Been a little while since my last update...would anyone be hungry for some chicken wings?
Every Labor Day weekend for the past 14 years, Buffalo has hosted it's annual Buffalo Wing Festival and every year, we have always been out of town (usually to a theme park) and missed it.
This year, I said that we really need to try to get there so we decided to not do the theme park, but go to Buffalo for Wingfest instead before heading South for a week-long vacation to Myrtle Beach.
While not quite as awesome as I was hoping for, they did offer a ton of different varieties of wings. I think that the biggest disappointment were the local wing places that I had always heard about, but never tried. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt at first because they were the first wings that we tried. I was cautious because I thought that maybe all of the wings would be greasy, flavor-less, soggy or too dried out - like these were. That was not the case though as we had several from other vendors that I considered to be excellent!
It is a bit pricey (but what food festival isn't?) as each wing sample is one ticket and each ticket costs one dollar. But I got paid $12 for 12 tickets...good enough for a dozen which I knew would be more than enough to fill me up. Michael also got a dozen so we could taste test more wings.
We got to Buffalo a little early and had some time to kill after our Buffalo River/Silo City boat & walking tour (which was awesome by the way - highly recommended if you are visiting downtown Buffalo) so we decided to stop at 716 for a new brew they have on tap.
It's called 'One Buffalo' and it is made by my local brewery Southern Tier. While it looks very light in color, it tastes like a full bodied beer with a very subtle hop flavor. I think that the Pegula family (that own the Bills and Sabres) may have had something to do with the making of this beer. I guess it has been a huge hit at the Bills games this year!
Myself? I prefer their IPA, 2XIPA, UnEarthly IPA and Gemini...but that's because I love me some really hoppy beer!
Next up was Resurgence IPA which is another locally owned and operated brewery. This one had some interesting hop notes, but was not what I would consider one of the better IPA's that I have tasted. Maybe because I am spoiled by Southern Tier's IPA's?
Here is there draft menu...lots of good stuff on here as well some not so good stuff (Coors Lite, Bud Light)!
Now that we were well hydrated, it was time to head to Coca Cola field - home of the Bisons...and also the 2015 Buffalo Wing Fest!
Not as crowded as I was thinking that it would be considering it was a Saturday evening and the weather was gorgeous.
First up was the locally owned La Nova wings. I had heard lots of good things about their wings, but these were nothing special. The BBQ on the left was good, but a bit bland and the Chili Nacho on the right was just slathered in cheesy nacho goo similar to what you get on nachos at the fair.
Michael opted for the peanut butter and jelly (on left) and a medium. He said that they were okay.
Pic of the La Nova tent. I would probably try their barbeque again fresh from their store...perhaps the ones that we had just sat around too long or something.
Next up were the Bocce Club wings. I had heard good things about this place, but was also a bit disappointed in the offerings.
Top wing was Cajun and the bottom one was BBQ. Both horribly over-cooked and dry.
Next stop was Legend Larry's from Shebougun, WI.
Michael got the Thai Chili (he's holding) and the Spicy Bacon. I got the Ole Mole (my top wing) and the Spicy Bacon. While I couldn't really taste a lot of bacon, these were pretty good! The Mole one's were quite spicy and Michael really liked the Thai Chile wing!
Next up was RuChDa from Georgia. Not sure what the name meant, but Spicy Chocolate wings? Count me in!
I got one Spicy Chocolate and one Honey Curry. The chocolate was chocolate-ey but I didn't taste much spice - certainly unique though! The Honey Curry did not taste like curry at all...I think that they accidentally forgot to add it!
On the big screen you could watch the pizza, beef on weck and wing eating contest. After watching this guy (and many others) stuffing their face to the verge of puking it all up, I decided that it wasn't in my best interest to watch this if I wanted to continue eating wings.
Duffs is another local institution and in my opinion makes some of the best wings in Buffalo. Michael tried one of there Carmel Crunch wings and liked it. I snuck in a bite and thought it was good too!
Here is the Duff's tent. I was going to try the Death wings but was a bit concerned about eating the extremely hot wings with a 12 hour drive to Myrtle Beach the following day. I probably made the right choice! ;-)
Next was Boneheads from Warwick, RI.
These guys win the award for most original sauces...and all of the ones that I tried were really good. We are going to look this place up the next time we are in Rhode Island!
Boneheads also had the longest line of all of the restaurants represented. Was it the crazy wing flavors or the excessive cleavage on the serving ladies...or both? lol
I opted for The Jack (top) which was a described as a Whiskey Bourbon BBQ. The bottom wing was called Wrong Side Of The Road and was a Honey Sriracha...both were excellent!
Michael stepped way outside of the box and got the Creamsicle Sunset. I tried a bite and it was amazingly good!
I went back and got the Down On The Farm which was a Buffalo Ranch...also very good!
Lastly was a tent called Booty's from Surprise, AZ.
The top wing was Sonoran Heat which was like a regular hot wing with perhaps some extra chili powder. The bottom wing was called Et Tu Brute, which translates into "And You, Brutus?" which were supposedly the last words uttered by Julius Caesar before being executed. Not sure how this ties into wings, but this was the best wing that I had at Wingfest! The sauce was creamy - almost like an alfredo with seasoned bread crumbs and shredded cheese. Wonderful - very original and off the wall crafty, which is totally what I wanted to experience at Wingfest!
Here is their sign...I wished that I would have had a couple more tickets so I could have tried their other flavors, but I was too full and empty handed. When I get back to Arizona, I may have to add this place to the itinerary.
I would be curious to know if any fellow TPR peeps have been to any of these out of state restaurants?
^ Chicken wings can be extremely hit or miss, Bill...and it amazes me at how many places don't know how to properly cook them. I recall back in the 80's and 90's when wings really took off, I found that no one could really cook them like they do in Western NY. I have tried wings in the south, mid-west and western US and had some pretty awful ones along the way.
Now with the crazy popularity of them, most places across the country are finally figuring out how to properly cook them. What I like are the places like the one's in RI and AZ that look to bring their local flavors into the mix.
The thing that sucks the most is that they are so popular now, the price of a dozen wings has sky-rocketed - and most orders are now ten versus the standard dozen. I remember when bars would have 5 to 10 cent wing nights and now you are lucky if you can find them as low as 50 cents per wing!
While it's hard to beat the traditional wing of Frank's Red Hot and melted butter over fresh (never frozen) wings, I do like trying the new, more exotic flavors of wings these days.
B-Dubs (Buffalo Wild Wings) has some really great flavors and while I usually end up bringing home a couple bottles of their sauces, I have experienced wing quality at several different stores that were both good and really bad (as in under-cooked/slimy because they were cooked still frozen). I usually make it a point to tell them extra crispy on the wings and then usually they aren't too bad.
I apologize if you did a full review before, but what was your general opinion of 716? I have been wanting to get there so bad, even my father got a "sneak preview" while he was working there when it was being built. Was the food worth the price, and is it generally a busy place?
Off topic, but fun fact about the 36 foot long projector screen. The bulb for it only lasts a couple of months and they cost on the thousands range to replace. That still astonishes me.
I'm actually not a kid; it's my nickname. I'm the youngest guy at my job. Only until after I created my account did I realize it made my sound like I'm 12. "Giddy up"- Cosmo KramerFinally got an avatar! Darien Lake coaster drought: 16 years and counting.....
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