Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Battle of the Irvine Hot Wings

So I was sitting at home in Irvine the other night talking to my buddy Tim. We were hungry. We wanted something delicious, and we didn't care about the fat. "How about hot wings?" I said. "I've been watching those KFC hot wing commercials all the time so I've been meaning to go get some. I haven't had their hot wings in years". "Sounds like a plan" Tim says, and off we go.

We walk into KFC and stare at the menu board. Their hot wings seem to be on sale, but still don't seem that cheap to me...$2.99 for 6 or $9.99 for 20. Now I realize that this wouldn't be expensive if you were to go to a restaurant, but this is fast food! Isn't it supposed to be cheap? I knew that Tim and I could easily finish off 20+ wings each and I didn't really feel like spending $20 at KFC if I wasn't sure we were going to love it. I hadn't had KFC hot wings in years, so I feared that maybe I remembered them wrong. I got an idea. "Let's get a small order of wings here, try them and then get some more wings at Albertsons. Then we can compare and see which ones we like better!" I said. Tim liked the idea so we ordered 6 hot wings and sat down to try them.

The KFC wings seemed a lot more bland than I remember them. They still had the signature peppery seasoning that you come to expect from KFC, but they didn't seem as spicy as I remembered. The wings seemed small. They were pretty crispy though and didn't feel very greasy. I added some hot sauce, and the wing tasted better, but I'm pretty glad I didn't spend $20 for 40 of these.

We headed off to Albertsons to get some more wings. We walked to the deli section and told the man there that we would like a bucket of his finest wings. "Sorry, we're all out" he said. Panic sank in. What were we going to do without more hot wings? We might have to resort to some other fast food that we weren't really in the mood for. I wouldn't hear of it! I told Tim that we were going to go to a different Albertsons to try and find wings. We walked into the second Albertsons, and there they were. A glorious mountain of meaty wings glistening in the deli case. The wings at Albertsons are $4.99/lb or a bucket for $10.00. The bucket can hold more than 2 lbs. I ordered a bucket and the nice lady in the deli section filled our bucket with almost every single wing left in the deli case. When she was done, she weighed the bucket and it came in just an ounce or two under three pounds! What a deal!

We drove home and dove into the bucket. The Albertsons wings had a much stronger, saltier flavor and felt really greasy in your hands. I said to Tim, "These can't be good for your heart". We laughed and then tore into the wings. Plump, juicy and flavorful. They were fantastic. However, they weren't really spicy. Then again, KFC wasn't really spicy without the hot sauce either.

KFC wings may be crispy and less greasy, but they also have less flavor. If you're going to get KFC wings, I would recommend getting lots of sauce. For the price and great taste though, I would have to say that Albertsons is the definite winner. You can't go wrong with these delicious "Zesty Wings". You don't have to just take my word for it though. Tim asked to be a "guest judge" for this little hot wing battle we had, so here are his comments on the evening.

Last Friday, as we drove to KFC I learned that they had been selling hot wings for years, and were "supposedly" very good. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the pricing was not to our liking, and we knew that unless we were satisfied (really satisfied) that it would not be worth the price. We decided to buy only six just to try them out.

I ate the first of my three without any condiments. The chicken was juicy, but lacked any definitive flavoring. I ate the second piece after covering it in KFC's patented hot sauce, and the flavor that was once missing returned to the chicken. However, if you dislike a vinegar taste lingering around in your mouth, I would not recommend using the sauce. I tried the third piece without the sauce, but had to give in as the wing just was not good enough on its own.
We had decided to go to Albertson's, and I decided to grab some more hot sauce, just in case. Two Albertson's later, we returned home with a bucket of hot wings. The first bite was just as delicious as the last. The wings are not really spicy, but they do pack a punch of flavor, and you know the seasoning was done just right. In my opinion, if you are looking for some "finger lickin'" wings go to Albertsons. Here's the breakdown if all this reading is not to your liking

5=Mmm mmm good 1=No way in hell am I eating that!

KFC
Appearance 5
Flavor 3
Aftertaste 2

Albertsons
Appearance 4
Flavor 4
Aftertaste 5

*I still crave some heat in my wings

Best of luck in your food quest

-Tim

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Comments on "Battle of the Irvine Hot Wings"

Blogger Julian Hsu said ... (February 20, 2008 at 1:30 PM) : 

Hilarious- a quest for lost childhood and hot wings. :P Welcome to ocfoodblogs!

Blogger Chubbypanda said ... (February 21, 2008 at 12:14 PM) : 

Interesting. Have you guys tried one of the Wing Stop branches in the OC? From what I've heard, specialize in hot wing goodness.

http://www.wingstop.com

Blogger Griffin said ... (February 22, 2008 at 10:00 AM) : 

Julian-Thanks for the welcome! It's great to be a member!

Chubbypanda-Everyone tells me that wingstop is fantastic. Therfore I have forced myself to try it three times. I just don't like it. The same goes for Wingnuts. The only other wing place that I wish was around here was WingStreet. Their wings aren't too bad. I take that back....I also wish we had a Hooters in Irvine.... I swear it's not for the girls, I really love their breaded "3-mile" hot wings

Blogger Chubbypanda said ... (February 22, 2008 at 6:16 PM) : 

There's a Hooters like 10 minutes away! =b

Blogger Johnny Automatic said ... (February 23, 2008 at 6:29 AM) : 

oh, I've always liked Wingnuts and the heat on their Buffalo style "Ouch" is definitely there. I love hot food and they are a challenge to me.

Is the difference the breading factor? Breaded wings are just another fried chicken part to me. Real hard-core bar food wings have no breading. Frank's hot sacue and butter with celery, carrots and blue cheese dressing on the side.

Blogger Griffin said ... (February 25, 2008 at 9:53 PM) : 

CP-I know where the Hooters are. I used to be a regular until I got too lazy to drive to Anaheim or Costa Mesa. Maybe if the Newport location was still there.....damn I loved their patio view...

Johnny-The breading isn't really the "factor". In fact, when I make hot wings at home, I don't bread them, and my homemade hot wings are my favorite! :)

Blogger wingmaster said ... (June 20, 2008 at 3:58 PM) : 

I just moved here from the midwest where there was a plethora of great hot wings. In my search for quality hot wings I have come across many places here but none that blow me away. Wingstop in costa mesa is pretty good and wings n things in huntington beach is pretty good too. There's hooters out here too which is always not bad. I still have yet to find any that really kick ass. However, they are putting a buffalo wild wings in Santa Ana. This is a company that started in Minneapolis and they are really good. Hopefully they will put more into orange county.

P.S. Wingnuts in costa mesa sucks!

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (November 7, 2008 at 10:43 PM) : 

The best wings in the whole entire world are at Wings and Things in Murrietta, CA. The bread, sauce and sides are awesome too. Hands down the best wings in America.

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 29, 2008 at 2:20 PM) : 

Hotties Pizza has AMAZING wings!!! Service is great and the food is awesome. It is in Costa Mesa, very close to Irvine. I recommend the extra few minutes it takes to drive there. Check their menu out at www.hottiespizza.com

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