The Good, The Bad and the Reasonably Priced Hot Wings
Guest review by Netanya Cummings, student writer in the University of Alberta WRITE 297 program.
It was curious that two of Edmonton’s most introverted and sports-averse residents would choose to endure other patrons’ pilsner-centered babble, and the legion of cloned servers, all subscribing to the decidedly Albertan aesthetic of blonde, pale as ale, and filler-ridden. Nevertheless, Brandon and I found ourselves nursing two Belgian White Shocktop pints ($7.00) at the Local Public Eatery on Jasper Ave and 112th Street. Dining at a sports bar would surely be an ill-fated attempt at trying something new. Which for us, included even the most remote forms of socialization.
Though their website boasted of being like one’s living room, “but with better food and people to serve you beer,” I was promptly reminded of Tarantino’s Hateful Eight cabin refuge. Dimly lit, stiff, and lacking a central heating system. I half expected Kurt Russell to lumber in with a 12-gauge shotgun, all burly moustache and furrowed brows. He’d saunter to the studded leather armchairs and vintage fireplace, where he’d rest his fur-clad form, legs splayed. A quintessential picture of masculinity.
Worn wooden tables were placed in orbit around the restaurant’s most important structure: its bar. This was crowned by a series of oversized flat screen televisions, all displaying in grotesquely vivid detail the contours of football player’s muscle-bound ‘buns’, pardon the witticism. Self-styled gladiators (see: ‘unemployed body-builders’ for disambiguation) sloshed the contents of their beers over the bar’s oak counter, howling and jeering, fists pumping with each…well we wouldn’t have known. Each goal? Touchdown? Homoerotic wrestling match?
Despite the roar emanating from the screens and zealous fans alike, we managed to etch out the beginnings of a conversation. If I stared intently, I could read his lips.
The mulch-colored menu offered a variety of steak dishes, burgers, and fries – items proven to be effective in catering to most proclivities, and all within a very reasonable $16.00-$25.00 range. A slew of ethnically ambiguous options peppered the list; the huevos rancheros, a Malaysian curry bowl, Thai noodle salad, pinche beef tacos, and the ever so inventive, diablo burger. I briefly considered ordering the huevos, but instead decided to indulge in an order of hot wings for $14.25. Perfect for a student like myself, whose assets consisted primarily of pocket lint.
After having abandoned us to our own devices for nearly half an hour, our server reappeared with our meals. It was perhaps unbecoming of a novice reviewer such as myself to not take note of what Brandon had ordered, but quite frankly, I did not care. Or perhaps I’d been so engrossed in the juicy, scalding meat of my wings, fingers bathed in sauce, that I’d forgotten. They were the establishment’s saving grace, and a reminder to myself not to judge a restaurant by its interior design. Fresh, savoury, and with a salsa picante that only the most masochistic would enjoy, they were worth feeling as if one had stepped into a western novella.
Brandon, being vegan, later confided that he hadn’t enjoyed his veggie burger on account of its sawdust-like dry and crumbly texture. I couldn’t relate, but sympathised, seeing as the 17.00$ might’ve been better spent on a pack of store-bought “soy boys”, as we’d christened them.
Being the kind of people that would play Magic the Gathering at lunchtime with our mathlete friends (well, I was – he’d been more of a suave anarchist type), we were somewhat relieved to be leaving what was akin to a house party saturated by nondescript cheerleaders and jocks. I’d gladly return, however, if only to taste those perfectly seasoned wings once more.
Local Public Eatery
11228 Jasper Ave, Edmonton