Dublin is not a city for eaters, but for drinkers, and this is embedded in the Irish everyday life. Irish cuisine is as bad as English cuisine, but worse. And I am sure this is Britain’s responsibility, one way or the other.
On the other hand, Irish people have Guinness. Guinness is not the best beer in the world, it’s the best non-solid element in the universe. So it’s quite understandable why the Irish don’t give a craic about food, as they just don’t need it. If you have Guinness, you have everything. It’s the father, the son and the Holy Spirit in the same substance.
But today I want to talk about chicken wings. I love chicken wings, not because they are great food, as no chicken wings can be really great, but only because I lived in Dublin for four years and I found out that chicken wings play a very important role in Irish pub culture. You must be thinking: “Aren’t potatoes the ones who deserve a special spotlight in Irish culture?” Oh, yes, they do. But potatoes don’t play a special role in Irish culture; they are the Irish culture itself. The only place in the world where you can spot someone having a Lasagne Bolognese with chips is there, in the green island.
Back to the wings, I lived 2 years next door to a restaurant that was widely regarded as the restaurant with the best chicken wings in Ireland. People would drag themselves down to Ranelagh Village in order to appreciate the delicacy in Tribeca (I am getting no money out this marketing). For months I wondered how come these freaks would ride all the way to this restaurant just to eat chicken wings! Even with my reasonably open minded head I couldn’t accept that a portion of chicken wings could be worth a visit.
So one day I decided to try it. But I didn’t succeed, because the restaurant was fully booked and there was a queue with a 2 hours wait. “Hey, I am your neighbour, for heaven’s sake”! It didn’t work. Two hours waiting to eat chicken wings?! Puffff… Never.
Next day I was back, of course. With a reservation, of course. And there I was, sitting in the so famous and always crowded restaurant, ready to order my chicken wings. Order placed, pint of Nastro Azurro in hands, I started getting nervous and the atmosphere seemed as though I was waiting for the Minister of Finance’s deputation for our budget meeting.
When finally they arrived, the wings, it was a vision of heaven: the pieces looked like 40 Mohamed’s virgins waiting to be possessed. They were covered in a thick but delicate brown-red-gold spicy sauce so beautiful and shiny that I felt like jumping into the plate and swimming with the wings. They were accompanied by 2 gigantic green sticks of celery and a pool of sour cream. The tender pieces of chicken easily found their way to my mouth and blessed me with a flavour I would describe as platonically wonderful, unimaginable tasty, almost orgasmic.
From that moment on I could understand those crazies who would drive themselves all the way to Tribeca for those wings. They were absolutely wise people. And I, of course, would wait 10 hours in a queue to have those wings again. Can’t wait to be back to Dublin!