McDonald's new Mighty Wings -- bone-in, breaded chicken wings -- have finally made it to Denver area stores, along with some fall-themed goodies. So I made a beeline to the nearest golden arches at 1444 South Havana Street in Aurora, to see if the buzz over the wings is deserved -- and also to test the brand-new Pralines & Crème McFlurry.
The verdict? One of these items is possibly the best McDessert ever created -- and the other is a spicy shakedown.
But before I got to taste anything, I experienced massive sticker shock at the McDoo's counter. The Mighty Wings (why not "McWings?") come in orders of three, five and ten, at just under $4, $6 and $9 (exact prices depend on the area) -- around a buck a wing, more or less. Hell, even dive bars sell wings for fifty cents a pop, so McDonald's is charging a premium for these.
As part of its fall menu rollout, Mickey's has brought back the seasonal pumpkin pies, added a new pumpkin spice latte (this store was fresh out, so that waits for another visit) and introduced a Pralines & Crème McFlurry, which looked mighty enticing with candied pecan chunks and swirls of caramel sauce. I respect the McFlurry as a product, but after years of expensive dental work, I'm not a fan of implacably hard, icy nuggets of candy in ice cream. So I figured I'd take a few tentative bites of this fall McFlurry and abandon the rest. But the combo of McDoo's creamy vanilla soft-serve (I liken it to soft-frozen Cool Whip in both taste and consistency), crisp pecans and probably too much gooey caramel sauce made me forget my dental work and shovel that McFlurry into my mouth at the speed of sound, thwacking at my dining companion with my plastic straw-spoon (stroon, maybe?) when he attempted to encroach upon my treat.
Add to that sugar-rush one of those deliciously warm, hand-held pumpkin pies, smelling like a Thanksgiving air freshener. The delicate, flaky crust tasted like cinnamon and liberal doses of nutmeg, and the filling was perfectly flavor-calibrated, sweet and slightly spicy pumpkin custard. For all of McDonald's faults -- and it has plenty -- it can make a damn good, very cheap mini-pie.
Finally, I turned to the real reason for my visit. The Mighty Wings came tucked into a personalized wing box, leave-'em-be-for-a-minute temperature hot, and they were decent-sized -- not huge, but not the dinky, all-bone ones either -- and thickly-breaded, like fried chicken. I'd gone with the order of five, and got two drummies and three wingies.
I took a first, meaty bite and encountered a slow-burn, medium-spice heat that was unexpected and pleasant. The skin was crispy, the breading a bit too thick for my tastes, but very well-seasoned with black pepper and cayenne. But I ran into a first-world problem with the dipping sauce: The wings were too big around to fit easily into the sauce tub. So I poured a little buffalo sauce out and dipped -- but you're definitely not going to want to try that in your car.
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While the Mighty Wings aren't bad for McDonald's, that price won't fly: If you're taking off on a wingfest, go somewhere else. The pumpkin pie is worth a stop, though, as is the new McFlurry: Order the largest size you can, and don't plan to share. This is so good, it's nuts!