Chixy Natural: Twirl-a-Bird
"Hey, man, you still going to use that?" the surfer-ish type guy asked as I scarfed down my meal at Chixy Natural. Oh, my lack of manners! This Costa Mesa rotisserie-chicken shop stocks eight homemade sauces in squeeze bottles left in a container, the better for everyone to squirt to their heart's content and leave them for everyone else. But me being me, I took one particular bottle to my table; it's an honest-to-goodness salsa verde that's spicy at first and only grows in heat, sour and verdant and as fine as anything served in SanTana. I kept dousing my chicken after every bite, the better for it to soak into spots that were previously unexposed. Oh, I used the to-go containers Chixy offered: that's where I put the servings of ranch dressing, blue cheese sauce, teriyaki, balsamic and other sauces whose names I didn't catch, arranging them around my plate as though planets around the sun, dragging bits of breast through them. But the salsa container? Needed more.
Chixy Natural really needs no publicity—its massive spit, spinning about two dozen chickens at once over a roaring fire pit, is among the best advertising imaginable and has created a clientele that never ends, one the owners know by name and even office. It's such a perfect lure that I've never had anything other than a quarter-chicken order in my many times there—I'm sure the bowls, wraps and sandwiches are great, but that's how luscious the chicken is. The fowl's skin is only slightly crispy, the better to make eaters focus on the flesh, juicy and soft, edible with a spoon. The simplest combo gets you a drumstick and breast, along with tortillas (though store-bought, they're of high caliber—no GRUMA shit here) and your choice of sides. While they're all fine, the best are the couscous (chockablock with raisins that cut through the salad's tartness) and baked beans out of a Southern roadhouse. Together, in this well-kept dive in a tony strip mall just a long putt away from Newport Beach, you get a lunch better-suited for a picnic at Mile Square Park.
As for the salsa I hoarded? I gave it to the guy. "Thanks, man; this stuff is great!" he exclaimed as he squirted just a bit onto his chicken.
Chixy Natural, 488 E. 17th St., Ste. B104, Costa Mesa, (949) 631-3449; www.facebook.com/chixynatural.
"Mind if I have it back when you're done?" I asked. He complied; I grabbed. Just can't part for too long with my Precious.
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