National Buffalo Wing Festival, New York
It might be an amusing story if I said that I got so scared of that Swiss Chalet place that I quickly fled the next day to get some chicken stateside. But the truth is that this quick run across the border was planned all along. I barely caught the tail end of this annual weekend festival today, thus missing shows like the buffalo wing eating contest. Fortunately, there was still enough food for me to introduce quite a few varieties of wings to my belly.
The shop that I had to target first was Anchor Bar, the supposed inventor of buffalo wings. True to form, their wings were exactly as I like them: small yet full of tasty skin, not breaded, and with a quintessential sauce that could even be upgraded to a darker suicidal version should you so choose. A couple of shops down, a local shop called Danny's was selling buffalo wing soup, which was richer and more hearty than it sounded.
But perhaps what got me the most excited was Sean's Booyah sauce a couple of booths on the other side of Anchor Bar, and allegedly an award winner at that. I was a bit disturbed by how artificially orange the sauce looked when I first got it, but after one taste I realized that the reason why it was so bright in color was probably the same reason why it won that award: the thing was loaded up with so much butter that you could almost taste more butter than hot sauce. It was rich, sinful, and totally delicious.
Yes, other stuff was available at the festival too, including corn grilled directly over a flame, as well as some sandwiches and drinks. But clearly the variety of chicken wings was the focus. There were a number of regional chains there (and even corporate giant KFC - hmmm), but I mainly stuck to the booths that were from Buffalo itself. In that sense, I had to be sure to hit Swings Wings, a stall with some of the longest lines this afternoon, perhaps because they featured a number of atypical sauces like garlic butter. Call me traditional, but I didn't care for those too much, especially since some of them were rather sweet. But I'll go back for more Anchor, Danny's, or Sean's Booyah any day. Those were truly finger lickin' good.