Fried Chicken Breakfast Sandwich at Porchetta & Co.

Porchetta and Co. - Exchange TowerLocation: 130 King Street West, Toronto
Websitehttp://porchettaco.com/

The Exchange Tower location of Porchetta & Co. is a bit different from the other ones — it opens early, and it has a breakfast menu.  This menu includes a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.

Fried chicken in the morning?  Yes please.

Sadly, it’s not quite as great as you’d hope, but it’s fried chicken, an egg, and gooey cheese.  Of course it tastes good.  How could that combo not taste good?

Porchetta and Co. - Exchange Tower

Like all of the fried chicken at Porchetta & Co., the chicken here is perfectly cooked, with a satisfyingly crispy exterior.  It’s dipped in hot honey, with a very strong emphasis on the honey.  It’s sweet.  I wish there were a bit more spice, and maybe some vinegar to cut the sweetness, because it’s tasty, but it’s a bit cloying.

The egg was overcooked, with a chalky yolk — but other than that, the sandwich was solid.  The cheese was nice and melty, and the buttery toasted English muffin was the perfect vehicle for the chicken, egg, and cheese.

Fried Chicken Perfection at Heirloom

Heirloom Food TruckLocation: It’s a truck, so check Twitter or their website
Websitehttps://www.heirloomtoronto.com/

Either my memory is wrong or the food at the Heirloom food truck has seriously improved, because I have a vague recollection of trying their fried chicken sandwich a few years ago and not being particularly impressed.

I just had the Szechuan fried chicken sandwich, and holy guacamole, it was so good.

Heirloom’s menu describes this as “brined chicken thigh, homemade Szechuan sauce, pickled cucumber, bean sprout, organic peanut, scallion aioli, brioche bun.”

Heirloom Food Truck

My only real complaint is that the chicken was a bit dry; though the menu claims they’re using thigh meat, I’m fairly certain it was actually breast.  Either way, it was slightly overcooked and a bit less juicy than it should have been.

Other than that?  Crazy good.

The exterior crisp-factor was perfect, with a profound level of crunchiness that’s never overbearing.

And let’s face it: there are very few things in life more satisfying than biting into a perfectly crispy piece of fried chicken.

Heirloom Food Truck

The sandwich is saucy as hell (it’s impossible to eat without getting sauce all over your hands and face), but it absolutely works.

The Szechuan sauce is sweet, savoury, garlicky, and a little bit spicy (this is a minor complaint, but I wish it were a bit spicier.  It’s basically a mild tingle).  It’s absolutely fantastic, and the big peanut chunks give it a nice nutty crunchiness.

The richness of the aioli works great with the flavour-packed sauce, and the pickled veggies help to cut through the overall heaviness of the sandwich.

The whole thing is an absolute assault of assertive flavours and textures, but it’s so well balanced.  It’s easily one of the best fried chicken sandwiches I’ve had in a while.

Amazing Roast Beef at Woodfire Sandwich Co.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.Location: 3797 Lake Shore Boulevard West, Etobicoke
Websitehttps://www.woodfiresandwich.com/

You can’t go wrong with a really good sandwich.  And the folks at Woodfire Sandwich Co. certainly seem to know their stuff.

In particular, the First Date — a roast beef sandwich with crispy onions, arugula, gorgonzola, sauteed mushrooms, and mayo — was something special.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.

The sandwich is crammed with an absolutely absurd amount of rare roast beef; this would be overwhelming with lesser quality beef, but here it’s amazing.  The meat is perfectly tender, with a really satisfying beefy flavour that’s only amplified by the fact that they serve it cold.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.

Beef and mushrooms are best friends, so I don’t need to tell you that this combination was great.  The cheese and the mayo add a nice amount of creaminess, and the peppery arugula does a great job of keeping the sandwich’s richer flavours in check.

It’s served in a sesame seed roll that perfectly straddles the line between lightness and heft; it makes its presence known and holds up well to the onslaught of beef and mushrooms, but it never overwhelms.  It’s a great roll for a great sandwich.

Woodfire Sandwich Co.

I also tried the fried chicken sandwich, which was less great (or more accurately: not great at all).  It was fine, but nothing about it stands out.    The exterior didn’t really have the crisp factor that you’re looking for in a great fried chicken sandwich, and the seasoning was ho-hum.  Plus, the chicken itself (white meat, sadly) was slightly overcooked and a bit dry.  It was a perfectly acceptable sandwich, but nothing about it stood out like the amazing roast beef.

Decent Fried Chicken at Love Chix

Love ChixLocation: 111 Richmond Street West, Toronto (in the Assembly Chef’s Hall)
Websitehttp://www.lovechix.ca/

I got nervous when, after I ordered my chicken sandwich from Love Chix, they opened a drawer filled with pre-cooked chicken pieces and then dunked one in the fryer to reheat it.

Thankfully, it certainly could have been worse, but the chicken was dry and overcooked, and it’s easy enough to see why.  This might have been less of an issue if they started with dark meat, which has a bit more leeway during the cooking process before it dries out.  But it was white meat, and “moist” was not a word in its vocabulary.

Love Chix

The sandwich was otherwise quite tasty.  It’s tossed in a honey hot sauce and topped with buttermilk ranch, coleslaw, and arugula.  The honey flavour was quite pronounced, but there was enough of a spicy kick and a vinegary bite to balance out the sweetness.  The creamy ranch and the peppery arugula helped to round things out.  It was actually quite tasty.

And while the crunch factor wasn’t quite as pronounced as it could have been, it was certainly satisfying.

I just wish the meat itself weren’t so dry.  I certainly understand why they serve their chicken this way; people might get impatient to wait the almost ten minutes it would take to fry a piece of chicken from scratch.  But I wish they’d give you a choice.

Italian Pesto Chicken Sandwich at McDonald’s

McDonald'sLocation: 5310 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Websitehttps://www.mcdonalds.ca

Next stop on the World Taste Tour: Italy, with the Italian Pesto Chicken Sandwich.  This is a McChicken patty topped with a pesto aioli sauce, shaved parmesan, arugula, and tomato.  It’s served on a “toasted focaccia bun sprinkled with rosemary.”

It’s actually not bad.  It’s definitely a lot better than the Chinese Szechuan Burger, and probably about on the same level as the French Creme Brulee McFlurry.

Like with the Szechuan Burger, the biggest issue here is with the meat itself.

McDonald's

The chicken patty is what it is.  It’s spongy, salty, ultra-processed, and has about as much resemblance to an actual piece of chicken as a Hyundai has to a Ferrari.  They’re in the same general ballpark, but they’re really not the same thing.

It’s junk, but then anyone walking through the doors of a McDonald’s knows exactly what they’re going to get.  Again: it is what it is.  It’s fine.

And everything else was pretty good.  The pesto aioli sauce has a surprisingly vibrant pesto flavour, and the shaved parmesan isn’t bad at all.  Parmesan, pesto, and peppery arugula are a boffo combination, and McDonald’s doesn’t mess it up.  The whole thing is aggressively salty, but other than that it tastes pretty good.

There wasn’t much rosemary flavour from the bun, but it was fresh, hearty, and a little bit chewy.  It suited the sandwich nicely.