Monday, August 25, 2008

Love that Chicken!


After reading an article on Popeyes New Loaded Chicken Wrap at, I wanted to try out the wrap, as well as compare the spicy chicken here with the chicken served at Church's. I also wanted to see if the dirty rice is as good as I remembered when I ate it often in Hawaii from a recent Serious Eats post on the topic.

When it was time for me to order, I pointed to the picture of the chicken wrap. No wrap. What? They were not serving it until next week. I looked over at Bug who didn't care. All he wanted was red beans and rice.

I ordered 4 pieces of chicken, large orders of Cajun rice and red beans and rice, and something I hadn't seen before, Cajun battered fries.

Having eaten at Church's just a couple days prior, it was still fresh in my mind what I liked about their chicken. The batch that I had from Popeye's had been sitting there when we walked in, so I'm not sure if this contributed to the lack of crispness or the longer drive time until we got home (30 minutes versus 15 minutes). The flavor of the breading was rather flat. I wasn't impressed.

The dirty rice was bland. I expressed my opinion on SE as being a brownish-grey flavor. There was also no variability in flavor as it once had years ago. It was the same from the first bite, while chewing, and the aftertaste. I did notice the color was duller - it wasn't quite as greasy and peppy as it used to be. Different spices and less lard? Perhaps offal isn't used as much, or at all?

The red beans and rice were still smokey and quite delicious. I ended up mixing the dirty rice with the red beans after I'd eaten the "rice" portion of it.

Despite having sat in a bin under a light for a while, the Cajun battered fries were crispy and good. They were reminiscent to Arby's curly fries but more peppery, moist, and substantial. I think a fresh batch would be awesome.

The sides at Popeye's are still far superior to Church's and even KFC. If Church's was close enough to Popeye's, I would probably buy my spicy chicken and biscuits at Church's and then stop over at Popeye's and get an order of red beans and rice, mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw, and fries. Sadly, I didn't see gumbo on the menu.

~ ~ o ~ ~

I just checked out Popeye's website. The Louisiana Legends line of food sounds quite interesting. Where is this served?! Crawfish etouffee! That's one of my favorite dishes at a local Cajun restaurant (Battiste & Dupree). Popeye's Legends menu also lists shrimp creole, smothered chicken, chicken and sausage jambalaya, and creole chicken etouffee. I love meals served over rice. Being the goof (or salt wimp) that I am, I usually eat these dishes over white rice to deaden the saltiness.

The website also has recipes using their food in meals like popcorn shrimp stuffed peppers. It's hidden under the Heritage link.

Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen looks pretty nifty too! I wish there was one near us! They only have two restaurants, both in Georgia, one in Norcross and the other in Fayetteville.

- Cassaendra

4645 Northfield Rd
Cleveland, OH 44128
(216) 475-6066‎

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