Tuesday, 22 January 2008

RECIPE ~ Dude's China BrandyWings

Dude, a member of the Wing Nation, sent this review all the way from

Xi'an, China. Keep on winging it brother!


Upon my travels to Xi’an, I have had the loss of some internet access. No Blog access is allowed in this great Communist Country. Which of course means I am unable to keep posted on The Wing King’s blog. The government is right in banning blogs though, free thinking is for chumps….right.

SO I did the only thing I could think to do: I made my own chicken wing blog entry! But if I were going to do an International Blog Review, well, it would have to be unique! My first thought is I would make a Peanut Butter Chicken Wing. Mmmmmmmm how good this would taste. But no, it had to be BETTER! I would create a Chinese Brandy Chicken Wing – TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!!!!! Or…maybe just dine in my living room instead. This is how the caper went down:

I had to buy the best chicken wings from the local Supermarket, Aijia. (which in Chinese means big family).

I needed to add some more flavour before adding the Brandy however. So I fried up some onion, green pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and butter with some delicious peanut oil. The Wing King would be proud of the effort I was putting forth.

I was cooking up a storm!

But after some cooking…I had an idea, or rather a decision. Do I add Peanut Butter? My original secret weapon. Oh, the sweet succulent peanut butter, how the Gods of Kobal looked down upon me with only pleasantries!

Ohhhh, the decision was a tough one! Would it ruin my beautiful creation? Perhaps, it would be the best damn wings ever! But as my wings cooked, time was not on my side! What was I to do???

The choice was one of great endurance! But then, I made the final choice. I could not let The Wing King down today – today I would not be the gambling man. Not today, not today.

I put that peanut butter back…with a little pat to say, next time. Ok, the time was near, I needed to get down to business. The smell of my wings was filling my kitchen of truly glorious visions! It was time, time for the Brandy. Would it work?

Oh, did it ever smell good!!!!!!!!! I was standing on the edge of my talons with much wing anticipation!

Oh yes, it was time to eat!

But not without a little DS9 action to keep me company on my feast.

Oh the taste! It was so juicy! So wonderful! I was in chicken wing heaven!

The Brandy was the perfect flavour! It did not take long at all for me to polish these little angels off.

In the end? I give them two giant wings up!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The CROWN & DRAGON ~ Toronto, On

Yeah Friday!!! Work is done, time for fun! Plans were set in motion long before to get together with Nee & Razor once again, and I think we were all excited to do a wing review. (Please Note, due to security reasons, N&R will not be appearing in the blog tonight. But they are there. Really!) But how many places are there really left to review in Downtown Toronto? I did a quick scan via the Interweb, when I came across a pub I had not heard of, let alone for their wing prowess. The Crown & Dragon (C&D). I did some readings, and several people said to try their wings. So I sent out the call about this slightly North of Bloor pub.

Nestled in an office tower, Nee and I barely noticed this cozy little pub. Outside, they announced that they were the place to be for wings. We shall see. Inside, Rayzor met us in this traditional Canadian British Pub; dark wood panelling, sports and old-English paraphernalia, loud music and the game on TV.

There was a mixed crowd of young and old inside. Behind us the older crew had asked the waitress to turn the music down, mocking how they couldn't hear themselves talk. This is how I know I'm not old yet; I still can handle loud rock, but I'm not so young I don't criticize kids these days and how they aren't as good as we were when we were young.

Our waitress was "prompt and courteous" and very informative. I questioned her on everything from wing nights to most popular flavours. She said described her favourite (Honeycomb Heaven) as 'delicious', which is something Nee noted as a positive 'foodie' speak, rather than just 'good'. She mentioned Viva Italia, Dragon's Breath and Key West BBQ as some of the most ordered favourites amongst the wings. I want to note that I really appreciate C&D's menu for actually describing their sauces. Yes there are a lot of sauces with cute names, but C&D is one of the few 'big-sauce-list' places that actually tell you what you are ordering. Thank you.

Nee, not of fan of wings herself (we won't get into this. But she is more than happy to come out for wings with others, so ya.) ordered after much debate, the Dragon Club. Grilled, real chicken breast, bacon, cheddar served on francese bun made a standard sandwich into a gourmet delight. Nee substituted regular potato for sweet potato fries, that were STALKS, not sticks. They were massively crunchy and a wonderful flavour. An extra dipping sauce came out, which seemed to match the description of the Asian Heat wings, that Nee did not appreciate. I didn't mind it, but I wouldn't order it on my own.

Ray was just as excited about ordering wings, and we spent a bit of time strategizing the number, and the sauces. There was so much to choose from. We made a plan, trying to get the Game Night Special. We asked the waitress if there was a game on. She didn't know and asked us if there was. We didn't know. We tried to stress our curiosity was for the special not a game itself. She went to see. Apparently the Raptors were playing, but that we couldn't see the game where we were sitting. That's ok, as long as we get our wings.

2008 THE SCORE 3.0: CROWN & DRAGON ~ Toronto


Deep fried, baked, grilled, dusted,


$8.95 for 1lbs

$16.50 for 2lbs

$24.25 for 3lbs

$30 for 4lbs

Bigger Platters available, just ask


27 different flavours!!! We ordered:

  • Dragon’s Breath
  • Foghorn Leghorn
  • Holy Habenero
  • The Traditionals HOT
  • Key West BBQ

See HERE for other flavours



Hot was not (really a mild).

Dragon’s breath had a nice bite

Holy Habenero (the hottest) was nottest. Less hot than Dragon’s Breath


Large-Jumbo. While it seemed it might just be the dusting, the un-dusted flavours were big



About a 2, some wings and some sauces were wetter than others. Also, the dusting soaked some up.



A nice crisp texture



The chicken itself was good, and the sauces varied.



Veggies & dip (sour cream type dip)

You can add:
garden salad - $4.99

Caesar salad - $5.99

Orange & goat salad - $7.25



Normally they have wetnaps, but they were out so they said we could have as many napkins to compensate. No wing bowl and really only our eating plate to dispense bones.



3!!! Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday 1/2 price – bonus point for extra wing nights!

AND the Game Special: 2lbs of wings & 1 pitcher of domestic beer for $25 on Toronto game night (I have never been so happy for a Raptor game)



They serve Coke, but no free refills


Good – there is room for sauce improvement but it should only get better from here


Our first batch came out. Immediately I could tell this was going to be a good night. I wish I didn't have to take photos, letting precious seconds go by that weren't eating wings. First impressions: big wings with a bit of dusting. The chicken itself tasted great, but what about the sauces?

TRADITIONAL HOT: The traditional flavour is described as "medium or HOT buffalo style" with 1, 2, or 3 dragons indicating heat. 2 problems with this statement: Hot was not, "a mild at best" Rayzor said. Also, traditional Buffalo does not have breading on the wings. That being said, its mild flavour was nice, but I want something with waaaaaay more kick. Not just heat, the flavour was weak. But a tasty wing none-the-less.

KEY WEST BBQ: This sauce was also really weak. There was no lime, smokey or sultry hickory flavour to it all. Again, not a bad sauce, but there was nothing bold about this BBQ. Very mute taste that needed something to kick it up a notch or 5. Definitely for someone with no tolerance of heat. I like the concept, but hurt me just a little.

After we tore through the first 2 pounds, we decided it was only right to order more. And to get a good sampling we were going to really need 3 more lbs.

HOLY HABANERO: Deemed their hottest sauce, this 'salsa' slightly spread over plain wings was rated at 4 dragons. Let me tell you, not 4 dragons at all. It was sweet, yet it said it was supposed to be a "hot and smokey flavour". For me, the most disappointing wings. Not hot, not great, not much sauce.

DRAGON'S BREATH: My favourite wings of the night. Spicy, lots of flavour, and crisp. They mark it at 3 dragons, but this was the hottest wing we tried (a hot, no hot enough to be a suicide). The most hot, the most flavour. And they say they created it by accident, way to go.

FOGHORN LEGHORN: "That's a wing... I say I say that's a wing, son" Named after the Southern cartoon chicken, this flavour of wing is marinated, then baked then grilled. It tasted like a roasted chicken. I was not a fan of the texture of the skin, finding it not crisp at all, but it was a nice deviation from the traditional wing. More grilling would fix the framework of these , I say I say.

FINAL SCORE: I was pleasantly surprised at the Crown & Dragon. As Rayzor said, it was "worth revisiting", and I agree. They haven't been doing the specialty sauces for very long, so I think there is still room for improvement in the heat department, considering they advertise the wings outside as being "hot". But the size alone and the quality of chicken itself, the perfect deep fry and the numerous options, your sure to find a good one in there somewhere. It's good to see there are more places to explore wings in Toronto. Thumbs up.

PS: Thanks for the Restaurant Review book and Dinner ~ You guys rock!!!

The Crown & Dragon
890 Yonge Street, Toronto

Click HERE for more photos, dessert and the wing sauce menu

Click HERE to go to the 2010 Updated Review

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

GINO's PIZZA ~ Toronto (and other locations)


It was a lazy Sunday. Woke up, late afternoon. Ok didn't get the day started until the late afternoon and I didn't see Narnia. I'm still in Toronto doing temp work, when I went in to do some work in the office for a while. Then I took a nap. Then I slept through the caf and I missed dinner. I went back to do some more work later in the evening, but later on I was getting hungry. There was no way I was going outside at this point, so I decided to look into delivery. I thought about Chinese, then Pizza, when it hit me: wings, of course. Ricky had mentioned Gino's Pizza's new wings were worth checking out. So I did.

Gino's Queen Street Location, Toronto

In high school, Rick, Dude, and a few others had a special class we called Gino's 101. When the schedual worked out just right, we would have class, spare, lunch, spare, class - which essentially worked out to be a mega-spare. Oh once we had vehicles were were going to McD's, a short lived Caribbean place, even Zellers restaurant (love the Z sauce). But we spent most of our time studying Gino's Pizza. We got to know Gino (his name was doubtfully Gino, but he looked like a Gino), who served us up slices every week and introduced us to the bizarre beverage, Brio. Good times were had by at the Tillsonburg Town Centre, but I was never a big fan of what seemed like tiny, over cooked wings.

Back in December I had passed by a Gino's stand and saw advertisements for new wings. I made a mental note and kept on. But then speaking one night, Rick mentioned having tried Gino's new wings and that they were worth checking out. I had planned to wait until I saw him again, but on this night, I couldn't wait.

The poster from the website showed me 4 options: Buffalo, Honey Garlic, Crispy Breaded and BBQ. Obviously I wasn't getting HG, but I couldn't decide between the Buffalo, Crispy and BBQ. So I got all three. To do a fair sampling. Really. This had to be scientific.

There was some slight confusion when I ordered. When asked what kind of wings, I was asked if I wanted baked or fried (I have an option? that's a nice touch). I asked for the wing sauces to be split, 1 Buffalo, 1 Crispy and 1 BBQ. Somehow she made it HG and we had to start over. I was given a choice on BBQ, for mild, medium, hot or suicide. Not for the Buffalo or the breaded sauce, for the BBQ. Suicide it was! I was told 45-50 minutes for delivery and in a few minutes I was chatting with a friend on the phone. It wasn't long before a security guard came to my door. My food had arrived. It wasn't even 30 minutes since I ordered.

2008 THE SCORE 3.0: GINO’s PIZZA ~ Toronto (and other locations)
baked, deep fried, plain & breaded
(choice for all)
$7.99 for 10 wings
$15.99 for 20 wings
$22.99 for 30 wings
  • Buffalo
  • Honey Garlic
  • BBQ (mild/medium/hot/suicide)
Tingle – there was a bit of a sting, but not really (this was both the Buffalo and Suicide BBQ)
Medium – even breaded wasn’t that big
dry-wet-dripping: each order was different
chewy: by the time delivery came anyway
Good with much room for improvement
They gave me a free fridge magnet!
Ok – would be better at Gino’s rather than takeout
*adjusted to fit style of restaurant

They were a decent sized wing for a takeout place. Unfortunately they were a bit mushy by the time they got to me, despite the speedy delivery. The breaded wings were moist as well, but ready to fall off the bone for sure. There were 3 different type wings, so lets break it down:

Above: Buffalo Style. Ok they were deep fried, and yes there is a Frank's style hot sauce. However it was just straight hot sauce, no butter and potential vinegar mix. An ok wing, but they were defenitely my least fave.

Above: Breaded with the same hot sauce as Buffalo. The seasoning of these wings was pretty blah but a juicy wing inside. They asked me if I wanted sauce on the wings or not. I said on. They put it on all but the breaded (I should have gotten them all on the side to reduce soggification, lesson learned).

Above: BBQ Suicide. This was by far my favourite. A very subtle bbq, hidden behind a nice suicide sauce. It didn't taste like a normal spicy bbq, as the hot sauce was the dominant flavour. I ended up dipping all the other wings in this sauce it was soo good.

FINAL SCORE: Well, these wings satisfied a craving, and I had leftovers for the next day. I didn't hate these wings, but I didn't love them either. I did really enjoy the BBQ Suicide sauce, which went well with the dusted wings and the breaded. I think this would worth a second try from a different location, like London or even Tillsonburg as some chains tend to be a little different from place to place. 7/13

Gino's Pizza
60 Queen Street East, Toronto (and other locations)


"The devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal.
He was in a bind 'cos he was way behind: he was willin' to make a deal.
When he came across this young man sawin' on a fiddle and playin' it hot.
And the devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said: "Boy let me tell you what:"
I bet you didn't know it, but I'm a fiddle player too. "
And if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you."
Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the devil his due:
"I bet a fiddle of gold against your soul, 'cos I think I'm better than you."
The boy said: "My name's Johnny and it might be a sin,"
But I'll take your bet, your gonna regret, 'cos I'm the best that's ever been."

The first wings of 2008!!!! I was psyched when Julianna had suggested last year coming to Duff's for what was supposed to be my last Tuesday in Toronto for a potentially long while. And Tuesday at Duff's can only mean one thing . . .

. . . long line-ups because it was wing night. And this wasn't going to be just any wing night; oh no I had plans. I had plans to correct an injustice that has plagued me for months. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was again attempting,


Way back in April I made an attempt, that left me hugging the curb. Rick was good support, but I just wasn't prepared for my Marathon of Pain. This time I had a new cheer crew: Julianna, Mitch and Erin. I also had the occasional waiter supporting, and threatening me to victory. It was clear that I would be Dueling with the Devil to make this happen, but I was ready.

Our waiter came (and he recognized me, which is nice) and when I told him what I was doing, he tried to talk me out of it. I explained I had been on the board but had long been booted off. He accepted and looked to the others. Juliana went for the honey garlic wings (I don't know why, but hey, some people are into crazy things). Mitch went for the medium-hot, enjoying the flavour and a bit of heat. I, on the other hand, had to eat 32 Death Wings just to get on the board. I had spent the day preparing, reading up on wing eating competitions, eating little but not too much to starve, stomach exercises and more.


  • Eat the wings as quickly as possible
  • Only allowed to drink after 10 wings were consumed, ditto for blue cheese
  • Drink Loganberry (sugar) to cut down on the heat
  • Do not worry about licking sauce off fingers: don't waste space in the tummy
  • Keep moving in your seat
  • Never stop eating, Never give up.

Julianna also added a helpful hint throughout the event:

  • You don't have to eat every scrap of chicken on the wing

The first 10 Deathwings came, and my cheer squad could immediately smell them. After the physical heat died down, I tore into the first batch. I was on the attack, no mercy, ravaging the first 10 in no time at all. I passed the first test, I didn't go blind. Before long I was ordering another 10.

Order #2 came out, meeting the same fate as the first. Destroyed. I had eaten 20 and I was feeling good. Not full, not sweating from heat. I was ready for more. By that point, Erin arrived and continued to support my effort.

Wings 20-30 had no chance, no chance at all. Not with this crew cheering me on.

When I got to my third order of wings, things slowed down. I was getting full for sure, and worst of all, the sauce was making me nauseous. At #33 it happened. My tummy rumbled. I stopped. This was it, I was sure. Another rumble and a feeling in my throat. Think quick, because I can't throw up now and be disqualified. Think. Think think think. Too late. A rush of chicken cud came up, enough for the spice to scorch the inside of my nose. I swallowed again and it all went back. I was safe, and for some odd reason, I wasn't as full as before.

By this point, several waiters had come by. Our waiter kept checking in, restocking napkins and waiting for my next order. Another came by and asked how many I had eaten. "33". "Good, good. Keep it up. You can't quit now. You can't. You came this far, you have to keep eating". Wow, what encouragement. Another staff member came by and told us he did the graphic for the board and whether I was going to make it worth his while (in a joking manner). I wasn't sure at this point.

I had reached the 32 mark, beating the #5 on the list. That's when our waiter said that the board was not up to date and the cut off was now 36 or 38. It was clear that just getting on the board wasn't going to be enough anymore.

Each wing was becoming a challenge. In my head I was like "its just a few more wings, really, come on." But seriously each wing was now an accomplishment. 1 Deathwing was taking me at least 5 minutes to just chew and swallow. This wasn't fun anymore. This was war.

I was getting there, one wing at a time. I had just 2 to go. The last 10 wings had extra sauce on them, making them super goopey. It was going to be a fight the whole two wings to the end. If I could just make 39 or 40, then I was guaranteed a spot. If I could just make it . . .

"The Devil pulled up his napkin and said: "I'll start this show."
And fire flew from his fingertips as he ate down to the bone.
And he pulled that wing across his teeth and it made an evil hiss.
As he sucked down the hottest suicide a man's lips could ever kiss.
When the Devil finished, Wing King said: "Well you're pretty good ol' son."
But if you'll sit down in that chair, right there, and let me show you how its done."

"The Devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat.
He laid that Wall of Pain sign on the ground at Wing King's feet.
Wing King said: "Devil just come on back if you ever want to try again."
I told you once, you son of a bitch, I'm the best that's ever been."

I ate those 40 wings that day, my stomach feelin full
But I felt mighty proud and loud about this stunt that I did pull
I got up on the Wall of Pain, like so very few ever can
With my friends there by my side, I could do it all again
(But I won't, and my stomach thanks me for that)

Thanks team for all your love and support. I couldn't have done it without ya!