Thursday, 31 March 2011

Rim Reaper Challenge @ McKibbins Irish Pub ~ Montreal QC

Most people when they visit Montreal and they go for food, think Montreal style smoked meat, poutine or bagels. But me, I'm a bit different. I look for wings. And on a recent trip to la belle provence I sought out a place that not only did chicken wings, but had a special challenge with them as well. LJ and I had attempted to go to McKibbin's Irish Pub the last time we went to Montreal, but parking and a hockey game prevented us from going then. Not this time my friends. Not this time.

You might be thinking, Irish pub in Montreal? Shouldn't it be French? Well McKibbins menu is also a newspaper that details the long history of the Irish in old Mount Royal:

The pub has three locations, and we went to the St Laurent street/rue one. This is a busy place. It's dark and full of atmosphere. The crowd is young and getting their drink on. Seat yourself is the motto here, and we found ourselves wandering the place for somewhere to sit. Fortunately LJ found the last table in the joint (there were a few high tables, but we both hate sitting on a tall stool).

There was a quick scanning of the menu/newspaper and it didn't take long for me to find what I wanted. But there were 3 different types of wings to have: the Guinness Wings, the Belfast Wings, and the Rim Reaper Challenge. I considered ordering Rim Reaper and Belfast just to sample, but then I thought that was a little over the top. This wasn't going to be a regular review; this was a challenge.

Our waitress came by and was friendly, but mostly absent for our visit. It was crazy busy inside and I only saw one other waitress in the place. When I ordered the Rim Reaper, she aid "These are hot. I mean seriously hot". Yeah yeah yeah, I've heard that before. LJ and I looked at each other because clearly our nice waitress didn't know who she was talking with.

LJ and I decided to share an order of Curry Chips. The curry was a very sweet sauce and unlike any curry I've had. It wasn't to my liking, but I'm not a huge curry fan to begin with (I was more interested in the fries). The fries were fresh cut, but very limp.

LJ went with the Chicken and Leak Pie with veggies and mashed potatoes. It was kind of disappointing for her with no flavour. The mashed potatoes also did not stand out and the veggies are just steamed veggies. I didn't sample this because, well I had enough to worry about on my plate.

When it comes to wings and spicy, I'm a glory hound. I haven't had a real wing challenge in a long time and I was ready and waiting for this. On the menu the wings are said to be made with the Bhut Jolokia pepper, or ghost pepper, which was until recently the hottest pepper in the world. So hot that it is used in India to keep elephants at bay, and the Indian goverment is weaponizing it. And I want to eat it. Actually, I tried ghost pepper wings before, which I found hot, but not as crazy as reported. So I wasn't too worried.

Next I had to sign a waiver. Again, I've had to do this before (Philthy's, Quaker) but they really didn't warrant   a waiver. So I filled it out with a little arrogant smirk. The Waiver reads (the English portion):


I do not hold McKibbins Irish Pub responsible
for the consequences of the effects to my
body, health or soul after eating the

and then the fine print:

Pregnant women, people with ulcers, high blood pressure or heart problems
should not try these

As Alf always said, "No Problem!"

I could not get up during the process, I had to eat all 12 wings, and I couldn't have any milk to drink. All seems appropriate for the occasion.

We waited for a while for the wings to came out. While waiting I went over my plan.

STRATEGY #1:  Devour fries to give my stomach a layer of food to help absorb the heat from the wings while in my stomach. (Done)

When the wings arrived, I was impressed. I won't lie, they looked scary. The guy from the kitchen who brought them out looked at me and said "good luck." Thanks.

The wings themselves were a decent size. Medium to large wings that didn't have a crispy skin, but they were meaty. Deep fried, then tossed in the Devil's mouth himself. The wings were a nuclear red - dripping in red syrup like sauce, and covered in chili flakes. I had seen video/photos of these wings before, and they did not look this deadly. These were looking really good, but like living wings of fire.

I can eat spicy food, but I got a big whiff of the sauce, and my body started to freak a little. Whenever I have super super hot food, I have a conversation with my body about what is going on. But clearly we had some communication issues, because my body went "what the *&%#   ?!?!?!" My stomach began to churn, I had a few uncontrollable convulsions. Then I began to hiccup. Loudly. Like over the crowd of the bar loud. I think this was the moment I thought to myself, ``maybe this isn't a good idea?"  But I had come all this way, so I went forward with it.

So this is when I came back to planning on getting this done.

STRATEGY #2: Eat as many wings as fast as possible.

The idea behind this is that if I take my time, the heat will overwhelm, and I will hit a wall. And like a band-aid, if you rip it off quickly it won't hurt so much later. Right?

STRATEGY #3:  Get the food into the back of my mouth so that my lip/tongue pain receptors at the front are bypassed.

STRATEGY #4: Drink little to keep room open for food.

I took a deep breath. I knew this was not going to be easy. I was excited. I was nervous. It was time.

I ate one wing. Wow, the bite from the sauce was instantaneous. The heat attacked my lips, my tongue, my throat. I began to sweat. I began to tear up. But I soldiered through.

Two down. Three, then four. Five down. Time and space began to warp on me, but I had eaten 5-6 in about 3-4 minutes. But the pain was getting stronger. A seventh wing went down. But so did my beverages. Water and pop. I know these are not effective drinks to sooth the pain, but it was what I had. An eighth wing down, but I had to stop.

I finished off my drinks. The waitress was no where to be found. I tried eating a few French fries. My mouth was so numb at this point I couldn't even tell there was potato in my mouth. I want to repeat that again so it really sinks in with you.

My mouth was so numb from pain that I could not even tell I had fries in my mouth

I started to question where my endorphins were. Where was the high? I was just feeling pain. I tried to enter a Zen state, go to my happy place. There was no happy place. I had 4 wings left, but I had to have more drink. Eventually the waitress came by. She couldn't believe that I had eaten so many already. She went to get more pop and more water. A staff member or two would stop by to see how I was doing (not how I was doing but how many wings had gone down).

I had to keep going. But I couldn't come at these wings with the same fervor or speed as the first time. No it was slow going. I ate the ninth wing. My stomach rumbled badly. It did not want anymore inside. But I was not giving up when I was so close. I needed to get over the wall. Number 10 was also a struggle. I tore the wing in two and tried to just eat the meat. There was no pleasure in eating these wings at this point.

Something strange happened. Something I have never had happen before. The back of my mouth, under my tongue was on fire. My strategy of getting the wings to the back of the throat as quickly as possible meant that the sauce was getting to parts of my mouth not used to heat.

I went from eating several wings in a few minutes to taking many minutes on one wing. But I kept on. Slow and steady was my motto now. I did my best to keep my wings from swimming in the sauce and eating them as dry as possible. I finally got to eleven. My stomach started to rumble again. I took a bite - then I felt a rush up my throat. My stomach wanted to throw up. But I kept it down. Oh no. I finished off 11. One more to go. One more. Could I do it? It seemed impossible.

But they don't call me the Lord of the Wings for nothing. 12 went down. I had won. I had eaten them. But we weren't done yet.

I scraped my mouth with my napkins. I sucked back my drinks, and iced my mouth with, well ice. Again it took forever for our waitress to return. One of the guys from the kitchen coming by took my plate and was impressed that I had won the challenge. The waitress came by and confirmed my victory. Someone else from the back also came out to congratulate me. Even the people at the table next to ours were offering congrats. But it was hard to embrace the glory when I was in so much pain.

The pain under my tongue changed into fire bile. A continual stream entered my mouth from under my tongue. I had no idea what was going on.

I had to go to the washroom and wash my hands and face thoroughly. When I came back there was a t-shirt for me, and because I won the challenge, the $18.99 wings were on the house! And my name would go up on the virtual wall of pain on their website (name not added at the time the post was published).

By the time we left, my mouth was not in as much pain. But my stomach hurt something fierce. The two hour journey back to Ottawa was brutal. I felt like someone was kicking me from the inside out of my stomach. I constatly questioned why I had done such a thing. That I would never do something like that again. I kept burping, and every puff of air was a little bit of relief. But I have never felt such pain from food in my life.

I got home, suffered some more, and tried to go to bed. I kept waking up all night in pain. At one point, I thought I had to go to the washroom again. But I didn't. Hours after eating the wings, my stomach was turning knots and was not happy. It was punching me from the inside. Out loud I talked to my body. I said "body, I'm sorry. Clearly you are not happy. You don't want to go to the washroom. You don't want to settle down. What do you want to do? What do we have to do to fix this?" Then I had a thought that I was not proud of. "Body, do you want me to throw up?" My stomach rumbled yes. "Ok then." Sightly ashamed, I began to throw up. It was like nothing I've thrown up before. It was a few chunks of chicken and a lot of stomach acid. I washed out my mouth, had a drink of water LJ brought me, and then went back to bed and finally fell asleep.

Ridiculous heat challenges.
Never again.

Well, maybe never.

McKibbin's Irish Pub
3515 St. Laurent, Montreal QC

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

WWWWWW #37 - Macheesmo

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:

Chris over at Nibble Me This sent me the link for this blog. I think Nick sums his blog up very well in his about section: "This website is all about exploring ways to become more confident in the kitchen.  I think it’s time for people to put down the menus and pick up the spatulas.  Not only does cooking typically lead to healthier and more economical eating, it’s also a heck of a lot more fun than ordering out." And by the way, what does Macheesmo mean? "Macheesmo is a phrase I came up with that simply means having confidence in the kitchen.  Luckily for you, Macheesmo is something that can be learned."

What Chris sent me specifically was Nick's Orange Habanero Chicken Wings or 'You're On Fire' Wings. I'm not going to lie, the orange and the heat of these wings really appeal to me. I think I can taste them . . .

Macheesmo also has Sticky Wings. In this post, he has a solid philosophy on a good wings:

"I think there are three important qualities to a solid chicken wing:  1) Tender and juicy meat.  I hate an overcooked wing.  2) Heat!  This one is debatable but in general I think a wing needs some heat for it to be memorable.  3) Messy. I better have to lick my fingers."

There's also another post on Ring-A-Ding-Wings where three types of wings were made. Awesome.

Oh, we can't forget the awesome concept of Buffalo Bread. No, no we can't.

So if you like wings, or other homemade, good looking/sounding good food, go check out Macheesmo.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Dr Wing King?

Check out this photo Ricky over at sent me:

That's right, I'm a doctor.

No I'm not.

But there actually is a doctor Wing King in Toronto; Dr Bertram Wing King @ 1635 Lawrence Avenue West.

It would be funny if his speciality was gastro-related. Ha!

Thanks Rick for the photo.

Manic Pandemic !?!?

So my friend Amanda (who you've seen on here before) has re-entered the blogosphere with her blog, MANIC PANDEMIC.

I say re-enter because she had a Manic Pandemic blog a few years ago. But the new blog is lookin' freaking awesome, and she is writing up a storm!!!

What's it about? Well she's writing about self-sustainabilty: cooking, preserving, gardening, and preparing for the day that the grid goes offline.

So what are you doing here? Go check her out!

Wait, stay here. Open a second browser or tab. Check her out and stay here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011



Back in December of 2010 I found out that the Pub Puzzles had closed. I only discovered Puzzles in March of last year and was pretty happy with the wings, so I was sad to hear they entered the deadpool. 

But traveling back to Ottawa this past February, I was happy to see another pub open up in the same spot. I thought I would add some of the Puzzle photos to show you how things have changed.

The new place, Corner Bar & Grill is now a chain, having its original location down on Bank Street. They did quite a lot of renovations to Puzzles, which it really needed.

The clientel seemed a lot different too. There were business people, young people and I didn't see any of the old 'regulars' that used to haunt the place. The bartender and my server Chris, said they were trying to reach out to more of the community. The old place wasn't conducive to families and the changing demographics of Westboro (my words, not his).

Chris was very friendly, and super apologetic when they didn't have any regular Pepsi in stock (I just went with a Diet instead). He said they had only been open a few weeks and were still trying to gauge their supply and demand. Things were busy, they were staying open later because there seemed to be a demand and interest in the evening. Before long, I had my drink and my wings.

My wings came with carrots and celery and blue cheese dip. It was a creamy and tasty dip. The carrots were fresh and crisp, but the celery was a little limp.

The chicken wings came out on a long plate/platter. Fancy.

There were about 9 wings in a pound (I had eaten 1 before I took a photo), which makes them a little pricey at $1.22 a piece.

The wings were a medium in size. They were also medium level of chicken meatiness, which is good. This is what a standard wing size should probably be. They were crispy and nicely sauced. They look like there should be a little lake under them based on the fact that each wing was individually sauced very well, but there wasn't.

I went with Hot as the base sauce to try. It was a classic cayenne based hot sauce. Good, but nothing special. Every bite was familiar with my history and wings.

On the side I got a side of Smokey BBQ sauce. It was slightly smokey, and I'm sure a commercial BBQ sauce of some sort. It went well mixed in with the hot wings.

FINAL SCORE: It's hard not to compare the two establishments, so I will anyway. I don't miss the atmosphere of Puzzles. Corner's is clean, bright, and fresh. But I will miss Puzzles' wings. But Corner's are nothing to sneeze at. There may not be the same personal feel to them, but they hold up pretty well. 5.5/10

Corner Bar & Grill
344 Richmond Road, Ottawa On



Waaaay back in January, I grabbed a flyer for a pizza joint in the building I was having a meeting. I grabbed it, then forgot about it for about another month (kind of like this post!). Well in February some weekend I decided to try out their wings and pizza. 

The place was called Planet Pizza. A local pizza place that I will be honest, I did not expect great things from. I had a flyer and I checked out their website and it seemed to be a cheap operation. I also found some discrepancies between the two:

I was really in the mood for wings, but there was no specific pricing for wings. Not on the flyer, not on the website, not even on a separate flyer. They did have wings in various combos. So I did go with the Planet Feast, even if it was just pizza, wings and pop. Oh and a dipping sauce.

It was a 4 topping pizza, so I went with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and pineapple. They were pretty generous with the toppings.

The bacon was a crumble that was barely noticible. The sausage was tiny pepperoni-like sausage that I do not care for on my delivery pizza. The crust on the pizza was thin to medium and had no distinctive taste. It was a bit chewy (in a good way) but not a great. Cheese was not bad. Overall, it was an ok pizza.

And it came with a dip. I went with garlic dip. I used it for my crusts. Then I ate my wings.

As I said before, they don't have wings listed on their own on the menu's, although I can't imagine that you couldn't order them on their own. The Planet Feast came with 2lbs of wings, which is about 15-20 wings.

They call them BBQ wings, but I'm fairly certain they are oven baked. I think this is a case of the establishment not knowing what BBQ means or chicken wings. I'm just saying.

The size of the wings are very short. Small. But they are pretty meaty. The bone might be small, but there is a lot of chicken. It wasn't crispy, but the chicken was tender. Which is fine if your into that kind of thing. I'm not. Not really.

There are only a few flavours to choose from and I went with the classic hot. Standard cayenne based hot sauce. The wings were nice and wet and there was a little pool to keep them wet.

THE SCORE:  Pizza was OK. Wings were barely OK. I feel like this is a business, not a craft. They are located in a student area and are taking advantage of the situation. Wings are clearly an afterthought, and I think that's just sad. 3/9

Planet Pizza
339 College Street, Toronto ON

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Lord of the Wings ~ Or How I Didn't Post for over a Month

2011 is proving to be very challenging for me to get back to writing. I really thought I was going to get off on the right foot but work, life and everything else has made it difficult for me to get behind the keyboard and put out all of the blog posts that I should be getting out. I keep thinking I should just write something, but then I think nah, I don't want to post another 'apology' post and I should just write. But then I just have to keep putting that aside too.

Since February I have ordered wings from Pizza places, I have been to Ottawa and reviewed some wings, I went to Montreal and did a hot wing challenge, I've been some more places in Toronto. And I really want to talk about it!

I've also had lots of people writing in, twittering and talking to me in person asking me, what's going on with the blog? Thanks to all those out there who are still interested!!! I will be getting back on top of things. Everything is ok, I've just been involved and that's been good too. Actually I'm really looking forward to the summer when I'm hoping to be able to write more, cook more and just focus back to Lord of the Wings.

So this is my plan: I've got a few more days until I will have a chance to write up some older posts, but by Monday I will have posted something. I want a WWWWWW on Wednesday, and by Friday be caught up. And then for the rest of 2011 we will be back on track. And then you will come back here and comment or tell me about your wings and I won't write another apology e-mail (at least for a very very long time). Deal? Deal.