I had the best chicken wings of my life.

my meal of chicken wings, cucumber salad, corn bread

The dish was so good that I had to write about it. First, these delicious things are wrapped with spices and baked for 8 hours the night before. If you choose, an additional spicy rub is put on the wings as well. A cucumber salad, which consisted of pickled cucumbers (of course), carrots and red onions, tops off the chicken wings and a dish of sweet barbecue sauces is added on the side for dipping. The cucumber salad is perfect for cooling down the hotness of the wings and the sweet sauce gives the dish something different to taste as you chow down on these hot things. I also added a side of corn bread just to balance the richness of it all. These were just appetizers, but my 5 taste buds–salty, sweet, sour, umami and bitter–were satisfied so I didn’t have to order anything more!

IMG_3171 plate of chicken wings

Now, there are plenty of factors when it comes to determining what makes a dish great– the restaurant’s atmosphere, the presentation of the food, the people you’re with, the service, your mood that day, the recipe itself, even a friend’s recommendation (ex. she said the food was great and I believe what she says so the food must be great). And of course, consistency is another key step in making sure that the impressive claim the eater made about the dish continues to stay that way (something I will gladly and probably continuously test out).

So yes, Devil’s Alley, the restaurant that served these to-die-for-and-more chicken wings, does have an awesome vibe, especially with real trees placed in the middle of the main serving area as well as the old brick wall that’s part of the decor (which actually belongs to an old building next door). And yet, this and all these other factors really just demonstrates how great the design is of the whole eating experience overall. In cognitive science, we call this gestalt–the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I had good company, good food, an unique experience eating wings and no singularly bad moment (which unfortunately can uproot any positive judgment). It’s incredible how designing a great experience can suggest further action. I mean, I’m already thinking of an excuse to come back for more.

Devils Alley interior
And you thought you couldn’t find a piece of heaven in Devil’s alley.