REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich

Chick fil A Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich

It was a little strange to get the new summer-themed Chick-fil-A Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich on the day of an unseasonable May snowstorm in Salt Lake City, but fortunately deliciousness knows no season.

From top to bottom, the sandwich consists of a Hawaiian bun, honey smokehouse BBQ sauce, bacon with a brown sugar pepper blend, Colby-Jack cheese, grilled chicken, lettuce, and bun.

The Hawaiian bun is soft and pleasant, but I honestly didn’t notice it being too unusual for a bun. On one hand, that allowed me to appreciate the sandwich’s toppings without the bun getting in the way; on the other hand, it means it maybe didn’t need to be a special bun.

I tried to taste the barbecue sauce by itself, but much of it had soaked into the bun, so it was hard to isolate. On the sandwich, the flavor wasn’t overbearing, but it added enough of a zing to make it unlike other Chick-fil-A offerings. This sauce is different than the dipping BBQ sauce they offer —- it’s less sweet.

Chick fil A Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich 2

I’m a fast-food heretic, because I don’t love bacon. I can take it or leave it. This bacon was of the crunchy variety, which is how I prefer it. As part of the sandwich, I didn’t notice its flavor, but it provided a nice texture. I nibbled a few pieces by themselves, and it seemed slightly more flavorful than ordinary bacon you might get elsewhere, though that might have been the sauce. If you are a bacon lover, you would want more of it than the three small pieces I got. Even I would have appreciated a little more.

Chick fil A Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich 3

Even though the sandwich is named for the sauce and the bacon, it was the Colby-Jack cheese that stole the show. I got two slices. I don’t know whether that’s the recipe, or whether the workers didn’t want to peel them apart. Either way, I appreciated it, and the cheese melted slightly against the warmth of the meat. The flavor and the texture were both delightful.

Chick fil A Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich 4

The chicken is grilled, probably because of the barbecue theme. It was like the chicken on all other grilled Chick-fil-A sandwiches, meaning it was as good as it gets at a fast food joint. There were no gristly pieces I had to spit out.

The lettuce is lettuce. I liked the crispness to counter the squishiness of the bun, chicken, and cheese.

When I ordered the sandwich, the cashier told me how good it was. Therefore, I expected its flavor to be much stronger. It didn’t “wow” me the way I anticipated. But if it had been stronger, I don’t think it would have been better. They got the components just right to be tasty but not overwhelming or gimmicky.

There was nothing bad about the sandwich. I felt like they played it safe, and they could have taken more risks to make an absolutely amazing item. But it works, and this might be my new favorite Chick-fil-A entrée.

(Nutrition Facts – 500 calories, 18 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1200 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $6.15 ($9.09 as part of a medium meal)
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tasty BBQ sauce but not too much of it. Perfectly melted Colby-Jack. Chick-fil-A chicken breast. Crunchy bacon. Soft Hawaiian bun.
Cons: The flavor of the bun and the bacon were not particularly noticeable. Not knowing whether I was supposed to have two slices of cheese. Playing it safe.

REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Frosted Strawberry Lemonade

Chick fil A Frosted Strawberry Lemonade

I’ve heard fantastic things about Chick-fil-A’s Frosted drinks, so if you haven’t heard, now you’ve heard (Notorious B.I.G. anyone?) that there’s a new limited edition strawberry lemonade flavor.

For y’all that haven’t tried the O.G. Frosted Lemonade before, here’s the breakdown: it’s like a lemonade milkshake. I know that combo sounds disgusting but it’s really a rose by any other name if you decode the marketing speak – “a hand-spun combination of Chick-fil-A Lemonade (or Diet Lemonade), freshly squeezed daily, and our famous vanilla Icedream.”

By the way, Frosted drinks are classified as a “treat,” which is likely Chick-fil-A’s way of priming you for the sugar and calories.

Like everything else Chick-fil-A does, their new Frosted Strawberry Lemonade is genius and fantastic. Genius because they simply add strawberry puree in their O.G. Frosted Lemonade and call it a day. Fantastic because even though it’s simple, they do it right.

When you have something as creamy and milkshake-like, the question is often: spoon or straw?

Chick fil A Frosted Strawberry Lemonade 2

I took the plunge and went for the straw because I trusted Chick-fil-A to get the texture right. My trust paid off as it was easily drinkable even though it looked creamy and thick. Given the pink tinge, I wasn’t surprised that it primarily tasted like strawberry with a hint of tangy lemonade. The real strawberry pieces surprised me — there were seeds and all!

I thought these nuggets were critical to the drink for a couple of reasons: less artificial and adds texture. Not that the drink tasted at all like artificial strawberry flavoring, but having real pieces of strawberry makes me feel like I could justify fitting this treat into the fruit group on the food pyramid. As for the strawberry puree adding texture, it’s nice to have fresh fruit bits break up the thick, creamy Icedream.

Chick fil A Frosted Strawberry Lemonade 3

In under five minutes, I was almost done with the Frosted treat. But, for you slow drinkers out there (yes, I’m looking at you), I left a little bit to melt for about 10 minutes. I wanted to see if it would maintain its delicious strawberry lemonade integrity. I wondered why I even doubted Chick-fil-A because, of course, it maintained its deliciousness. I wasn’t surprised that it tasted slightly sweeter and that I could smell the strawberry aroma more.

The only downsides to the Frosted Strawberry Lemonade are that it’ll give you one hell of a sugar high and it’s only available for a limited time!

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Small
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Genius – because it’s just their Frosted Lemonade + strawberry puree, but it’s delicious! Drinkable yet still creamy and thick. Real pieces of strawberry – even seeds – therefore, one can justify as treating this treat as part of the fruit group on the food pyramid. Good even when slightly melted.
Cons: Sugar high is real. Available for a limited time.

REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich

Quite a bit has happened in the world since Chick-fil-A last released a new breakfast sandwich.

The Star Wars franchise has been revived, Nabisco stuck Fruity Pebbles in an Oreo, and Blake Shelton married Miranda Lambert, got divorced from Miranda Lambert, and is now shacking up with the lead singer of my favorite 1990s pop-ska-rock band.

Also, I got sort of chubby. A bit rotund. Somewhat more heavyset.

Frankly, I blame the fast food breakfast sandwiches, in particular Chick-fil-A’s ethereal chicken biscuit. I know I’m supposed to be getting down with this whole moderation thing, but that’s easier said than done. Where other chains at least offer somewhat healthy breakfast sandwiches on their menus, Chick-fil-A offers oatmeal. Oatmeal? Really? Like oatmeal stands a chance against a juicy fried chicken breast nestled between a fresh-baked biscuit slathered with butter.

The new Egg White Grill sandwich changes that, and might just slow the growth of my increasing flabby diameter. And while I’m not normally one to pass on a molten egg yolk, I’m less wedded to the superiority of cooked fast food eggs over egg whites; that is, provided the texture doesn’t remind me of that time I accidentally ate a deflated water balloon (don’t ask).

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich 2

Fortunately, that’s not the case with Chick-fil-A’s egg whites. They’re really not at all chewy, and even have a bit of sweetness and a hint of buttery flavor from the grill. I thought they tasted about the same as the whites that McDonald’s uses, but had a better texture.

The grilled chicken is excellent (no surprise) and much better than the overly salty Canadian bacon you’d get on McDonald’s Egg White Delight. The chicken has a bold chargrill flavor and zesty citrusy aftertaste that’s really flavorful without being heavy, while the size is a perfect fit on the toasted English muffin.

The muffin and single slice of cheese, which was melted nicely toward the center of the sandwich, added quite a bit of flavor. If I have one complaint, it’s that there wasn’t a slice of a juicy tomato to add a little sweetness and relieve the gooey saltiness of the cheese. Also: Bacon. But this would probably detract a bit from the healthy angle.

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich 3

Along with the new sandwich, Chick-fil-A has revamped some of its sauces and also added a new Sweet and Spicy Sriracha sauce. I tried it on the new sandwich, and while it has an enjoyable kick and sweetness that plays well with the naturally bland egg whites, it leans closer to a conventional sweet chili garlic sauce than a Sriracha sauce. It actually detracted from the savory and salty cheese on the sandwich, and covered up some of the buttery and toasted flavor, but I’ll definitely be grabbing a couple of packets the next time I order nuggets.

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich 4

I’m not ready to give up chicken biscuits completely, but the Egg White Grill provides a nice transition for trying to live out this whole moderation thing. Of course, that moderation thing could completely go out the window should Chick-fil-A decide to introduce chicken and waffles, but at this rate, I probably have a six-year cushion before that happens.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3.0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 970 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 25 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.35
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Chick-fil-A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A healthy breakfast sandwich that actually tastes desirable. Juicy grilled chicken breast and buttery egg whites provide plenty of protein. Melty cheese and perfectly toasted English muffin.
Cons: Not quite the life-changing experience of a chicken biscuit. Lacks a crunchy element like bacon or breaded chicken. Could use some more sweetness. Decreasing metabolism.

REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Frosted Coffee

Chick-fil-A Frosted Coffee

If there’s a third rail of fast food menu boards — a single item deemed too risky to sell consistently — it might just be coffee flavored milkshakes.

Think about it: you can get a green minty Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s, a Dr Pepper-flavored shake at Burger King, and about seven billion milkshake flavors at Sonic, but none of them coffee.

You can get frappes and frozen lattes and all sorts of sugary, cold coffee “drinks” at most chains, but with the exception of a few outliers in which coffee is really just a supporting flavor — like Arby’s Jamocha Shake and Wendy’s discontinued Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty — coffee remains untouched when trending closer to the shake side of menus.

Why coffee-flavored shakes are so underrepresented has got to be among the greatest mysteries of all time, especially since 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee a day.” What the hell, fast food companies? Do you not want to sell milkshakes or what?

Chick-fil-A’s new Frosted Coffee is not quite a milkshake, but it’s damn near close. And it’s damn near delicious.

If you’re a coffee snob but have never had Chick-fil-A’s iced coffee before, you’re missing out. Not quite as bitter as Starbucks, but much more sophisticated and full-bodied than McDonald’s, it could definitely pass for an independent coffee shop’s brew. Well, at least it could pass for better than fast food coffee. That flavor is apparent as soon as you take a sip of the Frosted Coffee. It has a robust-but-not-really dark flavor that conjures up images of happy farmers in some Latin America country.

Not that into coffee? Great, neither am I, which is why I’m happy to report a milkshakes worth of Chick-fil-A soft-serve Icedream goes a long way into making this much more a dessert than a breakfast. The combined flavor is a good deal lighter and refreshing than just the coffee itself. And combined with the rich milky notes and sweetness, the shake-drink-frappe hybrid might as well just text the family of the late Dave Thomas and be like, “What’s up, Wendy? We made a better coffee Frosty than you ever did.”

Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Coffee is awesome, but it would be even more so if it got the full milkshake treatment and was a bit thicker and came with whipped cream (but not a cherry, because, you know, coffee and cherry sounds gross).

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While it’s thick enough to eat with a spoon, annoying little pools of coffee crop up as you make your way down in the container, which makes me think that some kind of additional thickener wouldn’t kill the purity of the experience. The flavor is definitely there; now they just gotta up the texture a bit and you have a fast food dessert item that at least two-thirds of us caffeine-dependent Americans want.

Why don’t more fast food companies hit the ground running with coffee-flavored milkshakes? I don’t know. Most have already taken the first step with Frappuccino-like beverage, and Chick-fil-A has added a much needed leap by adding ice cream. Here’s to hoping it sticks around well into summer.

(Nutrition Facts – small – 240 calories from fat, 55 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 38 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, 25% DV calcium..)

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: Small
Purchased at: Chick-fil-A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Sophisticated and full-bodied coffee flavor in the guise of a milkshake. Smooth, creamy, sweet soft serve balances the coffee’s flavor perfectly. Not watered down with any syrups or off flavors. Milkshake-like appeal at only 240 calories.
Cons: ould be richer and more indulgent. Begs for whipped cream. Fair-trade farming propaganda.

REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Diet Frosted Lemonade

Chick-fil-A Diet Frosted Lemonade

Somewhere right now there is a Buzzfeed writer pondering potential candidates for a completely arbitrary list of the Top Ten Secret Menu Fast Dessert mashups. Between rethinking his or her seventh place entry of a Chili Cheese Tater Tot Milkshake from Sonic, and committing to the fourth place finisher of an Bacon Apple Pie McGriddle (note: someone make this happen), she realizes all the actual good combinations have already gone mainstream.

Case in point: Chick-fil-A’s new Frosted Lemonade.

Don’t let the “new” signs fool you. Veteran Chick-fil-A eaters like me have long known of its existence. Have I ever tried the formerly secret menu item before? Well no, but that’s because I do my most intrepid fast food eating on Sundays, and yea…

Anyways, the combination of soft serve Ice Dream and Chick-fil-A’s fresh-squeezed lemonade has always been something your friend’s cousin’s roommate’s sister made for herself when she worked there, but heretofore has never gotten official recognition. That’s a damn shame if you ask me, because lemon is seriously one of the most underrated dessert flavors. Lemonade, Lemon Poppy Seed, Lemon Meringue; heck, even Lemonheads. You get the point, and so apparently does Chick-fil-A.

I was a little worried at first that the Frosted Lemonade would be more drink than ice cream, but that turns out to not be the case. There’s still plenty of bright, citrusy, and sweet lemonade flavor to love, but unlike popular frozen lemon desserts like lemon Italian Ice or even those thick frozen lemonades you sometimes find at baseball stadiums, the Frosted Lemonade has a distinct dairy flavor and milkshake texture. The first few sips came with some effort, and while not quite as thick as a real ice cream milkshake (like the excellent ones from Sonic) it comes close to the thickness of Chick-fil-A’s milkshakes.

Similarly, any fears of a saccharine or cloying artificial sweetener aftertaste in my Diet version of the frozen lemonade were quickly dismissed (although not quickly enough to lead to a brain freeze), with my tastebuds registering only a clean and altogether lemony flavor. I’m not sure if this is more due to the three ingredients in the Diet version (water, lemon juice, Splenda) or the sweetness of the soft serve ice cream, but you would have been hard pressed to convince me it was a diet version of anything had I not ordered it.

Chick-fil-A Diet Frosted Lemonade 2

The soft serve, which I’ve always found thicker and more authentic in dairy flavor than most fast food soft serve (oh, the irony) cuts whatever tartness the lemonade has, and rounds out the flavor to something altogether pleasant and mellow, with just enough richness to remind yourself that you’re drinking something on the dessert menu.

Some old fogies and lemonade traditionalists may scoff at this lack of zing and pulp in the lemon flavor, but the last thing I want stuck in my ice cream is pulp from a lemon. If I have one complaint it’s that the Frosted Lemonade could have been richer and creamier. With bottles of whipped cream in store, I’m sure your friend’s cousin’s roommate’s sister topped a Frosted Lemonade with the stuff. Who knows? Maybe the Frosted Whipped Cream Lemonade will be the next dessert addition to the Chick-fil-A menu. One can always hope.

(Nutrition Facts – 260 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 39 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and 25% calcium.)

Item: Chick-fil-A Diet Frosted Lemonade
Purchased Price: $2.75
Size: 16 oz.
Purchased at: Chick-fil-A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Bright and sweet lemony flavor. Not sour at all, nor cloying nor artificial. Milkshake-like texture without the heaviness. Hints of dairy richness.
Cons: Pulp fans will be unimpressed at the lack of pulpage. A bit pricey for the size. Could use a bit more creaminess. Not having the balls to ask for whipped cream.