Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Be Back Soon

HEY, WHERE ARE YOU GOING???


Well, I'm going away for about a week. Or more. I'm not sure how long until I will be able to post again. But when I do, I will probably have a new Wing Review, and for sure I will have RIBFEST 2008 reviews.

So just hang in there, please!!!!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

LOTW BBQ Spicy Side Ribs v1.0 ~ RECIPE

It's coming . . . can you smell it?
RIBFEST is almost here!
But it's not here yet. And since I can't wait, I made . . .

LOTW BBQ SPICY SIDE RIBS v1.0:
INGREDIENTS
  • side ribs
  • bbq rub
    SAUCE
  • PC Beer & Chipotle BBQ Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Siracha hot sauce
  • Frank's Redhot

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut membrane off the back of the ribs
  2. Cut ribs into smaller portions
  3. Boil ribs in garlic and salt water
  4. When ribs cooked, pat dry
  5. Rub with spices, let sit
    SPICY BBQ SAUCE
  6. mix sauces together
    GRILL
  7. heat grill
  8. add ribs
  9. When ribs almost done, brush on sauce
  10. Enjoy!

I have to BBQ on the building's patio, so here I've packed the sauce mixture in an old cream cheese container. And yes, the sauce is a cheat cuz I just mixed store bought sauces.

Boiling the ribs. I hate this part. It stinks, and the
pot is a bitch to clean later. But boiling means tender ribs.


Here are the ribs, boiled, patted dry, rubbed and then left
for several hours in the fridge.


Spicy rub on the pork side ribs on the grill.


Love that fire, the coals, the heat on the meat!


Ribs still without sauce, grilling to the point of being slightly crispy outside, tender juicy inside.


Adding first layer of sauce. Doesn't that look good? Flip ribs and apply more sauce to back. Then flip again and add one more dose of sauce just before serving.

The finished product, from grill to plate!


The rub seasons the meat on the inside, while the sauce adds a goey
flavour to the outside. Together, they are the dynamic duo.


The meat was tender inside. I think if I had boiled the ribs
in apple juice it would have added a whole new dynamic level of flavour.


But that would be a lot of apple juice and I'm just not ready for that.


Ya, it got my bite of approval. It's no RIBFEST ribs, but
it was good enough to hold me over.


And I had leftovers too. And I made them into

RIB FAJITAS

Monday, 21 July 2008

Gabriel's Pizza ~ Ottawa

Moving into the Ottawa Valley Region has been like moving to another country. Not so much because of the actual culture (although I haven't been exposed to so much French since grade 9 French Class and a few days in France), but the consumer culture. Ottawa has its own set of chains that aren't found in the areas I grew up in, and it is like a trip to the US where they have fast food outlets that do not exist in Canada. Pubs, chicken rotisserie and of course pizza chains. Gabriel Pizza is one of those.



Everywhere I go in Ottawa there seems to be a Gabriel Pizza. And I'll be honest, it never stuck me as anything special. The ads didn't seem to offer any great deals or anything that really made me want to order from them. Except their wings.


The menu has quite a variety: pizzas, pastas, subs, donairs, hamburgers, fish and chips, club sandwiches, poutine, salads and deep fried goodies of fries, onion rings and other breaded goodness. Variety is great, especially for a restaurant, but for a chain, fish/burgers/wings which have all these things, they have got to be frozen, right?



2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Gabriel Pizza ~ Ottawa

STYLE:

Pizza joint, deep fried,

PRICE:

$6.99 for 10

$12.99 for 20

$17.99 for 30

SAUCES:

  • Mild/medium/hot
  • BBQ
  • Smokey BBQ
  • Honey Garlic
  • Suicide

1/1

HEAT:

Suicide was packing heat!

SIZE:

Medium – not very meaty, but reasonable size

1/3

WETNAP FACTOR:

Dripping to drowning, there was a ton of sauce

2/3

CRISPINESS:

Crispy – almost a little too deep fried, but it was still good

2/3

FLAVOUR:

Suicide tasted like 3rd Degree, only hotter!

2/3

SIDES:

None, but it is a pizza joint

n/a

CLEAN UP:

See above

n/a

WING NIGHT:

See above

n/a

OTHER:

I don’t know what the pizza is like

TOTAL:

I loved the suicide sauce – chicken wasn’t special

8/13







The chicken for starters: a medium sized wing. Not particularly meaty at all, but deep fried well. It turned out to be a frozen wing, but it wasn't tough or chewy, just a really crisp skin. I was told they would be 10 mins, but it felt like much longer waiting for them to cook.

I was surprised how well the wings held up, considering it was half an hour before I had ordered them at the parlor and got them home. They were dripping in sauce, yet they were still crispy when I got them home.


While there was nothing great about the chicken itself, the sauce was great. I ordered their 'suicide' and the pizza gentleman (picture a 40 year old man) goes "woah!". "Ya, I'm in the mood for spicy". When I got home and opened them up, I inhaled a familiar yet wonderful scent: 3rd Degree sauce. Having been used to the less-than-killer-but-still-good 3rd Degree, I swished the drummy in the sauce and BAM! I was coughing like crazy. Where did the heat come from? It was killer. Each wing had a significant burn on the lips, the tongue and the whole mouth over all. Even after the wings were gone, I was still feeling the pain. I don't know if it was 3rd Degree spiced up or a very similar but different sauce, but it was hot and tasted good.

FINAL SCORE: Didn't have the pizza, and I don't really have interest in trying it. But the wings, while not big, were crispy and had a great suicide sauce. The wings were not overly expensive too, so this might be something I might try again. The spicy bbq sauce looks and sounds interesting. For a pizza joint, not bad. 8/13


Gabriel Pizza
780 Baseline Road (and other locations)

gabrielpizza.com


Monday, 14 July 2008

The Works, Ottawa ~ NWR

As I've mentioned before, if your not going to have chicken wings, a burger is a great alternative. While most of my explorations of Ottawa have produced mediocre wings, it has produced an excellent burger joint: The Works.



I've been to 4 different locations of this Ottawa chain, with all of them producing a great burger experience. It's only now that I've gotten a chance to blog about it. There are several consistencies I've come across at each: small establishment, always packed, good food.



The decor are all the same but its hard to describe. There's kind of a steam/machinery/factory like feel with pipes, fake electronics, hatches and more on bare brick reinforced with wood tables. With a title like "The Works", its like a factory turned restaurant (although the title's double meaning also refers to the burgers, but more on that in a bit).




The particular location I was at ( St Laurent Blvd) is much larger, and even has a patio. The crowds are mixed from families, the elderly, teens and everything in between. That's because there's a great menu, which has great side dishes, but is pretty much burgers as the main course. Some key appetizers include:

  • 5 different poutine styles (and they use canned gravy & St Albert Curds)
  • Tower-O-Rings ~ lots of breaded onion rings
  • Steamrollers: baked wedges of flour tortilla stuffed w/cream cheese, peppers, chilies, jalapeno peppers & cream cheese
  • Milkshakes (over 20 flavours), floats, ice crush drinks

What I love is the giant measuring cup of Coke, with free refills. Its huge, novel, but it does take up a lot of room on the table.





But of course, the important thing to note is the burgers. The Works has over 434 combinations in which to make your burger. It's a 3 step process:

  1. CHOOSE A GOURMET BURGER PATTY:
    -ground beef, whole chicken breast, ground turkey, Yves veggie burger, Portabello mushroom cap or upgrade for $2.69: certified organic beef or local 'elk ranch' patty


  2. CHOOSE YOUR TOPPINGS: over 50 different set ups. Interesting options include:
    -Avril's Avocado Avalanche: grilled eggplant, avocado, salsa loco & feta cheese
    -Down Under: caramelized onions, fried egg, pineapple, purple beets & Gouda
    -Hold the Phone: peanut butter, cream cheese & jack cheese
    -Kamikaze: jalapeno, chipotle & banana peppers, cheddar cheese & hotter than hell sauce
    -San Francisco Treat: real Kraft Dinner & cheddar


  3. CHOOSE YOUR SIDES:
    -factory fries (fresh cut), sweet potato strings, spicy die-cut chips, lumpy mashed, green weeds, bold slaw
    -Upgrades (with extra costs): onion rings, poutine, Caesar salad, premium poutine, beef chili, Kraft Dinner



It seems like a big process, and just trying to decide what patty, toppings and sides can take forever. Once you've ordered, it takes about 20 minutes for these thick burgers to be cooked, so a fast food burger these are not.

On this particular trip, I went with the Smokey Mountain with my side being the Bold Slaw.

A ground beef patty, smokey bbq sauce, jack cheese and 2 stripes of bacon. Mmmm, so good. Oh, there was also lettuce on there too. An interesting construction technique that worked well (but would never work if I tried it at home) was the burger, then sauce, then cheese. The cheese melted over the bbq sauce making a nice blanket. The bacon is also really good - just the right amount of fat, crispy, but still just slightly chewy.



The two other burgers I've sampled here include the Roughriders Comeback, which is very similar to Smokey Mountain, except with 'bold' bbq, and caramelized onions, and the Rockcliffe Grinder. Technically, this is a chicken burger, with Cajun breaded breast of chicken that's fried in Frank's hot sauce with tomato and chipotle mayo (you can add cheese & bacon for extra). These are the flavours that appeal to me the most, smokey, spicy, cheesy, bacon. I also recommend the elk patty meat as a great tasting and healthy alternative.


For the sides I've had the poutine (good), the die-cut chips, and the fries (which go really well with their Hotter than Hell sauce). With the heat out this afternoon, the Bold Slaw seemed like a good alternative. There's a warning that it contains "jalapeno pepper & white pepper ... yow!!!" but I didn't detect any heat at all. But it was very creamy and just the way I like my coleslaw.

There's lots of sides and upgrades to keep you trying all sorts of different things when you come. However, as most of the burgers are $9-11 to begin with, these additions can really drive the price up quick. Add a drink, and The Works does not make for a cheap dinner or lunch. But the quality ingredients make most of them worth while. While some people don't like a thick juicy burger, for the rest of us this is THE burger place. If only they did wings . . .


The Works: Gourmet Burger Bistro
363 St-Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa (and other locations)
worksburger.com


Click HERE for the menu

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Largest Wings EVER

Man, if only I could get chicken wings that big here in Canada. And 10 of them from only $6.99!!!





This is from a great website called Photoshop Disasters. Check it out. And if you do come across these wings, let me know.

Recipe ~ Buffalo Chicken Wrap

What is the next best thing to having Buffalo chicken wings for supper?



Buffalo Chicken Wrap!!!!!



Buffalo Chicken Wrap
Ingredients:
  • chicken fingers
  • tortilla
  • shredded cheese
  • tomato
  • hot sauce
  • ranch/mayo

    you could also put on

  • shredded lettuce
  • salt & pepper
  • blue cheese dressing

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bake chicken fingers to instructions on box
  2. Place cooked chicken fingers on a tortilla
  3. Apply cheese, tomato, hot sauce and dressing
  4. Wrap and enjoy!
  5. (You could also grill the wrap from here if you wanted)


So simple, yet oh so good. You can make all sorts of variations. Don't feel like Buffalo hot sauce? What about BBQ? What about just seeing what the fast food chains are serving and make your own variations? But do it yourself because it is oh so easy. So good! Sure this isn't really my recipe or anything special on my part, but maybe your looking for a quick, easy and simple meal or snack. That's what I'm here for, that's my service to you. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

PC Smokin' Stampede Beer & Chipotle Barbecue Sauce - Sauce Review

Last summer while visiting the folks, my dad did some ribs on the BBQ, and the sauce he put on it was excellent. The sauce came in this giant one litre bottle which looked like a giant beer bottle almost. It was spicy, and full of flavour. Flash forward to this past spring and I see the same bottle, on sale, and I can't hesitate buying it. And for at least 1-2 months its just sat on the shelf, not being used. There was also 24 wings sitting in the freezer, forgotten, so two and two together, and I decided it was going to be a spicy bbq chicken night.

Oh, the name of that sauce was PC Smokin' Stampede Beer & Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. I nominate them for longest name ever. I'll just call it B&C from here on in.






B&C - beer and chipotle eh? What's not to like? Well, I don't drink beer, but it can be good in BBQ sauce and chili and fish batter. And there's a cowboy on the bottle, that makes the name stampede more sense.


Pretty generic claims about the sauce. 'Bold' and 'flavourful' could be any bottled hot sauce on the market.

I thought it was quite an interesting ingredient mix, some of the more eye grabbing ingredients including: coffee, beer, bourbon. Chipotle was in there (as spices mix), but the first three ingredients are sugar, water and tomato paste. The sauce also said one chile of heat, which was surprising to me because the sauce I had had a bite and this looked like it was going to be more savory than spicy.


The plan had been to bbq these wings. But dark clouds and strong winds meant I was going to oven bake them [I really miss my deep fryer, sitting in storage. :( ] instead. LJ wasn't too crazy about BBQ sauce, so I seasoned half of them in THIS rub.



For my wings, I just sprinkled salt and brushed them with a little oil to help crisp them up. But I thought they looked pathetic on the rack, especially with their seasoned friends next to them. After I grilled them, I tossed the naked wings in the B&C and served them up in my tossing bowl.

2008 S SCORE v1.0: PC Smokin’ Stampede Beer & Chipotle BBQ Sauce

BOTTLE INFO

TYPE:

Spicy bbq sauce

PRICE & BOTTLE SIZE:

1 litre

SAUCES:

PC has so many

INGREDIENTS:

Sugar, water, tomato paste, white vinegar, salt, spices (contain chipotle peppers), brown sugar, modified corn starch, canola and/or soybean oil, natural flavour, onion and garlic powder, caramel colour, coffee, beer, tamarind extract, bourbon, mustard flour, xanthan gum

CLAIMS/SLOGANS:

“A bold and flavourful sauce with a touch of smokiness, ideal for chicken, ribs, pork and beef”

-One chili heat mark

WEBSITE:

Presidentschoice.ca

THE SENSES

APPEARANCE /TEXTURE:

-thick

-dark

SMELL:

-smokey, tomato and I say coffee, but that’s might be because I read coffee in the ingredients

FLAVOUR:

-see above with a hint of spice

THE PAIN

HEAT:

  • I can sense heat, but not really

0/3

BURN CHRONOLOGY:

Beginning Burn

Middle Burn

After Burn

TASTE:

Very tasty, a great BBQ sauce

3/3

FINAL SCORE

3.5/6

OTHER:

There may not be any heat, but it’s a damn good sauce



The sauce looked so good, pouring out of the bottle, slow, thick. It looked even better on the wings. It was gooey, but not too sticky. It had the perfect texture for a BBQ sauce in my opinion.



The sauce was good - really good. But there was not heat. At all. I couldn't understand it, because the heat on my fathers ribs (which I had again about 2 weeks ago) had a good bite to it, and I know he didn't add anything. What was going on?



I went to the PC website and searched their condiments, where I found my mistake. I grabbed the big bottle of BBQ chipotle sauce without really looking at it, when what I wanted was THIS, PC Smokin' Habanero Barbecue Sauce. I grabbed the wrong sauce!!! And it is rated two chili's in heat. Dang.
Below is a shot of LJ cutting into her wings. Yes, she uses a knife and fork. But she's eating the wings and that's the important thing.
On a side note from the sauce, I really did not like the wings. The skin wasn't crispy, the meat was rubbery - I hated them. I kept wanting to have the sauce, but I didn't want the chicken. LJ's spiced wings were more tender, but it reinforced the important lesson to never freeze wings again. It's fresh or bust.

Because of these terrible wings, I swapped some of the spiced wings and tossed them in the BBQ. Better, but not by much. The chicken that is. The BBQ sauce tasted good.




FINAL SCORE: While I got the wrong sauce, and this wasn't spicy, it was a really good bbq sauce. It's got everything a non-hot bbq sauce should have: texture, thickness, smokiness and bold flavour. Yes, the bottle may not have been original in describing their sauce, it was dead on.
3/6



PC Smokin' Stampede Beer & Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Presidentschoice.ca

SUMMERHAYS BAR & GRILL ~ Ottawa

Driving on Baseline road, I passed a sign on a place that read, and I'm paraphrasing: "$0.35 wings everyday after 2pm." I know, $0.35 wings is not the best wing deal ever, but in today's world of increasing gas prices and bird flu and yada yada yada - its not a bad deal. But I couldn't resist. It wasn't 2 yet, and I had to get back to the apartment, so I decided to read up on the place.

Mixed reviews is what I got. Half the people seem to hate it, either for the food or the service or both. The other half said it was a good place to go. Now I don't go by what every arm-chair critic says, or even professional critiques either. So I decided to check the place out for myself, the only critic I listen to.

The place was really strange inside - I couldn't describe what kind of place this was. It wasn't really a bar, a lounge, a family restaurant . . . it just looked like a mish mash of design ideas that went no where. In the middle was a strange spiral stair/ramp (seen in the photo above) that served no purpose but took up space and did nothing for the place. The menu had everything on it, trying to please everyone I guess, and it looked as if it was from the early 90's itself and had never changed. If I could recommend a place to Restaurant Makeover, this would be it.


There are four areas for seating: the patio (2 parts, one was closed, the other packed with people), the 'bar' with booths, the upper dinning lounge (closed), and the dining room I sat in. 2pm was a strange time to be eating, so the people there were hardly a good sample to define the place.


I was there for the wing special, and that's what I got. Decided to take advantage of this and try 3 different sauces, but I went a little overboard.



2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Summerhays Grill ~ Ottawa

STYLE:

Dusted, deep fried

PRICE:

$7.50 for 1lb (approx 10 wings)

$12 for 2lb

SAUCES:

  • Medium
  • Hot
  • Suicide
  • BBQ
  • Honey Garlic

0/1

HEAT:

Heat had a sour tingle, but suicide had nothing to it

SIZE:

Large

2/3

WETNAP FACTOR:

-hot was almost dripping 2.5

-suicide was thick 2

-BBQ barely had sauce 1.5

AVERAGE of 3: 2

2/3

CRISPINESS:

Deep fried breading makes the skin pretty crisp, for the most part

1.5/3

FLAVOUR:

-hot was sour but not bad 1

-suicide was not tasty 0

-BBQ was good 2

AVERAGE of 3: 1

1/3

SIDES:

none

0/3

CLEAN UP:

One wetnap, 2 napkins, one small plate

3/3

WING NIGHT:

$0.35 a wing, everyday, 2pm-

1/1

OTHER:

patio

TOTAL:

The wings have potential, but it wasn’t really worth it to me

10.5/20





Before I get into the 3 sauces, let me describe the meat itself. First, I was surprised at the size of the wings. I had read a few comments that said the wings were small, but these were large and looked meaty. I had order 10 wings of each, expecting tiny wings! I felt a little gluttonous siting there with 3 big baskets all to myself.


Despite their large size, added to slightly by their dusting, these morsels were kinda chewy. I'm pretty sure they were frozen wings, that had been thawed and then cooked. This really disappointed me as they could have been great.

They were pretty saucy, so I was happy about that. Well, the hot was pretty saucy anyway.




HOT: The hot sauce was what I call my 'pub classic' wing. Vinegar and hot pepper sauce, its tasty, sour, and pretty common. There was lots of sauce and these were definitely my go-to wings of the meal.


BBQ: This tasted like Duff's spicy BBQ without the spicy. It was good and thick (although they could have put on more sauce). It was more sweet than a smokey, but recommendable to non-hot eating wing lovers.


SUICIDE: I debated just getting suicide on the side, but at these prices, I took the plunge and tried the suicide on its own. This sauce also tasted and smelled very much like Duffs Death sauce with one exception: no heat. No heat at all! I ate one and waited, and there was nothing. So then I just tried the sauce . . . and no bite took effect. Hot was more painful than this, and it was a mild at best. I didn't enjoy the flavour, a thick style of sauce that by the end, I didn't want to eat anymore.


FINAL SCORE: While these were big and crispy, the chicken itself was just too chewy. There was nothing special about the sauces either. When I had a few left and didn't really want to finish them, my waitress just said no, I couldn't take them home, policy. She also only came to check on me when my wings were almost gone - another drink was needed. She wasn't bad, just not attentive or that helpful. So, while it wasn't a bad wing deal, I wouldn't bother with Summerhays again. 10.5/20



Summerhays Grill
1971 Baseline Road, Ottawa