Monday, July 16, 2012

Off the Map: Is That a Rooster?!

Fried Buffalo Wings -- The Jug Handle Inn, Cinnaminson, NJ
The Jug Handle Inn

Here's the thing about The Jug Handle Inn: Vodka has passed the establishment hundreds of times over the course of her life, and she has never so much as even noticed it.  Located on a nondescript patch of Route 73 in Cinnaminson, NJ, the Inn essentially looks like an overgrown shore house.
Well, Isn't This "Scenic"?
Vodka and her mother pull into the parking lot, which is so packed with cars that we are certain that the Jug Handle must have at least four layers of basements in order to accommodate all of these patrons.
All of the Best Foods in the World Are Located Off of South Jersey Highways (...)
Making our way hesitantly towards the front door, we hear the unmistakable sound of a cock-a-doodle-doo, followed directly by the sight of multiple roosters bobbing their way past The Jug Handle Inn's entranceway.
Photographic Evidence from the Barnyard Bar
Once again, this place is located ON A HIGHWAY and is not exactly in Ruraltown, USA.  Where did the roosters come from?
Well, This Explains Why The Jug Handle Inn Is Known for Their Chicken Wings....
Making our way into the place, we are confronted with the unmistakable rambunctious sounds of a sports bar and find some of South Jersey's "finest" residents cozied around the extra-long, circular counter.  "Shockingly," a place called "The Jug Handle Inn" does not employ a hostess, leaving us frantically searching for someone -- anyone -- to help us procure some chicken wings to go.
Perhaps the Rooster Also Serves as the Bouncer?
Eventually Vodka's mother confronts a waitress emerging from the kitchen, and she leads us to one of the surrounding tables to help with our order.  We are sure that we are here for Aaron McCargo, Jr.'s favorite fried buffalo wings from the OBSESSIONS episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate, but we are unsure about nearly everything else.
Namely Why the Concept Friends Meeting Requires Three Exclamation Points
When another waitress informs us that we can leave the wings dry and get as many sauces as we like in which to dip them once we get home, we settle on the mild blend, the hot and honey, and the bald eagle (the lethally spicy sauce of which Aaron spoke).
On the Wings of Love
Do-It-Yourself Dips
We top the order off with a side of gravy fries and two cocktails to sip while we wait.  And by the time we are halfway through our drinks, we have decided that The Jug Handle Inn is our new favorite place on the planet.
The Addition of Booze Tends to Have Such Effects on Vodka's Family
Now, admittedly, there is nothing quite like the impact of wine- and vodka soda-goggles to make Vodka and her mother fall in love with a place, but we soon decide that The Jug Handle Inn is hysterical.  First of all, the waitstaff is excessively nice, and much more "normal" than one would assume to find in a place like this.  The patrons themselves vary so widely across the age spectrum that one can't help but be amused, and best of all, the Jug Handle's cocktails are downright delicious.  When our to-go bag of wings arrives, we are almost sad to leave.
But Then Again, We Have Freshly Fried Wings Awaiting Us
To comfort us upon our departure, there are another three roosters waiting by our car to bid us farewell.  Seriously now, Jug Handle Inn, WHAT IS WITH THE ROOSTERS?
Is This South Jersey or Montana?!
Anyway, once the wings have been escorted home, we find them to be almost all that Aaron McCargo, Jr. had promised.  Fried and crispy on the outside and juicy and meaty on the inside, the wings themselves, even dry, are quite delectable. 
Wing Around the Rosie
The same can be said for the mild dipping sauce, and even for the hot and honey one.  The bald eagle sauce, on the other hand, is nearly enough to tar and feather a rooster on impact.
Apparently, This Sauce Is the Reason Bald Eagles Are Endangered
Looking remarkably like cocktail sauce, one would never assume by its appearance that it is enough to tear all tastebuds off of one's tongue, which is why Vodka's mother takes a deep dip to taste... and then nearly keels over.
Death by Chicken Wing
Essentially Poison
In truth, it takes at least half of the container of the (also delicious) French fries to lessen the impact of the deadly sauce, and even the fries' generous helpings of cheese, gravy, and carb-loaded goodness isn't enough to completely erase the sting.
Sauce on the Side, French Fry Edition
The bald eagle sauce aside, we would most certainly be open to another visit to The Jug Handle Inn, where we would plan to eat wings, drink cocktails, and be merry until the cows came home.

Or, in this case, the roosters.
Now You See It...
...Now You Don't
The Jug Handle Inn's Fried Buffalo Wings: 4 stars

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