Thursday, 27 June 2019

Blurry Toss of Wings



I really love this shot ...

COOK's All-Time Best HOT & SPICY RECIPES seen in Walmart


#tbt to about a week ago and posting this on Instagram but forgetting to upload it here.

Friday, 21 June 2019

QUINN's ALE PUB - Ottawa ON


It was a Monday night and LJ had a meeting/dinner to attend. I dropped her off and decided since I was going to be picking her up in an hour and a half roughly, I was going to take advantage of a wing night (Monday is by far the biggest wing night in Ottawa). I was also hoping to explore somewhere I had never been before. I checked my wing night rolodex, checked my location, and found Quinn's Ale Pub seemed to fit the bill.


This pub is located down in an area of Ottawa known as Old Ottawa South, which is just South of The Glebe. "What is a glebe?" you ask. Well ...
"The word "glebe" means church lands, and the area was originally known as "the glebe lands of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church". When the area was opened for development in 1870, real estate agents began to refer to it simply as "The Glebe"." Wikipedia
 Huh? Who knew a blog about wings could be so educational! I never really knew the difference as it all just seems like The Glebe to me, but the Rideau river is the border for these two communities. I have passed Quinn's many times but never been in. It is a very cool pub, which I'm not entirely sure of, but became part of the Ashton Brewery group, which includes other gastro pubs like Patty's Pub and the Ashton Brew Pub. Back around 2014/15 it had a colour rebranding to red and their side patio was expanded as well.



From the outside, Quinn's doesn't look very big. From the inside, it looks even smaller. It feels like what I imagine (as I have never been) what a traditional Irish pub looks like. It was full of an older crowd that reminded me of professors and academics (Carleton University is nearby). It's a tiny pub inside and it was PACKED on a Monday evening. Space is at a premium with not much distance from one table or chair to another. It's loud with talking, and you are going to listen in on other conversations whether you want to or not. Despite that, I really dug the vibe.

I was dining solo, and often I will not do a review and just leave a place when my space (and lighting) are challenged. But I was a) on a time crunch b) already there c) wanting to go there for years, so I tried to find a table that was not right next to people, in decent light (because it's very dark inside), and I could take photos of the food without looking weird. I found a small table for two, but the chairs were wingback chairs that sat very low to my wobbling table. Due to the arm rests, I also couldn't pull myself very close to the table. It was a comfy chair that would be great for just drinking, but was very awkward for sitting.


Online it said Quinn's had a wing night on Tuesdays, but you just never know. Lots of places do not keep their websites up to date. So I was happy when I saw the sign out front advertising Wing Night with a smiley face. The bartender Ryan came to take my drink order; I felt like I was disappointing ordering a Diet Pepsi when this is a big ale house, but I don't drink, so oh well. Ryan did not make me feel that way and he was very friendly and willing to answer all my wing questions, like how does wing night work? "You get 10, after tax it's $9, before tax it's $8, and we have like 20 sauces and their friggin' good" - I loved that enthusiasm!



I said I had some questions and he was like "ya sure, let's go through them man!". Here's a quick rundown of what we talked about:


  • ABC BBQ - 'it's the one we make, put it on our burgers too'
Ryan then asked me if I really like BBQ, is that my 'wheelhouse'? Then I would really like:
  • Wings Gerard - Mixture between honey garlic, BBQ, little squirt of mustard, chili flakes, & mustard seeds 
  • Smokin' Gun - Smokier BBQ sauce and JD Maple (both bought sauces)
  • Donny's Special - Honey Garlic, BBQ, & Curry Powder
  • Suicide - we make it, it's pretty hot


There were a lot of unique flavours to choose from and I was pretty excited to sample these homemade sauces.


I waited a little bit, then I had a wing feast brought in front of me.


For clean up, I was brought napkins and a wetnap. No bone plate or bowl so all my discarded pieces just went into the serving basket as space became available.


The wings are ordered normally by the pound but I was told for wing night you get 10 wings. I assume that means there are usually 10 wings in a Quinn's pound, but not too sure. There's no sides with these wings (at least on wing night) but I did order an extra sauce on the side, but I was told up front it was an extra charge (which came to $0.50).


The wings were medium in size, mostly length. But they were a really meaty wing for their size.


These are a breaded wing that is deep fried, making for a very crispy/crunchy skin. Like really crunchy. I liked them, but if you are not a breaded wing fan, you will not like these. The meat was actually pretty tender and the wings pulled apart nicely, suggesting a fresh wing.



My sauced wings were very well sauced - very wet. They were just covered in sauce which was great. I also got a dry rubbed wing and it was heavily coated in seasoning. This is awesome.



I did my classic maneuver for wing night and got 2 orders of wings - one order of the Wings Gerard, and one order of Dusty Cajun, and then I went with a side of their suicide sauce.


WINGS GERARD

He talked them up so much that I decided to try these out. Remember these are a mix of honey garlic, BBQ, mustard, chili flakes, & mustard seeds (and probably more). Wow, these were really really good.
It's sweet, its deep, savory. So good. Knowing there is mustard in there I can detect it, but if I didn't I'd be pretty lost at what made this sauce so unique. For me, this sauce would be even better if there was some heat spice in there, but I would definitely get these again.



DUSTY CAJUN

I didn't want to do much experimenting with flavours (in case I wasn't a fan) so I went with the dry Dusty Cajun rub. These wings were coated big time in the seasoning, and I gotta say, this was one of the better Cajun dry rubs I've had on wings. 



It was super fine in texture and it tasted spicy, garlicky, salty. So good. Look how much was leftover! You can see that it's quite the mixture.

Wing Pro Tip - when I have dry seasoned wings and there's lots left like in the photo above, I love to take a bite and pull off the skin. I eat that, and depending on if I have a flat or a drum, with a flat I remove one (or both of the bones) and re-dredge the meat exposed part through the seasoning. The moist meat clings to the chicken meat, and boy do you get a special dose of flavour.


SUICIDE

I was told the Suicide were hot and homemade so I thought that would go well with the Cajun. I was shocked at this sauce. It wasn't spicy. Like, at all. No heat. Actually, it didn't really have any flavour. I couldn't believe it.

It was orange in colour, and my guess is it's a scotch bonnet or habanero blended with something, but it just was so bland, it honestly tasted like nothing. Not salty, not fruity, nothing. It's a thick sauce, but it must have been a sad batch of peppers that day.


FINAL SCORE:

Well, Quinn's has jumped into one of my favourite wing places in Ottawa. The wings are crispy/crunchy, breaded, meaty, tender and very well sauced. Many of the flavours are homemade and there are a ton. And they are really good. Dusty Cajun was good. Wings Gerard was really good. Suicide was bland (never thought I would write that). But overall these were quality wings. And the service by Ryan was awesome*. I will definitely be back on wing night again. 11/15


*he was so awesome. When I was about half way through my meal I got the call for pickup and had to get going. Ryan checked in on me and I asked for the bill, stating I had to go to pick someone up soon. He asked if I was going to finish in time and I said I didn't think so, so he got me a take-out container for my un-eaten wings. Maybe it's ok at Quinn's, but generally take-out wings on wing night is usually a no-no anywhere, so I really appreciate the rules being bent in my time of need!



Quinn's Ale Pub
1070 Bank Street, Ottawa ON
quinnsalehouse.com


Wednesday, 19 June 2019

ROMEO's* - Ottawa ON


Romeo's
Romeo's Pizza
Romeo's Donair Pizza
Romeo's Kebab House

*These are all the possible names for the same place.

 I don't know which one is the real one.

Back in April I decided to grab some lunch and quell my curiosity at the same time. I've seen for years Romeo's at the Merivale Shopping Fair strip mall, but never even really thought about checking them out. It had never really appealed to me before, nor had I ever heard anything about it before. I figured at best I find a hidden gem, and at worst, well let's not worry about that.


Right from the start I was confused by the name and what exactly kind of eatery this place was. I mean I saw one name on the sign out front, another inside, another on the take-out menu, and other's online. The place was called Romeo's, so that suggested Italian to me (it's a pizza place after all). But I also saw that it was a 'kebab house' and because most pizza places in Ottawa were Lebanese run, I figured that this place must be as well. But then I went in and it was an older Asian couple running the joint. I just couldn't assume anything about this place!

Inside the place felt like a small diner or an old fish and chip restaurant. The place was quiet with only one other guy eating inside, but people came for take-out orders while I waited for my food. There were booths and tables for dine-in, a big menu board at the back of the place, and stuffed/mounted fish all over the walls.


I saw chicken wings on the big menu board, but also in the home-printed take-out menu's. There was no info about the wings like sauces or cooking style, except for the price. The lady came to the counter and took my order and I asked how I wanted my wings. I asked what were my choices and she said Hot, BBQ, and I think Medium and Honey Garlic but I didn't hear her clearly.



I took a seat and it didn't long for me to hear the tell-tale sound of chicken in a deep fryer. After about 10 minutes I heard the wings come out and they had my order in a paper bag. I got it to go and headed out to the car. I opened up the bag and found napkins,  a container with sour cream, and a wing smelling styrofoam clam shell container.


Inside, I found some good and bad looking hot wings.



You can apparently order any number of wings, but you have to get a minimum of 12 at $0.91 a piece (or $10.92 by that math, of $10.95 according to the take-out menu). I just went with 12. As mentioned before it came with sour cream (oh Ottawa) and a bunch of napkins.


The wings were not very big. They were a small for sure, and they were pretty scrawny in the meatiness department.


The chicken was also tough and the chicken's bones did not pull apart easily. The skin on the wings was crispy at least.


Many of the wings skin was torn before frying, and other pieces had burnt blood. It was really clear these wings were of both cheap and low quality and from frozen.


The wings were kind of wet - enough that each wing had sauce on them, but not enough to have any dripping or pools at the bottom. They were using a classic cayenne-based hot sauce, which is fine enough but nothing special.


I actually ended up dipping my wings in the sour cream. It slightly improved the flavour of the wings, but the flavour wasn't so much of a problem as the texture of the chicken.


FINAL SCORE:

Look, sometimes you find a hidden gem and sometimes you just find a rock. I was not impressed by the wings at all. Big pass. Tough, crappy cheap wings with just a little bit of sauce that were decently crispy. But I have no desire to go back and try anything else, let alone the wings. These wings were no Juliet because there was no love here. 4.5/14



Romeo's Pizza
1580 Merivale Drive, Ottawa ON




Monday, 17 June 2019

LOTW Meme Monday = Andy Bernard Eats Spicy Wings



For no reason in particular, I decided to do some The Office themed memes this week. Specifically, what happens when Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) eats some very spicy wings ...











#nonwingsunday = Cherry Cheesecake & S'More Dips



I was told people after consuming these were 'seriously addicted', 'some seriously good stuff' 'OMG', 'TO DIE FOR!!!!!!!!!! YUM YUM YUM' 'I think I'm going to OD on it' and my fave,  'happy to get diabetes from it.'

You may not live long from my food, but you are going to live happy ...

Birthday Party Wings



Happy Birthday Malu!

I'm glad one of her favourite foods is chicken wings, and that she invited me to come along. Her sister Minu also likes wings.

Not shown are the other appetizers - meatballs, spanakopita. Then came hamburgers, hot dogs, crispy potatoes and salad. Then we had supper, chicken, fish curry, kappa, fried rice, papadum. Then cake.

I.Was.Stuffed.

Overall, great birthday party!

#tbt = Patty Boland's Tequila Lime Wings on Monday Wing Night

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

ROOST & GRILLS - Ottawa ON


Back in March of 2017 I was cruising down Bank Street in Ottawa looking for lunch. I came across an independent pizza joint called Dough Brothers and decided to give them a try. The review got lost and became, well, a lost mini review last summer. Little did I know that by August of 2017 Dough Brothers would be closed down. Sad, but in their ashes would arise another pizza place, but one that was very different ... Roost & Grills.



Roost and Grills seems to be an Indian influenced pizza and chicken joint. You wouldn't know that from the outside (or inside) but the menu reveals more than first appearances.


I really love the looks of R&G's; Black brick walls, light wood accents, faux pile of wood art to suggest wood oven cooking. I don't think they have a wood oven, but it looks good there. For a take-out joint there is a lot of seating - enough for about 21 people or so. I had confirmed online before walking in that they did have wings, but checked out a take-out menu when I got to the front.


This is their online menu - not the menu available inside.
The R&G's Dude came out from the back and asked what I would like after looking over the menu. He was friendly and helpful. I said I wanted wings but wanted to know about the flavours - specifically Risky Hot and Roost Special Sauce. Risky Hot unfortunately is just regular bottled hot sauce - I was hoping for something more unique and homemade with the added 'risky' in the name. Now the Roost Special Sauce was more what I was thinking. He told me "we make it; it's homemade. It's like a BBQ sauce with spices ... you'll like it, you'll like it." Sounds good to me!



He asked if it was to go or stay and I said stay. When it was ready, he still brought it out to me in a black take-out cardboard box, but with a Styrofoam plate, which I didn't really need. He also brought it with a smile and hoped I would enjoy it. All I knew at this point was it smelled really good.


After I opened it up, it looked really good too!



Wings come in orders of 5, 10, or 20 wings, and I went with 10. There are no sides or veggies included, but you could get a side dip for $1.25 more, and while Roost Special Chili Lime Dip or Spicy Buffalo Dip sounded good, I didn't want to pay nor thought I needed them.


The wings were kinda small to medium in size, however, the wings were pretty meaty, especially the drummettes.


The wings are deep fried and the skin is crispy - which held up relatively well to all the sauce. Really really nice texture. The meat is also pretty tender too and I'm pretty sure they use fresh chicken not frozen. They might have also been dusted before deep frying but it was hard to tell.


The wings were very nice and saucy. Each wing was very wet, with the sauce being runny but still a bit thick. There wasn't any reserve sauce at the bottom, but the wings were individually sauced so well you didn't need it.


The flavour of the wings were ... amazing. First, the wing tasted almost like it was grilled. Maybe it was after deep frying, but it almost had a smokey flavour. The sauce itself was a great mix of a slightly sweet BBQ sauce but still savoury. There's also a lot of spices mixed in (tandoori masala perhaps) that were nice, except for one spice that I wasn't crazy about (maybe anise?), but it was not a dominant flavour.


I really, really liked this sauce. I liked the wings. I was really impressed. This is one of those places that I hope that I find something special, and I do.


FINAL SCORE:

Wow, these were really great wings. Fresh wings, crispy, saucy, and so flavourful. The wings aren't big, but they are meaty and just so good. Will definitely go back. 10.5/14


Roost and Grill's
1202 Bank Street, Ottawa ON
roostandgrills.com