Wednesday, 27 July 2011

It's coming . . . London Ribfest 2011!

Yes, this weekend is London Ribfest - and once again I'm Judging with the celebrities!

Festivities start tomorrow. Check out The London Free Press's article on this years event.

Or watch the video from last year:

I've also been working on a BBQ sauce for the Backyard Ribfest too.

2011 is a great year for ribs!

WWWWWW #44 - Appeteethers

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:

I don't have children, but when I do, this is the new toy for them! Little toddlers need to chomp, and why not have them chomp on . . . chicken wings.

From their website:

"You may have never imagined giving your child a chicken wing before they had a full set of teeth; however, Little Toader is happy to make this unknown dream come true. Not only are Appeteethers fun for those watching, our teething toys are designed to ease teething discomfort. The Chompin Chicken wing has varying colors and textures to help stimulate your baby's senses. Our Teethers were designed with humor in mind, but safety is our number one priority. With children of our own, we understand the safety concerns with any item that your child puts in their mouth. Our Teething toys were manufactured to ensure they are Non-Toxic, BPA Free, Lead Free, PVC Free, and Phthalate Free. Every batch of Appeteethers is tested by an independent third party organization to ensure the highest level of safety and comply with all Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements." 

I think its fun, but do kids?

That's how I eat my wings too.

Little Toader's is a Florida based company and sells their Appeteathers wings for $14.99 (USD) for one in a package. They also have a pork rib as well. The kids that have these are lucky. They just don't know it yet.

I found One Bored Mommy's blog who reviewed this product for her nephew - lookin good!

So if you have a toddler, and you love wings, this is the perfect toy for everyone.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Wing P0rn: Duff's

Found a stash of photos and reviews the other day that I completely forgot about. 
Below are some shots of Duff's Super Hot from earlier in the summer. Enjoy the photos while I enjoy the memory of the wings . . .

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

WWWWWW #43 - Etsy

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:

  Etsy is kinda like E-bay, but for handmade items that people make themselves. If you knit or craft and want to sell your art, you can sell on Etsy. Looking for a unique gift? Go on Etsy.

What I find really interesting is the chicken wing themed items on Etsy. Yes, you read that right. And as I post this, some of these items will be sold, but new ones will come in place.

This is what I'm talking about: Buffalo Wings Felt Play Food.  Looks yummy, and you get:
5 Buffalo wings (3 drummies and 2 wings)
3 celery sticks
1 dish of blue cheese

all for $20 (USD).

Maybe recipes are your wing thing? How about two e-books: 101 Chicken Wing Recipes & the Ultimate Chicken Wing Cookbook. For $0.75!

Maybe you cook wings and you need an apron? What about a wing apron that says "When it comes to cooking I just wing it!"   $24.95.

How about art? You can buy the above poster for Stefan Sagmeister's 2008 presentation at TypeCon in Buffalo NY. I'll be honest, I had to Wikipedia to find out who Stefan is, but the poster is cool! $20.

And the coolest of the bunch - Buffalo Wing Fresh Handmade Soap! Yes, soap. So you can wash your hands from the wing sauce with buffalo wing soap! The wings smell like creamsicle, the celery like cucumber melon, and the carrots smell like Butt Naked (blend of green apple, melon and pears). Awesome. And only $5.75.

So get your wing on in craft form and check out Etsy. Or any other craft items you might be interested in. There are some creative and talented people out there.

Monday, 18 July 2011


I'm a little late in my posting lately. Back at the beginning of the month on the Canada Day long weekend, I was on holidays and spent the time visiting LJ in Ottawa. We had a great weekend, but come Monday she had to go back to work and I got to chill. It was July 4th (happy July 4th to those of you South of the boarder) and it was brutally hot out. 

I was walking down on Bank street when I came across the Atomic Rooster. This sounds like a wing joint, but I think it's named for the English progressive rock band. I went in anyway.

Oh, and the sandwich board advertising 1/2 price wings helped encourage my decision to go in.

I had heard of this establishment before because of their concert nights and local art, and in my mind I thought of an indie dive. When I actually went inside it was a completely different place than I expected. Actually it was kinda bland inside. Some local art for sale - but the feeling was very plain - like a nice place for seniors to chill.

I was hoping for some killer air conditioning, but there was any - at least not blasting cold (it was comfortable inside, I just like it cold). The crowd seemed to be some regulars, who were debating the politics of French in government. My waitress was was Haley, who was just super. Friendly, attentive, and really caring. When a senior was leaving, she offered him water to take out on the hot day - and she offered me a cold drink when I was leaving because of the heat!

I took advantage of the 1/2 price wings and did some sampling in my ordering. I didn't wait long after ordering and Haley brought me my giant plates of wings.

The wings come in 1lb orders, which was about 9 wings. At $11 that's an expensive pound, but these are good sized wings.

On the side came some big veggies sticks. However, there was no dip, so they weren't that appealing. I ate most of them though. Most, not all.

The wings were large in size - a healthy length. They were a decent medium in meatiness too. On a side note, I continue to not understand how two different restaurants can have wings come in a pound, both equaling about 9 wings, but one place has large wings like Atomic Rooster, and others have little flappers?

Like I said I decided to do some sampling. I ordered a Hot, a Cajun Dry and a side of Suicide.


This was a classic cayenne based pub hot sauce. The wings were slightly wet - enough that my fingers stained red and left drips on the plate, but not enough that they were swimming.

It was tasty and with the crispy chicken skin was pretty good. Not original, but good.


These wings were deep fried then tossed in Cajun seasoning. No sauce, just seasonings.

The Cajun was good, however it was really meek; I wanted a little bolder flavour. The wings were very crispy and the Cajun more complimented the chicken rather than being the star of the show.


Pow! This suicide had a good kick. There was a cayenne flavour, but a strong kick of heat that attacked the lips with pins and needle pain. I immediately thought it was a white heat (a precise heat, as opposed to a blunt red peppery fire). I asked Haley if it was house made or bottled. She informed me it was Dan-T's Inferno White Hot (white hot, I got it spot on!). It certainly boosted the Cajun wings.

FINAL SCORE: What can I say - these are good but simple wings. They aren't doing anything original, but they are big, they are crispy, and at 1/2 price, they were right on. With free refills and such caring service in my waitress Hayley, I had a good wing experience. As for the atmosphere, I'm sure it's more happening at night when there are bands and crowds.  7/10

Atomic Rooster Bar + Bistro
303 Bank Street, Ottawa ON


Just before the Canada Day long weekend, some collegues of mine organized a small retreat out at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus. It was a great 2 days of collaboration, goal setting and planning on a campus with lots of trees and deer everywhere. Work yada yada yada  the best part was going to Mandarin for lunch buffet, and then everyone going 'we should go for wings for supper'. How can I say no to that? 

Not far from campus was St Louis. I've reviewed one location St Louis in the past and they weren't my fave. But I won't lie, I had been back to that location (this chain has exploded like crazy) and I had some good wings, so I thought it was time to re-review this wing chain. St Louis can be divisible amongst wingists - purists say no because they are not traditional wing (I used to be under the perception they were a baked wing, but I was wrong), but others love the unique flavour that is produced through the marination and the style of sauce.

This particular location was quite strange in that the building was built in a box store mall, but, like in the middle of the parking lot thoroughfare/street, so it's tall and narrow. There's a little balcony off the back with a patio. The place was pretty empty on a Wednesday night so we pretty much could sit where we wanted.

The menu was looked over and it was clear we were all going to have wings. But to suppliment that, several of us shared a platter of nachos.

It was a large pile of nachos. Lots of toppings, with sour cream and salsa on the side. No guac though. They also use queso/cheese sauce instead of shredded cheese - which depending on your tastes is plus or a minus. Also noticed they used triangle chips compared to the round chips of years ago.

Our waitress Patricia was friendly. She took our orders and after a bit all our wings started coming. By the end of the evening however she went missing in action delaying our eventual departure by a significant amount of time.

The Crew: Dave, Heather, Alykhan, Virginia, Scott and me.
I felt a little centre of attention talking about hot wings, the blog, judging and all things wings. This was a great crew because everyone likes wings and everyone was up for having photos be taken.

Back to St Louis wings, an order of wings come with a side of fries. Some of our crew substituted for salads, and some followed my suit in ordering their onion chips. I love onion chips - little golden nuggets of goodness.

The wings come with St Louis famous packaged dill dip. Not bad with the wings, but great for dipping the onion chips in!

Wings come in orders of 1lb or 2 lbs. We were hoping for some sort of platter deal for the group, but they didn't have any.

There are 16 flavours of wings. The wings themselves are marinated in a 'signature' spices before they are deep fried, then tossed in sauce.

The wings are small to medium sized wings in length. However they are very meaty wings and the chicken itself is very tender. The skin is crispy, but slightly softens as the sauce is thick.

Most of the group went with either mild or medium. Dave went with Suicide. I went with their hottest, Hotter Than Hell. Some wing swapping went on, and some people felt the burn of Hotter Than Hell. It isn't the hottest sauce I have ever had, but I have to admit it has a good kick with a lot of flavour.

The sauce at St Louis is thick like a BBQ sauce, but it has unique spice flavour to it. It really is not like any other wing.

FINAL SCORE:  I'm still not impressed with the size of these wings. Not the smallest out there, but not impressive. They are crispy yet tender inside. The sauce is unique and does not taste like your standard wing sauce. Some won't like it, but I have certainly come around to it. They wouldn't be my go-to wing, but I can appreciate them. 6/10

As for the group - lets do another wing work retreat soon!

St Louis Wings & Ribs
2508 Hampshire Gate, Oakville ON (and other locations)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

LIFF Chicken Wing Competition: WingFest 2011

A few months ago I received a phone call from Cecil Hillier of Family Shows Canada. They were talking about while the past two years the Ribfest has had a wing competition, they were thinking of experiment and see about having a wing competition at the London International Food Festival. Since I think any showcase of wings is a good idea, I said sounded good and I was happy to judge. Shortly after, WingFest was born. (just to clarify, I had no hand what so ever in the creation of WingFest, I just thought the concept was great!).

WingFest 2011 was a competition among three vendors battling for the title of Best Wings. Simple, but such an honour.

The judging took place on the Sunday at 3pm. I had been asked to be there at 2pm and I was excited to see a big table set up for the judges.

Since this was a test run for the festival, I was told it wasn't going to be as large in scale as Ribfest, and that there would only be two 'celebrity' judges; myself, and Bill Paul, London's Town Crier and Laff Gaff entertainer. Bill and I got to talking and it was great just chatting it up with him.

The other 9 judges were to be selected from the audience. They simply had to fill out a ballot, and their names were drawn out of the pile. A lot of people submitted ballots, with at least two names being drawn but not available so we kept calling names until 9 people were up at the front.

Above is the 2011 WingFest Judges

As judges we filled out some paperwork . . .

And there was a scoring card. The Hilliers asked me to go over the score sheet with the judges and explain to them what to look for when judging wings. Each vendor was serving up two types of wings: a 'regular' wing and a 'spicy' wing. There were three main components for the judgement: Taste, Texture and Tenderness each out of 10. Several people had questions about how to judge and I had a lot of fun being the expert!

The Judges in all their glory!

Above were the three vendors: Sal's, Hank Daddy BBQ and Ring-A-Wing. They were all set up sepperately from the LIFF in 'Winger's Row'. A beautiful sight to see at a festival.

After going over the rules, some opening statements and being given refreshments (Beer[Mill Street], Water, pop, whatever we wanted), it wasn't long before they were bringing out the wings to be judged. Here are the notes I took:


#1 - A little crispy, very sauce. Sweet but slightly spicy with pepper and  flakes visible in the sauce. Good wing, good start.

#2 -  Red glaze. Hint of BBQ smoke - is there an Asian influence? reminds me of a Peking Duck. Sticky, slight crisp skin. Very tasty - something different and I like it.

#3 - Very crispy, dusted in flour skin - slight spice, but very slight sweetness. Classic hot sauce and almost Buffalo sauce-like. Also good.


#4 - Breaded in flour - very crispy. Not wet (sauce absorbed into breading). Traditional 'hot wing' : was a medium heat level for me but I think others are finding it hot enough. Good solid hot wing.

#5 - BBQ spicy wing. Must be a follow up to wing #2. There is a slow burn, but its building into a good heat. Warms the whole mouth. I think an extract is used to boost heat. Heat and flavour here.

#6 - Breaded and deep fried and the sauce is thick. Just like #1 except more heat. I like the sauce and I like the wing.

I have to say I was impressed with all the wings. The competitors brought their A-games and scoring was difficult. In fact in the end all the scores were not far off from each other. I was glad that each competitor had two different categories to compete in so that they could show off their talents. No matter who won, I was going to be happy, because these were some good wings.

Michael, Hillary, Bill the Town Crier and myself post judging.

And the winner was . . . 

Hank Daddy's BBQ!

Like I said, it was very close and I thought the whole event went really well. It was an honour to be a judge and to get a lot of attention from the festival.

To learn about some post wing wingery, see the Vendor's post next.