It's salvation for college students stuck in cafeteria purgatory. Jessie's Hot House sits smack in the middle of the S.F. State campus, a bare-bones outdoor counter serving up Southern food with an accent on the fried. SFoodie recently ordered a two-piece chicken combo ($6 with a drink and a side) and grabbed a table next door in the student center. The leg-and-thigh combo had a faint taste of cayenne and black pepper, skillfully fried, the exterior crunchy, not shattering: We wiped nary a crumb from our lap, though face-wiping was essential. Juices from the dark meat spurted erratically.
The mac and cheese is the creamy kind, with a solid cheddar tang, though it suffered from showing up flat-out cold. Ever a sucker for college gimmick food, SFoodie couldn't resist the fried fish Baco ($2), Jessie's take on a taco, with a cold square of flat bread replacing the tortilla. Too bad it tasted mostly like its hefty portion of mayo-based "dirty sauce" (Ike's influence knows no bounds), which tasted ― we swear ― like dirt. Next time we'll order the three-piece chicken combo and walk away happy.
Jessie's Hot House at San Francisco State: Cesar Chavez Student Center, 1650 Holloway (at Cardenas), 338-7188.