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Which to eat first at Young Cluck: the fried chicken or the eggs?

A crispy sandwich, or take your pick among Southern, bodega, and Uganda style breakfasts

The Rolex: an egg and vegetable breakfast wrap inspired by a popular street food in Uganda
The Rolex: an egg and vegetable breakfast wrap inspired by a popular street food in Uganda

What’s something they eat for breakfast in Uganda? Offhand, I couldn’t have told you. Google cites a cooked banana dish called katogo, while the Peace Corps web site claims it’s typically porridge. Were I to go looking for answers in San Diego, I might start at Flavors of East Africa, though most of its dishes technically hail from neighboring Kenya. I certainly wouldn’t have searched at what I thought was a simple fried chicken restaurant.

Place

Young Cluck

3460 Adams Ave., San Diego

Yet, there it was, on the menu of Young Cluck, a breakfast item that takes its name from a luxury wristwatch, and characterized as a “play on a Ugandan street food classic.” It might all be confusing if it didn’t taste so good.

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Because thematically at least, Young Cluck is a fried chicken spot. It recently opened on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, taking up a tiny strip mall suite on the same block as Mariposa Ice Cream. The key components of its lunch and dinner menu (served after 11am) are a pair of $12, pickle-brined, fried chicken sandwiches. The first one is dubbed Hate Free and Served on Sunday — in cheeky reference to the Chik-fil-A sandwich that inspired it. The second features the same ultra-crispy, corn starch and wheat flour batter and “butter toasted brioche,” but spicy.

A double-battered fried chicken sandwich served on buttered and toasted brioche

Even Young Cluck’s 7am-2pm breakfast menu leads with chicken and waffles ($12), this time giving the fried chicken a maple brine, and crunching up the waffles with pretzels. Most fried chicken spots, that’s the first thing I would go for in the morning. But despite being only four items long, Young Cluck’s breakfast menu is stacked.

Because I spent many years growing up in the American South, I order grits more often than most San Diegans. Thus, the $9 “South in a Bowl” breakfast — grits with bacon, cheese and two eggs to order — was destined to catch my eye. But a key detail about them grits told me something about Young Cluck that might be easy to miss. These aren’t merely any old, store-bought grits, they’re heirloom grains sold by artisan purveyor Anson Mills.

Bacon, eggs, cheese, and course heirloom grits from Anson Mills

Most customers may not notice the difference, and to be fair, there’s only so much variation in quality when it comes to ground hominy. However, to anyone who may have watched Anthony Bourdain explore the culinary traditions of Charleston, South Carolina on TV, the course white grits central to this simple breakfast suggest that, despite a budget-friendly menu, the owners of this new restaurant pay careful attention to every component of their recipes to raise them even slightly above the mean.

I spotted another small effort in the construction of their basic breakfast sandwich, the $7 “Baconeggandcheese (yes it’s one word).” Obviously, there’s nothing special about combining scrambled eggs, bacon, and American cheese, but they’ve taken effort to source kaiser rolls, based on their intention to emulate the bare bones standards established by New York City bodegas. They’ve likewise gone to esteemed local Vietnamese sandwich maker K Sandwiches to source rolls for a hoisin-flavored, grilled chicken bánh mì ($12).

But best evidence of the counter shop’s other-worldly aspirations is that Ugandan dish: The Rolex ($8). A sort of egg wrap, we might see this as a less-spicy spiritual cousin to the breakfast burrito, as web searching tells me a Rolex typically features an omelet and vegetables wrapped in the Indian flatbread roti, which is not too dissimilar from a flour tortilla. However, at Young Cluck, they opt for a thicker Indian flatbread: naan. The naan is griddle-browned to roll up scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach, diced cucumber, and red onions, with dill-infused yogurt adding herbal flavor. It’s not like any breakfast I’ve tried before, and it’s safe to say Young Cluck is not like all the other fried chicken sandwich shops either.

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The Rolex: an egg and vegetable breakfast wrap inspired by a popular street food in Uganda
The Rolex: an egg and vegetable breakfast wrap inspired by a popular street food in Uganda

What’s something they eat for breakfast in Uganda? Offhand, I couldn’t have told you. Google cites a cooked banana dish called katogo, while the Peace Corps web site claims it’s typically porridge. Were I to go looking for answers in San Diego, I might start at Flavors of East Africa, though most of its dishes technically hail from neighboring Kenya. I certainly wouldn’t have searched at what I thought was a simple fried chicken restaurant.

Place

Young Cluck

3460 Adams Ave., San Diego

Yet, there it was, on the menu of Young Cluck, a breakfast item that takes its name from a luxury wristwatch, and characterized as a “play on a Ugandan street food classic.” It might all be confusing if it didn’t taste so good.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Because thematically at least, Young Cluck is a fried chicken spot. It recently opened on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, taking up a tiny strip mall suite on the same block as Mariposa Ice Cream. The key components of its lunch and dinner menu (served after 11am) are a pair of $12, pickle-brined, fried chicken sandwiches. The first one is dubbed Hate Free and Served on Sunday — in cheeky reference to the Chik-fil-A sandwich that inspired it. The second features the same ultra-crispy, corn starch and wheat flour batter and “butter toasted brioche,” but spicy.

A double-battered fried chicken sandwich served on buttered and toasted brioche

Even Young Cluck’s 7am-2pm breakfast menu leads with chicken and waffles ($12), this time giving the fried chicken a maple brine, and crunching up the waffles with pretzels. Most fried chicken spots, that’s the first thing I would go for in the morning. But despite being only four items long, Young Cluck’s breakfast menu is stacked.

Because I spent many years growing up in the American South, I order grits more often than most San Diegans. Thus, the $9 “South in a Bowl” breakfast — grits with bacon, cheese and two eggs to order — was destined to catch my eye. But a key detail about them grits told me something about Young Cluck that might be easy to miss. These aren’t merely any old, store-bought grits, they’re heirloom grains sold by artisan purveyor Anson Mills.

Bacon, eggs, cheese, and course heirloom grits from Anson Mills

Most customers may not notice the difference, and to be fair, there’s only so much variation in quality when it comes to ground hominy. However, to anyone who may have watched Anthony Bourdain explore the culinary traditions of Charleston, South Carolina on TV, the course white grits central to this simple breakfast suggest that, despite a budget-friendly menu, the owners of this new restaurant pay careful attention to every component of their recipes to raise them even slightly above the mean.

I spotted another small effort in the construction of their basic breakfast sandwich, the $7 “Baconeggandcheese (yes it’s one word).” Obviously, there’s nothing special about combining scrambled eggs, bacon, and American cheese, but they’ve taken effort to source kaiser rolls, based on their intention to emulate the bare bones standards established by New York City bodegas. They’ve likewise gone to esteemed local Vietnamese sandwich maker K Sandwiches to source rolls for a hoisin-flavored, grilled chicken bánh mì ($12).

But best evidence of the counter shop’s other-worldly aspirations is that Ugandan dish: The Rolex ($8). A sort of egg wrap, we might see this as a less-spicy spiritual cousin to the breakfast burrito, as web searching tells me a Rolex typically features an omelet and vegetables wrapped in the Indian flatbread roti, which is not too dissimilar from a flour tortilla. However, at Young Cluck, they opt for a thicker Indian flatbread: naan. The naan is griddle-browned to roll up scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach, diced cucumber, and red onions, with dill-infused yogurt adding herbal flavor. It’s not like any breakfast I’ve tried before, and it’s safe to say Young Cluck is not like all the other fried chicken sandwich shops either.

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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