I'm always on the hunt for new chicken wing sources, and during the Super Bowl, wings are everywhere. I was not expecting to see them at Farm Boy.
In their grocery flyer, I had seen that they added 'Buffalo' wings to both their Hot Food Bar, but also in 1lb packages. Now I didn't get these for the Super Bowl, but I did check them out after.
If you are not familiar with Farm Boy, it's a grocery store chain that started in the Ottawa area. They focus on fresh produce, organic items, and their own in-store brand items. If you are from the US, I think Trader Joe's would be the closest comparison.
I like Farm Boy and their wares, but I find it quite expensive and don't grocery shop there much. This particular location in Orleans is by far the biggest I've seen yet. Large layout that even has a large dine-in section to it.
What I have primarily come to Farm Boy for is the fresh food. They make a wood fired pizza, or even have a tasty stir-fry station. They have soups and sandwiches, a salad bar, cold bar and a hot food bar. I looked around and the first hot food table I came to had the wings; I kinda expected to have to hunt around and not find them and then have to ask, but hey, there they were!
On the end of the hot food tray were the wings, besides an asian beef dish and across from some pasta. Sitting in the warm food tray were about 10-14 wings just waiting to be self-served to go. I could smell the intoxicating aroma of hot wings and it got my mouth watering. They looked to be a good size, but a little sad because wings aren't meant to wait in a heating tray.
I was very skeptical of the 'Buffalo' nature of these wings, especially after reading the ingredient list. The first two ingredients were spot on: chicken wings and hot sauce. But after that, we get flour, brown sugar, eggs etc, none of which you would ever find in a Buffalo wing recipe. That doesn't mean they wouldn't taste good, but the naming was going to be wrong.
The take-out containers are recyclable plastic clam shell style containers. I wasn't looking to feast, just sample, so I put 4 in the container, grabbed a drink, and headed to the cashier stand. It, like the store, was super quiet. The cashier weighed my 4 wings, which came to $5.58. Wow they were not cheap.
I also grabbed a bottle of Harvey & Verne's Olde Fashioned Root Beer ($1.49). Brewed at the Kichesippi Brewery right here in Ottawa, this is a very good beverage. Its creamy, smooth, sweet with hints of vanilla. Really really nice.
So I went back to my car, cracked open the drink, and got ready for my Farm Boy wings.
|NOTE: this versions Meatiness is incorrect and should say Meaty to very meaty.|
Because it was self service, I got to pick out the best looking wings in my opinion. The wings were not saucy at all, and there wasn't really any extra sauce in the pan for me to mix my 4 wings into.
The wings were big, I will give them that. They were long and came from a big bird. The wings came lightly dusted or breaded, and I couldn't tell if they had been deep fried or baked. I think fried, but because they were sauced and then left in the heating pan, there was no way of knowing. I guess I could have asked. The skin was kind of crispy, but also soggy due to the sauce and the heating pan.
The wings were pretty meaty, but the texture was all over the place. Some parts of the chicken were very soft and tender, while others really tough and chewy. In some cases I had a hard time pulling the meat off the bone with my teeth. I also had a hard time pulling the bones apart. The texture is probably the biggest issue with these wings.
Now these wings were billed as Buffalo, and so far these wings were failing as Buffalo wings, so it was up to the sauce. But the sauce was not Buffalo either. What?!
I mean there was hot sauce in there, but there was also a lot of sweetness, and not enough butter. It's got a little nip of heat, and it's tangy. I actually did like the flavour of the sauce. Really good. Just not Buffalo sauce as advertised.
So these wings were all over the place for me. The were big, which was great. The skin was kind of crispy, but also kind of soggy. The wings were meaty, but they were mostly tough (although a few parts were tender). The sauce was really good, but it wasn't a Buffalo sauce. The price was a bit off, being too high for what I got. So would I get them again? Well maybe, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get them. But it seems they are only here until Feb 25th so if you want to try them for yourself, you better hurry! 7.5/15
Place D'Orleans Shopping Centre (and other locations)
2030 Tenth Line Road, Orleans ON