Sunday, 29 April 2007


Walking downtown on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I was walking down Elm street and started thinking about my fav eatery on this street, GYROS. I wasn't going to stop in, but I was curious if it would be open on a Sunday, and was thinking how it would be a shame if this place was ever to close down.

Toronto is notorious for little eateries opening, lasting a few months, and then going out of business. I've only known about GYROS for less than 4 years, but it looks like its been around for a while. I was shocked and saddened to see this:

It might be hard to see, but the inside was completely gutted. My only hope is that its under renovations . . . but the realist in me has to just accept its gone.

Some of you might be asking, 'Wing King, whats the big deal, there are tons of kebab places all over the city? There's even one right across the street from GYROS!" Well, this place was different.

What is a Donair? Well, Wikipedia describes one as :

"Döner Kebab (döner kebap in Turkish and often simply kebab, döner, doner, donner, donair), which literally means "turning roast", is the name given to a dish made with lamb (or mutton), beef or chicken. Some have compared döner kebabs to shawarma, gyros, possibly because similar meat may be used, but they may be different in terms of the filling and/or form. Döner kebabs are generally wrapped in tortilla-like flat bread, and shawarma is generally in pita or sandwich form. Gyros are always wrapped in pita. The difference in fillings is also very great. The gyro almost always contains the same few ingredients. Döner kebabs and shawarma, though, can include various salad ingredients such as carrots or red cabbage and fresh mint as well as a number of creamy sauces or even hot sauce."

This place didn't just sell Kebobs; owner Chanho Seo brought with him the Canadian, East Coast and specifically Nova Scotian Donair:

"The meat in this version of the döner kebab (Halifax donair, as it is sometimes referred to) is sliced from a loaf cooked on a vertical spit, made from a combination of ground beef, flour or bread crumbs, and various spices, while the sauce is made from evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, and garlic. The meat and sauce are served rolled in pita bread with diced tomato and onion. This version is generally so packed with ingredients, that the pita is almost there for ceremonial purposes; the pita of any true Haligonian donair will be so soaked in sauce that attempts to pick it up will be fruitless"


What really makes a NS Donair, is the Donair sauce. Its sweet, and its oh so good. All these kebab and shwarma places don't carry the sauce, which made GYRO so special. The first time I had one was visiting family in Halifax, and my uncle made sure I tried one. I was skeptical, never having seen a gyro in the first place . . . but I fell in love. One Christmas they sent me bottled Donair sauce for me because I liked it so much. Not having one for several years, I was over-joyed when about 4 years ago a Halifaxian (Hannah, who also introduced me to the Wing House) pointed out the place that so close, could provide an authentic product.

Now, its all gone. I was really looking forward to reviewing the place. I guess I will always have the memories.

*photo of donair taken from here

Friday, 27 April 2007


Thursday night, the Sens were playing the Devils, and Juliananana invited me to come with others to watch the game. Now, my understanding is that the Sens & Devil's are some sort of hockey team. More on that later. We ended up going to Pogue Mahone, an Irish pub at College Park that one of my former colleagues and friend Elizabeth works at.

There's a lot to chat about the evening, so lets get right to the wings.


STYLE: breaded, deep fried
SAUCES: mild/medium/hot/grand hot (suicide)/ honey garlic
SIZE: medium (some large) 1/2
HEAT: tongue tingle and a little bit of a runny nose 6/10
PRICE: 1 lb. (approx 10) for $9.99, 2 lb. for $16.99, 3 lbs. for $24.99
SIDES: veggies (celery w/blue cheese) 2 /7
WING NIGHT: Tuesday, $0.39 (with an order of a beverage, after 4 p.m., no take out)
OTHER: looks like a great patio outside
TOTAL: 24/35

I really enjoyed these wings. Pogue's lost points for smaller size, poor sides. Personal marks were lost for the high cost. That aside, they were a good wing. The breading made for an excellent crunch and texture to the skin. It was like there was a party in my mouth, and everyone was invited.

The suicide sauce had bite and a good chili flavour. The heat wasn't strong, but enough to give me the sniffles, but there was still lots of flavour. There was just the right amount of sauce and I was very disappointed when I got to my last wing. I would have ordered another round, but at $10, it was more than I was willing to pay.

Pooja flipped flopped from dessert to an order of nachos - and what an order! Piled with lots of cheese, toppings and I love places that have big tortilla bowls of sour cream and salsa (but where's the guac?). It was hard not to steal more of these (thankfully they were a giant order).

Now throughout the night, I wasn't the only one who got wings. Below you can see an order medium wings, which clearly had a different sauce than my 'Grand Hot'. They had a more peppery odour, but they looked so good with the sauce. This batch looked much bigger than my wings.

Look at the sauce just oozing over the side . . .

Above, you can see Karen testing out one of my 'Grand Hot' wings. Julianananana tried one and reacted immediately. Here, Karen is moments away from the heat kicking in and her downing some blue cheese dressing to put out the fire.

You might be able to tell from their sweaters or the smiles on their faces, but Juliannanana and her friend Chrissy are happy about Ottawa's victory. Did you know that these are only the playoffs for this division, and that there is STILL more months of hockey to come? Sheeesh!

Juliananana is seen eating a jumbo medium wing. What you cannot tell here is her intoxicated levels.

Here, James is trying a sneak attack on Karen's tasty wing. You can never be too carefull when wings are involved.

FINAL SCORE: Wings were excellent but the Pogue needs to do some upgrades. Evening final scores & other things I learned include-

  • 24/35
  • great wings, love the wood decorative theme, but drop the price
  • 5-3 victory for the Senators (take that Maple Leafs!)
  • I know more Sens fans that like wings than Leaf fans.
    Therefore Sens fans rock
  • Maple Leaf bartenders will not serve Sens fans
  • Cougars on their b-days are crazy - watch out
    for on the mouth kisses for EVERYONE
  • a gathering of 4 can quickly become 9
  • Elizabeth is a great waitress
  • people have actually seen my blog without me telling them about it

Pogue Mahone
777 Bay Street (College Park Mall)

Saturday, 21 April 2007


It's finally here - spring. I declare it official: no more snow and the opening of patios. Its after 5pm and the sun is still out. Normally the Sun and I have a personal feud (shaking fist), but this day it was all good. Nee and I were hanging out, so I could stand Sol this one time.

We travelled to Roncesvalle Village to explore the many little eateries this often overlooked area of Toronto had to offer. The Local became our focus as it is normally packed, but one of the window seats was vacant and we chose to enjoy the view.

The Local was VERY different than its website displayed. Having looked before we left to eat, The Local gives the impression that its a spiffy kind of pub; in reality, its a dive inside. Don't get me wrong, its a good solid pub and I know by the crowds its the place to be - but there is no posh-ness whatsoever. Our view from the window offered us the sight of an old man falling and the waitress telling us about how from across the way a couple had been seen having sex in the window. Classy.

We ordered a little feast together as I had missed lunch and was pretty hungry myself. Nee wasn't to keen on the beer list, which did not have a lot of well known ales, but she was happily surprised with the brew she did get. The main dish for her was Nachos with their award-winning chili and guac.

The chili was quite thick, with stewing beef and a flavour we just couldn't identify. It was alright, but we joked about what contest it won to be award winning. The nachos were a giant pile of chips and cheese and a very generous portions of olives and jalapeno peppers (which worked out for us: I don't eat olives, and Nee doesn't eat jalapenos).

We also got a side of fries. There was the option to get it with curry mayo, but elsewhere on the menu I saw wasabi mayo. That sounded exciting to try. It wasn't exciting. Nee asked if it was good and I said no. Not because it was bad - it tasted like wasabi without the heat - it was doing everything it was supposed to - I just didn't like it all that much for my fries. ( I know, why did I order it then? I guess I was just feeling adventerous). The fries themselves were overcooked string fries, which were ok but not noteworthy.

Thankfully, I was going to be feasting on wings.


STYLE: deep fried, Buffalo sauce
SAUCES: wimpy(mild)/ daring (medium)/(inferno)hot/honey garlic
SIZE: large 1/2
HEAT: inferno was pretty mild, 4/10
CRISPINESS: nice and crispy 3 /3
WETNAP FACTOR: partly dry partly wet 3 /5
PRICE: $9 for 1lb (about 8-10 wings)
SIDES: veggies & dips & fries 7 /7
WING NIGHT: none advertised
OTHER: cola was no-name
(ie Nee: do you have Coke or Pepsi? Waitress: yes. Nee: uh, which one? Waitress: oh, uh its no name brand)
TOTAL: 26/35

The Local's wings are not bad. They are a good size, deep fried well and have a nice flavour. Traditional Toronto pub wings. They come with crisp fresh veggies and a classic blue cheese dip. It even comes with fries at the bottom to soak up the sauce.

There lies my problems with the wings though. I would like the wings to be more wet, although the fries soak up a lot of the sauce. The other problem is no heat. I like that the sauces have funny names like wimpy, daring and inferno - but you have to back that up. Inferno should be burning my mouth. Like the wasabi mayo, there was flavour, but no pain. Also, why was there funny names and then just "honey garlic"? Finish what you start.

We took our time eating dinner - ok I took a long time because I was very hungry and eating what I could. It was nice to just chill without being hounded by the waitress, but there were times where she could have been there a bit more. The place itself was somewhat busy, but nothing packed like I've heard that it can be. Granted we were the supper crowd and not the drinking crowd.

FINAL SCORE: Wings were a good size and had a common pub flavour; they came with fries and nice veggies - but the lack of heat was a big disappointment. Too pricey in my opinion too.l The fries were not that great, the chili was not award winning but the portions were generous. The Local was a decent bar, but I don't think it would be MY local pub if I lived near by. 26/30

The Local Pub & Restaurant
396 Roncesvalles Ave

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Chestnut Report Part XIII - Special Report

"Nation, you're like a family.
That's why this year I'm claiming you all as dependents.
This is The Chestnut Report!"

Welcome back Wing Nation to part XIII of out XX part series, 'better know a Chestnut Wing'

Tonight, we bring you another Chestnut Report Special Repor(T):


Kids these days are wrong - just wrong. There's no sense of community, of the greater good or the importance of wings. They are the most coddled generation in our history, with knee pads, helmets, car seats, child safety caps and other (s)mothering influences destroying our little ones. How can these kids be prepared to be real hero's and eat suicide sauce when they are being spoon fed sweet and sour or honey garlic?

Here is a short list of things wrong with kids today:

  • Watching the MTZ on their pocket youtubes and myspaces
  • Getting the job, but not being able to do the job (or is that the other way around?)
  • Arguing that with me
  • Missing snacktime
  • Eating the corn chips in class (Hey I can smell that mister!)
  • Participating in the Dance Dance Revolution
  • Smuggling tots into class via their secret pockets
  • Their moms go to college
  • No gumption
  • Eating AND preferring Honey Garlic wings
  • Not understanding 80's cartoons
  • Those roller things in the back of shoes
  • Not having to go up hill, both ways, without shoes to school in the dead of winter, and liking it
  • Emo style

As Ricky Patel once said: "I was at a social and we got wings..and some guys wanted we got them..and I ate some and said these aren't suicicide... and they agreed... then I said they're emo wings...they just pretend to be suicide..."

That's right, the kids of today can't even carry out what they say they are going to do. Simply put, the kids are not alright. What disturbs me most is, what is wrong with our Wings?

It was Thursday and again, the evil honey garlic were on the prowl. But also being served up was a new style of BBQ wings. What made them significantly different from the other wings that are normally served up were the green flecks of parsley. Parsley? And chicken wings? Isn't that some sort of vegetable . . .

What didn't work on these wings was the baked style once again. Mushy wings coupled with bbq sauce just led to a losing combination. Nation, no more baking - its not in our interest. Fire up the deep fryer and lets burn these babies!

I still ate 2 plate fulls though. Why, because I don't back down from bad wings. I'm not afraid to eat up and say thank you for giving me wings no matter what. Plus I knew that there were more wings at a party later tonight in the building I knew that things in the world couldn't be all bad.

Massive amounts of wings were waiting for me. Look at them. LOOK AT THEM!!! I was like a man who had caught a Leprechaun and beat him and he told me where his pot of gold is. But I kept my composure, and let the kiddies around me take their shot at this cauldron of awesomeness.

Once again, what is wrong with the kids? There was at least 15 of them standing around, munching on veggies and dip! No one was touching these wings. I thought we were having a national emergency of a health crisis in this country - but that must be wrong cuz no one was touching these pretty birds (I know it is wrong, not because of facts, but because I feel I am right). One malcontent was heard saying "ewwww, grossss" and yet another saying "I can't handle it!" - although the above statements might be coming from a few ladies on the On Notice board you might all remember.

The wings had a sweet BBQ smell to them, but they were clearly not the breaded blobs of previous in the day. But they did appear baked. [grimace]

I was excited to try them, but my wing companion of the evening, Medhat, had a different opinion.

His first reaction was "these aren't very good". What? Are you serious? This McDuck vault of wings not good? There were even sides of more BBQ and hot sauce to add to them!?

So I tore into them. My gosh, he was right. These wings ended up being even worse than the lunch time fiasco. The suffered from two fatal mistakes:

  1. They were baked - baking wings just don't give it a strong crisp that wing deserves
  2. They were sitting over heat, in sauce, for a long time. Resulting in overcooked, soggy but still tough wings

I was so sad. I looked at the giant pile of wings, and knowing there was another whole pot of them off around the corner, I cried a little. DON'T LOOK AT ME!!! I know I'm not supposed to cry, but to think that so many wings had been ruined and that so many were going to go to waste. I had to do something. I ran upstairs and got my wing safety net.

My Tupperware rescued dozens of these wings, and over the past few days, I have been remaking them with sauce and heat so that they are still edible. From all this I learned that two things needed to be dealt with.


That's it for the Report tonight, but before we go, I want to leave you with this thought: never thaw poultry products on the counter or in the sink without cold water. Bacteria can rapidly multiply at room temperature. The same thing goes for teenagers. Watch out!

Good night
Stay Strong, Be Brave Wing Nation.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Return to Duff's-II

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out."

Rick made a special Saturday trip to Toronto for one specific reason: Duff's. Both of us having had an uninteresting and lonely dinner on Friday, and after he had read about the new Duff's, he was in his car and headed to the provincial capital.

Duff's II was bustling with people. With the Leaf-Hab game on, people were cheering for their favourite local squadron in loud cheers and jeers. Duff's II has a much more stylish feel to it - white stone and dark wood tones, flat screens for the game and much larger bar than its counter part.

Rick went for a half Spicy BBQ, half Super Hot mix. He enjoyed both, but did state that Spicy BBQ is not spicy. We both got fries with our order: they came out golden, crispy and tasted great with the dill-dip that accompanies the wings & giant stalks of celery.

I've been reading some of the posts on Chowhound for the Best wings in Toronto, and I cannot get over the flak people give Duff's Wings. What the negative comments I read have never been my experience: Duff's wings are jumbo wings, meaty, juicy and lots of sauce. They are Buffalo style - the sauce is authentic Buffalo: which means if people don't like the sauce, they don't like Buffalo style wings, and really, they don't like wings. What Duff's succeeds at the most is combining flavour and heat. Granted, the hotter you get, the worst the flavour . . . but you get heat.

That being said, I wanted to be a part of Duff's. I looked up at the Wall of Pain, and said, 'I want my name up there. I wanted to be somebody in the wing world that people could look up and say, that guy ate a lot of hot wings.' So I asked the waitress, what did I have to do to get my name up there, and how many did I have to eat. I chose Death wings, not as hot as Armageddon, but not as disgusting a taste either.

The rules were simple: eat as many wings as possible - BUT you cannot leave your chair - ie no going to the bathroom and puking up what you had eaten to eat more. Your not a wing hero doing that. They informed me also that they had yet to put up the current champs. So if I wanted my name up there, #1 place was 38 Death wings, #2 was 27 Death wings. Knowing I just couldn't eat 38 on this night, I decided to set my goal on 27. A separate bucket had to be kept for my bones so that they could count how many I actually did eat.

The bell rang to announce that my Death wings were ready to the restaurant and I had scant few moments for me to prepare. 20 came out the first batch. I attacked my first wing and conducted the first test: I didn't go blind. I ate the wing with little to no pain to my mouth, and the taste of the Death sauce was not as bad as I had remembered.

It seemed like a daunting task to get through them all. 20 jumbo wings is a lot to go through on a regular day - but 20 Death wings is a whole other story. The first 10 I got through without drinking anything, and barely touching my fries. "Anything seems possible now"

By the time I got close to 20, I was slowing right down. The sauce wasn't as hot as I expected, but my stomach was having problems. Keep in mind also I had had supper earlier in the evening because I wasn't for sure knew I was coming to Duff's, so I wasn't starving for food. I think also all the Leaf cheering was also making me sick.

A waiter and waitresses kept coming by to check on me, marvel at what I had accomplished. I ordered another 10 and waited.

The second batch came out, and things were not looking good. The waiter (who I think is the son of one of the Twin owners, both of which recognized me from the other location!) suggested that when others did the challenge, they ate fast and didn't bother with pop. At first, I had cleaned my wings like I normally do (no chicken left) but by 18 or so they still had chicken on the joints and ends. On wing 21 I was wary - but I decided to attack it with the same ferocity as the very first wing. I started into 22 and then it happened.

The stomach rumbled, I started to get the shakes. A cold sweat broke out on my forehead and my arms. Then it was one gurgle after another - then, I coughed and food came close to the back of my throat. I had almost vomited and lost my place. I waited . . . the waitress told me its not worth getting sick over. I looked at my bowl - 8 wings to the 30 title. I began to sing to myself, "eye of the tiger" and Rick encouraged me on. 22 became 23, 23 became 24. I knew I could do it, even if y stomach didn't think so

"Fraud!" cried the maddened crowd, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from The Wing King and the audience was awed.
They saw my face grow stern and cold, they saw my muscles strain,
and they knew that I wouldn't let no wings not go by again.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Duff's ville, mighty Wing King at 25 struck out."

25, a valiant number, I didn't make it to the end.
My name did go upon the board, but not as good as 2 other men.
Despite the wows of the helpful staff, and a bucket full of bones,
I left, my head hung down so low and my stomach full of moans.

Duff's II
558 College (3 blocks West of Bathurst)

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Who Doesn't Love Chicken?

Who Doesn't Love Chicken? con't

Hungry Cow Eats Chicken . . . what a world. Remember, I did post this picture a while ago proving this . . . I just didn't think the Bovines would take it this far!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Old Dutch Ariba Tortilla Chips Buffalo Wings

Ay Carumba!

There is quite the wave of chicken wing chips on the market these days, and I say, good show! I was at the grocery store buying food for a Student Cooking Seminar I teach in the residence and saw the Old Dutch Ariba Tortilla Chips Buffalo Wings. The first thing I want to say about these chips: is that long name really necessary?

The next thing that slightly confused me was the melting pot of cultures on the front of the package. Clearly these are supposed to be a Mexican style chip, that has a Buffalo New York flavour added to them. I get a little confused as I would never associate a gecko with Buffalo wings, but I would with tortilla chips. So if these two icons can work together, why can't American immigration?

Unlike the Blair's chips, this bag appeared to be more full in the bag - less air. I liked how on the back of the package they highlight their foil in advertising these chips!

The NEW SCORE (modified for chips)

STYLE: tortilla style chips (like Doritos)
SAUCES(flavours): Buffalo Wing (all that I saw available)
SIZE: medium bag of chips, 300g bag
HEAT: 1/10
CRISPINESS: hard crunch (it is a tortilla chip)
PRICE: $2.89 at No Frills

The flavour of the chips really aren't Buffalo Wing at all. That's not to say these chips aren't tasty, but there is no Frank's hot sauce or butter flavour to them. In fact, if I wasn't mistaken, its the same recipe for Dorito's Bold BBQ & Sweet Chili Heat combined. It seems they were simply riding the chicken wing chip craze and this was the best they could come up with - another chip rip-off with a name change.

Now I'm not very familiar with Old Dutch chips - never seem to have them when I was a kid. What is really interesting about this, after a little wikipedia research that I found out that Old Dutch acquired Humpty Dumpty chips in a 2006 $26.7 million takeover bid. And so far, my favourite chicken wing flavour chips is Humpty Dumpty - so why couldn't they get this flavour right?

There is no heat to these chips - there is a flavour tingle, but that is the same with any chip of this sort. The texture of these triangular treats is crunchy - but not hard. I enjoyed putting a chip on my tongue and just letting the taste permeate my mouth.

Old Dutch Ariba Tortilla Chips Buffalo Wings (new longest name ever) are, as a tortilla chip, very tasty. But when it comes to being Buffalo Wing flavoured, its asta la vista, baby.

FINAL SCORE: enjoy these Dorito knock offs, but no Wing fix here.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Chicks N' Wings Commercial

Wow. I don't know what to say . . .

Sunday, 1 April 2007


With a borrowed Metro pass in hand (thanks Julianna), I was all over town - when I came across a wonderful discovery:

DUFF's: The Next Generation. Ok, not TNG, but a new location opened up on College West. It is still not close enough for my liking, but its a hell of a lot closer than the original Toronto location.

Took a look inside, its much nicer inside, but just as packed. Menu is the same, right down to the Tuesday Wing Night. It also appears there's no Wall of Pain additions yet - I should make a special trip in the near future . . .

DUFF's II (I added the II)
558 College (3 blocks West of Bathurst)