I think we all know by now that when it comes to bizarre fast food items, it’s on. It’s an arms race to see who can come up with the weirdest new product; who can generate the most Internet buzz? Pizza Hut has recently come out with a stuffed crust pizza that includes toppings AND cheese (obligatory “yo dawg I heard you like pizza in your pizza so I stuffed your pizza with pizza” joke), but, not to be one-upped, Quiznos has come out with the Chicken Bacon Dipper.
The sandwich itself seems pretty loaded, but largely innocent: all-white-meat chicken, smoky bacon, mild chipotle mayo and chipotle jack bread. Sounds good, right? Chipotle, fast food’s favorite flavor-of-the-month, comes into play twice, and you’ve got bacon, which the Internet seems to get a boner about whether it’s in a sandwich or used to construct a bacon house slathered in Baconnaise.
But wait, this isn’t just any sandwich: it’s a Dipper! What does this mean? Well, it’s not unheard of to dip a sandwich, of course; you can find a French Dip on almost any diner’s lunch menu. But this ain’t no jus, son; this is cheese dip! More specifically, Quiznos’ “signature” cheese sauce, which contains tomatoes, diced green chiles and “traditional Mexican spices”.
I guess this is considered weird. I’ve seen news articles and blogs on it calling it a “horror”, saying Quiznos is “trippin’”. I don’t see it as that bizarre. You can’t tell me that some stoner college student hasn’t dipped a ham sandwich into a jar of Tostitos Salsa con Queso at 3am. It’s possible I have done this, completely sober. I swear I’ve dipped a sandwich into some ranch dressing at some point. But that’s just me, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fall into the “normal” category when it comes to food habits.
I’ll tell you what is weird, though: the commercials. Obviously intended to be bizarre, but I’m pretty horrified by the dude who sticks his beard into the cheese sauce and then starts rubbing his sandwich on it, and I’m terrified I’m going to wake up one day and find the woman in “The Cement Mixer” staring into my bedroom window. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d rather have The King stalking me.
So is this sandwich truly that strange? Let’s find out. I have to say, I’m walking into this with more anticipation that trepidation. Sandwich + cheese sauce? Genius, I say.
There’s a lot to say about this sandwich, so I’ll try to break it all down. The bread was soft, but it was hard to discern if there was any chipotle or jack in it. The chicken was surprisingly juicy, and as you can see, there was some sort of herbal seasoning on it that was really tasty. I think I detected some rosemary, and there was some more stuff going on that I couldn’t specify, but overall it really added some great flavor to the chicken and I’m surprised it wasn’t included in the sandwich’s description.
Unfortunately, the contents of the sandwich were rather anemic. I could have used a lot more chicken, as well as more bacon, which was smoky and added some good flavor but suffered from the all-pervasive Limp Fast Food Bacon Syndrome. There was also a serious lack of chipotle flavor. Having chipotle in both the mayo and the bread, you would think it would be prominent, but all I could taste was a little bit of heat and that’s it. Chipotle has a distinct smoky heat, and that just didn’t come through, which was disappointing.
On to the dip! Oh, the dip. So much potential, and so much failure. Where to begin? Well, first of all, the cheese sauce was way too thick. So thick, in fact, that when I dipped the sandwich into it, it sucked out half the contents of the sandwich, resulting in my having to go on a fishing expedition to get my chicken back into the sandwich after each dip, resulting in serious Cheesy Fingers.
While the addition of diced chiles and “traditional Mexican spices” (whatever that means) added just the right amount of heat, the cheese itself was…how do I put this nicely…the most artificially-flavored cheese I’ve probably ever eaten. Now, hey, I likes me some artificial cheese sauce. I eat cheese out of a can. I won’t apologize. But even Easy Cheese tastes less artificial than Quiznos’ signature cheese dip. After I’d finished it, I felt like I’d just ingested about 500 different chemicals. I couldn’t find any nutritional information about the Chicken Bacon Dipper on their website, but that’s probably for the best, because I’m sure the ingredient list for the cheese dip reads like a Dickens novel.
Sadly, I actually kind of liked the cheese sauce. Like I said, the seasoning gave it a nice bit of heat, and that and the cheesiness, however fake, worked well with the contents of the sandwich. I had to take a step back, however. I had to remove my own sick palate from the situation and be objective. How would a “normal” person feel about this dip? The answer: they would most likely be repulsed. It really does taste artificial and just…wrong. It’s just wrong, this dip. I hate to promote one of my favorite foods twice in one post, but really, you would be so much better off dunking this sandwich into some Tostitos Salsa con Queso. How hard is it to make a cheese dip that’s the right consistency and doesn’t taste like you’re eating at a high school cafeteria?
I wanted so badly to love this sandwich, but in the end, it just didn’t live up to my expectations at all. The chicken was delicious but there wasn’t enough of it. The bacon was also lacking. There was no real chipotle flavor to be found. The sandwich worked well with the dip, which added some heat and some cheesy flavor, but it tasted so artificial that most people would probably be put off by it. My body felt wrong after eating the dip (which, by the way, I did finish, and found the cheese-to-sandwich ratio to be just about perfect), and when your body feels just wrong after eating something, that probably means you shouldn’t have eaten it.
Chicken Bacon Dipper, I wanted to like you so badly, but in the end, you let me down. I hope this doesn’t discourage Quiznos or other fast food places, though; in the future, I want to see all sandwiches come with some form of dip. That’s right, I said it. Gravy, cheese, ranch, jus, I don’t care. I just want to dip it. Dip it good.