Regularly, I make lists in my head, like Top Five Concerts I’ve Seen (You’re tied for number one, The Ramones and Neil Young!) or Five Most Boring Museums I’ve Ever Forced My Family To Attend (You win in a landslide, Celery Interpretive Center!).
I do this for various reasons, like at night to help me fall asleep or, during the day, to kill time in meetings.
Also, whenever I am watching a movie that my wife has wanted to see.
Or when anyone is telling me a long and involved story about a dream they had.
Or during any children’s play or dance recital or band concert when none of my kids are on stage.
Some of the lists are more difficult than others. A few weeks ago, I instantly rattled off the Five Favorite Cars I’ve Owned (I still think about you a lot, 1984 Buick Skyhawk).
But then I had a very tough time when trying to rank my Five Coolest Apartments (Sure, the basement apartment in Cleveland had mushrooms growing out of the floor, but we also had a refrigerator with a keg inside and a tap handle attached to the outside of the door. Is that better or worse than the high-ceilinged loft in Ypsilanti with the hardwood floors? Better, probably, because of that keg thing.).
Last week, while eating lunch and watching a training video at my desk, the webinar presenter mentioned something about “biting off more than you can chew,” and I spent the next ten minutes mentally ticking off my Five Favorite Meals Of All Time. The top three of which included a rack of ribs in Tennessee, a steak with goat cheese in northern Michigan, and a sampler platter at an Alabama restaurant that stood on stilts over a catfish pond. As soon as I thought about that one, I could taste the blackened catfish, even as I chewed on my ham sandwich. That meal was that memorable.
Then, because the webinar still had a full hour left, I decided to add a bonus sublist: Top Five Restaurant Meals From Rochester Restaurants That No Longer Exist.
This one, of course, was much more difficult, and carried me through the entire seminar section of “Staying Focused in The Workplace: How Investing In Concentration Pays Big Dividends.” Or whatever.
Here, on short notice, is what I came up with.
- The Buffalo Wings at McMurphy’s. I consider myself a bit of a Buffalo wing aficionado. When we lived in the basement apartment in Cleveland (see above), we spent most nights eating dinner at whatever area bar offered 10 cent wings. So, in my two years there, I probably ate wings at 40-plus bars.
Also, when we lived in the loft apartment in Ypsilanti (see above), we spent most nights eating dinner at whatever area bar offered 10 cent wings. And so it went, from apartment to apartment, for about an eight-year period of my life, during which I consumed—and I just did the most depressing math of my life—an estimated 32,000 wings.
Once, when I lived in Ann Arbor, we drove five-plus hours to Buffalo, New York, just to eat wings at the Anchor Bar, the birthplace of Buffalo wings.
So, yeah, I know a little something about Buffalo wings.
And I know McMurphy’s had the best wings in town. When the bar closed, and was reopened as Dooley’s, they did not bring the wing recipe with them. Nor did they leave it with the new owners of the Wicked Moose. It would make sound financial sense for one of these restaurants to add those wings back to the menu, if only for the money I would spend alone.
- The Mooseburger at the Smiling Moose. Sure, people point to the Highway 52 expansion project as a catalyst for the $6 billion DMC investment, a plan expected to transform the entire city of Rochester. But was it really worth it if it meant we had to tear down the Smiling Moose? Probably not.
The mussels in white wine sauce at City Cafe. If only to give me some foodie cred, especially considering what’s coming up next on my list.
The fish basket at Long John Silvers. If only for those little crunchy things that came with it. Also I miss those pirate hats.
The au gratin potatoes at Michael’s. And I don’t even like au gratin potatoes. I only miss these because, in the 16 times we ate at Michaels, wife Lindy, when taking her first bite of the au gratin potatoes, moaned with pleasure in a way that made others around us uncomfortable, 16 times. I’m sure the women within earshot were doing that “I’ll have what she’s having” thing. Also, secondarily, I miss that filet mignon.
Got a Top Five Restaurant Meals From Rochester Restaurants That No Longer Exist? Email slange@RochesterMagazine.com.