college wings & the pigtube hustle

I’ve noticed lately that there are fewer birds on the wires in my neighborhood and that, while clomp-clomping along the sidewalk, I’m also seeing fewer lizards than normal darting around the pavement, in and out of concrete cracks and tree stumps, getting chased by the cats who once upon a time also peopled these streets in droves but no longer. At restaurants it seems the children have been more colicky and distressed; it’s been raining torrentially just about every day for a fortnight down here in Miami and this past weekend, trying to have a nice quiet drink at my local watering hole on two separate nights, I was met with the bitter reality to which all above-mentioned signs discreetly pointed.

It appears college football season is underway. 

Yes even the bars that otherwise brand themselves as murmurous lamp-lit bastions of conversation, where the cocktails are top-shelf and properly garnished, even they have pulled down screens and lifted projectors and put little placards along the bar featuring game-day clip art and sauntering two-dollar bills. Wings and fries. 

Incidentally: I work at a restaurant that serves chicken wings and apparently the entire country is experiencing a chicken wing shortage, or just an arbitrary (albeit morally justified) hiking in price. The famous Wingstop chain has rebranded itself “Thighstop” since thighs are considerably cheaper to get from a distributor. 

One of the arguments being made in defense of Thighstop’s branding shift is that chicken thighs allow for more culinary playfulness than wings. A meat-heavy thigh or breast can be imbued with more flavor than a lean little drumstick.

Or so I’m told by folks in-the-know, and I don’t doubt that it’s true, but I reckon this is the kind of occasion where the truth is just too simple to explain: 

People prefer eating wings to thighs and it’s entirely to do with the fact that they can’t hold a thigh in their hands.

One of Gustave Dore’s depictions of Satan.

Speaking of which: A representative from Wynwood Brewery sat down at my bar this week and told me about how their best-selling beer, called La Rubia, isn’t available nationwide just yet (emphasis on “yet”) and that one of the (many) reasons it’s not there (yet) is the simple fact that customers outside of South Florida, where there’s a sizeable Latinx community, might be too shy to even attempt saying the Spanish title aloud to a bartender, and sounding like a goof when they get it wrong. 

Similarly: a bashful bartender might be too shy to suggest it.

To the beerman’s point: I only buy “croissants” when absolutely necessary. And even then, I whisper.

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