Last call. There’s nothing like getting notice that the tap is about to be turned off to make someone extra thirsty. So people do ridiculous things in the panic of the moment, like ordering rounds of shots or a couple of doubles.
Bottom line. It almost never ends well.
Well, for the past several weeks I have been setting a goal for myself. I said that the diet would kick back in on March 1. Which, if you haven’t noticed, is Wednesday. So this past weekend was a last call of sorts. And the next couple of days are my last carefree days of butter soaked bliss.
And much like the drunk at the bars who is about to be denied any more hooch, I’m making bad decisions in the clutch.
Well, that went better than expected. The response to my Declaration of Wing Excellence was largely positive. Although I did get one significant criticism, and that was based on the absence of any discussion about blue cheese and celery.
The funny part was that an early draft of the declaration did include those elements, but they got scrapped because ultimately these things aren’t wings.
Still, they are an inextricable part of the dish. And my online critic suggested that I could probably write a full post on blue cheese dressing alone. Frankly, I’m not sure how interesting that would be. But I’m willing to give it a try.
Apparently, not everyone agrees on what makes a great buffalo wing. I blame this on an era of acceptance. Everything is great. Everyone is beautiful. Except as much as we might like that to be true, it’s just not.
So what makes buffalo wings different than other kinds of wings? Well, to have fun with this question, and to keep myself from getting too pedantic, I thought I might try and answer in the form of a grotesque rewrite of the Declaration of Independence.
As such, I’m probably leaving out a few key elements. But go with me on this one, and let’s see where it leads.
Monday was The City Beer Hall’s sold out Wild Game Night with Finback and Rushing Duck breweries. Usually, I buy my tickets to these before the menu is released, because I have a great deal of trust in this culinary team. And also these dinners can sell out so fast that by the time the menu is written, all the spots are gone.
Despite all the beers that come through these doors on a regular basis, I still find it challenging to make the trip downtown to grab a drink. The beer culture in this area has grown tremendously, and we’re lucky to have so many great options scattered throughout the region.
Over time I’ve fallen more and more in love with Westmere Beverage Center, and now, more than not if I’m drinking something special it has come from their tap lines on Western Avenue.
But I digress, because this post isn’t about beer, it’s about food. But instead of giving you the play-by-play of the whole night, I thought I would just skip to a few of the highlights.
Last Saturday, seven people gathered together at Stacks Espresso’s new Broadway shop to fuel up before embarking on the Tour de Wing: Downtown Albany Edition.
We had a plan of attack. The group would divide into two. One group (Team Enchanted City) would start at the north end of the route at Graney’s Stout, and the other group (Team Yelp Elite) would start at the tour’s southernmost spot, Hill Street Cafe. At each stop we would ask for an order of medium wings, crispy. A lot of thought went into the order. But I’ll spare you the analysis of that for right now.
The wings were evaluated based on their skin, meat, and sauce. Those factors were considered in coming up with an overall wing score. Then we looked at criteria like the side vegetables and the dip. And those factors were included in a final overall score that took into consideration the totality of the experience.
In the end everyone survived the tour, and I collected six fully completed scoresheets. The missing sheet was from Doctor Irritation, who was on Team Enchanted City, but he did send me some detailed notes. Ultimately, the individual scores mattered little, because this was the rare case in which the winning wings were a unanimous favorite.
Facts? Who needs facts. Facts would tell you that it’s still winter. But it doesn’t take a genius to know that spring has arrived. Just look out your window. Walk outdoors. You don’t need a jacket. You may not even need a sweater.
Saturday, I walked around Albany with a bunch of fellow eaters in an attempt to find the best wings in the downtown corridor, and I broke out in a sweat. No, I don’t think they were the meat sweats. Actually, all the hot sauce could have been a contributing factor. So could my lack of exercise. But it was a glorious day. The sky was blue. The sun was shining. And the snow was melting.
I know some of you are anxious to hear the Tour de Wing results. And those will be here tomorrow. However, in good conscience, I couldn’t post another FUSSYlittleTOUR result without taking care of a little housekeeping.
There’s a part of the blog which has been long neglected, and maybe you can even help.
Did anyone have a good week this week? Mine was filled with sickness, pain, and disgust. Okay, fine. I did get to go out to Tavern Time with some of the Yelp Crew last night at 20 North Broadway, and that was a lot of fun.
But next week? Next week is going to be nuts. Here are the highlights, starting with Saturday.