The Perilous Plight of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

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Gabby Martin

My outrageous amount of Popeyes Chicken Sandwiches, fit into several bags, totaling at $24.

Gabby Martin, Opinion Editor

National fast-food chain Popeyes re-released their iconic chicken sandwich last Sunday and it’s to die for – literally (in case you missed, a Maryland man was fatally stabbed after cutting the line to get the sandwich.) The coveted sandwich was initially released in August, following a massive Twitter feud with Chick-Fil-A, which THEN caused the internet to go into wide-spread panic, resulting in the sandwich selling out practically everywhere.

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Now as an avid chicken sandwich fan, I was quite invested in this sandwich. I went to about 5 different Popeyes in the span of two weeks only to be presented with a frantically written, “NO CHICKEN SANDWICHES” sign on the door of every single store. Some time passed. I got broken up with, I had a couple of life-or-death situations at Austin City Limits, and college applications sent me to my death bed. I thought it was the end. 

Until I saw the light. The glimmering, greasy light that shone down from my Twitter timeline on October 28 as I read, “Y’all..the sandwich is back Sunday, November 3rd. Then every day.” I’m not going to lie, I definitely teared up a little bit- I knew this was a gift from the chicken sandwich gods. 

So I submitted my TCU application and marched my single self to the promised land to retrieve my very own Popeyes chicken sandwich (so you don’t have to.)

I got to Popeyes around 1 pm, and upon arrival, it didn’t look that busy (spoiler alert: BOY, WAS I WRONG.) I shuffled my tiny Mazda Miata into the line- which was wrapped around the building twice- anxiously waiting to see if I was going to be faced with rejection yet again. After about 25 minutes in line, I placed my order for the #8 Chicken Sandwich combo, complete with a sweet tea and fries (I made sure I ordered the exact same thing that I usually get at Chick-Fil-A, so I could fairly compare the two restaurant.) The Popeyes employee told me to pull forward. Score. I’ve secured the bag.

The first thing I tried was the sweet tea. It was trash. I know sweet tea is essentially “leaf water” with sugar, but it tasted like they found some leaves by the new cafeteria, boiled those suckers in water, and added sugar. I gave that a solid 3/10. 

 Next were the fries. I’ve never been to Popeye’s before the release of the sandwich so I didn’t know what to expect them to taste like, and I was pleasantly surprised. They were crispy yet a little soggy, comparable to Chicken Express fries. They really stepped up the game with that little kick of salty and spicy from their signature cajun seasoning. I gave those an 8/10.

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the sandwich.

At first initial glance, the sandwich looks pretty similar to how it’s advertised. It’s definitely a big HUNK of chicken on a brioche bun (I’m no culinary expert so I have absolutely no idea what a brioche bun is supposed to look, let alone taste like, but I’m assuming Popeye’s did a solid job). 

The original Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Advertisement. Photo courtesy of Military Times.
My Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.

I took my first bite and I was honestly…stunned. The chicken breast itself is  EXTREMELY juicy and the breading is super flakey. Imagine a bigger, better version of a Raising Cane’s chicken finger and you’ve got Popeyes chicken breast. The specialty spicy mayonnaise that comes on the sandwich was surprisingly flavorful and actually spicy, but take that information with a grain of salt because I am a white girl who thinks that jalapenos are a gift from Satan himself. Lastly, the element that (I think) seals the deal is the pickles. The pickles are super crisp and a lot more flavorful than Chick-Fil-A’s, kind of like a kosher pickle. The final consensus? I gave it a 9/10. After I ate the beautiful creation I took a two-hour nap. It was that good.

I am not writing this review to force you to pick a side on the Chicken Sandwich Powerhouse Spectrum. In fact, I still do really like Chick-Fil-A’s sandwich. But I am here to say that Popeyes made a name for themselves with this sandwich, and Chick-Fil-A should feel slightly threatened. The mass marketing hysteria that Popeyes was able to pull off, followed by a quality product, is impressive, and I can definitely say that a lot more of my minimum-wage paycheck will be going to Popeyes. 

 

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