One of our (hubby -n- me!) favorite go-to places is Buffalo Wild Wings. We can always count on them to deliver a power-packed punch of flavor when our taste buds are craving something hot and spicy, but they will also have something our daughter (or possibly daughters … if our oldest is joining us too) will also enjoy.
Location: 9810 NE Cascades Parkway in Portland, OR
Order: Hubby ordered 12 boneless wings in Medium sauce and my youngest daughter ordered the chicken tenders with french fries. I ordered six boneless wings with Caribbean Jerk sauce and six boneless wings with Salt & Vinegar seasoning. We ordered an order of Soft Pretzels and Roasted Garlic Mushrooms to share.
What I think:
I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed when visiting Buffalo Wild Wings. Their wings always taste fresh and their sauces are tasty. My favorite sauce is the Caribbean Jerk Sauce which is about as high as my spice tolerance will go. I used to be much less of a wimp and could probably have gone for their Mango Habanero (and I’m tempted, let me tell you), but I think that my taste buds have mellowed significantly as the years have crept up on me.
I like the Caribbean Jerk Sauce because it starts out hot, but not too wildly hot. It offers some delicious fruity notes at the start including the fruit flavors of the peppers. The contrast of flavors is really delightful; although the heat does build rather rapidly. By the second wing, my mouth is quite warm and I’m beginning to feel a bead or two of sweat on my forehead. But even at their spiciest, I still can taste the contrasting sweetness. They get so warm, that I probably couldn’t eat more than six of these, and on this occasion, I ate three and brought the rest home for another day.
How I discovered the Caribbean Jerk Sauce is kind of a funny story – one visit, I ordered the “medium” wings, and my husband was sure he’d want something spicier than the medium, so he ordered the Caribbean Jerk. Shortly after our food had been delivered to our table, I was eating from his basket, while he was eating from mine. But… I digress!
On this occasion, I happened to discover a new favorite: Salt & Vinegar seasoned wings. Unlike the sauced wings, these are not quite as messy to eat because they’re not coated in sauce. If you like Salt & Vinegar potato chips … you’ll like these. I followed up my three Caribbean Jerk wings with a couple of these, and found that while these are not hot or spicy, the salt and vinegar flavors seem to add definition and dimension to the Caribbean Jerk spices. I could taste the layers of flavors! It was a very interesting experience!
One minor glitch – no celery was brought with our wings. I don’t know if they’ve decided to forgo the celery these days or not, but I happen to enjoy the side of celery. It not only is a hint of healthy in this otherwise fat-laden affair, it also helps to tame the heat from the lively sauces.
On this visit, I also enjoyed another tried-and-true favorite: Roasted Garlic Mushrooms. These are very similar to deep fried mushrooms, except that the mushrooms have been infused with roasted garlic flavor. The roasting of the garlic mellows out the pungent, aggressive tones of the garlic, leaving a mild, sweet flavor that really makes all the difference. The garlic highlights the meatier characteristics of the mushrooms, giving them a depth that is not normally experienced. These are so delicious that I’d be quite satisfied with just a plate of these for lunch.
While the soft pretzels were not bad, they weren’t anything spectacular, either. They were just… soft pretzels. Soft and fluffy interior. Lightly crisped exterior. Not too much salt. Tasty, but not something I’d order again. Next time, though, I think we should try the Fried Pickles!
My Final Thoughts:
I love Buffalo Wild Wings. While the atmosphere leaves a little to be desired (I’m not a sports fan, but my hubby is, so he likes it just fine), I go there for the eats and I leave with my cravings for hot & spicy satisfied and my hunger appeased. The service is pleasant and the food is tasty.