Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Get Your Crazy Chicken On - Southern Style

Get Your Crazy Chicken On - McSouthern Style

I will never doubt the needs of fast food. It's there for those who don't have the time to make food for themselves. And while it remains to be the unhealthiest option around, and in most cases only slightly cheaper than actually sitting down and enjoying your meal, it remains a staple in our culture. A culture always on the move and only willing to put it in park to fill the need of hunger.

McDonalds has one been one company that while I generally don't eat at, I have some respect for creating the burger chain and giving us the drive-thru ability. Originally founded in 1940, McDonalds was a Bar-B-Que place. It was a pretty successful outgoing but in 1948 McDoanlds decided to scale back their menu to only have 9 items. Focusing on the burgers, fries and everything nice approach, they became successful.

It's a long time since then and McDonalds' menu has gone completely insane with the amount of items they are now offering. McGriddles and other options that I dare not even try. They're currently looking to kick Starbucks while starbucks closes up shops in terms of the coffee business.
McDonald's -- never known for a delicate marketing touch -- is about to drop the mother of all campaigns on you, an everywhere-you-look, invade-your-dreams ad campaign in support of its McCafé specialty coffee drinks that will be not so much viral as bubonic. An estimated $100-million mega-buy across TV, Web, radio, print, outdoor and social media, the McCafé push beginning today will be, according to the company, its biggest "menu initiative" since it began serving breakfast in the 1970s.
I'm not even sure their coffee is all that much better. Sure, a 2007 consumer report taste test showed that people liked McDonalds drip coffee better than Starbucks version but what does that actually mean? I don't think I've ever been to Starbucks and asked for a regular cup of coffee. It's always something specially ordered.
McDonald's, $1.35, was decent and moderately strong. Although it lacked the subtle top notes needed to make it rise and shine, it had no flaws. Dunkin' Donuts, $1.65, was weak, watery, and pricier than Starbucks. It was inoffensive, but it had no oomph. (If you brew with Dunkin’ beans at home, you can make it stronger.) Starbucks, $1.55, was strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water instead of open.
But now McDonalds has introduced it's McCafe. Offering a section of McDonalds specialty coffees like their own take on a Latte, Cappuccino and Mocha. While I'm ore of a luke warm coffee drinker, I guess these look.. ok, well, they don't look tasty.

This isn't the first time McDonalds has ventured into the world where others dared to brave. It's with my honor that I bring you a review that I literally forgot I ever took pictures and wrote notes about. It had to be at least half a year or more old.

Southern Style. Before McDonalds dared to look Starbucks in the eye and continued to piss in it, they set their eyes on Chick-Fi-la. A place that has a lot in common with McDonalds. In that they both don't actually serve meat.

Chick-Fi-La is a Southern flavor. It provides chicken to the all meat alternative seeking folks and it provides it cheaply. Their big seller is a simple chicken sandwich that comes plain with pickles. It's delicious in its simplicity and McDonalds came about and tried to rip it off with its Southern Chicken sandwich.

Being a fan of Chick-Fi-La's sandwich, oddly enough always craving it on Sundays, the only day the place is closed (they're religious) I wanted to see how McDonald's knock off compared to the real thing. Here's my results.

As you can see the two, I went with a McDonalds new coffee and sandwich comparing it to the Chic-fi-la sandwich and sweet tea.


One goes with a cardboard box for a container and a plastic cup. The other goes with a styrofoam cup and a paper/foil bag. So off the bag you keep the sandwich warmer with the chick-fi-la bag since it's going to retain the heat. I've never been a fan of the Big-mac cardboard container. Half the cheese gets stuck on the bottom of the cardboard and once it's wet, it's as good as gone. Yeah, it makes sure that you sandwich isn't smashed when you stack them, but how many sandwiches do you need to get filled on these? One should be more than enough.

Which brings us to the battle of the sandwiches.

McDonald's Southern Chicken Sandwich

Looks to be on a regular burger bun. It claims to be a sweet one but meh, I really couldn't tell the difference. Not a whole lot of flavor. It's plain chicken flavor. Something that I always disliked about chicken. It can easily taste like plain white meat if you're not trying hard enough to give it any flavor. McDonalds is all about cranking them out quickly, so I can see why it wasn't anything more than something to shove in your mouth that is lower in calories than most other things on their menu.

The coffee was standard coffee with ice. Nothing at all to write home about and it really did taste watered down to all hell. Way too much ice, which in turn melted making it water. Not really a fan. I haven't bought one of these since that first and only time I bought this FOR SCIENCE! Not recommended.

Chick-fi-la Chicken Sandwich

This sandwich is a meal in itself. Nevermind the potential of waffle fries being added to the combo. The sandwich in itself is damn tasty. Never falling short and landing into that area of boring white meat. The bun is actually tasty in itself. So even without the mayo, mustard and ketchup, it's filled with a lot of flavor.

If you are inclined to toss something on the burger, Chick-fi-la also offers up various sauces. From honey mustard to sweet and sour sauce. It's really a lot of choices on how you can make what appears to be a plain sandwich into something completely different every time you try one.

The sweet tea in itself will one day kill me. I just know it'll seal my fate and give me diabeties. There's no doubt about any of that. I'm just thankful that they have free refills because I can suck this stuff down with ease.

How about a side by side comparisson.

Both come with two pickles and not much else. This is going to have a lot of people put into question the amount you get for the price you pay. In this modern day you're expecting your burger to be topped a mile high. Hell, Carl's Jr. has made it that an extra patty is a common condiment. Add in chili and all the other stackable material, that first fact will throw off a lot of consumers from getting this otherwise simple, yet tasty sandwich.

Between the two sandwiches you can see that the Chick-fi-la chicken breast is huge compared to the McDonalds one. Let alonoe the bread quality on the chick-fi-la is a whole lot better than Micky-D's version. Speaking of which, can we stop calling it Mickey-D's? That's a stupid name and a burger joint is far from having street cred.

The different potential flavors that you can get out of the sandwich from a Chick-fi-la version is 10x's as many as you can get from McDonalds version due to the different sauce packs they have. Add in that they are free from Chick-fi-la and cost you something from McDonalds, the winner is clearly leaning towards Chick-fi-la

Especially when it comes to the price as well. The chick-fi-la meal ranks a bit pricier by a buck or two, but you get what you pay for in terms of a top quality burger. What do you get for that higher price? A healthier meal. Men's Health, A magazine that I have been pretty gay for shows that Chick-fi-la ranks in the best in terms of fast food chains. With having nothing on the menu that is more than 500 calories, a bar that no other fast food joint can claim, it really is the best possible choice to make when you're on the go and feeling hungry.

It has been said that the south will rise again. I think there's only a certain amount of truth in that when it comes to their food and the hospitality. If you've been to Atlanta lately you'll realize that it's still only good for a couple of things. Being a delta hub, providing you with Coke and being a Ray Charles song. When it comes to chicken sandwiches, McDonalds doesn't touch Chick-fi-la in terms of southern style chicken sandwiches.

As for McDonalds move to coffee. I'm sure it'll be just the same. Good for you if you're on a budget and need that speciality drink as a status symbol but I wouldn't expect anything great out of the flavor.

As much as I'm not a fan of starbucks, you do eventually get what you pay for in going to those that aren't trying to be a jack of all trades. Stick to the items you're good at. In this case, McDonalds would be better suited sticking to Burgers. It is what made them famous, perhaps you shouldn't expand too far. Keep It Simple Stupid. K.I.S.S.

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