July 30, 2010

Dixie's Smokehouse


Dixie's Smokehouse
"Texas BBQ and Rotisserie"
12 Indian Head Road
Kings Park, NY 11754
(At the LIRR Station)
631-292-2520

Jimmy Junior, let me get this straight, you suggest Dillinger's Pub and Grill, and Jody does the review. You suggest Cabo, A Taste of Mexico, and Jody and I do the review. Now there is a review of Dixie's Smokehouse because you suggested it? Are you kidding me? You are 3 for 3 son... we must really like your suggestions! Don't worry everyone else who suggested places, we really do have a list and we will get to most of them (we don't have a travel budget yet [the FoodBuzz advertising checks have not come in yet], so those of you across the state line, it may take us a bit longer to get to you), but we truly appreciate the suggestions! Now to Dixies...

Dixie's Smokehouse Texas BBQ and Rotisserie is settled in a small shopping center just south of Northern Boulevard on Indian Head Road in Kings Park, NY... yes, the same Kings Park where Craig Biggio of the Huston Astros went to High School. It is a very small smokehouse with limited seating and a small bar. When I got there, it was pretty packed and it was a week night. I had spoke to my Uncle Carl that evening and he said the ribs were really good, but I was not there for ribs, I had three flavors of buffalo wings to conquer!

Cowboy Mike's Famous Chicken Wings come in Hot, Honey Mustard and Dixie's Smokehouse Texas BBQ flavors and are served in orders of five (5) or ten (10) wings at a time. The five size is perfect because it afforded me the opportunity to order 5 of each of the 3 flavors! I placed my order, tried a sip of a new beer they had on tap, Honker's Ale, decided I didn't want one and grabbed a Blue Moon instead. I then waited, and as I did, I read the placemat.

As I read, this caught my eye: "The Secret to True Pit Smoking- It's about time, temperature and heat source. At Dixie's Smokehouse, our smoker requires no electricity or gas to cook our meats. We smoke them using indirect heat from burning hickory wood at low temperatures over long periods of time. There are no shortcuts in our smoking process 'low and slow.'" Now that is cool and made me wish that I had ordered something smoked, not fried. But alas, my wings were on their way, and I couldn't have been more excited!

My wings arrived all on one plate and ready to be consumed. I took my usual picture and the family next to me started whispering about how weird that was. I tried to explain that I blog about wings, but I still think they walked away thinking I was a complete weirdo. Some people, I mean really. I then went back to the wings and tackled them one flavor at a time, starting with the hot.





Bottom left- Hot
Bottom Right- Honey Mustard
Top Center- Dixie's Smokehouse Texas BBQ




The hot were not overpowering and the heat did not blow me out of the water by any stretch. What they did have was late blooming spice that got stronger as I hit wings number two, three, four and five. The sauce was not your traditional butter and hot sauce, but it was very tasty. I know there was cayenne pepper in there, but the other flavors I could not place. They are worth ordering again.

I then moved on the the honey mustard and just looking at them I was a bit disappointed. The fatal flaw with these wings were that they were fried first and then tossed in the honey mustard. If you want the sauce to permeate the wing, you really need to fry them after they are dipped in the honey mustard and then toss them again in the sauce. What saved these wings was the fact that the honey mustard they use is very good and they used a lot of it. There was a decent puddle of it on the bottom of the plate and you know I sopped up the last few wings in it. Again, I'd order them again.

I finished the night off with the Dixie's Smokehouse Texas BBQ sauce. Anyone who knows me (or has read previous reviews) knows I don't like BBQ sauce on wings. It is usually too sweet and is just not for me. Dixie's BBQ is really no different. The wings were drenched in it, which is a plus, the smokey flavor in the BBQ sauce was a nice change from the norm and they had a bit of a kick, but they were still too sweet for my liking. If you like BBQ sauce, and you like the taste of smoke, then you may enjoy these, but they just are not for me.

These wings were all cooked to a nice crisp, retained they juiciness on the inside and just as Jimmy Junior said on our Facebook page, they were a bit small in size. They are a decent deal though, five (5) for $4.49 and ten (10) for $7.49, so my fifteen (15) wings set me back $11.98 or $00.80 per wing. My beer was $6, so I was sated on $17.98 + tip worth of wings and beer.

The only side note I have to this review is the day after eating these wings I was not feeling too well. Those of you who know me, know that I have a bit of a weak stomach at times, and those of you who don't know me, well, now you know too. I am about 99.99% sure that the food was not the issue and it was too many incredible flavors for my weak stomach to handle. I have to tell you about this aspect of the experience because if the same thing happens to you, then our readers need to know!

All in all, give Dixie's Smokehouse a try when you are in Biggio's backyard! I can't wait to go back and try the ribs and brisket!

July 29, 2010

National Buffalo Wing Day




:::: Happy National Buffalo Wing Day!!! ::::

In July of 1977, the Mayor of Buffalo, NY, Stanley Makowski, proclaimed this date National Buffalo Wing Day. Some Hooters locations are giving away free wings, check the location nearest you. We'll be in Port Jefferson, NY - most likely Grumpy Jacks, but we'll keep you pos
ted. Join us if you like! What are your wing plans for the holiday?

July 28, 2010

Virgil's Real Barbecue


152 W. 44th St.
New York, NY 10036
map

Dear BBQ Wings,


It's no secret that you and I got off to a bad start. You're generally too sweet... too tangy... and pale in comparison to the myriad other varieties of wings available. I've said some bad things about you, publicly. I've embarrassed you and called you mean names to our readers. While sometimes you do deserve it, I have to admit that my feelings have changed. I think we're turning over a new leaf you and I. Ends up, I was just at the wrong places at the wrong times. I've been enlightened though. My last two experiences have been wonderful. We got off on the wrong foot, but I think we can turn this around. I'm willing to give it a try if you are.


Your new friend,

Jody


Yeah, that's right. I now like BBQ wings and I'm not afraid to say it. After having a pretty satisfactory batch at Canz in Astoria, I followed the recommendation of reader Rebecca Podniesinski and visited Virgil's Real Barbecue in Times Square. We've really been trying to hit all of the recommended places lately, which is really great for us. We used to actually have to do research and whatnot to try and come up with places to go. Now we just work our way down the list. Keep 'em coming. The other day, I found myself in Chelsea with some time to kill, so I hopped on the 1 train and headed for 42nd St. I'm pretty sure that most of our readers are either from NY or have been there, so you can appreciate the amount of dedication it takes to brave the perils of Times Square. You're welcome.


Luckily, I went late in the afternoon, after lunch but before the PM rush - it was fairly empty. I found a spot at the bar and put in an order for wings. Like I said, I did like the BBQ wings at Canz. However, they're not even in the same league as Virgil's. Canz has wings with BBQ sauce on them. Virgil's has real, smoked, BBQ wings. There's a huge difference. While sitting and waiting for my wings, I read that they're smoked over a combination of three different types of wood which, obviously, impacts the flavor of the meat. I'm just an amateur foodie, but from what I know there are basically two schools in the BBQ world. One is all about the sauce. The other casts the sauce aside in favor of a dry rub... and never, so I thought, the Twain shall meet. Not the case at Virgil's. The wings were coated in sauce as well as a mixture of spices. I loved this. Between the smokey flavor, the taste of the sauce and the accent from the spices, these wings were among the tastiest I've ever had. They were excellent. They looked great too... there was a Midwestern tourist couple sitting next to me. They weren't hungry, but popped in to grab a beer and escape the heat for a while. After seeing my plate of wings, they were convinced to come back later to try the food. I hope they did.


I tried the chipotle ranch dressing. It was good, but unnecessary. These wings were fine on their own.


I know we usually look for the perfect char or crisp on the skin but, since these were slow cooked, I didn't feel bad making an exception. They were so tender that the meat basically just fell off the bone. I don't think I even needed my teeth. As for the price, here's your tip of the day: sit at the bar. On the menu, it lists wings at $13.95. However, everything on Virgil's "bar bites" menu is $8.95. There were about 8 full wings to an order, which means 16 when broken into the wings and drums. That puts them around 56¢/wing, which is a pretty good price... but in Times Square that's basically free.


One of my favorite side notes was the "napkin". Normally, you'd go through a whole stack while eating these wings. Virgil's thought of that and, instead of napkins or paper towels, they give you a full sized kitchen towel. When you're done, you get a wet, steaming wash cloth instead of a wet-nap. Classy.


If I had a washing machine in my Co-op, I might do this every night at dinner.


Well, consider me a convert. I'm a fan of a good BBQ chicken wing. Now I just have to convince my colleagues. Jeremy, Steve... maybe Dinosaur BBQ?


Epilogue: I did have leftovers. After writing this review, at about 1 am, I'm heading to my refrigerator to crush the survivors. Mmmm.





July 27, 2010

Trongs 60 Second Commercial


Wow. The only thing worse than Trongs is their infomercial. Somewhere, Billy Mays is rolling in his grave right now.

"Come on guys... that's why you hire a professional, like me."

Seriously though, I hope these guys make like a bajillion dollars off of these things. Long live the American Dream.

See their website here. Read our original review of their product here.

July 26, 2010

Cabo- A Taste of Mexico


Cabo
"A Taste of Mexico"
3A N. Park Avenue
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
516-255-0065

My wife and I were married back in February, but delayed our honeymoon a few months because of work. So, we left for Cabo, Mexico on July 11th and came back on July 17th. Let me tell you, Cabo San Lucas and Cabo San Jose are amazing places. Great food, amazing beaches, beautiful hotels and pools, great activities (ATV rides through the desert, catamaran sunset cruises, jet skiing, zip lines, fishing trips, etc.), and amazing night life. We stopped at Cabo Wabo, which was a bit of a disappointment this time of year, Senor Frogs closed at like 8 PM but the Giggling Marlin... now that place was CRAZY! We had a blast in Mexico... but we did not have any wings! I know, I know... but I think I found a way to make it up to you guys.

Three days after coming home from my honeymoon, Jody (one of my fellow Wingmen, not my wife) and I went to Cabo, Rockville Centre. Listen... it is "A Taste of Mexico" so it will have to do! Jimmy Junior, a member of the Wingmen faithful, actually suggested Cabo back in April on the Facebook page, so I was glad we could get there. We really appreciate the suggestions and are doing our best to get to all the places you guys recommend.

Jody and I took a look at the menu and there seemed to be only one flavor of wing, but it came in three different heat categories. Their "secret sauce from across the boarder" can be made in Mild, Medium or Diablo. I don't speak Spanish, but Diablo, if I am not mistaken, means Devil and my Dirty Canz Wings experience makes me a bit weary of any wing that threatens to be that hot. I asked the waitress how hot the Diablo is and she said, "I have not tried them, but most customers eat just 3 of them." Jody and I looked at each other and, at the same time, said "medium."

We ordered the double portion of medium south of the boarder wings and asked the waitress about their beer selection. She told us that "we don't really have a lot of bottled beers, but we do have a Mexican beer." Her answer, not being very helpful, caused me to look at the bar and I grabbed a Dos Equis, which I saw they had on tap, and Jody had "the Mexican beer," which happened to be the Modelo Negro. Happy with our beverage selection, we just waited for our wings.

When they came out, the waitress brought them over to us and said "wow, that's a lot of wings" and we agreed. We thought we would have a hard time finishing such a massive plate of wings. There had to be 16-20 wings on that plate and they were HUGE. I mean, the chickens that had these wings spent a lot of time in either the gym or sitting around watching late night TV and eating bon bons. I guess my main point is that these were big chickens.

As for how they tasted, well, they were phenomenal. These perfectly cooked wings were everything you want in a non-traditional buffalo wing. They were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and extremely meaty. Each wing was a mini-gourmet hot wing meal and I have not told you about the sauce yet.

I think the sauce was one of the best flavors I have ever eaten. The first bite explodes in your mouth with a subtly sweet, almost molasses flavor. As you chew the last few bites of the wing, the sauce is still not done. It then switches over to a spicy, peppery finish that completely compliments the sweet beginning. The flavors were so amazingly balanced that we just annihilated the plate. We had no trouble consuming every last wing on the table and they got better as we got to the last few. As you may now know, Jody and I are huge fans of the sauce reservoir at the bottom of the plate and Cabo did not disappoint. There was a nice big puddle at the bottom and the last few wings were drenched in the tangy, peppery sauce.

The flavors were so unique that I had to ask the waitress what the sauce was. Now remember, her description of Modelo Negro, was "a Mexican beer," so it was a bit of a stretch to think she knew, but I asked anyway. She didn't know, but asked the chef. She came back and told us the following: "He said it was a 'tamarang' sauce, I don't know what it is, but it is a sweet and spicy sauce." Neither Jody nor I had any idea what "tamarang" was, so I looked it up. So, according to Google, "tamarang" is a pharmaceutical company, a country in some fantasy novel world, and an engineering company. Ok, so not really a sauce ingredient, strike 1. I then looked up "tamaran" thinking maybe the "g" was me mishearing. "Tamaran" is the planet Starfire of the Teen Titans is from in the DC Universe. Ok... Strike 2. The spelling autocorrect on my Mac says maybe it is "tamarind." Tamarind is a tropical plant native to Africa that was heavily introduced to Mexico in the 1600's by the Portuguese and Spanish colonists (or African slaves of that time, there seems to be some debate). The legume or, fruit of a tamarind plant is best described as sweet and sour. I think we have hit a home run with that description. Add some spicy peppers to the sweet tamarind and you have the Cabo "south of the border" sauce.

Cabo- A Taste of Mexico is a solid restaurant that has great wings. Their Jalapeno Snappers (not poppers) were really good and piping hot... Jody, has your burnt mouth healed yet? They also supply chips and salsa which were also really good. The wings were a good value, 16-20 of them for about $13.00 which is $00.65 at the low end and $00.81 at the high. Cabo is very much Wingmen approved! Head on over there and try them out for yourself! Thanks for the suggestion Jimmy Junior! Maybe next time I'll order the Diablo wings.






Here is a shot of us actually on our honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico at The Office. Can't wait to go back!

July 21, 2010

Grilled Hot Wings with a Habanero Honey Mustard Sauce

Location: Jeremy's back yard.
Website: Sorry, none.


Steve-O, getting down to business.

Needing to get together for some Wingmen business, Jeremy decided to have a barbecue at his place. Jody, his family and myself (my wife was attending a shower for her sister's wedding) joined Jeremy and his wife at their home. I called Jeremy to see if he needed anything and to ask if he would be ok if I brought over some wings in a new honey mustard sauce I had been working on. He was stoked at the idea.

I got to work on my sauce. I grabbed an already prepared habanero mustard that I use on sandwiches at home. It is super spicy and tastes great. I poured that into a glass jar and added some pure honey. For honey mustard, I read online that about 3 parts mustard to 1 part honey is a good ratio, but I feel that it is up to you. If you like it thick, less honey is good. If you like it thinner, use a bit more. Taste and texture rule this game, so what you like is where it should be. I also added some black pepper, salt, garlic powder and onion powder. Not a lot, but enough to give it a little extra flavor.

The problem I was having was that the habanero was super hot and this honey mustard was kicking my ass. Every time I tried it, my mouth would be on fire. I needed to cut the spice with something, but I was not sure what would work. I read some recipes online that used sour cream in their honey mustard, but we were fresh out of sour cream (gotta love Taco Tuesdays!). The next best thing I could find was some mayonnaise. I was not sure how this would work, so I went slow, adding just a little at a time. I would say that I ended up putting 3 or 4 table spoons of mayo in and it cut the heat, as well as gave the honey mustard a lighter color. I tasted it and was very happy with the flavor and consistency.

I then combined the uncooked chicken winglets with about 1/2 of the habanero honey mustard and let them sit for over an hour. The grill, already being hot from the Italian sausage and garlic bread that Jeremy and Diane had served as an appetizer (which was amazing), was ready for the wings, and they cooked in about 10 minutes to a perfect charred outside and juicy interior. I took them off the grill, placed them in a large bowl that can be covered and poured the rest of the honey mustard over them. I covered the bowl and shook them up until they had a fresh coat of honey mustard on them. It is very important to both cook the flavor in and then re-introduce the flavor by shaking the sauce over the wings again.

Mmmm, nice grill marks.

At this point, I will leave the review of the Barbecued Habanero Honey Mustard Wings to my fellow Wingmen. Jody, Jeremy... the post is yours.

Jeremy:

Long and short of it was they were fantastic. So good, that it kept us from eating the other stuff that was prepared for the BBQ. The wings had a good meat to bone ratio and the sauce was excellent. The sauce had a zing to it that kept you craving more. I had to even give the credit in that the wings were cooked to perfection. Somewhat crispy on the outside and moist in the middle. Always good when its moist in the middle....gigidity. The best part was the next day. Ever have that moment where you hope something magically appears in your refridgerator......well, it did. I was not aware that everyone was given a little doggy bag of leftover wings. There they were..........ah like winning a scratch off.

Jody:

The best part of homemade wings is that you can come up with unique flavors that might not be too common at your local pub. Steve is really good at that and it's exactly what he did for his habaƱero honey mustard wings. It certainly wasn't your average honey mustard flavor, this was hot... and that's after he added mayo to cut the heat. I wonder what they tasted like before that. The heat wasn't over powering though, there was a nice balance. The flavors still came through. As Jeremy said above, they had a good char from the grill but the meat was still tender. If I had to think of one thing to criticize, it would be that there could have been more sauce. I don't feel bad saying that because I'm pretty sure that's what Steve said when we sat down to eat them. We're both big fans of the dipping reservoir. But hey, that's what happens when you prepare something at home and bring it to your friends to cook. You can't just whip up some more. All-in-all, these were solid wings... well done Steve. I think you've earned the seal of approval. And I'm with Jeremy, the doggy bag was a nice surprise - Thanks Diane! I'm looking forward to the next time we get to sit down to some home made wings.

The finished product. Nice work!

July 20, 2010

Baked Wings- Aunt Jan Style














Fourth of July is synonymous with barbecues and if you are lucky, some of those barbecues will be amazing enough to serve hot wings. I mean, how can you go wrong with a spicy appetizer that is cooled off with a creamy, rich bleu cheese on a hot American holiday? I argue that you can not!

My Aunt Jan and Uncle Steve hosted a family barbecue this 4th (and many other 4th's before it) and my Aunt Jan, a Wingmen supporter, baked a huge tray of her secret buffalo wings. As I went in to grab some dinner, my cousin, her husband, my sister, brother and many other members of my family jokingly (in a super serious way) suggested that I review the wings for the site. I think they doubt me, as if I had no intention of reviewing them, c'mon family!

Before I give my opinion, here is Aunt Jan's explanation of her cooking process:
List of ingredients: Chicken wings with tips removed, Butter, Lemon Juice, (Secret Ingredients, sorry folks) and Hot Sauce.
With the oven at 400 Degrees, bake wings in roasting pan sprayed with PAM... single layer for 1hr turning wings every 20 minutes to crisp slightly. Transfer to clean roasting pan... throw away is great... also spray with PAM. Add the hot sauce to the sauce mixture....reheat til warm... mix well. Pour over wings and bake at 400 degrees for about 1/2 or til bubbley.


Aunt Jan, you wing-making culinary genius! These wings were amazing. Baked to a crispy outside, juicy inside, coated in an amazing buffalo sauce that is not a very thick, super spicy, reddish-orange mess. They had a decent kick, I usually like them a bit hotter, but they tasted so good, the lack of spice didn't matter (plus it is a family party, so you don't want to make something that people who don't like spicy food won't eat). There was also a huge reservoir of the tasty sauce at the bottom of the aluminum tray.

Thumbs up Aunt Jan! The Wingmen approve! Thanks for the support!

July 14, 2010

BonChon Chicken

Find a location near you


A relatively new culinary trend is starting to take hold in New York. KFC. Yup, in the South, people eat this style of fried chicken all the time. Luckily, it's been making it's way over to us in recent years. Oh, I'm not talking about the South as in below the Mason-Dixon line. I'm talking about below the DMZ in South Korea. KFC doesn't only stand for Kentucky Fried Chicken anymore. Now it stands for Korean Fried Chicken as well. Confusing, I know.


So what separates Korean Fried Chicken from the fried chicken we're used to? Aside from the obvious differences that would be apparent between any nationalities (namely seasoning), KoFC uses a technique known as double frying. The first time a wing hits the oil, it is to ensure it's thoroughly cooked. The second time is to create a super crispy, almost shell-like, crust out of the skin. All of the flavors are infused into the chicken and it gets a very unique texture.


It seems that the two most popular KoFC franchises in The States are Kyochon and BonChon. A while back, I think it was Tim Hill who suggested we give BonChon a try. Well, it took a few months but we finally got there. BonChon is a franchise based in South Korea that now has almost 40 locations. More than a handful of them are right here in New York. I stopped by my local BonChon for lunch yesterday afternoon.


After a quick glimpse at the menu board, I placed an order for a small box of wings (9 pieces). You have a choice of two flavors: Hot and Soy Garlic. Of course, I got a combo of the two. First of all, due to the double frying process, the prep time is around 30 minutes. So if you're in a rush, you might want to just head over to the other KFC for a Double Down or something and wait until you have some time to try KoFC. After walking around for a half-hour, I finally returned to BonChon for my KoFC feast.


It was packaged in a neat little box that divided the two different flavors. It also came with pickled radish and a side of Kimchi coleslaw. I guess that's the Korean version of carrots and celery.


Pickled radish > carrot, Kimchi coleslaw > celery.


As I took my first bites into the soy and garlic wings, my first impression was hardly a surprise: wow, that's crispy. My second thought was: wow, that's hot. Not spicy, just steaming, piping hot. They just came out of the fryer, but I have no self control and kept eating. I probably didn't actually taste a wing until I was halfway done. When my taste buds finally did come around, I was very pleased. It's no secret that I've always loved the Asian flavored wings, so coming from an Asian restaurant, these flavors were good. The hot wings had some serious kick. While American hot wings tend to use cayenne to turn up the heat, these were powered by some super hot Korean red pepper. I don't know if this makes sense, but it seemed like a more aggressive heat to me. Yes, I broke a sweat and yes, my nose was running. In my defense, I don't think the air conditioner was working and it was bordering on 90 degrees. Still, these were hot. Thank god for the pickled radish and Kimchi coleslaw. These did a much better job of cutting the heat than carrots and celery ever have. I think I'm going to try asking for them next time I'm in an Irish pub, we'll see what they say.


Hot on the left, Garlic Soy on the right.


I can see how people get addicted to these wings. The flavors are potent and the uncommon texture really stands out. There are people who claim they put crack in their sauce... I get that. On the other hand, I can also see why some people call them overrated. The quality of meat wasn't great, they were puny and, at $11 for 9 wings, they were far from a bargain. In my mind, they're the White Castle of chicken wings. You know it's not that good, but there's just something about it that makes you have to have it every so often (usually while inebriated at 3 am). So no, these aren't the best wings I've ever had. But I'm sure I'll be craving them a few weeks from now. Come to think of it, I could kind of go for a sack of sliders right about now.

July 13, 2010

Merrion Square Bar & Restaurant


1840 2nd Ave (corner of 95th St.)
New York, NY 10128
Website

One of the really cool things that has been happening as a result of this blog actually being read from time to time is that I have been getting all kinds of texts and emails asking for wing suggestions as well as giving recommendations for future reviews. After my experience at Dave and Busters, I was glad to get this tip on a great, local, Irish pub on the Upper East Side via text:

"Merrion Square!! 95th and 2nd. Impressive. Traditional Buffalo, nice and crispy, not over cooked and great beer with cooler pitchers. Great deals: buy a pitcher, half dozen wings free."

That was a promising lead, similar to the email I got for Lucky 12 Tavern. The difference, though, between the two is that Lucky 12 Tavern is a few states away. Merrion Square is just a quick walk on Canal St. and a ride uptown on the 6 train. I don't mind taking people's word for it, but getting to taste them for myself is even better. So a few days later, a few of us met after work to give them the official Wingmen seal of approval.

I'd say the description was pretty spot on. The key phrase to me is "traditional Buffalo". These wings weren't anything extraordinary and they probably don't stand out among the thousands of Irish pubs in New York City. But they were an absolute success in delivering everything you'd expect from a traditional Buffalo style chicken wing. Good meat, nice crisp, thick coat of sauce, decent amount of heat and, most importantly, great flavor.

Look, you can see that nice crisp in the skin.

You also can't really beat their special of free wings with a pitcher of beer. It's like, let me get this straight... we look all over for great wing night specials. 10¢ wings, 25¢ wings, sometimes even 50¢ wings and you're saying you're just going to give me free wings... just for buying beer... which I was going to do anyway? Now that is a wing special.

Some of their specials up on the board. Nice chalk work.

Other notes on the bar: It was pretty empty and, from what I hear, it doesn't usually get over crowded. Back in our college days, that was the kiss of death. It's dead? Move on. Now, in our advanced age, it's funny how we have a greater appreciation for being able to claim a bar stool and hear each others conversation. Merrion Square also has a pool table and Skee-ball game (which is having a huge resurgence in NYC - I think I want to join a league). Its biggest downfall is that it's an Eagles bar. Yeah, I know. I guess this will be more of a warm weather pub.

Skee-ball - one of my favorite sports.

This sign was above the urinal in the men's room. Yes, I can multitask.

July 12, 2010

Killarney's Cottage



Killarney's Cottage
63-28 Woodhaven Blvd.
Rego Park, NY 11374
718-426-8580

Do you like wings? Do you like softball chicks? Well hit Killarney's up. Eating with no hint of feeling self-conscious and pub sponsored softball ladies all around... or at least they were that night. We, the 3 Wingmen who used to play on a Queens league baseball team together, should, however, be ashamed of ourselves since our baseball team couldn't get sponsored by this bar and they did. Now, we are not good looking ladies, but we did not know that Killarney's discriminates by gender in their sponsorship of adult sports. I wonder who would win a game of softball between our former baseball team and those ladies? Hmmmm, probably them. But I digress... on to the wings!

Simply stated, really good. My fellow Wingmen liked the teriyaki wings. For me, I'm not a fan of them but they were okay. They were cooked quite well, covered in sticky teriyaki sauce and were sitting in a lot more at the bottom of the plate. Jody and Steve, who enjoy that kind of thing, were quite happy. Their hot wings, however, were pretty jacked. My lips even peeled the next day. Spicy wings cooked to a crispy perfection on the outside and juicy goodness on the inside... I mean, what else can I say? Good stuff. Killarney's, our hats are off to your wings (but not your hatred of men's league baseball).








The hot wings were slammin'!







The prices were reasonable and the bar set up was great. Anywhere you looked, there were televisions set to any game on that night. We watched a Mets game, Yankees game and even a playoff hockey game (yes, time-delayed review, *spoiler alert, the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup*) at the same time. When you go, tell em the Wingmen sent ya!

July 08, 2010

Donnigan's Pub














Donnigan's Pub
"Irish Coffee Specialists"
1094 N. Long Beach Road
South Hempstead, NY 11550
(Borders Rockville Centre)
516-486-9127

On a balmy afternoon in June, Jeff (a professor at the college I work for) and myself went out for some wings near our place of employment. We hit up a local favorite for the faculty and staff, Donnigan's Pub. This is a small, very local oriented pub in the South Hempstead/Rockville Centre area of Nassau County. Many of us wonder how Donnigan's stays open, since we have never seen it crowded, ever. But there it is, open each and every day for lunch and dinner, and advertising catering for larger events. The staff is friendly and helpful, the beer selection is decent and there are multiple TV's to catch the games.

We ordered up some wings and beer, chatted about the horrible housing market on Long Island and pondered why the taxes in New York are exceptionally high. I adjunct in the Professor's department and we have chatted about The Wingmen many times. While sitting at Donnigan's at an end of the year party, we discussed getting together and collaborating on a wing review for this small favorite of ours.

So there we were, sitting at the bar waiting, discussing properties, taxes and world peace, all while waiting for the wings to arrive. When they finally got there, I was very disappointed in what I saw. They were small fried chicken winglets on a plate. I honestly groaned a bit when I saw them because they reminded me of the wings from Chicken Holiday, which seemed to upset at least one reader of this blog (check out the comments at the end of the review).

Here is what the Professor thought:
Confession: I love Buffalo wings, hot wings, pepper wings..call’em what you will. Really: I’m not that picky.
Confession: I also love fried chicken. Lord, do I love fried chicken! Of course, I defy anyone to live in Atlanta for five years and not acquire a love of fried chicken, but that's another story.
What I don’t much like is ordering a plate of hot wings and then getting a plate of fried chicken wings and a bottle of Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Yet that’s what we got when a Wingman and I visited Donnigan’s Pub in South Hempstead.
The wings were reasonable, for Long Island fried chicken. Medium-sized, lightly breaded, nicely cooked, juicy but not underdone, crunchy but not burnt. Pete’s was Pete’s—it’s a bottle: help yourself. The celery slices were fine; the mystery white sauce (slightly browned and crusting) that accompanied the celery was a likely combo of mayonnaise and dressing scrapings. A fine compliment to Pete’s, theoretically, but not something I’d ever order on purpose. Much like the wings, really.
Now that I know Donnigan’s sells fried chicken wings, I may order them again. But until they decide to involve a middle-man who knows how to spice ‘em up nice, I’ll take a pass on anything labeled “hot” on the menu. Unless, of course, I find myself in the mood for some Texas Pete and can’t make it to the grocery store.


I agree with Jeff 100%. The wings, fried well, are not buffalo wings. They are fried chicken. They had no sauce to them, they had no spice to them... they had no... no nothing to them (sorry for the double negative, but I am emphasizing how little these wings had). The bartender served them with some Texas Pete hot sauce, which I used to douse the wings. As good as Texas Pete's hot sauce is, it is just a flavor enhancer, not something one would use to turn a fried chicken wing into a buffalo wing. It is not made for that. I mean, how hard is it to take some butter and bottled hot sauce, combine them on the stove and then cover an order of wings with the concoction? Not hard. Not hard at all.

Ultimately, I am going to say stay away from Donnigan's Pub's wings. They just are not buffalo wings. As far as fried chicken goes, you can do a lot better at Chicken Holiday, KFC and about a hundred other places. They just were not that good. I honestly do not remember how much they cost, so I can't even tell you if monetarily they were a good deal of not... but it doesn't matter, I don't recommend getting wings there anyway.

July 06, 2010

SELL OUT with The Wingmen




"Sell out. With me, oh yeah. Sell out. With me tonight.
The record company's gonna give me lots of money
and every thing's gonna be alright."

By now you may have started noticing some changes to our site. The rumors are true, we've sold out. Caved to The Man. Given in to corporate America. Succumbed to The Machine. We're now a link in the chain, just another brick in the wall.

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. Although the cliches are a bit over the top, we have, in fact, signed on with a food blogging network. The Wingmen blog is now a part of the foodbuzz featured publishers program. Foodbuzz is a food blogging community that partners with small blogs like ours and helps them reach a larger audience while providing revenue sharing through like minded advertising - or something like that. We're really excited for this new opportunity and wish to thank all of our loyal readers. Without the traffic to the site, we would not have been accepted into the program. So please continue reading and, if you really like us, don't forget to click on the ads every once in a while. I think we get like 3¢ for every bajillion clicks (give or take), so maybe after a few years we'll be able to take a few of you out for some wings on us!

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

*Note to Reel Big Fish: Please don't sue us for using your video. We'll take it down as soon as we receive your cease and desist letter. Yours truly, The Wingmen.

July 05, 2010

Lucky 12 Tavern

Anyone from North Carolina here? I received this email from a friend at work the other day. He's on vacation in NC right now:

From: (hidden, to protect the innocent)
Date: July 1, 2010 8:22:33 PM EDT
To: Jody Leggio
Subject: I have seen the promiseland

I have eaten the best wings I have ever eaten today.. didn't think i'd find them in obx, but I did. Perfectly fried, no breading, chicken cooked to perfection, unbelievably juicy, and the sauce... to die for my friend. To die for.

The place is called Lucky 12 Tavern. I suggest you got to NC just for this.

----END TRANSMISSION---

Ok, I did a google search and found Lucky 12 Tavern at:

3308 South Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959

Here is the website's description of their wings:

Chicken Wings Eight Whole Wings The Way they are Supposed to be – Simply Fried, Crispy on the Outside, Juicy on the Inside – None of that Silly Breading Action to Get in the Way —Tossed in Chipotle Barbecue or Mikey D’s Classic Buffalo Sauce - Hot or Mild. (That’s like 16 Wings you get anywhere else) Served with the Most Ridiculously Flavorful Bleu Cheese Dressing you have ever had $9.99

They sound pretty solid. Anyone else ever been there? This has probably been my favorite part of this blog so far. It's been almost a year since this started out as (mostly) a joke. Now, I probably get at least 2 emails/texts per week from someone telling me that they found some great wings. It's awesome, please keep it up. I don't know how we're ever going to eat at all of the places you guys mention to us, but we're sure as hell going to try.

July 02, 2010

Dave and Busters


Locations all around the country


I've never been a huge fan of large chains. The food usually isn't as good as privately owned places and they just don't have the same charm as the mom n' pop restaurants. Sometimes though, they have their place. A perfect example is going out to dinner with my wife and one year old daughter, Gianna-Rose. Gianna is a very well behaved child, but when she sits down at a dinner table she has the attention span of - well, a one year old (unless she's chowing down, then she's all business). It was one of those scorching hot days that we had in New York last week and we had to get out of our hot apartment. Dave and Busters is air conditioned, loud, bright, has all kinds of flashing lights and noises and has a wide open eating area. Perfect. We grabbed our stuff and headed out.

It never even crossed my mind to review this place. That's why I wasn't prepared, as you can tell by these photos that I ripped off from the internet. As a matter of fact, the last thing I wanted to eat was wings. This was the day after Steve and I went on a tear and scarfed down an enormous amount of wings from three different bars. I didn't even want to look at another wing for at least a few days. Or so I thought. Ends up my wife orders an appetizer sampler platter (I love those) that included a few Buffalo style wings. I took one look and thought, "of course I have to try them".

I'm pretty sure these are from Dave and Busters, but who knows.

I was a little disappointed in myself. They were fresh, plump, well cooked and flavorful. I actually liked them. Is that allowed? I mean, we're supposed to be wing connoisseurs and here I am enjoying food from a chain. My credibility is shot. In my defense, the menu did say that their sauce was "original", for whatever that's worth. So maybe they did put some effort into it, who knows. Still, it made me feel a little uneasy. Where do I go from here? TGiF? Chili's? Do I just have to throw in the towel and call it a career with this whole wing reviewing thing?

Ah, who am I kidding... we're talking about chicken wings here. Sure some are better than others (and some are way better), but it's not like we're talking about an exquisite dish from a Michelin Starred, James Beard Award winning restaurant. They're wings. Basically left over chicken parts that nobody wanted, deep fried and tossed in store-bought sauce with some butter. Going out for wings is as much about the experience as it is about the food, maybe more. So I think I can come back down from the ledge. If you're in the mood to play some video games, while drinking beer and eating wings, Dave and Busters is a decent option in my book. Just to be safe though, my next review will be a nice, small, Irish pub.