Things I have put in my mouth lately (part 1 of ???)

I am literally under doctor’s orders to blog regularly. I don’t think writing about food was exactly what he had in mind, but hey, let’s leave semantics aside. I still need to review a fast food item that’s been much-discussed lately.

Popeyes’ Chicken Waffle Tenders.

Two great tastes that taste great together, right? The first time I ate fried chicken and waffles together was a bit of a revelation. It’s a fabulous combination of flavors and textures, so getting that together in a neat little package seemed like genius. Needless to say, when I finally saw them advertised outside the Popeyes by my train stop, I made a beeline inside. (I didn’t have my camera or cell phone with me, so no pictures. I’m sure Google can hook you up with something.)

The “waffle” breading is nicely crisp but different in texture from that of the regular chicken. Instead of the normal flakiness, it’s thick and tender. That does a bit to convey “waffle,” but not very much, so Popeyes leans back on the other universal signifier of “this is a waffly thing”: maple syrup flavoring. It’s definitely tasty, but it gets a bit overwhelming after a while, and by the third tender I felt myself slowing down noticeably. I also felt like the seasoning of the chicken itself was more muted than the regular chicken, though whether that was intentional or I just couldn’t taste it past the breading is up for debate.

The tenders come with a honey maple dipping sauce. It is, if I may be so blunt, fucking terrible. It’s too thick and gelatinous for effective dipping, leaving you with a mess of crumbs shed in the sauce and very little sauce adhering to the chicken. This is really for the best, because it tastes like the tears of a dentist. I didn’t get “honey” or “maple” from it, just “corn syrup” and “Oh my god, pancreas, I am so sorry.”

Would I eat these again? Sure, but I’d have to be in the right kind of mood for it. Overall, I feel like trying to combine the two main components loses a lot of the contrast that makes chicken and waffles so amazing to begin with. Given the choice, honestly, I’d rather eat Popeyes’ regular chicken. Better yet, I feel like going for bona fide chicken and waffles right now.

Too bad about the “broke as shit” thing. Sad trombone.


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