Completely Random Product Reviews

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Popeyes Chicken!

Posted by bronzechains on July 14, 2009

No, I didn’t forget the apostrophe in “Popeyes”; that’s how they spell it.  Recently, my ex-wife Kelli and I (along with her man, Alex) took our kids to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis for a day of education and fun.  If you live nearby, it’s well worth your time.  That place kicks ass, for realz.  Don’t worry, I was speaking (or typing) facetiously when I said “for realz”.  I don’t really talk like that.  Anyway, after playing at the museum all day, everyone was ready for a filling meal.  We had initially planned on waiting until we got back to town to eat, but the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on 38th in Indy caught our eyes.  We’d recently discussed the fact that none of us had ever eaten at Popeyes, and everyone seemed down for some fried bird.  So we made it happen, and am I ever glad!

For starters, the restaurant seemed pretty clean.  There was a children’s area that had books, small toys, and kid-sized chairs.  As a parent of 4, I really appreciated that.  The kids entertained themselves while we ordered food for everyone.  The kid’s meals were reasonably priced at $2.99, so we didn’t break the bank feeding our clan.  I hadn’t eaten all day, so I went for the 3 piece chicken meal, with dark meat.  They offer regular and spicy chicken, and I naturally opted for the spicy.  I chose red beans and rice to go along with my chicken and biscuit.  I ordered some whole pickled jalapenos, simply because I’d never seen them on a side item menu and it seemed novel.  My meal rang up at a little over eight bucks.  Not bad for a 3 piece meal and a drink.  Feast thine eyes upon the treasure:

popeyes

It was difficult to accurately judge just how spicy the chicken was, because I took a huge bite of one of the jalapenos before anything else.  Yeah, I know.  Some food critic I am….  The chicken was hot, moist and meaty on the inside.  The outside was crispy and pretty much perfect!  Better than KFC, fo sho.  I could see some kind of reddish-orange seasoning occasionally peeking out from beneath the skin, which I’m guessing was the spicy flavoring.  The biscuit was good, but not outstanding.  For a fast food biscuit, it was more than adequate.  Buttery, fresh, and not hard or dry at all.  It reminded me of a Hardee’s biscuit, which isn’t a bad thing.  The jalapenos were, well….pickled jalapenos.  It’s kinda hard to screw those up.  Open the jar, dump them in the styrofoam bowl.  Mission accomplished.

The real star of this meal was the red beans and rice.  I’ll be completely honest and admit that I’d never had this particular iconic Creole dish before.  So maybe a fast food place isn’t the best spot to have my first taste.  I may not be a Lousiana food expert, but dammit, I know what I like.  And I like Popeyes red beans and rice.  I could make a meal out of that stuff, seriously.  The beans had a wonderful smoky pork flavor, and went perfectly with the steamed rice.  Shit, my mouth is watering again just typing this.  The chicken was good, but this stuff wins the gold medal.  I’m kind of pissed off that there’s no Popeyes in my city, because I want some more red beans and rice.  I’m not sure if I want to try making the stuff myself, so I may just have to wait for another excuse to go to Indianapolis.

The kids all had fried chicken with mashed potatoes, which received thumbs up from them.  Kelli dug her chicken, as well.  She did mention that the mashed potatoes had a strange, uniform lumpiness to them that she didn’t care for.  She said it seemed as if the lumps were purposely put into the mashed potatoes.  Hmmm…worth noting.  Alex ordered fried catfish, and was kind enough to tear me off a chunk.  It was excellent, from what I could tell.  The breading had a good cajun flavor, and wasn’t overly salty.  I may give it a shot next time.

Our cashier was friendly, and didn’t screw up our order.  I should mention that, because it’s an important part of the restaurant experience.  We even sang a verse of “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States of America together when it came on the radio in the restaurant.  I would have given her a hug, if it weren’t for the counter between us.  Well that, and the fact that she probably would have thought I was weird and thrown me out of the restaurant.  Yeah, so maybe not the hug.  A high five perhaps?  Maybe I’ll just respect that customer/cashier barrier that exists in most circumstances.  The one thing I have to deduct points for is the restroom.  It was in pretty sad shape, but not any worse than you’d find in any gas station.  The knob on the sink came off when I turned it on to wash my hands.  I thought about stealing it, but quickly remembered that I’m 29.

If Popeyes were a grade school student and my dining experience was a homework assignment turned in to me, the teacher, I’d give it a 93%.  Good job, Popeyes.  You get an “A”, and a little “scratch and sniff” sticker that has a monkey eating a banana on it.  The sticker says “I’m bananas for you!” and smells like bananas.  Popeyes wins 😀

As a super special bonus for putting up with my meandering, often annoyingly aimless product reviews, I’m including a list of the songs that played on my Ipod while I wrote this review.  I’m not sure if that’s really any kind of bonus or not, but it’s happening.  Enjoy:

Ace of Base – The Sign

Juliana Hatfield – Necessito

Toto – Africa

Rocky Horror Show (original Roxy cast) – Time Warp

Devin Townsend – Truth

Concrete Blonde – The Sky is a Poisonous Garden

Spacehog – The Horror

Pearl Jam – Hail Hail

Minor Threat – Straight Edge

Tiamat – Angel Holograms

Amon Amarth – With Oden on Our Side

Wu-Tang Clan – Da Mystery of Chessboxin’

Britney Spears – Stronger

Faith No More – The Last To Know

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Kashi Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Posted by bronzechains on January 14, 2009

This is the second and final (for now) installment of my Kashi frozen dinner experiment.  In the last review, I covered the Kashi Chicken Florentine.  My overall review of that product was pretty poor.  The bad definitely outweighed the good in that one.  I took the Lemon Rosemary Chicken to work with me last night, and I’ll admit, my expectations were lowered by my first exposure to this brand.  It’s not good when a frozen dinner intended for humans reminds the consumer of something an animal might enjoy.  I’m happy to report that this frozen dinner was considerably better than the Chicken Florentine, but was not without it’s flaws.

lemonrosemarychicken

Again, the central themes of this meal were grilled chicken and Kashi’s multigrain pilaf, which consists of whole oats, long grain brown rice, rye, hard red winter wheat, triticale, buckwheat, dehulled barley, and sesame seeds.  That’s a lot of grainy goodness to please your colon.  Seriously, you’ll probably clean that shit right out if you eat enough of this stuff.  The pilaf seemed much more palatable this time around, which I’m attributing to the different seasoning and sauce that this meal has.  After my second date with the pilaf, I’ve grown to love the stuff.  It’s texture is as close to exciting as one can get with food, without sounding like some kind of crazed food-sex fiend.  The sauce contains white wine, lemon, and rosemary.  As was the case with the Chicken Florentine, this sauce was rather weak.  I could taste the faintest hint of lemon, but rosemary was hiding too far in the background to make much of an appearance.  And I love me some rosemary.  The chicken was, again, very tasty and of high quality.  No gristly chunks here.  Kashi doesn’t mess around when it comes to their poultry.  I was neither pleased nor disappointed with the amount of chicken in this dish.  There could have been more, but they didn’t really skimp on it.  Portabello mushrooms were much more plentiful in this meal than the other.  I found about five or six slices, all of which were quite tasty.  I was a bit disappointed with the skimpy amount of sugar snap peas, but they were delicious.  Peas in the pod are a favorite of mine.  The portion size was great, considering how low-calorie this meal is.  After I finished eating, I had one of those 100 calorie packs of chocolate chip cookies and I was definitely full.

My biggest problem with the Lemon Rosemary Chicken was that, for having the words “lemon” and “rosemary” in the name, both were surprisingly tame.  I was expecting a good citrus kick, but instead had trouble identifying it at all.  More surprising was the lack of rosemary flavor.  Rosemary is an herb that many people overuse when cooking.  It doesn’t take much, but Kashi somehow managed to rob me of my rosemary-flavored fantasy.  Okay, that may be a bit dramatic.  I wasn’t really fantasizing about rosemary.  Well, at least not this time.  Regardless, the overall flavor in this dish was somewhat disappointing.  It was still better than the Chicken Florentine.  A few more sugar snap peas would have been nice, too.

In regard to nutrition, this meal had 330 calories, 80 of which were from fat.  Not too bad.  My dad has a rule where he tries to keep the fat calories in his food at 1/4 of the total calories or less.  I keep that in mind when eating, and this meal definitely fits into that guideline.  You’ll get all your daily need of Vitamin C, and 10% of your iron from this.  And 5 grams of dietary fiber!  If you’re willing to sacrifice some flavor for a much more nutritious meal, this may be right up your alley.  You wanna know what’s right up my alley?  Some fucking rosemary and lemon where it’s advertised.  Just something to think about, Kashi.

If I happen to see the Kashi frozen dinners on sale again, I just may give some of the other varieties a shot.  I haven’t completely given up hope on this brand.  That Chicken Florentine can go straight to hell, though.

As a final statement for this two-part Kashi series, I’d like to say this.  I appreciate what Kashi is doing.  There are a million choices when it comes to frozen dinners and convenience foods.  And most of them are godawful in regard to nutrition.  Just take a look at any of the Hungry-Man XXL frozen dinners.  Those bastards trick the consumer by saying that one serving is 1/2 the package.  Who the hell do you know that eats half a frozen dinner?  They can get away with saying the meal only has 500 calories, because that’s only for half the fucking box.  I’ll bet that most people won’t notice the part of the label that says you’re only supposed to eat half the box.  Dirty, misleading jerks.  If you eat those, you’re practically asking for a heart attack.  And I won’t go on a long-winded rant about variety, but how many different ways can you package battered chicken, french fries, rice, pizza, pasta, corn, or shitty brownies in a frozen dinner?  Seriously, out of all those frozen dinners there are probably only 15 different things they’re putting in the box.  It’s all the same shit, just packaged or dressed up differently.

But I digress…My point is, Kashi is thinking outside the box.  They’re coming up with something different, and they’re making it pretty healthy.  Not just “healthy for a frozen dinner”, but legitimately nutritious.  There’s crap in their meals that is actually good for you.  Kashi has a plethora of other products, including crackers, multigrain bars, cookies, various frozen foods, side dishes, and over a dozen different cereals,.  I’ll keep an eye out for more of their products on sale.  I won’t buy them at full price, because I’m a poor bastard.

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken Kit

Posted by bronzechains on January 11, 2009

Welcome to Completely Random Product Reviews!  The content of this blog will just as the name implies.  There will be no theme to the products reviewed here.  Unless you consider “whatever I happen to buy and review” a theme.  Most products covered here will be inexpensive, “everyday” items.

kungpao

The first product I’m reviewing is a shelf-stable dinner kit from Wanchai Ferry, a brand owned by the General Mills Corporation.  I purchased the Kung Pao chicken kit from Wal-Mart for somewhere around five or six dollars.  The kit includes uncooked jasmine rice, a pouch of kung pao sauce, dried chile peppers, and roasted peanuts.  The recipe calls for one pound of chicken breast, which is not included.  I cheated and used pre-cooked diced chicken breast because I’m a lazy bachelor.  Some elitist kitchen snobs may turn their nose up at the idea, but a good brand of canned, diced chicken breast will work just fine.  Just make sure you drain it well first if you choose to go that route.  Water and a little cooking oil are also needed to prepare this kit.  Everything you need to know is right on the back of the box, but I’m going to tell you anyway just to make myself feel useful.

I tore into the box and was eating the stuff within about 25 minutes.  The chicken/sauce/peanuts/chile pepper mixture is prepared while the rice is cooking, which turns out to be a big time saver.  I noticed that the sauce smelled strongly of soy sauce and ginger while it was cooking.  Dammit, it smelled good!  As I said before, this kit comes together as a finished meal pretty quickly.  That is, if you read the directions and make sure you have everything you need on hand and ready to go.  Too many people don’t properly prepare when diving into a recipe.  I know I’ve done it a few times.  It really sucks when you’re halfway in, right in the middle of a time-sensitive step of your recipe, and you realize you don’t have something chopped/diced/thawed/etc.  Don’t forget the cooking oil!  One tablespoon (or two if you’re not using a nonstick pan) should suffice.  Here’s a picture of what I consider one serving of the finished dish:

kungpao2

The nutrition facts label claims that the finished product serves five, but I disagree.  I’m calling it three servings.  And that’s not the stereotypical over-eating fatty talking.  I put what I considered to be a sensible portion on a plate, and had two more servings of the same size left over.  As far as the taste, I couldn’t be happier with this product.  For the price and time spent preparing it, this stuff is great.  Just as the smell of the sauce indicated, the sauce had a wonderful ginger/soy sauce flavor.  Not too sweet, either.  The chile peppers added what I consider to be the perfect spicy kick, but I have a pretty high tolerance for the kind of heat you get from hot peppers.  If you don’t care for the burn that spicy foods can lay on you, don’t use the whole pouch of peppers.  I’d definitely urge you to try at least one or two peppers, though.  They’re a necessary ingredient.  I crushed the dried peppers slightly before adding them to the skillet, to release the seeds from the pepper pods.  That really turned up the heat, so avoid doing that if you’re a wimp when it comes to spicy foods.  I wouldn’t recommend eating the peppers, as they’re very difficult to chew, and have a slightly bitter flavor when eaten.  You could remove them from the dish before serving it, but they add to the visual appeal of the finished product.  So just eat around them!  Give them to the dog when you’re done, and laugh at his discomfort.  Or not.  I could have used a few less roasted peanuts in this dish, but that’s just me.  They turned out to be a surprisingly prominent flavor.  Nobody’s holding a gun to your head to follow the recipe exactly, so fool around with it if you wish.  I think some vegetables added to the skillet while the chicken cooks would be an excellent addition.  I’m thinking I might go with some sliced mushrooms, onions and julienned carrots next time…

Final word:  I’ll definitely buy this product again.  Other varities currently offered by Wanchai Ferry are Sweet and Sour Chicken, Spicy Garlic Chicken, and Cashew Chicken.  Buy dis shit, yo!

Posted in Food, Grocery | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »