Thursday, October 26, 2006

Auirga over Azia

(That's funnier if you know that Auriga is also the name of a constellation and Azia is pronounced Asia, although I said AhZah for years. Get it? It's like a Moon over my Hammy.)

I swear, Auriga's happy hour is just the best in town if you want to go highbrow without dropping a ton of cash. After a particularly harrowing day of getting ripped off, just one more time by those pilferers that took my purse, I needed to feel a little pampered. I needed a treat. Or at least to be treated like a human being again.
My darling friend Laura, selflessly agreed to forgo her earlier plans for the evening and accompany me to happy hour. Their drink specials are half off on all well drinks, cheap tap beer and a $3 glass of a red or a white wine. I ordered the red, an interesting blend of Temperanillo and Cabernet. They served it in one of those lovely big, bordeaux glasses. Although, with my first sip, I nearly gulped it down through my eyeball, as my aim was thrown off by their enormity.
During their happy hour (5p.m. - 7 p.m.) all of their gourmet pizzas are half off. Last night we ordered smoked chicken, with purnes that were the texture of fig paste and a smattering of a really mild blue cheese. It was delicious. Laura was eating hers at a very leisurely pace, while it was all I could do not to hork it down.
The bar started to fill up and we decided it was time to go somewhere else. After much discussion and debate, we decided on the Caterpiller bar that's attached to Azia. Laura and I remembered getting really good chicken wings there once. Playing on the two flat screen TV's in the bar was some bizarro PBS special Madame Butterfly DVD. It was really odd to see fat, white people dressed up in kimonos and white face paint. Fortified by my three glasses of red wine at Auriga, I soldiered on. I ordered my usual, a Mt. Gay and diet coke with a lime. There was something off about the Diet Coke. Not so great. As we were pouring over the menu my friend Eric joined us. He had recently escaped from a work sponsored happy hour and quickly ordered a Campari and soda, his latest drink of choice. It's very... pink. And... bubbly. And that's about all I have to say about that.
Laura, fiend that she is, ordered a martini.
For food we decided on the Ping Pang Pow wings, which come in four flavors. We decided on oyster wings. I was tempted to just order a little oyster on the half shell but they offer about a dozen varieties. How are you supposed to know what's fresh? They couldn't all possibly have been flown in that day, so I decided to skip it. We also ordered crispy springrolls filled with avacado. Those came with some kind of bengin dipping sauce. I really couldn't quite taste what that was for, but the texture combination of the silky avacado and crunchy, fried wrappers was wonderful. I grabbed a wing and sunk my teeth in. I had to tilt my head back and frantically suck in air in a vain attempt to cool them down. They were wonderful. Salty, dark and carmel colored with a hint of spice. Delicious. I swallowed and took another bite. That's when it hit me like a rouge wave on a fishing boat in the arctic cirlce. Ahhhh choo!!! OW! ....ow!!! owowowowowow!
I had done the unimaginable. I had sneezed a wedge of crispy, spicy, salty chicken skin up my nose and into my sinues. OW. And WOW is that a weird feeling. I was never one of those kids who either stuck crayons up my nasal cavidy nor laughed so hard that milk squirted out of my nose. No. This was a new sensation. Dare I say, never felt before, this side of the Jim Rose circus. Good freaking GOD! I was able to dislodge the offending food and take another sip of my beverage. But, I have to say, that pretty much killed the rest of the experience. I didn't another wing (although, they were quite tasty, and I'd reccommend them to any one who doesn't have allergies.) It was just that I could taste them when I inhaled. That's weird.


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