There’s a guy in town called Tony. I don’t know Tony very well. But I know Tony’s from Buffalo. Which gives us something very much in common. Because I’m from a suburb of Buffalo called Canada.
As a once-teenaged Canadian, I lived in a land where people were not considered responsible enough to consume barley and hops until their 21st birthday, where the sidewalks were rolled up promptly at 11:00 pm for fear that we would not rise early enough to be able to confess our sins the following morning, where music in a place that served barley and hops was forbidden for fear it may result in dancing and, subsequently, sexual activities.
So, on Saturday night, I (and many others) would shuffle off to…well you know where, that place that Tony is from.
Unbeknownst to many (but I’m sure not Tony), Buffalo was the home of the seven wonders of the modern world. In order of importance: Beer. American women. Beer. American rock and roll. Beer. Chicken wings. And beer.
When I run into Tony, sooner or later we talk about Buffalo’s glory days, the days of Bills and Braves and Bisons, the days of Saranac and Genesee and Utica Club, the days of beef on weck and fried bologna and buffalo wings.
I asked Don Day’s Wife today if she knew Tony’s last name, his phone number, his email address. I had some important news for Tony. She didn’t. So, hopefully, he’ll read this.
Up until about four years, five months and eleven days ago, we had a place in San Miguel de Allende called ChupAlitas and, at ChupAlitas, Joe and Debra Ingram served wings that rivalled those served in Buffalo’s Anchor Bar. Then one day, about four years, five months and twelve days ago, the Ingrams flew the coop. And I (and perhaps Tony) were without a chicken wing dealer.
Then, last week, I was at my local Carniceria (the best butcher in San Miguel de Allende I will push my chest out and say) and there in the display case were some very welcoming, very red cello packs of “Alitas Adobados”. Ah, what the hell, I thought, let’s see if a Mexicano knows how to cut and spice a wing.
These wings were bigger. Like in the days when chickens were more like chickens than Cornish hens. They’d be a little harder to handle. But some things that are bigger and harder to handle, like Cadillacs and Kardashians, aren’t necessarily bad things.
Now, Buffalonians like Tony will tell you that Buffalo-style wings must be deep-fried and I love my wings deep-fried. But not in my house. You see, Don Day’s Wife is the chief cook and I am the bottlewasher. Which means it is my responsibility to clean the deep fryer. Which means (with Don Day’s Wife’s blessing) that we bake our wings.
“I’m going to pour off most of the sauce”, said Don Day’s Wife, “then give them about 20 minutes at about 450 (we still speak in Fahrenheit when it comes to oven temperatures), flip ’em, give them fifteen minutes more and check if they’re done”.
OK, so before I tell you (and Tony) how good they were, I have to tell you these were not your typical Buffalo wings. These did not use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce like Dom Bellissimo reputedly did at the Anchor Bar. These wings used a much more Mexican sauce that my butcher Alberto told me was flavored mostly by guajillos and guajillos are a chile that almost every Buffalo boy (including those from the suburb of Canada) would’ve never seen hide nor seeds of.
So no, despite the fact that we devoured them with the traditional celery sticks, carrots and a Rosenborg blue cheese sauce, these wings would never be mistaken for Buffalo wings. But these were a wing that could perhaps stand alone and challenge Buffalo for the heavyweight championship of wings.
So, if you know Buffalo Tony (he’s the guy with a tennis racket often wrapped over his shoulder and a bit of a wobble when he walks), tell him I’m sorry I didn’t save any for him, sorry that the Bills didn’t go all the way, but I can tell him where to get his own wings.
Our alitas adobadas came from Carniceria La Nueva Aurora at Durazno Norte #24 in Fraccionamiento La Luz, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. They’re priced at what I think is a very affordable $108 a kilo. The carniceria delivers but perhaps not just one packet of wings.