Thursday, 5 November 2009



Over the past year there have been several trips for LJ and I from Ottawa back to our respective homes, meaning many road trips lasting between 4-8 hours (depending on whose family/friends we were visiting). Along the 401, there are only a few rest stops, and even fewer now that many have been closed for renovations. To grab a quick bite to eat, there are only 4 choices: McDonalds, Wendy's, KFC, Tim Hortons and Mr Sub. No one eats at Mr Sub (no one), Tim Hortons is just sandwiches really, leaving the other 3, which we were pretty sick and tired of.

On this particular trip, we knew we wanted to stop somewhere different, but where? Around the Brockville mark, we decided to quickly get off the highway into town and pick SOMEWHERE just off the 401. We passed the usual eateries, when LJ spotted Santa Fe Southwestern Grill. It was a sit down joint, but we thought why not. For once, we weren't on a tight schedule to be somewhere or avoid traffic, so we opted to sit and enjoy.

The lunch crowd was made the place pretty busy and it was a very mixed crowd. The place was much smaller than we both thought from the outside, but we were seated in a comfortable booth. The decor inside is simple and matched the colour scheme of the outside (red, blues and pueblo browns).

Before our drink orders were even taken, our waitress Marion brought us nacho chips and I believe, homemade pico de gallo. Chips were warm, the PDG watery but flavourful (the key, I think, was minimal to no cilantro - which I hate). It wasn't long before Marion was bringing our drinks and taking our food orders.

There was lots on the menu that looked interesting, but my sickness took over. I saw the words "Jumbo Roaster Wings" and I was hooked. Then I looked at their lunch menu and found more wings there too. I was set, I was getting wings.

LJ went with the lunch special chicken Chimichunga with a side of Cream of Cauliflower soup. For a lunch sized portion, it was pretty big!

The soup was creamy, rich and thick. The cup was plentifull and even though I didn't have it with my meal, it was perfect accompaniment on this grey and wet day.

The chimichunga (basically a deep fried burrito) was thick. Inside it was filled with beans and rice and lots of chicken. The bite or two I had of the dish, the chicken was tough to chew through. LJ didn't like a spice that was on the chicken, but stated she's had it before on Tex-Mex chicken at other restaurants. On the side was a very generous addition of guacamole, as well as some shredded lettuce and sour cream.

Then I had wings.

The lunch portion comes with 6 wings and your choice of soup, salad or potato. Before the words actually came out to Marion, I was going to have the soup or salad (really I was) but then I ordered fries. The fries were hot and crispy, but battered/dusted fries. Not my favourite type of fries, but they were not bad.

I was really disappointed when my wings came out. LJ said she could see it on my face and asked what was up. It wasn't that the wings looked bad - but I felt duped. The menu had said "Jumbo Roaster Wings" and in my mind, I thought I would be getting, well, jumbo wings.

In fact, the wings were quite small. There is no way you could refer to them as Jumbo. They weren't the smallest wing I had ever eaten, but they were definitely minuscule. Either false advertising, or this shipment was a tiny batch. They weren't even meaty.

The skin was crisp, but just barely. Did I also mention they were not jumbo wings?

The wings were lightly tossed in a hot sauce, which wasn't hot at all. Cayenne based, but it just had no heat. The flavour was simply OK. At least there was ranch dip.

FINAL SCORE: Mediocre wings is giving too much credit. Overall the wings were sub-par, but the tiny wings described as jumbo is a crime (hence me subtracting a point from the score). I should have said something, but confrontation is not my thing. But let us be honest; wings are not their thing. I could have had nachos or burritos or even chili because Southwest is what they do. I just had visions of, well, a jumbo roaster wing.

Oh well. I want to say lesson learned, but I will find myself again one day at a restaurant that has some specialty, and I will get the wings. Its my passion and my curse. 1.5/10

Santa Fe Southwestern Grill
2444 Parkedale Ave, Brockville ON


Chris said...

No, no, mis-read the menu. It says "Jumbo's wings". The chef is a big dude nicknamed Jumbo! ;)

re: reststops being closed - Oh, so that's NOT just a Tennessee thing then. Since we moved here in 2000, I SWEAR they have had at least one rest stop "closed for renovation" on I-40 or I-75.

Teena in Toronto said...

Those wings aren't grabbing me :(