Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Wing Tournament: Northside / Eastwood Results

On the heels of the Downtown results, next up on the 2011 Wing Tournament is the Northside / Eastwood bracket. Shifty's Bar and Grill will take on Gianni's Bronx Style Pizza, with Change of Pace taking on Original Italian Pizza. Winner of the bracket will advance to the Final Four and take on the winner of the Downtown bracket. To see a list of all qualifying teams, how each neighborhood bracket looks, and tournament rules, click here for the initial post. Here's how the Northside / Eastwood bracket ended up...

Northside / Eastwood Opening Round: Game 1
(1) Shifty's Bar & Grill's "hot" wings: 4
(4) NY Gianni's Bronx Style Pizza's "hot" wings: 3

The closest match-up to date pitted Shifty's hot wings (pictured left) against Gianni's hot wings (pictured right). While Gianni's "dart" style wings, which almost consist of a hot, garlic, and barbecue mix, should not go unnoticed on any visit, their hot wings were barely edged out by Shifty's - and more specifically, the first time in the tournament where blue cheese actually had to play the tie-breaker.

As a 4 seed, Gianni's puts out strong competition with wings that have a great skin and a good balance of slight crunchiness covered in a very vinegar-based Buffalo sauce. Make sure you have napkins for these! While hotness and amount of sauce may have been in favor of Gianni's, Shifty's homemade sauce was slightly more classic and even contained tiny pieces of tomatoes and chillies hiding around the wings. Shifty's also boasted tender meat (5 out of 5 on my account) and overall, were great bar wings, though with the downsides being that the lack of heat was rather disappointing (which was more like a strong mild) and the sauce tended to dry-out midway through the meal. Gianni's weren't bad for take-out and on this visit, were a winning combo with their delicious sheet pizza, but Shifty's takes the battle with larger and more consistent wings, tender meat, good flavor, and perfectly chunky blue cheese.

Winner: Shifty's Bar & Grill


Northside / Eastwood Opening Round: Game 2
(2) Change of Pace's "Hot / Extra Crispy" wings: 5
(3) Original Italian Pizza's "Hot / Char-Grilled" wings: 1

Don't let the lop-sided score fool you, both of these competitors faired very well and were above average in most cases. OIP (pictured right) was able to pull out perfectly tender chicken coated in a char-grilled hot sauce that had a great peppery flavor, but Change of Pace (pictured left) was highlighted by jumbo chicken wings covered in an excellent and traditional Buffalo sauce with a lingering heat that, in terms of this bracket, was refreshing to taste. I'd do OIP again for take-out wings, but this one goes to Change of Pace. While their brand of wings were a bit under-cooked and contained an above average amount of tendons, it's hard to resist their classic flavor and what were otherwise perfect and traditional Buffalo wings in all other aspects.

Winner: Change of Pace


Northside / Eastwood Second Round: Championship Game
(2) Change of Pace's "Hot / Extra Crispy" wings: 4
(1) Shifty's Bar & Grill's "hot" wings: 3

Shifty's sure likes a close match-up, but it just wasn't enough to surpass Change of Pace. Both even had excellent blue cheese (some of the best in the tournament) with a slight edge going to Shifty's for a chunky style, which I'm a fan of. Honestly, I was hoping Shifty's would bring the heat with their wings, seeing as how they come in various styles like fatal, xtra hot, and f-bomb, to name a few, but Change of Pace's were actually hotter. Shifty's great chicken meat and excellent homemade sauce flavor wasn't enough to pass Change of Pace's jumbo wings the contained a slightly crispy skin covered in a great, classic wing sauce.

Winner and champion of the Northside / Eastwood bracket: Change of Pace

There you have it. Change of Pace will take on Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in the Final Four. Stay tuned for the remaining 2 brackets. And Pulled Into Syracuse's 2011 Wing Tournament Champion will be crowned within the next couple weeks.

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