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Let's Play Chicken - Take a Ride on the Wine Side

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Let's Play Chicken!

Imagine, if you will, 600 pounds of spicy chicken wings just waiting to be devoured. What could best be described as a chicken wing orgy and a BBQ-lover's nirvana, this annual "wing-off" takes place every June in Meridian. This wing-ding-free-for-all was started by three brothers from Boise: Curtis, Brett and Jason Hollingshead. They began on the eldest brother's patio with just three little grills and a lot of smack talk as to whose wings were the hottest. When asked what inspired the event, they replied that there just wasn't a place in Boise that had "really great wings." They believed they could do better.

Six years later, a booming festival has replaced the three grills and they've relocated the event to public parks to accommodate their many followers. With no charge (donations gladly accepted to cover park fees) and an open invite to the public, it's the perfect picnic opportunity. With over 20 tents showcasing secret recipes and more sauce flavors than you could imagine, there's not a chance in spicy heck you won't find a wing favorite. These cooks take their wings very seriously. Some began their wing process a month before, starting with their sauce. Then chefs either brine, marinate, smoke, deep fry or slow cook their wings. Their results are delicious.

The Hollingshead brothers estimate over 300 shirts came away BBQ-sauce stained this year, and with nearly 600 pounds of wings, that meant about two pounds of spicy hotness per person. Wish you could've been there? The event isn't advertised, it's all been word of mouth up to this point. But fortunately for wing addicts, the Hollingshead clan plans to get press releases out so all may come armed with paper plates and wet-naps to partake in the wild wing-off that goes down in Meridian next year.

--Rachel Abrahamson

Take a Ride on the Wine Side

Two dates remain for "A Taste of the Northwest," a scenic tour through Idaho's wine country presented by Idaho Wine Tours. Excursions include gourmet breakfast at downtown Boise's Pair, transportation to three wineries, a wine class sponsored by Piazza di Vino, a wine tasting at each of the day's stops and appetizers at the end of the day.

Remaining tour dates include Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 30. Tickets are $59.99 per person or $110 per couple. Group discounts and corporate packages are available. Tour destinations change weekly. Contact Idaho Wine Tours for specific details or to purchase tickets by calling 208-283-3585 or e-mail

--Rachael Daigle