Pitcher’s Pub – Cumberland, RI

I kind of wish I had a beer blog too, just so I could review this place there, but I think three is enough.  One of them goes virtually unattended to as it is. 

Pitcher’s Pub is the corner bar for beer snobs.  They have a great selection of beers that are constantly rotating and aren’t afraid to try new and different beers, which is refreshing to see.  On my most recent visit there, I tried their buffalo wings, which are like the rest of their fare: good, standard, well-executed and a nice complement to the beer. 

The wings were of the coated/battered variety, of which I am not usually a fan, but these were well cooked and served immediately after cooking, so the outside was still crispy.  The sauce was pretty standard, though I think I may have tasted a little extra vinegar flavor in them.  However, it was pleasantly spicy, not overwhelming and flavorful.  Blue cheese was tangy and chunky as it should be.

As good as they were, they aren’t as good as just regular wings cooked, sans breading/batter, so I have to take a star off for them.  Otherwise, they are good: well cooked, good sauce, good accompanying blue cheese.  If you like them battered/breaded, then this is a great place for wings.   

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

Wendell’s – Norton, MA

This is a surprising little place – a hole in the wall bar/restaurant that from the outside looks like the type of place that someone could come flying through the front door – or window – of at any moment, followed by a large group of people punching each other.  Once inside, it kinda reminded me of Archie’s place on Happy Days.  Nice little jukebox in the corner, a bar in the back, two dartboards on the wall.  Cozy.  Hospitable.  Smells like… wings.

The wings at Wendell’s are very reminiscent of those found at Quaker Steak & Lube, with an interesting fresh pepper flavor and different texture to the sauce.  This isn’t just Frank’s Red Hot and margarine tossed together (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), but a real home-made tasting sauce.

Like many other wing-focused menus, they offer a selection of sauces, ranging from "Sissy" which is a garlic and butter sauce that had a lot of flavor from what I tasted, all the way up to a "Suicide."  Apparently there’s an even hotter one that isn’t on the menu.  In between there you have "Sassy" (classic) and "3.5" which I still can’t figure out what it means.  You can also get a 3.25 which is the Sassy and 3.5 sauces mixed to tone it down a bit.  I got the 3.5 sauce and while it had a really good kick (by the end of the plate I needed a break to let things cool down a bit) they weren’t overpoweringly spicy to the point of ruining the flavor.  There’s a lot going on in the sauce and you don’t want to miss it. 

One hint for the Wendell virgins – the wings arrive in a bowl, with a second empty bowl turned on top.  They shake the wings to coat them like this and if you want some extra sauce, give them a shake yourself so that it all doesn’t go to the bottom.

Overall, the wings were cooked really well, the flavor was great and the atmosphere isn’t fancy at all.  But for wings and a beer, it is a great place – and is close to the Tweeter Center (Great Woods!) in Mansfield, which means it could be a new favorite destination pre (or maybe even post) concert.


P.S. We were there for a friend’s birthday, so here’s a shout-out: Happy Birthday Austin!

Friday’s “Wicked Wings”

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for Chinese food (okay – "Chinese-American" food), especially teriyaki or soy sauce flavored chicken.  Friday’s has some new boneless "Wicked Wings" that are available in buffalo and Kung Pow styles.  I haven’t had the buffalo yet, but I’ve had the Kung Pow twice in the last few months and they are pleasantly addictive if hardly haute cuisine.  But this is a buffalo wing blog, so what do you care about haute cuisine?

The tender chunks of chicken are heavily coated and fried until extra crisp, reminiscent of a good General Tso’s chicken, and then coated in a thick, sweet, tart and soy-heavy sauce, then sprinkled with sesame seeds.  The flavor is salty, sweet, and tangy, and quite satisfying.  A nice touch is that they give you extra sauce on the side so that you can adjust the amount of sauce to your liking. My only complaint is that they are served on a bed of finely shredded lettuce which sticks all over the place.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars 

Felt – Boston MA

First of all, let me assure everyone that life hasn’t been so bad that I haven’t had buffalo wings since September.  Just been a tad busy…  But I do have a few things to catch up on.

First up, before going to the Nutcracker a few weeks ago, we stopped for dinner at Felt, a nightclub/restaurant in Boston, and got just what we wanted – a nice selection of appetizers that were quick to arrive.  Among them were their "Inferno Wings" which thoroughly satisfied my wing jonesing. 

While I’m not sure if they were up to the level of "inferno" they were definitely above average in heat, and had plenty of sauce, some extra served on the side, and were nicely cooked – crispy and throughly cooked.  A nice touch was that the sauce had a nice texture to it that stuck well to the wings.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

The Original Buffalo Wing At Anchor Bar, Buffalo, NY

There’s few food items that you can go somewhere and have the original version of something in the place where it was invented.  Yes, you can go to New Orleans and have jambalaya, or Philly for cheese steaks, or Chicago for Italian beef sandwiches… but there is usually a disagreement over exactly where it started (Philly has narrowed it down to two choices with cheese steaks). 

Earlier this year I had a chance to have some Boston Cream Pie at the Parker House in Boston, where it was invented.  Oddly enough, I was rather disappointed by it – the custard wasn’t very rich, the cake wasn’t decadently moist and the chocolate frosting/glaze on top left a LOT to be desired. 

This weekend was a chance to try another original – the original buffalo wings at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY.  For a hot-wing lover like myself, this is akin to a pilgrimage; visiting the holy land where the religion of capsaicin-laden wings was born!

Walking through the restaurant, you could see people enjoying platters of wings – with the wings served on the pedestal platters normally reserved for a family-sized pizza, and the smell of oil and hot sauce wafted throughout.  The restaurant is a perfect little hole-in-the-wall joint, but was hopping on a early Saturday afternoon in late September.

Anchor_wings The wings themselves are perfectly executed if nothing else; now that buffalo-style wings are everywhere and are found in sandwiches and even in non-meat substitutes, the original can appear tame compared to what has evolved from it.  However, these wings were large – meaty and tender – and perfectly cooked, with a nice crispy skin and cooked all the way through, allowing the meat to be pulled easily off the bone.  We went with the "medium" sauce, which is the "original" – it was pleasantly hot and spicy, but not overpowering.  Hotter levels are available.  The buttery-ness of the margarine and the spicy Red Hot is a classic and is tough to beat. 

The bar and rest of the menu is basic, and the wings are traditional, but they are the original, they are prepared just the right way and are truly "authentic."

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars!!

Notice of upcoming major event

This coming weekend I’m making a hot-wing pilgrimage… on the way to Toronto I am going to the Anchor Bar, birthplace of the original buffalo wing.  Oh, the anticipation… I can’t wait to try it and see how the original stacks up to the hundreds of other versions I’ve had all around the country.  I’m not sure if this is cool or sad, but this has actually been on my "things to do in my lifetime" list for a few years now, and it’ll be the second thing I’ll check off the list this year (the other being seeing Beethoven’s 9th performed live).

Al Fresco Buffalo Chicken Sausage

Buffalo chicken in a sausage.  Wow… brilliant… pure brilliance….

This isn’t a review, but rather just a rave.. I’ve been a fan of Al Fresco sausages for a few years now, but they have reached a new plateau of genius with their latest flavor, Buffalo chicken sausage.  The color is a bit bright when you first look at them in the package, but the flavor is worth it, with plenty of spice and other flavors to make it interesting, not just one-dimensionally hot.  I highly recommend this for any other hot wing fan out there and I can’t wait to try it on some grilled pizza!

Memphis Roadhouse – Attleboro, MA

This was my first visit to Memphis Roadhouse since starting this blog, but their wings have long been a favorite of mine.  They are always pleasantly spicy and smoky, this time being no exception.

The first thing you’ll notice with an order of wings from Memphis Roadhouse is the size of the wings themselves – these are jumbo wings with plenty of meat.  This really allows them to smoke them without loosing moisture, though they are never fatty.  The sauce is pretty traditional, not needing too many other flavors thanks to the smokiness of the chicken.  The skin isn’t crispy, but isn’t greasy or fatty either, and the meat is thoroughly cooked.

As a side note, I would like to say that the food there the other night was excellent all around.  I go to Memphis at least a few times a year, but the food last night was the best I’ve ever had there and some of the best barbecue I’ve had in a restaurant, period.


Wynkoop Brewing Company – Denver, CO

A business trip to Denver afforded me the opportunity to taste some of the local eateries, including the Wynkoop Brewery, the first modern brewpub in Denver and among the forefront of the the brewpub and microbrew revolution of the last 20 or so years.

Not only was the beer excellent, but the food was great as well.  My colleagues and I just got a selection of appetizers to go with our beer and while the typical spinach and artichoke dip given a re-mix as artichoke and Parmesan dip served with big wedges of beer bread got rave reviews from everyone, I was particularly enamored with the wings.  Pleasantly spicy and sweet with a nice fresh flavor in the sauce, it complimented the perfectly cooked wings… well, perfectly.  Among some of the best wings I’ve had anywhere.

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

Maggie McFly’s – Middlebury, CT

While on a recent trip to visit y girlfriend’s friends, we ate dinner at Maggie McFly’s in Middlebury, CT.  A two-store chain of an upscale pub in Connecticut, they had the usual suspects on the menu and an appetizer sampler included buffalo wings.

These were your typical wings – the sauce was the classic buffalo wing style and the wings were cooked well enough though not particularly crispy, bordering on soggy or fatty.  I don’t have much to say about them – not that they were bad at all, but they were also nothing special.  A good enough quality wing, but also not worth going out of your way for.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5 stars