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Hot Wings And Tongue Piercing 

We're smack in the middle of race week here in Charlotte, which means a whole bunch of turning left and driving real fast. And that also means a whole lot of beer being drunk and a whole lot of chicken wings being consumed.

I know it's heresy to admit this around here, but I can only handle about 10 or 15 minutes of NASCAR racing at a time, unless of course Kirsten Gum is talking about it in her red sweater, in which case I can get lost in her, ah its, finer intricacies for a considerably longer period of time. I can also get into the chicken wings aspect, especially if they're hot.

In honor of race week then, here is the Beggar's Banquet look at Hot Hot Hot Wings.

Hooters 911 Hot Wings: The first Hooters restaurant opened in Clearwater, Florida in 1983. They're located in 41 states as well as several international locations. There are five locations in the Charlotte area, including the South Boulevard restaurant which I visited. Let's be honest here; while Hooters may be known for its wings, most of the people are going for the tenders.

Pros: No cover charge for "Lunch with a View." The 911 Wings were very good, meaty with a sauce that both grabbed and kept your attention, not an easy thing to do given the very friendly Hooter girls mulling about everywhere.

Cons: The best part of the view remains covered. The lack of a cover charge is made up by being nickel and dimed for everything. The blue cheese was an extra 59 cents....oh, you want celery too? Celery and blue cheese are an extra 99 cents. And it's not a soft sell with Hooters merchandise while you're there, either. These girls can be like silicon-enhanced Herbalife salesmen.

Price: Not cheap. Ten wings were $6.29, 20 are $11.49 and 50 are $22.99. Mediocre Iced Tea was $2.19

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Hooters employs approximately 20,000 people, nearly 12,000 of which are Hooters Girls. From the Hooters website: "To Hooters, the women's rights movement is important because it guarantees women have the right to choose their own careers, be it a Supreme Court Justice or Hooters Girl." I just pictured Ruth Bader Ginsburg in orange shorts; please shoot me.

The Roasting Company Nuclear Wings: The Roasting Company is located at 1521 Montford Drive (there's a second location at 9311 JW Clay Blvd). They specialize in marinated rotisserie chicken and other "south of the border" items.

Pros: For my money, may be the best wings in Charlotte. They sneak up on you. Tasty, meaty, hot. Thank goodness for free iced tea refills. The salsa bar is a nice side that doesn't get in the way.

Cons: No Hooters girls, but the wings are so good you won't notice. Bring a picture of Kirsten Gum if you must have a view.

Price: Ten wings are $4.59, 20 are $8.99, 50 are $21.99, and an even 100 are $39.99. The price includes blue cheese dressing, celery stalks, and trips to the salsa bar. Decent Iced Tea with free refills is 85 cents.

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: In Buffalo, NY every July 29 is officially "Chicken Wing Day."

Getting Your Tongue Pierced: For wings to be truly hot enough, they must make your tongue feel like a hot metal rod is being pushed through it. Let me just say that I don't get paid anywhere near enough to get my tongue pierced for an article like this. So I asked some people who've had it done about it. Most answers revolved around oral fixation and being a little buzzed at the time. To pierce your tongue, you have to clamp it down. A large pin-like device is then stuck through the middle. "Anyone who tells you that it doesn't hurt must also think Keanu Reeves is a great character actor," according to my pierced friend Branon. "The first time I did it, I couldn't eat solid food for five days. After about a month I got used to eating with it, but only after I had bitten down sideways about 50 times. It fucking hurts when you bite down on the thing sideways."

Pros: The immediate answer from everyone of whom I asked this question was, "It enhances oral sex." To any readers out there with midlife crisis Moms getting their tongues pierced, good luck in therapy.

Cons: "I sched schweet tea you schtupiud imbeschile!"

Price: About 50 bucks, same as in town, not including the bottle of tequila.

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Again according to Branon, if you ever have to take the piercing out, don't leave it out for more than an hour.The tongue is the quickest healing organ in your body, which is great for when you accidentally bite it, bad for when you intentionally poke a hole through it. Once out, the hole will quickly close, forcing you to push through the newly closed skin with one end of the piercing. . .jeez, this is nearly as painful as imagining Ruth Bader Ginsberg in a Hooters uniform. *

You can e-mail Gene Lazo at

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