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Chicken sandwich for a buck

Church’s Chicken Sandwich

First, I always thought it was “Church’s Chicken,” but it’s not. “Churches Chicken” makes much less sense to me. It’s like calling a place “Schools Burgers” or “Houses Pancakes.”

Never mind. I just checked their site and it is “Church’s.” My receipts are just misspelled. I should start this entry over, but whatevs.

Here's the deal: I ordered the Spicy Chicken Sandwich combo, which includes a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, regular Coke and crinkle fries. They fared as follows:

Fries: A touch tepid, but great overall. They’re crinkly like the frozen bagged ones you bake. They tasted almost exactly like Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries — a good thing, as C-f-A is the undisputed fast food champion of the chicken sandwich and fries combo. Church’s fries are salty and oily right up to the point of being too much so; they are maximum strength fries. They are pale yellow with golden brown accents. Like the best of fries, they possess a crunchy exterior and are all soft and potaoey in the inside.

The fries came with three packets of Fancy Ketchup. While the ingredients suggested there was nothing particularly fancy about this ketchup, the illustration of a sassy little tomato with a crown and scepter proves that it was at least made with royal tomatoes. Three packets seemed awfully generous since I didn’t want any to begin with. It stuck me as particularly odd in light of the byzantine chicken-strip-sauce policy at this particular Church’s; it's posted in intricate detail on the drive-through window. How many units of “strip sauce” you’re allotted appears to depend on a variety of factors, although you can buy more for 15 cents per unit.

The Sandy: The Church’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich is the rare exception where the bread makes the sandwich. This bun, it’s big without overwhelming its eater with mouthfuls of bread. Its size makes the whole sandwich more satisfying. It would dwarf Wendy’s puny 99 cent chicken sandwich if placed beside one. The big bun compensates for a relatively thin chicken patty and the wimpy layer of wilted shredded lettuce.

More importantly, the bun is the most advanced bun I’ve ever encountered. It is the Gillette Fusion of sandybuns. First, it features an inverted layout, meaning its heel is actually bigger than the crown. And what’s more, the both the crown and the heel are covered in sesame seeds!

“Unheard of!” I would have exclaimed if I hadn’t been lunching alone in my car. Lacking a camera, I documented the amazi-bun in a sketch.

In re the chicken patty, it’s thin like those freezer case bagged ones. Still, it’s larger in diameter than its wee Wendy’s cousin. Church’s claims it’s now “1/3 larger,” but fails to give a point of reference. I refuse to assume it’s in comparison to previous Church’s chicken sandwiches because I am a born skeptic.

The Church’s site makes a big deal about its offering of both regular and spicy chicken sandwiches. I recommend going there and clicking in the upper-right corner — I think you’ll be impressed by the fanfare. Something I don’t see mentioned is the fact that the only difference appears to be while the regular sandwich features regular mayo, the spicy sandwich has (beat) spicy mayo on it! I wonder what happens if you order a spicy chicken sandwich without mayo. I suspect all that happens is you become mildly disappointed once you get your food and wish you had some mayo.

“But how spicy is it?” you ask. Oh, I’m glad you asked. It’s less spicy than Tabasco but more spicy than Del Taco’s misleadingly named “Del Scorcho” so-called hot sauce. I think Church’s has some good hot sauce, and I regret not having asked for some. But hindsight’s 20/20 and all that.

The Point: For three bucks, this combo’s a great deal. All three items were bigger and tastier than Wendy’s 99-cent equivalents and Wendy’s value menu chicken sandwich sucks like K-Mart. Granted, the bigger Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwich is pretty good, if overpriced.

I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve bypassed Church’s en route to the Wendy’s down the road for a dollar chicken sandwich. Never again. Screw you, Wendy — I’m getting my chicken from Church’s now.

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