by Vanessa Anthony
Here in Portland we have the best of the best when it comes to gourmet food offerings and some of the crème de la crème at the helm when it comes to Chefs but what about when you’re craving something just a bit more down home? Something messy, something that definitely says t-shirt and jeans, Superbowl and a tall draft. This calls for chicken wings, but you don’t have to travel all the way to Buffalo to get the goods. Sit back, relax, Portland’s got you covered.
So your local bar’s got you slathered in Frank’s Red Hot or maybe that chain down the street (BJ’s in Jantzen Beach and Rock Bottom downtown both have pretty tasty wings and with two locations in Portland, Buffalo Wild Wings definitely came to town to play) but I’m talking about mastery here. I’m talking about folks who make wings their business.
People like Fire on the Mountain with two locations on N. Interstate and E. Burnside and Wingstop on 82nd. Now these wing havens offer a tongue tantalizing array of sauces from the traditional heat to BBQ and all the way to the exotic: try peanut, chipotle and Jamacian Jerk or lemon-pepper, garlic-parmesan and Hawaiian sauces. FOTM even offers veg-friendly Portland wings (a meatless coup) and some solid side dishes like bleu cheese stuffed and batter fried mushrooms to round it all out.
Then there’s the sweet Irish whiskey barbeque flavor of Kells Whiskey Wings or the soaked into the bone heat of Portsmouth Pizza Pub‘s baked hot wings or the still piping hot joy of Tom’s Pizza‘s home delivered wings. Stop by Deschutes Brewery & Public House on NW 11th for their jumbo wings or Laurelwood Public House– where you can try ’em buffalo or beer BBQ style and with a side of their battered garlic fries-out of this world!
But this is Portland and we’re sure to have more on wings than your traditional hot or barbeque variety. Pok Pok on SE Division serves the finest Thai wings in town—crispy with the balance of sweet and salty just right (I crave them constantly) and Thai Noon on NE Alberta has carved a niche for themselves with their house specialty stuffed chicken wings (truly a treat!) Meanwhile, Pause on N Interstate has gone whole hog, or chicken that is, and offers up full size drumsticks (not technically wings)”confit”—which is just a fancy way of saying seasoned and then cooked in it’s own fat. These are served tossed in a carrot habenero sauce. They call’em Kalahari runners and they are delish!
Yes, if the wing is your thing you don’t have to hop a flight to Buffalo, P-town’s the place. It’s all just a matter of deciding what flavors you have a hankering for tonight or tomorrow on the King of all Wings’ Day—Superbowl Sunday.
If you want to know all about the merits of every possible place in Stumptown to get wings check out Cluckbucket.com, home of the Hot Wing Internet Database. They also have a Portland/Seattle specific blog.
If we missed your favorite wing haunt add it to the discussion with a comment below.