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More national props for a Colorado original: This weekend, the first Buffalo Wing Festival will be held in Buffalo, New York, and Wingman Restaurant (1450 West 104th Avenue in Northglenn, formerly known as Woody's Wings 'n' Things) will be there to uphold Colorado's honor. Why is this a big deal? Go to www.buffalowing.com and click the "restaurants" tab. I'll wait...

See what I mean? Wingman is the only restaurant within hundreds of miles to be invited to this prestigious gathering of deep-fry junkies. Mark Wolfeand crew will be racking up the most frequent-flyer miles of anyone summoned to the contest (hell, the next-closest joint is Buffalo Joe's in Houston, and we all know that Texas doesn't know jack about making a decent chicken wing), and they'll be bringing to Buffalo a custom-blended sauce they've been working on for years.

A word of advice, Mark: I spent a few years in Buffalo, and can tell you from experience that these people take their chicken wings very seriously. For someone in Buffalo to even consider that a restaurant in Colorado might be worthy of participating in such an event is mind-boggling, but if you can make 'em hot and make 'em sweet and make 'em without just dumping a gallon of Frank's Red Hot over a dozen-done-crispy, you've got a good shot at making a name for yourself in the town where the wing was born.

And yes, the chicken wing was invented in Buffalo -- at the Anchor Bar on Main Street, and don't let anyone tell you different, because I (and about a thousand other Anchor Bar loyalists) know someone who was there when it happened. Ever since that fateful night, the chicken wing has been an Upstate New York institution. There's almost no restaurant in Buffalo that doesn't serve them, there's no one in the city without an opinion on whose are best, and at least once a year, there'll be a police report about some street-corner "Whose are hottest?" wing debate gone terribly wrong.

So good luck, Wingman. All of us here at Bite Me World HQ wish you the best, and we'll be anxiously awaiting news on how things turned out when you come home.


Leftovers:Two big foodie events are coming right up. First, A Taste of Colorado takes over Civic Center Park on Labor Day weekend. Admission is free, and while there's more fun scheduled than I could possibly list here, all I really care about anyway is the food. Over fifty Colorado establishments will be putting down tent stakes and firing up the grills, offering gluttons everything from a Big Weiner (courtesy of The Big Weiner), to turkey legs (Trinity Grille), to fried 'gator (Bayou Bob's), to cheesecake on a stick, cotton candy, kettle corn and all those other festival faves guaranteed to turn your children into sugar-fueled little midway demons for the rest of the day.

Looking for something a little classier? The "Fine Dining Area" (yeah, those cynical quote marks are mine -- I find it hard to believe we're talking French service and bone china plates here) will offer gourmands a chance to sink their teeth into the cuisine of Mark Fischer (Six89, in Carbondale), Sherry Yard (executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck's Fine Dining Group) and Richard Sandoval (of MAYA, in NYC, and Tamayo, right here in Denver). There'll be cooking demonstrations, an ice-cream eating contest (though I don't know if the chefs will be participating), and something called Ready, Set, Cook! that sounds like a Denver version of Iron Chef,only without that creepy Japanese guy strutting around in his floor-length cloak.

And don't forget to mark your calendars for the fifteenth annual Uptown Sampler coming on Tuesday, September 17. The double-decker buses will be back this year, hauling foodies to twenty uptown restaurants, including Aix, the Red Room, Randolph's, the Painted Bench, Las Margaritas Cantina and more; all will provide appetizers and samplings of their menus. A "dessert sampler" will be held after the event at the El Jebel Temple (1770 Sherman Street) with pastries and tasties supplied by West City Perk, Full Measure Bakery, Sweet Rockin' Coffee, the Cone Zone and the aforementioned Marczyk's.

While I've heard that this event has had turnout problems in recent years (especially last year, when it was scheduled for September 11), an infusion of new blood, new restaurants and newfound enthusiasm promises to make it a nice little party. Tickets (available at King Soopers locations or at www.uptownonthehill.org) are $20 in advance ($15 if you're only interested in dessert) and $25 the day of the event; a maximum of 600 tickets are being sold this year, so get 'em while they last.

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