July 30, 2010
July 29, 2010
:::: 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 posted. Join us if you like! What are your wing plans for the holiday?
July 28, 2010
152 W. 44th St.
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,
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
July 26, 2010
July 21, 2010
July 20, 2010
July 14, 2010
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
1840 2nd Ave (corner of 95th St.)
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:
July 12, 2010
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).
July 08, 2010
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.
July 06, 2010
July 05, 2010
From: (hidden, to protect the innocent)Date: July 1, 2010 8:22:33 PM EDTTo: Jody LeggioSubject: I have seen the promiselandI 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.
Ok, I did a google search and found Lucky 12 Tavern at:
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.