Wings save kids

This past weekend the Clothe-A-Child Wing Tasting event filled the McNeil Room with the hot, sweet, and savory aroma of hundreds of chicken wings. Local vendors and restaurants gathered there to provide Rensselaer community members with their version of the chicken wing. At $10 a ticket, all the proceeds from the occasion were put toward the Clothe-A-Child campaign run by the Rensselaer Union.

The 150 people who showed up to Wing Tasting had the chance to sample wings from places such as Brown’s Brewing Company, which was awarded “Most Original Barbeque Wing,” and Mousetrap Bar & Restaurant, which won “Hottest Wing” with its “A Women Scorned” hot wing. While some contestants did not win any awards for their wings, it was hard to say there were any losers in attendance. Lori Todd, owner and cook at the Mousetrap Bar & Restaurant, said of the event: “It’s a really great opportunity to promote local business, especially with the way the economy has been lately.” She also remarked that while the restaurant has been in operation for 35 years, this was its first competition.

The atmosphere was light and energetic, with attendees moving around the room between their seats and the vendor tables to sample more wings. Complementary beverages and other palate cleansers such as vegetables, bread, and blue cheese provided a nice break from the wings. Having shown up with some other long-standing students of RPI, my group was surprised at how many of the entrants we had never heard of before.

President of the Union Alex Franz ’10 remarked that Wing Tasting was “a good chance to become more aware of restaurants and vendors in the area, and to burn your mouth while doing it.”

Steve Nettnin ’11, a brother of Phi Gamma Delta, stated that it was certainly the tastiest community service event he has done.

Martha McElligott, Union business administrator, said about the tasting: “It’s fabulous,” and that it’s part of the year-long Clothe-A-Child campaign which runs from January 1 through December 15. Wing Tasting was organized and run with the help of Phi Gamma Delta brothers; staff member Patti Mugrace, Devin Bushey ’10, and Josh Smolensky ’10; members of the Union Administration Office; and UPAC Sound providing the music. As master of ceremonies, Humberto Maciel ’10 kept attendees aware of the rules of judging and also entertained the crowd while announcing the raffle winners.

While all community members in attendance were able to vote in categories such as “Crispiest Wing,” won by O’Leary’s Tavern, and “Most Exotic Wing,” won by Thunder Mountain Curry, there were also categories such as the “Grand Marshal Favorite,” won by Brown’s Brewing Company; “PU Favorite,” won by O’Leary’s Tavern; and “Guest Judge Favorite,” won by Mick’s Pizza Plus & Schroeder’s. Peter Pedone and Geoffrey Seber participated as the guest judges. Other winners included Villa Valenti Pub for “Best Traditional Wing,” and Brown’s Brewing Company for “Meatiest Wing” and “Best Overall Wing.”