Sometimes I feel so manly that I just need to get out and express my manliness. I want to go to a place where I can sit, manliness emanating from my very being, oozing from every pore of my body, being breathed every breath I take. While there, I want to stuff spicy wings into my mouth; sauce all over my face, shirt, and hands. I want to swill beer and other assorted libations like they might evaporate any second. I want to pound my fist against the table and cheer at the top of my lungs when someone gets knocked out in a fight. And when I want all of this, I go to Binga’s Stadium.
Binga’s Stadium is the creation of a partnership between Binga’s Wingas and The Stadium. It’s sort of the Kim Kardashian/Kanye West of the restaurant world except that the outcome of Binga’s Stadium is certainly more delicious and more interesting than whatever attention-whoring, award-speech-interrupting, reality-show-exploiting offspring Kimye are going to create.
There’s a lot of history at Binga’s for a restaurant that first opened less than a decade ago. In 9 years, they’ve had almost as many locations, including one which was destroyed by fire in 2008. Now, with Binga’s Stadium and a smaller Binga’s Wingas location in Yarmouth, they’re really hitting their stride. The Portland sports bar with tons of TVs including giant screens, lots of beers on tap, and every UFC event is exactly where these delicious wings were supposed to be made. But it isn’t just wings that Binga’s does right. They also have BBQ, sandwiches, salads, great sides, and their wing sauces go really well with lots of the food they serve.
I’m only 87.3% as manly as Chuck Norris, but my man-meter was in the red zone last Saturday night in anticipation of the UFC fights. Able to convince my wife to go watch them without having to assert my extreme manliness, we decided to get there early to watch the preliminary scraps too. Because we were planning on staying so long, we took our time and ordered slowly to prolong the eating part of the event. We started with beer and wine. I had a Sam Adams Alpine Spring after they were kind enough to let me try a sample. The beer was a lighter selection but you can hardly ever go wrong with Sam Adams and this was no exception.
Our next move was to decide on some food. We chose to share the fried pickles – one of my wife’s favorites. The fried pickles at Binga’s are dill pickle slices covered in an excellently seasoned batter, fried to heart-stopping perfection, and served with Binga’s famous Blanch. Once thought to be made of a combination of Tony Blair and Bruce Vilanch, Blanch is actually blue cheese and ranch, a combination so good that it too is deserving of high political office or a center square. After taking our time with the pickles, we started to look at our other options.
While considering my order, even with my intense manliness surrounding me, I had a bit of my feminine side sneak through. I tried my best to hold it back, but I couldn’t. I believe it was Churchill (Benson Churchill, a former neighbor) or Truman (Barry Truman, a classmate in junior high) who once said “Every man has a feminine side that shines through in their most manly moments.” It’s true, and at times, it happens to me. Just when I’ve got my XY on full-throttle, my Y will start choking a bit and I’ll order a whiskey straight up but with an umbrella. I’ll watch fights and worry about someone getting hurt. I’ll even get a man-icure and forget to skip the shiny buff.
As my mojo was deflating, I was perusing the menu and looking at the sauces. In that terrifying moment of less-than-manly manhood, I decided to go with the Thai peanut tenders and the tomato cucumber salad as a side. My wife…errr…my woman, decided to go with the same except with the Thai BBQ sauce on her tenders.
The meals were up to Binga’s high standards, though I was still left craving something spicier. The Thai peanut sauce was great on the tenders, but I knew it wouldn’t be hot enough for me before ordering them. Still, I had never tried it and, as most of you know, I love Thai peanut sauce. The tomato cucumber salad is a healthier option than most of the other sides such as mac and cheese or slaw. The Blanch didn’t go well with the Thai peanut sauce. I’m not so sure that I expected it to. It usually performs its best and most flavorful work with the spicier wings.
After finishing the meals, we watched people punch each other in the face for a while. But as a couple more fights came to pass, I got a hankering for that something spicy I had missed in my original order. My favorite wing flavor is Hot Mango, so I ordered some tenders with the hot mango while my wife ordered coffee and an ice cream with chocolate sauce.
Hot Mango offers the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. It definitely packs a punch, but if you like heat, it won’t hurt you or leave you breathing fire for hours. It also won’t cause you any problems the next day on the way out of your system. These are the type of wings where the Blanch really makes its mark. Blanch was made for the hot mango and the two go together like a merkin and a grapefruit-sized set of alopecia-ravaged balls.
My recommendation if you go to Binga’s on occasion is to try a variety sauces. There are a number of strong options. Diesel is a hot option, but doesn’t have the strong flavor or sweetness like the hot mango, so if you’re just looking for heat, it’s a solid choice. The Thai Chili is an excellent sauce. It’s not really hot, but it’s is a great option if you want something easy on the taste buds. The Whassuppy is one of the better flavors. Mild heat in a wasabi soy sauce makes this a top choice for those not willing to test their ability to breathe fire but who want something a little less standard. For those who just want their wings covered in cheese, try the Buffalo Bacon Nacho. It’s very tasty, especially if you love nachos. For my personal tastes, it’s would be more appropriate on nachos or a sandwich, but I can definitely see how many people would love it on wings.
Now let’s get to some serious business for those who don’t like themselves very much. If you want some fire in your life to prove your mettle, this is where it starts. Chernobyl is a very hot sauce. It’s probably too hot to just have on a regular trip to Binga’s to go get some food. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard about it and it doesn’t necessarily seem like a great experience unless you’re trying to punish yourself. But that’s only the beginning.
The ’08 Fire sauce is where the real pain is at. A tribute to the Congress St. location that burnt down in 2008, the ’08 Fire sauce is not meant for the faint of heart. Word on the street says that if you eat it, you will be forever stronger, more youthful, and have powers which rival that of a comic book superhero. With this sauce, Binga’s has created a challenge.
Binga’s has three food challenges which they call B.o.a.t. or Binga’s Oral Assualt Test. Two of them are meat quantity challenges and one of them is a heat challenge – “The ’08 Hate”. Eat 6 tenders, covered in ’08 Fire sauce within 20 minutes, don’t consume any liquids during the challenge or for 3 minutes after, and become a fiery hero the likes of which has never before been seen in your household. If you beat it, your food is free.
Ok readers, here it is. I pose to you the following: Subscribe to my blog, share it with friends, and get them to subscribe. When I get to 500 subscribers – and I am a long way away from that currently – I will take the “The ’08 Hate” challenge, beat it, and post video of it on here as part of a blog entry so you can laugh at my suffering. So subscribe now. I dare you.
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