Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Arby's buys Buffalo Wild Wings

Well,  Arby's now really does have All The Meats.

For $2.9 billion dollars (billion) Arby's, is buying chicken wing chain Buffalo Wild Wings reported Forbes. Maybe signs were there when Arby's was advertising their Buffalo Chicken sandwich recently.

I gotta say, $2.9 billion seems ridiculous over evaluation to me. Mainly because I think Buffalo Wild Wings serves pretty terrible wings; I've been 3 times in my life and each time was super disappointing:

They are big, but every time I had them they were rubbery, tough and not at all crispy. Very commercial and no love.

On the other hand, I have rarely had a bad experience at Arby's. Arby's says they are going to keep BWWW independant, but what does any of this mean for either chain? What new food partnership might this make?

Lord of the Wings - it's serious business

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Pop Chips "Crazy Hot"

What does the term "Crazy Hot" mean to you? I mean in a snacking sense. Like, ridiculously spicy right? 

These were not "crazy hot". These were not hot.

My wife and I were in Bulk Barn and she pointed out these Pop Chips - they stood out because they said "Crazy Hot". They were pretty expensive at $4+ for a small bag, but its a novelty product right? They looked very promising.

We had the bag for like a month, and finally cracked them open on a trip. There were not many in the bag but they looked good.

So these were not hot. Even LJ didn't find these hot. At all. They had the zesty flavour maybe a notch above an All Dressed Ruffles chip. They kind of tasted like an All Dressed chip in flavour. I checked the ingredients and it wasn't until the 6th ingredient I got "spice" and I don't know what that is. Cayenne spice? Habanero? Probably red pepper. Also contains milk . . . why?

Don't get me wrong, the flavour wasn't bad, just no level of heat. The texture was crispy and airy. Like a mix between popcorn and a chip. That's what they were going for so good. For a non-fried snack, these were not bad.

I did look them up on the internet and this is how they are described on the Popchips website:

"wondering what it’s like to eat crazy hot popchips? it’s kind of like kissing a fire-breathing dragon. take one bite and your taste buds will be hit by a wave of red chili pepper flavor, but with delectable hints of cheddar cheese to complement the heat. if you like your snacking crazy hot, this sizzling spice will keep you coming back for more."

So a few things:

  1. "like kissing a fire-breathing dragon" - no, its more like kissing a gecko.
  2. red chili pepper - not listed in the ingredients, not listed in my mouth
  3. delectable hints of cheddar cheese - ok that's where the milk comes in

So would I buy it again? Probably not. The pop chip is decent itself. The flavour is ok. But when something is advertised as "Crazy Hot" - it better be HOT. It was not. Also way too expensive. 

Have you had these? Did you find them hot.

Happiness Happened Here: Single Carrot

Friday, 24 November 2017

Fryday = Fried Wings

Fryday = fried wings, obviously!

#tbt ~ Happy US Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day & Weekend to those of you down south!!!

See my original post for this photo back in 2013 -  the meal wasn't appropriate for American Thanksgiving (mashed potato poutine, hello? too Canadian), but the spirit is.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Arby's has a Buffalo Chicken Sandwhich

When you think of Arby's, what's the first meat that comes to mind?

Chicken, right?

I saw an ad for a Buffalo Chicken sandwich at Arby's. I actually went to Arby's recently but I didn't try it. Why? Because I wanted that delicious sliced roast beef with cheese. That's not to say this sandwich doesn't look good. Also I have very limited access to Arby's so if I go, I gotta be selective.

It sounds pretty good right?

Actually while I haven't tried the big sandwhich, earlier I did try their Buffalo Chicken Slider. So let me tell you about that, because I imagine they are close, minus the lettuce and substitute ranch for the blue cheese sauce.

It's a slider, so it's small. It came in a tiny little box. All I could see was bun and sauce.

I was impressed with how saucy this was. They did not skimp on the sauce. That little chicken tender was slathered from here to eternity in sauce. Look how much oozed out the back? There's also blue cheese sauce on there which was added flavour without taking over the slider's taste (as blue cheese can do).

The chicken was crispy. It was meaty - if only for a few bites. It was seasoned too - I really appreciated it. The bun was also very fresh and very soft.

So if the full Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is anything like the slider, it would be worth the while to get. But I wanted roast beef, so you will have to be in the mood for chicken if your going this route.

Let me know if you had it!

Monday, 20 November 2017

#nonwingsunday JP Chili Dog

I stopped by one of my favourite chip truck's in Ottawa the other day, JP's Crispy Chips. I saw on the menu a chili dog, and 1) I have never tried it there and 2) have not had a chili dog in I don't know how long.

The fry girl taking orders warned me when I ordered the chili that it's spicy and has a kick, was I sure? Yes.

Wow, that chili was great! It actually had a kick and was spicy. It was meaty and the texture was thin enough to be great on a dog, but not runny enough to be stew-like. The dog itself was ok - I think it was steamed and then placed on the flattop, but the skin didn't have the snap that I like, and the taste was pretty mild. Fries were good - crispy as advertised, and even better with malt vinegar, sea salt and ketchup.

So if you want a kick-ass chili dog, check out JP's, but hurry, they close for the season at the end of November!

LOTW Meme Monday - Possum Buffalo Wings

It's 2017 - how do people still not know what makes a Buffalo wing: no breading, no baking, no sauce other than hot sauce and butter. C'mon!

They like me ... they really like me!

I was at a birthday party for my wife's 10 year old cousin. As soon as we arrived, the family brought me to the table, sat me down, and put this platter in front of me. I think they like me. Or at least, know me ;P

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Monday, 13 November 2017

LOTW Meme Monday ~ I Knew This Day Would Come

Revenge is a dish best served cold ... wings are best served hot.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

#nonwingsunday - Philly Cheese-steak from Centrale Bergham

This isn't a full review - but I thought I'd give my two cents.

A month or two ago I stopped into Centrale Bergham on Bank Street in Ottawa. I had been wanting to try this Montreal based, German (named?), Halal rooted,  international sandwich shop shop for a while. I had been intrigued to try their Buffalo sandwich, except I expected chicken wing, but when I read the ingredients, it listed "Marinated Chicken thigh top kebab spices in BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and chips Doritos." Fascinating, but kebab, bbq sauce, cheese and Doritos don't belong in something called Buffalo. I'd be up for it, but wrongly named.

I was not really in a chicken mood anyway. I wanted beef. Yes sometimes the Lord of the Wings needs a beef fix. So I went with the Philly Cheese-steak.

 Let me say upfront this was a tasty sandwich. I loved the soft warm bun. The meat was beefy and tender. The peppers were cooked well as well. It totally hit that beef craving and I had to slow my eating down because I just wanted to inhale the whole thing.

I did not know about the peppers because it wasn't listed in the toppings. What also ruined it for me were mushrooms. I forgot to ask for no mushrooms. I hate mushrooms. Every bite was ruined with mushrooms. Mushrooms don't even come on a cheese steak.

It came to over $10 for the sandwich that was not that big, but it was filled with meat. This was not a traditional Philly cheese-steak, but it was damn good. I'd go back and have it again, sans mushrooms and maybe a hit of hot sauce.

Be Wary The Power of Instagram

I take a lot of pictures of wings, and I take some good pictures of wings. I can make those wings look even better with Photoshop or Instagram or any number of picture altering software.

Above I posted these wings, and I think they look pretty tasty. They were not. They were frozen breaded wings that didn't crisp up. I tossed them in a sriracha/lime seasoning. This was also a mistake. I also added some 3rd Degree sauce . . . this was the only saving grace. In the end, I did not like these wings.

But I still look at them and they look good. Just remember that even if it looks good, doesn't mean it is.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Friday, 3 November 2017


When something gets stuck in my head, I can get pretty stubborn. When it comes to chicken wings, its even worse.

Last year, Popeye's introduced Ghost Pepper Wings, and I was super psyched to try them. I went to a location, and it wasn't advertised and I ended up just getting some chicken. It was good, but it wasn't what I wanted. Then I didn't go back to Popeye's.

So when I saw commercials on tv stating that the Ghost Pepper Wings were back, I got over my unofficial boycott mood. For days I was thinking about these wings and when I could get them.

The commercial is a) Not the Canadian Ad but is basically identical b) from a previous campaign run

The add has the Popeye's spokeswoman Annie talking about the Mystery of the Ghost Pepper. This ad campaign came out just before Hallowe'en so the marketing is perfect.

I went just before the lunch crowd, which was good because they had to specially make the ghost pepper wings. They warned me that it would take about 10 minutes, and they were right.

There was a wall mounted monitor that kept flashing a cool, eerie video of the "Mystery of the Ghost Pepper Wings". I love this haunted bayou feel to this add campaign. What is interesting (especially in retrospect) is that the emphasis is on the mystery of the flavour, and not the heat of a ghost pepper . . .

There was a steady stream of folks that came in and ordered and left while I waited. After I did get my order I filled my drink and by then it seemed both the high school and the senior centre was out for lunch. I grabbed a table and got to business.

A note about the sides - I got fries, which are Cajun spice seasoned. They are very crispy and with the seasoning have actual flavour unlike so many chain fries. There was also way more than I could eat in my order, which was a plus - they over filled the little paper bag and just dumped them in overflowing inside the box. I dipped them in ketchup and their Louisiana hot sauce - which I usually eat with the chicken. Mixing it with ketchup makes for a good dipping sauce. Later I also dipped in the Buttermilk Ranch that came with the wings.

It also came with a biscuit. For me it's 50/50 on whether I get a fantastic, warm buttery biscuit or a stale, rocky puck at Popeye's. This time it was off, but some times they are heaven.

And let's be honest here, I'm not here for the biscuits, I'm here for wings.

6 didn't seem like a lot of wings, but when I saw them putting them in the box, I got excited because I thought they gave me extra (you know, for having to wait around), because the box seemed to overflow. Nope, I got six, but that was more than ok.

The wings are a large to medium-large in length and a large in terms of meatiness. Very meaty. But you have to break through a thick, crunchy coating. Now if you don't like breading, these wings aren't for you, but I would urge you to reconsider your position. The crunch gives a great texture, but it's also seasoned well so it's flavourful too.

The problem one has with breading is that they can be overcooked and dried out. Not these wings; they were plump and juicy. I bit into my first wing and the hot juices almost burnt me.

When I opened up the box, I looked at the wings and was a bit confused; they looked plain and not ghost pepper dusted. I mean in the commercial they show their wings crashing into a pile of delicious looking spices. These didn't look spice kissed at all and I was contemplating going to the counter and getting in the long line up to question these wings (even though I heard the staff say to themselves several times,"ghost pepper wings").

I took a bite ... nothing ... no wait, there was this great spice flavour. Now there was some heat. It built and built, flavour and a bit of heat. It wasn't very hot, but it was a great dry burn heat and taste. When I ripped apart one of the pieces, I could see the spice marinade IN THE MEAT. It's not tossed in spice AFTER cooking, its marinated in the chicken BEFORE frying. This meant the flavour permeated the whole wing.

I really enjoyed the flavour, but I thought how with the crispy batter and marinated heat that this was the beginning of a great wing, it just needed some sauce. But as I ate more I felt differently. This wing didn't need sauce (I did get extra Louisiana sauce just in case) - it was righteous on it's own. Adding sauce would be good, but then it would cover up the peppery punch of the ghost pepper. 

That being said, again, these were NOT spicy wings. I mean spicy, but not ghost pepper spicy. I've done ghost pepper wings in the past and it nearly ended my wing eating career they were so hot. These just had a peppery kick which heat wimps won't be able to take, but anyone who finds cayenne hot sauce mild will find these mild. But because they were a dry wing, they did go well with the Buttermilk Ranch they gave with it. I am not a 'dippist' usually, keeping wings pure on their own and leaving the dip for the veggies, but this made for a nice, cooling lubricant for this wing experience.

The taste, texture, and flavour of Popeye's Ghost Wings exceeded my expectations of what I thought they would be. It helps they came out fresh, hot and crunchy. The flavour is slow but like the heat it builds up BUT it never hits the heat of what I expect from ghost pepper wings. I wanted something with flavour and face melting heat. But I'll take a great tasting wing over face melting.  9.5/12

Popeye Louisiana Kitchen
2000 Montreal Road, Ottawa

Thursday, 2 November 2017

#tbt Original Duff's Famous Wings

That was a great trip; Rick and I ate a lot of chicken wings that weekend. It was interesting to go to the original Duff's because at the point of this trip, the only franchised Duff's was in Toronto and I had been many times.

What was different about the two was that the Toronto one had much higher spiced chicken wings than their American counterparts. Still do.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

31 Day Challenge - COMPLETE

Yesterday was the end of my personal 31 day blogging challenge. For 31 days I posted at least one thing on the blog. I had one day of technical snafu (I went to Montreal and didn't have a chance to post because it was go go go) but posted as soon as I could.

This blog has been sorely neglected the past few years - I mean life has been busy the last 2 years alone what with job changes, 2 big moves, getting married, two deaths in the family, and just day to day crazyness. Often I just didn`t feel like sitting at the computer and typing. So I set out for a month to try and post something everyday - like a jump start - to the blog.  I gotta say, it worked and I feel pretty good about it.

Where I succeeded was getting back the drive to post. I posted at least once for every day. I even got back to restaurant reviews (something not done for years). I tweaked The Score a bit too to make my reviews even more scientific (ok not that much). What really helped was using my instagram schedule as a framework:
  • Meme Mondays
  • Wing Wednesdays
  • Throwback Thursdays
  • Fryday Fridays
  • Non Wing Sundays
Tuesday and Saturday were just regular wing posts. This made things easy to plan and post. Sometimes it made things too easy and maybe a little lazy, but that`s how it goes.

As for where I didn't succeed, is that I was hoping to get a lot more reviews done. I have a big backlog I want to get to, and I didn't find the time to do so. A big part of that too is writing. For a long time now I just seem to detest sitting down and writing on the computer. I feel almost foggy when I do it and don't want to spend any time editing. Even writing this post I procrastinated and procrastinated. I don't know why that is but its something to reflect on.

So what does this mean for the blog? Well I don't think daily posts is sustainable for the long run, but I've broken my block of getting back out there. I'm going to write more, but if there isn't a post everyday, that's ok. I want the blog to be fun to write for, not stress about.

If you are reading this, thank again for coming on my wing journey with me, I appreciate it.