Buffalo Wings with housemade sauce, $5.50
Cal Neva Lodge Circle Bar, Incline Village
With frayed carpeting and empty dining rooms, the Cal Neva Resort soldiers on as a novelty item, milking every drop it can from the days when hipsters thought it was cool.
Now, the Nibbler feels at right at home at a place that’s worn at the elbows. And he certainly understands the need to hold your head high against the quiet sting being forgotten.
But if it’s a casino without a craps table, well, then he gets cranky. And if it’s a bar with shitty wings, well, then it’s time to go.
Deep fried skin without any hint of crisp is always a problem, as the mushy exterior extends into the meat. The Nibbler was reminded of a long-neglected bowl of Cap’n Crunch, while his partner that night, the Guzzler, mumbled something about a soggy diaper.
Under normal circumstances these wings’ gristle would have sparked an offensive comment loud enough for the room to hear. But it actually seemed irrelevant in the face of a mysterious sinewy texture from skin to bone. Elastic strings, long enough to wrap around the teeth but too thin to be detected by the naked eye, sent me into contemplative silence that was only broken by some more mumbling by the Guzzler, this time something about the Donner party.
Fully doused in Tabasco, and with grease neutralizing any attempt at real flavor, each wing sent a stream of orange blood down my forearm, pooling on the video poker display and requiring Rick the bartender to assist with an occasional wipe down.
Thank God for the 14 Plasma TV’s ringing the bar, not to mention Rick’s champion mullet, to distract me enough until we got the bill.