I drove out to play a couple games of pool (which I lost heinouosly) with a friend last night. During the games, my friend recommended that we order the wing dings.
I'm not a huge hot wing fan. In general, I find sauced wings one-trick ponies that rely exclusively on their sauce to impress. And the breaded-fried wings are usually nothing special, verging on insipid.
this particular friend is known in my social circle as the Brass Chef. He is a cook and foodie of some note. He combines the speed and practicality of a line order cook with the innovation of a Great Chef.
If he says to try the wings, I try the wings, though I wasn't expecting anything too special. They arrived at our table with little fanfare-8 breaded deep-fried wings in a paper-lined mesh basket. They seemed tiny, but they were golden brown and piping hot, plucked moments ago from the fryer.
After giving them a few minutes to cool off, I tried one. And all of a sudden my paradigm shifted.
They were on the small side, but every bit of them but the bone was edible. There was no gristle to be found on them, as evidenced by my friend stripping each of his wings down to the bone like a pirhana strips a cow.
The coating was hot, crispy and thin with just a touch of oil glistening. At the joints, there was a little bit of extra coating that was a little bit crunchier. The chicken was tender and juicy. The flavor and texture was a lot like eating teeny tiny pieces of excellent fried chicken.
The first flavor I could taste was something subtly but intangibly sweet, like cloves or chinese five-spice or curry powder. The sweetness quickly dissapeared as the spiciness began to bloom.
The heat of the wings was well-balanced. The spice developed at a good pace and never got too overpowering. This heat started while I was still eating the wing, and developed just a little bit more as an aftertaste. These are not super-hot, but the heat does build somewhat as you eat more of them.
The drummetes and wings were equally good, though the drumettes had more places where a little more extra coating could accrue. But since the batter was so light, extra coating was a joy, not a chore.
It was as if I'd been eating these wings for years. I even craved them just like someone who'd been eating these wings for years. It was like meeting someone new and instantly having a connection with them as if we were old friends.
I know this sounds silly, anthropormoprhizing wings. But don't laugh until you've actually tried these wings.
We got an order to take home with us. I'm planning to grab an order of the wing dings this weekend when I'm back in the area to satisfy a craving I never new I had.