Lean Cuisine BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

Lean Cuisine is one of those companies that tries really, really hard to think outside of the box. It talks a big game, like guests on the Maury show with scripted roles of out-of-control teens and pregnant babymamas with fears of pickles. The packaging promises flavors that are relatively exciting and outrageous, but behind the box, they’re kind of scripted and a little boring.Take this barbecue chicken quesadilla, for example. It proclaims, like most absent fathers, to be bold and exciting and free, and full of flavors that will FUCKING BLOW YOUR MIND, like barbecued chicken and roasted corn and peppers and cheese, but like the penises of said dads, proves itself to be limp and uninteresting. The ingredients were haphazardly combined, and the meal was unsubstantial. However, one of the best elements of the entire meal was the roasted corn, which had a slight char in the small pieces I dissected and gave a smoked flavor to the sandwich.The bread was lame. There wasn’t enough meat in the quesadilla. This lack of substance recalled Maury episodes where the highlight fifteen seconds of the paternity tests are played over and over as a teaser before commercial breaks. They also use this technique on To Catch A Predator. The chicken was hyped up, and there was barely any at all. It was really more of a barbecued vegetable quesadilla, and if it was just that, I would have been satisfied, but this promised about as much as a daytime soap- bland and with a cast of characters that I would have rather put out of my mind. I won’t be turning to this again as a source of entertainment.

Written with Keepitcoming Love.

Tong Sing Chinese, Easthampton, MA

Every college student needs a roster of good Chinese restaurants in the tri-state area tattooed to their bicep, thigh, or appliqued as a tramp stamp for those late night cravings when absolutely nothing else will satisfy. It’s just perfect, hot, and cheap, and lately, Erik, Fleeper, and I have been chipping away at these restaurants at strange hours of the night and are reporting our findings amidst comas of crab rangoon, mindfucks of MSG, and chokeholds of chow mein.

Today’s restaurant was in Easthampton, close to Fleeper’s house, and is in a tiny plaza next to a dairy and liquor store. Tong Sing Chinese. We went in and ordered an appetizer, Szechuan fried wontons with pork and a spicy sesame glaze, and our entree, General Tso’s chicken.The wontons were perfect. I don’t think we spent more than two or three dollars on them, and there had to be at least six of them, enough to give each of us two, and they were quite large and stuffed with pork. They were covered with glaze and it was obvious that they were freshly made, because underneath the glaze, they were extremely crispy and the dough yielded to a poke with a fork, but didn’t mush completely. The pork filling was savory and minced well, and wasn’t chewy or sinewy. My only possible criticism was that these weren’t really “Szechuan,” because the glaze was more sweet than spicy, but it was damned tasty, and even though it didn’t deliver the heat that I expected, I was very pleased.For our entree, we had the General Tso’s chicken, which was delivered, as the wontons were, scalding hot. There is really nothing more pleasurable than a restaurant that delivers food as hot as the sun. I’m so used to lukewarm food in tepid dining halls that I’ve forgotten hot temperatures, and it’s absolutely refreshing. The pile of chicken was just crazy. And the flavor was incredible. Biting into this breading was like biting into a piece of slightly caramelized food. It was just ever so sugary, but the heat was spot on, that it had literally caramelized, and the crunch was perfect. It was also extremely hot, and I did burn myself. I burnt myself on perfect food.The breading was really light on this, and so was the glaze, and each piece, although tiny, was packed with an inordinate amount of flavor. It was so tasty. The cut of meat wasn’t the best that it could have been, and there was a little bit of gristle with some of the bites, but overall, it was a tasty dinner, and we took home a lot of leftovers. Erik and I split this plate, so this was a feat!Tong Sing also makes, for an exorbitantly low price, a homemade spicy mustard and duck sauce, which we got to eat with our chicken and wontons. Totally worth it. Incredible sauces. Rich flavor and delicious textures. It’s so rare that you find a restaurant making homemade sauces these days that you just jump on opportunities like that when you actually do.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

On a recent outing, I noticed that- gasp! There was a fast food restaurant in my immediate vicinity that I had not yet been to! Similar to my Chick-Fil-A cherry popping and my Denny’s deflowering, Massachusetts has shown me a plethora of foodstuffs that have been eating me up and down, and thus, it was settled between myself, Erik, and our friend Fleeper one night that we would deign our latest adventure the Red Robin ravishing.

Red Robin is an extremely popular joint. I wasn’t surprised, but I was surprised when I was told, the first time Erik and I tried to go, that there was a 45 minute wait. Fuck that. This time there was a more modest five minutes, and we were actually able to sit, but either Holyoke really does have absolutely nothing other than the Red Robin, which we all must pay homage to, or it’s just that good.I had the raspberry limeade to drink, and it was very cool and refreshing. I tasted more generic fruit than raspberry or lime, but there was a sour flavor from the lime. I wish that there was more of a distinct mingling of flavors instead of such a generic “FRUIT” taste to it, but there was something refreshing to it that was very tasty. They used syrups instead of a mix, and after mixing it all up, it was quite tasty. However, be wary of the uneven distribution prior to mixing up the syrup!I ordered the Santa Fe burger, and decided to customize the shit out of it. Having seen what Red Robin is capable of, I thought that their menu could have been more organized in the way of boasting the customized side. I mean, they practically shove it in your face, and yet, on the menu, there’s only a blip about how you can make it any way you want. I’d have liked to see a more comprehensive list of the toppings, sauces, and meats listed, like a pizza chart, so that I could pick and choose. However, it was not to be, so I simply chose a burger that looked good and then added and subtracted various toppings from there.

That burger happened to be the Santa Fe burger, originally advertised as a burger on an onion bun with lettuce, guacamole, pepper jack cheese, tortilla strips, sauteed onions, Poblano peppers, and chipotle mayonnaise. Now, I’m sold with anything that has chipotle mayonnaise on it, so I was hooked. I’m less than partial to burgers, though, so I got mine with a chicken fillet, and no lettuce, pepper, or onions. I also substituted the regular steak fries for the garlic parmesan fries.The burger was extremely tasty. It was also massive! Huge in diameter and height, there was no skimping on any of the toppings. So, piece by piece. The bun was nothing spectacular. There was no real oniony flavor or distinction from a regular bun, which was a disappointment, but I wasn’t expecting anything exciting. I didn’t want a ciabatta because that would have given a different flavor, but this was average. It might have been nice if there was more firmness, because all the toppings kept spilling out haphazardly, and I had to do some improvisational scooping to get it all back in place.The burger, essentially, was like a giant appetizer platter on a sandwich. If the peppers had come with cream cheese, we’d be all set. The chicken was perfectly breaded with a nice crispy flour crust, and nothing else to really set it off, and wasn’t soggy in any places. It was a large piece, too, and a good part of it hung off the edge of the sandwich. The guacamole, combined with the chipotle mayo, was absolutely sinful as a spread. I loved the coolness of the flavors against the hot chicken, and the extra spice and tang was perfection. Finishing off the sandwich, on the bottom of the bun, were the tortilla strips, in three different colors, and those added a fantastic crunch to the burger and a lovely cornmeal flavor to compliment the chicken’s breading. I couldn’t detect the pepper jack cheese at all.I loved the burger. It was perfect. Everything I’d have wanted and more, and I was so pleased to have such a wide array of toppings to play around with. The fries were also good- very crispy and golden brown and fresh from the fryer, but the parmesan and garlic seemed like it was applied with a shovel, it was on so thick, and I didn’t taste any parm at all. I got a ton of chopped garlic, to the point where it almost was too intense for me, but I would have liked to see some freshly shaved cheese on it, to melt onto the fries, or even baked onto them to provide an extra crunch. The garlic was just too thick and I had to take some off. Perhaps a garlic aioli might have been better.Overall, though, a great experience. I couldn’t finish anything, but desperately wanted to, and I’ll be back again to try more of Red Robin’s selections.

The Cheesecake Factory

On a recent excursion to The Cheesecake Factory, we ordered a whole plethora of delicious food to sample. Of course, we had to try the famous fried macaroni and cheese and cheesecake for dessert, because what trip to the cheesecake factory would be complete without cheesecake? In the dessert sense, of course. When TCF starts offering 50’s pinup girls for sale along with desserts, or maybe even in conjunction, business will be booming.

My gastronomical gremlin ordered the orange chicken lunch special to start out with, and I ordered the fried macaroni and cheese appetizer as my lunch. I expected the portions to be massive, and I was right.

The orange chicken was covered in just the right amount of sauce- it wasn’t too sticky so as to make the coating mushy and soft, but it wasn’t bland, either. It was sweet and literally embodied the phrase “zesty” when one should think of food. In the sauce was a suspension of chile peppers, diced up, and small pieces of fresh orange rind, along with the orange sauce itself, covering the chicken.
The chicken pieces themselves were huge and plentiful, and very tender, and with a large portion of sticky white rice with a little cilantro on top to mop up the extra sauce, this was a fantastic meal that carried great value and excellent flavor. It’s rare to find good Chinese food at a Chinese restaurant, much less one that touts cheesecake as its specialty.
My appetizer/meal was the macaroni and cheese, and it was absolutely decadent. I was a little scared at first, because one of the top things that I’d feared about the fried mac was that it would be dry and bland on the inside. Not this. First of all, these were some BIG balls.

Ahem. There were four of them, and they were huge. The crust was crispy on the outside and very easy to break through, but not crumbly. I could pick one of these up in my hand and throw it like a cheesy Napalm grenade. They were quite heavy. Each one was topped with Parmesan and a little parsley. On the inside, though, it was all power. The filling was extremely creamy and gooey, and when I broke each ball apart to suck out the filling, (heh heh) strands of cheese came along with the noodles. This dish was definitely more cheese than noodles, which wasn’t bad. The noodles were entirely al dente, though, and really fell apart well in my mouth.

The cheeses were flavorful and salty, and with the crispiness of the crust, it creates a perfect sphere of wonderful tastes. They’re also very filling. I loved the combination of cheeses, and was eating the leftovers well into the night. The sauce underneath the plump little ballings was a pink vodka sauce, I think, and that gave a nice sweetness to some of the bites that I’d never thought to consider with my mac and cheese, because I’d never really thought of eating it with sauce. Go figure, but it was very tasty.

When I dream, I dream of this.After that, we were pretty stuffed, and still packed a ton of leftovers, but we wanted cheesecake, and cheesecake we had. My culinary compatriot ordered the pineapple upside down cheesecake, and I had the banana cream cheesecake.
The pineapple upside down cheesecake really did have a beautiful presentation. Actually, all of the dishes here did. It was two layers of pineapple upside down cake sandwiching a layer of cherry pineapple cheesecake, with whipped cream on top.

The combination of cheesecake and regular cake, which only a vengeful, obese mad scientist could have dreamed of, is utter genius. I mean, seriously? Both at once? Were we that bad in a past life to deserve them? But honestly. The cake is teetering on the edge of diabetes and baklava, laden down with enough syrup to down a full grown bear-moose hybrid. The layers are piled high with fruit, or what passes for TCF’s genetically engineered fruit, but it’s fucking delicious. Lots of coconut, but not as much pineapple as I’d expected, and the crumbly, gooey cake sort of overshadowed the cheesecake. It blended in with it more, making it less of a key player than more of a filling.

And I guess it was a filling. But if they’d had an even number of layers with the cheesecake and the pineapple upside down cake, the flavor ratio might have been even. I thought it was regular cheesecake at first, too, but then I saw that it was red from the cherries, and not the blood of the innocent, but I didn’t taste either of those. It’s a mystery! Overall, though, not a bad cake. Moist and pretty. TCF does make a very soft and wet cheesecake.As for my cheesecake, it was a massive slice with a layer of bavarian cream on top, whipped cream over that and on the sides, and two flanking rows of bananas. Dinner and a show. The banana flavor was very subtle, but with the graham cracker crust, I really liked the juxtaposition between crumbliness and banana flavor. I definitely think that TCF made the right decision in picking a sweet and milky, natural banana taste over an overpowering and artificial flavor. It balanced with the natural creaminess of the cheesecake and tasted wonderful when I ate it later that night.
With the fresh bananas, it was delicious. However, it was just a little too plain. The bavarian cream was a little too bland as well, and I think that this would benefit from some salted caramel sauce or hot fudge sauce, or a layer of caramel swirl. Definitely something to color it up from all the neutral yellows and take away the lackadaisical flavor palate. I loved the banana, but wasn’t wowed in the long run. Ever been to The Cheesecake Factory? What’s your favorite flavor?

Wings Over Amherst, Amherst, MA

This is yet another restaurant review, but the food is so damned good! Couldn’t help myself.

This is a culmination of three separate Wings trips, all with sandwiches and different sauces on the chicken. Maybe I’ll just make Wings into a separate category for all their flavors.

This is like delicious food porn. So the three sandwiches I ordered were to give me a taste of the wet sauce vs. the dry rub for the chicken. At some point, I’m going to splurge like there’s no tomorrow and order Wings with all 25 sauces for an ULTIMATE REVIEW. Likely a project with Swagger sometime soon.

But tonight was just three sandwiches, one with West Texas Mesquite, a dry rub, one with Cajun Barbecue sauce, and the other with Golden Barbecue, a mixture of spicy mustard and barbecue sauce- a wet sauce.

The WTM sandwich is freaking awesome. I got it with a slice of American cheese and the cheese gooed and melted all over it. The bun is nice and soft, and contrasts well with the crispiness of the fried chicken. I never thought a chicken rub could so accurately emulate the flavor of barbecue-flavored potato chips, but this hits the spot. It’s salty, it’s spicy, it has a great crunch, and the chicken is just delicious. The dryness of the chicken and the bread goes well with the cheese, which was a nice, thick, melted slice and made the entire thing more…deliciously viscous.

9/10- PERFECTION

The Golden Barbecue sandwich was really great, too. The sauce reminded me of the Roy Roger’s Gold Rush sandwich, except way more plentiful and more of what the sauce tasted like, instead of the honey honey flavor I imagined. It was a salty, spicy, mustardy, and sweet sauce, really, really good. There were hints of soy sauce and the spices were spot-on perfect. It was more mustard and less barbecue, which surprised me, but was really good as far as texture and flavor went.

The bun and the sauce went really well together, because the bun soaked up all the sauce, but held up to the wetness of it all, which was fantastic, because although the WTM was really perfect, I wanted sometime saucy to make it even more perfect. Unfortunately, the cheese was not a good addition in this one. Although it was another thick and nice slice of perfect American cheese, it floated on top of the sauce on the chicken and didn’t melt at all, and since it was wet, just got gooey and slimy and made the entire experience slightly chalky-tasting. The chicken was, again, perfectly cooked and completely meaty, and the breading maintained a wonderful crispy texture despite the sauce drenching. I just wish the cheese hadn’t screwed it up.

8/10- LOVELY

The last sandwich was the Cajun Barbecue sandwich, which I ate in the restaurant. The only difference between eating in and eating out is that the bun is toasted and a pickle is included. I find it very strange that they use the same dishware as the dining commons here.

The CB sandwich was interesting, because the equivalent of “Cajun” and the sauce is their regular sauce, paired with the spices. Death Cake explained that this was the chicken dipped in barbecue sauce with Cajun spices sprinkled on top- cayenne, paprika, etc. The sandwich was too spicy for me. Not in a Buffalo sauce, “I’m eating this because I have to and I love it” spicy, but a, “Put it down, this is getting irritating” spicy. Which I obviously did not like. I also have a personal irritation with things that are hot, as in heat, and spicy at the same time, because it becomes vastly overwhelming. I didn’t finish this sandwich, which I hate, because the food is so good that I like to finish it. It’s not even that I was full, necessarily, it’s that it was just too much. The concept is good, the flavor is accurate, the heat…not so much.

4/10- OKAY

And now, to the fries! In restaurant, there are so many more options one can get, and I’m quite inclined to go back and try their cheese fries, or their potato skins, and things like that. For delivery, though, you can have waffle fries with seasoning or plain french fries.

The plain fries are good in the restaurant, because they’re crispy and hot and have a soft and fluffy inside, and you can get them with sauces if you’d like. The delivery fries taste like they were switched with my baby cousin’s plastic foods. They’re chewy and soggy and cold, like they’ve been deliberately left outside. And since I get delivery fries, I’ve got to rate these low. I mean, it’s really a hit or miss with the delivery fries, especially if you get them in conjunction with an order instead of as an entire side. Also, be prepared to add salt and pepper- these have none and the experience is that much worse without them.

2/10- BAD

And then, the waffle fries. They’re crispy, massive, and delicious. They are a brilliant bright orange from seasoning, and arrive at your table piping hot. There is a depth to them in texture- there’s a change in the inside, almost like a mashed texture, that is held together in a concentric prison. They’re delicious. So what’s the matter?

It’s the seasoning.

You’d think that the seasoning additions would be really, really awesome. I mean, you can add cajun seasoning, BBQ, ranch, or more. And ranch dressing is awesome, so why not seasoning? I thought that this was a fluke with my chicken, actually, in another sandwich (yes, up for review) that I consumed, but it’s consistent with Wings’s ranch flavoring across the board. There’s an undertone of sweetness, of a strange cinnamon-like flavor with the saltiness. And it doesn’t taste bad, per se, you can still tell that it’s kind of ranch-like in concept, but upon tasting these, you think, “Sweet. Huh.”

3/10- NOT BAD

I’ve thrown in the towel. I’ve added in a Wings category to the sidebar to cover my exploits, and I suspect I’ll end up filling it. It’s the college way, people.

Wings Over Amherst, aka, The Hangar
88 University Drive
Amherst, MA, 01003

Island Burgers and Shakes, New York, NY

Last night I went with some friends to explore one of my other favorite passions, dogs, at an AKC sponsored event called Meet the Breeds at Javits Center. As far as I know, it’s still running today, so if any of my New York readers have a hankering for furry animals, head over there.

That’s my plug for today, now onto the review. I’m a big fan of little dives. Not talking the kind of stuff Guy Fieri reviews, which could have his bleached hair on a bun and he’d still eat it, but little, tiny, neon-lit places in the backs of stores, hidden away. Such was the case of Island Burgers and Shakes.
I keep wanting to type Island Burgers and Fries, but that’s exactly one of the things that they don’t serve. More about that later. The outside is rather unassuming, but the inside is hopping with people. Many bright colors, funky surfboards, and little candles surround the place, which can’t be more than fifty feet long and ten feet wide.

So I sat with my friends and we waited, and got our menus. The menu is massive, and filled with funkily-named selections like “Tijuana” (guacamole, bacon, and sauteed onions) and “Sans Spud” (sour cream, bacon, chives, and pepper jack cheese). I opted for the churasco, which is the purportedly famous grilled chicken sandwich, in the Sans Spud flavor, and a malted black and white shake.
The shake was a decent size, not the biggest, not the smallest I’ve had, and had the fascinating physical property of being lukewarm and still retaining the properties of ice cream. I, personally, prefer an ice-cold, freezing shake. It was one of the thickest shakes I’d ever had. A black and white milkshake is a vanilla milkshake with drizzles of chocolate syrup on the glass, to satisfy the need for both flavors. It was quite creamy, with a very heavy malt flavor, just the way I like it, and the chocolate syrup made good appearances in most of my sips. It was just extremely thick and the temperature was not quite right.

6/10- GOOD

And then, the sandwich came.

The chicken breast was made from a mutant, giant chicken. Easily the biggest piece of boneless chicken I’ve ever seen, like, half the size of a regular chicken. I had to cut off the little part hanging off the edge just to make it fit on the ciabatta. The roll was decent. Extremely floury, so that was the predominant bun flavor, but the fluffiness and chewy texture kind of made up for it.
The grilled chicken was supposed to be the world-famous star of the meal, but I was just unimpressed. Its size was the only really redeeming quality, and the texture was great, moist, and tender, but it was generally flavorless. I would have expected some sort of a rub or marinade or at least a dusting of salt and pepper, and I’ll tell you this, no matter how gourmet and wonderful chicken is, without flavor, it’s just awful. So that was the chicken. The toppings were good, the bacon was cooked quite well, and the sour cream and chives added a bagel-like quality and creaminess to the sandwich. Didn’t taste much cheese.

On the back of the menu, they explain why they don’t have fries, citing the reason for a small space and no room for a deep fryer, but fries could easily redeem this restaurant. Without a size, the burgers seem impossibly small, the sandwiches kind of bland, and the meal…somewhat incomplete. Although they do serve baked potatoes and potato chips, the mealy french fry makes the meal. It’s like peanut butter without jelly or fluff. Just…not right.

5/10- OKAY

Island Burgers and Shakes
766 9th Ave, 51/52nd St
New York, NY, 10019

Chili’s Chicken Crisper Bites


Yo, all my foodies. So Swagger and I went out to Chili’s to celebrate us leaving for college soon, and got a shitload of good food for me to review.

As a meal, I got the chicken crisper bites. These are billed as chicken fried “to perfection” with sauteed onions, pickles, and cheddar cheese with ancho-chile ranch sauce on a bun, served with crispy onion straws and french fries.

I ordered these without onions and pickles because that just seems strange, for one, and for two, it also seems like there’s just too much going on with the briney flavor of the pickles and the crunchy onions, and the cheese and sauce, and underneath that you remember that there might actually be some chicken, too. So I got them with just cheese and sauce, figuring it’d be much less simplified to eat.

The food comes out on a platter with each sandwich stabbed squarely through the middle, as if to create a food diorama based on a medieval pit trap, so one can safely stab one’s french fries through the skewers. They were nice and hot and massive. I was wholeheartedly tricked by the sandwich. I figured, oh, they’re tiny, they won’t hurt me, and like the Gremlins, I was fucked.

The sandwich itself is delicious. It’s little, roughly three bites’ worth, one if you’re Galactus, and is very tasty. Not a lot of cheese taste, and if there was any ancho-chile ranch sauce, a sauce I was legitimately excited to try, I could not tell you where it was. Seriously. It was like searching for WMD’s…it was not there.

I can make that joke. I’m a Republican.

Good little bites, though, but filling as hell. Extremely addictive until you actually get full. I just wanted to keep eating and eating and I powered through three of them until my stomach reminded me that it was full. I left the last one sitting there. I didn’t even want to take it home. Four is just too many for me, I guess. I’m a wuss.

The fries and onions on the side baffled me. So is it fries or onions? Oh. I guess it’s both. It just made me wonder why they’d bother serving smaller-than-adequate portions of each with the sandwiches. I’d have wanted one. The onions seemed like more of a garnish than a side dish, too. Little crispy straws. Too small for me. The fries were nothing spectacular. I made better at home. Just plump pieces with the skin on, and by the time I dug through my shredded onion things, they were cold. AND WHERE WAS MY DIPPING SAUCE, CHILI’S?

Overall, these were quite tasty. When I was eating them. At home, I was miserable and bloated. So, my foodies, my lesson to you is to beware the allure of the Seductress of Sliders. She will take you to a fun, friendly atmosphere to STAB YOU THROUGH THE STOMACH AND LEAVE YOU FOR DEAD.

Rest in Peace, my stomach.

8/10- YUMMY

Desert Heat Buffalo Wild Wings and Assorted Appetizers…

I had these wings a few nights ago with a friend of mine, and I was excited to see that for the first time, BBW is eschewing their messy sauces for a nice dry rub. Of course, I had to eat them.

We had appetizers to start out with- BBW’s miniature corn dogs and mozzarella sticks. The mozz sticks were quite good, actually- nice and big with a panko crust, and the cheese was hot and melty enough so that it strung out in a big loop rather than falling out of the breading and scalding your face. The corn dogs were tiny and crispy, and the batter to dog ratio wasn’t bad. They were good dogs, just a little bland. I would have appreciated some dipping sauce or flavoring in addition to them.

STICKS- 6/10
DOGS- 5/10

As for the wings, well, they were typical BBW fare. If chicken had a hierarchy, it would go like this. Boned chicken, then chicken nuggets, chicken wings, chicken tenders, and finally, fried chicken fillet on top. These “boneless wings” waver in the nugget/tender region. They call them tenders, but tenders are, at best, big slabs of breast meat in holdable shapes. These are like tenders that have been curled up like pill bugs and fried into a frenzy. They’re too crispy, and rarely ever larger than a small dog’s turd.

The seasoning is good. Lots of paprika flavoring and spices, a very salty taste, too. But it’s just too hot, somehow. I’m not sure if it’s the dryness of the spices offsetting the flavor, but it is really akin to being in a desert. Out of eight wings, I ate three, maybe. They’re not that good.

Why do I keep eating here?!?

4/10- THUMBS DOWN

Trader Joe’s Cream Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Breasts


Rachel, this one’s for you. One of my amazing bloggy friends commented on my recipes with a mutual detestation for mayo, so I went out to find her an amazing treat that I knew she’d love. I loved it, too. That treat turned out to be a find from The Brownie Whisperer raving madly about these chickens from Trader Joe’s stuffed with cream cheese. And yes, I realize that this is the worst photo in the world. If you hate it, buy me a goddamn camera.

He took me home, and cooked me up a chicken. They’re bigger than I thought they’d be. They’re not nugget sized, like I assumed, but a little bigger than a regular cutlet, I’d say, eight inches long, maybe two across. Either way, they’re hefty.

The chicken is coated in panko bread crumbs, so it’s really crunchy, and a buffalo seasoning. It took thirty five minutes exactly to cook this in the oven, but it’s worth the wait. When we took it out, the cream cheese was oozing out the sides. It looked fantastic. I waited for it to cool, and then dug in.

The first thing you notice with these is the crunch of the panko. The chicken is easy to saw through and just gushes cream cheese. The buffalo flavoring is subtle. It’s noticeable, but doesn’t take away from the taste of the chicken or the cream cheese. The cheese is delicious and creamy, the perfect filler in here. Every bite has a nice amount of cream cheese in it.

My only complaint was that it’s an awfully messy food, so it’s not ideal for on the go, but I think that if I had to have a last meal, it just might be two of these in a baguette or a hoagie roll with some cheese on top! They would make an amazing sandwich. And the coolest part about these is that the chicken is local, from a town not too far from my own.

9/10- MMMMM!

McDonald’s Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips

So yeah. The Foodette has officially branched off into a good food, bad food roulette-style blog. Patricia will be showing you the right way to eat, and I will be boldly stepping off into the intrepid “not” section.

My dad brought me McDonald’s today, a rare treat. People will laugh. I will get fatty jokes, probably from malicious exes, but I do not care. I lost fifteen pounds and sprinted today, trying to catch a runaway Bichon, ergo, I deserved it.

So he brought me the five-piece Chicken Selects, which, ironically, I had just read about as one of the top five worst items to order at Mickey D’s. Mmmmm. Coronaries. So tasty. So the McAwesome boasts a whopping 660 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 1680 grams of sodium. It’s a lot to handle, especially coupled with the archetypal- ha ha, arch? Like the golden arches? Fuck it. Coupled with the NORMAL combo of fries and a Coke, or whatever your liquid poison may be, it’s a lot of calories.

I ate the entire box. I was starving. It was also the first thing I’d eaten today, but hey, I don’t need to defend myself. The chicken itself comes with a variety of dipping sauces. A good choice on the part of McDonald’s, because the chicken can tend to be a bit dry.

I don’t know if it’s my KFC or the chain in general, but their chicken is odious. It’s basically batter around gristle. Not this chicken, though. While it’s not Lenny and Joe’s, a review which I must do with gumption, as it is the best chicken ever. Maybe a trip with Patricia? While it’s not theirs, it falls in a pretty solid middle category. The breading is lightly flavored with black pepper, and needs no salt. The sauces- buffalo, ranch, honey mustard, and barbecue- are all solid, good sauces that do well with the chicken.

Texture-wise, this is no McNugget. McDonald’s isn’t fucking with you here, because there’s no guessing as to where the meat comes from. It’s a meatier texture than the Nugget, which had that greasy, softer texture we all knew and enjoyed, but in return, is less greasy. In fact, it’s not very greasy at all. More of a dry breading than anything else.

The pieces are quite large. A good four, five bites apiece. I like them. Three pieces is very filling, five makes a meal. I wouldn’t eat it too often, but it’s too tasty to pass up when you just can’t have homemade fried chicken. For a mass produced place, this chicken is good.

It runs a little steep- six bucks for a meal, but it’s a good value.
7/10- TASTY