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)

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