Monday, April 16, 2007

TBG Reviews: Wendy's 4-Alarm Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I haven't been to Wendy's in almost 10 years. Growing up, they were the (distant) third burger place, behind McDonald's and Burger King. And, I'll be honest, Wendy's square patties, baked potatoes and piping hot chili frightened me, but not nearly as much as their Mrs. Hans Moleman endorsement in the '80s.

Wendy's had no McDonald Land characters and they didn't do the cool movie tie-ins like Burger King's cholesterol-synergy with the original Star Wars movies. Consequently, in my mind, they weren't "kid friendly" and this is something I've held against them ever since.

Plus, my more recent memories of Wendy's haven't been pleasant.

My wife, Mrs. Bootleg, used to favor one of Wendy's more popular menu items: the regular spicy chicken sandwich. Fast food fiends know the routine…deep fried chicken breast, lettuce, tomato and mayo. That's pretty much "Chicken Sandwich 101" in the industry. Except Mrs. Bootleg ruins it all by putting ketchup on top.

Ketchup…on fried chicken.

Y'all know how much I hate hyperbole, so I'll stop short, catch my breath and think before I speak.

This is blasphemy. It sickens me. Rotoworld reports that the Blacks are ready to put my wife on irrevocable waivers, which would make her eligible for Dave Chappelle's Supplemental Racial Draft.

Then, sometime in the late '90s, I had the single worst burger in my life at Wendy's. Now, know that I'm the least picky eater that most of you will never meet. Brussels sprouts and that slimy, canned fruit pie filling are the only two things that I won't eat. Everything else? I'm eatin' it.

From anchovies to artichoke hearts to all the foods that start with the letter Q. (On a related note, it's been 15 years and I've still never heard one good reason why White Men Can't Jump included that whole "Gloria gets on Jeopardy" side story. The whole sequence nearly ruins the movie worse than the dated hair, the dated clothes or the retroactive hilarity of the words "Starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson".)

Anyways, on that day, I ordered a burger that tasted of foot and ass. It took two bites for the bile on the bun to meet the bile from the back of my throat.

But, I'm always willing to forgive and forget. With the creatively titled "4-Alarm Spicy Chicken Sandwich", I figured I'd give the little red-headed girl another chance for me to eat her out eat out with her.

The sandwich comes on dry, crusty ciabatta bread. We're not off to a good start here, girl. This is the kind of bread that would normally be served lukewarm in a pretentious basket and covered with a checkered cloth at your friendly neighborhood ersatz steakhouse.

A weird orange-colored sauce is lightly drizzled on said bread. Wendy's calls it "chipotle spread" which, to my tongue, is Spanish for "mayonnaise mixed with cayenne pepper". Apparently, it's bought in bulk, as Burger King has an almost identical ooze that they call "onion ring sauce". Wendy's finishes the fillet with sliced jalapeños and processed pepper jack cheese.

Now, over the years, I've had to dial down the spice in some of my favorite foods. A few years ago, a plate of Hooters' "Three Mile Island" wings nearly torched my innards as my, uh, "back door" was basically burned to the ground. Thai food is another favorite of mine. Now, when asked how spicy I want it, I've dropped from the "7 to 8" echelon down to asking, "How much forehead sweat will I get from a 3?"

Wendy's 4-Alarm sandwich isn't at all spicy, kids. It's an average, unspectacular lunch that carries all the "heat" as an order of ballpark nachos. And, at $7.50 for a side of fries and a drink, you'd be better served to hit up Hardee's or Carl's Jr. for their Jalapeño Burger, which comes with a hotter spread, fresher sliced peppers and fried jalapeños on top.

It singes the nostrils.


Joe R. said...

You leave Clara Peller alone! She's a national treasure!

Also, Gloria goes on Jeopardy is one of my favorite sequences from White Men Can't Jump. "Food that start with the letter Q" is a cultural signpost for a reason, you know. Yeah, yeah, I know. Now I'll never be an honorary black guy.

dave (not thomas) said...

Wendy's is pretty foul, Cam, but the fact that you can get four chicken nuggets an order of biggie (RIP) fries and a chocolate frosty for about $3.25 makes them ok for my broke ass.

furious george said...

I remember reading a case study on how Wendy's was one of the first fast food restaurants to actively target the 55 and up demographic. I'm paraphrasing, but the whole thing boiled down to Wendy's being a "safe" environment for seniors to enjoy a late afternoon dinner, while I assume McD's and BK were overrun with scary teenagers at that time of the day. The moral? Old white people are suckers.

that mexican guy said...

How is it that everytime I see you, you've got your head buried in a plastic sack from Taco Bell, yet we haven't gotten a review on anything from their menu? You've called their 99 cent menu the best value on earth (not a direct quote) and I think we all want to know…which chalupa do you prefer?

wendy mexico said...

Don't sleep on Wendy's. The chicken sandwiches there (even the non-spicy) are better than any you'll find at the other two. And yes, if you're under 60 and go you likely will intimidate all the seniors trying to get 20 cents off of a small soda and plain hamburger with no fixins' right out of their awkwardly pushed together tables. And you can get a double hit because you're black.

I think Dave Thomas would be proud.

I also enjoy filling 7 little paper containers from the giant tub of ketchup.

Anonymous said...

Disagree, Wendy Mex. I'll put BK's spicy tendercrisp up against anything on the Wendy's menu. Plus i can get it with cheese and bacon. Game over.

wendy mexico said...

I'll raise you your BK tendercrisp but also warn can get cheese and bacon on a Wendy's chicken sandwich, too, and likely for free since that will confuse the hell out of them and they'll have to get a manager to override the cash register..

You just have to axe.