Saturday, October 1, 2011

…Buffalo Wild Wings?! (Ugh, not a chance)

Often imitated.  Never duplicated.

My high school band director, Mr. Hancsak, uttered that gem of wisdom often.  He had a few mantras, but my favorite was absolutely, “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

I repeat that to myself often.  Especially lately.

However, I mention the former because it is important to know that not all tacos are created equal – REAL tacos, ones made with authentic ingredients and a knowledge of REAL Hispanic flavors - are “often imitated, never duplicated” by chain restaurants.  Most of their creators believe that taking the ingredients of one dish and slapping them in a tortilla automatically makes them the creators of a delicious Hispanic classic, such as those Crispy Chicken Tacos from Chili’s that I spoke of recently.

Buffalo Wild Wings is no exception.

Students who have known me for many years (so most of the students that I teach now) know that I lost a lot of weight over the last 2 years.  At my best, I lost 92 pounds – gained a bit back over the summer, but I’m working on that now that I’m back into a regular routine (working at Kennywood and starting this project threw me off a bit this summer).  As a result, if I eat at a chain restaurant, I try to find the healthiest thing that I can on the menu without having to pay an arm and a leg for steamed vegetables and a house salad (boring, lame, and overpriced).    

Salads can be deceiving, as I mentioned in my Chili’s post, so I knew that ordering one was probably not a good idea.  Luckily, the first time that I went to Buffalo Wild Wings, I had an app on my phone – Restaurant Nutrition by Unified Lifestyle - that has the nutritional information for a lot of chain restaurants, including Buffalo Wild Wings.  My parents were with me that first time that we visited the Monroeville location, so on the drive there, I tried to find something healthier than their traditional wings.

Surprisingly, the Buffalitos seemed to be a healthy option, so I decided to order them.  I had no idea what they were because there was no description, but regardless, I figured I’d try it, blindly.

Guess what?  They’re chicken tacos, with your choice of one of their wing sauces, served with chips and salsa. 

At the Wilkins Township location, I ordered mine with their mango habanero sauce, which is pretty high up there on the Scoville scale (the measurement of the amount of heat in their peppers).  I have a pretty high tolerance for spice, so I wasn’t concerned.

I should have been more concerned.  The sauce on these Buffalitos was so spicy that it made me feel nauseated.  Even worse, the sauce made me feel nauseated long into the night…and the next morning.

Scratch that off of my regular list.

Now that the West Mifflin location is open, it is much easier for my students (and myself, and anyone else in the area) to choose Buffalo Wild Wings as a more frequent dining option.  Of course, they are mostly famous for their wings, but I want my students to understand that if they go to an American restaurant and order something Hispanic, such as a taco, burrito, or quesadilla – that is nowhere near the same as ordering one from an authentic restaurant.

Since my brother took me to Gran Agave for my birthday, I was obligated to take him somewhere on his – so we ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Knowing that the Buffalitos were relatively healthy compared to anything else on the menu, I knew that I would end up ordering them again, but this time, with a much milder sauce.

I chose the Jumpin’ Jalapeno sauce this time, which was much lower on the Scoville scale.  I have no issues with jalapenos in any dish that I have ever eaten, so I figured that this would be a safe choice.

Before our entrees arrived, my brother had wanted an appetizer, so he chose the spinach and artichoke dip – I only mention this because he complained that there was too much spinach in the dip, and the dip was served in a paper cup with the Buffalo Wild Wings logo, along with pita bread slices for dipping.  I couldn’t believe the paper cup.

Classy.

Anyway, the entrees arrived, and my Buffalitos looked just as they did when I had ordered them before, but the sticker did indicate “Jumpin’ Jalapeno” so that I knew that they knew what kind of sauce to use on my fake tacos.



This sauce was much more tolerable, although they were still spicier than I thought they would be.  I didn’t feel nauseated, and I ate it all, but it had me craving more authentic flavors, such as cumin and cilantro, on my taco.

I thought that since I didn’t have issues with the sauce as I ate the Buffalitos, I wouldn’t have issues with my stomach later. 

Wrong. 

My stomach hurt – HURT – the rest of that night.  I don’t know what all is in the sauces they use at Buffalo Wild Wings, but I wish I did so that I know not to eat anything with those ingredients anywhere else. 

I don’t have these issues at Quaker Steak & Lube.

I don’t think that I will be frequenting Buffalo Wild Wings – I’ll only go there if I’m obligated to, or if it means being in good company, just as I was at Chili’s.  If I do go back, I may end up being better off with steamed vegetables and house salad…


Buffalo Wild Wings – West Mifflin
9996 Mountain View Dr.
West Mifflin, PA 15122

Buffalo Wild Wings – Monroeville
3469 William Penn Highway
Wilkins Twp., PA 15235


Buffalo Wild Wings on Urbanspoon

Buffalo Wild Wings on Urbanspoon

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