I remember it drizzling the night we made the trek all the way to Glendale, far out of our cushy east valley snobbery (just kidding, I live in Mesa. I am above NO ONE) to visit Angie & Jimmy’s. I remember traffic being heavy on the I-17, Phoenix’s ugliest freeway. I remember that Google Maps told me this place was across the street from a Pro’s Ranch Market and across the street from a dive bar that would put most dive bars to shame. I remember the lack of signage on the restaurant’s front and I remember the dubious placing between a convenience store with no gas pumps and an adult boutique that I assume had several “pumps” of various natures.
I remember a lot of things about the night we went to Angie & Jimmy’s Italian Pizza, but somehow the thing that stands above all of those memories is the taste, texture and smell of their wings, because they were PHENOMENAL.
In a previous review, I mentioned that Buffalo Brown’s Wings & Things was a shithole of a dive, and boy did I mean it, but Angie & Jimmy’s may have them beat for sheer shit-tasticness. Look, this place doesn’t even have the name of the place on the sign out front. It just says “PIZZA”. Had we not already read from other reviews that this place is hard to find, I would have driven right past it, slammed on my brakes, skidded from the rain, rear-ended some ese’s sweet ’94 Caprice and then had to fight Lil Joker and eventually take a bullet for Tyler so his child wouldn’t grow up fatherless and alone and scared to buy burritos because a Mexican murdered her father right in front of “PIZZA” and a porn shop. So for the love of all that is holy and delicious, CHANGE YOUR GOD DAMNED SIGN, A&J’S. I’ll start a petition if I have to, damnit.
There was no parking at Angie & Jimmy’s so we were going to park next door, but that’s when we realized that the proprietor of the fine establishment next door, the Pleasure Chest, had it posted that they didn’t want a pair of ne’er-do-wells like ourselves to sully up the parking lot with our trashy car and would have us towed if we weren’t customers of the Pleasure Chest. I can only imagine, based on its stellar location in the finest part of the Valley and its name that this must either be some sort of pirate role-playing boutique or an upscale jewelry store where even trying on a toe ring is so orgasmic that it gives you a pleasure directly in your chest. No other options come to mind.
At any rate, we were forced to park across the way at a dive bar called Jay’s Cocktail Lounge, which I’ll get to later. We walked over to Angie & Jimmy’s, nodded a respectful hello to the homeless person dancing a jig to their battery-operated radio hanging out in front, and walked in to one of the funkier shitpiles I’d seen in a while. The lady at the counter was pleasant in a way that felt familiar, like if you had a friend whose mom you knew well enough to visit even when your friend wasn’t home, only this friend’s mom kept an ugly, kinda funky house. She let us pick any table we want and we plopped down in plastic chairs to read the menu. An assortment of pizzas and subs abound, but as always we only wanted one thing: Sex with hookers.
Wait, wings. I meant wings.
There’s no alcohol at Angie & Jimmy’s, slightly disappointing, but as it’s sandwiched between a Circle K and Jay’s, it’s not a huge loss. We ordered a dozen each of the hot and suicide wings and took in the sights. There was an old-school TV mounted in the corner playing the Disney Channel. There was an old Neo Geo arcade machine that had a layer of dust on it. There was an Addams Family Pinball machine, rest in peace Raul Julia. Finally, there was the carpet. It was maroon, or it would have been before years of sunlight and traffic and dirt and grime turned it into more of a purplish faded blob, but it was there. It had a layer of funk on it like maybe that carpet wasn’t the most recent carpet, it was the original carpet and someone had then installed new carpet but was too lazy to remove the old carpet so they just laid the new stuff right over the old stuff, and all the new funk and dirt and skin flakes that normally fall to the sub-floor now got to rest on that layer of old carpet under the new carpet and then for some reason someone just said “Ok, let’s get rid of that newer carpet,” saw the old carpet underneath, and said “Yeah, good enough.”
I realize nothing I’ve said up until this point is selling you on Angie & Jimmy’s, and believe me that up until this point it hadn’t sold me either. Then Ma Kettle came out with two baskets of wings and a squeeze bottle (literally a squeeze bottle) of ranch, and all of a sudden I didn’t know where I was. I wasn’t in shithole hell, I wasn’t in Glendale 10 feet from the Pleasure Chest’s anal prodding ways, I was just in buffalo wing bliss.
These wings were big, to start. Not NY Boyz big, but bigger than your average wing and large enough to dwarf a punk-ass Buffalo Wild Wings wing. They weren’t heavily sauced, and if you’ve read enough of this blog you know we’re both sauce-whores, but it didn’t matter this time. They poured the sauce over the top of the wing and it seemed like it almost preserved the crunchiness of the wing even more. These things were cooked to perfection. Skin was crispy, meat was tender, nothing was slimy, nothing was gooey. It was just a wonderful wing. The hot sauce was extremely traditional, nothing fancy, just the most basic buffalo sauce you can think of, and it worked wonderfully for these wings. Butter and hot sauce and nothing else at all, no mango chutney wings and no dragonfruit extract marmalade wings, just “hot”.
The suicide sauce was a little different in its approach. It’s like they started with the hot sauce as the base and then added a bunch of some sort of powdered chili, maybe cayenne or maybe a mix. Either way, it wasn’t really much spicier, just different tasting. The hot sauce was definitely the better of the two (as is often the case) but we honestly didn’t give a shit. These wings were cooked so well that we would have actually been fine eating those faggy loganberry cupcake honey walnut strawberry drizzle flavors I was just making fun of earlier and we would have asked for seconds before making out with each other in public.
I couldn’t get enough of these things. Tyler couldn’t get enough of these things. Matter of fact, Tyler usually takes a bite of his wings first because I’m busy looking like an Asian tourist, snapping pictures of chicken wings while people wonder what in the honest fuck is wrong with me, and I can usually tell by his face after the first bite as to what we’re in for. He took a bite of these wings, kind of half-smiled and just said “This is a damn good wing.” I forgot to take an action shot of one of us with a wing in the mouth (banger in the mouth? Just a sausage) because after he said that I put the camera down and just dived right in and never looked back.
We seriously considered getting more, but instead paid the bill, went outside, trekked across the Pleasure Chest parking lot (well they can’t stop me from WALKING through there, even if I can’t park there) and over to Jay’s Cocktail Lounge. This place had it all, let me tell you. There was a turtle terrarium behind the bar. There was a snack vending machine in the corner. There were about 4 random dudes in there that look like they got plucked out of the Terminator 2 biker bar scene, but not the main biker guys, these were guys in the background that kind of look out of place because they’re not bikers, just barflies. Or maybe the entire cast of the barfight scene from the first Rush Hour. Matter of fact, I swear to god that one of those guys was that “I got glaucoma” guy. I’m like 14% certain. Anyway, this place didn’t accept debit cards so we had to trek back across the street, across the Pleasure Chest parking lot, past Angie & Jimmy’s, resist the temptation to go in and get another two dozen, and into Circle K.
In the Circle K, a rather pleasant plump woman greeted us with a general malaise. I picked up a pack of gum and told her I really was just buying it to get cash back. She said I didn’t even need to buy anything to get cash back, and then asked me how I didn’t know that like it’s the most basic thing of all time. Oh, of course, what was I thinking? 2 + 2 = 4, Jack and Jill went up the hill, Cash Back actually means “Just Cash Because This Store Moonlights as an ATM” and you’re a hog-bitch behind a counter, ma’am. I should have known the entire time! I got my cash back and then Tyler started getting his. At some point, somehow, the state of Arizona was brought up in our smalltalk convo and she started quoting about how Arizona has one of the worst school systems and that we needed to leave this place and go travel because this place was such a shithole. I then pointed out that she seemed like she must have been Arizona-educated. I also asked her why she’s here now. I meant to ask her why she’s rocking the register at Circle K on 32nd Ave and Indian School on a Thursday night and why her LiveStrong bracelet looked more like the thing that ties turkey legs together during baking, but I resisted. I shouldn’t have, because fuck her, but I resisted. LiveStrong my ass, more like Livestock.
So life advice notwithstanding, we hoofed it (more cattle humor!) back to Jay’s. But not before I snapped a picture of the sign!
The bartender, who I could only assume was Jay, let us know he had a ridiculously wide selection of beers on draft and bottle. I then asked for a Dos Equis and he told me he had Miller Lite or some old bottles of Alaskan Amber in the fridge. Whatever. We watched a Broncos game on TV and debated the finer things in life, like whether the Suns front office hates the fans (note: they do) or if the Cardinals would do anything that year (note: they didn’t) and we let time pass us by. Jay kept thanking us over and over for our business so much that I started to believe we may have been the first non-regular customers in that bar since Jake Plummer was at ASU and Darkwing Duck was still on the air.
As we left the fun little block of “PIZZA”, porno, dive bar and sweathog convenience store jockeys, I felt a little teary eyed. This was the most ghetto we had gotten by far but it felt a bit like home for me, though that could have just been due to the Ranch Market across the street. Still, the wings were so stellar that I’d go right back in a heartbeat and brave the entire place all over again.
I’d probably end up with a bunch of porno DVDs too, did you see that sale? Don’t front.