Both are laid out almost identical. Both have the same prices (not particularly cheap I might add). Both sell tons of crap like clothes and toys in between the food isles. I understand chains like the Fresh Obsessed (A&P/Dominion) have cheaper outlet versions (Food Basics, which I hate. Why do you have to have food on the ground? Why are all the carts not available in the store, but forcing one to go on a hunt through the parking lot?) for discount shopping. But as far as I can tell, Loblaws/GCSS are the same store. Which means they have roughly the same wings.
Rick did a review of his GCSS in London a few years ago (yes, the reviews are now a few years ago!!! see the last post) and he wasn't too happy with them (see HERE). Not that I totally disagree with him, but every time I go into GCSS I have to fight not to buy them. But we will get to my review soon.
I've gotten these wings twice in a two week period. The first time, I was just picking up some spicy wedge fries. I saw them putting out a fresh load of wings into the serving trays, dripping with sauce. My young attendant was jazzed that I was getting the large box of fries (he actually said awesome). But he had to take a little breather because as his co-worker was dumping in the wings, he caught a whiff of the Hot sauce. Our conversation went something like this:
Wing Clerk Dude: "Sorry dude, that stuff is strong."
Wing King: "Ya, I'm going to have to get a small order of the hot"
WCD: "Oh, excellent decision! These wings are the best, and hottest of any store bought wings just like this. I love these wings, but man, its hard to eat a whole order their so hot"
WK: "Funny you should say that, I'm actually . .. "
WCD: "Ya, I can eat fairly hot. I once ate a whole habanero pepper. Wow, my mouth was like burning"
I didn't get to mention who I am or what I do, but I can't help appreciate someone who appreciates wings. I only got 6 wings, but they were so hot and spicy that my mouth burned afterwards. Oh, and I ate them in less than 3 minutes (granted, I didn't have lunch that day).
On this particular occasion, the wings were not fresh out of the fryer. They also got dished up with little sauce. It wasn't busy, so I asked the clerk if she could put some extra sauce on them. She looked confused for a second, I doubt anyone has this request often, but after her hesitation she went behind to the back counter and pulled a small flat container of sauce out and gave the wings a spicy shower. I grabbed a drink, and was off to the car to have a little lunch.
2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Loblaws/Real Canadian Superstore
“Roadhouse Wings”, breaded, deep fried
$3.75 for 5
$6.99 for 10
$12.99 for 20
$17.99 for 30*
Hot certainly has a kick – good tingling
Large (for store bought wings)
Dry/wet – they came so that the ‘sauce’ was in the breading, I asked for extra sauce
Chewy/mushy – breading due to sauce and steamy environment
Sauce gives it a tasty zing, spices in breading not very strong
A whole grocery store to choose from for other foods
Ok – but after eating several I didn’t feel like finishing them all off.
First, the wings themselves. They are a good size, pretty big even for a lot of restaurants. I enquired how the wings are prepared and I was told they are shipped in frozen and pre-breaded. The GCSS or Loblaws then deep fries them, sauces them, then puts them out to their heat lamped location.
I was shocked that these were frozen wings. Not because the corporation would freeze them, but that a frozen commercial wing would turn out this well. I was also surprised they were deep fried; I would have guessed baked. The wings are actually meaty, and fall off the bone (usually frozen are stringy and have rubbery meat). I suppose the steamed-like atmosphere its kept until purchase helps losen up these wings, but the skins begin to lose their crispyness.
The 'naked' wing, the ones without sauce do not have a strong flavour. There are spices hidden in there, but they just aren't strong enough to really appretiate. The sauce they slightly add in the bin soaks in, but they are usually conservative in its application to avoid the wings becoming too mushy (my guess). This is where I see Ricky's dissapointment in the wings. This is why I got extra sauce put on.
The sauce is red, syrupy, and gives me a memory of 3rd Degree. It is a strong sauce - WCD had to take a moment after inhaling - it definetly has a kick. And it is the hottest sauce I've come across from a grocery store. While it didn't last long, I certainly got a tingling of the lips.
FINAL SCORE: I do enjoy these wings. But after eating maybe 6-10, I don't want to eat anymore. The leave a weird feeling in my tummy, and I attribute it to the breading. The wings lost points because they were not crispy and if they have been sitting too long they turn out badly. Good for eating immediately only. I'm going to have them again, I know this. I just can't stay mad at them when I pass them at the store. 7/13 * modified score