Wednesday, 30 January 2019

MIGHTY GOOD from The GROCERY OUTLET frozen wing review

A long time ago I heard that there was a store in Whitby/Oshawa that sold food from commercial operations that were good, but didn't look perfect to sell normally. Chocolate bars that were misshapen, or items slightly damaged, all for a discount. This was under the banner "Naturally Imperfect" and I wanted check it out when I was in town, but for years, never had the time or made the effort. Well I decided the time was now (this was in December of 2018) and so I went.

I knew roughly where in Oshawa the store was, but when I pulled up to the strip mall, I couldn't see "Naturally Imperfect"; turns out it changed it's name to The Grocery Outlet.

So they still sell the oddity products, discontinued or over produce stock, but they also just have grocery items. I wondered the store, not finding any of the damaged items, but I did find quite a few sales and items for cheap or reasonable prices. As I wondered around, I came across their frozen food section, and found chicken wings. So I bought two of the three or four varieties they had. They looked big, and at $8.99 for 1kg, they seemed like a good deal.

Over the last month for a few meals I decided to sample first the Buffalo Glazed, then the Hot & Spicy. The 'brand' is Mighty Good, which I can't find any reference to online, other than The Grocery Outlet.

I grabbed the Buffalo Glazed wings first, because, well I like Buffalo wings. But I could see these were breaded, but at least they labeled them as Buffalo Glazed. The packaging is super simple - it's just a ziplock bag with the info on the bag. Why can't more companies use less wasteful packaging???

The other flavour I debated getting, but ended up getting, is the Hot & Spicy breaded wings. These were sauce-less, and because more and more I like dry style wings, my interest was piqued. I highly doubted they were spicy, but it was worth a shot.

1kg of wings worked out to be about 14 or 15 wings in the bags. I really like the red colour on the wings.

The size of the wings were crazy big. Mutant. Huge!

The Hot & Spicy seemed to be about the same size and number in the package. A little frost on the wings though.

Each meal I did up about 6-7 wings, about half the bags, for sampling.

I placed the wings on a baking pan with parchment paper, and baked them from frozen for about 20 minutes, flipping them half way.

There wasn't too much oil, fat, or sauce that came off from the Buffalo Glazed, surprisingly.

The Hot & Spicy came out much more crispy and even less oil/fat on the parchment.

As mentioned before, the wings were monster sized. Big in length, but huge on height and the meatiness factor on these wings are big too. Now there is also a LOT of breading on these wings, so that contributes to the size.

The breading on these wings acts like a big shell covering the chicken, especially on the Buffalo Glazed. You can see in the above photo the barrier wall that separates the breading/skin to the chicken. You can also see the reddish oily grease inside. The glazed wings have no real sauce on them so after the baking process, they are a bit oily, but not saucy at all.

The texture on the Buffalo Glazed was all over the place as a wing experience.

  1.  You do kind of have this crispy, crunchy, spongy shell of a breading. My first big bite into a wing and all I got was breading. 
  2. The fat and skin have not properly rendered in the original cooking process. This makes the middle layer kind of gooey. The collagen sticks to the teeth. It's not pleasant.
  3. The meat was not very tender. Pulling the bones apart was some work. 

After all the texture, when it came to the flavour the wings were ok. There was a hot sauce marinade feel to them, but there wasn't a specific Buffalo sauce taste. I would have no idea these were supposed to be Buffalo and I suspect they just used the name.

The Hot & Spicy wings were completely different. The texture of these wings were crispy/crunchy breading but the fat was completely rendered here. The meat was tender and the bones pulled out easily. 

These aren't sauced or glazed, but there is a spice in the breading, that actually gave off a small bite. One wing wasn't too hot, but you eat a few and there it was. These were ok on their own, but they did really well when I added some Wing Sauce. The crispy breading held up well, added some heat, and a lot more flavour.

Would I get them again?

No and Yes.

I would totally pass on the Buffalo Glazed. Too much breading, unrendered fat, tough wings and no real Buffalo flavour (Hot yes, but not Buffalo). So no deal.

But the Hot & Spicy wings I would get again. Crispy, spicy, tender and holds up well with sauce. These wings are still really big, and at $9 for 1kg, not a bad price.

Combined average score of 9.5/14

The Grocery Outlet
133 Taunton Road West, Oshawa ON (and other locations)

Cat Brings Owner Chicken Wings

See the original post on Reddit HERE.

Monday, 28 January 2019

LOTW Meme Monday - Lord of the Wing Food Guide 2019

I will say that the 2019 food guide is probably the best, healthiest, Canada Food Guide that there has ever been produced. That being said, there are no chicken wings on said guide, so I am choosing to ignore it.

I may die early, but I'll die happy.

Friday, 25 January 2019

St Louis AYCE Boneless Wings 2019 - Ottawa Clyde

It's become an annual event. All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) Boneless Wings at St. Louis Bar & Grill. ALL. YOU. CAN. EAT. I went last year, documented the event, then never posted (maybe one day I will in a Lost Review). But I was determined to post this year and to eat a lot of chicken. Yes it's not chicken wings, but it's chicken and sauce and that is still very good.

LJ and I went on a weekend afternoon after running some errands. It was cold, snowy, and having worked all morning long I was ready for a feast. We went to the St Louis on Clyde ave in Ottawa because it was the closest for us and it's a nice location (not that the other isn't, to be honest, I've never been there to know).

The promotion is all over the restaurant. This location is clean, still looks new, and has a wide variety of customers; there were seniors playing cards, college dudes watching the game, a girls afternoon out. And then us. It was a lot busier than we expected for the middle of the afternoon. Our waitress was also the bartender, was taking care of everything. There was another waitress who was clearly on break, reading a book in a booth in the corner. There was another staff that was just chilling at the bar (maybe she wasn't staff, just wearing St Louis clothes?).

I had seen the AYCE "All-Meat-Treat" special on social media that has been going on all January long. It took a while before we could get to go.

How does it work?

For $17.99 ($1 more than 2018) you start with an order of 8 Boneless Bites which comes with their blade fries and Garlic Dill dip. Then, when you order the next time, you HAVE to get the fries and 8 more boneless bites (this was different from last year when it was 8 bites & fries, and then like 4 bites in every order after that with or without fries). It's dine-in only (obviously) and you must purchase a large drink. We were also told that everyone at the table needs to order the AYCE so that people don't sneak and share.

There are 29 flavours to choose from (really? 29? Couldn't have had one more to make it an even 30?) and really, the big advantage of AYCE is getting to try as many sauces and rubs as one can. To spoil the ending, LJ only did 2 rounds and I did 3, giving us a chance to sample 5 different flavours.

We waited a while for our first order to come - it seemed to take forever, but then again, everything does when you are hungry. We were given cutlery, plates, extra napkins and wetnaps for cleanup. We also both got water and I think Diet Pepsi's (with free refills). Generally when you are trying to successfully do an AYCE, you want to avoid water and especially pop as this is just filler. However, this is a salt heavy meal so drinking lots was unavoidable.

The fries that come with their signature fries, which I know the cut as blade fries. They are thick yet almost wavy cut, frozen, then fried on site. They aren't bad fries and are great for dipping. Our first batch that came were terrible though - over cooked and too hard to chew. Subsequent batches were nice, crisp and fluffy potato inside.

Round 1 we didn't eat them all because they weren't very good. Round 2 we ate more but planned on not eating so many to not fill up, but because we waited in between orders for a long time (not due to St Louis purposely delaying but because of business of the establishment) we ended up snacking too much.

You also get their Garlic Dill dip. This stuff is awesome. Move over ranch. Blue cheese, meet a real contender for a great creamy wing dip. It's mostly dilly, a slight hint of garlic. It's just really good. Perfect for the fries, and necessary for some of the boneless wings. Last year our server brought us soo many containers. This time it was one per order, but she did bring an extra one when requested.

The actual 'boneless wings' or 'all-meat-treats' are obviously not wings at all, nor are they chicken fingers or tenders. These are a range from nuggets to chunks. What I mean is that they are not uniform cut (say like a McNugget which has 4 shapes) but range in size from small pieces to large chunks. From the photo above you can see this is a relatively large chunk bigger than a fork - the smallest morsels you can pop in one bite, but the above I would need to take 2-3 bites. They are all breast meat as far as I can tell, and they are quite meaty.

Each piece has a not-to-thick seasoned breading on it. They are very salty, even before the sauces. They have a light crispiness to them. The meat itself is tender. I would say that in all our orders they were deep fried just right, although the longer they sat out, the tougher they got (not a fault of St Louis, just when we were slow or saving some into the next round).

We had 2 rounds in which we each got a different flavour, plus I did one extra round before I had to give up. The sauces or dry rubs we got varied in how well they were coated. Round 1 we got Spicy Garlic Parm & Buffalo Ranch. Round 2 was Chili Lime & Mississippi Honey BBQ, with Round 3 being simple Hot.



This was LJ's first choice. This is a creamy garlic and Parmesan sauce with some hot sauce mixed in. They were not that well covered in sauce (the photo shows one bite on the right with next to no coating, while the one of the left is pretty wet). LJ found them pretty flavourless, and I found them just creamy with some heat (because my bites had no heat - see Buffalo Ranch).


So I was surprised I ordered this as much as you. It wasn't what I thought it was; I've had this before and I forget what it is, which is why I have this blog - to record to know the next time! See I knew what I wanted the Mississippi BBQ flavour at some point, but I wanted something saucier and in the realm of hot first. At the last moment after my waitress asked what I wanted, out came Buffalo Ranch. I was thinking this was Buffalo sauce with ranch drizzled over it. It is not. It is Buffalo AND Ranch mixed together.

They were ok. They were barely sauced so I really couldn't taste anything. Not very buffalo, kinda ranch bland. It was not a good start.

Also, don't tell anyone from Buffalo NY about this - they get testy about Ranch and Buffalo being in the same sentence.



This was one of the Dry spice options, a mix of chili spice and lime. It had a slight oily quality (maybe to help the seasonings stick?), and the dominant flavour was black pepper. There was a little chili heat, and almost no lime flavour to be found. And salty. Maybe that oiliness was lime juice, but even if it was, it was hella-weak. They were not bad, but would have loved more lime flavour.


This is one of my favourite flavours at St Louis by far. This BBQ sauce is sweet and tangy and savoury. It's a lighter BBQ sauce, and it has no heat. It's sticky and it just oozes over the chicken. It just pairs with the boneless bites so well. Each nugget was well sauced this round, but I would have loved a pool at the bottom for extra dipping.


It was at this point LJ was really debating on a third round. She still had some chili lime bites left, and she was curious to try the Thai Coconut, but didn't want a whole order. In the end, she gave up. I was going for round 3 for sure, but I didn't know if I was going to do a 4th round or not. But I'm not a young man anymore and knew 3 was my last. So what would I get for my last round?


OK so I didn't go very adventurous. I went with Hot because I wanted a wet wing and something simple and spicy. It was good, and it was Hot level spice.

I used to be mad at St Louis back in the day at their Hot, because they weren't the Hot I was used to. I wanted a hot Buffalo wing, or standard pub wing, and this hot is different. It took me a long time to appreciate the flavour of this wing not because it wasn't good, but because it was different. It has a spicey, peppery flavour that is deep, and savoury. There are subtle spices I can't identify, that work really well on the wings. The sauce works well with the bites as well though.

They were good, but shamefully I couldn't eat them all (close, but just couldn't). I know why St Louis doesn't allow take-out - otherwise everyone would be taking home a free order home - but it's a shame because of the waste. I hate wasting food.

We were too stuffed for dessert, but I scoff at their menu stating "Man cannot live on wings alone". Yes, yes I can.


I had lots to eat. The event was hit or miss, with some bites not sauced enough, or some fries overcooked. But overall the chicken itself is good. The sauces were a mix, some I would get again, and others overlook in the future. I will be back to do this event again, but probably not this year.

  • A regular order of Boneless with fries is $14.49 and an order of 15 is $18.99, so as long as you get two orders, you've made the AYCE deal worth the money.
  • Bring a few people with you so that you can each order something different and share and sample.
  • Plan your flavours - know what you want next before your order arrives so you can tell your waitress right away because you don't know how long your next refill may take.
  • Don't drink a lot. It's hard with all the salty food, but don't fill up.
  • Try not to fill up on fries. They are there to get in the way of the meat treats
  • Come HUNGRY

  • Don't make the fries mandatory. We all know they are filler, but it just leads to wasting. Give a big order to start, but don't make it mandatory with refills. Push water and drink refills instead if you want to slow the chicken consumption down.
  • Add free veggie sticks to give a cleanser for all the salt, but also to act as filler.
  • Make the first round 8-10 bites, but allow those 8-10 to be split into 2 different flavours like you used to. Then make refills 4-5 at a time or again 8-10 with splits allowed.

No matter what, this was a tasty excursion that led to a desperate need to nap after eating.

St. Louis Bar & Grill
1331 Clyde Ave #101 Ottawa ON (and other locations)

Wednesday, 23 January 2019


I don't know if I need to explain Denny's, or "Canada's Diner" (aka "America's Diner") since it's a huge chain that is spread across the world. I know it as a very American chain based on the old style of American diner that specializes in breakfast food, especially for the Grand Slam Breakfast (2 pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 bacon strips, and 2 sausage links). I'm not big on breakfast foods, but I like Denny's for a few reasons. It's reasonably priced, it's open 24 hours, and the food is decent. I actually really like the burgers here, as well as the skillets, and the nachos. I've often gotten just their appetizer sampler and they have a decent chicken finger, and I've always wonder (and lament) why they didn't have wings. Well ...

On New Years Eve my wife and her father and I had driven for over 4 hours from Ottawa to Whitby Ontario, we wanted to get something to eat and we knew a lot of places were closed, so we happily pulled into Denny's that we knew would be open. When we were there, flipping through the ever changing menu, I looked down, and there it was ... chicken wings! They had added chicken wings to the menu.

Flash forward to being back in Ottawa and I had to kill some time while waiting for some work to get done on my car. I was hungry, and felt it was a perfect time to check out the wings at Denny's.

I was at the Denny's on Clyde and Baseline in Ottawa. It's a location surrounded by strip mall and shares the building with a vegetarian Asian restaurant. It's always busy when I go in. It's relatively clean, the staff is usually friendly, and the food is good. I came in and my waitress Lesley was friendly and quick. She brought me my favourite beverage at Denny's, a cola with a cherry shot in it. You can get a vanilla shot too, but I'm all about the cherry. Love it.

I checked out the whole menu, and found that the appetizers are now at the back, but that's where the wings were. I was actually pretty excited that they brought this to their menu.

I ordered the wings (with no indication of the amount or number of wings) but I knew I wanted something to go with them. I was feeling something contrasty, so not fried fries or onion rings, but a salad sounded right. Caesar salad specifically. Kinda healthy, right?

I got the side Caesar salad ($2.99) which turned out to be a very good portion that was loaded up. I wonder what the large size was like? The salad was dressed well (not dripping wet with Caesar dressing and not dry either), then topped with lots of shredded Parmesan and bacon bits. The dressing was creamy but slightly runny, and had a nice slightly garlic flavour. All around, the salad tasted fresh and for a diner Caesar, it was good. So the salad held up, how would the wings?

There was already cutlery and napkins on the plate, but Lesley also brought me a bone plate and two moist towlettes for the anticipation of a saucy finger mess.

As mentioned before, the menu doesn't describe how many wings come in an order - either by weight or just number. My order there were 8 wings.

When the plate came out, I was excited by the look and colour of the wings. But then I was not so excited because I noticed the size of the wings. They were small. Why were they small? I wanted large, expected medium, and got small. At $1.50 a wing, well, these were not worth $1.50 a wing at this size. 

They are small in length and height, and the meat factor is relative to their size. The wings are breaded, and fried, so there is a nice crunchy batter. They are fried nicely so that the skin is crispy, but the meat is super tender and the bones pull out really easily.

You can get the wings plain (why?) Buffalo and Sweet & Tangy BBQ. I went with Buffalo sauce, and they wings came pretty saucy. Every wing was completely coated in sauce, as it should be.

The sauce was a classic commercial Buffalo sauce - a mild hot sauce with a fakey butter flavour. It's not a craft homemade sauce, but it gets the job done.


I'm always excited when wings show up when they are not expected. But I was so disappointed in how small these wings were and for the price of them. It almost ruined the experience, but looking past that, the small wings were crispy, tender, and tasty. My Caesar salad was also good. Maybe this was just a small batch and normally the new shipment of wings could be bigger, but at this price point, these wings weren't good enough that I would get them again to see. Sad and I will stick to the burgers and cherry shots in cola. 7/15

1380 Clyde Ave, Ottawa ON