Some Like It Hot

Pig Wings.*

The sauce wasn’t terribly hot, which was also a disappointment because I ordered it hot on their “mild-medium-or-hot” scale – DerryX on his visit to The Flying Chicken in Troy, NY.

This bugs the shit out of me. Why is it that in the Capital District the hot sauce scale is so effing skewed? I had a nice long discussion with the George of the Bier Abbey the other day about this (after telling him his wing sauces needed to be kicked up).

I’m not sure what the problem is or who started this trend, but can we go back to a time when hot sauces were actually “hot”? Frank’s Red Hot + Butter + Vinegar = a mild sauce. I mean, you just diluted Frank’s which isn’t very hot to begin with; this should not be your “hot” sauce. Mild should be mildly spiced with barely any heat for the pansies (let’s face it, this is really just a fake butter sauce colored orange), medium should leave a little tingling on your tongue, hot should definitely have some decent burn. Why is this so hard?

It bugs me even more when restaurants have 6+ different levels of hotness, like “Xtra Hot” and “Mouth Scorcher!” to overcompensate for having weak hot sauces in the first place.

The only place that I can get regularly get hot wings that are actually “hot” is at The Ruck and even that consistency of heat is dependent on the batch and the cook.

Looks folks, you need at most four hot sauces to get the job done: Mild, Medium, Hot, and some sort of Insanity/Suicidal for chili heads like me. And these descriptors should genuinely line up to their names for once. Beyond that, have all of the Oriental Sesame, PB&J, Garlic Parm and what have you wing sauces you want but I’ll never order them.

* I’m not exactly sure how I’ve never taken a picture of wings before. Or maybe I’m just never uploaded them to the web. This is an old crappy unfocused picture of pig wings from the Lovin’ Cup. If you’ve never heard pig wings before, check ’em out here. In case you’re wondering, no, there is still not a bar or restaurant awesome enough in the Capital District to offer pig wings. And yes, the hot sauce at the Lovin’ Cup was too mild.

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7 thoughts on “Some Like It Hot

  1. I would add that the Ale House in Troy also understands heat levels in wing sauce: mild, medium, hot and award hot. I personally can’t even stand to be down-bar from an order of award hot, such is the intensity of their aroma.

  2. If you like spicy, hot and Indian I would highly recommend the little cafe at the back of Parivar Indian grocery next to Grandma’s on Central Ave in Albany. Completely unlike essentially all other Indian eateries in the area, it’s all vegetarian, but has outstandingly addictive heat/spice/flavor bloom; cheap as hell too.

    1. Shame, thanks for the warning. I have had that place on my radar for a while, but with only vegetarian options it’s off the list for me. A meal without meat feels incomplete for me.

      I’ll keep Ala Shanghai in mind. I haven’t gone back since shortly after they opened because the soup dumplings, the main reason why we went, fell short. Way too thick of a bun, even compared to the frozen ones we pick up at the Asian Supermarket. Might have to give it another shot.

      And it’s not just about the spicy meals, I’ve had plenty of proper spicy meals in the area. It’s the mislabeled, watered down hot wing sauces I have an issue with in the area.

  3. Fuj and -R, if you guys really want hot, we should all get together at Karavalli in Latham for Phaal. I had it a few years back with a buddy, and it was the most intensely hot and flavorful dish I’ve ever eaten. And it’s not just hot for the hell of it; the heat actually helps you sense the other spices.

    As far as wings, Scubbers doesn’t let me down on heat level. Just this past weekend, I had their X-hot (one step down from their XX-Hot) and I loved it, as always.

    Ale house and The Ruck also impressed me with their hottest (and the Ale house’s award winning hot is borderline ridiculous but ohh so good!)

    1. The Lamb Phaal has put a hurting on my in the past. The mango lassi wasn’t exactly my what I’d prefer to wash down that kind of meal with but it did the job. It was fun to see my buddy Dave (Executive Chef at Creo) in pain for the rest of the meal after one bite of the dish.

      My problem with Scubbers is the the thickness of the sauce. It’s more like wings coated in spicy tomato sauce than traditional wing sauce.

      I had the guys at the Ruck make me some habenaro wings from some peppers that were left over from one of their Dogfish Head nights. They best wings I’ve had in my life.

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