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Hash House A Go Go: waffle tower rolled in Andy’s Secret Spices

First up, natch, hashes

My two eggs atop my chicken and waffle tower - beautiful mess.
My two eggs atop my chicken and waffle tower - beautiful mess.

My two friends Erik and Chris said I had to do this. “It’s not that cheap, but you get so much, you have two meals for the price of one, guaranteed,” said Chris. He was talking about his favorite go-go-to place, the Hash House a Go Go up in Hillcrest. The joint has been there 4-evah (okay, two decades), and I have always meant to pop in. Today, we’re actually doing it.

Place

Hash House A Go Go

3628 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

“Huh,” says Chris when me meet up beside the “Center for Health and Wellbeing” with its Buddha-like figure on the front wall. The building we’re actually outside is maroon, with its name carved in 1930s-shaped lettering. “Other times when I come, there’s always a line out and down the street,” says Chris. “Our lucky day, fellers!” And the luck continues when he goes to talk to the receptionista inside. He signals us, and we traipse in behind him and Ernesto to a table by the front window. Inside’s a little bit rabbit-warrenish, but full of character. It has a huge bear-claw-foot wood stove right where you come in. Wall-size photos of plowmen wearing ties on ancient tractors make the walls look like some gallery’s exhibit of the Great Depression.

Chris’s short rib hash in a frypan.

“Celebrating 20 years of twisted farm food!” says a sign from last year. “Andy’s world-famous sage fried chicken, since 2000.”

“Trust me,” says Chris. “They give you a lot.”

Ernesto says this is a big day for him too: “It’s my first day serving and not just bussing,” he says. He leaves a bunch of plastic menus. They talk a lot about Andy. He must be the founder-chef. “Andy is from Milford, Indiana,” it says. “Andy grew up making chicken with his mama and grandma.” This info is scattered around the actual menu. And first up, natch, hashes. “All hashes tossed with crispy potatoes and topped with two eggs.” Not only all that, but “served with fruit and buttermilk biscuit.” They have choices like roasted chicken with “fresh garlic, onions, fresh asparagus, and rosemary.” It ain’t cheap: $17.95. The beef and pork meatloaf hash version goes for $18.95, the ground turkey, $17.95, same price as the mushroom version. Corned beef and chorizo each go for $18.95, pork ribs hash, $21.95, and “hand-hammered” crisp pork tenderloin with cheese and fried leeks is $24.95.

Ernesto, wearing Hash House’s 20th anniversary mask.

So, yes, not cheap. “But trust me,” says Ernesto.

The menu goes through a bunch of things I instantly long for: four different scrambles, from roasted chicken to ham to smoked bacon ($18.95); flapjacks, starting at $9.95; Benedicts ($17-22); salads ($9-20); and specially, the stuffed burgers. Oh man. For $18.95, you get two “Midwest” patties stuffed with items like mushrooms and cheese, bacon and mashed potato, or braised wild boar, onion and goat cheese. Problem? I have spotted “Andy’s famous sage fried chicken and waffle tower.” It’s built around two chicken breasts with a bacon-stuffed waffle and fried leeks. Sounds irresistible in a very mid-western combo sort of way. But costs $23.95. Chris sees me stewing. “Oh, for crying out loud,” he says. “I’ll pay. I brought you here.”

“I couldn’t,” I say. But yes I could. I go for it, and the whole outfit seems to cheer the decision. For starters, there’s the special “tower” mat you get. “You are even more special,” it says. “You just ordered the world-famous sage fried chicken waffle tower.” And it ain’t done: “Check this out Mama. It’s rolled with smashed sage and corn flakes, flour, and Andy’s Secret Spices!” The “famous sage fried chicken and bacon waffle tower” is then crowned with a maple reduction. Now that sounds good. “New York Times Favorite!” it says. “Featured on the Martha Stewart Show.”

It quotes her: “This chicken is amazing.”

“The sizzle of fried chicken is music to my ears!” says founder-chef Andy. Further down the mat, he doesn’t mince words. “Get your hands sticky! It’s just your hands.”

Fried polenta sticks with bowl of pesto.

But before we go for the big one, we share an appetizer of fried polenta sticks ($9 for five, with a bowl of pesto). Dang, but they’re such a soft, delicately crunchy intro. Pesto gives them edge. And now, serious ordering. “I always go for the biscuits and gravy ($18.95),” says Chris, “but today, pork ribs hash.”

“And me, the ‘Famous Fried Chicken sandwich ($19.95),’” says Erik.

I get my tower. Makes me think of Pisa, as in “leaning.” Bacon-stuffed waffles teeter upwards, the two chicken breasts lean against each other like drunken pals, and I tip the sunny side-up eggs over the top till they look like a super-loose bra. Of course, this doesn’t last. I plunge into the crackly-crunchy chicken breast, taste the sage, bacon, maple, and eggs all at once, and man. Just want to sit and take this serious mouth collision in for a moment. I mix it with coffee ($3.85 with refills), and yessir. This is bliss. Also, I get a taste of the pork ribs from Chris. Not quite sure why they’re called “hash,” but who’s complaining?

Drinks-wise, Chris and Erik see this beautiful-looking concoction that’s divided into green white and red. It’s “HH’s famous kiwi, watermelon and lemonade.” Costs $7.95 with a tranche of melon on top.

Erik’s kiwi-watermelon-lemonade drink, $7.95.

“So-o refreshing,” says Erik. “Even better than beer.” (Which they do have here.)

The boys manage to get most of their nosh down. Me, I’m taking some chicken and waffle home. Bit of olive oil in the pan, bit o’sizzle, and this chunk of southern comfort is gonna make a nice lunch termorrer.

You’re right, Chris. Cheap at the price!

  • The Place: Hash House A Go Go, 3628 Fifth Avenue, 619-298-4646
  • Hours: 7:30am-2pm daily (till 3pm Saturday, Sunday)
  • Prices: Roasted chicken hash, $17.95; beef and pork meatloaf hash, $18.95; ground turkey hash, $17.95; mushroom hash, $17.95; corned beef hash, $18.95; chorizo hash, $18.95; pork ribs hash, $21.95; “hand-hammered” crisp pork tenderloin with cheese and fried leeks, $24.95; roasted chicken scramble, $18.95; ham, egg, cheese scramble, $18.95; smoked bacon scramble, $18.95; flapjacks, $9.95 up; eggs Benedict, $17-22; Cobb salad, with smoked chicken, bacon, $20; braised wild boar-stuffed burger (2 patties), $18.95; sage fried chicken and waffle tower, $23.95; bread pudding, $9.95
  • Bus: 3
  • Nearest Bus Stops: 5th and Brookes Avenue (northbound); 4th and Brookes (southbound)
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My two eggs atop my chicken and waffle tower - beautiful mess.
My two eggs atop my chicken and waffle tower - beautiful mess.

My two friends Erik and Chris said I had to do this. “It’s not that cheap, but you get so much, you have two meals for the price of one, guaranteed,” said Chris. He was talking about his favorite go-go-to place, the Hash House a Go Go up in Hillcrest. The joint has been there 4-evah (okay, two decades), and I have always meant to pop in. Today, we’re actually doing it.

Place

Hash House A Go Go

3628 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

“Huh,” says Chris when me meet up beside the “Center for Health and Wellbeing” with its Buddha-like figure on the front wall. The building we’re actually outside is maroon, with its name carved in 1930s-shaped lettering. “Other times when I come, there’s always a line out and down the street,” says Chris. “Our lucky day, fellers!” And the luck continues when he goes to talk to the receptionista inside. He signals us, and we traipse in behind him and Ernesto to a table by the front window. Inside’s a little bit rabbit-warrenish, but full of character. It has a huge bear-claw-foot wood stove right where you come in. Wall-size photos of plowmen wearing ties on ancient tractors make the walls look like some gallery’s exhibit of the Great Depression.

Chris’s short rib hash in a frypan.

“Celebrating 20 years of twisted farm food!” says a sign from last year. “Andy’s world-famous sage fried chicken, since 2000.”

“Trust me,” says Chris. “They give you a lot.”

Ernesto says this is a big day for him too: “It’s my first day serving and not just bussing,” he says. He leaves a bunch of plastic menus. They talk a lot about Andy. He must be the founder-chef. “Andy is from Milford, Indiana,” it says. “Andy grew up making chicken with his mama and grandma.” This info is scattered around the actual menu. And first up, natch, hashes. “All hashes tossed with crispy potatoes and topped with two eggs.” Not only all that, but “served with fruit and buttermilk biscuit.” They have choices like roasted chicken with “fresh garlic, onions, fresh asparagus, and rosemary.” It ain’t cheap: $17.95. The beef and pork meatloaf hash version goes for $18.95, the ground turkey, $17.95, same price as the mushroom version. Corned beef and chorizo each go for $18.95, pork ribs hash, $21.95, and “hand-hammered” crisp pork tenderloin with cheese and fried leeks is $24.95.

Ernesto, wearing Hash House’s 20th anniversary mask.

So, yes, not cheap. “But trust me,” says Ernesto.

The menu goes through a bunch of things I instantly long for: four different scrambles, from roasted chicken to ham to smoked bacon ($18.95); flapjacks, starting at $9.95; Benedicts ($17-22); salads ($9-20); and specially, the stuffed burgers. Oh man. For $18.95, you get two “Midwest” patties stuffed with items like mushrooms and cheese, bacon and mashed potato, or braised wild boar, onion and goat cheese. Problem? I have spotted “Andy’s famous sage fried chicken and waffle tower.” It’s built around two chicken breasts with a bacon-stuffed waffle and fried leeks. Sounds irresistible in a very mid-western combo sort of way. But costs $23.95. Chris sees me stewing. “Oh, for crying out loud,” he says. “I’ll pay. I brought you here.”

“I couldn’t,” I say. But yes I could. I go for it, and the whole outfit seems to cheer the decision. For starters, there’s the special “tower” mat you get. “You are even more special,” it says. “You just ordered the world-famous sage fried chicken waffle tower.” And it ain’t done: “Check this out Mama. It’s rolled with smashed sage and corn flakes, flour, and Andy’s Secret Spices!” The “famous sage fried chicken and bacon waffle tower” is then crowned with a maple reduction. Now that sounds good. “New York Times Favorite!” it says. “Featured on the Martha Stewart Show.”

It quotes her: “This chicken is amazing.”

“The sizzle of fried chicken is music to my ears!” says founder-chef Andy. Further down the mat, he doesn’t mince words. “Get your hands sticky! It’s just your hands.”

Fried polenta sticks with bowl of pesto.

But before we go for the big one, we share an appetizer of fried polenta sticks ($9 for five, with a bowl of pesto). Dang, but they’re such a soft, delicately crunchy intro. Pesto gives them edge. And now, serious ordering. “I always go for the biscuits and gravy ($18.95),” says Chris, “but today, pork ribs hash.”

“And me, the ‘Famous Fried Chicken sandwich ($19.95),’” says Erik.

I get my tower. Makes me think of Pisa, as in “leaning.” Bacon-stuffed waffles teeter upwards, the two chicken breasts lean against each other like drunken pals, and I tip the sunny side-up eggs over the top till they look like a super-loose bra. Of course, this doesn’t last. I plunge into the crackly-crunchy chicken breast, taste the sage, bacon, maple, and eggs all at once, and man. Just want to sit and take this serious mouth collision in for a moment. I mix it with coffee ($3.85 with refills), and yessir. This is bliss. Also, I get a taste of the pork ribs from Chris. Not quite sure why they’re called “hash,” but who’s complaining?

Drinks-wise, Chris and Erik see this beautiful-looking concoction that’s divided into green white and red. It’s “HH’s famous kiwi, watermelon and lemonade.” Costs $7.95 with a tranche of melon on top.

Erik’s kiwi-watermelon-lemonade drink, $7.95.

“So-o refreshing,” says Erik. “Even better than beer.” (Which they do have here.)

The boys manage to get most of their nosh down. Me, I’m taking some chicken and waffle home. Bit of olive oil in the pan, bit o’sizzle, and this chunk of southern comfort is gonna make a nice lunch termorrer.

You’re right, Chris. Cheap at the price!

  • The Place: Hash House A Go Go, 3628 Fifth Avenue, 619-298-4646
  • Hours: 7:30am-2pm daily (till 3pm Saturday, Sunday)
  • Prices: Roasted chicken hash, $17.95; beef and pork meatloaf hash, $18.95; ground turkey hash, $17.95; mushroom hash, $17.95; corned beef hash, $18.95; chorizo hash, $18.95; pork ribs hash, $21.95; “hand-hammered” crisp pork tenderloin with cheese and fried leeks, $24.95; roasted chicken scramble, $18.95; ham, egg, cheese scramble, $18.95; smoked bacon scramble, $18.95; flapjacks, $9.95 up; eggs Benedict, $17-22; Cobb salad, with smoked chicken, bacon, $20; braised wild boar-stuffed burger (2 patties), $18.95; sage fried chicken and waffle tower, $23.95; bread pudding, $9.95
  • Bus: 3
  • Nearest Bus Stops: 5th and Brookes Avenue (northbound); 4th and Brookes (southbound)
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