Here is an old man singing about wings. Nothing more, nothing less. BUT there is a website at the end that is a total rip off of the Great Wing Tour 2006.
Friday, 22 June 2007
The challenger has chosen for today's battle: IRON CHEF COMFORT FOOD in the food battle, ground beef.
- ground beef (approx 1/2 pound)
- garlic powder
- worcestershire sauce
- sweet paprika
- liquid smoke
- Cheeze Whiz
- ranch dressing
- In a bowl, mix ground beef and last 6 ingredients on list, form into oval patties
- Place patties on grill (in my case, a George Foreman grill), cook to preference
- chop tomato
- heat pita (over GF grill, oven, microwave etc)
- assemble burger, place on condiments, enjoy
For this twist on an old American classic, I was inspired by a Bobby Flay Throwdown, where he battled for burgers with a woman who did a Greek burger using ground lamb and pitas. I liked this Mediterranean theme, but I didn't have lamb, tzatziki or the proper cheese. I only had the pita, ground beef, and a sense of imagination.
The burger itself had a lot of flavour. The liquid smoke, the paprika, the Worcestershire sauce all gave the ground beef something to sing about. I wish I had a good cheddar for the cheese, or even some feta - Cheeze Whiz just seemed too, plastic.
I also put on too much mayo and ranch for dressing - it was good, but at times masked the flavour of the burger. This is the great debate I can often have with food like burgers. I loved the taste of the meat, the seasoning, all on its own. But I also love the additions, the condiments, that which takes a good burger to bigger heights.
For comfort food, this hit the spot. I really like using the pita for buns and would consider it even with a more traditional burger. I would still love to do the Greek burger, but this was certainly an enjoyable dinner.
ICR WINNER: me
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Yaaaaaaar, there be good wings ahoy!
I love having fresh chicken wings on hand. I also love having a chicken wing deep fryer. Now I have the power to make restaurant quality chicken wings in the comfort of my own home. Actually, I can make wings even better, and this one day (maybe about a week or so ago) I knew I was going to have a great wing meal.
WING KING's BUTTER WINGS version 2.0
- jumbo chicken wings, split (approx 10)
- Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- red pepper flakes
- wash wings, pat dry
- toss wings in flour, shake well to remove excess flour
- heat deep fryer to maximum - place wings in when heat ready
- in a bowl, melt butter (1/3 part to 2/3's hot sauce); when melted add hot sauce and pepper flakes (to desired heat)
- When wings are golden and crispy, remove from fryer and pat excess oil with paper towel
- toss in hot sauce and enjoy!
butter, Frank's and chili flakes for heat - traditional Buffalo style sauce
Patting the wings dry. Look how crispy and golden they turned out.
Toss in the sauce and enjoy these classic Buffalo Style wings.
There are multiple talking points when discussing wings and the quality of the cooking process. The first thing to talk about is the physical wing itself. Jumbo roasting wings (that wasn't the actual title at No Frill's grocery, but it fits).
I would like to point out that I'm not a big fan of the meats and poultry at No Frill's normally, but I have yet to be disappointed with their fresh wings from the butcher section. Big and meaty, and I paid a little more to have them separated (still cheaper than buying in the package in the produce section, and waaay cheaper than frozen wings) but I didn't have to worry about the mess and fuss of cutting the wings.
The dusting of flour made for such a simple crunch, and the wings came out a perfect golden colour. In version 1.0, I used a bit of flour and cornmeal which gave it a big crunch, but v 2.0 is much more authentic and enjoyable.
The sauce of the wings was very simple and my over-all favourite. Butter, Frank's - its a classic. My only criticism of this traditional Buffalo wing sauce is the real lack of heat. I tried to kick it up a notch by adding red pepper flakes - this has the effect of raising the heat levels without altering the flavour of the sauce, the source of most suicide sauce failures. However, while this did up the Scoville unit heat of the wing, overall it still wasn't that hot. Tasty as hell, but not very spicy hot.
I felt I needed something remotely healthy on the side, so I had some classic carrot sticks on the side with dip and some French bread loaf. The dip is ranch. Nothing special. In fact, I felt the whole sides took away from the enjoyment of the wings. Stupid vegetables.
So what can I say, the wings turned out close to perfect. A little bit more heat and I would have been in Nirvana.
Shiver me timbers!
These wings are like poultry gold!
*note - there is no pirate related material here. The day I made the wings I had a shaving accident with my nose-neighbour, and well, the eye patch sort of off-set the strange new look.
Tuesday, 12 June 2007
Spicy Chicken Wings
- 1 cup of coconut milk – (250ml)
- 2 tbsp of tandoori paste – (30ml)
- 1/3 cup of peanut butter – (75ml)
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 1 tsp of five spice powder – (5ml)
- 2 lb. of chicken wings – (1000grams)
- For marinade, combine coconut milk, tandoori paste, peanut butter, garlic, lemon juice and five spice powder and mix until ingredients are united. Pour mixture in to a sealable plastic bag and add chicken wings.
- Once the bag is sealed, toss the bag back and forth to ensure chicken wings are well covered.
- Marinade chicken wings for 6-8 hours in the refrigerator.
- For grilling, place marinated chicken wings on the grill over a medium flame and grill for 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until nice and golden. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked all the way through.
- Serve with favourite dipping sauce and enjoy!
Now these wings haven't been tested here at LOTW blog, but they look tasty. I don't have a BBQ, but when I get one, I will so try this out. That is my love-hate relationship with LTG - I see all this food I would love to make . . . but I just can't. Oh well, you always have to have a dream.
Check out the rest of Rob's Block Party at the Food Network.
- 1 large chicken breast
- IRIE Buffalo Chicken Seasoning
- in a ziplock bag, coat chicken with Buffalo Chicken Seasoning, let sit for at least an hour to one day
- pre-heat toaster oven to 300-400
- place on grilling rack, cook for 15-20 minutes or until done
- red chili powder
- garlic powder
- sweet smoked paprika
- liquid smoke
- 3rd Degree hot sauce
- 1 large baking potato
- slice potato into chips (as thick as you desire)
- place sliced potato into bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes
- in a separate bowl, mix first 8 ingredients into a paste
- dry potato chips, then mix with paste
- grill on George Foreman Grill (or whatever you have, you could bake them)
until cooked through and crispy.
This was definitely a meal with a lot of flavour and a lot of kick. The chicken was very simple and did taste great. HOWEVER, I coated the chicken with the BC Seasoning and made it into a crust - which was waaaaay too much. Overpowered the dish and by the end, was too much. Next time I would mix it with flour/cornmeal to make a crust, or just put less seasoning next time.
IRIE BC seasoning really doesn't taste like Buffalo sauce in any way, but its a great seasoning in general.
The Kerala Chips come from a vague recipe of a french fry seasoning LJ's parents make. They are from Kerala, a province in the South of India, where some of the spiciest Indian food comes from. I don't know if this recipe actually comes from Kerala, but it works for me.
This was a good little meal, and on of the first I cooked for the summer. It was packed with flavour (too much in some cases) and I was definitely reaching for my drink after almost every bite. The Kerala Chips turned out perfect (I didn't know how 'grilling' them on the GF Grill would work, but it worked great).
ICR WINNER: me
Thursday, 7 June 2007
Well, ever since passing through the Atrium way back when (as reported HERE), I've been eagerly anticipating the opening of St Louis Wings and Ribs. And I wasn't alone. Ryan and I had made a pact to go to the opening night and review the place, but St Louis opened without our knowledge by about a week. So we picked Thursday as our lunch time, and gathered Julianna and Shobha to come along in our excursion.
The Atrium is a strange little mall in downtown Toronto, housing various offices, a grocery store, food court, some stores and 3 restaurants: Red Lobster, The Pickle Barrel, and Spring Rolls. What it didn't have was a pub, and now that void has been filled. The closest pubs in the area are the Wolf and the Firkin, and The Devil's Advocate, but they are a couple blocks north. South there is the Marriott Hotel's Characters pub, but it just doesn't have a social feel. No, St Louis can take advantage of the corporate world upstairs, tourists from Nathan Phillips Square, the medical block close by, and us. It sounds like a good combination.
St Louis even has a patio. Its not huge, its not nice, but a patio in the city is prime real estate. With the wind it was slightly chilly, so we decided to sit inside. The interior is pub chic; fancy enough for suits, but comfy enough for the general beer chugger. Its not huge inside, but its perfect I think for their customer base.
We had noticed that part of the restaurant was not yet complete. At one point the manager, Manu Gupta (who used to work in the same lab complex as Shobha and Ryan) came and sat with us and we asked about the unfinished area. He said that the area might be renovated in the future for a party room or some such concept. Its a good idea and it leaves him some expansion if needed in the future. But before we talked to him about any of this, we had ordered and consumed most of our food.
The NEW SCORE
STYLE: baked, possibly fried first
SAUCES: mild/medium/hot/suicidal/hotter than Hell/honey garlic/hot'n'honey
SIZE: .5 /2
HEAT: hotter than hell 6/10
CRISPINESS: 1.5 /3
WETNAP FACTOR: 2 /5
PRICE: $9.95 for 9 wings (small), $17.95 for 18 wings (large)
SIDES: fries/onion chips 5 /7
M=wings (30) & 60oz draft $25.95
T=9 wings $7.25, 18 $13.45 6pm-close
F= Ribs & Wings $14.45
SU= 20oz Pint & pound of wings all day
OTHER/SPECIAL: wing bowls, dill dip, unlimited wetnaps, patio, onion chips
(NO FREE POP REFILLS)
So much to say about these wings, where does one begin? I had a love-hate relationship with these wings so its difficult to get it out there. Ok, lets start with the wings themselves. They are medium sized wings - not too small, not really big. They are meaty and you can't really complain about the chicken itself. However, for $10, I really want a jumbo wing. Yes I got a big side, but I would always prefer giant to variety.
Where the review gets complicated when it comes to the sauce. St Louis is unique in that they seem to bake their sauce right into the wings. Its a smokey flavour full of spice and taste, but low on heat. On my Hot wings, they was a sauce drought, but where other wings places rely on the sauce for their wings flavour; these guys have it in the wing itself.
There is a great debate in the Toronto wing world about St Louis vs Duff's for wings, and that's because they are two very different wings. Duff's is traditional Buffalo style, deep fry and Frank's hot sauce and butter. St Louis is dry rub spices cooked right into the wing. I understand the St Louis side - flavour filled chicken. But I'm a traditionalist, and my heart lies with mouth searing Buffalo sauce.
As always, I ordered the hottest on the side. Hotter than Hell was brought to me in a little bowl, which I promptly dumped over my wings. My dinner companions were shocked, having first tried a slight dip taste-test. The sauce was at most 30 000 Scoville units, which in my book isn't very hot ( I can comfortably consume at least 150 000 Scoville units of heat). It was a slow burn which was close to making me cough in the back of my throat.
When Manu the manager came to sit with us, Shobha told him of my disappointment of heat with the sauce. He seemed excited by the challenge and said he had something special. He came back with another little bowl of hot sauce. When asked what it was, he said proudly, "Hotter than Hell" to which we all said that was the hot I was not suffering from. He went from proud, to shocked to saddened. I try to comfort him by saying that I have been eating hot sauce since I was a kid and he said, "so have I, but that stuff brings me to tears". In the end, he said he was going to work on something that reached my level of tolerance.
Julianna was working, so she ordered and ate quickly. She got an order of the honey garlic wings which looked wonderfully wet in sauce. She didn't finish them all, but she seemed to like them.
Shobha, our resident vegetarian opted for the Thai salad. When asked what she thought of it, she said: "tasty and filling, for a salad." The menu was a difficult choice for her, with very few non-chicken/pork options so it was good she could find something satisfying.
Ryan went with the Nachos. He is to Nachos as I am to wings. Lord of the Nachos (maybe a companion blog Ryan, hmmm? A better tittle would be "Nacho Nacho Man, I want to be a Nacho man"). His review of this Tex-Mex creation was decent. The nachos were "good, but the type of chip" was problematic; a thinner, triangular tortilla chip is much more conducive to chomping and consuming.
Ryan ordered on the side, and my combo came with onion chips. I love onion chips and it hasn't been since my childhood that I have had a good feeding. When I was a kid, this was a staple of the Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner meal, back before it was KFC, or 'mega meal' name came to be, and there was always a plastic Col. Sanders money bank across the counter.
Apparently, no one else remembers this side dish and for a long time I thought it was regional to my part of Ontario (South-Western Ont.), but I know we had it up North at my grandparents (in the Karwatha region). Anyways, they are a delicious accompaniment, especially with the wing-dip that comes with my chicken, a dill sauce the heightens both the wings and the onion.
FINAL SCORE: I like the location, everyone seemed to enjoy their food, and we got some one on one time with the manager. I love the wing bowls, the dips, the onion chips, and an original take on wings. I liked that there are lots of wing specials, but the specials aren't financially that special. I think the wings need to be bigger, or cheaper, but because its a chain, the individual changes that are needed can't happen. And when it comes down to it, I'm a wing traditionalist and that's where my mouth and my heart lies. 23/35
St Louis Wings and Ribs
595 Bay Street (The Atrium Mall)
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
The 2007 Muhtadi International Drumming Festival was in town, which also brought Ricky into town. We headed up to Queen's Park to check out the sounds of drums from around the worlds.
A few hundred came to the rear of the provincial legislature from all ages, backgrounds, creeds, but mostly modern day hippies. It was a very humid day, but thankfully the shade of the trees made it bearable.
We found ourselves just wandering around the park. Ricky had hiked with him all the way to the park his own drum to pound out some beats, but he was very disappointed in the lack of individual drummers not on stage. In turn, I was disappointed with Rick because he didn't start drumming himself, not willing to be the pioneer to start drumming on his own. I offered to perform interpretive dance, or to sing, but it wasn't enough to entice him.
There were two main stages, a bunch of vendor booths selling drums, African art, and of course food. When we got hungry enough, we wandered the temporary tents and trailers. Vendors sold mainly Caribbean, but there was North American BBQ and even Chinese food. We went down the path, then back again, then back again. We couldn't decide what to get - nothing particularly hit us as interesting culinarily. We finally settled on a big tent serving African and Caribbean food. Rick and I both got "African Inspired BBQ Chicken", with him getting a side of dumplings and me getting a special beverage.
The dumplings were simply fried sweet dough. I think its really the best way to have dough.
The chicken was really the star of the show. If I didn't know better, I would say this was just Jerk Chicken; I don't know what made it 'African'. What I do know is that it was BBQ'd and it was delish. For $3 it was worth it. Our server topped it with hot sauce (not particularly hot, but a nice tangy bite) and 'seasoning' (some sort of green paste/sauce) which doesn't stick out in my memory now.
The drink I ordered, Sorrel, came in a big orange cooler and the woman running it was offering free taste tests. I decided to be brave and ordered it without tasting. It came in 3 sizes (each not much different in size, but the price was high for this homemade thirst quencher).
Sorrel is made from Sorrel Red, a plant that comes from Jamaica. "The edible leaves have a flavor that is very similar to that of kiwifruit, or sour wild strawberries. Because of the mildly acidic taste, some say that it quenches thirst, and consider it helpful in boosting the appetite." It is made into a popular "beverage [that] is widely consumed which is dark red, and has a sweet, spiced flavor." Searching the web, I found a recipe for Sorrel here:
1 pound sorrel 2, 4 oz. ginger, 2 quarts water, sugar wine (optional), 8-12 pimento grains
1.Wash sorrel thoroughly, using the fingers to lift it form the water. Put into stainless steel
2. Scrape and wash ginger. Grate and Add to the sorrel. Add pimento grains.
3. Boil water and pour over sorrel. Allow to stand 4-6 hours. Strain.
4. Sweeten to taste and add rum to taste. Add optional wine.
5. Service with ice cubes.
It did taste like strawberry and raspberry juices and was quite refreshing. I wanted more, but at $3 for a medium glass, I was tapped out.
We found a nice patch of grass to enjoy our meal, listen to the drumming, and just take in the atmosphere. The smokey smell of the grill is something I sorely miss from home, for living in rez does not give me the chance to BBQ anywhere.
With no table, eating was a bit challenging, but if you just dig in and give up on civil niceties, you'll enjoy your meal so much more.
Once we were done, we wandered for a little while longer, but with a lack of independent drummers and the humidity beating down on us more than the drums, we decided to pack up and search for a patio to refuel and recharge. Drum Fest was a nice escape, but had an overall disappointing feel to it. Fortunately, some cold beverages, a movie and dinner made up for the lack luster day.
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
TGIF! After a long week of relaxing, getting back into the groove and other stuff, I ended up tagging along with Julianna and Jane for an evening of dinner and a movie. After some indecisiveness, we planned on going to The Bishop and The Belcher, but after walking up one end of Queen street and back, it was clear the pub was gone!!! What happened? It moved up to Bloor! (I found this out later) . Wanting to waste no time, Julianna pointed to a massive patio, and a new plan was hatched. The Black Bull was our new destination.
We had to wait a while for a table, then a server, and a homeless guy harassing people at tables, but once we got food, it was all good. Kudos for the above photo to Julianna, who got a picture of Jane for the blog - Jane opposes the wing blog and all things wing. All things poultry in fact. Its sad really.
The two ladies split a delicious looking platter (fries, mozza sticks, perogies, and something else) and a Western sandwich (what a great choice!) while I ordered onion rings and wings.
The NEW SCORE
STYLE: Buffalo style
SAUCES: mild/medium/hot/suicide/honey garlic
SIZE: 0.5 /2
HEAT: 5 /10
CRISPINESS: 2 /3
WETNAP FACTOR: 2 /5
PRICE: $8.99 for 1lb, $16.99 for 2lb
SIDES: 2 /7
WING NIGHT: ???
These were good, traditional pub wings. Nothing special to report. I got suicide on the side, which was a good thing because it was vinegar heavy and not really that hot. They were tasty, crispy, but there was nothing really special to report. Other than the company I had. The onion rings were big and crunchy, but were luke warm when they came out.
The Patio easily held over 100 people. There were only about 3 waitresses so service was really slow, but the average patron was in no hurry to leave. We talked and laughed into the night. So much so we missed the movie we had intended to go to. It was a good night and a good dinner.
FINAL SCORE: The Black Bull had decent pub grub, and the wings were good, but not great. If you want to sit on a big patio in downtown Toronto, this is the place to come to. Just don't expect a quick, hot or amazing meal. But great patio. 19.5/35
THE BLACK BULL
298 Queen West, Toronto