Moe's Crosstown Tavern
714 Rutledge Ave. Downtown.
I like spice in my food. When I was in college, a teacher invited me to taste a Scotch bonnet he'd grown in his garden. I was curious but naive. I didn't know a Scotch bonnet ranks among the hottest habañero peppers. My teacher had expected me to take a nip of the pepper, but I popped the whole thing in my mouth before he noticed. I spent a good part of the next hour eating crackers and drinking milk to douse the fire. Since then, I've had a taste for spice and regularly enjoy Thai food that's "Thai hot." So I figured I could handle hot wings at Moe's Crosstown. When the order came, I knew I might be in trouble, though, because my eyes watered from the steam. But pride triumphed. I didn't want to send them back (and besides, I survived eating a Scotch bonnet; surely I could survive this). I did, but barely. Crying is not something I typically do over spicy food. Sweat, yes. Endorphin-fueled giddiness, yes. But not crying. Well, this time I did. A lot, plus a lot of sweating (strangely from the very top of my head). I persevered, though. Of the dozen wings, I managed to consume nine. Later, a friend, who had himself tried a Moe's wing, said I looked like my eyes were melting out of my skull. That's about right. But like my brush with habañeros back in the day, Moe's hot wings gave me a hankering for more.