Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Homemade Crispy Wings with Suicide Mix

No real story hear - photos from the summer. Homemade wings, fried, and tossed in sauce.

WWWWWW #53 - I Came For the 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:

Anh Chu loves food. She's a blogger originally from Calgary (but recently moved to the UK) who reviews food like myself, anonymously and out of her own pocket. I love this quote from her: "Although we all love fine dining, let’s face it, sometimes all you need is a Baconator."

One thing brought me to her blog:  Wing Off: Battle of the Chicken Wing.  For a friend's birthday, they had a chicken wing recipe cook off, and they had some very interesting wings. There were:

  • Chicken of the Sea Wing
  • Taco Wing
  • Spring Chicken
  • Turbaco Wing
  • PBJR Wing
  • Spicy BBQ Cinnamon Cheeseball

Awesome, slow clap, simply awesome.

Above are the Taco Wings. "John’s Taco wing was made by baking the wings in taco spices, dipping it in egg, then rolling them in crushed corn chips."  Muy bueno!

Or here are the PBJR wings. "The wings were dipped in a peanut butter and jam mixture then rolled in Rice Krispies." Outstanding.

And don't miss Anh's own Spring Chicken wings. "I marinated and baked the wings, wrapped them in seaweed, then a spring roll wrapper and deep fried them. Next time, I’d debone, add sticky rice outside of the seaweed, wrap it in spring roll wrapper, and add a sweet wasabi dipping sauce."

So check her out - and while she may not have any other wing posts . . . there are on poutine!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Wing P0rn: The Wing Company

Some take-out wings from a busy and stressful day. 
Got an order of delivered wings from The Wing Company (had them in 2010)

Spicy (but not suicidal heat), these are also a bit sweet. Remind me of a personal fave from Moose Winooskis.

Got a second order of Smoked Lime & Tequila (smokey BBQ infused with lime and Tequila). Funky and tasty.

Lots of moisture should totally wreck these wings, but they are still good after being delivered.

Made a bad day much much better.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WWWWWW #52 Nicki Minaj's Chicken Wing Necklace

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 had no idea who Niki Minaj was. Looking for something on the WWW for today, I randomly searched 'chicken wing necklace' and overwhelmingly the results were Niki Minaj Pink Chicken Wing Necklace. I'm not up on music or pop culture, so I had to go to wikipedia to figure out who she was - and I still don't recognize her, but again, I'm not hip to today's music.

The point is she was wearing a chicken wing necklace, and I think that is awesome. It's pink, because that is Minaj's thing, but it looks pretty real. It retails for $100 on the onchmovement's website:

"Get it while it's hot! 
Deep fried and extra crispy, the Pink Fried Chicken Wing is bold statement for any fashionista. Each chicken wing is hand battered so no two pieces are the same. Made from 100% animal free material!
This juicy wing measures approximately 4.5" tip to tip and hangs from a 17" heavy duty gold tone link chain with an extra 5" inch adjustable sizing chain."

I thought the onch movement was some sort of charity, but they are just a fashion movement.

Pink Chicken Wing necklaces. Crazy, but kinda cool. I don't wear jewelry, but maybe my sweetheart will be getting something special for Christmas . . .*

*I will not actually be getting her this. She encourages my wing obsession, but that encouragement only goes so far.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Jack Astor's Buffalo Sauced Up Chicken Fingers ~ Toronto ON

Last week I was attending a "Business Meeting" (like a mini-conference) at Humber College for one of the associations I belong to for my work. It's a great chance to meet up with my colleagues from around the province and compare war stories and discuss the future of our work. After a social was organized at Jack Astor's and I couldn't turn down the chance to eat and socialize.

Jack Astor's is a chain across Ontario (and elsewhere) that went from crazy-wacky family restaurant to  more casual-chic. This was actually one of the earliest wing reviewed joints I did back in 2006. I liked the wings, but I was looking for a Buffalo-style wing more so then. You can always identify them by their sign where the 'tor' flashes on and off, as if broken, which makes the sign look like 'Jack As s'. Get it? Huh? Huh?

The location I was in on this visit had our large group sitting in a kind of plain open space. But the main part of the restaurant looks nice. The above is a screen capture of their website which has a stylized and interactive version of their restaurant. If you look at my picture below, it really is very similar (look at the chandelier).

It's not the best photo, but you get the idea.

It's also Movember, and they have this cool coaster going on. Not only that, but the mustache actually pops out of the coaster for you to use! Not only that, you'll notice that there is a number on my coaster. That's because they gave everyone a number so that they could do separate bills for us all. This is awesome because usually when you have a big group, you pay as a group, then some people don't put in enough for tax and tip, and others have to put in more, and I just hate it. So this was awesome. Not shown is the cherry Coke that went on the coaster. You heard that right, cherry Coke.

Our Humber hosts got appetizers for us all. Our table had a plate of Roasted Garlic Bruschetta ($8.97). I don't care for bruschetta, but this one looked good. I didn't try, and they didn't last very long either.

They also got us a plate of Jack's Ultimate Nachos ($13.44). This platter was emptied in minutes (we were really hungry) but it was pretty good. What really stuck out for me was the Layered melted cheese (yes, not just cheese on the top layer) and chopped up jalapeno that actually had some kick.

Most of those sitting near me had the chicken fingers. My boss Sarah went for the Shanghai Lettuce Wraps ($9.97). This was a cool dish of sliced chicken, veggies and deep fried noodles tossed in a "sweet chili-hoisin sauce" that you spoon into a lettuce leaf cup. She said it was ok, but low on chicken.

With my dinner, I added Jack's Garlic Pan Bread ($5.98 regular, $7.93 with cheese, $2.96 to add to an entree, and $4.34 with cheese added to an entree). This is a loaf of bread, covered in cheese, and soaking in melted garlic butter dip. It is soft, delicious and heavenly. There is a slight yeasty taste, but otherwise this is a dangerous indulgence.

My dinner: The Sauced Up Chicken Fingers ($12.96). "Fresh chicken tenders, marinated, seasoned and breaded in-house to order . . . tossed in your choice of Buffalo Wing Sauce (mild, medium, or hot) or zesty chili honey sauce."  You can get it with fries, soup or house salad, or upgrade to sweet potato fries for $1.79.

The fries are just slightly crisp, mostly limp, but seasoned well. They were pretty greasy, but I don't mind them.

I'm a little embarrassed but I don't remember if this was a blue cheese dip or a ranch dip. It was thick and creamy and was excellent for dipping fries or chicken into. You can't really make it out, but the swizzle stick actually has a donkey on it (a Jack ASS if you will).

I really love these chicken fingers. They are fresh not frozen, then breaded and deep fried. Toss that in hot sauce and you have some awesome 'boneless wings.' They are not uniform in appearance and about 4 pieces come in an order.

I went with the hot sauce. This sauce actually has a kick. Hot is hot, and my mouth has a nice sting that attacks the tongue and lips, but also has a lot of flavour from the cayenne hot sauce and butter. It's very buttery sauce.

The chicken is crispy from the breading, but the meat (breast meat) is tender. Even after being tossed in sauce and being saucy, the chicken maintains its crispy structural integrity.

This is the only place I will pick chicken fingers over actual chicken wings. I'm sure the wings are good, but this dish is just too good. With the pan bread, this is a killer dish. Spicy, saucy, crunchy - how can you go wrong? With a cherry Coke on the side, I am super content and barely miss the bones.

Jack Astor's
25 Carlson Court (Toronto Airport Hwy27 & Dixon), Toronto ON

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Across Ontario (and beyond) is a chain of Italian-American casual restaraunts. East Side Marios. If you don't like chains, you probably don't like East Side Mario's (ESM). I, however, do like them. I always leave full, with leftovers, and satisfied.

It's not always perfect, but most times it's all good. I have two go to dishes: sausage pepper penne (in ariabata sauce) and Hell's Kitchen (spicy breaded chicken) - both are spicy and I either get a good piece of chicken, or some good sausages. And the meals come with hot loafs of bread and a tasty house salad I like. The place is kind of like Olive Garden, but IMHO spicier and more fun.

LJ went to our usual location at the St Laurent Mall in Ottawa, but it was super packed, so we went to the Gloucester location. Inside any ESM the walls are covered in fake New York City memorabilia, and no EMS is without a person-sized Statue of Liberty. We were sitting in the bar section which was full of flat screens, tall tables, and people watching some sports event.

Normally we don't sit in the bar, and I've already told you what I normally order, but this night was different. We were there for 1/2 price appetizers. Every night after 9pm (depending on the location) is 1/2 price appetizers. Different items are 1/2 price at different locations. Also, you have to sit in the bar for the deal to work.

We ordered Budda Boomers ($5.95). At this location these were not on 1/2 price. At other locations they are. Budda Boomers are deep fried pizza dough tossed in "herbs and garlic, sprinkled with Parmesan Romano." It normally comes with tomato dipping sauce, but we always ask for their garlic aioli. They are slightly crispy, light and very addictive.

We also has an order of Calamari Fritti ($9.99 regular price). These calamari rings were not like any we have had at ESM before. Normally they are tender rings in a panko-like breading that is fluffy and crispy. These were tough and rubbery and the coating was like a bad onion ring. I would swear they came from a plastic bag. This time they weren't that enjoyable.

At least there were wings in our order.

The wings come in orders of 7 wings. Considering they aren't big wings and the cost is $10.99, that's almost $2 a wing! That is a terrible deal, especially for an appetizer. But for $5, that is a better deal.

The wings are all breaded, but depending on your flavour choice, they might be dry or they might be well tossed in sauce. We ordered one plate Hot, and the other garlic Parmesan. They also come with veggies (carrots and celery) and the garParm came with Caesar dressing dip, but hot came with sour cream (oh Ottawa).

The wings were pretty small length wise, but were meaty meaty wings. The breading wasn't too thick, but the saucy nature of the Hot wings made the skin mushy. The garPar stayed crispy.


I really liked these, and normally I wouldn't. Because while there were spicy (I mean in a cayenne pepper sauce way, not heat) but they were also sweet. Like a spicy red sauce from a North American Chinese restaurant.

LJ wasn't a huge fan, she felt they were heat wise spicy, and too sweet. I had no problem finishing them off for her. I don't think everyone would like these wings, but I did.

Garlic Parmesan

This was a great concept wing. Crispy deep fried wings that are tossed in a bit of garlic infused oil, tossed in spices and Parmesan cheese.

This is a much more savoury wing with lots of things going on - texture from the crispy skin and breading, the oil and the cheese just add something different, the garlic and seasoning. If you dip this in the Caesar dressing, it's almost too much.

THE SCORE: This isn't really a wing place, but I like the wings at East Side Marios. I like the contrasting flavours of Hot and garPar really compliment each other with the sweet heat and the savoury garlic spices. I like it. They aren't very big, but they are meaty. The other sides this night were hit (Budda Boomers) and miss (calamari). But at least most of the meal was 1/2 price. I would never buy these wings at full price, but for 1/2 price, they aren't bad. 5/10

East Side Mario's
1820 Ogilvie Road, Ottawa (Gloucester) ON (and other locations)