Time to change it up with buffalo shrimp after 50 posts

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By: Michael Tomko
miketomko@outlook.com
facebook.com/tastethesebrokenwings

Michael Tomko

Welcome to the Second Quarter Quell of Taste These Broken Wings.

Last week’s review was number 50, so this week’s will be something a little different. I’ll go through some of the events from the last 25, as well as hint at some of the future write-ups. The First Quarter Quell took a look at drinking buffalo wing soda, but this quarter’s taste test will be a little more appetizing.

In older posts, I wrote about more places out of town. I got some wings in Wabash, Syracuse, New Buffalo, and a couple in Fort Wayne. I even headed out to the original wing joint in Buffalo, N.Y., and reviewed pierogi in Poland.

I really liked hitting the small, local places this time around. Bars like Jay’s Lounge, The Landmark, My Dad’s Place and Roxie’s Manhattan were all small neighborhood pubs that do not get mentioned a lot when talking about where to eat in Michiana, but they served great wings and are loved by the regulars who hang out there.

I am excited about a couple more small joints that I have queued up for the next 25.

Roxie’s Manhattan even joined the group of elite wings with Rulli’s, Miles Lab, and Pete’s as my preference for best in the area. I’ve also gotten a taste for the Scorpion Wings at Sportstime in the last couple months. They had just come out with the new sauce when I did the write-up about them last December, but I now consider them also in the elite class.

I would like to advance on the social media presence of Taste These Broken Wings over the next couple months. I have created a map of all the places I have visited and wrote about. You can find it on Community Walk. I will keep it updated and when I get some time, I’ll have links to the articles at each bubble.

I also have a Facebook page for TTBW. It’s open for anyone to join. I’m planning to call out the location of where I’m eating wings and give some quick facts or reviews about the wings — things like wing specials, new sauces and different types. It will be kind of like a supplement to the articles on Flavor 574.

Now on to the Quell…

There it is, the world’s largest chicken wing. Michael Tomko/Taste These Broken Wings

Buffalo sauce seems to have been created for the chicken wing. You can slather that stuff on other meats, but the only protein that comes close to eating it with chicken is on shrimp.

Traditionally, shrimp is served unbreaded in a cocktail glass and dipped in a mixture of cold ketchup and horseradish (cocktail) sauce. You can also have it seasoned, grilled and served on wooden sticks, or fried up on a Hibachi table and strategically flipped to you by the chef. You can even get it “popcorn style” by having the small ones fried up in a thick breading and eaten whole.

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I believe jumbo shrimp is best eaten breaded, fried and slathered in a hot buffalo sauce. Like the buffalo wing, it is called buffalo shrimp.

It was a little more popular about 10 or 15 years ago, but you can still find it on some menus. The best place to get it is Hooters. For this taste test, I went out to visit the world’s largest chicken wing at a Hooters in Madeira Beach, Fla., where the shrimp is so fresh, I think they were bringing it out of the water while I walked up the stairs into the restaurant.

Out came 10 large shrimp with a light breading and Hooters hot sauce, which is more butter than it is heat. This shrimp was A+ material. It had a sweet taste and no “fishy” flavor at all. The buffalo sauce-covered breading gave a crunchy contrast to the plump, tender shrimp meat when you took each bite.

RELATED: Hooters restaurant to reopen in Mishawaka with updated look, July 2

One of the best parts about a strong buffalo sauce is that it can drown out the “fishy” flavor when the best quality shrimp is not used. Of course, there was no need for an overpowering sauce at this meal as the lighter Hooters sauce complimented the fresh taste of the shrimp perfectly. This is good stuff.

I used to get it a lot more in the past. Gubi’s on Cassopolis in Elkhart and the Old Beef ’O’ Brady’s on C.R. 17 used to serve great buffalo shrimp, but they are not around anymore. Recently, I’ve ordered it at some places and they tend to mix the buffalo sauce with ranch or tartar sauce, thus destroying any kind of good taste in the dish. But when you can get a good plate of buffalo shrimp, it is a worthy meal for any wing lover.

For more commentary on the chicken wings of Michiana from Tomko, sign up for the Taste These Broken Wings email newsletter. You can also follow his adventures on Facebook by following the Taste These Broken Wings page.
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