Fast Food Review: NEW! Spicy Chicken Biscuit from Chick-fil-A
I am a pretentious breakfast eater. Every morning I enter my college’s dining hall, grab a banana and a handful of walnuts, and make myself unsweetened oatmeal with skim milk. Then I eat a enormous batch of scrambled egg whites with spinach, tomato and shrimp, and wash it all down with a warm mug of medium dark roast coffee. When I’m feeling really crazy, I’ll relive my high school wild-child days and fill a bowl with Malt-O-Meal’s Tooty Frooties, eating them one by one with my fingers while I watch Sportscenter. In either case, I stare at the kids eating biscuits, sausage and gravy, and wonder what planet they’re from.
Needless to say, I don’t get your traditional southern breakfast.
But I DO get Chick-fil-A, and my love of the Atlanta-based restaurant knows no bounds. I’ve already stayed up some 50+ hours in frigid Utah conditions to win Chick-fil-A coupons, and I’ve been known to pass up much, uh, more expensive establishments in order to savor the delicious number one combo meal. In other words, I would basically marry Chick-fil-A if possible.
But just not for breakfast. Breakfast can be a lot of things for a suburban Maryland native – healthy, sweet, and heavily artificial if the cartoon character is funny enough and a toy is involved amidst a pile of processed corn and sugar – but savory and fatty? These are sensations meant for after 11 AM, never before. And breakfast is NEVER supposed to be spicy. That just doesn’t work with coffee, and breakfast is not breakfast in this country without coffee. Don’t agree with me? Fine, don’t let the door hit you on your way out to Canada.
But back to breakfast, and the obviously insane combination of fat + meat + spicy. It just couldn’t possibly work for me, mind you, even if, say, an eating institution such as my beloved CFA were to offer it. True, the Chicken Biscuit caught me off guard in all it’s glory during my November travels, but that was an isolated incident. I’d entertain CFA’s little promotion for a Spicy Chicken Biscuit, but only because the friends expected me to, and only because I have a reputation as a serious connoisseur of all things CFA I have to live up to. But in all seriousness, I fully expected to be rather “meh” about the new Spicy Chicken Biscuit, and even brought a fire extinguisher to my local CFA in fear that the combination of hot coffee + spicy biscuit would lead to spontaneous combustion. I’m not afraid to burst into flames, mind you, but to do so without providing protection to the purveyors of such an institution would be a careless oversight as a loyal CFA fan, and I do have my reputation to think about. All that being said, I was pleasantly surprised at the CFA Spicy Chicken Biscuit, although I remain far from giving up my pretentious, set-in-stone breakfast habits. But we’ll come to that later. For now, let’s review the good.
It starts with the chicken (surprise, surprise). The chicken breast is the familiar, juicy, slightly sweet/slightly nutty pressure cooked breast we’ve all come to expect and love, and it’s almost without flaw. Neither overly crunchy in breading or slimy or oily, it’s tender white meat yields a sweet quality. In its spicy version, the chicken breast doesn’t overwhelm you with heat, but it does catch you on the backside of your mouth. It’s a cayenne/paprika kind of heat – not overly intense, and not off-putting even for someone like me. That was one thing which really surprised me. I could have had water or milk with this, but I didn’t need it. It should be noted, however, that all my fellow diners had milkshakes after eating, with two of them claiming they “felt” like they needed a milkshake because of the heat of the sandwich. I think they just wanted an excuse to have a milkshake at 9 AM, but who am I to blame them?
As for that fatty southern staple, the iconic biscuit? It had a good buttermilk flavor, at least for an inexperienced northerner like myself. A bit tangy and chewy, I thought it foiled the heat of the chicken a good deal. My big complaint, however, was the obvious failage of my biscuit. It flaked apart too easily, and was flimsy after a mere bite. My fellow eaters seemed to have better biscuits, and I know CFA does have baking specialists who help make their biscuits MUCH more memorable than the kind at my college dining hall, but the biscuit, for being better than anticipated, still wasn’t world-shattering.
Which brings me to my biggest gripe with the Spicy Chicken Biscuit. It’s good, no doubt, but is it something that will bring more people to CFA for breakfast? No, I don’t think it will. The CFA I had breakfast in was almost empty, and while we may have been Yankees in Maryland, I just don’t see the Spicy Biscuit as a real breakthrough item. The inconsistency of the biscuit texture makes eating on the fly tough, especially if your side drink is hot coffee. I also question how substantial it is. While it left me feeling full, it didn’t exactly prevent others at my table from expressing a “that’s it?” sentiment. Chris, a notorious eater, had to go back for another AND a large milkshake. Judging on your own appetite, it may not be enough to tide you over the next 3 or so hours.
Personally, I’m glad I didn’t have to break of the fire extinguisher, and I’m glad CFA once again tested my culinary sense of adventure with eating an item I probably wouldn’t spring for on a regular basis. If eating fast food breakfast is your dealio, than I suggest it. But if you’re like me – a pretentious, OMG WHAT IS MEAT DOING AT BREAKFAST – kinda person, than I just don’t see making this a regular purchase worth it. I may be willing to date a Spicy CFA Chicken Biscuit for the thrill, but when it comes to the true love of my life, my heart will always wait for after 10:30 AM.
Pros: Moist. Juicy. Tender. Need I abuse the dictionary of cliche but appropriate terms to describe the CFA pressure-cooked breast? Voluptuous would be my next choice, but that might weird you out too much. Not a bad price. Protein + Fat keeps me full for breakfast. Trying new things in the new year. Saving calories on asking for no butter.
Cons: Biscuit failage. Lack of serious heat may bother people looking for an excuse to have a milkshake at breakfast. Dating metaphors for long-dead chickens. Revealing my breakfast pretensions to the world. Good source of saturated fat.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.75/10
Overall GrubGrade: 7.50/10
More Info: ChickfilA.com
Pending official release (January 10th)