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REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Chick-fil-A’s New Grilled Chicken

Written by | April 15, 2014

Topics: 9 Rating, Chick-fil-A, Fast Food

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich

The way I see it we can start this one of two ways. The first is periphrastic, if not predictable. I tell you some sad story about how urban life deprived me of backyard cookouts as a child (a lie), or maybe I opine with a completely unnecessary (but eloquently articulated) treatise on how grilled chicken is the bastard stepchild of the fast food community and should never be ordered when a deep fried and crispy counterpart is available.

Or I could just cut the bullshit and tell you that Chick-fil-A’s new Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich is one of the best grilled chicken sandwich I’ve ever have.

Yes, ever, and certainly the best rendition from a fast food or quick service restaurant. And no, that’s not an indictment of my own grilling ability, nor should it be confused with a history of rarely ordering grilled chicken sandwiches. Simply put, the new and improved marinade, combined with the preparation on what’s being labeled a “proprietary grill,” yields a flavor and texture that’s unlike the boring and prefabricated “grilled” chicken breasts served half-assed by other fast food restaurants.

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich Sauces

I was skeptical at first. Opportunity cost and its ever-present threat of regret make ordering anything but the classic Chick-fil-A sandwich virtually impossible for me, while a natural prejudice against fast food items above the five dollar mark made me initially question my decision. Still, with a full court press campaign touting what a game-changing sandwich this is, I figured it couldn’t hurt to go grilled over crispy at least once. If nothing else, it would give me an excuse to replenish my precariously low stash of Chick-fil-A sauces.

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich Grill Marks

Let’s just say I was more than pleasantly surprised. Actually, I was blown away, and plan to come back for more. The chicken breast itself is head and shoulders above what most fast food restaurants dole out. Unlike the “chicken breast filet with rib meat” patties at places like McDonald’s, the Chick-fil-A breast retains its natural shape, and doesn’t have any off flavors from injected sodium filler used to plump it up. Instead, the marinade and the grill contribute the main flavors. It’s got a nice apple cider vinegar tang and lemon zing while still having a really herby element and a touch of sweetness. The grill flavor is pronounced and authentic—I kid you not, had you blindfolded me and thrown a Frisbee at my head, I would have sworn I was at a backyard cookout (I would have also chucked the Frisbee back at your head, sicko.) Finally, it’s beyond juicy. Succulent sounds about right to me.

Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich Bacon

The rest of the fixings really push the sandwich over the top and help validate the $5.36 price tag. Unlike most club sandwiches, it divorces the usual swiss cheese in favor of Colby-Jack. I think it’s a good move because it has a richer, more milky-sweet taste than domestic slices of “swiss cheese,” although for the full flavor to come into effect, it’s best to let the cheese steam while in the container. The bacon has an enjoyable smoke flavor that really helps bolster the taste of the cheese and chicken, but it’s middle of pack texturally speaking now that McDonald’s has upgraded to thicker slices. Still, the produce is fresh if not a bit excessive, while the bun, which might just boast every whole grain on the planet, has a pleasant give and complex flavor. It’s not cloying like all these newfangled “brioche” style buns or dense like the old Chick-fil-A wheat buns, and instead tastes solidly of toasted grains without tasting too healthy.

Finally, the removal of pickles (which appeared on the old Grilled Chicken sandwich) does wonders, getting rid of any last vestment of “canned” flavor and producing something unabashedly fresh in every sense of the word. It was so enjoyable that, after taking several bites and being greeted by the symphonic flavors and textures, I completely forgot about the seven separate sauces I was provided with for, uh, “testing” purposes.

Look, I get it. It’s a grilled chicken sandwich, and not something 90 percent of us who eat fast food regularly are going to get excited about. Having subjected myself to grilled chicken sandwiches from the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s in semi-regular spats of misguided healthy-eating, I really can’t fault you for having low expectations. But this sandwich is different. It really is a game-changer, and looks and feels every part of a perfectly cooked grilled chicken sandwich you’d expect to pay at least eight or nine bucks for at a full service restaurant. I’m no branding expert, and I definitely don’t plan on getting into bovine linguistics, but with a club sandwich this good, the cows might want to change their slogan to “eat more grilled chicken*.

*translated, roughly, from “moooo.”

(Nutrition Facts – 440 calories, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1090 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 38 grams of protein, 25% DV calcium.).)

Item: Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
Purchased Price: $5.36
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Chick-fil-A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Unbelievably succulent chicken breast with amazing chargrilled flavor. Lemon, herb, and garlic marinade completely permeates the meat. No rib meat slime or “butter oil” flavor. Colby-Jack cheese has milky-sweet notes. Bacon has good smoke flavor, produce is fresh and clean, and bun is exceptional. No extra charge for ridiculous sauce requests.
Cons: Cheese flavor is better once warmed and slightly melted, so better to get to-go. Bacon could be thicker and more assertive. Size of the lettuce leaf makes it awkward to eat.

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REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich

Written by | March 12, 2014

Topics: 6 Rating, Chick-fil-A, Fast Food

Chick-Fil-A Fish Sandwich

Icelandic. Wild Alaskan caught. Sustainable. North Pacific Cod. Panko breaded. Housemade tartar sauce.

Really people? We do this every year. You’d think by now we’d just call an apple an apple, and admit that we’ve all got a serious infatuation with the idea of an oversized fish stick.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic. It doesn’t matter if you even like fish. There’s just something about the platonic ideal of a breaded and deep fried fish sandwich this time each spring never-ending winter that inexplicably leads us to gravitate away from burgers and chicken fingers and to the Lenten specialty.

Throw out all the foodieism buzz words and environmental catch phrases you want; heck, even adorn the damn thing with a half-slice of unmelted processed cheese product and call it unique, but no form of MBA level marketing is going to detract from the simple fact that if they’re selling something which once had a flipper and gills, we’re buying it.

Personally, I’m just as guilty of getting caught up in the hype as everyone else. This year is no exception. Actually, it’s probably worse than ever. That’s because my favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-A, decided to release a limited time-only fish sandwich.

Extra pickles? Why yes, please.

There’s something special about a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. From the slight tang of the pickles to the buttered bun to the succulent sweetness of the pressure cooked and hand-breaded chicken breast in peanut oil, there may be no simpler, nor tasty, burger alternative in the fast food world. That the chain has developed iconic sauces for any fancy (be they sweet, tangy, hot, or salty) doesn’t hurt, and neither does the signature spice blend in the breading. Surely, I thought, if any chain could perfect another fried food and raise the humble yet glorified fish stick to delectable prominence, it would be Chick-fil-A.

Chick-Fil-A Fish Sandwich Breading

Chick-Fil-A Fish White

Texturally, the fish was everything one could ask for in a fish sandwich. The breading on the two small pieces was light and slightly crispy, thankfully devoid of any excess oil or grease. The inside was flaky and white, with no hollow or blackened spots from spending too long in the fryer. In a word, it was fried perfectly—a rare feat for any fast food fish item.

Chick-Fil-A Fish Sandwich Tartar Sauce

But it was plain, as I suppose all fish sandwiches have a tendency to be, and left something to be desired. Maybe it was the afterthought packet of cafeteria-style tartar sauce with an overly-viscous nature and AWOL lemony-herb flavor. Or perhaps it was the container of the fish itself, which, unlike the classic Chick-fil-A sandwich, doesn’t come in one of the specially designed bags that steams the bun while also preserving the juicy breast.

But whatever it was, I found the fish sandwich to be remarkably unremarkable when eaten both plain and with the tartar sauce. Mostly, I found myself missing that oddly placed half slice of cheese McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish is so well known for, and missing the bolder spice blend and peanut oil flavor that makes regular Chick-fil-A sandwiches so irresistible.

Chick-Fil-A Fish Sandwich 2

That said, there’s nothing wrong with the sandwich itself, which unto itself is a victory as far as fast food fish sandwiches go. While the two small pieces of fish make it slightly awkward to eat, the tartar sauce packet does give the sandwich a bit of tangy sweetness (overly runny nature notwithstanding.) But for a chain that is well renowned for its sauces, the tartar sauce feels like a last-minute cop-out. If you’re like me, you might be so inclined to even go back for a different sauce. I recommend the Polynesian Sauce for a sweet and sour Asian flair, or even the Honey Roasted BBQ.

At the end of the day, Chick-fil-A’s fish sandwich harkens to the platonic ideal of the fish sandwich—while still providing that annual reminder for why you don’t eat fish sandwiches all year long. In other words, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the trademark cows parachuting into stadiums with signs saying “Eat More Cod.”

Slightly crispy, none-too-oily, and fried perfectly, it nevertheless misses the “it” factors McDonald’s has going with its Filet-O-Fish, and disappoints with a low-grade packet of tartar sauce that will make your high school cafeteria’s seem “housemade.” Still, in a fast food sea of pretentious fish sandwiches that range from burnt to dry to more oily than the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Chick-fil-A’s version ranks among the top half in the industry, and a worthy catch for those seeking fast food fish sandwiches.

(Nutrition Facts – 400 calories. Full nutrition info not available.)

Item: Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.09
Size: 1 sandwich
Purchased at: Chick-Fil-A (Select Locations for Limited Time Only)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Flaky, tender fish. Not overly greasy or oily. Lightly breaded exterior. Fresh bun. Pickles provide good tang. No limit to sauce requests.
Cons: Not as good as McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. Excessively plain in terms of flavor. Could have a crisper breading. Tartar sauce given as an afterthought, and overly viscous in texture. On the smaller side. Slightly awkward to eat. A complete overuse of fish puns.

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WEEK IN REVIEWS – 8/6/2011

Written by | August 6, 2011

Topics: Candy, Chick-fil-A, Granola, Ice Cream

Mr Happy

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we follow.

Mr. Happy has his very own candy. If they’re good, I wonder if they’ll turn me into Little Miss Sunshine? If they’re bad, I wonder if they’ll turn me into Mr. Mean? Also, is stuffing a whole bag of them into Little Miss Chatterbox’s mouth a good way to shut her up? (via Foodstuff Finds)

Technically, isn’t EVERY granola bar made up of ingredients smashed together to form a bar. (via We Rate Stuff)

Three words: Big Milky Balls. (via Japanese Snack Reviews)

Chick-fil-A has a new mulitgrain oatmeal. I’m told it doesn’t have any chicken in it. BAH! Perhaps Chick-fil-A should change its name to Chick-fil-GrAin. (via Grub Grade)

First, it was Ben & Jerry’s with their Clusterfluff (which they changed to What A Cluster). Now, Klondike has What The Fudge? Ice Cream Sandwiches. I hope Skinny Cow comes out with Suckie Suckie Fudgie Fudgie Fudge Pops. (via Freezer Burns)

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WEEK IN REVIEWS – 4/16/2011

Written by | April 16, 2011

Topics: Candy, Chick-fil-A, Japan, Snacks, Soda

banana

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we follow.

I’ve eaten bananas. I’ve sucked on many banana Slurpees. I’ve put on Banana Boat sunscreen. I’ve put a condom on a banana. I own clothes from Banana Republic. I have a 45 rpm record of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer.” But I’ve never consumed a banana soda. (via Thirsty Dudes)

It looks like two chocolate bunnies have been going at it like rabbits. (via Candyblog)

Boy Bawang sounds like a Filipino boy band or the name of an extremely young-looking Southeastern Asian male prostitute. I have no idea what “bawang” means, and the review I linked to would probably include a translation, but I’m just going to leave it to my imagination. (via Food Junk)

Chick-fil-A attempts oatmeal. I hope they attempt beef next. (via Tampa Bay Food Monster)

Frito-Lay Japan has a Heinz ketchup-flavored corn snack in a package that looks like a giant ketchup packet. I wonder if I’m going to struggle to open it using my fingers and then get so frustrated that I’m forced to use my teeth. (via Japanese Snack Reviews)

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THE DAY IN REVIEWS – 1/4/2011

Written by | January 4, 2011

Topics: Candy, Chick-fil-A, Chips, Taco Bell

DSCN1659

Here are a few product review posted today from other blogs we follow.

I guess today is Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito Review Day! Merry Diarrhea! (via Junk Food Betty, An Immovable Feast and Would I Buy It Again)

Sometime I wish Russet potatoes were never created and all French fries and potato chips were made from sweet potatoes. It would give me the option of dying either from too much saturated fat or vitamin A poisoning. (via Food Junk)

Godiva Gems Peppermint Truffles? Geez, what a great name to remind me I’m buying overpriced chocolate. (via Candyblog)

Chick-fil-A has a new Spicy Chicken Biscuit sandwich. I bet the devil would love that. (via Grub Grade)

Adding peppermint with chilis in a chocolate bar? Isn’t that like adding fuel to the fire or putting Snookie in a tanning bed after getting a spray-on tan? Someone’s going to get burned. (via Chocolate Reviews)

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