Monday, 26 November 2012

SLOPPY JOE'S ~ Etobicoke ON

JUNE 2012

In the summer I had the fortune of moving to a bigger space. My new suite was mostly furnished, but I wanted to get a few things and a trip to IKEA seemed in order. But I live downtown and IKEA is not. So I rented a car for the day and thought I might try some wings at somewhere I usually can't get to.

photo courtesy of google street view
I had heard about Sloppy Joe's on the internet as a place to get wings for a while. The last time I was in Etobicoke I tried one wing joint, but didn't get to Sloppy's due to geography. Well, this seemed like the perfect time to fix that.

This was another place where I felt weird walking in. It was late afternoon and it only seemed like regulars at the bar. It was seat yourself, so I picked the empty dining room so I could eat in privacy and take photos.

The place looks like nothing has changed in while. Its a sports bar and isn't trying to be anything else. I found the mural in the photo above a little odd - here's this glutton patron who looks lecherous, and a tired waitress who is not impressed. What is the message you get from this?

My waitress was ok, but a bit awkward. She didn't check in too much on me, and conversation was strained. I ordered, and soon I had a wing bowl, napkin and wetnap. This was a good sign as it suggested they take wings seriously here.

So did the steaming pile of freshly fried wings and veggies and dip . . .

Served in a classic red basket on brown paper, my order of 10 wings looked really good with the big stack of veggies and dip. The wings are breaded, then deep fried, then tossed in sauce.

Lots of carrots and celery sticks came with these wings (a once required accompaniment with dip, but more often a pleasantry now a days). The dip was pub classic blue cheese - creamy, tangy, good.

The size of the wing was large - very meaty. Length, also large. These were an excellent sized wing. Yes they are breaded, and the chicken is like a good piece of fried chicken.


The wings were not super saucy, which was ok. The hot was not that hot, but it was tasty.


This was an interesting sauce. I thought I was getting a bowl of chili with my wings, not a giant bowl of suicide sauce. This sauce had some good heat. Lots of flavours going on. I just couldn't get over the amount they gave.

FINAL SCORE: Sloppy Joe's is a bit out of the way for me. I wasn't crazy about the atmosphere, but they do know their wings. There isn't much choice in flavour, but what they have they do well. Hot was good. Suicide was good. The wings are big and came out steaming hot. 7.5/10

Sloppy Joe's
3527 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke ON


Picture it: Niagara Region. June 2012. 

I was at a conference for work at Brock University and Niagara College. After a long day of sessions and seminars, the culinary school and brewery/wine at Niagara College gave us some wonderful tasting and creations. We then had some free time down at the Falls, and Heather and Kristen and I decided to grab a snack, a drink, and a drop in to the Casino.

We made our way up Fallsview Boulevard toward the casino, and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville was right across from the casino. The ladies thought margaritas sounded good, and I was sure I could get wings.

Jimmy Buffett sure soaked one song for as much as he possibly could. I mean, it's a restaurant based on a song. If your looking to have a party atmosphere in a chain bar, this is the place to go. Live bands, hockey games, airplanes inside a bar, surfboards and tiki lounges. There was a dude on stilts walking around the place. Crazy. Loud. Fun.

Our waitress was Tamar, who was friendly and over the top in character for the restaruant. She was quick to refill my Pepsi and check in on our needs.

Heather and Kristen enjoyed their margaritas. They also shared some Volacano Nachos ($16.95). Nachos that were pilled higher than their heats. I have never seen a place give a plate of nachos that large.  "Topped with chili, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, tomatoes and scallions."

I found wings on the menu. Huzzah!

I went with the "Chicken Wing Cornucopia" and I don't know why it's called a cornucopia, which Wikipedia describes as "from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form." I didn't feel this was a horn of plenty, with 8 wings and some celery sticks for $13.

It came with a side of blue cheese. This was a massive cup of blue cheese, but I was put off by the muffin-top baked greasy look it had. It wasn't cold. It tasted like blue cheese dip, but like it had been baked, and it was overpoweringly pungent. Did not enjoy.

 The wings looked really good. In length they were not generous, about a medium. In meatiness it was a medium. The wings were slightly crispy, and they were sauced nicely.


Actually, Hot Buffalo. This was a lie. It was Medium Buffalo, but as wings are always a challenge, no one would order medium, so they just renamed medium hot. This was a good flavoured sauce, but unfortunately was extremely salty. I finished the wings, but the salty factor was a big problem.


Hawaiian chili sounds unique and a bit mysterious. I've had Thai chili, or sweet chili, but Hawaiian? I imagined some spicy pineapple flavour. Nope, just plain sweet Thai chili. Sweet, minor kick, but nothing original or pineapplely about it.

This place is tourist trap restaurant in all it's glory. Its fun and over the top. Lots of Margaritas that are big and I'm told enjoyable. Nachos are ginormous. Wings were ok, a little deceptive in descriptions, and very salty. But a good meal was had by all, and this was a fun place to hang while away on business. 4.5/10

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
6300 Fallsview Boulevard  Niagara Falls, ON

Sunday, 25 November 2012

BlogTO reports on Drums 'n Flats

BlogTO's Libby Roach reviews a new wing joint in Toronto,  Durms N Flats, and states that "promises to blow your face off."

Drums N Flats

I haven't been this excited in a long time for a place in Toronto.

I don't know when I will get to go and review it myself, but I will . . .

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dinning Hall Wing P0rn

Breaded wings tossed by the chef's in BBQ sauce on a sunny November lunch.

Adding some 3rd Degree Sauce. Is that too explicit?


Grilled Wings in Mississauga?

Loybond over on RedFlagDeals Forums under food and drink asks: - Where Canadians Save

"I'm not a fan of battered, fried wings with gloopy sauce. Prefer grilled wings... any recommendations in Peel?"

I've only been to a place or two in 'sauga and didn't have grilled wings. Do you know a good place for grilled wings?

I Went To Philly ~ Toronto ON


Sometimes I have epic journeys to try food. During the beginning of Fall I had heard about a new Philly cheese steak place opening up not far from here at home and I was excited. I've had crappy roast beef versions of the cheese steak, but I wanted authentic. So I set out for I Went To Philly (see, they went to Philly, had the cheese steak, loved it, and brought it back).

The first time I arrived, there was a dude with a sandwich board outside sending in business. I went in and I was told the place was closed;  there was a family emergency and they needed to shut down early. But they didn't tell the guy outside. One of the staff was really unfriendly about the situation, but another tried to remain helpful by getting me a take-out menu. But no cheese steak.

I went by a second time on a Sunday, but they are closed on Sundays. I tried a third time but the place was packed and I didn't want to do take-out. Then I tried a few weeks ago and the same unfriendly dude was there. I didn't have cash on me, and it's cash only. I tried to use their ATM and it wasn't working. I politely let them know this was the case and unfriendly dude was like "well, nobody else has had a problem with it." I gladly walked out thinking what a jackass. If they don't want my business, that's fine.

But I really wanted a cheese steak. So I went one more time - I know, on principal I should not have gone back, but dang did I want a cheese steak. Unfriendly dude was working again (I think he may be one of the owner's sons), but he was more pleasant. The place only had two other guys eating so I felt it was a good time to do a review.

The place has a simple red and white theme going on. CP24 is on the flat screens, and images of Pat's and Geno's for the homage to the classic Philly joints. The one thing I found a little odd in the decor was above my seat. I didn't notice it until my order was up and I came back to my seat: a neon glowing wipe board extolling the virtues of Jesus. I won't lie, I'm not big on having religion around my dining space.

The menu is pretty straight forward: cheese steaks, fries, and cheese steaks and fries together.

Every table had a bottle of Tabasco sauce on it. I appreciate the hot sauce, but Tabasco is rarely my hot sauce of choice.

Here was my meal in all it's glory: Cheese Steak wit' onions and whiz, a cherry pepper, and a drink box of Yoohoo. I have not had Yoohoo since I was a kid visiting the US (as it's not for sale here) and I figured I would get it as part of the yankee package. They were out of bottles, and a little sippy box is $1.50. For chocolate milk. If you don't remember like me, Yoohoo is basically chocolate milk. I should have gotten the Black Cherry cola.

The sandwich came with a hot cherry pepper (normally a charge of $0.75). They were plump, had a nice flavour and heat.

And then there was the sandwich. Glory. It was pure glory. The sandwich was huge, pilled high with lots of cheese. Sorry, Cheez.

There are two types of cheese to choose from, Cheez Whiz and provolone or both. They both sound good, but I wanted traditional Whiz. You may scoff at Cheez Whiz, but this is the best application of the fake yellow stuff I have ever had.   

First, the bun they use is so fresh, and so soft I thought that the steak mixture was going to fall through. Then you have the thinly sliced AA Ribeye that is cooked on the flattop. Just slightly greasy, but the perfect amount of grease. Very tender and nice and beefy. And you have the fried onion. So good. The smell when you walk in is fried onion goodness. 

Combined, I was in nirvana. This sandwich was close to perfection for me. The bun, the meat, the onion, the cheez.

I did not get the fries, but they looked good. One guy at the table behind me had the cheese steak fries (fries, with cheese steak and Whiz on top) which looked phenomenal. Really, what is not to like.

So here's the thing, I'm not crazy bout the one dude that runs the place, and I'm not crazy about Jesus messages in a restaurant. But dang if they don't make a mean Philly cheese steak that I would overlook all of that again. I know I will go back for the food.

I Went To Philly
462 Yonge Street, Toronto ON
I Went to Philly on Facebook

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Still back in May, and going back to yet another trip to Ottawa, and yet another solo lunch, I decided to check out one of the new BBQ joints that have been descending on the nation's capital. I had read some mixed reviews, and decided to see for myself what Fatboys Southern Smokehouse had to offer.

Located down in the Bytown Market, Fatboys seemed like a family friendly biker bar. Yes, I know that sounds contradictory, but that's what I thought.

Inside is a big open space that has a mix of sports memorabilia, motorcycle memorabilia, and BBQ memorabilia. A fun addition was the taps in the washrooms were motorcycle handles on a barrel. Early lunch was not busy so I had my pick of inside (which was very exposed due to large garage-door windows being open, or the patio. The patio had no roof and the sun was getting hot so I was seated right at the border, which was perfect.

My waitress (didn't remember her name) was super helpful going over the menu, bringing me drink refills, and just being entertaining to talk to. I wanted wings, but I also wanted to try some of the BBQ dishes, so she recommended going with the meat choice (I went with 1/4 of their pulled pork for $7.99), adding Smoked Chicken Wings for $3.99, and added the Kansas City Cornbites for $3.49. This lunch added up very quickly.

For the wings, she suggested I get them dry and add what sauces I wanted later on. And they keep all the sauces on the table, so I could dab and dip.

The Cornbites were tasty, moist little bites with 4 coming in an order. The maple butter was sweet but went well on these yummy cornbread morsels, and I could have eaten a lot more.

Two sides that did come with the pork was a tart pickle which was crunchy and juicy. It also came with coleslaw that I did not really enjoy. No real flavour, not that saucy (kind of a thick vinegar based dressing) and I didn't really eat it.

The pulled pork was not bad. It was a little dried out, and did not have much of a smoked flavour. But once I started adding the sauces, it was great. I guess what I mean is that the sauces were good, and the pork was  ok. In the above corner was the Sweet Memphis Mustard which was very tasty on the pork. It was sweet, it was mustard - there's not much more to say.

So cornbread was good, coleslaw not, pickle was good, pulled pork was ok. So how were the wings?

Wings normally come in an order of a pound, but I only added the wings as a side to my meat. So I'm not sure how many wings actually come in a pound. The wings are smoked, then dusted and then deep fried.

A flapper wing was large in length, but a little skinny on the meat side. The skin was nice and crispy due to the deep frying, but I would not have known these were smoked if I didn't know - there was no smoke flavour. At least the chicken was not tough as smoking can sometime produce.

Hillbilly Hot

This was a tasty BBQ sauce because it was a dark, sweet sauce with a bit of a kick. I mean it wasn't hot like a hot wing, but that's not really the point with BBQ. There were different levels of flavour and I really enjoyed this sauce.

Memphis BBQ

This was their general bbq sauce. It was the Hillbilly Heat without the heat. I was happy to slap this on the pulled pork. On the wings it was good, but I might as well go with the hot version.

Alabama White

The Alabama White was a creamy almost ranch like bbq sauce.My waitress recommended it with the hillbilly hot and dang that was a tasty mix. With the crispy salty wings this made for a unique and tasty flavour. This became my go to for the wings.

FINAL SCORE: The wings were good. The BBQ was ok. The sauces were great and so was the service. There were lots of other things on the menu I'd love to try (Ribs, fried green tomatoes, deep fried pickles etc) before I went back for wings or pulled pork though. 5.5/10

Fatboys Southern Smokehouse
34 Murray Street, Ottawa ON