Monday, 29 May 2006


Its Friday Night
And the mood is right
Going to have some fun
Show you how its done

Yes immortal words from the past when Friday night television was the original "must see tv." Now more than a decade later those words ring in my ear when my more adult life involves going out on a Friday night rather than staying in. However, its been a while since I have had a night out on the town, but thanks to good friend Nee, we were out for a night of dinner and a show. (See praxfilm for DaVinci Code review)

In the midst of small trendy joints and flashy tourist restaurants, the Fox and the Fiddle sits like a beacon of traditional pub fare with a party atmosphere perfect for the near heart of club land. Always busy ( FF was going to be reviewed months ago, but was way too crowded), we were still able to find a seat in this hustle and bustle joint.

Wanting to pick a place down in the entertainment district to keep close to the Paramount theatre and looking for some North American cuisine, Nee was more than happy to indulge in a wing review of the Fox and the Fiddle. While other pubs in town are quiet, local haunts, FF is always lively, giving it less of a dinner atmosphere and more of a drink and play billiards feel. Not that that's a bad thing - and I don't know if that is just this location of the pub chain or if they all have this feel. After a quick look at the menu, I was excited at my choices but skeptical about the quality of the wings.


SIZE of WINGS: large to jumbo
HEAT: Butter Buffalo 5/10, suicide 8/10
WET NAP FACTOR: 3/5 (some wings were dryish, others sat in sauce)
PRICE: $9.29 1 lb (approx 10 wings), $17.99 2 lb, $29.99 Team Wings


SAUCE CHOICE: mild/medium/hot/suicide/bbq/honey garlic/sweet chili
cajun/Caribbean jerk/pineapple curry/peppercorn brandy
buffalo butter/teriyaki
SIDES: veggies and ranch dip
WETNAP: yes 1
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED, BATTERED: dusted, deep fried
WING NIGHT: Sun/Mon half price wings
OTHER: weak Pepsi,
When the wings came out, I was surprised. They were large and jumbo wings. Before I started the blog, most pub wings I got were tiny tiny pidgeon wings; lately places have been upgrading their flappers, despite the culling of chickens in fear of bird flu. FF certainly was not going to let their customers be disappointed in their size.

Now these large wings did have some ups and some downs. The other ups include a dusting that made for a nice crunch, pretty garnishing on the plate, and lots of flavours to choose from (Peppercorn Brandy? maybe next time) including buffalo butter sauce. However, said sauce was weak in flavour and definitely wimpy in heat. And not all the wings had sauce on them (there was sauce hiding under a few wings at the back - come back sauce, come back!)

Suicide was surprisingly once again 3rd Degree. As I had mentioned to Nee, a lot of places have been replacing their substandard suicide with 3rd Degree sauce, which I would once again consider a better hot than suicide.

The biggest downside to these wings were the cost. I admit, they are big, basically $10 for a pound is very pricey! Thankfully they have 2 half price wing nights - unfortunately not this night.

After a lot of debate with lots of great sounding choices on the menu, Nee settled on the club sandwich, which looked good, but had a lot of non-crispy bacon (and lets be honest, the best part of a club is the bacon, and the mayo). Decent wedge fries also accompanied the sandwich.

So overall, I enjoyed the wings and I would love to try some other flavours, but the price would definitely keep me away from the Fox and the Fiddle on nights other than Sunday or Monday.

The Fox and the Fiddle
106 John Street, Toronto (several locations)

Friday, 26 May 2006


P.R.A.X.I.S. Industries officially launches a sister blog to this one, PRAXFILM.BLOGSPOT.COM. PRAXFILM is the main arm of film production at PI and the new blog will give updates on new production and reviews on other films.

So check it out today!

Thursday, 25 May 2006


(Casey's Yorkdale Mall location is NOW CLOSED)
On a day of errands, location scouting for filming (SEE THE NEW BLOG HERE) and after agreeing with Sabrina from, decided to go back to an old wing favourite, Casey's to do a proper review. I also happened to go to the Casey's at the Yorkdale mall.
I've never liked Yorkdale mall - it seems pretentious, posh and too large. There are also no real stores that I like there, and most of the times I have gone to the mall have been at Christmas time, and I HATE shopping at times like that. Today however, the mall is under renovations, and between the new support pillars I found my way into the just opened, nearly empty eatery to see if the wings here were the only real reason for me to go back to this mall eatery.

Casey's is a chain of pub/grills that have been around for a long time, and evoke early memories of chicken wing consumption, like Kelsey's and Carrey's (hmmmmm, the "k" sound is a little to coincidental in these pub chains . . .). It, like Kelsey's and Jack Astors, has undergone the change from family grill to chic-like 'grille'. But throughout all the changes, the food has maintained it quality and traditional feel.


SIZE of WINGS: large (some wings were definitely jumbo)
HEAT: hot was 6/10, more like medium
WET NAP FACTOR: 3/4, not so much for the wet factor, but the stain factor
PRICE: $8.49 1 lb (approx 8 large wings), $15.99 2 lb, $22.95 3 lb


SAUCE CHOICE: mild/medium/hot/Cajun
SIDES: large veggies and large blue cheese dip
WETNAP: no wetnap, but a sealed
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED, BATTERED: classic & dusted, deep fried
WING NIGHT: none advertised
OTHER: free refills on coke, mint with a chocolate in the centre

Casey's advertises itself as the "Guardians of the Buffalo Chicken wing sauce". Thats a bold argument, and while I wouldn't consider Casey's wing sauce an exact Buffalo Wing sauce, it is good. The sauce left over at the bottom formed oil droplets much like Jack Astor's butter wings, but unlike Jack's, they treated the wings after frying, not just before.

The wings were large, some clearly jumbo wings which were juicy and had lots of flavour. They come in two varieties, dusted and classic. I went with a bit of both to see the difference. Classic was wings simply deep fried with sauce, which were traditional, but I believe the dusted were much better. You can kind of see the difference in wings in the pictures, but it was much more clearer in person.

The service was good; getting refills on my drinks without even asking always makes me happy. I got a wet towel to wipe my face and hands afterwards (very much appretiated with these red-staining wings) and napkins that I thought were cloth, but were actually paper. Because I entered just after the joint opened, it was pretty empty, but by the time I had my food the lunch hour business crowd was in there. The fajita special of the day was also tempting (sizzling meat and veggies always makes my head turn!).

So in the end, the wings were good. The heat was weak, but there was a lot of flavour in these not-quite-traditional-buffalo-sauce. Thumbs up on Casey's.

Casey's Bar and Grill
3401 Dufferin Street North, Yorkdale Mall (and other locations)

Wednesday, 17 May 2006


I'm getting a little lazy, and I've been busy, so I apologize for a review that is several days late.

After reading's editor's picks of wings in T-Dot, I decided I would check out a new place. I had a lot of errands to run, so armed with a day pass, and the suggestion from Alison (who ever she is) that the Old Nick had perfected the chicken wing, I was off to Greektown to try out this Imperial Freehouse.

I got there just before noon, and like many places I try out for lunch, it was dead inside. Actually, this is the way I prefer it when doing reviews. I get to pick a seat, and sitting alone and taking photos of wings is often not noticed. The service was friendly, but my waiter seemed surprised that I was actually wanted to eat there.

The Old Nick was like any of a hundred pubs in Toronto inside. The tables and chairs were a little more chic than the average pub, but visually, nothing stood out about the place. That meant the food was going to have to do most of the selling.


SIZE of WINGS: medium to large
HEAT: hot 6/10, suicide 8/10
PRICE: $8.95 for 1 pound (approx 10 wings), $15.95 for 2 pounds


SAUCE CHOICE: mild/medium/hot/suicide/honey garlic
SIDES: fries, veggies and blue cheese dip
WETNAP: 1! and a napkin
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED, BATTERED: lightly deep fried
WING NIGHT: Monday night, 7-10pm, 35 Cent Wings
OTHER: nightly specials, live music evenings

Alison credited these wings as the evolutionary end of wing development. Now while these were a tasty wing, they certainly were not the homo sapien in Darwin's wing plan. They were big, and juicy and saucy. I like that. They had an herby flavour, suggesting they were rolled in some spices and not just frieds and tossed in sauce. Hot was a good flavour with the herby taste and I was happy with my order.

I also ordered a side of suicide (taking more caution after bad bad suicide sauces). And wouldn't you know it, 3rd Degree sauce! The suicide basically killed any herb flavouring in the wing, but I love 3rd Degree, so that was fine with me.

I was happy that my lunch came with not only veggies and dip, but fries as well. I'm disappointed that this Alison didn't mention the fries. These were heaven. At first, I thought they were over-cooked, but I was pleasantly wrong. They were salty, still had the skins, and were crunchy. These were the type of fries you don't need to put anything on. There was also a combo I debated getting, 6 Wings, 3 Chicken Fingers and Onion rings for $10.95 . I like variety in a dish.

So, the Old Nick is a nice pub, great fries and decent enough wings. Is it worth the trip to Greektown for me to get again? Honestly, not really. The wings are good, but they have a lot more evolving to do before the Lord of the Wings is truly impressed.

The Old Nick: An Imperial Freehouse
123 Danforth Avenue

Wednesday, 10 May 2006's Editor's Pick for Toronto Wings

Here is an article from 's site on Chicken wings. I agree with their reviews on Duff's, Einstein's (still to be reviewed) and Casey's (still to be reviewed) - some great wings. I'm going to have to check the other places out . . .

And thanks to Nee for pointing out the article!!!

Check out this article HERE

Editor's picks this week: Chicken Wings

Hot, mild, sloppy or dry. The search for the perfect pound of wings can be an endless quest. Our editors tell you their faves and invite you to agree, or tell us why we're wrong . We'll post selected comments on this page.

The Old Nick 123 Danforth Ave. – 416-461-5546
Buffalo may have invented the chicken wing, but Old Nick’s has perfected them. The Danforth pub’s tasty wings are an ideal balance between saucy and dry and show no signs of pinkness on the inside. Plump, juicy wings are made to order in varying degrees of spiciness and extra sauce is available upon request at no extra charge. -- Alison

Einstein’s CafĂ© and Pub 229 College Street – 416-597-8346 To relieve the stress of exams and assignments, our pack of academically exhausted students would amble into Einstein’s for beers by the pitcher and wings by the truck load. This University of Toronto staple has the largest and tastiest wings, proving that ample wings do matter, especially when feeding hungry undergraduates. -- Brian

Casey’s Bar & Grill Yorkdale Shopping Centre – 416-789-1823
They’re plump, coated with tons of hot sauce and leave a big sticky mess all over your hands and face when you’re done devouring them. What more can you ask for when it comes to a great wings experience. --Sabrina

Duff’s Famous Wings 1604 Bayview Ave. – 416-544-0100
Some like it hot, and when it comes to wings, Duff’s beats the competition. Delicious, meaty and very spicy, these wings are cooked to perfection. Although sometimes they drive me to tears (try the Death & Armageddon wings), your mouth will be craving more after a few bites. A definite must for hot and spicy food lovers. --Antonella

Allen's 143 Danforth Ave. – 416-463-3086
It's all about the sauce at Allen's. No dry, overcooked, deep-fried chicken gristle here. Their fancy chicken sauce (what they call Manhattan Capon) is original, tasty and to steal a phrase from a famous fast food haunt, 'finger lickin' good. -- Gerard

Smokey Joe's 4899 Yonge St. – 416-229-2262 These puppies are so big, they're almost the size of drumsticks. Saucy and tender, the best wings in my opinion. -- Mike

Monday, 1 May 2006


It took me almost 4 years of living in Toronto to discover the Mecca of chicken wings here. I had searched and searched the downtown. Then, a vegetarian friend from work said she knew of the best wings, best veggie burgers, and best fries. And apparently the wings were supposed to be hot. Now its almost three years later and the rest, my friends, is history.

My good friend Amanda (not really a vegetarian, what we call an Amandatarian) was down to visit, and was willing to indulge me in a wing fix. I have held off on doing a review of Duff's since the beginning of the blog (despite having photos) but I just had a hankering for Duff's. We hopped on the subway all the way to Davisville, then caught the Bayview bus for the trek for great wings.

As usual, the place was busy on a Saturday night. A line up was almost out the door, and a wait of 30 - 45 mins was told to us by one of the owners (in the summer, with the patio in full swing, the wait can be an hour-and-a-half or longer, this place is that popular). We decided to wait, as it was possible a table for two would open up faster. We watched families and groups of people walk away after hearing the wait time, but it just makes me think of words of wisdom I heard as a kid: quitters never prosper. Oh well, less waiting time for us!

The atmosphere at Duff's is a buzz. The place is not big, but it is packed with families, couples, guys watching the game and gatherings of teens. The place feels alive, partly because your sitting very close to the next table. This establishment isn't really a bar, or a full restaurant, or a take-out place, but almost a mixture of them all. Its not the kind of place that you sit and sip: you get in, you get out cuz a whole lot of people want your spot.

Its hard to describe the decorum, but its wood paneling and big chalk boards full of one chicken wing hero's accomplishments. There is also a large bell that is rung when an order of Death Wings have been ordered, and if your brave (or stupid enough) to order Amageddon, police sirens flash and wail to announce to all that the order has arrived. While I have ordered both Death and Amageddon sauces, 1) they are extremely hot, both making my (yes my) stomach churn because of the heat, (I put Armageddon at 15/10 on my scale) but 2) they taste horrible - the flavour is disgusting. On a bet I will go down to eat these wings (and definitely suffer later) but on this Saturday night, I was going for my Superhot and Spicy BBQ.


SIZE of WINGS: large (big and meaty)
HEAT: Super Hot gets 9/10 (150 000 scoville units), Spicy BBQ 6/10
WET NAP FACTOR: 4.5/5, swimming by the end
PRICE: $8.95 for 10, $16.95 for 20, $39.95 for 50


SAUCE CHOICE: mild/mild medium/medium/medium hot/hot/superhot/
death/Armageddon/honey garlic/BBQ/spicy BBQ

SIDES: an order comes with a vinaigrette coleslaw, giant celery sticks and a choice of creamy dill or blue cheese dip
WETNAP: 2 and a ton of napkins
DEEP FRIED, GRILLED, BATTERED: deep fried, then sauced
WING NIGHT: Tuesday night an order of 10 wings is $5.45
OTHER: wing bucket included, personal mini-jugs of pop, quick service, great fries, lollipops

These wings really hit the spot. Duff's is my favourite wing place in Toronto because they make a traditional Buffalo Chicken Wing, the kind I grew up on, but only bigger. A traditional Buffalo Wing is simply a wing that is deep fried, then tossed in a sauce that is pretty much butter and hot sauce mixture. While some people don't like this style (preferring a battered or more bbq flavoured sauce) this is what a chicken wing is supposed to be like. This is actually a sister restaurant to one in Buffalo New York, which tries to lay claim to the discovery of the Buffalo Wing from the Anchor Bar.

I almost always order the Superhot wings, because they retain a lot of flavour but still pack a bite. My lips are always tingling after this and I come to a near sweat. One criticism I do have about these wings that I agree with critics of Duff's is the sog factor. When the wings come out, they are crisp but wet with sauce. By the last 2-3 wings, the butter sauce makes them very soggy and much less desirable than the first ones. A remedy for this is to order the wings naked and have the sauce on the side.

I also ordered the spicy bbq wings, as they have a nice flavour. Unlike other dull bbq sauces, this one has a kick (but you can ordered the milder version) which makes for a nice contrast with the superhot wings.

The order of wings also comes with coleslaw and giant celery sticks with dip, which are great extras that most places don't offer. Another bonus is the mini-jugs of pop you can get; a small pitcher of pop to douse the pain with, without having to wait for the staff to refill and refill.

Amanda ordered the grilled cheese sandwich there. In her words it was "good. Grilled to perfection" and the fries were "tasty but not too preachy".

As always, Duff's met my wing fix and left me with a smile on my face and a lollipop in my hand.
When you need a classic chicken wing with more than a kick, Duff's Famous Wings will deliver.

click HERE to see some other photos from Duff's

Duff's Famous Wings
1604 Bayview Avenue, Toronto