Current Weight: 167.0 lbs.
For the sake of argument, can we agree that every disappointment in life can be neatly filed into one of three categories?
The most soul-crushing of these is the "recurring disappointment" – the ones that might haunt you, off and on, for the rest of your life. For example, as most of you know, I went to San Diego State University. I had a great time in college as I met the future Mrs. Bootleg, discovered beers other than Bud Ice and attended parties at one of the top party schools on the planet.
As I type this, though, my college diploma sits less than a foot away from me at the bottom of a drawer – a fittingly symbolic location considering that my degree in marketing bought me a seven-week post-college career cold-calling businesses for a data warehouse firm. I've worked inside the rigid world of contracts in the dozen years since then. My mid-90s dreams of creative thinking and outside-the-box problem solving have been neutered, domesticated and confined to a cubicle.
Significantly less dramatic are the "disappointments of the moment". Way back when record stores were still around, the release of a new album was a really big deal. In all the years I've known Mrs. Bootleg, her and I have been equally excited about just TWO albums: Snoop Dogg's 1996 release Tha Doggfather and 50 Cent's 2003 debut Get Rich or Die Trying.
The two of us loathed Snoop's mumbling Mafioso flow (to say nothing of DJ Pooh's rushed, rudimentary beats) and Mrs. Bootleg never forgave him – save for 1999's "B*tch Please" single. As for Get Rich…, I suspected my wife would jump ship when she discovered that every song wasn't "In Da Club". Meanwhile, I lamented the album-length absence of any of the wit and creativity that was in 50's four-minute underground classic "How to Rob". A short while later, we were over it.
Finally, there are the "pretend disappointments". My son Jalen has several unique skills. He knows the jersey numbers of every player on the Opening Day lineup of the 2010 Oakland A's. He knows how to work the television, the DVR and the DVD player. And, he can rip off a five-second fart almost on command.
Think about that. 1…2…3…4…5. Who else under the age of 80 can pass that five-second threshold? I'd seriously love to show him off, but when Old Lady Bootleg is around, I have to play "strict disciplinarian" and act like his ass isn't one of his most awesome qualities.
So, where will KFC's new Double Down sandwich fall on the disappointment-o-meter?
Sure, on the surface, it sounds like the greatest menu item in the 80 years since Colonel Harland Sanders first
"This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel's Sauce."
It's a sandwich so enormous that there's no room for bread! But, bigger isn't always better. I'm still trying to identify the assortment of animal entrails that went into the awful 14-inch corn dog I ordered at the San Diego Fair a few years ago. More recently, there was the rubbery gray-meat mess called the Baconator.
Still, I left work early on Monday simply because my time to surrender to unfounded, unbridled hype grows shorter with each asthmatic breath I take (without the aid of my inhaler).
I pulled up to KFC with good gastronomic intentions – JUST the Double Down sandwich. No sides, no soda. But, I'm a sucker for almost any up-sell and the child behind the counter out-negotiated the contract negotiator with an airtight position:
"You know you want the combo!"
She's right, I did!
Visually, the Double Down is picture-perfect. It's on the ridiculously short list of fast food menu items that look just like its ad copy when served. The blending of scents from the seasoned, breaded chicken and the bacon and the sauce had me almost ready to believe that this sandwich could live up to my lofty expectations. But, I wasn't going to be so easily won over.
Then, I took a bite.
Thick, but not overly dense. Meaty, but not overwhelming for my mouth. The ubiquitous KFC flavor retains its gloriously guilty pleasure salt n' pepper taste. The bacon, cheese and Colonel's sauce starts off strong, but begins retreating into the background after the first few bites. Halfway through, their subtle(!) notes lent the chicken a smoky, peppery kick that brought the Double Down across the finish line and into "5 out of 5" territory.
By the time I finished my sandwich, however, the chicken had managed to overpower the other ingredients. I could still taste what was inside the sandwich, but not before the outside had completed several brief takeovers of my tongue.
I've gone back and forth on whether to drop a half-point from the Double Down's score because of this, but even if I did, I'd just give it right back for the balls-out gall it took to bring this mouth-watering monstrosity to an increasingly health-conscious country.
Thank you, KFC. Thank you.
Grade: 5 (out of 5) Calories: 540 Fat: 32g Sodium: 1,380mg