by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here! Due to some computer issues, this column is a week later, but hey better late than never.
The Great Food Search has explored Valley foods from taco wagons to grilled cheese sandwiches, and it’s getting hard to come up with new ideas, so I’ll announce a contest at the end of this article.
I had to go from Sanger to northwestern Fresno and back, and it occurred to me that I would be passing some similar establishments on the trip. Thus was born (Ta-DAAAAA!) An Experiment in Chicken! I would order a three-piece chicken meal (I prefer legs and thighs), and have at least a mac-and-cheese side from each place…and may the best chick win!
Boston Market–3 pc. Dark, w/ Mac-and Cheese, Creamed Spinach, and Cornbread—$7.39–Juicy and creamy meat that made me imitate Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I wanted more (I’ll have the other half-thigh for lunch). The mac-and-cheese was a brawny, solid rotini in an ooey-gooey sauce that made me sigh in happiness. The cornbread was fluffy, and I always enjoy their Creamed Spinach.
Popeye’s Chicken–3 pc. Dinner, w/ Mac-and-Cheese and Biscuit–$6.99–Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunchy! Like a healthy version of Southern Fried Chicken. Lots of flavor and deep-fried taste in the soft, juicy meat, but you didn’t have to wipe afterwards. No all-dark option was offered. The elbow mac-and-cheese was alright, and the biscuit was ok, but the meal only came with one side. KFC–3 pc. Dark, Grilled, w/ Mac-and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, and Biscuit–$6.99–Flavorful and “munchable,” it may be hiding its Kentucky Fried Chicken roots behind the KFC logo, but it’s still chicken served up fast and tasty. Long elbows in a rich sauce and good-old mashed potatoes and gravy came with a serviceable biscuit.
El Pollo Loco–3 pc. Dark, w/ Mac-and Cheese, rice, and Flour Tortilla–$6.49–Spicy, tender, and moist. The mac-and-cheese had plenty of sauce, and it is quite a treat to mix it with the zesty rice. The tortilla is crepe-thin and a delight.
The Popeye’s on McKinley at First and the Boston Market on Bullard at Freeway 41 do not have drive-through windows, but the Boston Market has a massive selection of sides from the typical to a squash casserole.
I was surprised by this, (I was out-voted) but the winner was…Popeye’s! The crunchy quality and the lack of greasiness were the deciding factors for the other judges, although I prefer Boston Market. I like the succulence and the wider variety of sides. I also like El Pollo Loco’s spicy flavor, and the avocado salsa is good for a wake-up call.
A Contest! A Contest!
I need help to come up with ideas for more Food Search articles. Suggest a restaurant in the area or a theme food to compare and the best idea will win a hand-made, telephone-wire dragon (with or without wings) in your choice of colors. Make your suggestions in the Comment section. Deadline is June 6.
Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.