Monday, March 5, 2007

TBG Reviews: Carl's Jr's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Fifteen years ago, I was a fiend for fast food.

Burgers, fries and a refillable beverage were all I needed for sustenance. All the while, my metabolism handled the heavy internal lifting. These days, fast food is no longer my friend. Oh, I still nab a greasy sack of crap from time to time, but I'm at the age now where propaganda tools like Fast Food Nation and Supersize Me actually work.

Obviously, they didn't work that well, but the notion that fast food is intended to be only an occasional meal has stuck and stayed with me. Oddly enough, I remember first hearing that speech from my mother in the early '80s and now, 25 years later, I've come full circle to "acceptance".

It hasn't helped the restaurants' cause that most fast food establishments entrust food preparation and sanitary standards with kids only 10 years removed from eating their boogers. And, it also hasn't helped that my metabolism's allegorical work ethic has gone from "illegal immigrant" to "American" over those same 10 years.

But, I still have my weaknesses.

One of them is "damn fine marketing". Check out this commercial for Carl's Jr's new Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. The other is for pretty much anything edible that's preceded by "Buffalo".

Now, in the interest of alleviating any argument, I acknowledge that the only place on earth that knows anything about Buffalo wings is Buffalo, NY. In fact, I'm sure I was supposed to capitalize the "w" in wings back in the last sentence, so sue me.

Of course, I've never been to Buffalo, but they're a proud, Arctic race without much in the way of any real local accomplishments to celebrate, so let's give them their "wings". Aren't they just precious? Oh, and kudos, Buffalo, for belatedly climbing aboard the Civil Rights bandwagon.

"A colored mayor? That'll be the day." - 1985's Back to the Future and 1759-2005's Buffalo, NY

OK…with that out of the way, let's get to the sammich.

For those of you who don't know, Carl's Jr. is "Hardee's" pretty much anywhere else in the other three time zones. If that doesn't help, think of them as "Burger King Lite": charbroiled burgers, but with leanings to more gimmicky grub like their Philly Cheesesteak Burger and Pastrami Burger (a hamburger with Steak-Umms and pastrami on top, respectively).

And, for $3.29, Carl's serves up a heavy hunk of hen that's drenched in Frank's RedHot sauce. Consequently, the chicken breading is predictably mushy, but still full of the flavor of Frank. One thing that I will agree with those sanctimonious Buffaloans on is that blue cheese dressing is what one eats with wings. But, here, the perfect amount of ranch dressing works surprisingly well. I've had two of these in the past week and both times the amount wasn't enough to overwhelm the meat, yet still kept the contents from tasting too dry. Lettuce, tomato and red onion finish off the top of the filet.

Even considering the "fast food fare" grading curve, this is a good-ass sammich. It maintains its texture from beginning to end, without morphing into an inedible mess of soggy bread and meat like pretty much anything on Wendy's menu. Carl's Jr. still needs to work on their off-tasting, overly-chewy buns, but after two decades of choking them down, I'm used to them.

It's rare that a new menu item breaks my "Only order what I like/Only order what I know" rotation, but for now I'll need someone to tell the JalapeƱo burger to go wait in the car.

I've got a new bitch, now.


ron mexico said...

The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich ought to reverse the curse of your illness.

And thanks for describing goodness that will never be available said 3 time zones away.

that mexican guy said...

That jalapeno burger is pure gasoline. A burger with sliced jalapenos, then topped with fried jalapenos is like napalm on a bun.

"Tastes like...burning!"