Tuesday, October 16, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 32
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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Lompoc's CK Wings offers a new spin on classic chicken wings

REBECCA ROSE

Be forewarned if you should be moved enough by this review to seek out Lompoc’s newest chicken wing venue, CK Wings: The restaurant is so new, it doesn’t even come up on Google Maps yet.

That was one hurdle I didn’t mind navigating on my search for the restaurant, after hearing rumor of a place in Lompoc that was serving Pan-Asian fusion chicken wings. My ears immediately perked up; I’m a defiantly passionate chicken wing connoisseur (lately I’ve been on a Wing Stop lemon pepper extra crispy kick), and I’m always on the hunt for something that meets my particular set of chicken wing cravings.


FULL STOP WINGS
CK Wings specializes in Asian-style chicken wings, with sauces such as peanut pineapple, salty bean and ginger, sweet and sour, garlic pepper, and more.
PHOTO BY REBECCA ROSE

CK Wings is pretty brand new; they don’t have a social media presence or a website yet (although Yelpers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, leaving rave reviews for CK Wings’ food). But what they do have is a refreshing and bold menu, one that challenges traditional American assumptions about chicken wings and puts the focus squarely back on inventiveness and (most importantly) flavor.

There is a lot going on in the menu, so it’s best to start with what they do first and foremost: chicken wings. They offer meals in six to 10 piece combos; with 10 pieces, you can combine up to two flavors. They also have platters which go up to 50 pieces and allow you to combine up to four flavors. The combos come with a drink and a choice of steamed rice or broccoli, which is a welcome healthy alternative to french fries.

The health-consciousness of the venue doesn’t stop there. Wings are offered either fried or steamed, giving diners a chance to cut out some of the fat. I was feeling decidedly un-health-conscious the day I visited, so I didn’t have a chance to try the steamed variety. But I’ve had steamed wings before and I can tell you they are perfectly fine, if you can go without the satisfying crunch of biting into a fried wing.


HOW SWEET IT IS
Coconut milk ice cream topped with salty peanuts on a hot dog bun (yes, a hot dog bun is hiding underneath all that ice cream) make up a treat known as the Insane Ice Cream Bun, served at Lompoc’s CK Wings.
PHOTO BY REBECCA ROSE

I opted for a 10-piece combo with garlic pepper wings and the bean paste and ginger wings, for about $10.75. I was planning to bring samples back to the office (I get dirty looks when I come back from my Eats lunches without leftovers) so I might suggest sticking to the six or eight piece combo, especially for something like lunch. The wings are big and very filling, so you won’t leave feeling hungry.

The garlic pepper wings were a pleasant surprise. The sauce is tangy but not spicy, with a hefty punch of garlic. The bean paste and ginger was especially scrumptious, sweet but not cloying, with a flavor reminiscent of teriyaki. The sauce on the wings is incredibly thick and sticky, a good sign that a lot of care and love goes into its preparation.

Other sauces include peanut pineapple (which sounded like pure madness, but honestly I fully trust the people at CK Wings when it comes to flavor combinations), tamarind, basil leaves, chili paste, and more. The spicy wings are served mild, so if you want to crank up the heat, just let the cashier know and they will accommodate you.

I wasn’t able to try the French balls (they were sold out), which Yelpers are especially keen on, so I opted for the fried bean curd. The texture comes out very much like a spongy bread and is served with sweet honeyed sauce. It was a huge portion for $6.99 and is probably best shared as an appetizer or snack in a big group.

Wing-a-ding-ding
CK Wings is located at 721 W. Central Ave., suite B Lompoc. More info: yelp.com/biz/my-c-k-wings-lompoc-2.

The venue also features a selection of Pan-Asian foods including chow mein and fried rice, as well as a Vietnamese pho dish and several Thai dishes. The owners seemed to have cleverly picked menu items; they appeal to customers’ familiarity with Pan-Asian food but offer a distinct twist that is all CK Wings.

For dessert, I tried the Insane Ice Cream Bun, which is coconut milk ice cream topped with peanuts and, yes, served on a hot dog bun, for $3.99. It definitely lived up to its name.

While CK Wings may not be on the map of the big Silicon Valley tech sites just yet, it’s certainly putting its own stamp on the foodie map of the Central Coast.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose likes to flap her wings. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.

 


Brunch at Kay's Country Kitchen in Orcutt.
PHOTO BY REBECCA ROSE

• I’m on a huge brunch kick right now (future Eats story coming up, I promise). One of my favorites is Kay’s Country Kitchen, which not only serves the superior mimosa in Orcutt/Santa Maria, they also have huge portions and really friendly service. Their eggs Benedict (pictured) is quite delicious, but honestly, it’s all about their hash browns. Try them at 135 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt.

• Have you heard of Crave Mini Donuts? I just learned about this unique catering venture that provides specialty mini donuts (everything is better miniaturized) for events such as weddings, fundraisers, and other special occasions. They’ll be at the Easter Eggstravaganza at River View Park in Buellton on March 31 from 9 a.m. to noon, if you want to sample their work. For more info, check them out on Instagram at @CraveMiniDonuts.




Weekly Poll
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