Guy Fieri’s Buffalo NY Wing Sauce brings Buffalo north of the border

Now, I’ve been to the Anchor Bar, aka Temple of the Buffalo Wing, a whole buncha times. You might even see my license plate on the wall, but you’ll hafta guess which one it is… Lemme tell ya, though, I would fill the gas tank of a ’67 Camaro with their wing sauce if it didn’t cost me a boatload in border taxes! There are very few wing joints in Toronto that perfectly capture that tangy, buttery taste of an authentic Buffalo wing (hot tip: there’s one at the corner of Bloor and Walmer in The Annex), so when my last bottle of Anchor Bar sauce ran out, I had to find me a replacement in the grocery aisle:

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Now, what does Guy Fieri know about buffalo sauce? I mean, he does serve donkey sauce at his NYC joint in Times Square, but that’s a totally different animal! Let’s face it, this bleach-blond broseph is about as Buffalo as Leon Lett. (Still too soon?) I probably wouldn’t have even bought this sauce, if it wasn’t 50% off. They normally charge like eight bucks for a jar of this stuff!

But as soon as I tasted it, I knew that Guy Fieri’s Buffalo NY Wing Sauce was bananas, and bananas are good. I don’t know how he did it—I’m guessing he got Kid Rock to smuggle the secret recipe across the Buffalo/Detroit border in a faux-leopard cowboy hat—but the dude manages to capture the true taste of Buffalo in this bottle. If this sauce was any more authentic, it would have tears of Bills fans baked right in! Can you say “Winner, winner, double-down Buffalo chicken burger dinner?”

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OK, let’s break it down. What you’ve got here are two frozen—never fresh—chicken burger patties dunked in Guy Fieri’s Buffalo NY Wing Sauce, topped with blue cheese squares and Hickory Sticks, the greatest chips of all time (says so right here) and joined together in holy matrimony inside an oversized onion bun. Let’s face it, this is basically Guy Fieri in chicken burger form. It even has the same haircut! 😉

OK, so maybe I should’ve used a smaller bun, but hey, who’s counting carbs when you can be counting down to some NFL playoff action…unless you live in Buffalo. (2025 AFC East champs, baby!)

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Guy’s American Bar is in Times Square, but its Kitchen must be in a distant suburb of Flavortown…

(Originally written January 23, 2013)

What trip to New York City would be complete without a visit to celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Times Square joint, which received such a glowing review in the Times?  As a big fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (the show, not the fat fuck who hosts it), I of course had to come check it out.  Were the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders really not so awesome?  Did the watermelon margarita really taste like formaldehyde?  My life would not be complete without the answers to these questions.  But, much to my dismay, I see they’ve omitted the formaldehyde martini.  The chicken tenders, on the other hand, are very much still a menu item:

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Now, I will agree with NYT food critic Pete Wells in that I would’ve never guessed that the breading contains either pretzels or smoked almonds.  That said, they really weren’t that bad.  Big, hot and crispy…  Better (and more expensive) than the chicken fingers I buy at Costco, that’s for sure!  Also, the Donkey Sauce really added an extra kick.  At least, I think that’s what it was called.  It was really just a spicy mustard.  Anyways, while the tenders were at least partially awesome, I can’t exactly say the same about the pulled pork tacos…

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Now, while the pork itself had the right amount of tang, it wasn’t even remotely warm.  And the random sprinkling of corn, cheese and semen-lookalike white sauce didn’t really add much of an extra kick.  This dish does not reside in Flavourtown, put it that way!

Alas, while there were initial reports of the place being packed, it was half-empty when I arrived around noon on a Sunday.  And yet, even though there were only three people sitting at the downstairs bar, the food-runner still managed to give my grub to the other folks–before he was chastised by the barkeep.  Granted, it might seem weird for one person to order two appetizers, but man, their mains were fucking expensive!

On the plus side, I take some comfort in knowing that the cooks all washed their hands before preparing my pork tacos.  I’m assuming they read the sign, anyways…

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Food Truck Feeding Frenzy Friday: Jamaican me hungry, Randy!

(Originally written January 13, 2014)

Wait, Toronto has a food truck scene?  I mean, I’ve occasionally seen a couple trucks parked on Front Street or at the Molson Amp in summertime (beats the hell outta Pizza Pizza), but shows like Eat St. and, well, Eat St. would have me believe that the mobile feeding units aren’t nearly as prominent in this city as in other major urban centres.

In any case, a recent surge of waterfront construction has brought the trucks out of hibernation to feed construction and office workers alike at the foot of Bay St.  Though they’re not exactly out in full force—they’re only setting up one per day, due to space constraints.  That said, I’ll be braving the (not-so-unpleasant) elements to line up for street food over the next few weeks because hey, it beats the slop in the office cafeteria any day!

First on the docket is Randy’s Catering, a truck offering Caribbean cuisine.  Unfortunately for me, they were all sold out of roti by the time I got to the front of the line (note to self: arrive sooner), so I settled for the “barbecue jerk chicken” as seen below:

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Of course, you can’t really go wrong with jerk chicken, especially when it’s served so cheaply at many Jamaican restaurants across the city.  On that note, Randy’s $10 price-tag was a little steep, but I was too hungry to haggle at this point.  The rice and peas had a good spicy gravy, while the coleslaw contained crisp cabbage and the chicken was nice and moist.  But I didn’t understand why they poured some squeeze-bottled barbecue sauce over top.  It just didn’t really jive with the rest of the dish.  I guess that’s putting the “barbecue” in barbecue jerk chicken, though…

Throwback Thursday: That time Guy Fieri’s NYC joint got destroyed in the Times

(Originally written November 15, 2012)

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I gotta say, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is one of my favourite shows on TV.  Not so much for its host, Guy Fieri—a bleach-blond, pot-bellied, tattooed broseph with a Camaro, who heads across the country to see what’s cookin’ at local eateries—but rather for the immaculate assortment of greasy, unhealthy dishes on display.  It’s all about the food, yo!  Mind you, it seems that Fieri didn’t do much more than expand his waistline over several seasons of Triple-D, if the New York Times’ review of his new restaurant in Times Square is any indication.

Writing for the Times, food critic Pete Wells goes kamikaze on Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, leading one to believe that it serves nothing but fancified, overhyped slop with a variety of disgusting sauces and sides.  Speaking directly to the celebrity chef, Wells exclaims “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are? … Did you discern any buttermilk or brine in the white meat, or did you think it tasted like chewy air?”  Wells even questions the names of the food, noting that the Roasted Pork Bahn Mi, which he calls “one of the few things on your menu that can be eaten without fear or regret,” “resembles that item about as much as you resemble Emily Dickinson.”

Even the cocktail menu gets the thumbs-down, Wells demanding to know why “that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste … tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde.”  I guess that as a restaurant critic, he’s actually tasted both radiator fluid and formaldehyde before—and I’m sure that automotive fusion cuisine spot didn’t last more than six months…

Mind you, it seems that Guy’s American Kitchen might not be in it for the long haul, either.  They’ve even committed the cardinal sin of screwing up nachos!  As Wells writes, “Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil? Why not bury those chips under a properly hot and filling layer of melted cheese and jalapeños instead of dribbling them with thin needles of pepperoni and cold gray clots of ground turkey?”  Maaan, just reading those words makes me a sad panda! 😦

Of course, Fieri could answer most of these questions with a simple “Nah bro, I’ve been crusin’ in my Camero…  Straight down to Flavortown!”  Which seems like someone Guy Fieri might say.  In any case, I think I’ll stick to watching him stuff his face like an idiot on TV rather than letting his kitchen confirm that the man has no living brain cells.  Thanks, New York Times!

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(Hmm, I don’t think I see the formaldehyde martini on the menu…)

Making me the most manliest $20 salad of all time

Now, I don’t normally eat salad. It’s definitely not one of the Triple B’s—Burgers, Bacon & Beer. (And there ain’t no Triple S’s, either! Shut the front door, silly!) About the only time I get any green in my diet is when I’m making double-down buffalo chicken burgers and I decide to put some lettuce and tomato on top. Which I don’t always do, mind you. But when I do, I always have a buncha lettuce left over. Cuz hey, I’m not making me some double-down buffalo lettuce burgers!

So, that’s when I go to Longo’s at Maple Leaf Square. Their salad bar is bigger than a five-hundred-thousand-dollar downtown condominium…which you can also find at Maple Leaf Square. And this place has got everything; tuna salad, French-fried potaters, a confused old man looking for insurance—it’s like TheBomb.com! So, here’s what I did. I went down there and made me the most manliest salad of all time. Hold the lettuce—I’ve already got some in the man-fridge.

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OK, let’s break it down. What we’ve got here is some nice cold steak, some salmon, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Real CrabTM, some potatoes, a couple hard-boiled eggs, macaroni salad and one little green thing, y’know, for colour. I tell ya, this salad’ll go pound for pound with anyone! Only problem is, Longo’s charges by the pound, so it cost me 20 bucks. But hey, I’ve still got me a winner winner, steak-salmon-crab-potato-egg-macaroni-salad dinner!

I can still remember my first Old Style Pilsner in Ontario…

(Originally written July 5, 2013)

 

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Old Style Pilsner, aka Vitamin P, aka the Saskatoon Sombrero, has been available in Ontario for a couple months now, after being introduced at The Beer Store with little fanfare.  At least I never heard any fanfare about it–but then again, I’m not from Saskatchewan.

Of course, they don’t carry it at every Beer Store.  My regular spot didn’t have any, so I had to make the trek to Gerrard and that street east of Sherbourne.  But hey, it gave me the opportunity to return some empties, too.

Alas, with six tallboys setting you back $11.25 (if you don’t return any empties), it’s not exactly a budget beer out here.  But with the Stamps and Riders kicking off right about now, I knew I had to drink the Lifeblood of Regina while Calgary runs roughshod over the Roughies.  That being said, I haven’t had this stuff in about eight years, so I don’t even remember what it tastes like.  I hope it’s better than Lakeport…

UPDATE: Calgary somehow managed to lose that game, 36-21. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Pilsner is better than Lakeport.

I liked the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Burger so much, I made mine a double!

When The Works first introduced its Reese PBC burger, stuffed with peanut butter cups, and topped with bacon, onion rings and chocolate, I knew it was only a matter of time before it made a meeting with my mouth. Mind you, the National Post gave it a collective thumbs-down, and Jimmy Fallon called it “a wrong way to eat a Reece’s,” which briefly made me reconsider if I wanted to eat one…so I ended up eating two:

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Make that two patties, anyways. The server was initially unsure what to charge me, as this was an unprecedented first in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Burger history—no one had ever doubled down on the RPC Burger and lived to tell the tale. In fact, my order took nearly an hour to prepare as the cooks couldn’t stop taking selfies with it, or something. It may or may not have its own hashtag; I dunno, I’m not on Twitter.

In any case, this was quite the culinary adventure. The chocolate and peanut butter melt right into the patties, and it’s the saltiness of the PB that really dominates. The onions give it a bit of a kick, and the bacon adds a nice chew, while the additional chocolate really makes more of a mess than anything. I will say that eating two patties stuffed with Reese’s made me feel like I consumed half a cow. And there may or may not be a napkin shortage at The Works now:

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Much to my dismay, Guy Fieri’s salsa verde tastes nothing like hairspray…

(Originally written November 21, 2014)

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Picked this bad boy up at my local grocery store.  While I wouldn’t normally pay, like, eight bucks for a jar of hot sauce, this isn’t your ordinary green salsa, no sir!  You’ve got the creaminess of the xanthan gum, a nice tang from the dextrose and yeast extract, and the “natural fire roast flavor,” which adds a nice kick.  This salsa is so “money” it’s green!  (It actually says that on the other side of the jar.)  And while I wouldn’t put it on a flip-flop, it’s still pretty bananas–and bananas is good!  Can you say “Winner Winner, Fridge Pizza Dinner?”

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Let’s break it down, here.  You’ve got some mini pita bread, warmed up in the microwave, slathered in Guy’s special sauce, with a buncha Parmesan cheese dumped on top.  Shut the front door!  OK, so it ain’t no chicken base ‘n garlic salt…but this dish was still better than those cold pork tacos I had at Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar!

(More on those later…)

Hickory Sticks are the greatest chips of all time

(Originally written May 6, 2013)

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Maaaaan, I loves me some Hickory Sticks!  I first tasted this salty snack back in junior high, when I realized they were cheaper than your average bag of chips in the vending machine.  Sure, the bag might be smaller, but it’s hardly lacking in hickory-smoked flavour.  People used to pay to watch me eat hickory sticks.  No, really.

Let’s just say that wherever I go, I single-handedly make sure that the nearest grocery store has lotsa Sticks on the shelves.  When I found out that the one next door didn’t stock ’em, I made the three-block trek to stock up on Sunday–hence the three bags in this photo.

OK, so I suppose that with 270 calories, 17 grams of fat and 420(!!!) milligrams of sodium per 50 grams of chip, it’s not the healthiest snack in the world.  But hey, today is International No Diet Day, so I’ll be chowing down without shame–like I do almost every day, for that matter. 😉

Finally got me some of that Chinese cheesecrack!

For many months now, there have been long lineups in front of the Greyhound bus terminal—and no, these folks aren’t waiting for the 8:15 to Niagara Falls. Since last February, Uncle Tetsu has been serving up cheesecakes right next to the bus station, and at 10 bucks a pop, they’re much cheaper than bus fare to Buffalo (where you can probably buy non-cheesy crack for 10 bucks a pop).

But sheeet son, I wouldn’t wait in line for KISS tickets, much less some little cake in a cardboard box—so I waited until winter, when I could just waltz right in there and buy one. And yes, yer only limited to one per person. Who says this guy isn’t looking after your cholesterol ‘n all that good stuff?

uncle_tetsu (2)(Let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t let ol’ pancake head here babysit your kids.)

The actual cheesecake is about as round and as flat as Uncle’s melon, and in case you aren’t creeped out yet, they even stamped his mug on the cake itself:

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So, what do I think about this sugary delicacy that’s making the Asian schoolgirls in this city all goo goo for Pikachu? Well, here’s a newsflash for ya: it tastes like fucking cheesecake. Cheese, eggs, cream, the whole nine yards. I think it’s a little too firm for my liking, and I’d probably put something on top to give it that extra kick, like chocolate sauce, or nacho cheese…but hey, at least I’ve got something to eat for breakfast for the next couple days.

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