Thursday, 29 July 2010

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

How Do You Like Your Ribs Sauced? POLL

With London's Ribfest 2010 starting today, I'm looking at ribs for the polls today. Here's my question to you, how do you like your ribs sauced?

Some people like saucy and sticky, some like it on the side. Some don't want it at all. What do YOU like? Fill in the poll, and in the comment section feel free to add why, and while your at it, what is your favourite kind of rib sauce? Do you like it sweet? Savoury? Texas Mop or Carolina or White Sauce?

London Free Press: "Rib-Rageous" London Ribfest 2010

"It’s the best thing anyone’s made from a rib since Eve.

London’s Ribfest throws opens its smokey doors Thursday to a five-day event that may draw as many as 200,000 people to Victoria Park.

While this year’s event will include an exhaustive list of bands, cooking demonstrations and vendors hawking food from around the world, at it’s core it’s a carnivore’s dream.

It’s also a carnivore’s dilemma: Do you go for ultra-tender baby back ribs or meatier St. Louis-style spare ribs that up the ante on taste?"

Read more of the London Free Press's article Rib-rageous about this tasty festival.

WWWWWW #29 - Bomb Food

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:

What to say about Bomb Food. Posting pictures of some crazy food. There isn't much info on who or the why of Bomb Food, but basically you got some craaaazy, messsy or any food that is 'the bomb'? Upload it and there it is. Pretty simple.

The reason I went here today was to coincide with my countdown to London Ribfest 2010. See Bomb Food didn't have any direct posts on wings, but they did have Pig Wings. What are Pig Wings? Basically pork ribs that are cooked (BBQ, Deep fried etc) and then tossed in sauce just like a chicken wing. The above is from the post When Pigs Fly . . .

I've heard good things about Pig Wings. I had one version of Pig Wings at Rockwell's in Ottawa.

Another wing related food found were "Wings in a Blanket" where they took leftover boneless wings, and baked them in a pastry. It's part of their Bomb Monday feature.
So if you want to look at some tasty and interesting creations, reviews or just food in general, head on over to Bomb Food!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Buffalo Wings: The Book

What happens when you combine my love of literature with my love of Buffalo Wings? You get the book "Buffalo Wings" by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Paulette Bogan.

It's a simple story: It's the day of the big football game at Farmer Nuthatcher's farm, and everyone has their food ready except the rooster. What could he make? Buffalo Wings. He had the sauce, but he didn't have . . . and wings from a buffalo. So off he goes in search on an adventure for the perfect appetizer.

It's a cute kids book with great pictures and a very simple story to follow. I'm sure when I have kids one day I will read them this book.

The book is a little disturbing though when you break it down. No it's not the joke about the duck's making quackamole. I mean, here is a rooster, out to take the wings off of a buffalo to cook (all are semi-anthropomorphized), but he's shocked to find out what Buffalo Wings are really made of.

The most disturbing fact is the book has a recipe for Buffalo Wings (great!), that aren't really Buffalo Wings (boo!). You'll have to get the book for yourself to read it (I got this at the Ottawa Public Library) but Buffalo Wings do not have ketchup or flour. Yes these are for kids, but we wouldn't want our kids learning that 5+5=9 either, because its wrong.

None the less, a fun little read and great chicken wing awareness overall. Maybe one day I'll write a chicken wing kids book one day too!

Ottawabites grilled Duck Wings

Eric Rochon, aka @Ottawabites at , a hard working civil servant/line cook here in the Capital sent me some delicious news last week:

  • "I have a bunch of Duck Wings in the freezer itching for #BBQ"

Which I thought was awesome. How would he make them?

  • "I've never done them yet. I'm thinking of giving them an asian flair. Hoisin, Sambal,
    Ponzu... "

Cool. Where were they from?

  • "The duck is from Brome lake. I bought whole ducks from Farm Boy, broke them down and reserved the wings for a BBQ experiment "

That sounds like a great experiment. I was Twitter inaccessible, but through my history found these messages from the weekend:

  • "Got the Duck wings in the marinade tonight..Tomorrow they hit the grill! Not sure if I should use Direct or In-Direct Heat! "
  • "Duck Wings on the BBQ tonight."

Nice. So how did they turn out?

"here's a shot of the wings before the grill"

"here's the wings after the grill. They were tough as nails. To bad as the flavor was amazing."

I've never had duck wings, but those look good. They look crispy and almost gooey from the sauce. Sad to hear they were tough. A worthwhile experiment in my opinion!

Duck Meat on FoodistaDuck Meat

WWWWWW #28 - Food With Legs

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:

What happens when you take a born and raised Torontonian who likes to dine out, cook, garden and write? You get Food With Legs. A blog about food - cooking it, reviewing it and learning more about it. Add some great photos and you have a great blog.

I came across Food With Legs because of his review of Crown & Dragon. I've been there twice (in 2008 & again in 2010). It's funny because it seems we both went to UofT, both went to Gabby's for wing nights too. For someone who doesn't regularly review wings, he did a great job explaining the flavours and detailing why he liked or didn't like about the wings.

Also on the website, Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip. A recipe he adapted from tips and other recipes - this thing is a monster sized option for Super Bowl parties. It's got everything - Buffalo sauce, celery, carrots, blue cheese, chicken and the key secret ingredient . . .

. . . Chicken skin. Brilliant. The fact he almost made these into serving cups just blows my mind.

Not directly chicken wing related, here is his Deep Fried Pickles he made with a turkey fryer. To me, these are an excellent side with wings, and these look so good.

Finally, to show you how cool Food With Legs is, he's been building a wood-fire oven in the backyard of the family cottage. To make pizza and other delicious food. This is commitment to great food. I want one now. That and a tandoor.

These are just some samples of the food that really interested me, but the blog is much more varied. Go check him out.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Wing Dreaming on a hot July evening . . .

I don't remember all the details of the dream, and I won't bore you with the ones I do, but essentially:

LJ and I were in a supermarket where a baseball game was being played. After LJ ducked to miss a baseball, an old friend from back in the day James T and a girl (can't remember who it was) offered LJ a sample - a chicken wing. It didn't look great (cold anyway) and as she was eating it, I said "oooh chicken wings" and he said "if you can call it that." I asked if it was halal because I noticed the box was green (in real life at a local grocery store one group of halal products have green labeling). He said yes, and I asked if it was from the halal factory down the street. He didn't answer, and by that time, the wing was finished.
The rest of the dream involved:
  • a giant turtle that was attached to a wheeled platform.
  • the turtle kept chasing me.
  • eventually I started wheeling it around (it seemed to like the speed).
  • I pushed it hard and fast enough it took off.
  • I turned into a chicken to fly after it.

Clearly I need chicken wings.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

WWWWWW #27 ~ The Waffle

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:

The Waffle: A pragmatic foodie’s politically incorrect view from the left.

I've been following The Waffle off and on since arriving in Ottawa. A foodie blog about food I like to eat with some political leanings. What I didn't realize was that the blog is written by Senior Press Secretary Karl Bélanger of the federal NDP. Wowsers.

On top of that, I recently read a post where Lord of the Wings was mentioned ~ double wowsers! It was after my Hintonburger review led him to try them out for himself. There are lots of burger, sandwich and rib reviews on The Waffle, but doubly happily for me there are a lot of wing reviews too.

The above is a photo from Al's Diner, a working class joint. These are from wing night, which I have eyed before on their sign driving past this eatery. Might have to check them out for myself . . .

Karl samples wings from the mecca of wing joints, The Anchor Bar (not his first trip), where he opted for hot as their heat level: "I pledged for hot – after all, that’s how they were meant to be eaten." My kind of guy. I too went to the Anchor Bar a few years ago and had some tasty wings.

It's been about 8 years since I have been to the SkyDome in Toronto (also known as the Rogers Centre, a name which I refuse to officially acknowledge beyond this sentence) but apparently they have wings now. Quaker Steak & Lube wings in fact - the only official entry of this chain into Canada. Mr Bélanger seemed to get some really good looking wings, if not pricey (but in line with stadium prices). I went to the original on my Great Wing Tour but didn't have wings that looked as good as his did.

I like his attitude on wings. For example, when reviewing frozen PC salt and pepper wings, his comments are dead on: "I do not buy frozen wings very often, I prefer to make them fresh, usually on the grill. Frozen, they are not always good. It is also very difficult to duplicate the fresh deep-fried versions offered at your favourite joint, and they never come anywhere close to the never frozen, double deep fried critters you can get at Wild Wing."

Speaking of Wild Wing, he has a big review of Wild Wings, and a list of his top 25 flavours. Lucky guy has got to sample way more than I have. I had read his review before, but somehow missed that he had included this blog again!

I think Karl and I could definitely enjoy a bucket of wings together from any number of places. So if your interested in wings, in poutine, or some good grub with a dash of Canadian politics, The Waffle is a great blog to check out. Thanks for the shout outs!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010



On the weekend in the morning and in the Hunt Club/Ottawa South region, LJ and I were short on time and looking for some brunch. In the near distance we saw Tucson's, which we have passed many times before and thought it served brunch. We went in, and we were wrong. I don't know if they used to, or their signs once said they did, or we were just crazy, but they did not have a weekend brunch. We were hungry and running out of time so we decided to stay.

It wasn't the first time I had a brain fart about this place. For the longest time, I pronounced Tucson like the Froot Loops bird, 'Too-can', then 'tuck-sons' before finally realizing that they were named after the city in Arizona, 'TOO-sahn.' Clearly I need to go back to school.

This place is like a desert Roadhouse, except on the border of urban and suburban Ottawa, with pine trees and in a little mini-mall. It sits at a major intersection with lots of signage. The actual entrance is beside a nicely shaded patio.

Tucson's is really known for it's live music. There are two bars on either side of the place, with tables and booths and a stage (see photo above). The walls are draped in photos of customers, musical acts and memorabilia. We were the first patrons of the day, so the place was empty, but I can imagine it packed and rocking out on a Friday night.

The feeling we got was this was a night time place more than a 'before noon' joint. As in it was better viewed in the dark rather than the bright light of day. The tables felt a bit sticky, as did the menus. But maybe the surroundings weren't as important as the food. I mean their motto is "The Best in Food and Music."  According to the menu, they believe in local and fresh:

"It was important for me to keep that same quality and feeling in the cuisine., and I
can only do that by ensuring freshness and pride in everything I create in the kitchen.
It is for that reason; our burgers are hand pressed, with fresh, never frozen, lean
ground beef and not once ounce of filler. All steaks are cut in house and are always
AAA quality; our appetizers do not arrive frozen in brand name boxes. The majority of
our dressings are made in house, as well as all of our sauces to ensure they have the
Tucson signature flavour. We receive deliveries 6 times per week on items such as fish,
fruits and vegetables because we order in such small quantities, if they do not meet
our standards they are sent back immediately. Because Tucson’s is an independent
restaurant, I feel it is important to support other local businesses whenever possible,
which is why I shop locally every chance I get. And lastly, I apologize in advance if we
are ever out of anything on the menu. But here, we believe that it is far better to sell
out of a very fresh product then to have endless frozen amounts on hand.

                                                                                                                      Mike Burbidge"
I like supporting local and I like fresh food. Our server Michelle sat us quickly and was friendly and answered my wing questions (Like if they have a wing night - they don't. They did but aapparently it didn't do anything for business). Our drink orders were taken, and in a timely manner our lunches were out.

LJ went with the Roasted Garlic Steak Sandwich. "Fresh AAA Alberta striploin grilled to your preference, served open-faced on toasted garlic panini with sautéed mushrooms and onions."

The sandwich was ok. I mean it looked good with its fried onions and nicely cut steak. But LJ said that "it doesn't have much flavour. I've had better in the city." I took a bite and agreed that it was nothing special. The fries seemed to be hand cut, but I think they were only deep fried once as they were really white and a few weren't as well cooked as they could have been. 

While sandwiches and fries can be a fine lunch, I'm more of a wings for lunch kinda person. You know, wings for lunch, wings for supper, wings for snacking.

 The menu gave me some pointers that the wings should be good. "We only use the finest roaster wings here . . . All of our sauces are made in house for a signature flavour." Finest roasters and sauces made in house sounds like a solid start for wings.

The wings came out and I was immediately excited by two factors:

1) The clean up. There was a plastic bowl for me to put my bones in, as well as napkins and wetnaps. Awesome.

2) Blue cheese dip and carrot sticks. I feel like it's been a long time since I've actually got these with wings (many places have it on the menu, but the wings come out alone). There was no chunks of blue cheese, but it was just nice to get this dip and not sour cream.

After glowing from the bowl and the sides, I studied the wings, and folks, my smile became a skeptical scowl. The wings come in a "Baker's Pound", which I have no idea what that is. I searched the Internet and found no reference to this. Apparently it means "8 smallish wings." The chicken was deep fried (no dusting or breading) but the chicken looked extremely light, almost white. The meat was slightly dry, and my guess is from frozen, not fresh.

The wings were fairly saucy, but some had some pretty exposed areas. They have six sauces to choose from, and I went with an order of Hot, with Desert Fire Suicide on the side for sampling.


I took my first hot and sampled. Nothing. I don't just mean heat, there was no flavour. I kept eating, and the faint taste of a sauce similar to Moose Winooski's was present. If you really looked for it.

Slightly sweet and possibly a tomato based sauce, this is a sauce with a lot of potential. But hot it wasn't. It needed to be much bolder. 


Not a suicide sauce by any means, this was aptly named though for the type of heat and flavour, which  reminded me of a desert. A dry, earthy taste, with an overwhelming layer of cayenne pepper that didn't add heat as much as a peppery weight. Was it a tasty sauce? Not really, but as I ate more the heat did build in the back of the throat. Dry. Like a desert.

FINAL SCORE:   For a place that says it's all about fresh and really good food, it was very passable. The wings were small, weak in flavour and possibly from frozen. While I want to give kudos on making their own sauces, I just felt disappointed. It's not surprising that wing nights didn't attract business. The steak sandwich was ok, but the message to us was clear: Come for the music, go elsewhere for the food. 3.5/10

2440 Bank St, Ottawa ON

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Globe & Mail Writer Eats His Way Across Canada, Eats Wings in North Bay

Writer Ian Brown is on a mission: he's trying food, all sorts of food across Canada. Anything. Everything. Traveling in a rented Impala named "Betty", he's documenting his trip in the segment called "Ian Brown Eats Canada." I'll let him explain.

What caught my attention to this story, was a segment this week "Chicken wings - 102 flavours - and a waitress named Jasmine" where he went to Moose's Cookhouse in North Bay, where wings are king and there are 101 flavours to choose from.

This place reminds me a LOT of Moose Winooski's, one of my favourite wing places ever, except with waaaaay more wing sauces, like Wild Wings.

Ian seems to get a real chicken wing education.
To the uninitiated, wing spectacles can be overwhelming: "You can get a Hub Cap of 30 wings and a jug of domestic beer for $34.99, an idea I associate more or less with the fall of Rome, but I realize I'm more or less alone on that one." He also learns about the cost of wings and supply and demand. He didn't seem to fully embrace the zen of the wings, but the man is eating out a LOT.

Suffice it to say, if I'm ever up in North Bay, I'm going to Moose's.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

WWWWWW #26 - Cool Hunting

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:

"Cool Hunting is synonymous with seeking inspiration. Our global team of editors and contributors sift through innovations in design, technology, art and culture to create our award-winning publication, consisting of daily updates and weekly mini-documentaries."

Cool Hunting is a very cool site with lots of funky, impressive art from a variety of mediums.The above is a collage I made of some of their banners on the website highlighting art. But they also talk about technology, travel, and food. I stumlbed upon them because of BBQ. Specifically a review of Adam Perry Lang's cook book, BBQ 25.

What caught my eye was the picture of the chicken wing page. It's too small to read, but the picture of the wings being tossed in motion is great. The cook book looks graphically fantastic and Cool Hunting seems to think its great for any level of chef.

No other chicken wings on Cool Hunting, but I did come across their article on this really neat chicken coop you can buy called the Chicken Crib. I don't have a back yard, but if I ever do, and I'm going to raise chickens (fresh wings!) I will use a chicken crib.

So check out Cool Hunting, they really are 'hunting' cool things.