The Mountain Times

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Wings…‘Up There’

(Main Photo) Snow Angel Tavern staffers Viktoriya Angelov, Chef Lance Richard, and Georgi Angelov dig into a large dish of their unique wings.

 

I'm going to admit to it right up front. I love wings, wings, and more wings. The rest of the chicken is ok, but love those wings!

And I'm not alone. The National Chicken Council (yes, there really is one) estimates that in 2012, approximately 25 billion chicken wings will be consumed. Super Bowl Sunday was a 1.25 billion-wing-day weighing in at 100 million pounds. 

As a child, I figured out the mystical power of wings-wings could help me get to heaven. What better place to fuel my way to 'up there' than Killington. Almost every restaurant not only has wings, but theirs are either the 'best' or the 'worlds best' wings.

Since I'm bound and determined to get 'up there,' I decided to sample every option available. It might help?

First, a little education is in order. History: chicken wings have been around as long as there have been chickens. Most people equate wings with a particular recipe style referred to as Buffalo wings. There are several varying stories about the origin of Buffalo wings, but I bow to Killington's own Tony Cuppone for his personal knowledge on the subject. "I grew up on the west side of Buffalo, NY, three blocks from the Anchor Bar (which is the most accepted origin of the first Buffalo wings)," said Tony. Leaving no room for disagreement, Tony adds that the true recipe is as follows: deep fry chicken wings then toss with three parts Franks RedHot Sauce and two parts melted butter. Anything else is just "chicken wings with a sauce," he insists.

1 - Wings By Marcia Stoller -Sushi Yoshi Hargrave Family GEDC1010

The Hargrave Family of Brewster, NY at the bar at Sushi Yoshi for a helping of their famous General Tso's wings.

 

TASTE TESTING

My plan was simple, to sample the favored wing at each establishment. As often we find with our "plans," they change. Most places insisted that I sample all the varities they served. Ok, so call me a pushover.

Sushi Yoshiro was the first stop. I found Tom Levy from Pennsylvania eating the General Tso's wings at the bar not just because they were "so good" but as he so simply put it, "they're free." He was right on both accounts. The Hargrave family from Brewster, NY was also at the bar for the same reasons, although they said the Lookout Tavern wings were really their favorites. Bartenders Becky Gorman and Will Spanos (happy birthday Will) still served them with a smile. The fat little wings were sweet and slightly spicy and delicious.   

The next stop was they Grist Mill that serves both a Buffalo style and BBQ wing. The Chef makes the Buffalo sauce fashioned after his favorite sauce from growing up in Margate, NJ. It's a one temperature, very hot wing here, and as I discovered, the heat stays with you a long time.

Casey's Caboose, a forerunner in the use of wings as a Happy Hour draw, continues using its same formula. Wings are deep fried, seasoned with Casey's signature wing sauce, then baked. Chef Sean Miller likes them "to be crispy, spicy, and moist," and that they are. I found them to be a smaller wing than many others offered, which I attributed to the way they were cooked. I liked that as the flavor was total in every bite.

Mark Carlson, a second home owner in the area, had a bowl of wings in front of him at the bar. "They make a fantastic wing. It's a little on the spicy side and they're just great!"

*1 - Wings By Marcia Stoller -Wally 's Shannon Blair And P.J. Britz -GEDC1038

Wally's employees Shanon Blair and P.J. Britz conveniently enjoy their favorite wings on the hill- at their place of employment.


Can't argue with that.

The Gawronski family from Stamford, CT was busy eating wings too. It appeared their son was the wing aficionado in the family although mom voiced the families preference, "We always come to Casey's for the best wings. It's true!"

Heading into Mogul's, I passed the smoking BBQ grill outside, how could I expect anything but BBQ wings. No disappointment here. In the kitchen, Tim fixed me several wings. Honestly, I only asked to taste one!

I found the wings to be big and juicy with a really nice crisp skin. I didn't know previously that the wings were always fresh and never frozen. Cooked to order, they're baked and rolled in a great sauce that was spicy but not "hot."

Keeping with the Outback theme, the 'crocodile wings' were fixed for me by kitchen manager, Seth Ferrell. These wings are first oven roasted then deep fried, then tossed in the house specialty "Sydney style' spicy sauce. Seth considers them, "middle of the road, not too spicy but a little bit of heat to them." He wants the wings to "have an initial bite and less burn." I liked them as too much 'burn' stays too long for me.

Kate Dodge, a bartender/waitress at the Outback said that her favorite wings "are easily the ones at Wally's and second favorite are here at the Outback."

Wally's is adjacent to the Outback, but worlds apart in the wing category. Seth once again did the fixing, and Wally wings were a 'wow' factor for me. They are a nice jumbo wing with a maple, jalapeño and Jack Daniels BBQ combination sauce. I thought it was a great taste sensation.

 

1 - Wings By Marcia Stoller -caseys -GEDC1017

Tim Pattillo, Chef Sean Miller, and John Paglia in the kitchen at Casey's Caboose with a tray full of wings ready for Happy Hour.


P.J. Britz and Shannon Blair, recent transplants from Michigan, were at the bar waiting for their order of wings. "I consider myself a wing connoisseur," said P.J, adding, "wings here are my favorite." He could actually back that up, having been a winner at the recent wing contest in Killington by eating his way through all the entrants' wings.

On to Slopeside Bar & Grille where I found co-owner Mike Sutcliffe in the act of eating wings at the bar. Their wings are deep fried and customers have a variety of sauces to choose from including honey mustard, BBQ, Buffalo, Red Hot, Caribbean, and a sweet and sour. I tried the honey mustard and liked the mild, not too sweet flavor.

Jax Food and Games offers a pound of three-way wings,' baked, grilled and fried which gives them a crispy crunch. The wings can be tossed in your choice of chipotle buffalo, BBQ, or the favorite east/west,' a BBQ teriyaki mix. I tried the east/west, liked the texture and became aware that the taste lingered. When I asked bar manager, Kevin Olaynack why I should eat wings at Jax rather than farther up the road, he didn't miss a beat answering, "cause I'm not working up the road." Apparently, Olaynack sees no need for modesty, when it comes to his wings.

The Lookout Tavern offers a Lookout Classic or Buffalo wing. With either a blend of herbs or the BBQ sauce, the taste is great. I had the Classic and really liked the smooth flavor and it left a nice aftertaste.

Glenn Davies, from Mammoth, NJ said the Lookout wings were "not too spicy, but they made you thirsty enough." The Lookout and Mogul's were his two favorite wing stops, he added.

Jimmy Mac, from Chittenden, was also at Lookout eating their wings. He thinks the sauce is particularly unique.

 

1 - Wings By Marcia Stoller - Slopeside Co -owner Mike Sutcliffe -GEDC1035
Slopeside Bar & Grille co-owner Mike Sutcliffe enjoys wings at the bar.

 

Charity's Restaurant/Tavern was the winner of the recent wings contest, so they currently have the bragging rights. Bar manager, Garren Poirier, explained that they go through six to eight 30-pound cases of wings a week.

Their flagship wing is the Jamaican jerked wing. This jumbo 'solid' wing is covered in their sweet and spicy sauce. The Buffalo wings are tossed in Franks RedHot sauce with extra herbs and spices added. Both sauces are made fresh daily by Ben Laden.

Sitting at the bar, On the Rocks employee Justin Washburn candidly said that although he likes Charity's wings, he goes to Mogul's to eat chicken wings. Charity waiter, Matt Kopp, loves Charity's wings and the fact they are always consistently good, but his favorite all time wings are at the Back Behind Saloon.

I almost bypassed The Garlic, but did a U-turn, and I'm happy I did. Dave Dixon had wings cooking before I finished the first sentence. The wings are coated with sea salt and large bits of cracked pepper before they are fire-roasted in a ceramic dome shaped Italian il forno style oven. No oil is ever used. After roasting they are flashed with a special Garlic hot sauce. They were not as 'hot' as I expected and I loved the distinct flavors of the salt and pepper. With a large smile, Dave said, "We don't have the world's best wings, we only have Killington's best." As I was still eating one I was in no position to disagree.

Off the Killington road, but not to be slighted, the 'Back Behind Saloon's Chef David Noel's deep fried party wings are coated with their own special sauce made from scratch. The sauce is tangy but not chili hot. The taste was amazing.

The Tap House Bar & Grille has naked wings deep fried then sauced either mild or hot. You can get suicide, sesame, or buffalo style wings. I opted for the sesame wing which was plump with a nice coating of sesame. Definitely of the finger lickin' variety.

The Clear River Tavern, managed (of course) by Doug, has an array of wings to choose from; BBQ, garlic, lemon/pepper, hot, teriyaki, and Jamaican. The most popular is the Jack Daniels wing with orange sauce,  which I opted for. The wings are deep fried with house made sauces. I could have sat there all day for the wings-and the hospitality.

The Snow Angel Tavern, I have to say, had the most unique wings I tasted. Chef Lance Richard par-cooks the jumbo wings at a low temperature and finishes them to order at 350 degrees producing a plump juicy wing. The menu item is Buffalo wings in a homemade sauce served with homemade blue cheese dressing (with hunks of blue cheese!) The wing 'special' has the wings covered in a sweet peanut chili glaze with fresh mango pieces. I had no shame as I used my fingers to finish off the sauces. They, graciously, handed me a spoon.

I am winged out! What started out as somewhat of a folly turned into a serious undertaking and illuminating experience. If I don't make it 'up there' after all those wings, there is no hope for me!

(Drum roll here, please.)

My favorite wings are at…

Seriously?! Did you think this wing-lover could really choose? Not to mention, did you think I'd say 'where' while I still continue to live and work in Killington? No. My advice is to go try them yourself. Sweet, spicy, plump and tangy, Killingtn has wings to satisfy any preference.

Tagged: killington, Restaurant, wings, food, chicken wings