REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Frosted Sunrise

Chick fil A Frosted Sunrise

Orange you glad Chick-fil-A parlayed their popular Frosted Coffee and Frosted Lemonade formula into orange sherbet form?

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Actually, while the concept of the new Frosted Sunrise (a combination of Chick-fil-A’s soft-serve Icedream and Simply Orange orange juice) follows the same premise of the chain’s existing drink/soft-serve mashups, the marketing plan appears totally different.

Take, for example, the listing of the Frosted Sunrise under the “drink” section of Chick-fil-A’s menu and not the “Treat” section. Even the name, Frosted Sunrise, conjures up images of a 100 percent of your daily vitamin C and lasting energy to embrace your eight hours of sedentary office work.

In a word: wholesome.

And, as it happens, the Frosted Sunrise does taste more wholesome, which is exactly the last thing I want in my orange-flavored frozen dairy drinks.

Perennial child of the 90s I am, I just can’t get Orange Flintstones Push-Up treats out of my head. Together with orange sherbet, this tag-team of artificial citrus formed approximately 71 percent of my dessert intake from the ages of 7-10.

That’s not to say I don’t love me a good Florida orange (or a clementine for that matter). But when it comes to combining oranges with cream, there’s a certain level of socially-engrained flavor balance that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Sunrise skews too far toward the fresh-squeezed orange, creating a clashing matchup of full-bodied and slightly bitter orange with a weak soft-serve flavor.

Overwhelmed by this cognitive dissonance, I trudged on. As I slurped more and more sunrise (note: save that phrase for a future poem) I noticed the flavors being a bit evener. The initial strong natural orange flavor, which in this application was not exactly optimal, quickly dissipated to the point where the milky sweetness of the Icedream became the guiding flavor.

Chick fil A Frosted Sunrise 2

Childhood sherbet equilibrium obtained, I was content (I also had a brain freeze, although I take full responsibility for that). Still, the fact that the flavor shifted so dramatically struck me as problematic, especially when Chick-fil-A’s Icedream lacks the rich milkfat to tame the initial heavy citrus bursts.

Overall, Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Sunrise does a lot of good things and has elements that will please both natural orange enthusiasts and artificial orange nostalgics like me. However, in doing so, it fails to leave both completely satisfied throughout, making it less enjoyable than Chick-fil-A’s Frosted Coffee and Frosted Lemonade.

(Nutrition Facts – Small – 320 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of sat fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 135 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of sugar, 7 grams of protein, 25% calcium, and 60% Vitamin C.)

Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Strong orange sherbet finish. Healthier breakfast alternative to a milkshake (which technically you can get at breakfast but…) Clean, strong refreshing flavor.
Cons: Natural orange flavor clashes and overwhelms the dairy for half of the drink. Slight bitterness can be off-putting. Not enough richness in the dairy. Inconsistent flavor.

REVIEW: 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).

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 Fish Sandwich

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.