Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Piller's Buffalo Chicken Sausage Snack

I am always up for pretty much anything chicken wing related. Chicken wing chips, chicken wing nuts, chicken wing dip, chicken wing pretzel nuggets. So when I saw Buffalo Chicken pepperoni sticks at the store, I didn't even hesitate to buy them. Well, they were on sale so I was even more encouraged to buy them.

The packaging is pretty underwhelming and if I wasn't already looking at Piller's pepperoni sticks to begin with, I would have easily missed this. I mean, there isn't even a chicken wing on the cover, but at least they have Buffalo sauce.

 After getting this I looked over their social media and saw no advertising for this product either. They do have it on their website - but there isn't anything highlighting it other than an item on a menu list. Way to sell your product Pillers!

The back of the package is almost unreadable. It wasn't until I saw the website info that I could even read the ingredients. I'm happy to see chicken and cayenne sauce powder on there as well as some other spices and even natural smoke. This may contain egg ... but is that from the chicken?

Nothing seems out of the ordinary for commercial pepperoni sticks, so that's good. Even the bad stuff doesn't seem so bad. It's 50 Calories per stick, and 22% Meat Protein. I don't know if that's good or not. I also find it funny that they call this a sausage snack. Sausage just doesn't seem like a snack.

These say spicy, but that could be a gamble. Sometimes pepperoni sticks can get spicy or stingy, or they can fall flat.

The first thing I noticed when looking closely at the package was the condensation inside. That's a little weird. I think.

They were really wet inside too. The smell when opening up the resealable opening was immensely sour. Like sour bleach. It was not pleasant. At all. The colour was really light too, but I'm assuming that's from chicken verses pork or beef?

The size seems on par for Piller's other pepperoni products. They are (by eyeballing it) about 15 centimeters long. It is also more slimey and wet than a regular meat stick from Piller's.

I took a bite - SOUR! Wow was that sour. I mean it smelled sour and the first bites were sour. My first impression - I did not like this.

It's weird. There is no way anyone would guess Buffalo chicken from this. If you stop and think about it, you can taste some spice. You can even taste garlic. There is also a hint of smoke. But not Buffalo.

I will say that once you get past the initial sour smell and flavour, it's not bad. I like the garlic and the spice and the smoke. Like, but not love.

The other downside to this product is the texture. It's tough. The skin/casing is really tough and trying to bite a piece off is a challenge. It's kind of leathery in that it's pliable, but there's no give. The meat is also chewy and there's no give. Even for a meat stick.


No. Big old nope. It's tough, and it smells. It's flavour is nothing Buffalo-like. If you make it past the sour start and the tough casing, it's ok, but I wouldn't recommend even bothering. I wonder if this is why Piller's hasn't promoted it at all.

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Snack

Monday, 30 March 2020


In these trying times, you just can't take the chance. Toilet Paper is just too darn valuable!

PSA from your friendly neighbourhood Lord of the Wings.

#nonwingsunday = Montreal Smoked Meat Bagel Sandwiches

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Griddle Wings Experiment: The Worst Way to Cook Chicken Wings?

Over a year ago we were given an electric griddle as a gift. It's great for making a bunch of things all at the same time. Pancakes, potato pancakes, or I mostly use it for frying bacon. My version is really easy to clean and my only complaint is the cold zones take up a big side of the griddle.

Since I got it, I've wanted to try and cook chicken wings on it. I don't know why, but I thought this would be a great new way to make a fried wing without deep frying. I don't know why it would, because I'm not crazy about pan fried wings, but a new toy is a new toy. Only it wasn't new. Or a toy.

I entered the Lord of the Wings Test Kitchen and went simple for the wings; I just seasoned the wings with salt and pepper and tossed them on the griddle. That's it.

They might have done well to have some oil, but I figured the fat in the wings would be enough to keep it lubricated, and the griddle is non-stick, and ya I didn't need it.

I kept the wings on the hottest side of the griddle, and we got a good cooking sizzle going on. I was cooking at the maximum heat to try and get the crispiest skin possible.

When the chicken skin browned, I flipped them over. The drums got 3 or 4 flips because there are basically 3-4 sides to try and get it all fried up.

At the midway of cooking these wings I started to go from excited to really skeptical about this cooking method. The joints still had lots of blood coming out, but the skin was fried up. I did not like how this was going.

One of the problems with cooking like this is that so much of the heat is lost. When you cook wings in an oven, or a BBQ, or the deep fryer, you are enveloping the wing with heat. But the griddle, you lose so much heat. I was cooking these for almost half an hour and finally decided to change things up. I grabbed a metal bowl and decided to cook the wings underneath.

This seemed to be working. The skin was staying crispy, but the inside was starting to get crisp.

When I thought they were done, I took them out and took a bite. Nope, still not done. This is why you cook by temperature and not time. Unfortunately my thermometer hasn't been working, so I couldn't. But you should.

So they went back under the metal bowl and cooked for like another 15 minutes.

The wings were still juicy looking and crispy. But it wasn't that appealing to look at. I mean, I think to the average person anyway.

Also, how tiny are those wings? It's hard to get good size fresh wings around here.

So the cook time was basically an hour plus a bit more. This took way too long. It was just too long. I did try the wing as is, and it was ok, but it was going to need sauce.

I threw together a quick and tasty sauce - margerine, hot sauce, chili flakes, worchestshire sauce, some spice, some garlic. This was tasty.

I poured that sauce all over the wings because that's what you do.

These still don't look so good.  More tossing and saucing needed.

Well these don't look that much better either. Bah!

This was the best looking wing of the bunch, then I stopped taking photos. Because I stopped caring. The wings were ok. The sauce was the highlight.

The actual wings were kind of crispy, and the wings remained kind of juicy, but it wasn't the best texture. I would not bother with this way of cooking wings ever again. Baking makes much better wings than this. When I bake wings, the skin is really crispy, the meat is tender, the bones pull apart nicely. This was tougher, not that crispy, and it took way longer to cook.

So I won't bother with an electric griddle again. Of all the ways I've tried cooking wings, this is the worst. The only way that would be worst is the microwave, but I won't do that to chicken.


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

RETURN to WILLY's PIZZA 2020 - Ottawa ON

This review is from Feb 2020 #lotwwinterchatchup

10 years ago almost to the month we tried Willy's Pizza; The pizza was pretty good, the wings, were pretty disappointing. Then I don't think I had Willy's anything since, and the location of that Willy's has since closed (or moved) from MacEwan ave. Willy's started over 20 years ago, and now they have 6 locations, but only 2 are in Ottawa proper (the rest are in the neighbouring suburbs).

Now I pass by the location on Merivale road all the time. I've said for years I was going to go back and do an updated review, but for some reason, I just don't. I always skip it and pass it by. But then one day, I just decided, this is the day. So I popped into the mini-mall plaza, and went to order.

This is mainly a delivery/take-out operation, but there is some stool/counter seating if one wants. I was getting it to go and planned to eat it in the car myself. The place was dead, and there was no one visible when I first walked in. Eventually before I left one other customer came in, and a phone order was taken, but I was a little surprised how quite it was.

I also found it funny that they used to have combo's up on the wall advertising slices it seems. The customer that did come in asked about slices and the pizza dude told her that they don't have that. So instead of taking down the combos with slices, they took two pizza boxes and covered it up.

As I said, I was alone when I first walked in. There were no menu boards, but I found a laminated flyer on the counter to look over. A guy came from the back; he was friendly and took my order. He said it would take about 15 minutes. I watched him go into the back and pulled out 10 individual chicken wings from the freezer, that went straight into the deep fryer.

15 minutes later I heard the wings come out of the fryer, into a bowl, get sauced and tossed, then 'plated' up in my to-go box. They went into my hands and I was out the door to have a quick car lunch picnic.

Willy's wing's are ordered by the number, in groups of 10. They came in a cardboard box with food grade liner. There are no sides but you can add the pizza sauce dips if you wanted. The only clean-up were napkins but I didn't grab any.

The size of the wings in terms of length were about a medium, but they were pretty meaty. Each wing had a nice amount of meat on it. Plus the wings were breaded/dusted giving a little extra layer but not at all thick.

The meat was tender enough; they were not tough to pull apart aside from the crispy skin holding it all together. As mentioned above, these wings did come from frozen, and unfortunately had a slight freezer taste to the meat itself. It wasn't terrible, but I noticed it none the less.

These wings were sauced really really well. The wings were basically covered end to end in sauce, with a reserve on the bottom of the box. I could not eat these without making a mess and staining my fingers, so car picnic may not have been the best idea.

The sauce on this is clearly labeled "Frank's Red Hot" on the menu, so you know exactly what you are getting. Cayenne based heat, with a nice flavour but nothing original to Willy's. But with these being right out of the fryer, they were hot, crispy and just tasted good.


Willy's is definitely doing better with their wings in 2020 than they were in 2010. The wings were a decent size but meaty, with a nice crispy dusting/skin, and very well sauced. Their frozen, and taste slightly so, but all in all a really decent take-out wing. I won't be so quick to dismiss them again in the future.  7/14

Willy's Pizza
1541 Merivale Road, Ottawa ON

Thursday, 19 March 2020


This review is from Feb 2020 #lotwwintercatchup

Back in February the wife and I went on a little weekend getaway to Perth Ontario. I love this little town - it's so picturesque and filled with historic buildings and stories (did you know the last duel fought in Canada happened here?). On our first night in, we decided to just stay in our hotel, order food, and just chill out. We felt like a classic delivery food so we went for pizza and wings.

I went online to do some quick research and while there were a few places that fit the bill, but the one that seemed to be the most interesting to us (and safest bet) was Milano's Pizza. Milano's, if you are not familiar with the chain, it's been operating in the Ottawa region by the Kassis family since 1974. There a few local chains out this way (Gabriel's and 1 for 1 for example), but I feel like they are under the radar a bit. I enjoyed the wings at the Milano's in Gananoque but it may not be part of the chain. The location in Perth opened up I think sometime in 2018.

I was on their take-out website and saw one deal that appealed to both of us: The Perfect Combo Deal with PopCurds. Pizza, wings, PopCurds and drinks. I called in the order to clarify the questions instead of ordering online, and spoke to someone who sounded very busy, but was friendly, sweet and accommodating. She was rad. Our delivery lady came right to our hotel door, and she too was very friendly. She told us she brought us some vinegar packets for our pizza. Vinegar on pizza? I had never heard of such a thing. She was very enthusiastic about doing so and said it really brings out the flavours of the pizza. Wow.

The food was delivered quick and still hot. There were lots of dips, sauces, plates, cutlery, napkins and everything we needed for our dine-in feast.

We got a medium 3 topping pizza.  It looked pretty good. We asked for light on sauce, and they obliged. Our 3 toppins were Bacon, Italian Sausage, and Onion. They had a pizza dough ball in the middle to keep the lid from crushing the cheesy pizza. I have never seen this in Canada, but heard that many pizza places in parts of the US do this. We usually just have the plastic table, but this is better. Too bad the dough isn't soft or edible really.

The other toppings were chopped pretty fine, but there was a lot and almost all parts of the pizza were covered. The sausage was not spicy. The bacon was strip bacon chopped up (not crumble like some places). The onions were red diced onions. There was a nice layer of cheese on there as well, but not a brick like many Ottawa-style pizza places have. I found it a little too dry without the normal level of sauce on here. It was a good pizza, but we didn't love it.  We did try it with the vinegar, and it actually was pretty good! It did enhance the flavours so maybe this is something that might catch on with us?!

We also got it with a side of their homemade garlic sauce (I asked the girl on the phone if this was like Lebanese garlic sauce, but she had no idea what I was talking about. They do shawarama at this Milano's, and it was). It was thick and garlicky and went well with the pizza.

The combo also came with a 1/2 pound of PopCurds. PopCurds are cheese curds that are breaded and deep fried. Basically a mini curd mozza stick. The breading on these has a strong flavour that is bigger than the cheese curd itself. It came with marinara sauce for dipping. These are pretty addictive and easy to pop in the mouth, but they would have been much better fresh out of the fryer.

Then there were the wings. This is the part I was most looking for.

Milano's wings are ordered by number, either 10, 20, or 30. They came in a Styrofoam clam-shell lined with food paper. They were pretty even flats and drums. We ordered our sauces on the side, so I have no idea how saucy they would have been. They did come with a container of sour cream ...

The wings were not that big. Kinda small. They were not particularly meaty either. But the wings were very crispy. That naked skin was crispy/crackly and salty good.

The meat was not particularly tender either. It was almost dried out, and pulling apart the bones was not that easy. So while we had a really nice crispy skin, we got a tougher meat because of it.

As I mentioned before, we got our sauce on the side. This is usually the best course of action if you want a crispy chicken wing. We went with two sauces, Hot, and Suicide and applied the sauce ourselves. Not as good coverage, but we did have crispy skin.

Hot was a classic cayenne pepper hot sauce, probably Frank's. Frank's is good, it's tasty, it is what it is.

Suicide was 3rd Degree. No doubt. I'm a #3rdDegreeAddict so I liked it. It's not crazy hot, but you get a bigger zip than hot sauce.


We had a very filling meal that fit the bill for the night. Pizza had lots of toppings. PopCurds were salty cheesy treats. The wings were crispy and had some good commercial sauces. The food was not bad, but nothing really special. The service we got was really special, and I really appreciated it. 7.5/14

Milano's Pizza
54 Wilson St, Perth ON (and other locations)