Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Where The Buffalo Roam

... on their wings, and from the kitchen into our tummies!

Ok, there are absolutely no buffalo in the city of Buffalo, New York. Apparently the city got its name from Buffalo Creek, which runs through it. The city itself is nothing to shout about (a strong producer of steel in the past, which has since declined and is in the process of being rejuvenated) but it's famous for one thing - inventing yummylicious finger-licking good buffalo wings.

We hunted down Anchor Bar, touted to be the birth place of Buffalo wings, or just wings, as known in Buffalo (I guess it's just like how Singapore Noodles can be found on menus anywhere in the world except Singapore, where they're just called noodles, albeit in a variety of styles - chao mien, mee goreng, etc.)

We drove into town just for this

The legend of Buffalo wings goes something like this:

Back in 1964, some hungry boy named Dominic Bellisimo brought a whole bunch of his hungry friends from college to the Anchor Bar, which was owned by his parents. Unfortunately, he didn't prep Mummy Bellisimo for the hungry mob, sending her in a tizzy while she combed the kitchen for something quick and easy to whip up before the kids ate the house. Apparently, no one ever ate the wings of the chicken back then. Wings were deemed good enough only for making stock or throwing away (WHAT?!?!)

So Mummy Bellisimo came up with the idea of deep-frying chicken wings and tossing them in cayenne pepper sauce. In the meantime, she gave the kids celery sticks and blue cheese dressing to gnaw on. And that was how she earned her wings and got famous.

Anchor Bar - the birth place of Buffalo wings

We ordered a plate of 10 wings (1 drumlet or 1 'flat' = 1 wing). There are a few levels of spiciness to choose from: mild, medium, hot, spicy and suicidal. We went for 'hot'. While waiting for our wings to be served, I overheard the guy sitting behind me telling the waitress, while sniffling away, that his 'mild' wings were really spicy. I got really worried. We're not really chilli eaters, not even while at home, so would we be able to handle it?

The first thing served to our table was a thick stack of napkins - a tell tale sign that it was going to get messy. The lady seated at the table next to us promptly asked if she could have a few to wipe her baby. Are these napkins or nappies?!

To wipe up after you get wiped out by the hot wings.

And then our wings landed.

Bowled over by spice

As per the tradition, the wings come served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. The celery sticks were surprisingly good! I don't usually eat veggie sticks (ugh), only the cucumber sticks from our friend Nicholas' Shin Kushiya restaurant cos the dip is yummy and the veggies are fresh, crisp and juicy. This time, I didn't gag on the celery - there was no awful smell and the sticks were crunchy and juicy. They must have been ten times fresher than the celery I've tried back at home.

The wings were... okaaaay. Rather disappointing really, considering that this is the place that invented them. The 'hot' sauce wasn't very spicy but it was incredibly salty (just like all other American food, really.) Under the orangey coating, the meat was pretty tasteless. If this chicken wasn't even up to my expectations (I'm not a fan of the hen), my Chicken Expert must have been seriously disappointed. We didn't even use up half of the napkins.

The Chicken Expert scrutinising the goods

Thank goodness for dessert! Tastebuds rejoice! It was a toss-up between the Key Lime Pie and the Pecan Pie. We went for the latter - ooey, gooey and full of caramel.


So that's another story for the grandkids - on how we earned our wings.

Driving thousands of miles across this country earned Dan his wings

And here's the Random Tip Of The Day: Remember to keep an eye on your personal belongings. Never let them off the hook.

All hooked up


Anonymous said...

I think the wings were tasteless under the coating cos Mummy Bellissimo was in a hurry. Who's got time to marinate wings for hours when teenagers are threatening to eat you out of the house? Hehe ;)

Love this, you guys are too funny!


Yi Lin said...

Hi Trace!

Yeah, that's true. I thought the first thing one learns about cooking chicken wings at all those primary/sec/JC/Uni BBQ outings is that you have to marinate them for hours first, even overnight.

Seriously not very nice on the inside!

Anonymous said...

I think that's second nature for the food-obsessed, but actually I've had quite a few chicken encounters where the inside was tasteless, and sometimes the skin not crispy either! Tsk tsk. Never in Singapore, of course! :)


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