4. Chick-fil-A: Original Chicken Sandwich
Sandwich build: Buttered bun, boneless chicken breast, two very small pickles
I want to understand the cult of Chick-fil-A. I really do. While the company's track record on LGBTQ issues isn't appetizing, I am willing to (briefly) set aside my politics in the name of fried chicken sandwich journalism. But why has every visit I’ve ever had to Chick-fil-A left me in minor disappointment?
When Chick-fil-A first landed in California, back when I was still in high school, the promise of the best chicken sandwich in existence finally felt within reach. And here’s the good: The chicken itself is gloriously juicy, with a light, well-seasoned batter. I like the idea of customizing this no-frills chicken sandwich with the myriad of sauces offered -- and Chick-fil-A sauce is undoubtedly delicious. The two pickle chips pressed between the chicken and bottom bun provide some appreciated acidity.
But here’s the bad: The chicken batter is almost always soggy, as is the bun. The sandwich steams within the confines of its locked foil bag, rendering it soft all over. Without a dousing of the aforementioned sauce, this sandwich is sadly dry. And while the flavor of the pickles are respectable, they were the smallest pickle chips of any of the sandwiches -- easily devoured within a bite and a half.
If this were purely a judgment based on the piece of fried chicken alone, then perhaps Chick-fil-A could have gone for the bronze. But since we’re discussing chicken sandwiches, I have to note that not all the components worked. I don’t think I’ll ever be a part of Chick-fil-A’s rabid fandom, and I’m perfectly OK with that.