Mar 292019

This is part of an ongoing series reviewing hot wings in the Huntsville area. Visit #HsvHotWings for a comprehensive linked list.

The Casual Pint is one of the latest additions to prominent Huntsville-area Peoplequarium The Village of Providence. It’s an airy, sports-barry place with, as you might suppose from the name, numerous beers on tap.

The Casual Pint is also a full-service eatery, with munchie-centric lunch and dinner menus. Available wing varieties are buffalo, sriracha chili bourbon, spicy Thai, BBQ, and Alabama white sauce. My pleasant server Lisa told me that none of them packed a lot of heat, but that the hottest variety was either buffalo or spicy Thai. My ten spicy Thai wings were $13.08.

Quality: 5/10. My five drums and five flats came out perfectly hot and cooked uniformly. Alas, though there were no true runts, these wings are definitely small, and at north of $1.25 apiece, there’s no price relief either. There was a generous amount of “on request” carrots and celery, and that helped the value proposition somewhat.

Flavor: 8/10. These wings were tasty indeed, hitting with a little sweet and sour on the front end and followed with a later hint of sesame. No issues making a happy plate.

Heat: 2/10. There is a minuscule smolder, evanescing slightly more rapidly that you can reliably classify it. It might have been red pepper. These wings are not hot. (Now Lisa did tell me that none of the varieties were particularly hot, but these do have “spicy” in their name.)

If you find yourself at The Casual Pint feeling wingy, these are a serviceable go-to.

 Posted by at 6:33 am
Mar 282019
  • Terminator: Dark Fate: November 1, 2019. Star Wars: Episode IX:  December 20, 2019. Next Alien film: unknown.
  • The second season of The OA is out. I’m two episodes in and digging it. In other Netflix news, the hilarious Nate Bargatze has a new hour-long special that we’re looking forward to enjoying this weekend. Check him out. He has a subdued, cerebral style that sets him apart.
  • Lea and I saw a new Nissan LEAF on our walk earlier this week. I still wouldn’t call it pretty, but it’s much more attractive than the first generation was.
  • The Royal Rose Diner has closed permanently. I hate to see that. I enjoyed several good meals in there. What’s the record for a restaurant at that (apparently) cursed location?
  • In more positive restaurant news, the fine folks who brought you Earth and Stone Wood-Fired Pizza will soon open Clyde’s BBQ, just north of Browns Ferry on County Line in Madison. I’m hearing some tantalizing things, and I’ll probably get a preview before it officially goes live. Watch this space, as they say.
  • Congratulations to Colton Herta for becoming the youngest driver ever to win an IndyCar race at Circuit of the Americas last weekend!
  • Do I count four SEC teams in the Sweet 16? That’s pretty cool.
 Posted by at 8:04 am
Mar 242019

Even for a sporadic mass-media consumer like me, it’s been tough to miss the tremendous advertising push for Coca-Cola’s new Orange Vanilla variety. It seemed like an ideal review candidate from the first spot I heard, so when Lea came home with a six-pack the other day, I asked for one.

This looks and handles like regular Coca-Cola, but with a bit of a Creamsicle vibe in the aroma as it bubbles up in the glass. And indeed, that’s what I tasted when I drank it. Or, maybe it’s like a Coke float made with two parts orange sherbet and one part vanilla ice cream. It’s really sweet; to my palate, significantly sweeter than regular Coke. The orange taste is more artificial than natural, but it’s that evocative, well-established gustatory territory for such.

Roger Ebert tried to review movies on their own terms, which I find a noble and emulable impulse. It is in that context that I say that, for me, personally, Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola is pointless. In the first place, I hardly ever drink sugary sodas anymore. In the second, I would choose a regular Coca-Cola over this product every time. I finished a 20-oz. bottle of it with my lunch today, and there’s an excellent chance that will be the last Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola I ever consume.

However, does it hit its marks (or at least what I imagine them to be)? I think it does. That I have no personal affection for Orange Vanilla Coca-Cola does not make it a silly product. If you read my description above and you think you’ll like it, then you almost certainly will. It’s a polished, well-designed experience.


 Posted by at 10:58 am
Mar 222019

We don’t go to the beach with an agenda. In fact, that’s most of the point. We’re on vacation from agendas. All of you Type A control freaks who pack your leisure time with items to be checked off are out of your minds. You’re designing failure, or at least pressure to avoid it, into your time off. Folks? That’s work.

If we 1) wake up without an alarm; 2) we can hear and see the surf when we do; 3) we can visit said surf with minimal effort; and 4) we get some fresh Gulf seafood in us daily, then mission accomplished. Almost nothing else matters.

We had a great time in Fort Morgan this week. It was a bit cool, but we still got enough beach time to get a good bit of sun.

It was a great eating trip, too. For the first time we explored an Orange Beach complex, under one ownership, that includes several restaurants and shops. (We’ve still left ourselves a few to discover.)

Glazed tuna at Cosmo’s, rare.

Stuffed grouper over roasted Brussels sprouts at Luna’s. This was my favorite meal of the trip.

We said hello to this dignified fellow on a walk to the point one morning.

We took a slight detour on the way home to visit the Sugar Kettle Cafe in Daphne, where the breakfast was delectable and the proprietor is my grade school classmate Michelle.

There’s Michelle, for the first time in 39 years!

It was a marvelous trip with cherished friends. Feeling very blessed.

 Posted by at 1:20 pm
Mar 142019
  • Palm is back, with a phone for your phone. Now I would love a smartphone that ran a modern PalmOS, but this just seems silly.
  • I’ve been wandering since I finished The Americans. I watched the first Narcos, but it was just OK. I’ve watched the first two Sneaky Petes. I may stay with that one.
  • I’d never done any brake work myself before last night. I replaced the front pads and rotors on Lea’s van and saved us most of $200, best I can tell. Took me two hours, but it’ll only take me one next time.
  • Area chronicler and raconteur Kelly Kazek has written a piece documenting that some people find “ma’am” and “sir” offensive. These some people are ridiculous and wrong, and should not be indulged in this nonsense whatsoever.
  • Argued with Sebastian Bach a little bit on Twitter this week about whether the current Kiss tour is fraudulent. (Of course it is, but he didn’t see it that way.)
  • My first IndyCar race with the no-longer-Verizon-exclusive app and NBC Sports Gold was pretty great. Congratulations to Josef Newgarden on a great drive at St. Petersburg.
  • Briefly chilly again behind this stormy Thursday. May flirt with a freeze before warming back up. It is still March, kids.
 Posted by at 9:46 am
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