nam phuong – atlanta, ga

earlier in august i had picked up the local periodical creative loafing and was flipping through the pages when i came upon a story that highlighted and reviewed the best 12 wing joints in atlanta.  coined “the ultimate wing smackdown“, writers and contributors took recommendations from creative loafing loyalists to taste, savor, and ultimately decide which restaurant in the city boasts the best chicken wings.  with five criteria (including flavor, exterior texture, interior texture, value, and overall appearance) by which to evaluate, the judges trekked far and wide to, in the end, crown nam phuong the chicken wing king.

in a mostly unassuming building off buford highway, nam phuong is a spacious sit-down restaurant that, on the tuesday night we went, was quite busy with a very diverse crowd.  now, before i go on to review these chicken wings, let me say this:  buford highway is like the yellow brick road of authentic food in atlanta.  with restaurants that span cuisines from all over the world, the real foodies in this city know that la buford is the place to be, and nam phuong is a perfect fit for this reputable strip.

our group of seven was quickly seated and our water glasses were brought soon thereafter.  as i flipped among the menu’s pages, my eyes wandered around the tables near us, interested to see what other diners had ordered.  big, white ceramic bowls with steam rising out of them were most of what i saw, and even though a big helping of pho sounded tasty, i knew i would have to make a return trip for that.  this visit was for chicken wings and chicken wings only!  at least as far as i was concerned.

matt, anthony, janine, grant, eric, and claire all opted for the pho, which came out quickly and piping hot.  on a cold winter’s day, i could easily picture myself coming back here for a savory bowl of that stuff, but i waited patiently as my wings took a little longer to come out.  i took that as a good sign, hoping it meant they were being cooked to order.  🙂

thankfully i was able to keep my drooling under control once the waiter served me.  the wings were hot and covered in some kind of delicious fish sauce, and alongside was a heap of white rice and some sliced vegetables.  for about nine bucks, it looked like this “appetizer” was going to be more than enough to fill me up!

as the rest of the group happily slurped up spoonfuls of noodles and chicken and broth, i got down and dirty with my wings.  the wings were cooked in such a way that the skin was crispy but also a little tacky with the sauce that had obviously been brushed on at the right moment in the grilling process.  the sauce itself was sweet but also had a little zing at the end of each bite, so it was good i had the rice to help offset the spice.  the chicken itself was very juicy and not dry at all, and i greedily ate every single one of them!

if you’re a wing lover in any regard, i highly recommend you swing by nam phuong to give their wings a try.  this dish is a great value for what you get, the service is fast and friendly, and supporting a local joint just makes you feel good!  so, if you’ve got a hankering for something familiar but also something new, then this place is the spot for you.

february 16th – nyc

our last day in new york begrudgingly arrived tuesday morning as natalie woke and headed to the office and phillip and i packed a bag for the day and got things going, too.  now, even though we might have been sad that our last day was upon us, we were getting excited for what the day held.  what did we end up doing?  well, for starters we went to piers 92 and 94 on the hudson river to watch the day two breed judging for the westminster kennel club dog show!

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happy anniversary!

for those of you not familiar with the process, in the morning before each evening show, each breed is judged individually and the best of the breed is selected.  so for example, the golden retrievers are in the sporting group.  now, only one golden retriever is shown in the evening, so they have to pick the best out of the bunch.  how many goldens, you ask?  how about 50!  yes, folks.  there were 50 golden retrievers being judged tuesday morning, and since phillip and i are both golden lovers, that’s exactly where you would have found us.

now, before the pups are judged they have to get all dolled up.  one of the coolest things about westminster is that you get to go into the benching area where the dogs are chilling out and getting groomed.  after receiving our wristbands, i led phillip over to the benching area for the sporting group and i think he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw all the goldens.  these sweet faces are just irresistible!  now, i urge you.  no, i implore you!  please scroll through the album of golden retriever photos we captured.

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got your fill of goldens?  i thought you might!  now that their coats are glistening and smiles ready, it’s time to be judged!  over in ring 10 is where all the goldens were being judged, so phillip and i snagged a couple seats so that we wouldn’t miss a thing.

the judge brought anywhere between 10 and 20 goldens into the ring at a time, which gave me the perfect opportunity to take even more pictures!

we eventually got our dose of goldens for the day, but before leaving for the afternoon we moseyed along the aisles to check out all the other dogs.  i think something that always amazes me is how much stuff it takes to get these pooches ready.  hair dryers, nail clippers, product.  you name it, they have it.  regular pampering sounds like a pretty blissful life, doesn’t it?

we saw a couple great danes, the gentle giants they are.  this breed always brings a grin to my face when i see them, and this fellow was no exception.

look at that face!

look at that face!

and then right before we exited we found the vizslas!  phillip’s sister emily has a sweet vizsla named brandy and we couldn’t leave without sending her some pictures.  the one of phillip getting kisses is my favorite.  🙂

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