Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Further Review, Fuk-this-place -- Chik-fil-A

UPDATE: Turns out Chik-fil-a is just a dik-fil-a. I'm sorry I ever ate there, and retract everything I said about it except for how disgusting the ingredients are; add to the list "intolerance and oppression." I've taken down my pics of their hate-y food.

It turned out I was there on the Hollywood branch's first anniversary, so they gave me a coupon to come back for a free meal. I'm taking suggestions on how to use said coupon to creatively protest them and their whole world view. 

It's all up in the news that Chik-fil-A has re-affirmed its statement from July that it will take money from you no matter who you are or whom you think you can marry, and its perky help will smile and say "please" and "thank you"while doing so. No big news there. More significantly, there are third-hand reports that its foundation, WinShape, "will no longer give to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage." And as of today, Chik-fil-A isn't denying the report.

Ah, the intersection of politics and food, my happy place!

First the politics. It's interesting watching the Commentverse bifurcate on this announcement. Conservatives tend to say three things: One, they're angry at Chik-fil-A turning...well...

...and will now start boycotting them. Mind you, these are the same people who were saying that the liberal boycott of CFA was anti-American, an affront to freedom of speech, shameless intimidation of a private business, etc., but we'll let that go. (Oops, forgot to let it go.)

Two, the liberals won't ever back down from the boycott, because no matter how much the right gives and compromises, the left is never satisfied. (Saw that somewhere, can't find it now, trust me.) Three, why can't this just be about selling and eating chicken sandwiches, not politics?

I can't even begin to dissect the sheer hypocrisy of the first, but I'm ready to disprove the second and dive right into the third:

And I believe in rehabilitation, giving people or even corporations—(sorry, keep forgetting they're one and the same) a second chance. That goes double if said people produce yummy food. If I didn't let go of boycotts, I'd still be nixing grapes and Carl's Jr. because of Cesar Chavez and Carl Karcher, both long dead. (Please don't bring up the offensive Carl's ad campaign, especially the current lesbo sex and BBQ sauce money shot.) Nope, I'm ready to say bygones, and talk about chicken sandwiches. Because when you boycott something and the boycottee caves, you reward them by buying their stuff again. That's how boycotts work. It's dog training 101.

I, L.A. Food Crazy, hereby give up the boycott of Chik-fil-A. The protest seems to have made its point and done its job. I'm cautiously optimistic that my fast food dollars won't go to oppress any of my friends.

So, on to the food.

You might not hear it in polite circles, but Chik-fil-A makes a kickass fast food chicken sandwich. I hear you say, "Not interested, I've had a million fast food chicken sandwiches and they all suck." This isn't technically true—the aforesaid Carl's Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich is delicious—but you're right that fast food breaded chicken sandwiches all suck. Except Chik-fil-A's. They're like the In 'n' Out Burger of chicken: they do one thing, and do it well, which is why the franchise is multiplying faster than teenage girls in red states. (SORRY! I'm off the politics, on the food.)

As Chik-fil-A's ads note, they use a real, whole piece of chicken breast in their sandwich. So do several other fast food joints. The difference is in the batter and the bold flavors of the other ingredients.  What you want to order here is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe, which comes with green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, dill pickles, and pepper jack cheese.

The chicken is juicy, the batter is peppery and perfectly crispy, the spicy jalapeƱo/habanero cheese adds an additional measure of kick (this sandwich is really spicy for a Christian white bread organization. If you're sensitive, you might want to go with the Classic Chicken instead), the brush of buttery oil on the top of the bun is subtle, the Chik-fil-A Sauce is a  tangy addition, and the whole thing just works. Mind you, anyone of the fresh/seasonal/raw/organic ilk should steer clear. The list of ingredients reads like a mid-sixties experiment in astronaut food (impressively, monosodium glutamate appears not once but twice in the list). But the end result is undeniably tasty.

And then there are those waffle fries. What more can you say? They're really good waffle fries, and they've refrained from adding MSG to them.

Finally, there are breakfast items, chicken and pork (it's true, no cows) stuffed into various starches to make breakfast burritos, breakfast bagels, and the vaunted Chick-fil-A biscuit sandwiches.  Me, I just don't think of chicken as a breakfast food, unless it's in embryonic form. (Which just made me think: even a fertilized egg is not a chicken, just sayin'. D'oh!, politics again!) I had the bacon and cheese biscuit, and yeah, that's a damn fine biscuit.

OK, I've said my piece and hit a trending topic. I'm also tired of typing "Chik-fil-A," I'm getting an MSG headache, and to be honest, I'm feeling a little guilty about having dined there, boycott-off or no. Fortunately, I didn't order a soda, and took enough of their dipping sauces to sample that I'm pretty sure they lost money on my transaction.

But seriously, if your at all Chik-curious, it's okay to go and try it now. After all, if our dining options were limited to establishments whose CEOs didn't belong to religious groups that oppress gay people, or discriminate against women, it would be a small culinary world indeed.


  1. It's good when people learn and evolve, something that doesn't seem to happen much in this day and age. Good on ya Chick-fil-A, doen't feel better not to be a hater?
    The food.
    I still don't care for, despite the new added dash of acceptance. The egg biscuit was sickeningly sweet, and dry as a bone. Same goes for that chicken sandwich. I could taste the MSG right off the bat, that zinging thing that happens on your tongue, and it too was sweet, and then way to salty.
    I don't need to develop a taste for what might be one of the most unhealthy selections of food at a fast food joint.
    I'll take the grilled chicken from Carl's any day, maybe today.

  2. seasa, I'm sad to report to you that the Carl's Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich is unhealthier in every way, and by twice as much in most categories. Calories 610-420; Fat Calories 288-144; Total Fat 32-16; Saturated fat 8-3.5. It even edges it out in sodium, 1400-1300.

    If you don't like the taste, that's one thing, but don't fool yourself that just cuz Carl's is grilled that it's healthier. Here are the links.

  3. Hi Jess,

    As far as ideas for how to turn the Chik-fil-a coupon into a positive and protest their antediluvian anti-equal rights position, how about using the coupon as part of a pro-gay rights piece of artwork and auctioning it off on your website or eBay with the proceeds going to a pro-gay rights group. Just a drop in the bucket, but the press might be good...

    Chris Moore