Wings for President!

Now that most of my friends know about my affinity wings and desire to eat them ALL, I get a lot of recommendations for new wing spots.

I love it! I always want to find the underrated and delicious wings the city of Atlanta has to offer. I try to give every spot a chance. When I hear, “Annie, you HAVE to go to X-TREME BUFFALO MAYHEM WAREHOUSE! They have the best wings!” I give the recommendation the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they know something I don’t.

It is rough when I go to a recommended wing spot and they are shoddy and I get asked,” Wuddya think!?!?!” and I don’t want to tell them, “Those wings might as well been from a pigeon and I could have just used Frank’s and had a better experience.”

I have to remember, people may believe that those wings are the best because that is all they had ever experienced. Maybe they like those wings because the venue and the people are more meaningful. There are too many emotional and conditional factors that make wings a favorite. Maybe their parents loved those wings and that was their family’s favorite Friday night tradition.

I know that there are times that going to my closest wing spot with my coworkers satisfies my craving and I enjoy the experience because of the conditions surrounding the poultry consumption.

I have been trying to take this same approach with the election season. I know people’s life experiences and conditions shape their political opinion and the only thing I can do is listen and take a bite of their political chicken wing. It’s okay if I don’t like it. It’s okay if it’s not from my neighborhood joint. I just don’t want people to give me a platter of their wings, tie my arms behind my back, shove wings in my piehole, and berate me for not enjoying them. I definitely do not want to be scared into eating wings because if I don’t eat those wings the whole buffalo sauce industry will collapse and terrorists will take our wings away. There are also wings that will unintentionally make you sick and never want to put a wing near your face.

I will never understand why some people choose the political wings they do but I hope that people listen to others and try as many wing spots as possible.

As for me, I know what wings are my favorite and I hope people respect me for researching and seeking out the best.

So respect others wings but remember that there are some that will give you food poisoning.

Communication

This past weekend my man and I completed the television series, Twin Peaks. He had never seen the show, and it is frankly one of my favorites. To commemorate the occasion, we went to Bookhouse on Ponce de Leon. Bookhouse is a loose Twin Peaks theme bar. More Twin Peaks than the restaurant named Twin Peaks. My man and I sat down and immediately our server was not hearing us and we were having trouble understanding  each other. It was frustrating because there wasn’t loud music.

Luckily, my man likes wings almost as much as I do so we ordered some to share. I ask our server about the hot wings and it feels like I am speaking another language. I feel I must be speaking like Laura Palmer in the Black Lodge. He tells me it’s a Texas Pete base. Sure. Fine. Just give me some yummy wings.

The wings are meh.

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When he meant Texas Pete base, he meant that they didn’t make a sauce, they just poured Texas Pete and a little cracked pepper on some cooked chicken wings and put them in a basket.

I wanted these wings to be the saving grace of the evening but they weren’t.

Our server then disappeared for about 30min. We just wanted some cocktails and so did the other tables around us. When he finally came back, he didn’t apologize or give an explanation. Aloof and disinterested. Sometimes all you want is someone to apologize and move on.

That whole day was full of miscommunication. I am a fan of talking and writing. Obviously.

It can be challenging being someone who has to talk things out and express everything verbally. I am not good about being coy with my emotions or thoughts.

My mouth ran away from me before we went to Bookhouse. I didn’t communicate well. And once I realized what I did, I did like that server did… I hid. I clammed up. It didn’t help at all. While I had talked too much, I should have thought about my words and explained where I was coming from. I hate thinking that a wag of the tongue, a vibration of vocal chords, and a movement of lips can cause damage to someone that means so much to me.

I have never been in a relationship this long before. (I am not counting my freshman year of high school boyfriend who was super crazy. Crazy as in, he bought me a promise ring and wanted to get married after high school.) I don’t know what I am doing. I haven’t been in a relationship like this. I am having a hard time getting used to what’s happening in my heart and all the adjustments I am making to make sure I am the best friend and girlfriend I can be.

Just like with wings, there will be baskets of wings that aren’t the best but you learn where to go, what to avoid, and what to order. And that motorcycle rides really do help clear your head.

On This Day…

I have a love/ hate relationship with the Facebook “Time Hop”/ “On This Day” feature. I have been reminded of dead pets and of ex- boyfriends but lately it has brought up a lot of other feelings and memories I had honestly forgotten about.

About two weeks ago, my anxiety started creeping back into my life… it feels like a dark fog slowly moving though my mind and heart. I have been hesitant to share about my battle with anxiety because it doesn’t make me look cute. Back in the beginning of 2013, I started to blog about my challenge with losing weight, getting off antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, and the painful changes. My mom said I shouldn’t share that kind of information. I listened to her and felt embarrassed that I opened myself up in that way.

Since my journey to a medication free strategy to handle my anxiety began, I faced a multitude of challenges and a multitude of growth. I was doing it! I was living a life where I was doing life well! I was working towards my dreams and not getting caught up in the things that didn’t matter!

Lately, I started feeling that insecurity, that feeling of a clinched fist inside my chest. I hate it. I have been trying to overcome! With wings! After Skull Fest ended, my man took me to Bantam for wings and mules to relax. I had a blast being surrounded by comedy, but I was ready to unwind.

I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation: sauce. on. the side.what!?!?!IMG_6311  The wings were dry rubbed

and quite tasty even without one of the three sauces to choose from: traditional hot sauce, a tangy BBQ sauce, and ranch. Each sauce was delightful. I have to put moments like this in place so that I can be present.

I was happy to have a moment like this, even in the midst of an anxiety induced time in my life.

Even though I am not happy with how I am right now, I am thankful for the progress I have made. I opened up Facebook’s “On This Day” and what popped up was a reminder of a time, much like now, where creative energy felt like it was pouring out of me but I felt that tightness in my chest and desire to pull a Kate Chopin, “Awakening” style escape. This watercolor I did in high school AP art came up. I forgot about this piece.

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I instantly reconnected with this poorly painted depiction of the pain I was feeling. I wanted to float away but my shoelaces kept me tied down. It was weird seeing it after so many years. Most of the art I made in AP 2D Design was trashed, so it truly was out of sight, out of mind.

It makes me sad to think about the 17/18 year old who painted this but it makes me so hopeful. It makes me glad that while my anxiety has come back, I have grown since this and I am going to keep eating wings and keep working on staying present and loosening the grip in my chest.

So Cool, So Different

Earlier this week, I was on Star Bar in Little 5 Points. It’s frankly one of the best rooms in Atlanta, and likely, the country. Beforehand, a comedy buddy and I decided to grab dinner… as 90% of my posts start. He suggested Euclid Avene Yacht Club. I had only been once before for beers but I had heard good things about their wings and was excited to try.

I got medium wings, swimming. If it’s offered in a pool, I’ll take a dip. They were so dang good. Super tangy! They were what exactly what I needed.I need more!                     IMG_6296 I have noticed that every cool/unique/hipster/ whatever neighborhood has a place that the neighbors go to for wings and EAYC is that place for L5P.

I am always hesitant about edgy/cool neighborhood spots because there’s a level of pretension and the wings probably won’t be that good. Crimson Ghost tattoos on the arms of the servers doling out bar food.

I have been talking about this on stage lately but there are so many scenes centered around music and culture that are not receptive to people who are different.

I’m different but I will judge people who are different from my brand of different.

EAYC has that kind of crowd: I like a certain type of music, I have a particular type of vehicle, I dress a certain way, and I make lasting changes to my body for everyone to see.

I am on the fringe of these cultures. I love a bunch of different types of music and culture and have refused to pick just one. I also have trouble with authority, in the way that I respect it.

One time, a buddy of mine (who has cool tattoos, dresses a cool way, does cool things, and listens to the same music as I do) pointed out when we went to see The Adicts that the guys there who didn’t have tattoos weren’t dedicated enough to the music.

Why does punk music or any other genre or neighborhood joint have to have an unspoken code of conduct?

As a teenager, I felt perpetually uncool. I was a well-behaved kid who didn’t look like the music I liked. I also liked music that was “uncool” and somehow that gives people an automatic judgment on if I will receive entry to the “alternative, cool” club.

You don’t look like the rest of us= dumb

You like anything but what I like= dumb

It took me too damn long to say… screw you… I don’t care if you have something shitty to say about Saves The Day. I don’t care if you think I don’t have enough tattoos to be at this show/this part of town.

I got tired of being insecure about what people I thought were “cool” were going to think. It’s a adolescent trait that many of us still hold on to, no matter how much we deny it aloud. Even though, I really don’t like that feeling of being at a bar or a show and getting looks for not looking the part but no one can take away the feeling I get when I am singing along with a band at a show or having delicious wings at a dive joint.

 

The Long Wait Is Over

It’s been over a month since I have had wings or written about them. Why is it that life can get in the way of the things we love? I loathe the feeling of being spread thin and only meeting obligations. The month of May should have just been called MAYhem… Okay, I got my bad joke out of the way.

It’s odd how June began and my focus has shifted back to things I love: writing, performing, focusing on relationships, and dedication to finding new wings. I am back to my optimistic, hopeful self.

May challenged me in ways I couldn’t imagine: a constant stream of bridal showers, my sister’s college graduation, a bachelorette trip, shows, and family in town.

So much of it went well, so much of it I enjoyed but there were some moments that I had to reflect on and decide if I wanted to keep investing my time, money, energy, and heart into certain people and my experiences with them.

So many times you hold on to an idea of someone for so long, hoping that you both are the person that you both once were. It’s like finding a restaurant with tasty wings and going back over and over then one day it changes ownership and they don’t make their wings the same. The wings go from sauce made with love to sauce from a jar.

Then you start thinking, did these wings always suck but I chose to find the good? Was I dumb to believe these wings would be consistent? I mean, chefs make mistakes or they may have changed an ingredient because it was cost effective.

Maybe once you get wings in your life that knock your sock off, you start to see other wings as sub-par. Then I get to thinking that I am over analyzing these wings…maybe I need to accept these wings as they are but not go out of my way for them. I don’t know, but I have been sad about it, and disappointed.

Wings and relationships are important to me. (Don’t worry, different levels of importance. I do not pick wings over people unless it comes to what’s on my plate.) I hate thinking I have not focused enough on my relationships or I have put energy into ones that are not reciprocating. I hate thinking that I am eating wings that cost too much when there are ones that are delicious and a value.

I have to keep my June intentions in focus: positive relationships, comedy, and wings. That’s how it should be.

Homemade

I have been feeling off. It’s so hard to describe. I haven’t felt funny. Well, funny but not the funny people care about. I haven’t felt pretty. I haven’t felt like I have done a good job managing my life. That’s the problem with being raised to excel and having remaining baptist guilt. I grapple with feeling “not enough” frequently. In recent years, I have managed it and for 5 years(2008-2013), medicated it.

I looked in the mirror last week, trying on last summer’s clothes and a flood of self doubt washed over me. I think, sadly, most women have these moments. “I did this to myself. Why did I let myself eat what I want? Why do I not have self restraint? You didn’t need to get 10 wings and fries and beer. You look awful because you were weak.”

Side bar: This post isn’t meant as a call to action to message me and tell me how pretty and funny I am and that I actually am good at managing money. Just let me share my gosh darn feelings, okay?

Comedians are notorious for having self destructive tendencies and I am not exempt. While I am not a fan of drugs or being drunk, I reward myself with food and punish myself with harmful talk. A vicious cycle. As I have mentioned on here before, food for me is social and fun. There is nothing more fun that grabbing wings with a friend and squealing that you’re being “bad” by ordering an appetizer, beer, double orders of wings, and fries and talking about getting ice cream later. My Southern heritage dictates that I show loved ones I care about them by breaking bread together or cooking a bountiful meal for them.

On top of my mounting self doubt about my not-bikini-ready-body, I am trying to manage financial strains, and a very stressful ordeal planning a bachelorette trip to the beach where I will be swimming in a long sleeve shirt while everyone is talking about base tans.

I sometimes forget that I live in America and these things are so small compared to AIDS or extreme poverty. Then I fell guilty. Fuck. I just suck.

Things feel much bigger when they swim around in your head and you don’t want it to spill out of your mouth and eyes.

I am fortunate that my thoughts floated away from that negativity swimming around this weekend. I had some resolution with “beach bachelorette bash”, I made an action plan for my finances that were stressing me and determined May was the month of healthy behaviors, and to cap it off my sweet man friend proposed we make home made baked wings.

I was down. He sent me this link: Honey Garlic Baked Wings

This was an interesting recipe considering you toss the raw wings in a baking powder and salt mix then cook them on low to melt the fat.

Cook time was a little over an hour but watching Hateful Eight made it not seem so long.

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Here they are, not so pretty but the crackling sound they make is a beautiful symphony.

Once the wings were fully cooked, we tossed them in our homemade honey, garlic, soy sauce, white vinegar, and sriracha sauce. (We did not have a garlic press so chunky garlic was the best option.) Also, I am not good at plating wings.

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If wings could be this crispy all the time, I would be thrilled. SO GOOD!!! They tasted fried!

We had enough left over wings that we put them in the fridge for later consumption (not tossed in sauce). Then we did a  traditional wing sauce with Frank’s, garlic, butter, and a teeny bit of sugar.

We crisped up with leftovers in the oven , tossed them, and they were just as good as the day before!

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I could have eaten dozens of wings this weekend, but I restrained myself.

Wings and spending time with people I care about really made me forget about the things that are troubling me.

I can’t get rid of my feelings and anxieties but I just have to be in the moment and focus on one wing at a time.

 

Things Can Always Be Worse

I generally have a pretty positive disposition about most things. I try. I strive to be a positive person, if I can’t be positive I at least want to be funny. Or asleep.

I did some shows out of town this past weekend. I was really glad I got to do a quick run with a close friend. By the time I got back I was so tired of driving, all I wanted was to sleep and spend time with my man friend.

Monday, I was still in a pleasant mood from doing comedy all weekend, spending time with friends, and catching up on The Walking Dead with my companion and chardonnay. Then after work. One. Stupid. Thing. RUINED IT. I was mad at myself, I was mad at the situation, and I was just P.O.’d. I was on Star Bar and I was determined not to let my pissiness screw up the thing I love most. I do not do well when I’m mad/annoyed before I go on stage.

For example, last year I was interested in a guy that I doubt he felt the same because I got mixed signals 24/7.We both wanted to see the new hot horror flick. We got to the theatre and the movie times were wrong on line and I was on the 1AM Secret Show so we couldn’t see it in the allotted time. He was displeased and visibly annoyed. We settled for watching a few bands at Star Bar. It was a bluegrass-y night, which I didn’t mind but his disappointment radiated. He played on his phone and wouldn’t make small talk with me, let alone stand near me. It made me feel awful. I didn’t have anywhere else to go before the 1AM and I debated every alternative but I settled for staying. I got to Smith’s really early and was mad and told all my friends about it (sorry y’all) and that energy carried on stage. I plopped. I didn’t bomb. I plopped. I didn’t feel joy on stage and I let that dingus take it away. I was so mad at myself for letting someone/sometime affect my comedy.

I vowed to never let external stuff like that affect my comedy negatively. So Monday, before Star Bar, I got wings. SPICY CHICKEN WILL SAVE ME.

I had a buddy who had an even worse day so we both needed to turn our frowns upside down. We both couldn’t decide where to go so we ended up at Corner Tavern in Little 5, right by Star Bar. He got the nachos and I got t

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he recommended 5 hot lemon pepper wings. I have had quite a few bar hot wings but I was impressed when their menu said “All Natural, Local, Hormone & Steroid Free”. I can deal with a lot for the sake of convenience and $1 pints of High life.

I don’t know what the hell these were.

As y’all probably know by now, I like my wings with a nice balance of crispy and saucy. These were like frozen then fried chicken wings(not sure if they were but over-breading tends to be a way to coverup frozen-nes). They can be all those good things that they listed on the menu and still be frozen.

They did crisp them up nicely but it wasn’t the wing I had my mouth set on. I rarely order lemon pepper but I was intrigued by the idea of “hot lemon pepper”. So they just put a weak hot sauce and added pepper and lemon juice. Lemon pepper is traditionally a dry rub meant for wings with little to no breading. Where as this breading made it so there was no possible way to marinate them in citrus. Heavy breaded wings soak up sauce easily so depending on the viscosity of the sauce, you don’t get much flavor. I honestly didn’t feel heat, lemon, or much pepper. It wasn’t a bad sauce, just not what was listed or I expected. I ate them because I was hungry and my buddy and I started talking about emotional things so we ended up eating a lot more.

We wrapped up dinner (by the way, the nachos were pretty good) then headed to Star Bar. Both of our spirits lifted. Even though the wings weren’t my favorite, they got me my out of my mood. Unlike the incident I recounted earlier, I took my bad attitude and forced myself to have a good time and have some wings. It worked. I got on stage and was happy.

No one or nothing can take the joy of wings and comedy from me.

 

Divided Wings

I live on a street in Brookhaven that is divided. One half of the street is covered in gorgeous, overpriced town-homes and very close to the heart of Brookhaven and a constant stream of really fit moms in $100 yoga pants running and pushing a stroller with toddlers wearing $100 shoes that they take off and throw repeatedly till they grow out of them in a  few weeks. The other side of my street are low rent apartments with mostly Hispanic families who are walking to and from work. I hear Brookhaven Betties talk about Buford Highway as if it’s a foreign land, only to be visited for Pho and with a ~group~, never alone. I have a choice every afternoon on my way home from work: take the prettier Brookhaven way home with more traffic and less pedestrians or take the Buford Highway route where there is less traffic and I see people different from me. The Buford Highway way makes more sense.

I get my car washed at local place on Buford Highway run by a husband and wife who hire men who are being rehabilitated for various reasons. They do a detail quality level clean for $20. It takes about an hour but more money goes to these hard working guys than practically anywhere. Next door to the car wash is this place:

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Touting the “Best Wings In Town!!!”… read it, THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS! Yesterday, I was thinking about wings most of the day and I had nothing to cook at home so I decided today was the day to try this place, alone.

I walk in and realize I look Brookhaven. I had on my work clothes: black cigarette dress pants, black leather heels, gray and white satin stripe tank, and royal blue cardigan.

I order my wings, 10 medium buffalo (from the wide variety of flavors and option of fried rice or french fries as a side.) I didn’t want to take the time to quiz the girl at the register about their flavors as a few boys coming from soccer practice stood behind me.

I waited for my order to come up and thought about how wings really do bring people together, everyone in J Buffalo Wing was from a different background and age. I get my order and walk out to my car. The RIDICULOUS part of me wanted to call one of my Brookhaven Betty friends and say, “See! Buford Highway isn’t scary! I went INSIDE a restaurant alone and no one attacked me! You can do it too! We can unite all kinds of people for Buffalo wings!”

I know how this all sounds. I know who I am. But, I want more people to be united by food and not divided based on what side of the road they live on. I get weary of being disappointed in what I hear (specifically) white women say. Believe me, my mother calls all the time to tell me about how women JUST LIKE ME are being raped and murdered all day long. I am cognizant of safety but I am more scared of what an upper-middle class white guy at a Buckhead bar will do to me than a Hispanic guy walking to and from work on Buford Highway. The only risk of getting wings, alone on a sunny Monday evening is that they may not be the best in town.

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These wings weren’t bad but I didn’t agree with the sign. I can honestly say I have had worse wings on the Brookhaven part of my street and almost double the price. They were average with not much sauce. This post would have ended beautifully if the wings were truly the best and I could rub it in everyone’s face, but the reality is…they were a bit below average but I am really glad I tried them.

Worth the Wait?

I hate complaining about being busy. Being busy is a gift. I haven’t had as many wings as I would have liked as of late mostly because I have been working on this:

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It’s been in the works since November but next week will be my first show at Three Taverns Brewery. (if you are in the Atlanta area, please come out!) It’s hard to think about intentionally finding wings when you are in hyper drive and want to be “healthy”in the face of yellow evil.

After having an insane week and trying not to be whiny about my allergies, all I wanted were wings. My security blanket of food. Spicy, tasty comfort in my mouth hole.

I go to Jack’s Pizza in Old Fourth Ward. Friday after a long work day. 9PM, right as bingo begins. I know what to expect at Jack’s. I know it’s going to take forever, I know I will sit at a table covered in dirty napkins next to the digital jukebox that someone spent money to play 5 minutes of Beavis and Butthead laughing while I’m having a sinus headache that I don’t want to complain about. GOD DAMN I JUST WANT A SPRITE AND SOME WINGS.

We order medium buffalo baked wings and a pizza. We get our wings 1hr 15min after we order them and they are room temp. For baked wings, this makes them gross and the skin rubbery. I only ate two of them. All I wanted was to take a bite of them and feel the warm embrace wings give me. I put on a brave face and waited for the pizza. My companion had no problem with the wings and ate them gladly, like men do.

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With flash, without yum

I don’t know why I go to Jack’s. I guess the price is right and the food is alright but I never leave Jack’s and say to myself, “Wow, that was totally worth it!” It’s a facility for social interaction that happens to have food and booze and I try and remember that . I have had some okay times there… like one time, I made friends with the table next to me, which were an attractive group of guys who were in a pop punk band that plays with bands that I still listen to. (If you want to shit on me for liking pop punk, sure… give me a phone call.) We did Jameson shots and I was glad that I stuck around.

The first time I went, I was dating a guy and he knew I would like the punk rock vibe. This was back when Jack’s had $5 40’s and  slice combo. HEAVEN for me (because he was a cheap guy and I made little money) and he actually paid which was rarity. Hey big spender! He’s now engaged to the girl he started dating after me. If you’re keeping count at home, that’s now 6 (yes, 6, not an exaggeration) guys I have dated who got engaged to women they dated right after me. I just help raise some guys standards I guess.

I am on a mission to get some good wings tonight to make up for the lack of wings in my life. Also, if you invite me to Jack’s to hang out, don’t be surprised when I don’t order wings and y’all complain.

Gripes

I have been thinking about some wings I had about two weeks ago. It’s been a challenge to figure out how to write about this experience.

Remember when I mentioned my coworkers forgetting my birthday? Well 48 hours post birthday, they noticed the flowers on my desk  had a birthday card sitting in front and to make up for the negligence, they elected to take me out for drinks after work.

It was really nice being able to get out of the office and see the friend side of my coworkers, except for one particular coworker.

We laughed, had great conversation (except for some digs from that one person), and  we got hungry so we ordered wings and ‘hot-zerella’ sticks ( spicy mozzarella sticks, meh). The wings were surprisingly good considering this bar’s food was mostly of the frozen and fried variety. The sauce was hot and tangy, not too thick or thin, and the skin was crispy on the chicken. The meat was average. The flavor of the chicken meat wasn’t a flavor, it just tasted warm. When I eat wings, I typically feel a sense of joy and internal warmth but this time I didn’t feel that as strongly.

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I want to regurgitate every crappy thing she (that one person) has done and said to me but all it does is make me weak.

It’s taken every job I have ever had to realize that there will always be that one difficult person who tries to take the spice out of your wing.

I take every snarky, rude, and degrading action from her as an opportunity to be stronger because I believe dealing with her now is going to prepare me for something bigger. To be honest, there are times I call my mom and tell her about how she’s a huge stinky turd but I never feel better afterward. Being confident in myself is my best armor.

Sometimes, you have to take a moment to flip off the wall you both share, let go of that negative energy and focus on the good wings covered in delicious sauce. It sucks, but sometimes I have to say to myself, “Bless her heart… she cannot be happy unless she tears me down. I do not seek approval from people who carry enough negative energy to make buffalo wings shrivel up.”

No one should have power of the spice in your wing.