Monday, 30 November 2009

Return to WINGSTREET

Over a year ago I tried WingStreet's foray into take-out deep fried chicken wings. I wasn't overly impressed. The wings were fairly big and meaty for take-out wings, but the main heat sauce I went with, Heat Seeker, was just to HFCS-sy for my liking.


I also was not impressed with the Canadian website and inability to find WingStreet locations or info in Canada. I contacted them to discuss this and I was told by Mr Munshaw of Customer Communication Representative of Yum! Restaurants International (Canada) he would:


"forward your interest in Wing Street to our Pizza Hut marketing team for future consideration."




So here we are in the closing months of 2009, and Pizza Hut/WingStreet Canada has a new website (for a little while now). Your welcome Canada. And they have restructured their flavours too.





  • Cajun

  • Spicy BBQ

  • Honey BBQ

  • Garlic Parmesan

  • Spicy Asian

  • Buffalo Mild / Buffalo Medium / Buffalo Burning Hot

Totally Teriyaki seems to have been replaced by spicy Asian (but that might just be a name change) and they added Garlic Parmesan. And the Mild & Heat Seeker have been replaced by their 3 tier heats of Buffalo.



So why am I telling you all this? Well, other than this blog is dedicated to all things wings, a commercial came out a little while ago with the other 'Wing King' Drew Cerza, and I finally added it to the blog the other week. A few people left comments and e-mailed, especially my friend Ricky P, said I should give them another shot. Well, I decided to give them a second chance.




I went into a Pizza Hut that had a WingStreet for lunch. My waitress Darlene was friendly but a little awkward ( I think she was new, plus not many people pass on the lunch buffet). I had a Mountain Dew to drink, and it wasn't too long before my wing orders arrived.



I really wanted to do a scientific experiment to see if these were good Buffalo wings. I went with just one sauce, the Burning Buffalo Hot. But WingStreet has 3 ways to have your wings: Traditional (deep fried straight up), Breaded, and Bone-Out (ie Boneless wing).




I went with the first two. Let the science begin! The above photo is actually a poor representation. You cannot really tell which is which just by looking, and most of the breaded were actually bulkier (due to breading, duh). But the wings over all were a pretty good size, the smallest being Medium, the rest large. All were very meaty.


Above is a breaded wing. The coating was very crunchy, very thick. One or two wings like this were decent, but eventually all I could taste was the breading. It overpowered the sauce even. I asked whether they were breaded in house or came frozen this way, and as suspected, came frozen pre-breaded. But they were big.



Above is a the Traditional. Just like a Buffalo wing. Deep fried, crispy skin. The way a Buffalo wing should be.




On to the sauce itself. It won Best Hot Traditional Wing Sauce (2007) @ National Buffalo Wing Festival, so that must mean something, right? Well it was a unique take on the traditional sauce. A little viscous in texture, but still slightly HFCS-ey. There was a butter/cayenne hot flavour there too. But as for heat, it was definitely a medium.



Oh, and I got a lot of sauce. A lake. Super wet wings. No one complaining here.




Overall, the Traditional Hot Buffalo were good wings. The breaded ones were just too much for my liking. The sauce is decent and there's lots of it - but these wings aren't gold medal in my opinion. Eating in ensured crispy wingettes. I don't think I would be ordering them for delivery. Overall, my key word is decent. Not better than a pub, but better than a frozen wing.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Man vs Food: suicide wing challenges

One of my Twitter peeps, Bitchin Kitchen, sent out a video about a guy eating spicy food. I opened the video, and found that it was the show Man vs Food, and he was eating wings.

I've never seen the show Man vs Food, but I think I would like it. I mean, the guy ate suicide wings.





Before you watch, I have to warn you, this guys a bit of a wimp. . .





First, the wings look great. But the staff at Buffalo Cantina do not seem impressed with host Adam Richman. I mean, he's ridiculously afraid of the wings, he pre-dips them in too much blue cheese (or ranch), and after eating a bite, he needs a lot of liquids. Don't get me started on the bathroom bit. Also a little tip, don't drink water - it doesn't stop the burn. Drink milk.

BUT it turns out this video, from 2008 was his first attempt. He tried again this past September (see photo at top). But according to the website Eat Me Daily, it wasn't all it was up to be:

"Except he kinda sorta wimped out. Not that we blame him. We saw one bite of the suicide wings drive a spectator to tears, and immediately thereafter, the bathroom. But as much as we love Man v. Food and admire Richman's deliciously entertaining challenges, we couldn't write about the taping without facing up to what we all know: TV is fake, plain and simple. The show made the restaurant's wing-eating challenge easier by having Richman eat six less spicy wings."


I promise you right now, I will never falsely me eating wings. I won't pretend to eat hotter than I am, and I promise I won't act it up. My wing eating is authentic, even if I fail. But it looks good doesn't it?

Toronto Star talks about Boneless Wings Boom

The Toronto Star has an article on Boneless wings, the chicken wing crisis in the states, and how the cost of wings are surpassing premium chicken breast meat. AND they mention our good wing buddies over at Hotwings.ca.

It's titled, "Why Chicken Wings No Longer Have Bones"




While I will always choose actual wings over boneless any day, I can't say I hate a boneless wing. But I love the final quote of the piece by Jim Knisley, a contributor to Canadian Poultry magazine:




"At the many, and frequent, wing gatherings we partake in, there is always a wing-vs.-drumstick split that goes on, but I have yet to see a `boneless' camp show up and make their presence known," he says. "You eat wings and drums with your fingers, getting all saucy in the process, and you require a napkin – or 20 – at the end. "With the boneless wings, you eat the damn things with a knife and fork, require no napkin and you look like a tool.""

Like a tool. Priceless.

Kids Cafeteria Serves Up Wings


The kids in the Andover Public School System in Andover Massachusetts are pretty darn lucky. Not only are their lunch menus published in the newspaper for them to plan their meals, they get, get this, wings. Andover High School:

"Tuesday: Chicken wing bar with assorted dips, french fries, cole slaw, breadstick, monte cristo, steak and cheese taco roll up and fruit cup."



Shut up! A chicken wing bar? With assorted dips? And more. Lucky kids.


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

World Wide Web Wacky Wing Wednesday #2 - Wing Zombie

It's another exciting edition of:


Yes, World Wide Web Wacky Wing Wednesday. WWWWWW. This is where I will surf the Web, and find other people talking about chicken wings. The world is full of chicken wing stories, wacky and otherwise. Recipes, restaurant reviews, eating contests or whatever. Today's Blog relating to wings in some shape or form:


Chicken wings, zombies, what can I say, a great combination. The website is a hodgepodge of stuff, but the important thing is there are wing reviews. Above is a photo from his wing encounters at Buffalo Wild Wing:

"The hot were quite good. They packed more heat than I’m used to getting in a traditional hot wing. They had a nice hit of spice but I would have liked a little more vinegar hit on the back end. The doneness was perfect and the wings were average size."


I tried BW3's wings back on the Great Wing Tour and I found them nice and big, but rubbery meat. The sauce on Wing Zombie's looks good though.

Keep up the good work WZ!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Wingette vs Drummette POLL

I've been following a thread on the Red Flag Deals Forums of Food & Drink about chicken wings. Specifically, it asks whether there is more meat on a wingette or a drumette.


Personally, I don't know. But much of the discussion seems more interested in what people prefer to eat. And it got me thinking.


I'm interested in what YOU think. As in, what appendage do YOU reach for when there is a platter of wings? The Wingette, the Drummette, or the Whole Wing (no split)? Or does it matter?



OR


Write in the comments which you think has more meat and why you choose what you choose and lets see what we find. Fill out the below poll!


JONNY CANUCK's BAR & GRILL ~ Barrhaven ON

I'm not going to go there.

I'm not going to tread out some horrendous fake Canadian accent to talk about a pub called Jonny Canuck's. I won't do it. We don't use pronunciations like 'aboooot.' I've never heard a Canadian use the term 'hoser' without being ironic or imitating Bob & Doug. But the term 'eh' is used. I'm guilty of that. Lots of Canucks are.


Canuck is often a term to refer to a Canadian. New Zealanders are known as Kiwis, Aussie for Australian, Brit for British. And when I saw there was a place in the Capital Region of Canada called Jonny Canuck's, well the commercial exploitation of some patriotism seemed right for our humble nation. Although I thought it was referencing Johnny Canuck, the Canadian superhero who almost defeated Hitler during WWII (although apparently he was also a lumber jack in the early days who stood up to Uncle Sam), I was mistaken.



This bar and grill has no connection to the comic icon, other than the maple leaf. Their website puts a sophisticated and leading foodie trend on their food goals:

"Jonny Canuck's prides itself on being a leader in the Ottawa restaurant market. We have a keen understanding of our marketplace and a willingness to experiment with offerings and promotions which has allowed us stay one step ahead of market trends and become reognized as Ottawa's trend setter with the restaurant going public. We adopt a modern day approach to the widely-accepted bar & grill restaurant theme and are continuously searching for ways to introduce new and unique menu items and product offerings. Jonny Canuck's Bar & Grill is never satisfied with the generally accepted norm and enjoys leading the market to new heights. We offer great food, combined with reasonable prices, which are complimented by our exceptional service and contemporary design."

I'm going to be honest here, it's just a bar and grill. The decor is cleaner and modern, but the food is simple pub grub. Maybe they had higher hopes when they first opened, but a 'leader in the Ottawa food market'? I don't think so. Actually, the two locations of this chain wannabes are even in Ottawa proper: one is in Barrhaven, the other, Orleans.

I was there late and on my own, and I didn't get a chance to take photos of the interiors of the place, it being dark and me not willing to draw considerable attention to myself. Instead I took some from their website. The photo above shows the crowd that Jonny Canuck's sees itself having. Well, that was the demographic I saw eating/drinking. Maybe some older folks, but these happy-hipsters could very well have been the same people I saw.


The atmosphere inside was as I mentioned earlier, clean and modern. There were flat screens with the game on, and music, but it was pleasantly quiet enough that I could eavesdrop on peoples tables not close to me (not that I did).


My waiter was Mush (yes, Mush). He was great. Friendly, unassuming and quick to inform. He also refilled my Coke without asking. Normally I don't care for waiters over waitresses (I just find waiters tend to be less friendly - I guess I'm just sexist like that) but Mush would be my go to guy if I go back.


It was late at night, I hadn't had anything to eat since early in the day, so I took advantage of their wing special. It wasn't a great wing special, but it was cheaper than usual. I didn't have to wait long when Mush brought my platter.
I was in the Barrhaven region that night, but I had looked at Jonny's website in the past, so I had an idea of what they served. When the picture above showed up on their website, I knew I was having wings. But it was hard to tell if the photo was of their food, or something they got off the Internet.


The wings flavour in that photo looked like a Cajun or Suicide. I had both flavours and neither looked like those. But the wings didn't look bad. I was in after 9pm, and the wing special every night is $0.50 a wing (not an especially cheap deal, but better than full price). They are served in multiples of 5, so that meant I got to do some sampling.


The chicken itself is breaded in flour, then deep fried, then tossed thoroughly in sauce. The wingette's and drummys are about a medium size. Because the wings were generously sauced, the breading was fairly mushy. The Cajun dry spiced wings were very crisp. Actually, I didn't mind the slightly soggy skins. But maybe I just really wanted to like the wings.

Let's get down to the flavours.


CAJUN (see above photo)
Dry spiced on a crunchy wing, this was actually a very muted flavour. Oh the Cajun was there, it just wasn't overpowering like some places have. But it wasn't bold either. Good for 5 wings, but I would want some liquid on there for more.




HOT
Classic, simple hot wings. Tossed in Frank's. Nothing special, but not bad either. But not hot. Nooooo way.

HONEY MUSTARD
Awesome. The best wings of my menagerie. Honey, mustard - the sauce was perfect.

SUICIDE
I saw these and eyed them before tearing into them. I was curious because the looked like they would be hot, but I got no heat smell off them. Visually, I could see flecks of peppers, so I knew it was going to be a homemade sauce. This meant it might be hot, but would probably taste, errr, not so good. Then I tore into a flat:

I waited for the heat . . . nothing. I waited for an after-bite . . . nothing. What the heck? Then I noticed, I could barely taste a flavour. There was lots of sauce, but there was no heat, and no real flavour. Very unusual. I mean, I just didn't taste anything. Maybe it was an off night for the suicide.


FINAL SCORE: What can I say . . . the wings were ho hum. If you like breaded saucy wings, these might be fore you. If you like bold flavours and crispy wings, not so much. My service was great and heck, I got a lot of wings. But I hate to think these represent Canadian chicken wings. C'mon Jonny, next time wow me, eh? 5/10



Jonny Canuck's Bar & Grill
Ottawa (Barrhaven, although they say Nepean), On

Friday, 20 November 2009

Drew Cerza Wingstreet Pizza Hut Commercial

This commercial has been around for a while now, but I only just recently found it on the Internet to post it. It features Drew 'Wing King' Cerza fooling people into thinking they are having some wings from a pub, when in fact, they are the Pizza Hut co-chain, Wingstreet.





Critiquing The Commercial: Let's Break This Down:

A) Drew Cerza

First off, a lot of people have no idea who Drew Cerza is or why he has my title. So that doesn't really help the commercial. For those that don't know, Cerza is the man who started the Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival every Labour Day weekend in, you guessed it, Buffalo. That's where his title of Wing King comes from.

B) AWARDS
Drew Mentions that the wings are award winners. What awards?
  • Best Medium Traditional Wing Sauce (2008, 2006) @ National Buffalo Wing Festival.
  • Best Take-Out Wings with Medium Sauce (2007), The Denver Post.
  • Best Hot Traditional Wing Sauce (2007) @ National Buffalo Wing Festival.
  • Best Medium Sauce and Best BBQ Sauce (2007) @ Atlanta Wing Festival.

Not that many awards. The Denver Post one seems a little weak. I mean, Denver and wings don't seem like a selling point. But clearly some props for them winning in the past at the NBWF.

C) COMMENTS

  • The 'My Name Is Earl' look-a-like: "It's so good"
  • Jason Hawes from Ghosthunters: "It has a nice crunch to it"
  • Schmarmy Dude: "I can easily eat about 50 of these "

100 people in the crowd and that was the best comments they got. Really? Then Drew gathers everyone's attention and reveals the wings are from Pizza Hut's Wingstreet:

  • Crazy White Girl "What!?!?!!" <--- Did you see her ridiculous reaction, as if she's just been told she won $1 000 000? Even I don't get that excited about wings.


I've read some people complaining that these are a fraud because Pizza Hut wings are baked and how could a Buffalonian like Cerza shill them? Well, people make their first mistake by not realizing that while Pizza Hut does have wings and does bake them (tiny little wings btw), the wings being advertised are Wingstreet wings, which are deep fried. It may be confusing because Wingstreet operates out of some Pizza Hut's. But the wings are not the same.

I tried Wingstreet about a year ago, and the sauces were just too high-fructose corn syrupy for my liking. But they don't even have one of the sauces I tried anymore. Maybe I should go back and re sample?

The point of the whole commercial is that you can have restaurant-quality wings at home (via delivery). To me, they didn't really sell it to me. I mean I'm curious, but the mere mention of wings on tv starts me salivating. What about you? Have you had them? What do you think of the commercial? Does it make you want Wingstreet?

A Father Takes his Son to Hooters . . .

It almost sounds like the start of a joke: 'A father takes his son to Hooters . . .'

But for blogging dad Bob Elston, now dubbed "Hooters Dad," it was very real. The event happened back in September and exploded across the Internet here here here here and well Google it yourself and you'll find lots of hits.



So What Happened?

What was ol' Bob doing? As recounted by his parenting blog 'The Rain Racer', in the entry "My 11-Year-Old's First Trip To Hooters", Bob went with his son and another father and son to Hooters for some wings.

They went for food, but Mr Elston also used it as an experiment to gage his sons sexual awareness and whether he was going to need to have 'the talk'. After that, everyone wanted to have a talk with him.

People (ranging from their family and friends to anyone with access to the Internet) have jumped in to debate the topic. Some see him as a monster who basically brought his son to a brothel, to others saying he should be applauded for his parenting techniques.

Lord of the Wings Weighs In

I remember at least 5 years ago seeing a travel guide to Niagara Falls, and in it was an advertisement for Hooters, with a mom, a dad, and two kids sitting at Hooters, being served wings by a Hooters waitress with the caption of something along the lines of 'Fun For The Whole Family'. And it made me laugh at such an audacious claim. A family restaurant?

I have been to Hooters before (before I started the blog). The first time I went, it was a friend's birthday and she wanted to go. There were 4 of us, and I was the only guy. The whole time I felt like I was a pervert, that everyone was looking at me like it was my idea to go to Hooters. Of course no one cared in reality. But many people mistake short shorts and tight t-shirts as the equivalent of a strip club. Whenever I passed by Hooters in downtown Toronto, I always saw predominantly male clients, but certainly not exclusively male. It's really not as seedy as some people think because its just a bar with a gimic of a scant uniform.

That being said, the maybe 4 times I've been, the service has always been terrible. Even with just guys, I've never found the waitresses flirty or extremely friendly as their hype and stereotype suppose. So my personal experiences say that it's not all about sexuality here. While I do believe there is a level of objectification going on here, I don't think its going to ruin a boys thoughts on women. I'm not sure if I would bring my kids or not, but I don't think Bob is the devil. Women wear much more revealing or titillating outfits walking down the street, on TV, ads etc etc. I think the important thing is that Dad was there to engage in conversation and talk with his son about it.

So what is left in the debate? Wings. How were the wings Bob? That's what I want to know. While the Anchor Bar in Buffalo may have created chicken wings as we know it, Hooters is the place that really spread them around the US of A. In my opinion they aren't great wings, but we, as a wing lovers, have to give credit to them for increasing chicken wing awareness.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Nibble Me This' Fire Roasted Siracha Wings

One of my favourite food bloggers, Chris @ Nibble Me This does amazing things with his Big Green Egg. One of them, is Fire Roasted Sriracha Chicken Wings.



I'd post the actual recipe, but I really want you to go to his blog and get the whole deal, witty comments and just love that Chris gives to his food.



I usually crave wings, but I have a special jonesing for these wings!

Ottawa Tonight . . . on wings

Fellow food blogger Foodie Prints sent me a link to the website Ottawa Tonight who was chatting about chicken wings last week:



They talk about 3 places to go for wings: Local Heroes, Wild Wings & the Senate Chambers.

Local Heroes: "good wings, great wings actually." They mention you are always greeted with a smile, and I have to say I have had some unfriendly service here before, but the wings are good here.

Wild Wing: "Large selection – nothing tastes that great, everything is frozen, and I can pass on the fried pickles" Yes side dishes are frozen (but pass on fried pickles, really? c'mon!). The wings are meaty and tasty, even if the sauces are bottle brands. And my service here has always been friendly.

Senate Chambers: "The wings came plated with the usual boring salary and carrot and a lump of sour cream, but the wings where well cooked, juicy, the sauce was nice, not over the top, and the price was much better than I expected" Well I've never been there, so I can't say. Sour Cream is boring, but are they actually complaining about 'salary' (celery) and carrots? And what is over the top sauce? But I am intrigued by the fact its on the 'Amercian side' of the Ottawa Airport.


So they are asking for the Internet's input on our favourite Ottawa wings . . . I'd do it, but that's why I have this blog. What are YOUR Ottawa faves?


PS: what is with using someone else's photos for the article? I mean kudos for giving credit, but still . . .

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

World Wide Web Wacky Wing Wednesday #1

Welcome to a new segment on Lord of the Wings blog:



Yes, World Wide Web Wacky Wing Wednesday. WWWWWW. This is where I will surf the Web, and find other people talking about chicken wings. The world is full of chicken wing stories, wacky and otherwise. Recipes, restaurant reviews, eating contests or whatever. And I'm going to try and report it every Wednesday. Oh ya, that's right. We'll see how well that hold's up.



This weeks, and the first week's, is our very own "It's All About Me", who's visiting Ottawa and tried out the Bytown Market location of The Clocktower Brew Company's wings.




She says: "Appetizers are half price on Mondays so I ordered wings and fries. The wings were okay, not great."
That's how I feel too. They look good, but the meat, I find, is tough.
Thanks Teena!

Pinty's Classic Buffalo Chicken Wings

Oh frozen wings. You tempt me so, but you can never be as good as fresh, deep fried wings.

Or can you?


I've sampled my fair share of frozen wings, but one I had heard of being good but never tried was Pinty's. While I have seen them at Food Basics, it is the Costco bag that I hear everyone raving about.



So I had issues from choosing flavours in the isle. Ok BBQ, honey garlic (gross) are there, but the big offender is "Classic Buffalo" wings. THESE ARE NOT BUFFALO WINGS!!!! Hot wings, yes, Buffalo, no. These are baked, so they cannot be Buffalo Wings. But there's no way I'm getting honey garlic.

Issue 2: microwave!?!?!? NO! BBQ, ok maybe. Oven, well, it will have to do.




The ingredients were off to a good start. Chicken. The sauce, starts off pretty close to a Buffalo sauce (cayenne, vinegar) but water and corn starch and garlic show up. And no butter. Then there's a bunch of other things that make me wonder . . . what is going on in the sauce?

I have to admit, when I opened the bag, the smell was good and hot. And when I transferred the wings frozen from bag to oven rack, the sauce that got on my fingers had a nice bite . . . I was looking forward to them.



Above is 3 stages of cooking: frozen, half baked, fully baked.



The instructions said to cook at 400 degrees for 20 mins, or for a crispier wing, cook at 425 degrees for 20-30 mins. Well I did that, and they weren't crispy. So I left them in longer and cooked for a total of 50 mins for crispy wings.


The wings in all their glory. And yes, that is a Batman mug (with milk) from the 1989 movie that I re-found at my parents the last time I was there. I am just that awesome.


Overall, the wings were a great size. There were some smalls ones, lots of medium and a number or large wings. All were very meaty, but not tough like some frozen wings.



The wings were very saucy when they were in their frozen and mid cooking states. But I likes me some crispy wings, so I had to sacrifice the sauce. I realized the crispiness comes from the caramelized sauce more than the skin itself.


The sauce had a nice bite to them, that lingered. I mean it didn't blow my socks off. But in the context of a frozen wing, that's some mighty spicy wings. Actually, the wing sauce tasted almost identical to PC Buffalo Wings. But given the size/meatiness and the zippy bite, they are much better.


That being said, having eaten not even half, I got bored, nay, sick of eating them as they were. I had to get some other wing sauce to jazz them up.




FINAL SCORE: If I had to have frozen wings, I would have to say that these would be my favourite so far. Big bag with a big price, but you get a good size wings. Just have something on the side for dipping. Keep in mind, these ain't real Buffalo Wings. 6/9 FWS

Pinty's Classic Buffalo Chicken Wings
pintys.com