The Wing King
Thursday, 21 December 2006
The Wing King
I placed the wings in the oven with the garlic bread to warm them up and try to crisp them up a bit. The wings were breaded/deep fried and then sauced. But I use the term Sauce loosely. These wings were meaty and juicy, and they appeared to be sauced well, but they did not taste like it. It must have been that new tasteless sauce that looks like sauce, smells like sauce, but doesn’t taste like it. I was very disappointed. But no fear, I pushed the big red button and in no time I was ringing the fire bells, getting a nice burn from 3rd degree Sauce.
However, in the end, even the mighty 3rd degree sauce couldn’t save these wings, and I couldn’t even finish all that was on my plate. Great Canadian Super Store is not the place for Great Canadian Super Wings.... but if you want food, clothes, electronics and house wares under one roof, and really really bright lights... well this place might just be for you.
Sunday, 17 December 2006
Korean Grill House is a chain of Korean BBQ restaurants in downtown Toronto. They have existed far North of the Bloor line for a long time, but the phenomenon has exploded in the downtown in the last few years. What is it?
ESSENTIALLY, its trays of meat, poultry and seafood that you grill yourself on bbq that are right inside your table. That's right, your cooking on an open flame.
The standard all-you-can-eat (AYCE) menu is beef, pork, pork ribs, chicken, ox tail, ox tongue, salmon and squid. There are side dishes that include kimchi, radishes, bean sprouts, spicy bean sprouts, potato and tofu. It also comes with a bowl of soup and a bowl of rice. Everything is unlimited, it is AYCE after all. See wikipedia for more information on the more traditional preparation.
The fun is really in cooking together and having a good time. And how many people in the downtown have the opportunity to use a bbq?
Korean BBQ has its good nights and bad nights. There are times the meat is sliced thin and in perfect sheets, other times it is stringy and clumped together. This particular night the meat was hit and miss - some good, some bad. The various meats are also marinated that give them extra flavour even after coming off the grill.
On this particular evening, we were eating at the newly opened branch on Yonge street, just South of Gerard street. It was quite empty, (unlike the flagship restaurant on Queen street that is perpetually packed) which afforded us two grills for 4 people and our choice of seating. This location is decorated in warmer tones, giving it a more comfortable atmosphere. Unfortunately, because there were less people, the service was less frequent: at the flagship location I can barely take a sip of water without it being refilled right after.
The price is right too: the general AYCE is $12.99. The best deal is the lunch/late-night-owl special (noon and after 10pm) that is AYCE for $8.99, however you get fewer meat choices. Either way, its a ton of food for a little bit of money. And pop is free refills!
Korean Grill House is a carnivore's delight. Sure there are vegetarian dishes as well as other more traditional Korean fare, but you come for the AYCE. Sooo good and sooo filling. This is sure to become a donning tradition in the near future. If your not going to have wings, have Korean BBQ.
Korean Grill House
Yonge and Gerrard Street (and other locations)
Korean Grill website
Friday, 8 December 2006
This small pizzeria is not your typical pizza-pie establishment. While they do have pizza, the Stromboli's are the biggest hit here. Halal friendly, serving shawarma and other foods, this place offers a lot of different options for a variety of diets.
I had been here before for stromboli, and tasty pizza in the past, and had been disappointed on their lack of wings. But now they serve wings, and I had to try them out.
SIZE of WINGS: medium, but a hearty medium
WET NAP FACTOR: 4.5 /5
PRICE: $4.99 for 6, $6.99 for 10, $9.99 for 15, $12.99 for 20
SAUCE CHOICE: mild sweet/spicy, medium sweet/spicy
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED,
BAKED, BATTERED: deep fried (I watched the guy do it)
WING NIGHT: none
He never asked me what kind of sauce I wanted on them, but I watched him toss them in a reddish-brown sauce. I could smell them all the way home and all the way up in my elevator - definitely causing students in the lift to smell around, trying to figure out what someone had.
In the end, these were on par with other pizza-chain wings I've tried but have a unique sauce that separates them from other places. Oh, and the slice of pepperoni was good to. It wasn't really a New York style slice, but it was worth grabbing again another night.
Slice of New York
64 Edward Street
Thursday, 7 December 2006
I arranged to go visit Rick in London, picking him up at Western, where he was busy doing work. Ok, he was reading a newspaper but in his defence, he was waiting for me. We spent a while driving around the Forrest City's downtown trying to figure out where we were going to go. When all was said and done, Joe Kool's was the final decision.
Busy on a Wednesday night (not the photo above is not from our visit), this eatery for the young people was a crowded place to be. At first I thought the place was big, but it only gives the illusion of being bigger than it really was. We sat near the front, as it was the only table available when we got there.
We both looked at the menu and were surprised to find no chicken wings. Then upon closer inspection, we found they had BBQ wings. Then on even closer inspection, they had standard chicken wings. Somehow they were camouflaged on the first page. We both found we also read the title wings but would read the description on the menu item below. Strange. Rick was in a fish and chip mood, and I was torn between wings and a steak sandwich. Rick suggested I get the sandwich and that we split an order of wings. I knew I hung out with him for a reason.
SIZE of WINGS: medium to small
WET NAP FACTOR: 3 /5
PRICE: $9.99 for 10, $17.99 for 20
SAUCE CHOICE: medium/hot/honey garlic/BBQ
SIDES: crudite (fancy for veggies and dip - ranch or blue cheese)
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED,
BAKED, BATTERED: deep fried, choice of dusting or not
WING NIGHT: none advertised
After discussions of school, decisions and various current events, our food arrived. The wings came last, and they were definitely in last place in our meal appraisals. So where did Joe Kool's go wrong?
First, the wings were a decent size, but bordered on small. For $9.99 for 10, we should be getting jumbo roasters. These were not. Also, initially, the waiter asked if we wanted breaded wings, or not. I gave a bonus point to them for the option, however, upon biting into the wing, although crispy, the breading was barely a decent dusting.
Hot was not. A medium at best and mild at worst. There was no heat to be felt. The sauce was Frank's, barely disguised. They weren't terrible wings, but they were barely adequate and did not impress this tough crowd. The average person may not notice a big problem, but we did.
So Joe Kool's - drop the price, kick it up a notch and try to love these wing before you send it out. What we got was not kool, not kool.
**1/2 out of ***** flappers
Joe Kool's World Headquarters
595 Richmond Street, London
Joe Kool's on the interweb
Monday, 4 December 2006
As I have indicated in previous posts, there are several 'haunts' that I commonly went to with friends for pub grub. There are about 5 staple pubs that UofT students attend: Ein-Stein's, Ferret & the Firkin, The Madison, Ye Olde Brunswick House (or the Brunny as it is more commonly known) and O'Grady's. I didn't go to O'Grady's until my second year, after hearing it had excellent nachos. After that, I fell for the place. Its a typical Irish pub, with sports everywhere, pool tables and a DJ on the second floor, and lots of space to enjoy a pint.
Lots of campus has changed in the short time since I finished at UofT, so it was time for me to check in and see if the chicken wings were still as good as I remembered.
SIZE of WINGS: large
WET NAP FACTOR: 4.5/5
PRICE: $8.95 for 10, $16.95 for 20, $25.95 for 30, $39.95 for 50
or a platter of 50 with fries and onion rings for $44.95
SAUCE CHOICE: mild/medium/hot/suicide/honey garlic/mango/Lemon & Spice
SIDES: celery and carrot sticks (no dip), add fries $2.95
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED,
BAKED, BATTERED: deep fried, suspected grilling
WING NIGHT: Sunday & Monday after 5pm 1/2 price
The suicide was a good suicide. Sinus clearing, burn my lips sauce the way a good suicide should be. It was a great buffalo-style flavour filled with chili pepper flakes. In The Score, I mentioned
The only complaint I had was the asking of a Coke and getting a Pepsi. I'm a loyal Coke drinker, but I can drink Pepsi (I'm not a fanatic). But I like to be informed that that 'we serve Pepsi, is that ok?' No one would go to McDonald's and ask for a Egg McMuffin and get a Croissantwich and not think anything of it? Would they? ~ did that even make sense?
Anyways, the bottom line is - the wings were great. Not perfect, something was missing of which I just can't put my finger on it, but a damn fine wing that will satisfy college kids and wing lovers alike. O'Grady's still got it.
**** out of ***** flappers
O'Grady's Tap & Grill
171 College Street
Thursday, 30 November 2006
Unless you are reading on a computer.
Well Wing Nation, we are back once again to look at the 89 Chestnut Wings, the fight'n Chestnut! Famous for its hotel style residence and restaurant quality caf, 89 Chestnut's caf supplies hundreds of students with multiple entree options each night. But of course, on this night, its all about the wings, and I was dining with some fellow wing lovers: Diem, Gianna and David.
A Tip of the Hat went out to Diem who in all her glory was right up there with other wing hero's, battling a great wing. And Diem doesn't shirk away from the pain of a good hot sauce. Oh no, on any good day you can see this lean mean hot sauce eating machine flaming up her food with the good red hot sauce. On this particular night however, the sauce was winning the battle. She didn't give up, slashing through the pain to enjoy the flame.
Tip of the Hat to David who was more than ready to jump into the Wingibration that were the Chestnut wings. With his immense height and fearless attitude, Dave helped destroy an order of wings and send the armies of spice into fear. Don't ever feel bad about a second order Dave, ever.
A Wag of the Winger to Gianna who was criticized by wing hero Diem for not cleaning the meat off the bones of the wings. More of a sushi lover than hot sauce celebrator, the burn of the suicide was too much for her to douse her wings in spicy goodness. Its not all bad though, the bottom line being she was eating wings and that's enough to be granted citizenship in the Wing Nation.
Finally, a Wag of the Winger to Juliana, who once again did not have the wings and opted for the turkey burger (just like last year). This stubborn wing refusal is not doing well for keeping you of the Threat Down. I'm watching you.
The truthiness of the matter is that there are a lot of people out there on the interweb claiming to tell you about wings. Now anyone can eat a wing for you, but I Promise to FEEL the wing for you. And this particular night, I wasn't fully feeling the wings.
Don't get me wrong, I ate a lot of wings. A lot. Like so much that I would hold Congress in the States right now if every wing I ate was a Seat. A lot.
Chef Nathan had warned me the sauce he created was potentially not as hot as usual as he had not personally supervised its creation, this night. I still enjoyed this thick red flavour fire. It wasn't as hot as I can take, but the taste was strong and I did get the tingle in the mouth. It is what saved these chicken treasures.
But the general consensus about the wings was soggy. These baked expressions of all that is good, was lacking tonight. Mainly because the coating wasn't crispy and firm as it normally is. The meat of the wing was still good, the sauce was good, but the dusting and skin warranted a warning about Going on Notice. Keep this up Chestnut and you just might end up on the board.
It comes down to this: The 89 Chestnut Wings, the Fight'n Chestnut, has damn decent wings that even on their worst day are better than a lot of restaurants out there. And if you aren't eating these wings, your supporting the Veggiterrorists.
Stay strong be brave Wing Nation
Sunday, 26 November 2006
This is an area quite unexplored by myself despite my time in T-Dot. Having traveled not much farther than Dufferin Ave for its low cost mall, it remains mostly a mystery. I've been East, I've been South, I've been North. Little West. Most of my experience here in the city have been the confines on Yonge/Bloor/Spadina - everything else is the outskirts to me. Of course, its only a hop on the Rocket and I'm out visiting Nee in the Roncesvalle Village.
Nee had a number of places in mind for me to try out a wing review - Whelan's Gate (or as I thought she said over the phone, "wheel'n'skate"), The Local (that's all its called, The Local), and some place with 'Weezel' in the title that neither of us could find evidence of via the interweb. We walked to the Local, but it was packed. Instead we back tracked and walked into The Loon.
Nee at first was hesitant for us to take in this Canadian fowl named pub ~ she said there was an awesome patio out back that we would have to check out in the spring or summer. She also was hesitant because the Rayzor had a bad experience with wings here. Having gone to places before that I knew had bad wings just to review them, I had no problem testing them out here.
SIZE of WINGS: large to JUMBO!
HEAT: hot 4/10 suicide 6/10
WET NAP FACTOR: 3.5/5
PRICE: $8.99 for small (approx 7-8 wings) $12.99 for a large
SAUCE CHOICE: mild/medium/hot/suicide/honey garlic/Cajun/teriyaki
SIDES: veggies and blue cheese dip
WETNAP: 2 thank you very much
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED,
BAKED, BATTERED: breaded, then deep fried
WING NIGHT: Tuesday 1/2 price night
OTHER: live music, apparently good patio
Well, I was quite surprised by these wings. Rayzor must have had them on a bad night because these monsters were good (and I have faith in his suggestions). The first thing that caught me by surprise was how large these wings were. Despite the batter, the size was magnificent. Big and meaty, these put so many other wing places to shame.
These had a simple flour batter on them, making them crunchy and just right for soaking up the sauce. This is where The Loon loses some points: hot was not. The sauce was mild at best. There was a faint Buffalo flavour to it, but it was incredibly weak. Suicide had a small bite - maybe medium/hot. It had a more concentrated flavour, but the taste lies more with the 'hot'.
Nee followed the ancient tradition of fish on Fridays, ordering classic pub fish and chips. They looked great with the fish flaking off in a beautiful white chunks. The fries were great - hand cut, skins still on. The way I like them. Nee added a wonderful Belgian addition to the fries: mayo. One thing we both agreed on about this as a good pub was the 'condiment caddy' brought to our table. Ketchup, mustard, vinegar, salt n pepper, extra napkins etc (and the bonus mayo here at The Loon that other places don't have) all available without having to ask. Its just right there. The only time I'm not a fan of the 'condiment caddy' is when you have a tiny table and it takes up half the table. We had 2 to ourselves, so it was all good.
Service was friendly, the food was good, and there was entertainment on the way (we left just as the band was setting up). Yes, I heard the call of The Loon. A good Canadian English-style pub that does chicken big, The Loon has the wings half right; now if we can just get them to spice up the sauce, they would definitely be in the top 10 of Toronto.
***1/2 out of ***** flappers
The Loon Restaurant and Pub
416 Roncesvalle Ave
Thursday, 23 November 2006
What happens if that wasn't a game and you did have to chose your final meal? The website "DeadManEating.com" looks at our curiosity of death and food and found out what inmates on death row ordered for their final meal. Allowed to order whatever they want, the website also details these inmates crimes and their final words. Here are a few examples of some of those final request that included chicken wings in their last supper.
WARNING: there is a reason some of these individuals were on death row. Reader Discretion is Advised
OHIO JOSEPH CLARK
May 2, 2006
"...the nearly 90 minutes it took Ohio to execute Clark is believed to be the second-longest lethal injection on record....."
Last Meal: Clark had a final "special meal" request of jumbo shrimp; a T-bone steak with A-1 steak sauce; fried chicken wings, Frenchch fries; dinner rolls; cherry pie; and Pepsi.
The skinny: Clark, 57, was executed for killing a gas station clerk during a spree of robberies in 1984 in which he also killed a convenience store worker. Clark was executed following a delay of more than an hour because of unprecedented difficulty administering the lethal injection. Last words and such: Clark calmly but tearfully proceeded to give the longest final statement a lethal injection inmate has given.
In his final statement, Clark said, "I would like to tell them young brothers and sisters also all over the world, do not let drugs ruin your life, ruin your body, and destroy your mind. Today my life is being taken because of drugs. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword." After a long speech in which he thanked his family and friends, apologized to his victims families, and preached against the dangers of drugs, Clark quoted from the Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream" speech in declaring himself: "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I am free at last." Clark made a final statement apologizing to his victims' families and saying "I would like to say to family and friends that I didn't get to talk to, ... that was wondering how I felt, I would like them to know that I asked God to forgive me, that I asked the Lord to save me from my sins. And I asked God to forgive those who are participating in this here today."
ALAN LEHMAN MATHENEY
September 28, 2005
...prison officials do not want inmates to consume too much the day of the execution ...
Last Meal: For his special meal he had chicken wings, a fried chicken dinner, large wedges of potatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits and a chocolate shake. The special dinner is prepared at a local restaurant. It is not called the last meal since it is served a day or two ahead of time. That's because prison officials do not want inmates to consume too much the day of the execution, much like a doctor asks patients not to eat before surgery.
The skinny: Matheney, 54, one of the most notorious killers on Indiana's Death Row, was executed by lethal injection for beating murder his ex-wife with a rifle butt while on an eight-hour furlough from the Correctional Industrial Facility. Matheney burst into the victim's home, caught her as she tried to run away and struck her in the head with a rifle so hard the weapon broke.
Last words and such: "I love my family and my children. I'm sorry for the pain I've caused them. I thank my friends who stood by me . . . I'm sure my grandchildren will grow up happy and healthy in the care of their wonderful parents," Matheney said in a final statement read by his lawyer, Steven Schutte
SAMMY CRYSTAL PERKINS
October 8, 2004
...these are the ones that keep you up at night....
Last Meal: Two fried chicken breasts, two fried chicken wings, sweet potato pie, a large order of French fries from McDonald's, a 20 ounce Coke and a cup of ice.
The skinny: Perkins was executed for the 1992 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl.
Last words and such: "I would like to say I love my mother, all my brothers and sisters and all my children. I'll see ya'll on the other side."
January 9, 2004
Last Meal: Rowsey had his last meal of pizza, chicken wings, two packages of peanut M&M candy and a Pepsi.
The skinny: Rowsey, 32, was executed for the 1992 pistol slaying of a convenience store clerk that prosecutors said was carried out for the thrill of killing.
Last words and such: Rowsey made no last statement, but his family told reporters afterward that he was innocent.Rowsey's wife, whom he married while in prison, and his mother sobbed as they watched the execution.Rowsey defense lawyer James Payne said his client "asked us to tell you that he died in peace with no hatred in his heart, and nothing but love for his brother."
CHRISTOPHER BLACK, SR.
July 9, 2003
Last Meal: Steak (medium well), fried chicken (wings and thighs), french fries with mushroom gravy, mixed steamed vegetables, chocolate fudge cake, peach cobbler, sweet tea, bread, chef salad with Italian dressing.
The skinny: Black was executed for killing his 17-month-old step-granddaughter. He also killed his wife and his 5-month-old daughter. Black was convicted of killing the child at the Killeen home of his estranged wife, the toddler's grandmother. She was found slumped in a high chair. She had been shot five times in the chest. Her grandmother was shot 10 times. Black's daughter was shot once. "I ran out of bullets," Black told a 911 operator he called after the attack. Black was charged, but never tried, in the slayings of his wife and daughter.
Final words and such: Asked by the warden if he wanted to make a final statement, Black Sr., said no.
LAST MEALJOHN HOOKER
March 25, 2003
Last Meal: three chicken breasts and three chicken wings from KFC, broccoli spears with cheese sauce, a baked potato with sour cream and chives, two bacon cheeseburgers, two slices of cherry cheesecake and two 7-Ups.
The Skinny: Hooker was executed for stabbing his girlfriend and her mother to death. Hooker was executed almost 15 years after the stabbing. The mother of his three young children, had moved out of the Oklahoma City apartment she shared with Hooker a week before the murders. She had told her sister she feared Hooker would hurt her and the children. She was right.
Shoody Work: In 2001, officials re-examined DNA evidence in Hooker's case because it originally had been handled by Oklahoma City police chemist Joyce Gilchrist. Investigators retested DNA evidence submitted in all of Gilchrist's cases after officials accused her of performing shoddy work. Results of the retesting, however, showed that blood from Stokes and Morgan was found on Hooker's pants.
Last Words and Such: As the curtains in the death chamber were drawn, Hooker smiled at those who came to witness on his behalf. "To all my family and friends, I'm all hooked up," he said. "I can't even move. I'm at peace. Y'all stay up. I'm out."
So what would I order for my last meal?
-banquet burger, t-bone steak, potato skins, Caesar salad, poutine, cheese and garlic loaf,
fries, onion rings, pizza, nova scotia donair
-cherry coke to drink
-New York style cherry cheese cake, deep-fried Mars bar, butterscotch pie for desert
- and of course, lots and lots of chicken wings. As hot as I can have it. I want my mouth burning, reminding me about life.
What would you order?
put your response in comments or e-mail ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out DeadManEating.com to find out more about the last meals of inmates.
Thursday, 16 November 2006
C. Montgomery Burns
It may not be chicken wings, but this is one of the best substitutes out there: General Tao Chicken.
This sweet and spicy dish goes by many names: General Gau's , General Tsao's, General Zhou's, General Gao's, General Chou's, General Tzo's, General To's, General So's, General Joe's, and General Toso's, General Tso's, and even General George's chicken. Wow, clearly where you are around the world (specifically North America) will depend on how you order this delectable dish.
So what is so big about General Tao?
Wikipedia reports him, Zuo Zongtang, as "a gifted Chinese military leader born in Wenjialong, north of Changsha in Hunan province, during the waning of the Qing Dynasty. He served with brilliant distinction during China's most important (and the world's largest) civil war, the 14-year-long Taiping Rebellion, in which at least 30 million people lost their lives." The dish has questionable origin, some claiming it as a Hunan chicken dish, other claim it was founded in New York City. Either way, Zuo himself never had it. Too bad because its de-lish.
I had never had the General's chicken until I moved to Toronto. All of the small town Chinese restaurants I had ever eaten had all had the same Canadian-style Chinese food. But first year university introduced me to the joys of late late night food - and of my new Chinese adventures came Shanghai Noodles, and General Tao chicken.
Since then I have had the dish a number of times, and like the name, the dish is served differently at each restaurant I've tried it. Some places its dark red, other places orange looking, others yellow-brown. This particular order from Hong Shing was neon red. Sometimes it is accompanied by peppers, spices, onions, broccoli etc. Some sauces are spicier, others sweet. My absolute favourite is from New Ho King in Chinatown because of its spiciness and its wonderfully fried chicken. Hong Shing definitely comes in second with this glowing deep-fried delicacy.
Its crunchy, its sweet, its spicy. What is not to love? Deep fried chicken is always good - but add on a sauce that makes the mouth drool on a late school night - DAMN its good.
A dish of this at Hong Shing is $8.95 and despite how easy a dish it is to make, it is often more expensive than most other dishes of a similar nature. I have to be honest, the dish is pretty much a North American dish (a gwai-lo plate if you will), but honestly, who cares where it comes from. Its just good.