Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Chestnut Report Part XII - Special Report

"Hey Wing Nation. I was thinking if you're not busy for the next half-hour, maybe you'd like to, I don't know, you know, read the blog? It's not a date or anything; we're just hanging out.

This is The Chestnut Report!"

Welcome back to Part XII of a XX part series, 'Better Know a Chestnut Wing'

Thanks for joining us tonight Wing Nation. Wednesday night brought us wings once again - with the Honey Garlic-free wings served in great quantity. These delectable chicken morsels were coming out relatively plain, but a vat of suicide sauce was available. Not a quick heat, but a slow burn, like our love of freedom, this suicide sauce had a great taste and orange alert colour to them. Now this is all well and good, but there were an alarming number of issues while eating these wings. I then realized that we needed to examine and scrutinized these un-patriotic wing behaviors. So tonight, we bring you:

A Chestnut Report Special Repor(T):

The best way to learn to avoid these spicy faux pas is to see the bad example first, then the proper method.


THE WRONG WAY: taking only 1 type of chicken, leaving the flappers, or the drumsticks. Be kind, take them all - if sharing that is.

THE RIGHT WAY: taking a nice balance of types - besides, both the drumsticks and the flappers have their advantages and disadvantages.


THE WRONG WAY: these are wings! They are not a gourmet food - a knife and fork is just a disgrace.

THE RIGHT WAY: just pick them up and enjoy. Are they messy? Yes. That's the way they are supposed to be.


THE WRONG WAY: have you seen this on some one's plate? Can you see what I see? That's right, chicken on both ends. The wing is not a tree and you are not a beaver - you don't just mow down the middle.



THE WRONG WAY: Don't. Just don't do it. Don't even ask to have one. Get your own.

THE RIGHT WAY: A plate to yourself - your wings are your wings. 2 Exceptions: a) you order as a group, (but you only get like 1-2 wings, so why?) b) your letting someone try the killer suicide and you want a good laugh.


THE WRONG WAY: bones, napkins and scraps everywhere. Wings may not be a dainty food, but that doesn't mean you have to act like a brute.

THE RIGHT WAY: always have a wing bowl or extra plate on the side. This should be standard at restaurants.

Hopefully with these tips you can avoid a social error in the world of wings. That way I can get back to eating and not being angry.

Stay Strong, Be Brave Wing Nation.

Monday, 26 March 2007

No Frills Chicken Wings

Cheap groceries, relatively crappy produce. That's how I define the No Frill's experience. As a student, I find this place a goldmine of deals when trying to shop on the cheap. I can buy way more on a small budget than I could hope to at Dominion (which dominates the downtown grocery market, with super-over priced Hasty Markets & Kitchen Tables a close second).

No-name products can be hit and miss: on some occasions they are top notch; others down right dreadfull. But there are just some products you can't cheap out on. Dairy in general is my cut-off point. Wings, on the other hand, are done quite well by the No-Name chain, as reviewed HERE.

I saw on a shelf of "Dinners to Go" section a giant container of wings for a reasonable price. I decided, the No-Name wings are good, these look meaty and tasty, lets go for it. How can I turn up being a pioneer in the new wing frontier?

The NEW SCORE (modified)

STYLE: baked & breaded
SAUCES: only sauce I saw available, kind of a bbq/hot
SIZE: medium 0.5 /2
HEAT: 1 /10
PRICE: $9.97 for 20

I opened up the steam filled container and took a big whiff: the smell was unfamiliar to me. The wings had been sitting out so I knew they were not going to be hot. I decided to scarf one down there on the spot - it slipped out of my hand and back into the package. Mush. The wings were mush. Like the Chestnut Wings, breaded than baked has the tendency to lose whatever crispness they could have had. With the pressure cooker that is the little plastic contain the wings came in, they didn't have a chance as any moisture from the steam is trapped, and drips back into the wings, making them a slushy mess.

I decided to toss them into the toaster oven for a few minutes to crisp them up. This didn't really work. The sauce on the wings was a bizarre taste. It was closest to a BBQ because there wasn't a trace of heat or spice. But the flavour of them honestly reminded me of Alphagheti. I was disappointed. I tossed some Frank's Red Hot Sauce but it turned out to be a bad combination. I ate about 10, and 'saved' the rest for later.

Later that night I tossed them back into the toaster oven for a long while to try and get cohesion between that batter and the wing. When they came out I splashed on 3rd Degree Sauce to kick them up. This turned out to be a much better flavour consolidation, but it still wasn't great. A longer baking time also helped but they were still relatively mushy.

So what good could come of these wings? Well they were meaty - sure there was a lot of breading, but the chicken itself was good. Also, because of the whole pressure cooking container, the wings fell apart like butter: the meat and bones separated so easily that it made eating them effortless.

I would definitely be interested in trying these wings when they were fresh - not having sat on the shelf and cooked themselves all afternoon. I did take the last of the stock, so I don't know if there was another flavour choice - but I know 3rd Degree can definitely improve them. They weren't as good as Dominion's wings, but they were about 50% cheaper and bigger. I say, stick to the pubs and the home-cooking you are used to and avoid store made wings if you want a quality wing experience.


Joe's No Frills
900 Dufferin Street (Dufferin Mall) (and other locations)

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Blair's Death Rain Buffalo Wing Chips

There's not much of a story here: I wanted a snack, I got a snack. Traveling to my local Mac's Convenience store, my search for some nibbles did not take long. Blair's, makers of some of the hottest sauces out there, are also in the snacking business as well with their Death Rain chips. They had 2 types of chips I could choose from: Buffalo Wings & Habenero.

Mr Patel had sent me a photo of the above chips a long time ago, which are smaller bags. The Rayzor had introduced me to the Habenero kind the last time I was over for dinner - they were good and had a great bite. So I decided to try the Buffalo Wing flavour.

I loved the line "Feel Alive" to entice people to buy these chips. That's what people don't understand about hot wings or spicy food in general - the pain of the heat reminds you that you are alive!

The NEW SCORE (modified for chips)

STYLE: kettle cooked chips
SAUCES(flavours): Buffalo Wing (Medium), Habenero (xxx hot)
SIZE: small chips, 142g bag
HEAT: 4/10
CRISPINESS: strong crunch
PRICE: just under $4 for a small bag

Here is my first question to all chip producers: Is it a requirement that a bag of chips must be filled only half way or less than half with chips and that air must take up the rest of the space? Blair's was no different - if you can see in the photo above, the bag was mostly empty.

The chips themselves were also pretty small. That's fine; a chip doesn't have to be big like a wing. Because these are kettle cooked, they are particularly crunchy. Now personally, I am not a fan of kettle chips in general. Miss Vickies and all the rest produce a 'rough', abrupt crunch, not the pleasing, crisp bite of a traditional chip. Blair's was not as abrasive as Miss Vickies.

The flavour of the chip was quite nice. Each chip was sufficiently coated and had a nice, smooth burn to it. The heat hit the back of the throat, requiring lots of liquid to sooth the throat. It wasn't a strong burn, it is medium heat after all, but your average heat wimp would find it strong enough.

Much like the Humpty Dumpty wing chips, the Buffalo seasoning seems to be a mix of Salt & Vinegar and BBQ to create the zing. Not like a real Buffalo wing, but I think as close as modern science can bring it. However, Chicken flavour is actually added in the backside ingredients. Crazy.

Blair's Death Rain Buffalo Wing Medium Chips (longest name ever) have a heavy crunch, tangy flavour, and dash of heat. I liked them, but the expensive cost for a small bag definitely would prevent me from making this a regular snack. The burn of Habenero makes it more worth while, but I know I enjoyed the Humpty Dumpty Buffalo Wing chips more.


Saturday, 17 March 2007

recipe link -Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup

Searching for chicken wings on the internet, I came across Nikki's blog with a delicious sounding recipe for what she calls, "Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup"*

*NOTE: it doesn't actually contain chicken wings, but the flavour associated with them. I don't hold that against her whatsoever.


Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup
Jan 21, 2007 at 4:32 PM

Like wings but feel naughty about eating them?? Meeeeeee toooooo... so I found some recipes for soup (one of my friends brought it in to work the other day!) and made it my own.

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup (4Tbs) butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk (i used skim!)
  • 14oz can chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked diced chicken (I used 3 breasts)
  • 4oz Velveeta (low fat ok!)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Franks Red Hot or Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce (used combo of both)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)
  • Bleu Cheese Crumbles

Cook onion and celery in butter until tender, stir in flour. SLOWLY whisk in milk and chicken broth. Add chicken. Add velveeta and stir until melted. Add hot sauce, sour cream, and sprinkle with bleu cheese to your taste preference. Cook low, stirring constantly until heated through and bleu cheese is melted. SERVE!

For my chicken breasts, I marinated them in Franks Red Hot sauce, and Lawry's Garlic Pepper overnight... grilled them on my indoor grill/panini thing, and tore them up by hand to put in the soup.

This is good.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Chestnut Report Part XI - Wings & Tacos

Baked vs Fried - we look into the pro's and con's of cafeteria wings.
Pro means good, right? Because I know Cons are criminals.

Speaking of criminal, we'll continue our look at how Honey Garlic wings
are destroying lunch. If we don't watch out, dinner might be next.

Jaco's Tacos - the perfect non-wing food?
No, that wasn't a sexual metaphor.

"Nation, It's time to grab the bull by the horns!
If there are no horns, you're grabbing a cow, stop it!
This is the Chestnut Report!"

Welcome back to Part XI of a XX part series, 'Better Know a Chestnut Wing'

Once again we look at the Chestnut Wing, The Fight'n Chestnut, and will continue until I live at another residence that makes chicken wings, or eat at a restaurant called Chestnut. Really the only options I have here.

The great debate brings us to how a chicken wing should be made. Cooked really, we all know how they are made even if we don't yet know if the egg or the chicken came first. Baked or Fried is the question at hand. Chestnut Bakes. Most restaurants fry. Why the bake? Well I don't know for sure, but I FEEL that its due to the fact they need to feed over 900 people wings, and you can bake a whole lot more in a giant ovens as opposed to deep frying a few in two deep fryers. That must be it, because I don't need facts. I go by how I feel. And I feel from the gut.

So which is better? Well they both have their pros and cons. Baked wings are healthier and you can cook more at a time. While this is all and good for some, what baking doesn't give you is the same crispy consistency that the deep fryer does. While Chestnut wings are better than many restaurants best attempts at frying a wing, they are easily soggy combined with the fact that the batter falls off because there is very little to keep it attached to the wings. Battered wings make for more crunch and puffed up size, but the texture and consistency of a baked wing doesn't hold up to a fried wing.

Now, this didn't stop me from having lots of baked wings. What did nearly stop me from enjoying my meal was the attack on decency and morality. Yes friends, I'm talking about the Honey Garlic attack on chicken.

I went up for another round of BBQ wings, only to be told all that was left was Honey Garlic. Frustrated but not defeated, I marched over to the condiment counter and concocted my hot sauce medley to defend against good taste. What I cannot understand is the people around me who willfully grab these sticky sacrilege. When you eat the Sweatinestas food, you are letting the terrorists win. Well that's it Honey Garlic: Your Dead To Me. I don't think you even exist anymore. Now you don't. And they shouldn't for you either.

I had to clean my palate and my mouth from something. I don't know what. If I had to say what it was, I would say Honey Garlic Wings, but they don't exist, so I don't know what it was in my mouth. But I still needed to have something relatively vegetable, so I took a bowl, filled it with carrot sticks from the salad bar, and put a drizzle of dressing to make a classic wing accompaniment.

It was a good meal. I was full but not stuffed - which was good because supper turned out to be a bonanza for my taste buds.

Jaco's Tacos, so named after the head Chef here at Chestnut. Tacos, like most Americanized or Tex-Mex Mexican food, are loved by almost all. This culinary enterprise that the people twice South of our border gave the world seriously makes me question the desire of Americans to build a giant wall to stop this from flooding across their boarders. Tex-Mex is great: its meat, its cheese, and some spice. Who wouldn't love that?

The assortment laid out includes the choices of meat or vegetarian mixture, refried beans, lettuce, 2 types of cheese, tomatos, salsa, guacamole, onion, green onion, sour cream, hot sauce and soft or hard shell tacos. That's a lot of choice. I don't think choice is good - it allows people to make wrong decisions, such as having vegetarian mixture instead of ground beef or choosing Honey Garlic wings over BBQ, if there was such a thing. No, choice only allows our enemies to win. Our only choice should be victory. And victory means we would all be eating tasty wings. Maybe the occasional taco too.

Good Night Wing Nation.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

St Louis moving into my neighbourhood

Passing through the Atrium on Bay, I noticed a new addition
where Taste of India used to be:

I've heard good things, experienced mediocrity at another location

The website is also being remodeled as well.

Hopefully I will get to review this place before I move out of the neighborhood!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

RECIPE: LOTW Pizza v1.0

Last week I had a lot of guests. Dude, Bramanda, and after they left, Rick came down on his reading week.

While he was down he wanted to judge the Pizza Sticks and the new deep fryer to himself. I had made Buffalo wing sauce and a special Spicy BBQ sauce I had concoqueded before and he seem to judge them well.

Fast forward a few days and I needed a snack. It was late, I had been doing some work, but I didn't think I had anything to snack on. I was wrong. I had left over pizza dough, sauce and some other ingredients and decided to make a pizza.

  • pizza dough
  • spicy pizza sauce
  • hot sauce (Wing Time Extra Spicy)
  • BBQ sauce
  • garlic powder
  • real bacon bits
  • parmesean cheese
  • cheddar cheese
  • corn meal
  1. preheat oven (or in my case toaster oven) approx 250 degrees
  2. stretch out pizza dough
  3. roll bottom of pizza in cornmeal to form light crust
  4. spread 3 sauces: 1/4 hot sauce, 1/4 BBQ sauce, 2/4 pizza sauce
  5. sprinkle garlic powder, parmesean cheese
  6. shred cheese, spread thick
  7. add bacon bits
  8. bake in oven until dough is brown & crispy, and cheese/sauce is bubbly

The Ingredients*

*NOTE: I don't give amounts for how much to use that's because in cooking like this - it all depends on personal taste. Want less spicy, you put in less hot sauce. Want a strong garlic taste? Add lots of garlic powder.

3 Sauces spread on dough - thick

Sprinkle garlic powder, cheese and bacon bits.
REAL BACON BITS, not simulated

Bake at 250 for about 10 minutes

Straight out of the oven

So ooey gooey good - all melty, mmmmm melty

This turned out to be a great snack. It was so similar to the Fresh Obsessed pizza buns, I just may have stumbled upon their secret recipe. The dough was quite thick, but with all the pizza sauce and cheese it certainly didn't dominate the flavour scene.

The bbq sauce gave it a bit of zing, and the hot sauce gave it the needed kick to make this a little party in my mouth. You have to use the Real Bacon Bits because you get real bacon taste and a bit of crunch. The cornmeal on the bottom adds a nice crisp to the crust BUT it also helps prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.

So if you need a late night snack, and happen to have pizza dough and similar ingredients, check this out. The smell, texture and taste were all here for a great make-shift pizza.

Friday, 2 March 2007



I've always wanted to have this guide to quickly find out who has wing nights, what the deal was, and when. Please note that the information presented here is the wing night as posted at roughly the time of my review, and the information can change.

This guide is just for the places that I have reviewed, but there are other websites out there you can also check for all places wing nights. - Another great Canadian wing resource of reviews and daily updates of wings. / Blog Wing Nights - Ottawa site that lists specials in general, not just wings. - Ottawa site that lists specials in general, in a Facebook format.