Wendy’s Flavor-Dipped Chicken Sandwich is pretty important to me.  They were first offered a while back when I was first starting Sandwichtalk, and I didn’t get a chance to try and review them.  They’ve haunted me ever since, a reminder that sandwiches don’t last forever and I have to be on the ball.  Wendy’s recently decided to bring them back, for which I am grateful.  I get the chance to give them the review they deserve: a mediocre one.

This isn't a great picture, but there's next to no information on these sandwiches online. Even the Wendy's website doesn't mention them.

The premise of these sandwiches is that the chicken breast is coated in a sauce, either barbeque or buffalo.  I opted for the BBQ option, which included pickles and onions.  It was  a lot like the McRib of McDonald’s fame, or any number of BBQ pork sandwiches.  The sandwich wasn’t bad, although it’s pretty messy.  It feels like overkill though, since a little bit of barbeque sauce goes a long way, and I can only imagine how overpowering the buffalo sandwich must be.

The Flavor-Dipped Sandwiches go for around $5, more if included in a combo.  They’re decent, but a bit expensive for what you get.  Wendy’s has better sandwiches on the menu, I’d probably go with one of those instead.

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Applebee’s is a family restaurant/bar known for their appetizer specials, trivia nights, and all around ubiquitousness.  They have a number of burger and sandwich offerings, and looking back through previous entries, I was surprised to discover I haven’t reviewed anything of theirs yet.  Well, that changes today.  Among their various and sundry appetizers they have a cheeseburger slider platter, which comes with fries and can include bacon for an added fee.

It's three, three, THREE times the tiny cheeseburger!!

The sliders consist of a small patty, cheese, diced onions, Applebee’s “signature burger sauce”, and bacon on a ciabatta-type roll.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m not usually a big fan of sliders, especially when they’re presented as a full meal option.  Applebee’s wisely avoids this problem, and as an appetizer/light meal, I really enjoyed them.  The patties were good, and although there was only about a half-strip of bacon on each, it really made a difference in the flavor.  The sauce was good too, it was somewhere in between a regular A1-style steak sauce and Steak and Shake’s Frisco sauce.  The ciabatta roll was a nice touch, it added a sense of elegance to the burgers which a mini hamburger bun couldn’t have.

The Cheeseburger Slider Platter costs around $7, with an additional 50 cents for bacon.  However, Applebee’s offers nightly half off appetizer deals, which I would highly recommend you take advantage of.  It’s a great appetizer, and with another small order it could make a great meal.

This May, Subway has selected their Orchard Chicken Salad sub to be the latest $5 Footlong of the month.  The timing of this one is interesting, because Arby’s just added a Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad sandwich to their Market Fresh menu.  I thought it would be an interesting, unique idea to review them side by side and see which one is better.  Then I visited Arby’s Facebook page and saw that they had the same idea.

They even made a graphic for it. Sirs, I am outdone!!

 Still, I doubt any of their Facebook fans have the dedication to sandwich quality I’ve demonstrated, so hopefully this becomes the definitive review of the two.  These sandwiches are a bit outside of the usual fare I cover here on Sandwichtalk (for more on my usual fare, type “bacon” or “BBQ” into the search field on the right and see what comes up).  I’ll admit that the combination of fruit and mayonnaise is kind of a turnoff for me on a conceptual level, but I can get past it.  I’ll be comparing the two in a couple different categories, so let’s get started!

The Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Sandwich

First, and most importantly, I’ll begin with taste.  Both salads were made up of pretty similar ingredients, including chicken, apples, and celery, mixed with mayonnaise.  The Arby’s version, which I had in the Whole Wheat Wrap iteration, includes grapes, pecans, and leaf lettuce, which is actually really nice.  It tasted alright, although the celery was cut a bit thick and it threw the texture off.  The Subway recipe, on the other hand, included raisins and cranberries, and I got mine on Italian bread with lettuce, although I removed most of it halfway through.  The celery was cut thinner, which was nice, but the real win here were the cranberries, which added an interesting kick.  The pecans were a nice touch on the Arby’s side, but not enough to win.  Walnuts would’ve been better.

Winner: Subway

Subway Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich

Next up is nutrition.  I don’t usually cover nutrition info on Sandwichtalk, because my assumption is that you understand that eating at a fast food restaurant is by definition not going to be as good for you as a home cooked meal or eating at a nicer, more upscale venue.  However, given that the main thrust of these sandwiches is as a light, healthy alternative to mainstream fast food, I thought it was worth a look.  According to Subway’s website, the Orchard Chicken Salad contains 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 560 mg of sodium.  Compare that to the Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad, which according to Arby’s contains 630 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 1020 mg of sodium as a wrap, and 840 calories, 44 grams of fat, and 1220 mg of sodium on the honey wheat bread.  Neither seems like an ideal choice for a diet, but Subway is the clear victor here.

Winner: Subway

Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Wrap (this is the version I had)

 Finally, we have value in terms of price.  This one is a bit more complicated.  Arby’s is offering a free sandwich with purchase of a drink via a coupon on their Facebook page.  If you use this coupon, Arby’s is far and away a better deal, since a drink is only about a dollar and a half.  Without the coupon, the Arby’s sandwich is about $4.79 for the sandwich and $6 for the combo, which includes fries and a drink.  For just the sandwich alone, Subway is a much better deal, being a footlong.  However, if you want a meal, and I would suggest getting one since both sandwiches aren’t hugely filling, Arby’s is probably a better bet, since Subway combos will run up to around $10.

Winner: Arby’s

Given the nutritional facts and all around taste, I have to give the title of Best Fruity Chicken Salad Sandwich Special to Subway.  Both have their pros and cons and neither is quite what I want (hint- cranberries and pecans would be an amazing combination), but I’d eat the Orchard Chicken Salad again much sooner than I’d have the Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad.  If you disagree, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!

P.S.  No matter who you side with, be sure to vote on the Arby’s Facebook page.  They’re donating $1 for every vote to the charity No Kid Hungry, so that’s pretty cool.

Local hotspot University Roadhouse recently added a couple new entrees to their menu.  Among them was the Georgia Max Burger, a deluxe cheeseburger highly recommended to me by my roommate.  The Georgia Max is an interesting variant on the “Western BBQ” theme which was all the rage last summer.  Instead of simply adding a barbeque sauce, the burger is topped with barbeque pulled pork, as well as cheddar cheese, cajun mayo, and the obligatory crispy onion straws.

Our taste-blockers can't repel deliciousness of that magnitude!!

 As complicated as it sounds, the Georgia Max actually came together pretty well.  I’m a fan of pulled pork in general, and the combination of pork and ground beef wasn’t nearly as jarring as it could’ve been.  The pork was slightly crispy on the edges but still soft throughout, and the cajun mayo added a nice counterbalance to the prominent barbecue flavor.  The texture of the burger was a bit odd, given the combination of soft and crispy elements, but not to the point where it took away from the experience.  Also, as you can tell from the picture, it’s huge, so be sure to order it on an empty stomach.

The Georgia Max costs around $8 as part of a meal, an goes well with either regular or sweet potato fries.  I’d definitely recommend it next time you’re feeling pretty hungry.  It’s a nice twist on what’s now become a stock concept.

P.S.  I also want to thank my grandparents, who surprised me by stopping in town and taking me out for dinner so I could try it.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!

Although it’s not really new anymore, KFC‘s most recent addition to their admittedly paltry sandwich lineup is the Doublicious, which strikes me as kind of a do-over of their infamous Double Down.  Even the name seems like a reference, especially because there isn’t much “double” about the sandwich (the website describes it as a mix of two flavors, sweet and savory, but that seems like a stretch to me).  It works out though, because unlike the Double Down, the Doublicious is edible.  It’s even delicious.

It is a stupid name though. Every time I type it it looks wrong, because it makes no sense.

A lot of what makes the Doublicious right has to do with what made the Double Down so wrong in the first place.  As I said in that review, the Double Down has way too much meat and cheese, and without carbs to balance it out, it feels really heavy.  The Doublicious wisely drops the novelty of the second chicken breast and some of the bacon and cheese, and sandwiches what’s left (chicken, a slice of cheese, two strips of bacon, and the sauce) between a Hawaiian sandwich bun. 

The bun really is what elevates this sandwich beyond the average.  It’s sweet without being sugary, and it adds to the flavor in an interesting, but not overpowering way.  I’m a fan of Hawaiian bread in general, and I think it would go great on a ham or pork sandwich as well (although obviously, this is outside of KFC’s purview).  This sandwich takes the positive elements of the Double Down and gets the ratios right, which is what it needed all along.

The Doublicious is one of the $5 meal options at KFC right now, which means you get a side and a drink with the sandwich.  I’d highly recommend picking one of them up, it’s probably my favorite thing on their menu right now.  KFC has a long way to go before they deserve forgiveness for the Double Down, but this is a step in the right direction.

And now, because I love you guys, here’s a picture of Ken Jeong of NBC’s Community eating the Doublicious.

"I tried to slow them down by talking about KFC's new Doublicious sandwich, but they accused me of doing product integration!!"

Arby’s  has just introduced a new Angus beef sub, one of the inaugural menu options of their new “good mood food” slogan.  It’s interesting that they’re pushing Angus as a brand (they advertise on the website that they have at least three more Angus products coming soon), since they themselves have a roast beef they’ve been pushing for years.  Regardless, the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sub is here, and let me tell you, it’s not that great.

Don't make me Angus. You won't like me when I'm Angus.

 

The main problem I have with this sandwich is the Angus roast beef.  Regardless of how you feel about Angus beef, it tastes different from Arby’s regular roast beef.  I personally think the regular stuff is better, but more than that I think it’s better suited to the kinds of sandwiches Arby’s makes.  The other ingredients don’t fit quite as well with the flavor of the beef as they should.  The combination of cheeses (swiss, cheddar, and parmesan) feels kind of arbitrary, like they picked out the three cheapest cheeses they could find.  The sauce and bacon are fine, but unlike the other subs, the roll isn’t toasted (or at least the one I had wasn’t, and I’m inclined to think that’s how it’s supposed to be), which I never realized was important until it was gone.

I don’t think the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon was worth the trouble.  It might work with a little tweaking, but as it stands now, it’s definitely not worth the price (a little over $5 for the meal).  Arby’s has plenty of good subs and sandwiches, get something else instead.