Thursday, 18 June 2009

El Pollo Loco has a beef with the Colonel

Here at Kentucky Fried Bloggin' HQ we don't have a problem with people pointing out the inadequacies of KFC - it's something we ourselves are more than happy to do in order to provide constructive criticism for Harland. What we do have a problem with however is competitors who think it's OK to twist truths about KFC for their own commercial gain.

So here's the background: El Pollo Loco is an American grilled chicken chain. And we freely admit the fact that several of their products sound delicious. See the Twice Grilled Burrito for example (it must taste double delicious, right?). And that sure does look like a tasty array of sides. But we digress.
What you really need to focus on is this damning video.

Let us examine the accusations in turn if we may.
  1. KFC's grilled products are in fact oven baked. Think about your own kitchen facilities. Where is your grill located? In the oven you say? We thought as much. KFC does not state anywhere that their chicken is flame-grilled. Case closed.
  2. KFC uses beef products in the seasoning of their grilled chicken. This is indeed a fact, as can be found on page 14 of the official KFC ingredients list. Now whether or not this is a major issue we suspect depends on one of several factors including but not limited to your religious beliefs, your distaste for cattle and whether or not you view a primarily chicken-based restaurant's selling of a product containing an alternative meat as a crime. As for the former, KKB believes only in the church of Harland, meaning of course that we have no problem with this 'revelation'. And as for the latter, we have long been fans of the Daddy Burger and KFC AM products, both of which contain bacon. It also seems timely to point out that KFC has officially responded to this particular criticism by stating that a mere 0.2% of the seasoning alone comprises beef products.
So let us end this post with a clear recommendation for El Pollo Loco: Rather than lambasting the competition, let the supposed quality of your products do the talking.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

KFC Tex Mex Wrapstar Rides Again

In the early part of this year KFB's team were lucky enough to stumble across an ops shakedown (one branch trial of a new product prior to nationwide release) for the current time limited offer, the TEX MEX Wrapstar. It was given a lukewarm reception that time. Now its back for roughly 6 weeks. I tried it at Stafford Hough Branch to see if they've ironed out the creases.

The product arrives in next packaging exhorting the purchaser to "Unwrap to discover the totally tasty flavours." That was certainly my intention and with a beefed up ingredients list i was looking forward to tucking in. The TEX MEX Wrapstar boasts:

  • Tortilla Wrap (possibly imbued with subtle flavours due to its colour)
  • 2 Crispy Strips
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  • Crispy Tomato Tortilla
  • Pepperjack Cheese
  • Chilli Salsa
  • Lettuce

Quite a list I'm sure you'll agree and all available for the extremely reasonable price of 2.99 for just the 'burger' or 3.99 as a meal.

First look! well the shape left a lot to be desired, though in a nice tight bundle this wasn't the star shape on the advertising literature and it seems that the Chicken technicians nationwide are struggling to get to grips with its manufacture.

The wrapstar doesn't however suffer from 'wrap syndrome' whereby the bottom of the product is nothing but wrap like the twister. Inside the wrapstar, all of the ingredients conspire to give our taste buds a damn good time.

My wrap was soft, the diced tomatoes gave a great fresh feeling to the product and the sour cream's coolness contrasted oh so very well with the Chicken nestling in it. The crunchy texture of the the tomato tortilla was excellent, remeniscent of the crunchy prestige the hash brown enjoys in the tower burgers.

What didn't come through too much was the cheese but then the punch from the chilli salsa was teriffic, again cool and moist making the 'burger' fresh and non cloying. There was no hint of grease anywhwere and the Wrapstar stayed remarkably intact throughout.

Within the chilli salsa was a very distinctive barbecue taste which along with the fried Chicken and the fusion cheese gave this dish its TEX constituents.

I finished satiated, and, as happens rarely with clean hands. sounds good, but it denied me that small pleasure of 'Finger Lickin' Chicken.'

In conclusion, a great product. For me it was the crunch of the tortilla that stood out but was certainly not far ahead of the pack of other truly excellent ingredients.

TEX MEX Wrapstar 7.5/10

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


It is again with great sadness that I report to you the closure of one of KFB's favourite branche's: London's Farringdon Branch at 48 Cowcross Street, London.

Sadly Farringdon which served us well especially ALBAD was not shut by some diktat from up on high within the company, but was cut down in the prime of its life, by beuracrats who have, at least, unwittingly authored their own demise.

I remember fondly a lunch meeting I shared there with ALBAD, it was a mere stones throw from the Farringdon tube stop and was serving excellent Blazin' Boxmasters. I have no doubt that in time the KFC's of central London would have become synonymous with the cafe's of Paris' left bank, places where KFB's members philosiphised upon and shaped chicken thinking for decades to come. whether this shift in dynamic can be harmlessly absorbed remains to be seen.

The worst part about this tragedy is that the very reason for its closure undermines and makes unfeasible the project that has precipitated its untimely demise. . . . . in short a paradox is being created.

The official line on the closure is this:

"With reference to the Farringdon store, I asked the question and we have had to close our Farringdon restaurant after a compulsory purchase order under The Crossrail Act."

London's crossrail project, a farce over 20 years in the making. Billions of pounds of taxpayers money is being spent on an infrastructure project that, yet again serves only the South East, rushed through as a political expedient to shore up our ailing governments profile amongst voters.

This money could have been better spent providing new, and improving existing local transport links to KFC across the country. Better still long awaited plans to introduce KFC and Colonel Sanders to the national schools curriculum in replacement of one of those fad subjects maths, science or English could have been realised. Instead, A branch is being destroyed. So where does the paradox come in?

Well, when conducting market research and feasibility studies for this dispicable project the people of Essex and Surrey were asked if they wanted improved transport links into central and across London. The answer was invariably yes. But what the people were not asked was why they were clamouring to get to London. It was just assumed for work, but the real reason is Chicken. Everyone wants to visit a busy city centre branch with high food turnover and so hot and delicious meals every time. Farringdon sits at the very heart of the project and is the epicentre of London chicken culture. And so, what the planners have failed to realise is this:

If you take away the chicken, you will take away peoples need and desire to travel into London, thus invalidating the entire project, dooming it before it's even begun, and leaving a cancerous artery snaking its way through this once great city!

However hope may be on the horizon, for head office has sent us word,
"We are looking at sites in the local vicinity and I will keep you posted if I hear of anything further."

But just as the Jews are more interested in visiting the site of their first temple in Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans, rather than embracing new religious sites, echoes of that self same situation can be seen over 2000 years later here in London.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Kentucky Griddled Chicken

On the face of things the people of the Tyne Tees region have had a bad year. Along with current economic woes their two major premier league football teams have been relegated. So why do the people of the Tyne Tees region seem so happy?

What most people don't know, is that these people have been living in a Chicktopia, picked for not one but now two extremely high profile product trials.

First Tyne Tees trialled KFC AM and now they have been selected to trial KFC's newest and boldest innovation to date. In a move away from their core product KFC is introducing Kentucky Griddled Chicken, flavoured not with KFC's signature 11 secret herbs and spices, nor any particularly Kentuckian ingredients, but by Chimmichurri, a south American dish with reputed British colonial provenance.

The new products will be:

  • Griddled Chicken Chiabatta
  • Griddled Chicken Twister
  • Griddled Chicken Salad
  • There will also be a Griddled Chicken variety bucket.

First Look : Griddled Chicken Ciabatta

We don't know the full breakdown yet but we can surmise, from the picture a number of things. Here we have a small but plump Ciabatta roll, not suffering from the plight of the current panini which can seem lost within its bread.

1 full GRIDDLED Chicken breast topped with cheese and lettuce. Above this is a substance that KFBs lab boys say at best guess must be salsa.

Beneath the Chicken breast however lies the largest taste of the unknown, a cream based sauce flecked with what appears to be herbs. What is this mystery sauce and what are those herbs?. . . . . KFB will let you know.

So, what is Chimichurri & where did it come from?

Chimichurri is made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, vegetable oil, white or red vinegar and red pepper flakes. Additional spices, such as paprika (pimenton dulce), oregano, cumin and bay leaf (laurel) can be added or removed based on the region .

Chimichurri originated from Argentina and Uruguay, is a popular sauce used with grilled meat in many Latin American countries.It is told that the unusual name comes from 'Jimmy McCurry', an Irishman who is said to have first prepared the sauce. He was marching with the troops of General Jasson Ospina in the 19th century, sympathetic to the cause of Argentine independence. The sauce was popular and the recipe was passed on. However, 'Jimmy McCurry' was difficult for the native people to say. Some sources claim Jimmy's sauce's name was corrupted to 'chimichurri', while others say it was changed in his honour.

The point?

Well, these new options will offer much healthier alternatives with the Griddled Ciabatta having only 354 calories. The Griddled Chicken is oven cooked on a griddle, rather than being fried and will help to utilise the ovens needed for KFC. AM making both products more cost effective

Spiritual Matters

This is a very bold move for KFC which has always stayed very true to its core values of fried Chicken, not even offering a vegetarian option. However with a long heritage of producing top quality poultry based burgers, as opposed to the 2nd rate products churned out by their competitors, (Stand up McChicken sandwich you know what you really are) I feel confident that KFC can deliver. However KFB are looking at a little road trip and will give detailed feedback and if up to scratch offer our endorsement.

And finally, Why does Tyne Tees get all the best stuff?

Like spoiled little children we exclaim, "It's not fair. . . . I want some new KFC products to trial, why do the Tyne Tees people get all the best stuff?" The answer, geography and demographics. This particular region is good for large scale trials as it has a good urban area conurbation in which to sell new products, which is then bordered by a relatively sparsely populated buffer zone. This allows the trial to be easily contained in this region, without the possibility of any gerrymandering by those restaurants who would claim they were part of the region just to get their hands on new style Chickeny goodness.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

BREAKING KFC NEWS - Griddled is the new fried!

KFBloggin's sources at KFC headquaters revealed to us today news so incredible, we knew, no matter what the risk, that we had to share it with you, the KFC fans across the world. We've long suspected it's, "second coming" would occur soon, but today is the day that we can proudly announce to you, that available in Woking from the second of June 2009, in Woking, KFC has introduced its new, healthier than ever: GRIDDLED CHICKEN. To quote;

The new range comes in a choice of a Griddled Chicken Ciabatta, Griddled Chicken Twister or a Griddled Chicken salad – or as part of a Griddled Chicken Variety Bucket...

...The new griddled range aims to offer customers lighter options, with the Griddled Chicken Ciabatta containing only 354 calories and 13 percent of a woman’s GDA for fat.

...(the griddled range), consists of 100% chicken breast fillets which are marinated in an exciting new signature Chimichurri flavour – a blend of herbs, roasted garlic and a touch of citrus. The marinated chicken is then cooked on a griddle in the oven to seal in the flavour.

Martin Shuker, Managing Director, KFC UK and Ireland said, “We are trialling the Griddled menu in response to the growing customer desire for new taste experiences, and lighter menu options.” Shuker added, “Our hope is that the new griddled range will become a signature part of our menu, for customers who want to try something new and exciting.”

The new Griddled chicken range will be trialled in the North East for a period of three months, at which point KFC will review the success of the initiative. Customers will be told about the new product range through a mixture of television and outdoor advertising.

Our north-eastern readers will no doubt already be on thier way out of their front doors by now in a maddened attempt to sample some delicious Chimichurri flavours, much as their american KFBrothers in arms did before them. Readers elsewhere in the UK will now be waiting 3 months or more for, Mr Shucker to give the go-ahead to launch the product in their region. Until then, feast your eyes on what you're missing out on with this delicious sample image of the new, "Griddled Chicken Ciabatta."

And as for KFBloggin's hardworking authors: road trip anyone?

Branch Review: Bath

Last week I was fortunate enough to find myself in the delightful city of Bath. As I strolled languidly 'round its leafy streets I began to tire of the faux Roman columns incorporated into all of the architecture, I wanted something in more of a tower. . . . . . A Zinger Tower! I had already been told that this was a good KFC, but I wanted to put it to the test for myself.

This particular branch is central, just a short 30 second walk from the main high street. When we walked in it was clean and tidy. The queue time was below the maximum allowed (ie. five minutes from joining the queue to ordering) and our food was prepared promptly.

One bad point was the ancillary items island. This was not fully stocked and in this case missing a vital spork. However the Branch's brilliantly attentive staff sensed our distress and addressed the issue imediately producing a slew of sporks from the cupboard incorporated in the island and we we able to take our seats and begin.

We opted of course for the Zinger Tower and also in a nod to the area's Roman heritage, a Caesar Zinger Salad. The ZT was very good, but could have been slightly hotter and juicier. Build quality was very good with very little structural re engineering needed. The gravy, a high quality 3 step helped overcome any hint of dryness. However what seemed like a solid structure disintigrated in my hands by the end of the burger. The Chips too deserve a special mention.

The real winner here was the Zinger salad. I've never tried these before and am aware that they're not a big seller nor popular amongst afficianados. However I found the salad to be substantial & very tasty. The Caesar dressing was provided in the right quantity and the cherry tomatoes were ripe and flavoursome, the lettuce crisp and fresh as always. However our croutons had been left out of this particular salad which was a slight disappointment. The other point worth making here is that a Spork is not suitable for eating a Zinger salad with. The prongs are not deep enough to pick up a cherry tomato with.

All in all this was a great experience earning Bath KFC 8/10

Zinger Tower 7/10
Zinger Salad 7/10