Monday, June 28, 2010

Quaker Steak and Lube - Fear is not a factor!

For anyone with cable, or a hankering for hot wings, The Atomic Wing Challenge has somehow entered your consciousness.  You might not want to do it, but you have heard stories or seen episodes with people getting lit up on national television.  If you recall - my recent visit to East Coast Wings was intended as a warm up for this challenge.  Turned out to be a burn up!  It was hot.  What to do, what to do???

Well, sure enough, I ended up in Concord on Saturday and the thought entered my mind again.  There must be something seriously wrong with me.  After long deliberation (yes - with myself) I decide it's just not the wise thing to do right now.  I had a spicy curry the night before, so that might have had a little to do with it too :)

The second hottest wing on the list is "Scorcher" rated at 30,000 scoville units.  That seems like a hot afternoon without going up to 150,000 for the Atomic.  I ordered them as the V-8 combo, so there were 3 soft pretzels on the side for $9.99.  A good bit of food for the money.  In a daring move, we asked for a little of the Triple Atomic sauce (their newer one) to see just how rough it may be.  A finger dab to the center of the tongue and you know there's some punch in that stuff.  Still not as hot as ECW, but 5 wings versus just 1.  It's still gonna be harder to handle 5 saucey wings after the burn begins.

The Scorchers arrive and eat number 1.  Hmmm.  30,000 really?  Feeling a wee bit disappointed.  Now is it that the Atomic sauce numbed me perhaps?  I don't know.  What I can assure you is that the next wing got a heavy dose of  the Atomic sauce from the sample cup.  Now that baby woke up.  Of course that made the rest of them even more lack-luster. 

We had a fun waitress and the service and prices were quite good.  It was not too busy either, so I am sure that worked to our advantage.

So I think in all I got it backwards.  The Quaker Steak and Lube Atomic Wing Challenge will be easy compared to ECW's Insanity Wing.  It's like ripping off the band aid and then getting the shot.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

East Coast Wings + ECW Insanity Wing = PAIN (in a good way)

Okay, so the title may confuse some.  To put it simply, the Insanity Wing (yes wing, not wings!) is ludicrous hot.  So much so that they sell them in eaches rather than 6 or 10. 

Where else will $1.89 buy you a gastro-intestinal assault that ranks right up there with swallowing hot coals from your barbecue grill? 

The sane person believes only a fool will do this stunt.  The fool believes he (or she) can do it when they have people there to watch.  Someone in the middle brings the friends and eats ice cream to coat the stomach - which did not help.

So ECW has an expanse menu of various chicken items, as well as shrimp, burgers, wrap and salads.  I could definitely find plenty of good  things to eat if I weren't there for a stomach assault.  Our server knew the 75 flavor process very well and made good recommendations.  Picking above average heats (volcano and lava flow), we got off to a hot start.  We both knew this would not be even close to the Insanity wing, but had to start somewhere toward the top.  The wings are large, well prepared staying a little crunchy in all the sauce.  I got a salad and some homemade chips to start off.  Pretty much everyone got wings in a variety of heats and flavors.  No one was disappointed.    For the beer drinker, they have plenty of specials with big mugs and cheap prices. 

Now of course, the real reason for going, to "warm up" for the Quaker Steak Atomic Wing Challenge.  I figured we should try theirs before we go do the other.  I am reconsidering the Atomic after "the morning after."

The single flapper comes out buried in sauce.  It's brick red with several goodie bits in it.  We were told when it was on it's way, so the fear could start to mount.  Okay, no fear really, just planning for the immediate future.  Napkins, water, lemons, creamy dressings I held back from my salad on purpose, any un-finished beverage on the table was subject to the grasp of the gladiators. 

Flappers are meant to be peeled back a little and eaten in one swoop.  Did anyone ever tell you how bad your cuticles will burn from getting the sauce under your finger nails.  Wing chewed, down the hatch, lips on fire, now throat, oh my aching stomach.  Water water water, blue cheese, lemons, ranch, lemons, toast, ice, water, ice, water, SCREAM, more - oh no - no more water.  Tears, runny nose, red face - all the attributes of a strong warrior right?  If there's one thing I know... don't rub your eyes.  Ok, got it.  But blow your nose with the napkin and get wing sauce on it???  Face and eyes are a subject - holy ouch.  My right eye is melting. 

Bathroom - wash face and hands (NOT in that order) multiple times.  Now, go sit, burn, try to act cool.  The ill effects are burning for a little over 30 minutes, but really drop off quickly.  The lips took it the worst.  The next day was stomach.  Tums, water and a lot of groaning at work. 

If you have heard horror stories about people trying this - they are probably true.  If you want great wings, this is certainly the place.  Almost every price on the menu was better than the competition EXCEPT the wings.  They are bigger than most, so you pay a little more than most.  The 75 flavors cost 99 cents to add per order (up to 25 wings).  That is the only drawback.  They run specials almost every day, so check the website and plan according to your tastes.  Monday is wing night, so have a blast.  And remember YOU WERE WARNED!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Zaxby's in Mooresville CLOSED ?!?!

Doors locked, caution tape and cones block the driveway, all things that don't look good for this Zaxby's.  The franchise is owned by the same folks that own the one in Hickory.  Hickory was closed in recent history as well - but now back open.  I am told it was tax-related concern.  The Mooresville closing is still a mystery for now.  No message or recording when you call.  We are just left to guess until the rumor mill gets up to speed I guess.  Add the fact that the KFC just across on 150 is gone, and chicken choices for that part of Mooresville belong to Bojangles.  Ughhh.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Are you feeling HOT HOT HOT - wings???

I have had the Quaker Steak and Lube Atomic Wing Challenge on my to do list for months.  Life, work and the day of rest needed afterwards have all been hard to schedule.  When it finally looked right, the race was in Concord - whoa Nelly.  Not going in that traffic mess just to burn my innards. 

Well, in a casual conversation from a pair in the food industry, I was told that East Coast Wings in Statesville has some worthy wings for a challenge.  It is possible that they are even hotter?  The reason I blog this in advance of going is to get some feedback...  Any one try them? 

I have been to ECW once and they have a great meaty wing.  It was at lunch, so I kept it middle of the road.  I am now wishing that I read the menu better.  I look forward to the next visit and hope you all can share some stories with me.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marinated Flank Steak Sandwiches

This ginger-soy marinated flank steak can be grilled and enjoyed on its own or turned into this Asian-inspired sandwich by surrounding it with crunchy toasts, sweet and spicy mayo and a generous handful of peppery, fresh watercress.

Marinate the steak in the morning for a quick and delicious supper from the grill.

Recipe courtesy of Jim Romanoff
Associated Press
Ginger-Soy Marinated Flank Steak Sandwiches

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce, or more to taste
4 green onions, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
1 1/4 pounds flank steak

Sandwich spread:
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce

8 (3/4-inch-thick) slices crusty country-style bread
1 tablespoon extra-virgin oil
3 cups loosely packed watercress or arugula

WHISK together the vinegar, brown sugar and soy sauce in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the oil, ginger, chile-garlic sauce and green onions.

PLACE the steak in a shallow glass dish. Add the marinade and turn to coat the meat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours, turning once.

HEAT a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire. Stir together the mayonnaise, honey and chile-garlic sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Brush both sides of the bread lightly with olive oil.

GRILL the steak until the underside is well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the steak over and grill about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. While the steak is grilling, place the bread slices around it to toast, about 1 minute per side.

LET the steak stand 5 minutes, then cut it across the grain into thin slices. Spread a thin layer of chile-garlic mayonnaise on each bread slice. Arrange the steak over 4 of the slices. Top with watercress or arugula and the remaining bread.

4 servings.

PER SERVING: 520 calories; 47g carbohydrate; 37g protein; 19g fat (174 calories from fat; 6g saturated); 58mg cholesterol; 2g fiber; 780mg sodium.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great snack for the chip lover

So we all know that snacks in moderation are okay.  I have struggled to switch over to baked chips because they mostly taste like cardboard.  Regular chips are too greasy, and the light chips made with Olean don't agree with most peoples' digestive systems.  What to do, what to do?

On a rare (and I mean RARE) trip to a Walmart, I saw these bags by the hot bar/deli called Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps.  There are bagel crisps out there that are tasty, but pretzel - this could be even better.  I grabbed Garlic, Everything (like an everything bagel) and Buffalo. 

The buffalo are my least favorite strictly due to the sprayed on nature of the flavoring.  It's like Cheeto spray on them.  It's just not normal on this type of crisp.  The Everything have the tasty stuff baked on, and that makes all the difference.  The Garlic are pretty much what's expected.  There are several other flavors available, based on the company's website, but these were the only 3 at Wally World. 

Each crisp is a little more dense than a chip, but not nearly like a regular pretzel.  More like a tortilla chip in density.  They are very crunchy, just lightly salted, and would do well with a dip or hummus.  The best part is the lack of negative impact on the daily nutrition.  Nearly no fat or sugar, sodium varies by flavor, and only 10 calories per crisp - serving size is 11 crisps at 110 calories.  Unlike a serving of chips at 150+ calories and still wanting more, 11 of these is about right and better for you.

If you try them, let me know what you think - especially if you get a different flavor.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weekend fun with an Accordian

John Candy made the word Polka popular again in the movie Home Alone.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have several songs about them set to Polka.  Now, Polka comes back to Troutman.  Yes, Troutman North Carolina.  You can check on the events at the Daveste website or read along below.  I have pasted a summary below.   I may not know the dance, but I can eat bratwurst like champ.

Chardon Polka Band Event

June 6, 2:00 - 5:00PM

Back by popular demand! From Cleveland, Ohio!

Front Door Concessions will be selling delicious bratwurst and hot dogs (Cash)
Bring lawn chairs or blankets