Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WACKY WINGS ~ Mississauga ON

I live and work at the same place, so lately it's been important to me that I get out of the downtown core and explore a bit. On St. Patrick's Day I found myself out in Mississauga for the later part of the day. Last year when the Wing Wars were raging on (Buffalo Wild Wings from the USA vs Wild Wings Canada), a third contender jumped into the ring - also from Canada: Wacky Wings. Originally from up North in Sault Ste. Marie, this cottage themed wing joint was setting up to stay, and they asked me to come see them.



Well, I wanted to go but had no real means. So a year later I had access to a car, I was in Mississauga, so this seemed like the natural dinner decision.


Finding them was a little confusing only because they are in the back corner of a strip mall - but once they come into view, you can't miss the giant chicken or the neon palm trees. Walking up to the front entrance I saw stuffed chickens in the window staring in. Some might think this is a little morbid, but I think it's awesome.


The restaurant is HUGE inside, much bigger than I thought. On one side is a massive factory/industrial looking bar side with huge screens and loud music (Irishy music since it was St. Patrick's day). The dining side that I sat on is all cedar wood with deer heads on the wall, cedar tables, cedar walls. Each booth in my section had a TV (I put on the Food Network and watched Eat Street). Most people were on the bar side but there were a few families in the dining room.

My server was Robert and he was friendly helpful and knowledgeable. He was always refilling my drink or answering questions about their 100 different flavours of wings.


I was set at my table with a big roll of paper towels and wetnaps. They also were advertising their AYCE wing special on Wednesday. This was a Saturday, so I was a little sad. Like most wing joints, you have to order a LOT of wings to split flavours, which is hard because you want to try a lot, but keep it economical. I went with their Bone In Wings Sample Platter ($22.99) which is 20 wings split 4 ways.


What a great looking platter of wings. I'm hungry again just looking at it.


The wings come in orders of 5, 10, 20 etc. The wings themselves have a breading/dusting on them that makes for a crispy/crunching coating.


The wings come with a side of carrots sticks and dip. And because it was St. Patty's day, they greened up the ranch dressing. Fun!


The wings themselves were a mix of small and medium, but more on the smaller side. They were a medium meatiness but were very tender chicken. I could pull the bones out pretty easily.


I had a hard time choosing my 4 flavours for the platter. But eventually I narrowed it down to 4 different flavours - a hot flavour, a spicy bbq, a pop flavour and crazy jalapeno dill. All of the wings were quite saucy and the sauces themselves were thick.



SIGNATURE HOT

I was looking for a classic hot sauce - I had my eye on Hot, Jalapeno Hot, Feelin' Hot Hot Hot, and Megan Fox Hot. But then I saw their "Signature House" sauces, so Signature Hot sounded good. I told Robert and he gave me a disclaimer that their signature sauces contain actual blue cheese in the sauces, which can turn some people off. I won't lie, I thought about switching too, but then I thought, no, let's see what they have to offer.


It was definitely a unique sauce. I got a stereotypical chicken wing flavour with the hot sauce matched with the blue cheese that one might dip their wings into. It was well balanced so that the possible pungent blue cheese did not overwhelm the taste buds. I liked it, but I think I would try one of the other variants next time.



JALAPENO DILL

This was another sauce I made some inquiring. I was looking at their dry dill wings, but I saw on their menu the jalapeno dill. I asked Robert how this combination worked, like was the sauce a creamy dill or dry? He said it was dry dill mixed with the jalapeno.



They looked festive for St. Patty's day. They also did not taste as I expected. It had a small bite from the jalapeno, and only faint taste of dill. Actually the taste was more like an Indian pickle which was more of a sour taste. I liked the first few wings, but after that I wasn't a fan of the flavour. Next time I would go with straight dill.


Dr. PEPPER MEDIUM

I thought this was pretty straight forward - a medium sauce mixed with Dr. Pepper pop. Funny, there was no Dr. Pepper available to drink.


This was my favourite of the flavours. It was a medium heat, but was still sweet. But sweet in a savoury way. Does that make sense? Basically a hot and BBQ sauce. I liked it and would definitely get it again.



BLAZIN' BBQ

I figured this was a spicy BBQ sauce . . . and it was. It was more BBQ than Blazin' though. It was very savory with a bit of sticky sweetness. I liked it, but I would experiment with other BBQ flavours.



FINAL SCORE:

Wacky Wings is quite the place. It is a monster facility for both families and sports fans. I don't know if it was the holiday, but there were a ton of servers. My server was great - always there for what I needed. The wings aren't huge, but they are tender and crispy. The sauces on the wings are thick and well coated. There are a lot of choices, and some where hits for me, others . . . I'll try something different next time. If I lived in Mississauga I would definitely be coming on Wednesdays for their AYCE wings to do more sampling. 6.5/10

Wacky Wings
1248 Dundas St East, Mississauga ON (and other locations)
wackywings.ca

WWWWWW #62 - Wings & Beer The Movie



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 came across this film directed and written by Khaldoun Aldhalie on IMDB. The description:

"Sam is a shy, single guy, who meets a girl on a dating website. He is pressured by his two best friends to sleep with her on the first date. A comedy of errors back at his apartment leads to someone being injured and cops being involved. He soon discovers that no matter how perfect you plan a date disaster is only one minute away, and fate has its own plan for him. "



Their website is no longer up, but I did check out the trailer (which I can't embed here - sorry). I won't comment on the acting or lighting or writing. What I will comment on is the clear lack of chicken wings in the entire trailer. Seriously, where are the wings? Batman had a bat-man in it. Jurassic Park had a dino-park in it. Mary Poppins had a Mary Poppins. Where's the wings?!

This movie came out in 2009.

But another movie called Wings and Beer came out in 2010. Maybe it has more to do with wings. Doubtful though,

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Burger's Priest ~ Toronto ON


I have been wanting to go to The Burger's Priest for a long time now. I have heard how they are one of (if not the) best burger joint in the city. The Burger's Priest (TBP) isn't close to me either. So I set out to try their burgers. 3 Times. And failed each time.


The first time I went, it was Sunday. Of course a Christian themed burger joint is closed on Sundays. The second and third times I was faced with this problem:


http://normalgourmand.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/lineup.jpg 
http://tipsareincluded.blogspot.ca/2012/03/burgers-priest.html 

Line ups. Snaking their way out the door. Huge. And with no place to eat inside, and no place to eat outside, I gave up again and again. Well, the fourth time was the charm. I had a Zipcar for the day, and found myself at TBP with only a small line-up. But that didn't mean I enjoyed my experience there.

I got in; just barely squished inside the door. The small space was crammed with people and no room to manuever. It was chaos in my mind. I am socially claustrophobic (not medically, that's just what I say) - that is to say I hate (HATE) being in crowded environments with people (malls, I'm looking at you). I begin to hate humanity in these situations.There was no distinction of who was in line and who was waiting. Two parents with their toddler sit at the wall counter that has signs up everywhere saying something along the lines of "No Eating - This Area for Waiting" after asking the staff if they could eat there but they got no answer (because the staff is too busy) so they sat down and ate. I also saw two individuals get the wrong order. I also had to overhear every conversation because I am steps from everyone.

I'm also glad I had read about TBP before so I knew what to expect, somewhat. For someone walking in off the street it isn't clear. Like the fact that they only take cash (the guy ordering in front of me waited 10 minutes to order, ordered, then had to leave because he didn't have cash on him and couldn't see the "cash only" sign because people were in front of it). Or what is on the menu (the menu board has items like "The Option" which if you don't know already, is a mushroom filled with cheese and fried as a burger) and because it is soo busy and soo jamed, there's no time to ask. On top of that, they also have a Secret Menu. Good luck.



But I could see the ground beef coming out - big meaty balls being smashed on a griddle. They looked so fresh and so good. I also watched the fries be fried, then put on a baking sheet, the baking sheet put on a rack, where they waited until someone ordered them. And because so many people were ordering, the turn over is quick and nothing has time to sit and wait.


So I ordered the Cheeseburger ($5.29) with bacon ($1), fries ($3.29) and a pop ($1.29). I waited with people I was close to snapping on, but I didn't have to wait too long before my order came up and I ran outside to freedom. The line was now twice as long as before. I relished the air outside. Then I got in the car and drove to the lake to eat in privacy and unhampered conditions.
 

First I opened my drink. Yes they had your usual brand pops, but they also had Colt Black Cherry, and as you may know, I love my cherry colas.



 At the top of my bag were the fries. These were crispy but soft inside. They were unseasoned and I only managed to get 2 packets of ketchup before getting out of TBP. Some salt and vinegar, and these would have been awesome.


Digging down farther into the bag was my burger. Despite the ordering process, I was very excited to try this burger. I mean, all of those people were ordering in droves for a reason.


When I pulled the burger out, I wasn't impressed with the size - I guess I expected it to be bigger. But it looked great, juices dripping down from the sides.



I had my burger loaded up with all their toppings, which were fresh like everything else. If I could put a theme on everything to do with this burger, it would be fresh, fresh, fresh. When I picked up the burger the bun was so soft and . . . fresh. The veggies . . . fresh. The beef . . . fresh.

The freshness was great. That aside, I was was really underwhelmed by the burger. Yes the meat tasted . . . fresh, but it didn't really do much for me. The bacon was good - but again no strong flavour. It was also quite limp (I prefer my bacon crispy). It was a good burger - and very . . . fresh. But nothing stood out about it.

People in that area must be sick of the other burger options, because I can't imagine myself standing in line for so long and so squished for the burgers there. I built up this burger in my head and felt there was too much hype. The Burger's Priest makes a nice fresh burger, but not worth the effort to get it in my opinion. If there were less people and a place to sit, I'd consider it.  The price tag of over $10 for a small burger, regular order of fries and a can of pop didn't help much either.  I think The Burger's Priest place just re-affirms my stance on organized religion - a lot of people lining up because someone said something and never questioned them. I'm not anti-Burger's Priest, I'm just not a convert.

The Burger Priest
1636 Queen Street East, Toronto ON
theburgerspriest.com

SCOTLAND YARD PUB ~ Toronto ON

My lady had been in town for business, and then she had to fly home. I dropped her off at the Island Airport (taking the world's shortest ferry ride) and then I took their shuttle service to the Royal York. It was a beautiful day, so I walked down to the St Lawrence Market/Esplanade area.


 I was feeling a bit hungry, so I started looking at some outside menus.  I came across the Scotland Yard and Sunday was their wing night(day). So of course I went in.


The first thing I thought to myself was "this place is awesome." It was dark inside, it was busy, but I loved the old pub feel. Yes there were some tv's (and one old school projector tv), but this place was well worn but not worn out. Scotland Yard is not hip, it is not stylish - but it has character. Old books, old photos, old school bar but a fairly young crowd.

My waitress was Paula, and she was great. She was really warm and friendly - I really felt welcome in the pub because of her. She brought me refills on my Coke and answered my wings questions, which did not take long to come out.


Wings come in orders of a pound, which on my plates equaled about 9-10 wings.


The wings are deep fried, then sauced. Or not. I had one ordered of Buffalo wings, and the other was Dry Cajun Rub - so it was, well, dry.


Each order came with short cut carrot sticks and blue cheese dip. The dip had chunks of blue cheese too. Tasty.


Size wise these were ok wings - about a medium in length, and about a medium in meatiness. The skin was nice a crispy from the deep frying. My sauced wings were nice and saucy, but there wasn't much leftover on the plate.

BUFFALO

The name says it all. Scotland Yard has both Hot and Buffalo, so I asked Paula the difference (just to make sure) - and she confirmed Buffalo was Hot with butter added. And since these wings were deep fried naked, they truly were Buffalo wings.



Dry Cajun Rub

These were ... just ok. Nice and crispy and good texture, the Cajun seasoning was too mild in flavour. The hints of flavour I could pick up were good, but more seasoning was necessary.



Suicide

On the side I went for the hot stuff. The suicide actually had some heat. It was a good burn. It was a vinegary sauce and my only beef was that it was cold. I dunked my Cajun wings in these to jazz them up.


FINAL SCORE: I really liked the Scotland Yard Pub. The atmosphere was old school pub and I dig it. Paula was an awesome waitress. And I had cheap wings. Buffalo was good, Cajun was a bit weak, and suicide had some kick. I would like to come back for sure. 6/10


Scotland Yard Pub
56 The Esplanade, Toronto ON
scotlandyard.ca

WINGPORIUM ~ Etobicoke ON


A couple of weeks ago I went on a personal field trip out to Etobicoke. See I live right downtown Toronto, and I live where I work, so I only see downtown Toronto. But I love taking little adventures and because I knew nothing about the West End, I jumped on the subway and went exploring. Eventually I went to the Montgomery Inn Museum, a cemetery and checked out some historical murals. This was a cool little area with some interesting stories. But the first thing I did when I got there was go for lunch. Which means I went for wings.



A place called Wingporium has got to be good, right?  Found in a mall plaza, I didn't know what to think of the place.


Inside it looked like a standard pub. I had the freedom to sit where I wanted, but the best seats for taking well lit pictures in private were taken. So I went with well lit by the window seat. It was pretty quiet inside - a few couples, and individual old men. My waitress was Ana, who was also the bartender. I was worried service was not going to be good because she was the only one on deck, and she was talking a lot with a patron at the bar, she took care of business efficiently and  friendly and she was able to answer my wing questions.


Questions like the banner for the Wall of Flame. If you can eat Wingporium's hottest wing, the Black Mamba, you go up on the Wall of Flame (physically and on the web). I asked how many the "Commander" had eaten, and Ana thought it was around 46. That's impressive - if not for shear quantity. I did not try the Black Mamba, so I can't comment on the heat level.



I was ready for wings with my giant roll of paper towel, my bone bowl and moist towlette. Now I just needed the wings. Fortunately, they did not take long.


Wingporium has 88 flavours of wings, which makes for choosing a good flavour overwhelming.  I mean I want tot try some classic flavours, but I also want to try something a little crazy. So I tried to do some sampling.


Wings are

"lightly dusted and sauced, however you may also have them . . . 
  • non dusted  
  • naked with sauce on the side
  •  sauced, then grilled (add $1)"

I decided that I would stick with their way of doing them with the lightly dusted and deep fried. I went with one order of Buffalo Style, one of dry Dill Pickle and a side of Bubba's Backfire.


The size of the wings were decent: they ranged from Medium to Large in length. They were relatively meaty and relatively tender. They were deep fried perfectly with skin that was crispy and tasty. There was a little crackle every time I bit in. So good.


Buffalo Style

This sounded as classic as possible next to Hot. I actually asked Ana what the difference was between Hot and Buffalo Style - and she said Buffalo had butter added to it. Well that sounded just right.


This was a great sauce. It didn't taste like your standard Buffalo sauce - the hot sauce had more depth to it with chili's and peppers mixed in, but the butter made for a rich layer to the taste. It wasn't that hot, but the flavour was great.



Dill Pickle

This flavour is wacky if you haven't had it before. I have, and have made it myself, so it's not crazy. But who ever first decided to put popcorn seasoning on hot crispy wings was a genius. For this to work well, the seasoning has to have a lot of flavour. Fortunately, these did.


The dill seasoning was zingy, sour and tart. My mouth was bursting from that sour burn that strangely works well with the salty crispy chicken skin. They also really coated the wings well; some places that do this do it lightly, but you need to go big and bold when doing chip flavours.



Bubba's Backfire

To try one more sauce, I went with this spicy BBQ flavour. BBQ is one of my possible go-to flavours that I felt would round out my hot/dill round up. It was a good BBQ, a savoury sauce with a bit of sweet, but not that 'spicy.' I would get it again, but then again, there are a lot of sauces to try again.



FINAL SCORE:
I was really impressed with the wings here. I was worried this place might be a mass-produced wing joint, but it felt like they really care about their wings. The meat itself was good - the skin was perfect with the dusting and the deep frying. The sauces were quality - Buffalo & Bubba's Backfire were both good. But I found the Dill Pickle to be irresistible. Wingporium does some awesome wings. I just wished Etobicoke wasn't as far away as it is. 8/10


Wingporium
1000 Islington Ave, Etobicoke ON (Toronto)
wingporium.ca