Monday, March 2, 2015

Sourced Local at Stubborn Goat

City Harvest was some time ago now however that was the only time I had the pleasure of enjoying some food from the Stubborn Goat.  Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese was their offering on that rainy day, it was delicious and I vowed to make a return trip.  I thought of this as I was looking for a new place to try wings last week and decided to take a visit. 

Delicious Mac and Cheese during City Harvest
The wings aren’t a bad price coming in at $10/pound and there is no wing night.  

Breading: 2/5 – The wings looked great when they arrived however I quickly noticed a glistening coating on them.  I was a bit puzzled.  This couldn’t be grease, there is no way.  Maybe some type of glaze or something they’re tossed around in when they’re done cooking?  My sauce is clearly on the side, so it’s not that.  I’m still not entirely sure what was going on here, it wasn’t what I was expecting. 

Beautiful presentation
The ‘house seasoned’ is just a mixture of dry spices as far as I’m concerned, but perhaps this is all infused with something that takes away from the slight crisp/crunch that I enjoy with a good breading. Whatever it is I think a dry breading with a bit of crunch and dry spice would have been more enjoyable.

Overall Quality: 5/5 – Local sourced is a big thing here and sure enough I was told the wings were from Oulton’s farm in Windsor.  I’m not sure if they produce magic chickens but the flavor and quality was fresh and free from any dark meat, excellent quality. 

Sauce Selection: 1/5 – Here’s the description as listed on their site – “House seasoned, sriracha cream, tangy yogurt”.  My understanding is that this is an all in one package.  A unique twist for sure and even though this is not a typical wing establishment it would be nice to see a couple of other sauce options, I have a feeling they could come up with some pretty delicious creations. 

Service: 5/5 – There was only one seat left at the bar when I walked in, I was surprised how busy this place was for being a Wednesday evening.  A drink menu was placed in front of me as I was getting acquainted with my seat and a cold beer was soon on it’s way (they have a nice selection of local beer on tap as well). 

The bartender/server was very attentive and knowledgeable, the wings didn’t take long to arrive and drink refills were offered and gladly accepted, I would be happy to take a seat here again based on the service alone.  

Size: 3/5 – These wings were almost a two in this department however they were fairly meaty for the size of them.  I still believe a smaller/average sized wing has a generally better overall quality to them.   
Meaty little wings
Overall Rating:  3.2/5

The Stubborn Goat was an enjoyable place and had a great atmosphere.  I will be sure to return and try some of the other offerings on the menu, including the nice selection of local beverages of course.  Wings will also be ordered again, and I’ll be sure to get to the bottom of this glistening breaded coat mystery.   

A lone wing losing crispiness

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Countdown Is On ...

Well, after posting the 90th review that means a milestone that I never really expected is quickly approaching, ten more to go until the 100th overall review is complete! 

I was never really sure how far all this would go when it first started but thought it would be interesting to keep track of all the wings I’ve consumed while giving each one a rating, part of this reasoning was to help me remember where the good places were.

Here’s a little look at the past, present and future for those that are interested.

Past:

This all began about four and a half years ago when we used to go out for wings at the same spot week in and week out, it was always a great time hanging out with friends, having a few beverages and a feed of wings, going out and doing this was always something I looked forward to, and I still very much do.

After straying from our regular wing spot and venturing to a new location one week I was shocked at the difference in the actual quality of the wings.  I was disappointed that I had spent so many evenings at the regular spot eating mediocre wings when the wings at this place were so much better.  I was unable to turn back time but I realized something had to be done about this, that’s when HalifaxWingman was created.

The first few reviews contained a little write up and an overall rating based on the wings.  I quickly realized that wasn’t going to cut it, I needed to have a few categories that I felt were important to clearly distinguish a rating for the wings at each place, that’s when the BOSSS scale was conceived.

Breading
Overall Quality
Sauce Selection
Service
Size

I felt the five categories should give a pretty good idea of an overall total score for the wings, so that is what I have stuck with for a while now.  I will admit there were times I had wings and didn’t feel the scale was fair, but there had to be consistency with the overall rating. 

I also realized I had to keep track of when the wing specials are, so the Daily Wing Specials list was created.  I do my best to keep it up to date and I’m always happy to hear from anyone that visits one of the spots and lets me know the prices have changed. 

Needless to say there have been a lot of wings consumed, ratings fluctuating from one end of the scale to the other.  Here’s a little look back at some of the more interesting/memorable reviews:

Best Wings Ever:
Pogue Fado - the only 5/5 rating that has ever been rewarded.  I have no idea how many pounds of wings I’ve put back at this place but I do know I still miss it a lot, RIP Pogue.

Currently tied for first place – both sitting on a 4.6/5:
Halifax Alehouse - I love this place and go back quite a bit, the wings are always delicious
Bubba Ray’s Too - the newest addition to the Bubba Ray’s family taking over the old Red Fox location, great wings and a ton of sauces to choose from

Some of the worst wings I’ve ever been served, earning a whooping half a point:
Porters – not a good wing experience at all.

Being offered to go try some wings on the house and they end up not being so good, I feel horrible when that happens, however I try to be as diplomatic as possible, East Side Mario’s is an example of that.

Great wings can be found in Dartmouth too, Pilot’s Pub and the Perfect Pour are a must try.

Speaking of Dartmouth, does anyone remember Wing Dings?  That place was awesome.  I was sad to see them go however I had big hopes for the new occupants of the same space, Wing N It, but my hopes were diminished after trying the wings there twice.  They currently claim to have the best wings in town, who signs off on these things anyway? 

One of my more frequented spots recently has been HFX Sports Bar.  I’ve had more than my fair share of wings there and never had a bad experience, the new sauce lineup is also a must try (Habanero Lime rub with Sriracha Honey Butter on the side). 
               
Present:

Anyway, back to where we are now, the countdown is on - ten more reviews until the big one double zero.  I have an idea of the next few places I want to visit and I’m also open for suggestions of course.  One thing I do know for sure is that a celebration will be in order once that review is complete.  

Everyone has an opinion or story when it comes to wings – how they like them, breaded or not, sauce on or on the side, where the best/worst places are, sauce flavors, dry rub, everyone has a story of a buddy of how many he ate or how hot the sauce was someone consumed and sometimes there are even bets involved with all this, it never gets old and it’s always a good time. 

I’ve interacted with many people over the years to discuss just that – chicken wings.  It sounds crazy when I actually read that part back it’s all true, that’s the funny part.

So the plan is for an open invite to anyone that would be interested in meeting up for an evening of delicious wings and beverages, a Halifax Wingman Tweetup event of sorts.  All I know at this point is that it will be on a Saturday within the next couple of months somewhere downtown Halifax with delicious wings.  Once I know more I’ll do a separate post with the details to see how many people may be interested.

Future:

So when does one throw in the towel?   This is a question that has crossed my mind recently and wasn’t too sure if I should keep this going or not.  However I still have a love for wings and I’m still going to be checking out as many places as possible, so why stop now?

For anyone that has ever used this site as a wing resource are there things on here you like/don’t like? 

Changes you would like to see or any suggestions? 

Should the rating scale remain the same or is it time to change it up a bit? 

I’m curious to know what you think so please let me know.

So the countdown has begun, stay tuned for the next few reviews, keep the suggestions/price updates coming and hopefully I’ll see you out for the 100th wing review celebration real soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lackluster at Loose Cannon

After a wing craving last Tuesday afternoon I decided to take a stroll down Argyle in search of a spot I haven’t tried wings at yet and ended up at the Loose Cannon.  It’s a small Scottish Public House and the place was pretty much empty when I arrived so I took a seat at the bar and proceeded to ask about the wings.

Wings are regularly $9.99/pound and there are a couple of specials throughout the week - $15.50 for a pitcher of beer with wings, potato skins or nachos on Tuesday’s and $6/pound on Thursday’s, that’s not a bad price at all these days.

Breading: 3/5 – The wings looked delicious when they arrived as they had a nice breaded coat on them however I found grease was the prominent taste which was too bad.  They did contain a pretty nice little crunch to them though.
Not bad looking from the outside
Overall Quality: 2/5 – The wings were cooked well and free from feathers or any dark meat however the actual flavor of the chicken was very bland/greasy, not an enjoyable taste at all.  Nothing too exciting here.

Sauce Selection: 1/5 – Medium, Hot or Honey Garlic are the only options here.  The size of the sauce container was fairly generous though.

Service: 5/5 – The service was the best part of the experience.  Food/drinks were offered right away, wings didn’t take long to arrive and the guys working were great to talk to.  They mentioned a few of the other items on the menu that are better than the wings, I’ll be sure to try something different on my next visit. 

Size: 3/5 – A pretty standard sized wing.  There was no forks around that I could see but thankfully I had a bit of change in my pocket for a comparison. 
Standard sized wings
Overall Rating: 2.8/5

Even with the great wing prices (which are getting more difficult to find these days) I won’t be digging in to wings on my next visit.  Based on the service I will return some Tuesday evening in the future when I have my next potato skin craving.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Looking for a Logo

I have been interested in designing a little logo recently however due to my lack of any type of artistic ability at all I am unable to create my own.

I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for so if  you or anyone you know may have this ability and may be interested feel free to send me an email at HalifaxWingman@gmail.com and perhaps we could further discuss over a plate of delicious wings.  Thanks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tuned in at Tempo

Things I dislike – winter storms and traffic.  Things I like – wings and beer.  So after 30 minutes of waiting for a bus on Monday after work I decided to make my own snow plan and took a slippery stroll to Tempo to enjoy a beverage and some food while traffic was dying down.
My Snow Plan
My last visit was in July and at that time I was not impressed with the wings at all (here is the original review), so I had no intention of ordering wings on this visit.  As I sat down I noticed the menu had changed and the bartender let me know that the wings were different now and that they are really good.  “Sure they are” I thought to myself.  He told me they have changed since July and are completely different now.  I really wanted to try them however at $18/pound I was having a hard time talking myself into it.

I noticed a gentleman at the bar looking at the menu as well and we began to talk and of course wings came up.  I was mentioning how the wings used to be terrible, heard they are different now but was having a hard time wanting to spend the $18, that’s when he said to the bartender to put an order on his tab.  That’s not what I was looking for by any means and told him not to worry about it, if I decided to get them I will happily pay, but he insisted.  Come to find out after the fact this gentleman is the Director of Operations, I had no idea he even worked there (and to be clear this review has nothing to do with the fact that this occurred).  Either way, if it wasn’t for this happening I may never have tried them.

Anyway, back to the wings.  I wasn’t too sure what to expect however as soon as the plate hit the table my jaw dropped, these looked incredible!
Love the presentation
Breading: 5/5 – A fairly dark but full coating of breading hugged each wing and had an excellent crispiness factor to it, couldn’t ask for much more.
Beautiful wings
Overall quality: 5/5 – I was incredibly impressed with the overall quality and taste of the chicken, it was cooked to perfection and had such an incredible fresh taste to it.  I may have even drooled a little after the first couple of bites.  There was nothing that could have improved the flavor of this chicken.

Sauce Selection: 1/5 – The only negative side to this is they scaled back on the sauces to mild, medium and hot.  The more unique/creative choices they previously offered were much better.  The only reason I ended up at Tempo for the first review was to try the Drunken Sriracha sauce, that would be nice to see as an option again.

Service: 5/5 – From the moment I sat down until I got up to leave, the service was incredible.  The bartender was knowledgeable and attentive.  Refills were offered and he genuinely seemed happy being at work.  Just like my last visit the service couldn’t have been any better but I was not served by the same person, I think this really says something about the people that work there. 

Size: 5/5 – No complaints in this department.  The wings were huge and even the flatties were nice and plump with a lot of meat on them. 
Meaty
Overall Rating: 4.2/5


$18 is still a hefty cost for a plate of wings even when they are this delicious, it’s too bad they weren’t just a bit cheaper.  I still can’t believe how different the wings are now compared to just a few months ago, and if it wasn’t for that damn storm it’s hard to say when I would have ever took another visit in and ordered the wings.  I guess there is a positive side to everything.   

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Greatness at the Gahan House

It didn’t take too long for the void to be filled where the Hart and Thistle was formerly located.  A buddy of mine told me about the Gahan House shortly after it opened so of course I had to check it out for myself.

The Gahan House originates in PEI so it was nice to see them expand to Halifax, especially to this location since they also brew their own beer.  They offer a diverse menu that focuses a bit on the seafood side (also tried the fish and chips during my visit and they were pretty good). 

We ended up there on a Saturday afternoon and the place was quite busy.  We were greeted at the door and it only took a few minutes to get a table, you could tell right away they are very customer focused – during the short time the hostess went to find a table someone else stopped by and asked if someone was helping us yet.  I was looking forward to trying these wings and washing them down with a pint of something they make.
An excellent beverage to kill time waiting for wings
A pound of wings is $10.99 and there is no wing night.

Breading: 5/5 – The wings looked delicious right from the get go, an appealing golden breading covered the wings, not too crispy and not greasy, off to a great start.
Beautiful breading 
Overall quality: 5/5 – Fresh, juicy and all white meat – this is what wing dreams are made of. 

Sauce selection: 2/5 – A fairly standard sauce selection that includes Honey Garlic, First, Second, Third Degree and Sweet Chili plus a unique sauce offering - the 1772 IPA BBQ Sauce, I love seeing a house made type sauce (not sure if this is an option at other establishments but it’s the first time I’ve seen it).  Of course I went with the 1772 and it was one of the best wing sauces I’ve ever had, the only complaint is it seemed to run out too quick. 

Service: 5/5 – As mentioned earlier the suburb service started from the moment we walked through the door.  A few moments after we were seated our server stopped by, passed out the menus and took drink orders, she was polite and informative.  The food didn’t take too long to arrive and drink refills were offered which was good because the Honey Wheat Ale was going down really well.

Something unexpected happened at the end of the meal while we were waiting for the bill and the way this was handled could have made or broke the service experience altogether. 

As I was finishing up my second beer and waiting for the bill I started looking at the almost empty vinegar bottle for some reason and couldn’t help but notice a few black specs floating around.  I’m not an expert on vinegars and this was a dark (malt?) vinegar so maybe it was peppercorns or something, but after a closer inspection it was clear that numerous fruit flies met their ultimate fate in this very bottle.  I’m not even that big of a vinegar fan however if it’s available at the same time fish and chips are around I’m bound to splash some on.  Kind of gross but I’m sure a few dead fruit flies won’t kill me. 

When the server came over with the bill I thought it may be nice to mention our findings just to save the next person from making this same discovery.  I expected an ‘ok, sorry about that’ type of response while the vinegar was being whisked away however she was genuinely upset and very concerned, she ended up taking the fish and chips off the bill, I didn’t expect that at all but just goes to show she wanted to do something to apologize.

This was obviously something out of their control, but if you get an order of fish and chips you may want to do a quick peppercorn/fruit fly inspection before splashing on the vinegar. 
Death trap
Size: 3/5 – The wings weren’t overly large by any means.  The thing that surprised me was there were only seven wings that arrived, based on a full pound I thought there would be at least four or five more, maybe the scale was off by a bit but I would expect a bit of a bigger portion for a full pound (or maybe the breading was thicker than I thought).
Not the largest wings, but meaty for their size
Overall Rating: 4/5

A couple of other thoughts on this one – additional napkins (only one was provided and I can manage to make an ok sized mess eating wings) a wet nap and something to throw the wing remnants in would be an ok addition to the overall wing experience.

I am looking very forward to returning to the Gahan House in the near future, my wing and sauce order will remain the same but I have a feeling I will be trying a lot more of the other beer they make.  Have you had a chance to visit this place yet?  If so, what have you tried?  If not, I’d highly recommend taking a stop in to try some of these wings, you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wayside at Wing 'n it

Wing ‘n it is the newest wing establishment in the area and they recently took over the location that Wingdings used to occupy.  I was sad to see them leave however I was happy to learn wings would also be the focus on the new menu, based on the name anyway. 

The most notable changes with the initial looks of the new spot is the aviation theme, lots of plane themed sauces and décor.  I would soon learn that a lot more than just the décor had changed.  High expectations were to be had based on the previous occupant however I soon learned those expectations would not be met.  

A pound of wings will run you $10.99 and there are a few other denominations are on the menu, up to 1000 wings for $799.99 (still $0.80/wing in case you were wondering) and there is no wing night.

Beer goes well with wings of course, the order was placed and my beverage arrived, I was eager to try these wings.
Chilled to perfection
Breading: 1/5 – The wings were breaded but the breading was nothing special, and grease seemed to be the prominent taste, even with a Cajun dry rub.
The wings have arrived
Overall Quality: 1/5 – Disappointment pretty much sums up this category.

Even before breaking a wing open you could see dark patches on the meat beneath the breading, they contained a lot of dark meat and a couple sludgy residue areas.  The bones were broken in a couple of wings and they all had a taste that was not enjoyable, freezer burnt or just old/bad, I’m not sure, the meat even seemed on the tough side as well.  On a positive note, I didn’t see a single feather. 
Not the most appetizing looking wings

The carrot even looks a little sad
Sauce Selection: 5/5 – With around 100 different kinds of sauces to choose from the sauce selection choice can be a difficult but a very important decision in the ordering process.  It was also nice to see a lot of dry rub options.  I tried a few different sauces on my visits and they were all really good.

Tons of options here
Service: 3/5 – Thankfully the service was better than the meal, our server was pleasant, drink refills were offered. 

Size: 3/5 – Both the flatties and drumsticks were fairly average in size.

Average sized wings
Overall Rating: 2.6/5

I initially went to Wing ‘n it four days after the doors opened and didn’t enjoy the wings.  As we were about to the leave the owner came out and asked how everything was, I don’t enjoy providing negative feedback but I was honest.  He was genuinely concerned and said he would speak with head office and the supplier, he said this wasn't acceptable.

During the next visit the owner was also present, asked how everything was again and I let him know the wings seemed worse than before, his comment this time was ‘it is what it is’, well yeah, I guess it is.   

We also had nachos this time around and they were less than desirable with brown lettuce strewn about.  The explanation to that was the oven makes the lettuce brown.  I had two thoughts on this – why is there lettuce on nachos to begin with and if putting lettuce in the oven turns it brown and wilty than why not put it on after the nachos exit the oven?  Those are questions I may never have answers to. 

I hate to say it but I will not be back to this place for a very long time (if ever).  If anyone else had the wings here please let me know what you thought of them.  If there is a big change I may have to go back and give them another try.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Big and Bold at Bubba Ray's Too

I’ve been to Bubba Ray’s many times in the past and the Spring Garden location was actually my third review (October 2010), which was before I introduced the rating scale.  I’ve wanted to go back and do another review and decided to go to Bubba Ray’s Too to do just that.  

Bubba Ray’s is an excellent spot for sports, beer and wings, all a great combination, and they are serious with their wings.  They have six different types of wings to choose from – University, Original (non-breaded), Mega, Hot N Spicy, Gluten Free and Boneless.  Half pounds range from $5.99 - $6.99 and a full pound will run you $11.99.  

I went with a pound of the University since these wings are what they have on for their Wednesday wing night at $0.49/wing.  A discard bucket and a wet nap were provided, this is always nice to have when digging into a feed of wings.

Breading: 5/5 – Each wing was covered with a breading that wasn't too thick or thin and had the perfect crispiness to it.   
Nice looking plate of wings
Even better looking minus the vegetables
Overall Quality: 4/5 – Excellent fresh flavor almost like they were brined, and even with the breading having being nice and crispy the chicken was not dried up at all, these were cooked to perfection and only a couple dark and fatty patches were discovered here and there, overall I was very impressed.

Sauce Selection: 5/5 – This may be the most difficult (and critical) part of the wing order – there are 57 sauces (each with a little description which is nice) and 11 dry spices to choose from, the combinations are endless.  I went with the Blackened Cajun dry spice with Yukon Gold and Kettle Fire on the side, they were both delicious but I want to try a lot more.  Additional sauces will run you $0.99/each. 
Now that's a lot of sauces
Service: 4/5 – Fast efficient service, our server was pleasant and drink refills were offered. 

Size: 5/5 – I wasn't expecting the wings to be very large since this is the only variety you can get cheap on a wing night but I was very surprised, the wings were a great size and contained a lot of meat.
Meaty wings
Overall Rating: 4.6/5


We now have a tie for first place for the best wings in Halifax - Bubba Ray's and the Alehouse, both excellent choices and each with a unique atmosphere, I will be back for many more visits to both places.  

If you had to pick a favorite between the top two spots who would have your vote?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Off the beat at Tempo

I've visited Tempo in the past for brunch which was pretty good so after seeing they had a Drunken Sriracha ' wing sauce I figured it was about time to head back and finally try the wings, I love Sriracha.

I headed over on Thursday (7/17/14) and had a seat at the bar.  I took a look at the menu and the description for the wings is 'natural', I assume this means free range or something, but not overly descriptive.  Wings come in on the pricey side at $11 for a half pound or $17 for a full pound, which is what I went for.

Breading: n/a - Not breaded so this category will not be rated. 
Tempo wings
Overall Quality: 1/5 - These wings didn't have a good flavor at all, contained a lot of dark meat (which is surprising based on their size) and even managed to contain a few sporadic feathers. This is not at all what I was expecting from this place. 

Not the best looking wings
A lot of dark meat for a small wing
Sauce Selection: 1/5 – You have three sauces to choose from - Sweet and Salty, Dr. Pepper BBQ or Drunken Sriracha.  The main reason I stopped by was to try that Sriracha sauce, and it was warm Sriracha, I really couldn’t tell if there was anything else different with it, but it was still good. 

Service: 5/5 – This was by far the best part of this experience.  I sat at the bar my drink order was taken and a menu was provided right away.  I was fortunate enough to be served by Lorne, he’s awesome. 

I received the wings and was a bit surprised, they really didn’t look good at all.  I dug into a couple and when he asked how they were I told him I didn’t really care for them, he said he’d take them off the bill and asked if there was anything else I would like, that was a great gesture but I didn’t feel like anything else to eat for now, so drink refills were offered and accepted. 

I ended up hanging around for a couple of drinks and we talked for a bit, you can tell this guy really enjoys what he does, this was the best service I’ve had anywhere in a long time.

Size: 1/5 - You don't frequently find wings this small, there was barely any meat on the flatties or the drumsticks, if this is what a natural wing is I think these chickens need to be pumped up a bit.  I’m glad they don’t sell them by the wing.
Not much meat to these
Overall Rating:  2/5


Even though I would not go back to Tempo for wings I know I will be back to try some other items on the menu purely based on the service alone.  Plus a couple beside me had the nachos, and they looked delicious.  Has anyone tried the wings here before? Not sure if I was there on an off night or if this is how ‘natural’ wings are.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pause at PVP

Video games, alcohol and food, sounds like a great combination.  I’m not a hardcore gamer by any means, I have a PS3 and enjoy a good round of Tiger Woods now and again, and I even have a tablet for Plants vs. Zombies, I love that game for some reason.  Anyway, we decided to take a stop in to PVP on a Saturday afternoon to see what this place was all about and to try the wings of course.

We arrived around 5:00 PM and a birthday party was just wrapping up (princess theme, may have just turned 6?) and on the other side of the place a few people were sitting around playing some video games, we grabbed a seat and menus were handed out shortly afterwards.  I’m not exactly sure how much it costs to play the games or what games are available, we didn’t ask and no one told us.  

A pound of wings rings up at $8.95 which is a pretty good deal.  Thursday is wing night - $0.60/wing from 4:00 - 11:00 PM and a pitcher of Bud Light is only $10 from 7:00 - 10:00 PM.

Breading: 2/5 – The wings had a nice coating on them and the menu indicated they are lightly spiced however the only thing I could really taste was grease, for some reason there wasn’t really any other flavor.  If the breading had a bit more flavor this category would have been rated much higher, there is potential here. 
Looking good so far