The Wing Fix
I had the pleasure of being asked to visit and sample the food at The Wing Fix in Uptown Whittier last weekend when I was visiting my friend Annie. Before I jump in and talk about the restaurant itself, permit me to digress about my connection with Whittier. Whittier, one of the last cities-within-a-city of Los Angeles County before one crosses into Orange County, is the town my mother was born and raised in.
Though I only officially called Whittier my home for exactly three years, Whittier will always be home for the rest of my family. Until I traveled around and interacted with so many L.A. transplants, I never realized what a rare unicorn the “native Los Angeleno” is to some people. They are just like you and me, I swear!
Though only a stepping-stone compared to most places I’ve lived, my three years in Whittier were wrought with the kind of strife and over-the-top dramadies one experiences from the ages of twelve to fifteen. Though I can reflect upon them with misty water-colored memories now, the residue of teenage angst lingers. The three best events out of those years were, in fact, three people: Annette (my sister), Annie (one of my best friends) and my sister-in-law. Annie accompanied me to The Wing Fix, as she lives in the vicinity and would actually be patronizing them more regularly than I could, given that I am fifteen-ish miles away.
Now, Whittier is not known for having a wealth of culinary accolades. It has good food, but is generally lacking great food. I can count on one hand how many restaurants I’d recommend to visitors and I still cry about the loss of Zi Teresa; an event I now refer to as “This is why Whittier can’t have nice things.” Or so I thought.
Enter: The Wing Fix.
Situated in the heart of Uptown Whittier, The Wing Fix is found with a cursory poke into the newly revamped plaza along Greenleaf Avenue. Opening at the top of October 2011 under the name Wing Master Cafe, the reviews have mostly been consistently positive even when they keys were handed to new owners and it underwent a name change. The essentials were kept – mainly the wings – but the menu is evolving as the new management, under the guidance of general manager Eric, seeks honest feedback to take The Wing fix to the next level and become a Whittier staple.
Enough blather and babble, on with the food!
Mac n’ Cheese
Velveeta – cream – cheddar br>
I’m a sucker for mac n’ cheese, but knowing I needed a variety of food, I only ordered the small. I blanched when I was told the sauce is a mixture of heavy cream and Velveeta. My solitary experience with the latter was so unpleasant, my sister (the offender who fed it to us) is still humiliated by the memory, seventeen years later. Making Annie try it first, I saw her bright brown eyes light up and knew something had to of gone right. Oh. My. God. Luscious and creamy, I could have easily eaten the large. On my own. With the lights off. Oh, yeah. Ahem. This is a definite winner, and I discussed with Eric the various little ways to add some oomph, like a herbed panko crust. Though, to be honest, it isn’t essential. I’d eat this ’til the end of my days.
sweet & spicy secret sauce – fresh cilantro
I knew from the get-go these were a must for me,as sweet and spicy is a combo I cannot get enough of. Surprisingly enough, though, these sticky succulent morsels wound up being Annie’s favorite. “I just can’t get enough,” she said as she went for another. The sauce is provided by a company whose relationship was inherited from the previous owners. Of course, all of its multilayered flavors remain a secret, even to The Wing Fix staff, who add the perfect touch with fresh cilantro. Judging with my own palate, there is definitely something Southeast Asian – Vietnamese chili garlic sauce (tuong ot toi) is most assuredly employed. Whatever its other mystery seasonings hold it theirs to keep; I’m content relishing in the tastiness of the final product.
garlic parmesan wings
As this was my first experience with garlic parmesan wings, I have to say that The Wing Fix set the bar pretty damn high. The perfect balance of garlic and cheese was pleasant, but the real star was the chicken itself. Annie and I kept commenting on just how remarkably crispy these wings were without the drawback of being greasy. The meat was abundant and especially juicy. I’d order this again in a heartbeat.
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
chicken breast – Godfather sauce – carrots & celery – blue cheese dressing br>
As I wanted a variety, as well as to taste the Godfather sauce (Buffalo sauce), I went with the new chicken sandwich menu – sliders are officially off. Ground chicken is a fickle beast, and I do not blame the new owners for removing it from the menu. The sauce itself was tasty (I even got to sneak a taste on a wing from the chef’s personal batch just to assert its deliciousness when applied to wings) but the sandwich is definitely in its earliest stage of development. I did not even need to make a comment on the bread; GM Eric was already a step ahead of me in admitting its shortcomings. I suggested a starchier bread, like potato bread rolls. I look forward to the sandwiches in the future.
Beers on Tap
It ought to be mentioned that The Wing Fix also holds a “Man vs. Food” challenge in the form of the Ghostbusters Challenge: $20 gets customers 12 wings laced with Habanero and ghost chilis hot sauce. After entrants sign a waiver, they have 8 minutes to complete the challenge by consuming all twelve Ghostbusters wings. Winners are awarded a t-shirt and have their picture placed on the wall of fame.
What little there is still to work worth (e.g. the chicken sandwiches, and some of the website) will come together in the very near future, that I am confident of. The Wing Fix team is grounded, creative, open-minded and happy to listen to the suggestions of their customers in the effort to elevate the menu and connect food with community.
The Wing Fix
6518 Greenleaf Avenue, Suite #12
Whitter, CA 90601