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

Quaker Steak & Lube – Sharon, PA

This is definitely one of the best "wing pilgrimages" you can make if you’re a buffalo wing fan, outside of going to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, home of the buffalo wing itself.  Quaker Steak & Lube place has the tag line "Best Wings USA" and they do have some damn good wings.  I won’t even try to explain the name – just look at the web site and read the section on "The Story."

I went to Quaker last August on a business trip, long before this blog was started, and wound up there on "All You Can Eat Wing Night" which gave me a chance to try a variety of wings.  They were so good, I ordered some of their sauces online when I got home.

This trip put us at the restaurant a day later, so we were there on "bike night" which was an experience in itself, with hundreds and hundreds of bikes surrounding us.  Without the the buffet set-up I had to actually choose a style of wing to try, which is tougher than you would think with 16 sauces ranked in order of Scoville Heat Units (SHU) from a very mild sauce all the way up to an "Atomic" sauce which is ranked at 150,000 Scoville units and requires a release form to be signed before they serve you.  Being a relatively intelligent person, I didn’t go that far, but I did get their "Arizona Ranch" style wings, which were among my favorites last time.

The Arizona Ranch is a spicy ranch sauce, kind of a combination of buffalo wing sauce and ranch dressing, slightly creamy and lots of flavor.  I also got a side of their "Suicide" sauce, rated at 30,000 SHU and described as "for real wing nuts."  Since I have a blog and a domain name for wings, I figured I qualified!

The Arizona Ranch wings I got for dinner were quite good – they know how to cook their wings here.  Crispy, tender, cooked all the way through.  The flavor was good, but I would have liked a bit more sauce on them – the sauce is so good, I simply wish there was more.

The Suicide sauce was very hot as anticipated, but still with a lot of flavor. It was great to dip the wings in, but an entire serving of wings drenched in that sauce might be too much – the sauce is fairly thick and sticks heavily to the meat, so it would definitely be a BIG hit of heat.

My dining companion for the evening (my boss, just for the record) got a few wings, trying their new wasabi ginger spice dust and got a side of the Golden Garlic wing sauce, which may be my second favorite after the Arizona Ranch.  The spice-dusted wings were good – crispy with no sauce and a nice pleasant flavor.  I think that it would be great on some grilled chicken.

The wings here are as good as you can get, and you can’t beat the selection.  I wish that there was more sauce on the wings I got, but the last time at the buffet there was plenty of sauce.  I haven’t been to one of their chain stores – only to the original in Sharon, PA.

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars, based both on quality and principle!!

Persimmon Chicken Wings

There used to be an Asian supermarket in Providence called Persimmon’s that had a great take-out counter.  Among the selections were these phenomenal wings that were like eating candy – coated with a sweet, salty, garlicky soy-based glaze that made you want to lick the take-out container, they were some of the best Asian-style wings I’ve ever had.  Unfortunately, they closed a few years ago and they were gone forever.

Until a few years ago, when I discovered a recipe cut out from the newspaper that my mom had saved.  They were just for a "Chinese Chicken Wings" but the recipe looked so perfectly simple that I figured it was worth trying.  To my pleasant surprise, it was almost an exact replica of the Persimmon wings.  Here’s the recipe:


  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons good quality dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice

Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  While that is heating, measure out the sugar and soy sauce into a bowl and add enough water to dissolve the sugar.

Once the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic (I often used the pre-chopped stuff that comes in jars, especially if I’m doing a large batch of this).  CAREFULLY cook this until the garlic turns a dark brown.  YOU MUST WATCH THIS CAREFULLY.  Not only does the garlic start popping and splattering all over the place, but the garlic can quickly go from brown to BURNT in a matter of seconds.

Once the garlic has turned a nice golden to dark brown (you get a good feel for this after a few tries – the more you can roast the garlic, the better!), quickly add the soy sauce/sugar/water mixture and whisk together.  Add the Chinese five spice (adjust to your liking), then let the combination come to boil and boil for about 5 minutes.  It should begin to thicken.   

If you are making the sauce ahead of time, you can let it cool at this point, and then reheat when you fry the wings.  If you are using right away, let it simmer or boil while you cook the wings.


I use a turkey fryer for doing large quantities of wings.  You can do about 2 lbs of wings at a time.  Most recently, I used peanut oil for frying, and it made for very crispy and flavorful wings.  Regardless of what you’re using, heat the oil to 400 degrees, and cook the wings for about 10-12 minutes, until they are cooked through, golden brown and crispy.  This is important – though it is possible, it is tough to over cook the wings.

Remove the wings and drain well.  Make sure the soy glaze sauce is at a rapid boil (this is IMPORTANT!) then toss the wings into the pan with the sauce and toss to coat.  The sauce should start to thicken and caramelize, making a nice glaze.

If you let the wings sit in the sauce for a while (in a chafing dish perhaps), they will lose their crispiness, but the sauce will penetrate the meat more.  As long as you have thoroughly cooked the wings, they will not get too soggy and fatty.  In fact, I might like the wings better after they have soaked in some of this sauce, since they turn into little chicken and soy lollipops so that you can basically just suck the sauce and meat right off the bone.  YUM!!

NOTE: If you don’t want to fry the wings, this recipe works very well with baked wings.  Again, just make sure you bake the wings thoroughly – perhaps put a little salt and pepper or other general seasoning on them – and then toss in the sauce.  If you do it this way, it may be best to let them sit in the sauce longer, since the wings won’t be that crispy to begin with.