When I was a kid growing up in Southwestern Ontario, there was just one fast food fried chicken: KFC (or Kentucky Fried Chicken as it was known then). By the time I left for Toronto for university, there was still mainly one big purveyor, the Colonel, but there were a few others popping up here and there (Mary Brown, Chester's, Church's). There was also one other: Popeye's. The only location I knew of was near Dundas Square, and every time I went in, it smelled like urine (I kid you not), so I always turned around and left.
Well Popeye's have been popping up all over Toronto, and back in August I came across a location at Bloor and Dufferin and decided to finally try them. Can I just say I loved the experience. The chicken was hot, crispy and really good. So the other day I was out and about and decided to get lunch at a location at 589 Yonge Street.
Inside the place was clean, modern and had many different seatings to choose from (high tables, booths, individual tables). I walked up to the cashier and there on the till was an advertisement for their chicken wings. I asked about them about the wings. The man at the cashier stand told me they would cook the wings fresh if I was willing to wait a few extra minutes and I said gladly.
I sat down with my Dr Pepper and shortly I had my order. The wings came with two containers of ranch dip (very fake tasting and not enjoyable) and packets of Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce - I love these packets - they look so tasty.
The wings came in an order of either 12 or 18. I was very tempted to go for the 18, but then I thought I wasn't that hungry to justify 18. That even sounds crazy as I type it, but it was true. I didn't need a feast, just a sampling. OK it was more than sampling.
I split the wings in two flavours (there are three, but the other is just the chicken in itself). Nothing came with this order, and I couldn't find any information on the wings online on either the Canadian or American websites - so I can only assume they are a limited time promotion (that isn't being promoted well . . .).
The wings were small in length. But for what they lacked in length, they made up for in mass. The wings were plump and meaty. You can see in the above picture the jumbo drummette. Clearly the meat to bone ratio was way off, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The wings are also breaded in the same spices and batter as the chicken, which is found right on the website:
SPICY SEASONING: SALT, SELECTED BLEND OF CAPSICUMS, GARLIC, MONOSODIUM
GLUTAMATE, CUMIN AND MUSTARD. CONTAINS: MSG
POULTRY BATTER: ENRICHED BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR (ENRICHED WITH NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE, MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), SALT, S-PACK [ENRICHED BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR (ENRICHED WITH NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE, MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), SALT, SUGAR, FD&C YELLOW #5 (MAY ALSO CONTAIN YELLOW #6, RED #40, RED #3, GRAPE COLOR EXTRACT, BLUE #1, BLUE #2, BEET COLOR EXTRACT, ANNATTO EXTRACT AND/OR TURMERIC EXTRACT), SPICES, DRIED WHOLE EGGS, NONFAT DRIED MILK, LEAVENING (SODIUM BICARBONATE AND/OR SODIUM ALUMINUM SULFATE), MICROCRYTALLINE CELLULOSE, NATURAL FLAVOR (ALL FLAVOR INGREDIENTS CONTAINED IN THIS FLAVOR ARE APPROVED FOR USE IN A REGULATION OF FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION OR ARE LISTED AS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE ON A RELIABLE PUBLISHED INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION LIST. THIS PRODUCT ALSO CONTAINS CORN SYRUP SOLIDS). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK AND YELLOW #5 & #6, RED #3 AND #40, BLUE #1 AND BLUE #2.
FLOUR: BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY. CONTAINS: WHEAT"
Try not to think about it. The wings are crispy and crunchy and so good and the coating did not get soggy over time with the sauces that were applied. Inside the chicken was juicy and the arrows above show so. That wasn't grease (although Popeye's chicken can be very greasy - but again, that's not necessarily a bad thing).
I used to believe that Cajun food was hot hot spicy food - but I've come to learn that it's all about the spice flavour. And considering this was 'Bayou Buffalo' I knew it wasn't going to be hot. And it wasn't, but it did have a 'Buffalo' flavour.
Initially I liked it, but after eating a few the sauce became too much. I suspect a lot of HFCS in the sauce as opposed to butter, which just sit right with me.
The BBQ sauce, like the Buffalo, started off decently, but as I continued to eat I did not like it. Very sugary but not super sweet - if that makes sense.
Scratch that - syrupy but still had a dark savoury flavour. It wasn't like standard commercial sauces so at first I liked that it was different. But again after a few wings the sauce wasn't desirable.
I decided to try both sets of wings with the Louisiana Gold packets - this did not work out well. When the two sauces mixed, it did not taste right. I just couldn't make these sauces work!
I really like the chicken at Popeyes. The skin and the breading on it is great. The meat was tender. The sauces however, were too fake for me. If I were to get the wings again, I would go with Bonafied Spicy and just add the Louisiana sauce as needed. 5/9
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen