather uneventful. But what i did take a picture of was the coleslaw.
At first glance it looks like KFC coleslaw, the most magical coleslaw in all of the lands. Heck, even at first taste it tastes like it. Sadly as you start to eat it it becomes just a little to sour for my taste. I like my coleslaw sweet without the kick of sour. I reserve that to my fried pork.

With the rather disappointing appetizers out of the way we get down to the real nitty gritty.

First up is matt's fried chicken.
Do you notice something interesting about the chicken? Its not like normal fried chicken. Normal fried chicken has a thin layer of skin that's fried to a crisp. This chicken seemed to be coated in a bread crumb (shake and bake style) like batch of spices. Its almost as if they fried it and then baked it afterwards. THe skin wasn't crispy and it was like getting a bite of stuffing with every bite.

Sounds not so good? um.. kinda. It was actually tasty. The chicken skin was a unique blend of spices that you usually don't find with fried chicken. It was alot less oily than normally fried chicken restaurants and you can't say no to 3 very large pieces of chicken. The chicken was good, it would have been better if it was juicier, but i have a feeling that they have alot of this premade and its not fresh fried, which is kind of disappointing for fried chicken, especially if its not made with a crisp skin like this style. Take what i just said, absorb it, then try it for yourself.

Next up was their pot pie.
The mashed potatoes and the pot pie are both smothered in chicken gravy. The pot pie itself has a less flaky crust than i'm normally used to. Its more along the lines of doughy. The pot pie also doesn't have much "soup" in it. Which actually isn't much of a detraction in this case because its FILLED to the brim with turkey and chicken.

look at that thing, there is absolutely no space for anything except for the meat. The turkey was especially good in the pot pie. Some chunks of the chicken breast were rather dry, but i usually expect that. Overall, it was a decent pie. The crust was tasty and the meat was good.

Also a quick note, neither of us ate the peas, it looked disgusting. Places still serve peas on the side? really? come on now. At least give me some corn. I know you cater to 60+ year olds but corn is so good! The mashed potatoes were okay, nothing special. No lumps nothing, just a glob of potatoes.

Next up is the pie. There was a rather large assortment of pies to choose from, the one we really wanted was their "fresh strawberry pie" but she didn't list that as one of the pies we could choose. Maybe she forgot? who knows!
but i did order the apple pie and i do not regret it.
A delicious sugary crust that flakes with a gentle push of the fork, filled with sweet cinnamon apples. Ah, just like how my momma used to make it (if she made pie and didn't just buy it from Marie Callendars). I cleaned this up real good.

I have a few side comments for the food we received. Nothing i got was hot. Everything was lukewarm. Soup was lukewarm, pot pie was MOSTLY luke warm (one really hot piece of chicken), potatoes were luke warm, HECK EVEN the waitresses attitude was luke warm. I'm also pretty sure if i ate the peas they'd be luke warm too.

So the question here is with all the complaints would i still go again?
It really depends. I know Matt probably wouldn't want to go again. I'd go solely because of the price, that much food for 6$ really can't be beat. I'd take some new people, let them try it out, if enough people dislike it, i just probably won't go again.

Overall the experience was just a little above average, but they have daily specials like steak and lasagna, so maybe i'll order something else next time.

So if you want to give it a shot (or are over 60 and love this place already)

San Diego Chicken Pie Shop
2633 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104-1214

p.s. my mom never cooked chicken pot pie or fried chicken.


Veggie Lover said...

where are all the veggies in the pot pie?

Charlie Fu said...

sorry veggie lover, no such luck. Meat lovers need only apply.

Cathy said...

Hey Charlie- They make the crusts for the chicken pie and the dessert pies in house, as well as bake the rolls fresh there. I do like the cole slaw better than other places; it isn't as watery, and kind of is more what I grew up on. (I do add salt and pepper though). The vegetable side is different daily. I forget the order now, but used to know it, same with the special pie of the day (I do know coconut cream is on Tuesdays). It is more old fashioned home cooking and I'm not 60 years old...yet...
Sorry I missed lunch with you and Kirk. I had a bunch of unusual circumstances happening earlier this year. Maybe sometime soon?

Charlie Fu said...

hey cathy: i went two days in a row and i got peas two days in a row haha.

but yeah, shame you couldn't come out, another time would be great! I've been so busy with school its been impossible for me to go off campus

Julie said...

I think the pot pie, the rolls and the dessert pies are the best. The veggies are canned, and the mashed potatoes are dehydrated. My grandpa used to get around this when I was a kid (when they were still in hillcrest) by ordering a bunch of pot pies to take home, and made his own side dishes. We liked 'em. =)
But hey, how can ya beat $6?

Charlie Fu said...

Julie: the rolls. The rolls are the key to everything. haha

Curtis said...

WOW, this looks sooooooo good. Next time I go to SD, I'll eat there.