Thursday, 20 March 2014
I don't know about $20 AYCE wings as a deal, but considering its $22.99 for 2lbs, if you can eat 2lbs or more, this deal is worth it.
I don't know, that's just me . . . but hey, AYCE wings and Free Wings for a year? I could live with that.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
|Inspired by these guys http://goo.gl/qfekWg|
The Lord of the Wings blog was contacted by the Zeno group on behalf of Pizza Hut & WingStreet. There are eight flavors: Buffalo Mild, Buffalo Medium, Buffalo Burnin’ Hot, Spicy Asian, Spicy BBQ, Honey BBQ, Lemon Pepper and Garlic Parmesan and one can choose from several varieties including Bone-Out, Traditional or Crispy Bone-In. They asked what kind I wanted and for me to give an honest review of the wings and I could compare against the competition.
Well that sounded like a great offer, so I said yes. What I appreciate is not asking for a biased review - they specified they wanted an honest review. And as always, when I review a product, even if it is free, I cannot guarantee it will get my approval. But clearly they felt they could do well by sending me some Domino's wings.
And so a new segment on LOTW was born: EPIC WING BATTLES OF HISTORY!
Take out wings are a really hard product to get right because ideally wings need to be served immediately after being cooked, but can take 15-40 minutes to be delivered. Then so many things can go wrong.
First off we have the delivery. The good news is both locations delivered on time if not a bit early. Both were served in cardboard containers. Domino's was a LOT of cardboard and while that physically protects the wings in transit, it's a lot of material. But the same box is uses for cheesy bread and other sides, so it's kind of a catch all.
Both places also put their wings into tin foil wraps. Most take-out wing places put them in styrofoam containers, which are not only terrible environmentally, they also help steam the wings. Dominos uses straight up tinfoil, while WingStreet uses a paper-lined tinfoil. I'll be honest, I don't know if that makes any kind of difference. Either way, both wings were still hot with steam coming out when opened up.
I ordered 4 orders of wings from each location. My first order was a hot wing comparison. Size wise these wings were about the same - both were small, but Domino's wings were just a big meatier.
Their cooking styles were different and it was noticeable. WingStreet deep fries their wings, which makes the skin a bit crispy and gives the wing more structure, especially considering they were soaked in sauce. Domino's on the other hand bakes their wings, which does not produce a wing with either crispy skin nor a solid structure. In fact, these wings were just mush. The bones just popped out and the texture is jelly.
Both joints gave lakes of sauce - so you do not have to worry about these wings being dry. Domino's only has 3 choices: BBQ, Honey Garlic, and Hot. Hot is, well I don't know what it is. For some reason it's sweet, but slightly vinegary. There is zero heat. Its actually ghastly sauce. WingStreet gets it though. They have a variety of flavours, and Buffalo Burnin' Hot has a cayenne based flavour with an actual bite of heat. There is a slight HFCS syrupy quality, but over all is a good sauce.
For my second order I went with BBQ sauce. For Domino's I tried their boneless wings; for WingStreet I went with Crispy Bone-In, or breaded wings. The Boneless were large chunks of white meat chicken, with a light batter on them. They were not uniform and thus not some cookie-cutter chicken nugget. They were cooked just right, so that the meat was moist. The breaded wings were crispy, in fact crunchy from the breading. It is a heavy heavy breading that creates a thick wall between the sauce and the meat. It was on the verge of being too much.
The sauces were both different. Domino's BBQ sauce was a dark, 'bold' flavour, but I put it in quotes because it was not a sauce that stood out. It is a savory sauce, not really sweet, but just like a generic sauce from the store. WingStreet's Honey BBQ was smokey, syrupy, and sweet. It was unique and I love the smell it gave off before I even got to is. The thick breading on the wing also meant that the wings did not get soggy in their syrupy bath.
The BBQ options were harder to select a winner, partially because they are different chicken options. Domino's produced a great chicken piece that was tender and tasty and because the sauce was served on the side, retained its structure. WingStreet's breaded wing was a crunchy option, but the breading almost ruined it. What put it over the top was the sauce. Plain sauce from Domino's (although I appreciate that it was of the savoury variety, not sickly sweet), but WingStreet's just had so much more dimension to it.
When it came to the Hot wing, WingStreet won hands down. It was not as crispy as if it hand been served immediately, but it held up surprisingly well to the sauce soak it was subjected to. The flavour of the wing was spot on for hot wing sauce, and actually was hot. It did lack a buttery element to make it Buffalo wing, but all things considered, it worked.
Domino's Hot wing was a travesty. Baked, then drowned in sauce, it was just a mess in terms of structure and texture. I don't want mushy wings. Who does? The sauce was equally terrible. It's sweet (why is it sweet?) and almost sour. It has no positive definitions. It isn't even on the level of a frozen wing from the grocery store, but comes close to the slop wings that said grocery stores sell in the hot and ready section.
So if you are looking for a chain take-out wing, whether you live in Canada or the US, I would definitely go with WingStreet. It holds up to the take-out/delivery process, and gives a product that while isn't equal to a dine-in experience, it is one of the best wings that I bet will come to your door.
Thank you Jennifer and Jazmine at Zeno for this opportunity, I appreciate free wings and giving my opinion on them. I'm just glad you were right about the product!
WingStreet Canada & USA
Dominos Canada & USA
PS: right now WingStreet wings are on sale! $0.60 in Canada when ordering online.
Thursday, 13 March 2014
I've been getting a lot of traffic recently to one of my pages, and it turns out "The 20 Something Budget" blog was talking about the high cost of chicken wings, and they linked my article about chicken wing styles. This past week a lot of people are checking it out, so, cool. You can too.
Stacked on high in the Latin Quarter of Montreal is a BBQ joint named Diablos. During my time in Montreal I went here twice; once with LJ and once again with friends from the conference, and I have combined my review here together.
LJ and I went here first, and boy were we confused about the location. I mean we found the address and 2 big signs out front, but there is a patio restaurant, a basement bar, and 2 on the second level. We figured it wasn't the patio based on the non-bbq they were serving. So we tried the lower tavern. It was empty, and nobody (not even a bartender was in sight). Finally a waitress came by, and we asked if it was Diablos, and she said no upstairs. Then we saw the red railing that matched the red sign, so we missed that visual cue.
Diablo's was also empty. We were taken by the waitress through the main restaurant/bar to the back patio, which only had one group sitting at it. When I returned a few nights later for my second visit, there were a few more people, but it was still pretty empty.
The back patio was awesome for a summer day: shady, with a breeze, but sun and a nice atmosphere. The place has that BBQ/barn aesthetic, and the waitstaff all have that alternative, tattoos piercing look. On both visits out waitresses were un-rushed, but friendly. It's a very chill vibe around here.
LJ and I went on a BBQ buffet extravaganza where we shared lots.
LJ's combo was pork and beef ribs, fries and sweet potato fries and cornbread.
The beef ribs were a lot of fat and grisel and not a lot to eat. The pork ribs fared better being more tender and a bit of pull on the meat. Both sauces were pretty sweet and the meat was generously applied. The cornbread was ok - nothing special as were the shoestring fries.
I went with an appetizer platter, which had wings, but they were out, so they upped the rest of it.
The deep fried pickles were pretty good - cut as coins and battered with a crispy and what looked like it was seasoned but was actually quite plain. The Pulled Pork Sliders on cornbread were also pretty mild in flavour.
I was not a fan of the Emental Cheese Sticks; they were executed well, but I just didn't like the emental; it would not be my cheese of choice in a stick.
The Cajun shrimp was in the same batter as the pickles, and was quite plain, the shrimp a little tough, and a bit fishy for my liking.
Now the good news is that I came back a few days later with my buddies Dave and Scott and they had wings available.
Both Dave and I ordered a pound of wings each.
Now these were a large, meaty wing. Dave did not believe the waitress though when he asked if this was a pound, mainly because there were only about 5 or 6 wings in the basket - but I think it had to do with the size of these wings.
These were breaded, fried chicken. The seasoning had a nice Southern herb and spice taste, but it wasn't strong. The breading was nice and crisp, but the wings came out very greasy. While the wings were large, the meat was tough and difficult to rip apart and eat.
There are only three sauces to choose from: Hot, BBQ, and House Ranch. I had already had the BBQ on the ribs, so I went with their Hot. Sauce came on the side which preserves the crunchiness of the skin.
Just straight up Frank's out of a bottle. And it was cold. It did nothing for the wings. It was really disappointing.
FINAL SCORE: This seemed like a cool place to go. Unfortunately the food was not so cool. Things were either ok or not that great. The highlight was probably the deep fried pickles. The wings, like the rest of the offereings, all had such potential. The locals had reviewed this place pretty high online, but I think its because there is no other options for American style BBQ in the city that this is what seems good. 6.5/10
1693A St-Denis, Montreal QC
diablosbbq.com (website still not finished over 8 months later)
THIS is what my lunch was.
My work dinning hall sauces them, but I got them plain, then added some Cajun seasoning.
Then I added some 3rd Degree to kick it up.
Crispy, slightly breaded wings, lots of flavour and just a bit saucy. This is heaven.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
I have yet to see the movie "The Great Chicken Wing Hunt" but Dan Gentile at Thrillest sent me his article on the 11 best Buffalo Wings in the USA according to the docs director Matt Reynolds.
Check it out here:
On the night before my conference started, I had been sight seeing in Old Montreal, a collection of hundreds of years old buildings, cobblestone walk ways and a vibrant restaurant scene with a vibrant history to boot.
So I went to a pub.
A sports pub. A big chain in fact. I had heard about La Cage aux Sports before as a provincial chain that was known for their wings. So I wanted to see what they could do, in a historical setting. Seems legit, right?
This place was huge inside, with an patio, an indoor patio, main room, side rooms and a 2nd floor. And it was EMPTY the night I was there. I was sat were there is a giant screen with sports of some sort and what made it weird was how quiet it was. I mean the volume was next to nothing, and nobody was talking or socializing, just staring up at the screen. It was a bit unsettling.
I was hungry so I got 2 smaller orders of wings, with a side potato skins, because I hadn't had potato skins in forever.
The potato skins ($4,99 for 3) were, ok. I'm pretty sure they are a frozen product. The skins were soft and not very crispy. Cheese and bacon were ok too, but nothing special here. At least it was chopped up bacon and not faux bits. But too much potato and not enough skin.
The wings were ... underwhelming visually when they arrived. They come in orders of 4, 8 or 16. Since I was in a sampling mood, I just went with 4.
These were tiny wings. Tiny. I think the one in the photo above was the biggest. The wings are deep fried, so at least the skin was kind of crispy, in a way that they can get crispy when baked. There was some charring on the wings which made for something to define this wing.
There are 7 different sauces, and I didn't go for unique but 911 and Uppercut.
OK that photos says buffalo, but really that is 911. 911 sounds like it should be crazy hot, but it's not.
I think it's a buffalo style sauce made with Tabasco, which is unusual and does not make for a definitive flavour. Actually, there was barely any sauce so you really couldn't get a good sense of what was going on.
Uppercut is their supposedly spicy hot wing. It too was not hot.
These wings were at least saucy, and you got more of a traditional hot sauce flavour from them. But barely.
FINAL SCORE: There is no love in these wings. These are a product sold by a corporation. The potato skins were not well done either. Overall, thumbs down for La Cage aux Sports for me. 4.5/10
La Cage aux Sports
114 Rue Saint Paul Est, Montreal, QC
Montreal has a few foods it's known for: Montreal Bagels, Poutine, and Montreal Smoked Meat (MSM). And when you say smoked meat in Montreal, you are talking Schwartz's.
This place is an institution, with people coming for smoked meat since 1928. And not a lot seems to have changed. There is ALWAYS a line up outside that can stretch around the block. On this particular day, it was raining, and there was a street festival, so the line was shorter than I've seen it before. And because it was just LJ and I who were surrounded by big groups, so we got in quick.
That doesn't mean you are getting a table to oneself, oh no. This is communal sitting for sure. They seat you where you can fit. This makes for this total experience of going to Schwartz's.
The menu is pretty strait forward. Well strait forward in mostly French. It's a pretty simple menu, and you know you are getting smoked meat.
You can see how crowded the place is, with old men, families, hipsters etc. You don't know who you will be sitting with or near. The above photo was more to point out the blonde mum sitting in the chair. Notice the baby on her back, covered with a towel? Ya I didn't at first either.
A natural pairing drink to MSM is Cott's black cherry cola. I love cherry cola, and as cherry cola goes, this is a good one - crisp, sweet but not too sweet.
With our sandwiches LJ and I shared an order of fries - fresh cut, crispy but unseasoned. We also got a kosher pickel. This is a jumbo, super sour dill that crunches when you bite into it, but also soaks you with a tone of brine. Prepare to pucker up!
The key here was the Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich - which wikipedia defines as:
is a type of kosher-style deli meat product made by salting and curing beef brisket with spices. The brisket is allowed to absorb the flavours over a week, and is then hot smoked to cook through, and finally steamed to completion.Although the preparation methods may be similar, Montreal smoked meat is cured in seasoning with more crackedpeppercorns and aromatic spices, such as coriander, and significantly less sugar than New York pastrami. Montreal smoked meat is made with brisket, while pastrami is more commonly made with the navel/plate cut. The meat is typically served in the form of a rye bread sandwich slathered with yellow mustard. While some Montreal smoked meat is brine-cured like corned beef, with spices applied later, many smoked meat establishments prefer dry-curing directly with salt and spices.
The above is a medium (you can get lean, medium or fatty) and it is stacked high. Schwartz's is a drier cut - and while purists will often say this is the way it should be, I prefer a thinner, wetter sliced cut for my sandwich. That being said, this is still a very tasty sandwich. Served with yellow mustard and on rye bread. This is a hearty meal anyway you slice it.
Schwartz's is great and I think everyone should go if they are ever in Montreal. It truly is an experience, but I won't lie, after you've been here, there are other places with no lines and lots of table space with equally good smoked meat.
Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
3895 Boulebard Saint-Laurent, Montreal QC