Subway |  

Subway |   

We live in an interconnected world. Elvis walked into the White House and shook Nixon’s hand. Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein. Steve Urkel annoyed both Uncle Jesse and Patrick Duffy. I once sat in a Ford Explorer with Eddie Bauer logos on it. We’re all star stuff, guys. It’s exciting.

When titans meet, it’s a reminder that we’re all on the same team, that we all indeed occupy the same universe. Tommy Lee Jones was Al Gore’s college dorm mate, y’all. Betty Crocker uses Hershey chocolate in its mixes! The Justice League fought the Avengers. Doritos Locos Tacos!

So when Subway unveiled its Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt, I was eager to get one in my maw. I mean, I had already been manually putting chips on my sandwich for years. Wait. Sorry. We’ve already been manually putting chips on our sandwiches for years. (Right? Right?! High fives all around.) Now two giant corporations are joining forces to put chips on a sandwich.

They have research teams and focus groups and everything. This thing should be a masterpiece. I bought a lobster bib and scratched out the picture of a lobster and replaced it with a drawing of a smiling lobster eating a sandwich with chips on it. I’m ready. I’m cheering in my seat.

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Unfortunately, I am loath to report that Subway and Frito-Lay came together and birthed the half-breed antichrist of sandwiches. It gurgled and writhed in pain and asked me to put it out of its misery, and after I ate it, I asked the same of myself.

The tragic journey begins in the Subway assembly line. “I want to make it look like the poster,” I say. The sandwich artist grumbles something incoherent and conjures a foot-long flatbread from the ether. The chicken comes pre-sauced and looks all wet. Two (2!) small bags of Fritos are dumped onto the sandwich. “Whoa, I’ve never seen that before,” cries out the guy behind me in line. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles are the ingredients I saw on the poster, so that’s what I get.

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The Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt looks weak. The flatbread gives it a limp disposition, and it’s wider than the regular loaves, so the ingredients look scattered like they were dumped into the bottom of a garbage can. Taking the first bite, though, is not bad. The flatbread is chewy and floury like a pita. Going forward, however, the hot part of the sandwich has warmed over the should-be-cold lettuce and tomato (Gross!). The slightly sour pickles tasted out of place in what is, I guess, a Subway version of a soft taco.

The barely spicy enchilada sauce on the chicken has rendered the chicken tasteless—the protein is purely there for texture. Worst of all, the Fritos have strangely become soggy in the five-minute journey from bag to sandwich to mouth. It kind of tastes like if you crushed up a Double Decker Taco Supreme (with chicken, hold the sour cream) into a sandwich bag and then left it in the sun for an hour. The sickly nuclear warmth of the concoction stuck to my stomach for a good 45 minutes.

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Elvis died on a toilet and Nixon had to resign from being president. Frankenstein has to be depicted in I, Frankenstein. Steve Urkel never worked again. Eddie Bauer filed for bankruptcy. Titans meet but sometimes the story doesn’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes it’s more like when Freddy meets Jason or when Alien fights Predator, or like whenever they try to make a movie with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Sometimes it just ruins chips on a sandwich.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 inch sandwich – 580 calories, 240 calories from fat, 26 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 1170 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein.)

Item: Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt
Purchased Price: $6.50
Size: Footlong
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: Flatbread was flat, chewy.
Cons: Fritos do not stand up well to sauce. Pre-sauced meats at Subway are all gross. Cold parts of sandwich were warm. Badly constructed, looks like a mess.

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“Would you like your tomatoes toasted?” the Subway sandwich maker asked after I told her I’d like to try their Sriracha Chicken Melt with Italian bread.

“Fancy schmancy!” I unintentionally blurted out loud in an old woman’s voice, and then followed that with a nod of my head.

My excitement waned after finding out the tomato toasting involved just placing the tomatoes on the meat and cheese of the sandwich and toasting it all in Subway’s proprietary (and somewhat loud) toasters. I guess fancy schmancy would be if she asked me if I wanted my tomatoes fire roasted and then, after me agreeing, proceeded to pull out a proprietary Subway blowtorch and roast those ‘toes.

Because Subway’s shredded lettuce tends dull the flavor of every sandwich, and because I wanted to copy what’s on the promotional posters for the new Sriracha Melts, I also asked the Subway sandwich maker to top my sub with green peppers, red onions, and pepper jack cheese. Before adding the veggies, she squirted on a helping of Subway’s Creamy Sriracha Sauce as if she was signing her name on my sandwich.

However, as she was doing that, I thought to myself, “Subway probably formulated this sauce so that it would appeal to many different taste buds, so it’s A) not going to be as spicy as the rooster sauce most of us know and love; B) not going to be as bold as the rooster sauce most of us know and love; C) I wonder if she notices my fly is open, I should probably zip that up; D) I should probably ask for more sauce; E) I’m taking too much time to ponder about this because she’s asking me again what veggies I want.” After taking off my thinking cap, I asked for more creamy sriracha sauce.

By the way, is it just me or do other people feel they’re not getting their money’s worth when they don’t load up their Subway sandwich with as many veggies as possible?

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If you go through bottles of rooster sauce because it’s your jam, the bright orange creamy sriracha sauce will disappoint and you’d be better off just squirting your own sriracha sauce on your Subway sandwich, which is probably something you already do since rooster sauce is your jam. As for the rest of you, it’s definitely a nice change of pace from the usual mild condiments offered, like lite mayonnaise, mustard, honey mustard, and sweet onion.

The sauce’s spiciness is almost on the same level as Taco Bell’s Hot Sauce, which is my sauce of choice when I Live Mas. Along with the chili pepper flavor, there’s a bit of sweetness and tanginess, but overall it doesn’t have a bold or garlicky flavor like actual cock sauce. With that said, I have to say the sauce is tasty enough that it made me say to myself, “Wow. This sandwich didn’t make me sad like the others have. It’s the most enjoyable Subway sandwich I’ve had in a long time.”

As for the rest of the sandwich, I wish the chicken was marinated in the creamy sriracha sauce; the red onions and green peppers added some crunch and flavor that enhanced the sauce; and the pepper jack cheese kind of got lost behind the sauce. As for the toasted tomatoes, I don’t think toasting them did anything to improve their flavor. Perhaps being fire roasted with a blowtorch might’ve helped.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 inch – 440 calories, 230 calories from fat, 25 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 26 grams of protein.)

Item: Subway Sriracha Chicken Melt
Purchased Price: $7.50
Size: Footlong
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Most enjoyable Subway sandwich I’ve had in a long time, thanks to that sauce. Creamy sriracha sauce has decent heat and flavor. Red onions and green peppers enhance the sauce. Subway employees who use the condiments to sign their names on the sandwich.
Cons: Folks hoping for rooster sauce will be disappointed. Chicken not marinated. Not sure the pepper jack cheese doesn’t anything. Getting asked if I want my tomatoes toasted was kind of weird. Blurting out archaic phrases in an old woman’s voice. Daythinking while in ordering a sandwich.

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Subway, the fast food place micromanagers probably love, is testing a creamy sriracha sauce at select locations. The spicy sauce was spotted by the folks over at Foodbeast.

Currently, Subway’s spiciest sauce is probably their Chipotle Southwest Sauce, which I don’t think is at all spicy. Last summer, the sandwich chain tested a wasabi sauce, but it has yet to show up nationwide.

Brand Eating posted a review of the new sauce:

The sauce is a bright, almost neon orange; it almost makes you think you should take a Geiger counter to it. I figured I might as well just taste it by itself and dabbed some on my finger. I got some sweet tanginess paired with creaminess before the heat hit me. Wow! This is some seriously spicy stuff!

I hope this rolls out nationwide. But if not, I guess I could take the bottle of sriracha in my fridge and splooge some of it on my next Subway sandwich.

Image via flickr user Calgary Reviews / CC BY 2.0

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I have good news and I have bad news when it comes to Subway’s new Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sandwich. The good news is that’s it’s significantly better than just smearing BBQ sauce over Subway’s “Oven Roasted” Chicken. The bad news is that you may very well incur the wrath of an esteemed sandwich “artist” in ordering one.

If the guy smoking freshly-killed chicken with Applewood out back in his shack in the North Carolina woods is the Rembrandt of the barbecue universe, then I suppose we should extend the metaphor and proclaim Subway’s very own “artists” as the equivalent of first graders during arts and crafts time.

I knew the sandwich was new and expected some kinks going in, but the look of befuddlement I received when asking for the sandwich (despite, I should add, several prominent displays in the windows for it) was enough to make me wonder if my artist had even brought her brushes to work. That she continued to refer to the meat as “pork” and asked me if I wanted cheese with it made me question if it wasn’t “switch place with your spouse at work day,” but the real kicker was when she proceeded to grow noticeably angry at my polite insistence that she construct this masterpiece to include whatever the picture called for.
 
Clearly, I must not understand tasteful art.
 
But I do understand barbecue, and when it comes to something you can order at a suburban fast food restaurant, this is about the high point. Obviously that’s not saying a lot should you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but who are we kidding, this is a Subway review. The chicken itself is an admirable stab at smoked and pulled chicken. Despite coming from one of those dreaded pre-portioned containers held in a refrigerator, it manages to convey a certain less-than-cloying sweetness with an unexpected lightness of acidity and tang of apple cider vinegar.

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The shredded chicken has a mild spice and hint of smoke flavor, which, I’m almost 100 percent certain, was conveyed in the meat and not just the sauce. The meat avoids any fatty strings or cartilage, and has a succulent taste about it which could pass for the kind of really solid imitation pulled chicken BBQ your Weight Watchers Aunt (or Charles Barkley) makes in the slow cooker. Above all, it’s a step up from Subway’s floppy Oven Roasted Chicken, which, even with barbecue sauce, mostly just tastes like rib meat and salt.

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That said, the portion is meager and looks nothing like the advertisement. Crunch (like slaw) is needed on top, while a potato bread base could go a long way to imitate the authentic barbecue experience. Some shaggy interior decorating and southern rock music wouldn’t hurt to inspire the faux atmosphere either, although something tells me that may clash with the artist process.

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If you prefer chicken to beef, have exactly four dollars (plus tax) to spend, and decline to dine outside the confines of fast food restaurants, I can see this being a frequent purchase. If, however, you happen to just be some schmuck who’s running late for work and falls victim to unrealistic advertisements (like me), then I would suggest passing. That is, unless you insist on some finger painting and stick figure drawing, for which I’m sure your sandwich artist would be happy to provide on your complimentary napkin.

(Nutrition Facts – 6-inch sandwich - 380 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sub
Price: $4.00 (6-inch)
Size: 6-inch
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chicken gets good BBQ sauce coverage and has a nice smokey-sweet flavor. Not too salty. Better than Oven Roasted Chicken. 32 grams protein (allegedly). Fingerpainting.
Cons: Getting yelled at by a sandwich artist. Holding up the line at Subway. Too little meat. Needs crunch. Bring your own Skynyrd. Admitting I don’t dislike healthy crock pot “BBQ” chicken.

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Update: Click here to read our Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken review

Subway’s latest sandwich is the Smokehouse BBQ Chicken, which is made up of slow-cooked shredded chicken in a smoky BBQ sauce.

I wonder if preparing the sandwich involves putting the slow-cooked chicken in the quick-cooking microwave. I also wonder if it uses the same barbecue sauce used in their BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, which wasn’t too bad.

A 6-inch Smokehouse BBQ Chicken has 380 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.

The limited-time-only Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken is available as a $6 Footlong special.

Image via flickr user time_anchor / CC BY 2.0

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The other day, Impulsive Buy reader Michelle from Alaska let me know about a new Subway sandwich she saw a commercial for — the Chipotle Beef Teriyaki & Cheese.

The combination of chipotle and teriyaki sounded really weird, so I thought she might be going crazy due to the extreme lack of daylight this time of year in Alaska, but she later emailed me with written and visual proof that this limited time only sandwich exists. So it’s Subway that might be crazy.

Here’s what Michelle thought of the sandwich:

So…just meat, cheese, sauces, and lettuce & tomato on flatbread. I think it looked pretty close to the sign sandwich. Since you get to watch the creative process (S.A. layering meat & cheese onto bread), I can tell you it went like this: bread, meat, teriyaki sauce, shredded cheese (yellow & white, so I’m assuming cheddar-jack), toaster oven, chipotle sauce, and finally, lettuce & tomato. That’s a wrap!

It tasted like what I thought: two very different sauces on a toasted steak & cheese (I’m from Philly and cannot in good conscience call this a true cheese steak). The sandwich is advertised with the phrase “sweet heat” and someone thought teriyaki & chipotle sauces were the answer here. The teriyaki does provide an underlying sweetness, and the chipotle yields the back-end kick, but the basic flavors of soy and cumin just do not make sense to me. You know, where there is soy sauce, cheese is not. Finally, it strikes me as the sandwich you’d create in college, on a dare, or while impaired…the “using every condiment in the fridge” sort of thing. Eh, maybe it was like two young lovers trying to make it work when they clearly come from two different worlds. Is there a “West Side Story” angle?

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I haven’t seen the Chipotle Beef Teriyaki & Cheese being offered at Subway restaurants here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, so it might only be available in certain regions. However, the sandwich appears to made with ingredients that every Subway has, so it should be easy to reproduce. If you’ve seen it being offered at a Subway in your area, let us know in the comments.

Images provided by Michelle