Cogburn’s Big Wings

Posted on August 30, 2012 by 1 Comment ,   |  

Cogburn's Big Wings

 

We were excited when we got to go to Wingstock in Mesa this year. For one thing, it was an all day event centered around hot wings and they were serving beer. What’s not to love about that? Secondly, we got in free with some media passes because we were running this blog which was  enough of a glimpse at legitimacy to feed our egos.

More importantly, we were introduced to quite a few new hot wing places all at once. A lot of them struggled to deliver quality wings given the circumstances (its hard to attempt to recreate anything resembling your restaurant’s kitchen under an awning at Mesa Amphitheatre), some places didn’t even really try (I’m looking at you Antar’s), but some of them really came out strong. Teakwoods and Long Wong’s were good as always. Jimbo’s was a good new place we discovered. NY Boyz was killing it like they always do. Cogburn’s was right in the middle of it with the best of them.

If I remember correctly Cogburn’s was the second place we tried at Wingstock (he first being Fat Willie’s, who had some pretty mediocre wings and had us thinking we might be in for a disappointment for the day). Cogburn’s dispelled that idea. We had never heard of Cogburn’s before Wingstock but they impressed us at their booth quickly. They were very friendly, they seemed like they gave a shit about what they were doing, and they seemed genuinely happy to be serving us some wings. They also gave us some free sunscreen which was a nice touch and much needed since we didn’t bring any of our own.

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NYPD Pizza

Posted on August 24, 2012 by 2 Comments ,   |  
NYPD pizza wings

If it was SLCPD, we’d have been arrested on sight.
Photo Credit: gotime.com

 

We were called “wing snobs” very recently by someone who had read our Native New Yorker article and didn’t particularly agree with our stance on their breaded wings (our stance is “fuck breaded wings” in case you missed it).  Never mind the fact that WE called ourselves wing snobs in that very article, this fellow saw it fit to demean us by saying we were pretentious about hot wings; that is, he thinks we as writers try to impress you as readers by acting like we’re better than we really are or that we act like we have more importance than we truly possess.

The thing is, just how snobby can one be while their hands and face are drenched in hot sauce and they’re ripping chicken meat from the bone with their teeth?  How much could we hope to impress anyone out there when we’re basically killing ourselves with cholesterol and liquor and getting fatter by the week just to make this thing happen?  While Tyler and I like to call ourselves Wing Snobs in a self-deprecating manner, the fact is that we’re still just average shitheads who like wings and beer, as I would imagine you all do…at least, I hope you like wings and beer.  Otherwise, why are you reading this?  Are you stalking me?  Are you that guy that keeps taking pictures outside my window while I’m changing and mailing me the Polaroids with a lock of your hair and a note that says “Let’s have a tea party”? …I’m sorry, it’s been a weird week.

My point is that we’re not being pretentious, because that would indicate that we’re trying to impress you and it’s quite the opposite.  It’s not that we’ve gotten the equivalent of a Harvard education in Buffalo Wings and we’re trying to talk down to you all while we teach you about them.  It’s that we’ve trekked to the Hot Wing Nepal to seek Buffalo-enlightenment and come back spiritually awakened, and now we’re out to spread the good word about how much better your wing-life could be if you too followed the ways of the Spicy Chicken Buddha.

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Native New Yorker

Posted on August 21, 2012 by 2 Comments ,   |  

Native New Yorker

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.

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The Vine Tavern and Eatery

Posted on August 9, 2012 by Leave a comment ,   |  

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.

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CK’s Tavern and Grill

Posted on August 2, 2012 by Leave a comment ,   |  
CK's Tavern and Grill

Photo Credit: yelp.com

In the three weeks preceding our visit to CK’s Tavern and Grill in Ahwatukee we were having wings from Half Moon, Arcadia Tavern, and Rino D’s. Three weeks in a row of forgettable, mediocre wings. Spoiler alert: CK’s brought that to a total of four weeks in a row.

Four fucking weeks in some kind of hot wing purgatory. After all the excellent places we had been to in the past this quality hot wing drought was kicking my ass. All we wanted were some great hot wings and some good, cheap beer. CK’s delivered on the latter but our quest for superb wings had ended in failure again.

The thing is that the wings were not even actually all that bad. They were nothing special about them but I remember thinking at the time they were pretty solid. Now I just remember them as mediocre. Maybe it is just me. Maybe solid hot wings just don’t cut it anymore. Maybe I have reached a whole new level of wing-snobbery. I don’t know.

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Half Moon Sports Grill

Posted on July 26, 2012 by 1 Comment ,   |  
half moon sports grill exterior

Their logo designer failed astronomy.

 

If you listen to the radio at any time on any given day, you’ll notice two things:  One, you’ll notice that it’s awful.  Two, you’ll hear a Maroon 5 song.  It’s inescapable, you ARE going to hear one.  If you ever turn on the radio and flip around and don’t hear one, you can take it as a sign of the impending apocalypse.  One can recognize them by the incredibly shitty falsetto of the lead singer and the completely dull and unmemorable nature of the song.  For some reason, people love this lifeless crap and for the life of me I can’t understand why.

After leaving Half Moon, I realized that this phenomenon of people loving dull things is not limited to music alone.

I went once and was not impressed, but that was years ago.  It could have been the prices, or it could have been the coiffed-hair touting mid-30s fellows lounging in there (not quite Affliction bros,they were more of the 401K and stocks-talk variety ) which doesn’t really jive with my style, because I am fat and eat hot wings.  Plus, I didn’t even go into the bar that night, I went to the sit-down restaurant portion of Half Moon which seemed to be half sports bar, half contemporary ski lodge. (more…)

Arcadia Tavern

Posted on July 19, 2012 by 3 Comments ,   |  

Arcadia Tavern exterior

We headed down to Arcadia for a second time to check out another wing joint that happens to be almost right next door to the last Arcadia place we visited, JT’s Bar & Grill. This is almost unfair to Arcadia Tavern because it just invites the comparison between the two and JT’s happens to be one of our favorite spots so far, currently ranking third behind only NY Boyz and Angie & Jimmy’s. We didn’t set out to just compare the two places though so we tried to be objective (sort of).

Arcardia Tavern lives up to its namesake neighborhood. The place looks nice and is situated in the prime corner spot. Parking was a little tricky which seems to be the norm around there. Really just not enough parking for all of their patrons. We lucked into a spot as someone was leaving so it didn’t turn out too bad.

We grabbed a couple spots on the patio to enjoy the decent weather outside (in February – suck it, cold states) and watch the Suns take on Dragic and the Rockets. Little did we know there was an awful University of Arizona flag looming over our heads at this table. That has to be some kind of bad luck. Now, the logical part of me has always argued that U of A is not so bad because more higher education and better educated people in general are good for our state but on the other hand, fuck U of A. I’m from the Valley of the Sun, go ASU!

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Rino D’s Pizza and Wings

Posted on July 12, 2012 by 2 Comments ,   |  

It was delivery, sue us for not having a pic of the place

Until a wonderful new storage technology comes along to save us all, delivery wings will always be at a fundamental disadvantage.

We learned a lot at Wingstock this year.  We learned that sometimes it’s not how good your wings are but how many people will vote for you based on name-recognition alone.  We learned that the ability to discern between “really hot” and “Death rode in on his pale horse over my lips and through my gums to burn the fear of God into my throat” is something that some judges may not possess.  We learned that people just really, truly love their hot wings and love them big and crispy and saucy in a variety of flavors.

The most valuable lesson we learned that day?  KNOW HOW TO STORE YOUR GODFLANCE WINGS.

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Teakwoods Tavern & Grill

Posted on July 5, 2012 by 1 Comment ,   |  

Teakwoods Bar and Grill

 

By the time we visited Teakwoods we had been working on this blog for eight months. Eight months of clogging our arteries with deep-fried chicken wings covered in a combination of Buffalo sauce and butter and gradually drowning our livers with countless beers. Actually, that’s not even true. We had been to Teakwoods much earlier for a review but it hadn’t been written up and we chose Teakwoods for our final destination before we took a hiatus from the wing blog so and this Teakwoods trip was by far the better story of the two and Teakwoods has wings so consistent that we can judge the wings by any visit and get the same result.

You will most likely be surprised and heartbroken to find out that we have occasionally skipped a week in the past for some reason or another. But never anything like this. This time there was no definite end in sight and it was a far longer break than we had ever taken before. My wife was pregnant and getting very close to popping out that kid so it was time to take it easy on the drinking so I could, you know, drive her to the hospital and stuff.

We figured we could use this time off to get caught up on our backlog of wing reviews (which of course we didn’t and instead squandered the time with some expert procrastinating) and we would reconvene once the baby was settled in enough that my wife could watch her by herself while Xavvi and I drank ourselves stupid.

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Zipps Sports Grills

Posted on June 26, 2012 by 3 Comments ,   |  

Zipps? More like “Whoa I’m drunk and full!” am I right??

Sometimes work just grabs you by the white shirt collar and marches you directly to the teetering edge of modern insanity.  It’s not “hard” and it’s not “tough” but I’m at least 12% certain that we as humans were never intended to sit at 90-degree angles and type bullshit into a computer for 8 hours a day in a repetitive cycle that moves us no closer to any sort of self-satisfaction whatsoever.

I am also certain, and I’m talking like 100% certain, that this is why God invented happy hour at Zipps.

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