The pleasures of being a college student are as endless as the choices you have to make each and every day.
For some, living as a college student, they are given more freedom than they will probably ever have again in their lifetimes. The choice of classes, majors, residency, food — oh, the choice of places to eat.
Eating campus food is a thought so invigorating at first, but is one that so quickly fades to a dull routine.
This semester, I’ve decided to undertake a new mission to review all these … interesting food spots on campus.
And this week, I begin this new food column with the ever-popular hot spot on campus: the Chick-fil-A Xpress — kudos to whoever catches the irony in the word “xpress.”
For, as many students know, our “Faux Chick-fil-A” — as I call it — is as slow as molasses.
Recently, a few of my companions and I grabbed the food trays and entered the line of Chick-fil-A Xpress. Actually, we were the first in line, seeing as it was empty when we first walked over. The only thing ready and waiting for us was the fries.
My friends and I made our orders to the young lady waiting on the other side of the endless amount of sauces, and waited.
One of my companions ordered the traditional chicken sandwich; the other, due to her peanut allergies, ordered the grilled chicken sandwich and grabbed the grilled chicken salad as well. I bravely took upon myself the infamous chicken nuggets.
Now, I know seeing how one of us in the group had ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, our wait time increased by at least five minutes.
“For me this is a better experience than I usually get,” said my companion. “Usually I am questioned as to why I would want to get a grilled chicken sandwich, because they don’t want to make the grilled chicken sandwich. This time, the girl just took my order without question, which was really nice.”
But the wait was still long, even if one of us had not ordered the grilled sandwich, and thankfully none of us had class anytime soon. Otherwise we would’ve been late.
But eventually we got our meals, and proceeded to taste and analyze our various dinners.
The pretty and the ugly chicken sandwiches
“It’s hot, currently fresh, and the bread is very soft — not like their biscuits in the morning,” my first comrade described the fried chicken sandwich that is offered at the Chick-fil-A Xpress. “The meat is not as thick as it usually is, it’s thin and crispy, but I like it.”
“It’s moist and not overcooked,” she said.
Not exactly the prettiest sandwich of them all, but humble in nature as with taste, my comrade shared with us that the fried chicken sandwich was a bit dry, but she could still taste some juices in the chicken. Drizzled in ketchup, she said it was certainly edible, and even appetizing if not somewhat enjoyable.
My other consort’s sandwich was certainly a treat to look at. Fresh lettuce and tomato, underneath a mouth-watering piece of grilled chicken, it even came in a cute and fancy little box. It was a sandwich that said, “I’m worth the extra five minutes of waiting.”
But that was just appearances, and as everyone knows you can’t judge a book by its cover… or in this case its box.
“It’s very juicy and not dry at all,” my comrade determined. “Once I put some sauce on it, it has a lot of flavor.”
“I use a mixture of honey and barbecue sauce to bring out more flavor; it gives the sandwich a sweet and tangy taste. Usually, when they have it, I like to put the salad dressing avocado on it.”
For those allergic to nuts, I have to say I’m disappointed in the lack of options for them to eat. The only options left for those who have nut allergies to eat are the salad and the fries.
“I feel like a lot of people like having a Chick-fil-A on campus,” my friend shared with the group. “But for those of us who can’t eat nuts, any other restaurant would’ve been a better choice than having a Chick-fil-A Xpress.”
“Compared to the grilled chicken sandwich offered at the Chick-fil-A off campus, I’d have to say that the real Chick-fil-A’s grilled sandwich is better in taste — it tastes like it’s marinated in something,” she said. “Plus, they have more grilled food options.”
Both sandwiches were deemed “passable.”
Why do we not have a grilled nugget option, my companions and I wondered? Well, before we add more nuggets to the pile, I had to take a bite for myself to see how the current ones were standing.
Nuggets: a swing, a hit? Nope, it’s a miss
If dry, old, bland as sand, spit back out of your mouth chicken is your thing, the nugget meal offered at the Chick-fil-A Xpress is your paradise.
After eating one nugget, I bitterly regretted the decision to let my comrade get the chicken salad. Heck, I would’ve been happy just eating the fries, than swallowing another nugget.
The taste is what I always imagined would be the flavor of a college exam if exams were edible: sad, stressful, soulless and made your stomach uneasy just by looking at them.
The only way you can banish the pathetic taste is to soak the nuggets in sauce — any sauce really can work, but my comrades and I suggest the honey mustard and barbecue sauce. Those sauces really help in drowning out the horribleness.
If you can’t tell, I didn’t really enjoy my meal all too well.
Grilled chicken salad with a side of berries, berries and did I mention berries?
A fresh greens with attractive looking grilled chicken, the Chick-fil-A Xpress’ salad, is certainly pleasing to the eye. And, my comrade shared with me that the taste is fairly decent as well, especially for berry lovers.
“I’m a person who doesn’t like berries in my salad, and sadly this is the only salad that they offer,” my companion discussed with us. “But, it’s still fairly good.”
The Spicy Dressing — a very vague name for a dressing, my friend pointed out — actually failed to be spicy. It tasted simple and as vague as the title, she said. The salad was nothing really spectacular, as she hoped it would be.
Fries: always cold, but always popular
The fries at the Chick-fil-A are always cold. This time was no different, and my friend picked the worst of the bunch; some of her fries were undercooked.
My friends seemed dissatisfied with their fries. I, however, was pleased with mine. Maybe this was due to my unsatisfactory dinner with the nuggets, but I think if cold fries were the only issue with them, I could deal with that. Two of us had fries salted to perfection, and I have to say mine tasted up to par with the real Chick-fil-A’s fries. As I mentioned before, our campus Chick-fil-A offers students fries that everyone can enjoy, even those with nut allergies. What our Chick-fil-A does is dip the fries in canola oil, which does give it a different taste than the Chick-fil-A’s fries, which are dipped in peanut oil. The taste may not resemble the delicious fries at Chick-fil-A, but I think that it still has a good, if not even better, flavor than that of the real Chick-fil-A. I find myself craving our campus’s Chick-fil-A fries more often than the other fries offered elsewhere. And, what makes them even better is the fact that everyone can enjoy them…even if they are cold most of the time.
Our overall experience with the meal can be described with one word: meh. It wasn’t downright despicable, but not a five-star experience either. But what do you expect with campus food? I don’t expect famous chefs, like Gordon Ramsey, to come barging into our Chick-fil-A Xpress shouting “Shut it down!” anytime soon.
I came in with meager expectations, and the result was a meager meal.
With 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, all and all, my companions and I rate our Chick-fil-A, between a 6.5-7 out of 10.