It’s time to return to my new food column, with our special guest this week being Troy University’s A&W.
When walking up to A&W, the powering aroma of old grease greets you. Not really a pleasant smell, but if you are a starving college student, nothing — not even odd smells — can stop a grumbling stomach.
However, I’m not here to discuss the problems of hungry students. I’m here to help make sure students are eating good food and to show them where the best places are on campus to spend those Trojan flex dollars and points.
My comrade and I entered the crowded line of students in front of A&W, and debated about what we would each order.
I went with a classic and ever-popular Papa Burger, with a side of cheese curds, but my friend decided she would take a brave leap and try the fast food restaurant’s new menu item, the Pacific Cod Fish Sandwich with a side of chili cheese fries.
I also got the signature Root Beer float at A&W — a float that many say is what the chain is known for and makes it unique.
So, here we are again waiting and waiting — a common theme throughout our campus food options. My burger and float did not take too long to make. I got my food at a reasonable time; if I were eating right before a class, I think I would have plenty of time to enjoy my meal and not be late.
However, the same cannot be said for my friend. She had to wait over six minutes to get her sandwich, and right before she got it, they said they forgot to ask her what she wanted on it.
She informed them that she wanted all that was advertised in the picture; lettuce, cheese and whatever sauce was in the picture of the sandwich.
So the A&W employees put on the lettuce and the cheese, and then brought it back to her, then preceded to ask if she wanted tartar sauce.
“Honestly, I said ‘no’ because I don’t like tartar sauce all too much, but I still expected them to put it on the sandwich when I said I wanted everything,” my companion said with mild annoyance. “I wanted what was advertised, and I was confused as to why they had to keep asking me what I wanted. I expected them to know what goes on the sandwich.”
Maybe it was a strange way of showing politeness or the fact that it was a new item that left the A&W employees with the need to ask students what they wanted on their sandwiches, but we may never know.
What we do know is that it is going to be quite the wait to get the Pacific Cod Fish Sandwich.
Now that this part of our journey was complete, it was time to move on to the next stage: the food itself.
Of burgers and sandwiches
Laughably far from what was advertised in its picture, the cod sandwich is not as pretty to look at.
“I added my own ketchup to my sandwich, since there was no sauce added, which again, I want to say it was OK that they didn’t add it,” my friend said. “I was standing around the front of A&W waiting, but most students sit down to wait for their food. If I hadn’t been up there when they asked what I wanted on it, I might have had a naked fish sandwich. That would not have been pleasant.”
But now on to the taste! My friend picked up her sandwich and took a bite.
“Ouch! It’s really hot,” she said. “But it’s all right. There is a crunch to it — I think it’s the lettuce that gives it that crunch — but it tastes fresh. It doesn’t really have a taste to it; the ketchup on it gives it a little flavor.
“Seeing how it is a specialty item and they are not used to making it all the time, it’s pretty good.”
Well, it was time to turn to my burger, which looked like a typical fast food burger: flat, wimpy and drizzled in sauce.
But as everyone knows, looks can be deceiving.
My first bite proved that saying to be true, it wasn’t the most spectacular burger, but it was decent and somewhat enjoyable.
The patty was fresh, and along with the cheese, lettuce and pickles, it had a nice flavor; however, there was a strong taste of pickles with each bite.
What really stood out and made the burger better than the average fast food burger was the Long Island sauce. The sauce would have made it superb, but the overpowering pickles put a small damper on the meal.
However, it was much better than anything you would get at Chick-fil-A, and way less of a hassle, too.
It seemed that I lucked out in this review for my entrée this time.
Straight outta the fryer:
chili cheese fries and cheese curds
Well, as my friend put it, how else can you describe the appearance of chili cheese fries?
There were messy chili, melted cheese and pretty yellow fries submerged amongst the chaos of delicious goodness.
However, my friend’s side item looked a tad bit unbalanced with one half of the fries having chili and the other half cheese.
She added that there was a bit more chili than cheese, but overall it still tasted pretty good.
“The chili is very flavorful,” she said. “It’s like it has a little attitude to it, not in-your-face attitude, but it has a small kick to it. There is not much meat in the chili, though, and I like a lot of meat in my chili. I like the more tomato-tasting chili, and I don’t taste much tomato.”
For the cheese part of her fries, she said she would give A&W an “A+.” She said the fries were good, not soggy or too hard.
Now, we move onto my cheese curds. I remember when I was a freshman and I heard horror stories about the cheese curds: they were too hot to the point where they burned the mess out of student’s tongues, and then there were times when they were too cold and undercooked.
You were considered brave for trying them — and finally I had worked up the courage to give these little curds a chance to prove themselves.
Upon my first bite, I could tell they were a tad bit undercooked, but they were quite enjoyable. I found myself eating quite a number of them, but I would not say I adore A&W’s cheese curds.
A&W’s cheese curds are adequate as far as school food goes, and they may even bring a small sense of enjoyment to any student’s meal.
A root beer to remember
Truly, it was splendid. I had my doubts when I received my cup and root beer came pouring out of it like lava from a volcano, but from the first sip, I knew that A&W here on campus has a solid drink treat for students.
Whipped cream paired up with the root beer took it to perfection, and I finished that drink in a flash. Well worth the extra flex dollars.
Watch out, Einstein’s. These guys might steal your competition as far as beverages go.
Our food at A&W was decent enough to satisfy our human instincts of food survival, and it was somewhat enjoyable.
The wait wasn’t too bad, either; if you want to grab a meal before class and you are on a time crunch, A&W does a suitable job of getting your meal out to you as soon as possible — however, this is not the case for its new menu items.
It was way more satisfying than Chick-fil-A, and worth the wait in the exhausting line of students.
My companion and I talked it over, and we gave A&W a rate of 8.5 out of 10 — keep up the good work.