Friday, 30 November 2007

WING MACHINE - Toronto



One of the advantages of being back in Toronto temporarily is the ability to have not only hundreds of restaurants, pizza joints and other take-out goodness, but to be able to do so in a guilt-free environment. Not wanting to go out or go to the caf, I turned to the many options of take-out at my disposal. I didn't want pizza, or Chinese, or anything else. No, I wanted wings. And what better place to deliver wings, than Wing Machine.


It is a local chain of wing and pizza joints, connected to Pizza Panzerotto. Wing Machine rarely has any seating in any of its locations, just a bench or stool or two - this is really a delivery place. I still remember the first time I ordered from them way back in my first year of university. I was excited, and nervous, and very curious. Would they hurt? Would they be all they were cracked up to be? A delivery place dedicated to wings? The first time was good, but not great. I think it was hyped up in my mind a lot more than it was really worth. But here I am many years later and obviously still ordering.



From the moment the box arrived, I knew things were going to be good though. The fact that you could see the grease through the CARDBOARD meant there was definitely going to be some flavour to these puppies.


I knew I would probably want to have some food for a few days, so I ordered one of their many combo dinners. I went for the "Buffalo Chicken Drums" dinner which was 6 Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks, 1lb wings, 6 cheesy garlic bread sticks & 2 coke bottle s (591 ml). I also ordered a large suicide dip and a large blue cheese dip as well.




My room became filled with the smell of roasted chicken, spice and everything nice. The square box revealed a small feast of golden, crispy, poultry wonders. A Styrofoam container opened to the strong smell of saucy flavour; an aroma of flavour, excitement and pain all rolled into one where the six large chicken leg drumsticks laid to rest in their spicy juices.


For some reason, with a lot of food I eat, if I see the below red colouring to my food, I associate it with deliciousness. Spicy, full of flavour. With other cuisine, I sometimes have been led into a false sense of security by this colouring and found tomato or just plain flatness that just can't reach my craving. But I knew that this would be the real deal. If it can stain your fingers and ignite your nostrils, you can feel a little more assure that its going to be tasty meal.



I immediately tore into a chicken leg drumstick, that had been purportedly done in a Buffalo style. Could a chicken leg done like a chicken wing, but on a larger scale?



2007 THE SCORE 3.0: WING MACHINE – Toronto

STYLE:

baked, deep fried

PRICE:

$5.49 for ½ pound (light snack)

$7.99 for ¾ pound (satisfying order)

$9.98 for 1 pound (real meal)

$14.97 for 1 ½ pound

$19.96 for 2 pounds (family)

$29.94 for 3 pounds (party)

SAUCES:

Dips: ($0.75 sm, $1.40 lg)

§ blue cheese

§ honey garlic

§ honey bbq

§ Cajun hot

§ Suicide

Style: ($1 extra)

§ Buffalo

§ Jerk

1/1

HEAT:

burning – definite sensations in mouth from ‘Buffalo style’ and ‘Suicide’

SIZE:

Large - good size for take out wing

2/3

WETNAP FACTOR:

wings come dry – sauce is extra except for ‘Buffalo Style’ (2 marks for BS being wet)

2/3

CRISPINESS:

Crisp

2/3

FLAVOUR:

spicy, peppery flavour – non-traditional sauce

for sure – no hint of ‘Buffalo’ in BS style, but its really good

2/3

SIDES:

n/a

*

CLEAN UP:

nothing

0/2*

WING NIGHT:

none- but lots of combos

1/1

OTHER:

n/a

TOTAL:

good take-out wings

10/16*

*adjusted to fit style of restaurant




Let's get a few things about Wing Machine out of the way before we get ahead of ourselves. First, WM bakes their wings. This produces a juicy wing that is ready to fall off the bones on a good day, or dry right out on a bad. Usually the wings have various spices and seasonings baked into the skin which can create a crisp skin, but not in the same way a deep fried wing would. Also, WM doesn't automatically put sauce on their wings; they have dips, and they usually cost extra.




With this in mind, I was curious how the "Buffalo Drumsticks" would be, considering that for a wing to be 'Buffalo' style, it must be deep fried, with a hot sauce/butter mixture dipped in. Unfortunately, WM deceptively used 'Buffalo' as a marketing gimmick, not an honest wing delivery. That being said, the spicy flavour used was certainly good and was worth praise in its own right. A drumstick was huge, meaty, and the spice caused my throat to swell for a moment and cough, the way a good wing should.



The regular wings are usually pretty small, but I was surprised to find bigger, meatier wings than I was used to from them in the past. The flavour of the chicken is tasty on their own, but I knew I had to order sauce, or dips, on the side to kick it up a notch. I had their suicide (it used to be called 'killer suicide') to splash on the wings. Because it is a peppery suicide, it inflames the senses, and burns well especially in the back of the mouth.


To work with the suicide, I also had blue cheese, which is not only traditional to wings, but would cut down on the heat that the suicide can deliver on. The blue cheese dip is their own unique creation; I would describe it almost as a tzatziki with blue cheese in its texture and flavour. Because of how thick and creamy it was, it had the ability coat the mouth, throat and stomach to reduce pain in the same way milk or sour cream can sooth an extremely hot wing.

My order also came with garlic bread. It was good in that way that Cheese Whiz is: yes its artificial but I like the artificial flavour. These were clearly NOT homemade bread sticks, but something that came out of a plastic package. They were good for soaking up the suicide, and thus, did their job. But unlike Little Caesar's Crazy sticks, I would never order these on their own.



FINAL SCORE: The chicken drumsticks were a fun and tasty experiment; they were in no way 'Buffalo' style, but the marinating sauce they were baked in was certainly good. The wings themselves were bigger than usual but just as flavourful. And the suicide packed a good punch, even if the sauce is extra. The wings aren't cheap, and can be tough on a bad night, but they are a sinful pleasure you might have to look into if you are hungry, need a wing fix, and don't want to go out on a Toronto Friday night. 10/16



Wing Machine
200 Elizabeth Street
, Toronto
(and other chain locations)
wingmachine.ca


14 comments:

Calamity Jen said...

Hey, thanks for an informative post. We were just Googling to find a good wing place that delivers in Toronto, and thanks to you we've settled on Wing Machine.

Lord of the Wing said...

Hey Calamity Jen,

Glad to hear the post was helpful ~ I'm always there to help with anyone's chicken wing needs!

How did your order turn out???


Thanks for reading the blog!

Anonymous said...

Awesome review, helped alot...
toronto really lack s decent well-covered wings delivery chain

Lord of the Wings said...

I agree Anonymous . . . wings shouldn't be this difficult

Trev said...

Heya just read all of the above postings, and was glad to see from the responses that the guy that wrote this blog just didn't have poor judgement..

I just ordered the 'wing nut' combo (2 Lbs of wings with onion rings...mmmmmmmmm!) to go with the pizza ordered from The Magic Onion..

I'm such a pig tonight but who cares? I'm gonnna be in food HEAVEN! mmmwwwwwahahahahhahahahaha!

Lord of the Wings said...

Trev - thanks for stopping by the blog - sounds like you had a great feast! and the wing nut combo sounds like a good way to go.

Anonymous said...

Hi. This review was done in 07, we are now in 2011. Wing machine manages to continue to bring somewhat consistent wings, as per this review. They have slipped here and there with me, but mostly the great taste arrives as usual. I love their spice rub, and most of the time don't even use the dipping. I choose them 'lightly done', because I like the taste of the wings (chicken), and don't care for overcooked crispy kind. When they arrive hot and meaty, it is heaven for me.

15 plus pounds though. Damn .. couldnt they make good food 0 calories .. Can't just eat a few, 2 pounds is just a small meal. *laughs*

Oh! The onion rings are better than the fries. Though sometimes you just want fries!

Lord of the Wings said...

@Anonymous - I appretiate your Wing Machine love! I haven't had them since this review and I do miss them. I agree, if only good food was healthier! Good to know about the onion rings. Thanks for stopping by the blog :)

Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog while I was looking for more info on Wing Machine and had to throw my two cents in :)
So, I discovered WM during my first year of college in 1990. I had never really been a wing eater because I don't like the soft texture of the skin that develops when they are tossed with sauce. However, once I ate the first Wing Machine chicken wing, I was hooked! To this day (August2011) I will travel the 45 mins it takes me drive by car just to taste the most amazing juicy, spicy, baked in goodness that is Wing Machine.
Now, if I could only find the recipe for their spicy chicken rub/marinade I would be in heaven, :D

Lord of the Wings said...

@Anon - Wing Machine does a tasty wing - and I'm impressed with your 45 min commute commitment! Thanks for your two cents.

Anonymous said...

Hey..just found your site..its Jan. 2014 now..My brother turned me on to WM YEARS ago..and it is the standard for wings in my book..I eat WM like a JAMAICAN eats WM..which is to say, not a scrap of meat left, and quite a bit of cartilidge gone too..I live north of the city after a decade in Japan, and could never really figure out the rub, or the blue cheese recipe..any thoughts?
I drink the blue cheese dip if Ive run out of the wings..Tzatiki with some blue cheese mix you think?

Dave

therockite said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
therockite said...

I have been looking around for so long about the recipe of suicide sauce.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dave again!--March 2016

OK..Wing Machines are dropping like flies...they used to be everywhere..the last one I used to go to was on Bloor near Honest Eds...now...its some Jamaican Jerk place...there are still a few..but...if you are addicted to the blue cheese sauce as I am..I think Ive cracked it...Renees' Blue cheese dressing..with equal parts plain yogurt to give you that runny effect...AND a sprinkle of dry dill weed...I swear this was almost if not totally accurate.

I know this site isnt visited by many..but I hope that someone can at least see this and they can have WM live on in their own kitchen!

Good luck!

Dave