Monday, August 15, 2005

World of Wings

Lately, I'm spending most of my time holed up in the house to avoid the heat. We're in the clutches of a vicious heat wave; we set a new record today by hitting 97 degrees, and tomorrow's swelter may be another one for the record books. I always used to think of summer in Florida as regular temperatures dancing around 100, but in reality that's rather unusual. I thought that I would be suffering in the heat and humidity, but my body must have adapted because I take it mostly in stride.

It's still quite different from what I was used to in the Midwest. Instead of bitter Chicago mornings spent sitting in my car, waiting impatiently for the windshield to thaw, I've switched to opening a vehicle that feels like a blast furnace and waiting for the A/C to make it tolerable.

But overall, I don't mind it too much, and when it gets overwhelming, I join my fellow Floridians in becoming a summer vampire. I stay inside, where it's nice and cool, and I chug bottles and bottles of water if I happen to spend any time outdoors.

I did venture out briefly today at lunchtime to check out Celebration's newest eatery. It's a place called WOW (World of Wings) that just opened at Water Tower Place. We already have lots of chicken at WTP, courtesy of Chik-Fil-A, but WOW's menu is more expansive. It offers additional items, from burgers and wraps to fajitas. That's good news for my husband, who is one of those rare souls with an allergy to chicken. Because of this, our mutual meals at home are chicken-free (he whips up a mean version of Chicken Paprikas, with turkey instead of the title bird), so I like to indulge when we eat out. If we stop at WOW, there will be something for both of us.

Since it was Monday, WOW was having its weekly special of 35 cent wings. I was totally intrigued by their choice of sauces, which range from three hot varieties, honey BBQ, sweet & sour and peanut to citrus salsa, coconut curry, and taz raspberry. Thus, I selected an 8-pack of wings, split between coconut curry and raspberry. Unfortunately, since the store had opened literally that very day, they didn't have raspberry sauce yet. No problem...I just switched to sweet & sour.

There were some intriguing side dishes, such as honey mustard cole slaw and sweet potato fries, but I didn't try them; I'd already purchased a salad from Goodings, so that seemed like overkill. I will definitely be exploring them on my next visit.

I was hoping for a nice, cold unsweetened iced tea, but unfortunately they didn't have that yet either. That's probably a good sign, as they had the soda dispensers in yet, and Nestea wasn't one of the options. I absolutely cannot stand the slop that comes out of a tap and is called "iced tea" by some restaurants. If it ain't fresh brewed, it ain't going down my gullet. Hopefully the fact that there was no tea dispenser means that they'll be getting a container for the real variety.

On this first day of business, the workers seemed eager to please but somewhat overwhelmed. There was some confusion over my change (they shorted me by $2), but we got that straightened out. Since I was taking my food to-go, I plopped down near the counter to wait for my order (they also have booths and a bar area for eat-ins).

Soon enough my order was ready, and I headed home to indulge. It took a while to make my way through downtown Celebration, which was somewhat akin to a salmon swimming upstream. At certain times of the day, there's a nasty little traffic jam at the downtown stop signs. But even though it took some time to make it back to East Village, my wings were still nice and hot when I finally reached my house.

I had assumed that the sauces were served on the side, but I soon discovered that they are slathered onto the wings themselves. Each meaty morsel is breaded and bathed in a generous portion of sauce. This makes them very tasty, but VERY messy. I had planned to laze on the couch while eating, but Farquaad was lurking around trying to steal a piece, so I ended up just standing at the kitchen counter. Since Quaad was meowing piteously, I tossed him an occasional chunk of meat.

The wings were good-sized, and the sauces were quite tasty. The curry coconut tasted just like its name; I love a strong curry flavor, and I noticed little coconut flakes. The sweet and sour tended to the sweet side, which is just fine with me. It had some type of yummy little fruit pieces in it.

I give a big thumbs-up to WOW, although I think I'll opt for the chicken tenders next time. The wings were fine, but they're just too darned much work. No matter where I get wings, I'm always annoyed with having to pick and dig to get all the meat. With the tasty-looking white meat tenders, I can simply dive in without any effort.

It's nice to have a new dining option at Water Tower, joining Coldstone Creamery (a dangerous place for an ice cream fanatic like me), Joe's Crab Shack, Moe's Southwestern Grill, Planet Smoothie, and Le China. I enjoy all of the downtown Celebration restaurants, but now there are so many expanded choices without ever leaving town.

Tomorrow is going to be another scorcher, but I may slip out to WOW at lunchtime again. Or, better yet, I might run to Coldstone; what good is a record-breaking hot day if you can't use it as an excuse for ice cream?

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