Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve written about Chica’s Chicken many, many times on this blog. I’ve mentioned that I think they serve the best fried chicken in the city, and that’s still probably true — even if I wasn’t crazy about this particular sandwich.
The Jalapeno Popper Sando, as per their menu: “boneless fried chicken topped with chipotle aioli and pickled jalapeños, served on a toasted brioche bun.”
The fried chicken is as delicious as ever; it’s the perfect combo of crispy (but not overbearing) exterior and juicy interior. It’s so damn good.
I’m not quite as sold on the rest of the sandwich, however. It’s that chipotle aioli. It’s sweet. I like the sweet/salty combo as much as the next guy, but holy moly the level of intense sugariness here is a bit intense. It overpowers the other flavours of the sandwich. I find the Sweet Heat sandwich at Chica’s to be a bit on the sweet side, and this one is even sweeter, somehow. Between the sweet sauce and the sweet brioche bun, the flavour is extremely one note.
It also tastes absolutely nothing like a jalapeno popper, which is odd. The whole point of a jalepeno popper is the contrast between the tangy cream cheese and the spicy bite of the jalapeno, and I don’t think there was any cream cheese here?? Or if there was, I couldn’t taste it over the aggressive sweetness.
Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had a jalapeno popper that was even remotely sweet. Am I the weird one, or is Chica’s?
Oh well. Everything else on the menu is so good that I don’t particularly care, but this is still an odd misstep from an otherwise great restaurant.
Location: 2853 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I’ve written about Chica’s many times on this blog, so I’ll make this brief.
Most importantly: yes, their fried chicken is just as good as ever. And the restaurant was packed (the other times I’ve visited it’s been half full at best), so I think the word is finally getting out that Chica’s is doing something amazing.
The sweet heat has been an occasional special up to this point, but they’ve recently added it onto the regular menu. It is predictably delicious.
It’s maybe borderline too sweet, but it’s balanced out quite well by the vinegary bite of the pickled jalapenos. It’s probably my least favourite thing on the menu, but that says more about the deliciousness of everything on offer here than it does about this particular sandwich. It’s still incredibly good.
It’s the fried chicken itself. It’s magical. The contrast between the perfectly crunchy exterior and the juicy interior is the stuff dreams are made of. If you like fried chicken and you haven’t tried Chica’s yet, you’re living your life wrong.
Location: 162 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
The last time I tried Bobbie Sue’s Mac + Cheese, I had the carbonara — it was absolutely delicious, but not exactly a traditional bowl of mac and cheese. I figured I should probably try the real deal.
So I went back and tried the jalapeno and bacon, which is a classic mac and cheese with pickled jalapenos and cubes of bacon (which I’m pretty sure is the pancetta from the carbonara) mixed in. This was a special, so it may or may not be on the menu when you visit.
It’s delicious. The mac and cheese is abundantly rich and cheesey, with perfectly al dente pasta and a nice crispy top from the oven. The meaty bacon and zippy jalapenos compliment it perfectly.
Bonus: the service was great. I picked up my mac and cheese from the counter and then immediately dropped it on the sidewalk (and the plate landed face down, because of course it did). The woman behind the counter witnessed this and quickly made me a new one free of charge, which was very much appreciated.
Location: 384 Bloor Street West (inside the Annex Food Hall)
I mentioned recently that I think Chica’s Chicken serves the best fried chicken in the city. I still think that, but PG Clucks is giving them some serious competition for that title.
I tried the Jalapeno and Honey (Toronto Life’s pick for the second best sandwich in the city): “Honey Dipped Chicken, Sweet Pickled Jalapeños, Fermented Jalapeño Sauce, Ranch Sauce.”
It’s so good. It’s quite sweet from the honey (the chicken is tossed in some kind of honey sauce) but it’s balanced perfectly by the zingy pickled jalapenos and the abundantly delicious ranch and jalapeno sauces. It’s almost absurd how delicious it is.
And the chicken itself is absolutely perfect — it’s super crispy, juicy, and flavourful.
Bonus: their new location, in the Annex Food Hall, is way nicer than the original on College. That one is just a closet-sized take-out joint, but this one actually has tables, which means that you don’t have to eat your sandwich hunched over on the sidewalk like an animal. That’s always nice.
Location: 1520 Aimco Boulevard, Mississauga
The Bacon Jalapeno Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s has pretty much everything I like in a fast food sandwich; it’s got gooey cheese (with both a melty cheese slice and cheese sauce), bacon, jalapenos, crispy fried onions, pickled jalapeno slices, and a smoky japaleno sauce.
So yeah, it’s good. They’d have to work pretty hard to mess it up.
The worst part about this chicken sandwich is, funnily enough, the chicken. The sandwich features their Spicy Chicken patty, and they keep it in one of those warming drawers (AKA the fast food ruiner).
So it’s dry, of course. It’s also a little bit too salty, and thoroughly infused with a vaguely unpleasant processed flavour.
The toppings are so abundant, however, that it’s barely even an issue. I only had one or two bites that weren’t crammed with stuff.
You’ve got the richness from the cheeses, crispiness from the fried onions, zestiness from the sauce, a nice meaty bite from the bacon, and a good amount of acidity from the jalapenos to help cut through the sandwich’s richness. It’s quite tasty.
It also has a decent kick to it — it’s nothing too aggressive, but for something from a fast food joint, it’s not bad.