Saturday, September 10, 2016

Arby's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Arby's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich: 

Arby's has a buffalo chicken sandwich and I have a quest to find the best spicy chicken sandwich in the world. [1]  Thus there was nothing I could do except head out to the land of America's Roast Beef [2] and not order roast beef.

When I was young, McDonald's had a McChicken Sandwich that I loved. [3]  This was before they offered Chicken McNuggets. [4]  The patty on the sandwich was coated in the same goodness that the McNugget would later get.  In fact if you took the McNugget that is generally round shaped [5] and increased its size and thickness proportionately until it was bun sized you would pretty much have it exactly.  You had to be very careful when you ate it because if it had just come out of the fryer [6] you were very likely to burn the ever-lovin' out of your tongue or to scald off the roof of your mouth. [7]

Though Arby's chicken sandwiches [8] as shown on the posters in the store look all bumpy and textured so as to make you think they might have actually come straight off some chicken's breast, the one I got was as flat as a pancake and bore a more than striking resemblance to that old McChicken patty.

Somewhere behind the counter they must have a vat of buffalo sauce and when you order the sandwich they much drop your selection in said vat and let it swim around for a minute or two. Which is just a really wordy way of saying that the patty on my sandwich was drenched and dripping in buffalo sauce.  Something, that when I initially saw it, I thought was a good thing.

The bun was different than Arby's usual bun, but if there was a taste difference to it, I couldn't tell you about it. [9]  There was also the obligatory smattering of shredded lettuce and some kind of white sauce.  The website says it is: "Parmesan Peppercorn Ranch Sauce".  I do remember there being one bite where for the briefest of moments I tasted something other than buffalo sauce, but the memory, like the flavor, is fleeting.

Honestly the whole thing tasted just fine.  It wasn't that spicy, but if you like buffalo sauce [10] this sandwich has it in spades.  Which is really where the problem lies.

My original intention was to eat the sandwich as I drove to my next destination.  I had purchased my food inside [11] and I'd opened the carton on my lap in preparation of heading on.  I was preparing to take my first bite before putting the car in reverse when the literal slipperiness of the situation became evident.

Remember, we have a flat as a pancake chicken patty slathered in an ocean of buffalo sauce with only a few shreds of lettuce and tiny dollop of white sauce to slow it down. [12]

In one bite my hand's (both of 'em) were covered in sauce.  That's because you have to use both hands to keep the patty from escaping the bun.  Take one hand off to get a napkin and that sucker is out of there like a greased pig flinging lettuce shreds as it moves. [13]

When I finished, there was enough sauce in the carton that I could have covered my potato cakes in them as well. [14]  It took two napkins and two baby wipes to get my hands close to clean.

This is not a sandwich to be eaten in a moving vehicle.

In the end it's too messy and not spicy enough for me to ever care to order it again.  [15]

Arby's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich: B-

[1] - You can read about it here.
[2] - Yes, Sir!
[3] - Yes, I know that they still have a McChicken sandwich, but the thing has gone through so many incarnations and reinventions that they are probably on the McChicken Mark XXII at this point.
[4] - There's a story that goes with this, but while this is the place, this isn't the time.
[5] - You were aware that all McNuggets come in one of three shapes weren't you?
[6] - Oh yes, it was cooked in the same grease as the french fries.  I told you it was good, didn't I?
[7] - You might be wondering what all this has to do with Arby's.  I'll get there.  I promise.
[8] - See, told you I'd get there.
[9] -  A lake of buffalo sauce defeats the subtle nuances of bread variations.
[10] - And if you don't, then why in the world did you order this sandwich?
[11] - The line at the drive through was ridiculously long.  Also the planet appreciates it when you turn the car off instead of idling.
[12] - I've never seen a buffalo sauce Slip 'n Slide, but I'm pretty sure I know exactly what it would look like.
[13] - This analogy has gotten a bit weird.
[14] - If I hadn't already eaten them first.  What? Did you think I was a savage?
[15] - Chick-Fil-A's Spicy Chicken Sandwich still reigns supreme.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts

Frosted Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts:

Several months ago I happened to be surfing around the Interwebs and I came across a page talking about the next year's upcoming new Pop-Tart flavors.  Though I haven't mentioned it much, I eat quite a lot of Pop-Tarts [1]   Needless to say, I was quite excited.

Amongst the new flavors was the subject of this blog: Frosted Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts.

I was immediately both completely intrigued and terrified.   This had the potential to be something mind-blowingly delicious or completely disgusting.

I couldn't wait to try them.

Fast forward through the holiday season [2] and into the new year and much to my joy and chagrin there they were on the shelf at my local Publix.  I immediately snatched up a box with glee.

When I showed them to the Pook, she declared without hesitation that it sounded disgusting and that she would not be trying them.  The Bear and the Bean both declined any future tastings as well.

At this point my expectations were running a bit high.  I wanted this to either be the most amazing or most disgusting thing I'd eaten in forever. [3]

If they were going to be good, I imagined them tasting mostly like maple candy.  A strong, sweet syrupy taste that would be delightful and in the background, not too strong, but strong enough not to be missed, would be a smoky bacon flavor.

If they were going to be bad, it would make me want to vomit.

Either way would have been fine with me.

A few days later on Monday morning, I was driving to work with the package on the seat beside me ready to be consumed. [4]

The minute you open a pack your immediate area is completely filled with the overpowering smell of maple.  Okay, to be more specific I should say the overpowering smell of fake maple scent.  But it smelled good!  My stomach growled in excitement.  My brain gave up its last reservation and got on board.

I pulled a tart from the pouch and took a bite.

Sadly the strong fake maple scent is as close to anything maple that these breakfast treats [5] have to offer.

It's hard to say exacctly what they taste like.  They're a bit like a cookie, but not really a sweet cookie.  Nevertheless they also taste a bit like sugar, but not that sugary.  Sort of cake-y but not.  They're kind of like those cookies your grandmother used to give you that when you were done eating left you thinking, "Why did I bother?"

Which is to say that the initial flavor of the Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts didn't offend me, but they didn't excite me either.  The first flavor was completely and totally, 'meh'.

But then once you've swallowed and the food is out of your mouth, the second wave of FAKE BACON FLAVOR comes crashing onto your pallet. [6]

Imagine a bottle of stale Bacos.

Now imagine it being worse than that.

Now take it two steps further.

You're just about there.

The first problem here is that this is not a flavor that goes with breakfast.

The second problem is that it tastes bad.

Okay.  You're right.  The first problem is the bad taste.  It's all moot from there.

And then after a few seconds, that flavor is gone too and you're left with an empty mouth, an empty heart and most of the rest of a Maple Bacon Pop-Tart to choke down.

After a few more experimental nibbles, I discovered that if you just ate the thing continuously without stop, you never give the FAKE BACON FLAVOR a chance to come crashing down on you.  That is, until you finish the pop-tart and then all of it comes hammering on your brain in an ultra-concentrated wave of BAD.

Deciding only half a breakfast was better than continuing on, I declined to eat the second tart in the pouch.

A few days later I gave away the rest of the box to a bunch of teenagers.  They mostly agreed with me.

Maple Bacon Pop-Tarts: D+

[1] - Don't judge me.
[2] - Gingerbread Pop-Tarts ftw
[3] - Possibly since those Mussels.
[4] - I had to wait for Monday.  Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for cereal!
[5] - Maybe calling it a "treat" is going a bit too far.
[6] - The ALL CAPS is intentional.  Because that's how this flavor is.  It's in all-caps as it demands your attention.