Against all odds, things have managed to get even worse for America in 2023. Prices for everything are going up while wages get cut. Our nation continues to divide against itself. In my most recent trip to the food bank (something I didn’t even need to go to until I moved out), I had to sit in line next to a working-class guy talking very animatedly about how the government was slowly killing us (true), while also taking forks in the conversation to say that he had heard Wal-Mart was putting reproductive sterilizing chemicals in their face masks (WHAT).
That is why I regret to inform you that, in this time of great catastrophe, KFC has had the audacity to re-release the Double Down.
Haven’t we had enough? Isn’t life hard enough? Isn’t America in enough strife, without having to remind us of our deepest shames? No. Now we have to deal with the Double Down, all over again.
The best food is always local food. The more local, the better. No pizza from any big chain can compare to a simple pie cooked by somebody who owns a house in your town. A hamburger will always taste better if it is cooked by somebody who has kids who go to a school in the area. And tacos, the epitome of delicious simplicity, always taste better when served out of a local truck. This is the sentiment that convinced us to try Olivo Taco, the local chain of taco trucks that you can’t help but notice driving around Rockford.
Nobody named Olivo actually owns these taco trucks – the owners are brothers Mahmud and Said Zatar, who have their silly-looking faces plastered prominently on every single truck. They’re serious eye-catchers, and when you’re driving down the street and see one of them, they do a good job at asking you “wouldn’t you like a taco?” Well of course we’d like a taco, dear Zatar brothers, we’d love one. We’d really, really love one.
So have you been shopping at Aldi yet?? Last week we told you about their awesome chips so of course you ran straight to Aldi and bought everything they have and now you’re a big fan of them. But did you buy the Red Bag Chicken? Oh man, you gotta try the red bag chicken. You seriously haven’t tried the red bag chicken yet?
What is the red bag chicken? First off, it’s chicken. And it comes in a red bag. It’s properly known as “Kirkwood Breaded Chicken Breast Fillets,” but because that’s a mouthful people just call it the red bag chicken. And it’s a sensation! Everybody just has to try the Red Bag Chicken. Why are you even shopping at Aldi if it’s not for following the trends??
Maybe you’re just a little anxious. You maybe got hurt when a bottle of Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning didn’t live up to the hype. Maybe you don’t even live near an Aldi and you have to take our word on this one. That’s fine, we understand. That’s what we’re here for. We ate the Red Bag Chicken, and we’re going to tell you how it is. So don’t be afraid.
Aldi is the best grocery store in the world. The Germans really knew what they were doing with this one! Cheap prices, small stores, good products – what’s not to love?
True Aldi fans know what the best part of shopping at Aldi is: the legendary middle aisle. This is where Aldi puts its limited-time specials, which can include but is not limited to new flavors of cereals, real name-brand foods, housewares, clothing, and even pet toys. Aldi shoppers will tell you about the times they walk out of the store with a cat’s scratching post, a new coffee maker, slippers, and none of the milk they went in to buy in the first place.
We found these new flavors of chips in our local Aldi’s middle aisle, and we just couldn’t walk out without them. Hot Chicken Kettle Chips is one thing, but seeing Cuban Sandwich Kettle Chips is too good to ignore. We ended up grabbing both bags, because that’s how it is with Aldi, and we probably ended up forgetting to buy some very important essential thing like paper towels. But that’s fine – now you can share the chips with us. At least, you can read what we thought of them.
Finally, finally, the Original Chicken Restaurant has gotten on board with the times. It’s not like KFC hasn’t done plenty of other chicken sandwiches in its time – remember the donut sandwich? That was nuts – but they’re doing THE Sandwich. The Chick-fil-A ripoff. The Popeyes Sandwich. The southern-style sandwich with pickles and mayo and a whole tiny little chicken breast that everybody and their fucking mother is going apeshit for and putting on the menus for their fast food restaurants now.
So what took you, KFC? You won us back, and it took you this long to get The Sandwich on your menu? We’ve been waiting to write this article since, we got it written down here on our article notes, May 26th of 2020, and only just now you’ve gotten this bad boy out nationwide. What’s up with that? You guys are slipping, or something? I remember the old KFC commercials with the toon Colonel who was making fun of the “Burger Boys” for their inferior sandwiches and bragging about KFC sammies. Now who’s the sandwich dorks, huh? You guys let Popeyes beat you to the punch on this one?
But, come on, it’s KFC. They’ve had enough knocks in their life. They’re the ancient prizefighter with a tremor, rail-thin, insisting they’ve still got one more fight in ‘em. But you know this old dude could still whoop your ass if you pushed him in a corner. Well, KFC seems plenty pushed into a corner to me. Can they keep up with the big dogs now, or do they deserve their space at the bottom?
Popeyes is one of our favorite restaurants for limited time offers. Back in the day, we practically survived off of their amazing $4 monthly deals, all of which were interesting and completely different from what other fast food restaurants were offering.
Nowadays, Popeyes is in a pretty good position and doesn’t do “weirder” LTOs anymore. Most of their monthly offers have been more bargain oriented instead of experimental. We chalk this up to The Sandwich, a menu item that has completely changed how Popeyes does business. They’re a sandwich restaurant now, you know. You don’t need to be convinced to try their food anymore. You go there to eat a sandwich.
That’s why when we saw their latest monthly offer was a five dollar Surf and Turf Basket, we didn’t think much of it. We were hungry, it was getting late, and some cheap shrimp and chicken sounded fantastic. It seemed like an LTO Popeyes would do nowadays. We had no idea what we were getting into. We had just ordered a basket of… Twisty Wicked Shrimp.
Finally, the last and greatest of the Big Three falls to the world of spicy nuggets. Spicy Chicken McNuggets are now available nationwide, after so many spiceless years. It’s hard to imagine that McDonald’s has never before offered a spicy variant of their nuggets, even when they’ve done the very popular (and sorely missed) Spicy McChicken.
The Chicken McNugget has been one of the biggest items of the McDonald’s menu for years. When it first was introduced, it caused a massive chicken shortage in McDonald’s supply chain because every single franchisee wanted them! The McRib was invented solely to function as a stop-gap special item until more chicken could be ordered. McDonald’s messing around with the Chicken McNugget is bonkers to consider, and here we are.
Wendy’s has always been the boss of the spicy nugget scene, and even Burger King stepped in to fill the void after Wendy’s briefly discontinued them. In hindsight, the idea of McDonald’s not doing a spicy nugget seems ludicrous. But here we are, the Spicy Chicken McNugget is here, and we’re gonna find out if McDonald’s should have bothered.
When we started writing this article, we were going to be very, very harsh on KFC. We were fans of the potato wedges, and upon hearing that they were replacing them with fries, we grew very upset. How could they do this? Potato wedges were one of the cornerstones of the KFC menu. Fries are… Nothing. Generic. Bland. They are everywhere, and potato wedges were a delightful way to separate KFC from the rest of the fast food world.
KFC’s appeal wasn’t that it was just “fast food”. It felt like a meal, a real meal that you eat with your family as a thing. KFC has offered quick service meals for our entire lives, but having the platonic idea of “getting a bucket for dinner” is inseparable from KFC as a concept. The wedges illustrated this. They weren’t french fries like what you’d get at a McDonald’s, they were home-cooked wedges just like what you could cook at home. Total difference.
We felt that KFC getting rid of the wedges was the latest awful move in a series of terrible decisions. KFC has been on a sharp and steep decline since the mid-2000s, and nothing seems to be turning their image around. They rely on tacky gimmicks like the new Colonel commercials and outlandish promotional stunts like VR video games and Crocs that smell like fried chicken, but can’t get past the simple fact that their food is not as good as it used to be and their atmosphere is a dump.
We haven’t properly eaten at KFC in what may be years. Them switching to fries seemed like justification that it was the right decision.
But then we decided we had to give it a chance.
Taco Bell is back at it again spitting in the face of their customers by butchering their menu. After the travesty that was their recent decimation, they’ve once again taken the scalpel to their menu and removed classics. The damage wreaked this time is nowhere near as severe as last time, but what’s been removed is… We don’t even have the words.
It seems like Taco Bell is only doing this to be spiteful by now. We have no other explanation why they would continue to do this after the universally negative response last time. But fast food restaurants do not normally listen to their customers that well, and when they do, it tends to end in disaster.
Let’s just get this over with. I don’t know how much more heartbreak I can handle.
We discovered Scott Ja-Mama’s by complete chance. Driving down the road, as we are wont to do, we simply came to the intersection of Diamond Lake and Nicollet and were forced to stop at its red light. While waiting, Paula turned their head and said, “Now that looks like a hole in the wall!” There was the neon sign of Scott Ja-Mama’s, promising hot barbecue with a one-of-a-kind name. We had never before gotten so immediately excited over a restaurant we had seen on the street. It is our fervent belief that the smaller a restaurant is, the better its food is. And we’re talking about floor space, not just the amount of business it does. Scott Ja-Mama’s looked like it could hold barely five people, maybe seven if they were slim.
So, of course, we were instantly enamored and had to order from there soon. And two days later, we had put the order in. We were going to find out what Scott Ja-Mama’s was all about.
But what is Scott Ja-Mama’s all about? What even is it? Hit the jump to find out.