The beer list.
Note: Sorry for posting this late. I have not been feeling well the last couple of days and I fell behind.
We have wanted to review Four Peaks for quite a while. Xavvi and I both loved the place and we got a couple different wing recommendations for the place, specifically to try the Buffalo and Spicy Thai Peanut sauces that Xavvi reviewed in last week’s review. Given these things, Four Peaks was a natural spot to pick for our first review venturing out beyond wings into breweries and ale houses.
This isn’t to say that Four Peaks isn’t without its flaws. Sure, they make the most well known and some of the best tasting beer in Arizona, and they match that with great food and atmosphere, but parking is a bitch. They don’t have a regular parking area. You just have to find a spot somewhere along 8th Street and there are not a whole lot of spots to go around. So, when I spotted an open spot about a half a mile down the road I was quick to snag it.
Xavvi and I first met when we were in the same training class at work. The training class lasted six weeks and the very last day happened to be on our company’s holiday party. We were working that night so we missed most of the party but a bunch of us wanted to do something to celebrate our last day of training anyway and decided to meet up at Casey Moore’s Oyster House instead. I actually swung by the holiday party anyway to snag a couple drinks with my free drink tickets (my wife let me have her drink tickets too) and then we were on our way to the bar.
I don’t ever remember going to Casey Moore’s before that night. I was always aware of it and it seems odd to me that I had never been there since I had hung out in that area many times before. If I had ever been to Casey Moore’s before that night, I don’t have any memory of it. Really, given how things can go at Casey Moore’s I suppose it is entirely possible that I just don’t remember a previous visit.
That last night of training was a great introduction to the place. We drank a LOT of drinks and generally made fools of ourselves. Eventually my wife had had enough and we headed home with me puking out the window of the car the whole way, presumably. It was a damn fun night though and I have liked the place a lot ever since.
When we first came up with the idea of writing a wing blog we really didn’t know shit about wings. Sure, we loved hot wings but we didn’t know what makes a really great wing. It’s like drinking the boxed wine before you develop a taste for the real stuff or drinking Coor’s Light before you can appreciate quality craft beers. Basically, we enjoyed wings but we weren’t the wing snobs that our hot wing journey would eventually create. It is as bad as it sounds.
Before the blog we visited the more well known spots like Long Wong’s and even ventured into the ugly corporate hot wing world that is Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings occasionally but we each had our regular spots we would hit up for wings. As we discussed in last week’s review The Vine was where Xavvi usually found himself when looking for a night of wings, and I was no stranger to the place myself, but Native New Yorker was my go-to place. This was based on my impressions at the time that they had solid wings and there always ends up being a location not too far away from where I lived.
Post-wing-blog our expectations from Phoenix area wing joints had changed dramatically. We had experienced many highs and lows in our exploration of the many hot wings places and we had definitely broadened our horizons. Coming back to some of our old stomping grounds was a good way to measure how these expectations have changed over time. The Vine lived up to its reputation with good, if somewhat small, wings with great sauce (and its reputation for being a dive bar with cheap beer). The very next week we found ourselves back at another old favorite when we visited Native New Yorker.
Photo Credit: gotime.com
[Note: This review is for the Rural & Elliott Vine location, though we also visited the Apache location and found the wings and beer to be identical and the atmosphere to be more bro-tastic. If college is your thing, do the Apache location. If Happy Hour is your thing, do the Elliott location. If you're not in AZ...why the hell are you reading this?]
You just can’t go wrong with the classics…unless of course the classics actually suck and you’re just letting nostalgia blind you. Such is the case with things like the 80′s GI Joe cartoons, the Howard the Duck movie, Ecto-Cooler (fuck you, it’s slime), sugar sandwiches, the two rap songs on the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack and a million other things I loved as a younger person that ended up being fairly shitty once I grew up and looked back at them.
Before we were Phoenix Wing Crusaders on a mission, we were just fat schlubs eating wings wherever we could get them. Granted, we’re still just fat schlubs eating wings, but that’s beside the point. The point is, The Vine was one of the few places we ate at (pre-WhyDidIEatThis.com) that I still had fond memories of, and I was terrified of going back there and finding out it wasn’t how I remembered.
After one of our wing nights we ran into a couple of Xavvi’s old friends and, because we have no shame, we started talking about the wing blog. Xavvi’s friend Stoney said he knew of a place that we HAVE to visit. We love getting recommendations but since it seems a lot of people like to rave about shitty wings we took that with a grain of salt.
He said that NY Boyz on Apache has the best wings you could get. He compared them to Teakwood’s, going so far as to say that NY Boyz blows them out of the water. That is a pretty bold claim considering that Teakwood’s has some of the best wings I had had up to that point. Regardless, we agreed we would give it a try.
When we looked up the location of NY Boyz it was hard for me to picture it. It is located on Apache Blvd near River Rd. I used to live about a half-mile down from there at University and River and the only thing remember at Apache and River was a condemned motel that prostitutes used to hang out at before it was shut down. Turned out NY Boyz was just on Apache just past the prostitute motel in a new building.
I had heard a lot about Venezia’s Pizzeria before we ever went there. It had a reputation for excellent pizza. Xavvi actually raved about it more than once. Still, I had never made the time to check it out so when we heard they had great wings also it was the perfect opportunity for me to see what the big deal was.
When I pulled into the strip mall parking lot that houses the Venezia’s it was packed. Venezia’s is right by a LA Fitness or Bally’s or Pure Fitness or who the hell cares. But we go for wings right after I get out of work on Thursday’s and everyone else getting out of work was heading to the gym. This probably should have made me contemplate my priorities but I was too focused on finding somewhere to park.
I finally found a spot towards the back of the parking lot (walking to the building from there counts as exercise right?) and made my way over to the unassuming location in the center of the strip mall.