Monday, January 10, 2011
TBG Eats: The NEW Spicy Chicken Biscuit from Chick-fil-A
Current Weight: 171.2 lbs.
First, from my Twitter feed last Friday:
No work today. Had free Spicy Chicken Biscuit at Chick-fil-A & bought new craft beers. Clearing out stereotypes before Black History Month.
Over the past few weeks, I've received some very pleasant feedback about this lightly-read blog. The praise came from people I know; but these were folks who I didn't realize were reading TBG. Nothing beats that out-of-nowhere note or comment from a new reader. I've maintained an infinitesimal online writing presence since late 2002, but most of those years were spent in intentional anonymity for fear of offending friends and/or co-workers or -- worse -- that no one would "get" the jokes.
Hard to believe, but I used to be this guy.
I've long believed that the readers were the best part of this gig and thanks to acceptably-intrusive social media instruments such as Facebook and Twitter; I've been able to put TBG in front of a few more eyes. In the last six months or so, Mrs. Bootleg has even gotten in on the amateur marketing act as she's shared some of the Jalen-related posts with her closest girlfriends and turned many of them into regular readers.
And, if the readers are the best part of the TBG experience for me, the proverbial silver medal goes to all the restaurants that have included me on their press release lists and "advance sample" sheets.
About a year ago, the regional representative from a certain national fast food chain stumbled across the blog and e-mailed me certificates for free eats. Since then, I've received similar communications from a half-dozen other companies including opportunities to try new menu items before they're released to the general public.
This past Friday, Chick-fil-A held a national promotion that was very similar to the advance sample concept. Customers could "reserve" a one-hour window during breakfast hours -- via the restaurant's website -- for a free Spicy Chicken Biscuit simply by downloading a free certificate from Chick-fil-A. This item wouldn't be available to the public until the following Monday.
Most of the fast food companies that send me advance swag have equally odd chronological restrictions. Oftentimes, I have to decline the new 3,000-calorie cheeseburger simply because it can only be ordered in the early AM hours. And, willfully ingesting THAT much grease in the morning is all that keeps me from crossing over from "fast food aficionado" to "sideshow freak".
But, the Spicy Chicken Biscuit is supposed to be consumed for breakfast. That MUST mean it's good for me. From Chick-fil-A's recent press release:
The Spicy Chicken Biscuit features [Chick-fil-A's] hand-breaded boneless breast of chicken seasoned with a fiery blend of peppers and spices, pressure-cooked in 100 percent refined peanut oil and served on a made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuit.
It took almost ten minutes for my biscuit to get to me. I normally avoid any restaurant that's offering a free meal promotion and, sure enough, there was a lady at the counter who was trying to swindle six free biscuits out of one certificate. Surprisingly, the 18-year-old assistant manager failed to assuage her. But, when my meal finally arrived, it came with an effusive apology for the wait and free hash browns.
The biscuit had a crunchy "done-ness" to the top that wasn't too firm or chalky. It contrasts well -- in both texture and taste -- with the soft flakiness inside. Fast food biscuits are often either too dry or, on the other end of the spectrum, too doughy. Chick-fil-A's couldn't possibly be more perfect: dense, but delicate and substantial enough to stand on its own. It's served with a restaurant-applied smear of honey butter, too.
The chicken breast is breaded, but it's a soft coating that doesn't yield the ubiquitous hard "crunch" of fried chicken. The spices -- by fast food standards -- are surprisingly plentiful, but not at all overwhelming. They work with the mild sweet and salty notes that come from the biscuit. The chicken isn't greasy and maintains a fair amount of juiciness for white meat. Toss in the hash browns (medallion-shaped tater tots, basically) and you've got a really filling meal for even the moderate appetite.
No extra points were awarded for the "free" qualities of this meal. Really.
Grade: 5 (out of 5) 440 calories 20g fat