Well, it’s finally here. I’ve been waiting for seven months for this day. HAPPY DOUBLE DOWN DAY, EVERYBODY!
That’s right, the Double Down is finally here. Ever since it was announced in test markets in August last year, the Internet has been abuzz with anticipation about when those of us not living in Nebraska or Rhode Island would get to taste this wondrous beast. On April 1st, KFC announced that the Double Down would be released nationwide today. A clever marketing move, making the media wonder, is this real, or just a cruel April Fool’s joke?
No joke, my friends. KFC even created a countdown page on its website. KFC knows what they’re doing. If you do a Google search for KFC Double Down Sandwich, you’ll find a plethora of news articles – 223 as of about 11am this morning, in fact. I even saw my local news channel run a story on it, right as I was taking my pictures of the sandwich.
Why so much media coverage? With the Double Down comes much controversy. Some decry it, calling it a culinary monstrosity that will instantly clog your arteries and kill you on the spot. Others revel in its ridiculousness, seeing it as the goofy, gimmicky thing it is. It’s like the blogosphere has gone to war over this sandwich. And that just makes me all the more happy.
There’s even one blog reporting that some lady from some committee is “urging the chain not to advertise the Double Down to children”. If you go to KFC’s Double Down page, you can watch the commercial. It’s actually rather bland, and not at all directed towards children. Won’t somebody please think of the children?! Obviously, this woman is, but KFC doesn’t really give a damn about them either way. I love reactionaries.
I, obviously, don’t give a fuck how many calories, sodium, cyanide, whatever are in the Double Down. I love the Double Down. It’s the very epitome of the reason I started this website, and as long as it doesn’t taste like shit, I’ll defend its honor, even when I start seeing local lawyer commercials saying, “Have you or someone you know been injured or even killed by the Double Down? If so, please call us. We can help you get the money you deserve for your pain and suffering.” Eating a Double Down is like drinking alcohol – oh sure, it will kill you eventually, but until then, you’re having a blast!
So, controversy aside, let’s start the tale of my journey to get the Double Down. It started at about 9:30am, when I left to drop my husband off at work. This had all been carefully planned, as there is a KFC right across the street from where he works. Unfortunately, KFC doesn’t open until 10am. Instead of pressing my face against the glass door of the KFC until they opened, I chose to loiter around the Fresh and Easy right next door. I found it rather amusing, since I was hanging out in a grocery store that sells almost exclusively organic and all-natural products, waiting to go buy what may be the most maligned fast food product in history.
After I felt I had wasted enough time looking at tofu and hummus, I wandered over to the KFC. I decided to actually go into the restaurant instead of hitting the drive-thru, and I’m glad I did. I was inundated with posters and giant cut-outs of the Double Down. It only served to heighten my excitement.
There was a dude in front of me in line, and I couldn’t hide a small, probably creepy-looking smile as he ordered a Double Down. He was a stocky guy in his mid-20s, wearing a polo shirt and sporting a mild neckbeard. I thought I’d found a soulmate.
After I placed my order, we were both hanging around the drink dispenser, waiting for our orders. I’m generally a socially shy person who would rather stick my hand in a fryolator than strike up a conversation with a total stranger, but I felt compelled to say something.
“So, you’re here for the Double Down, eh?” I said, flashing what I hoped was a friendly but conspiratorial smile.
“Yeah,” he replied.
I should have noticed the dead look in his eyes, the half-open mouth, but I was blinded by chicken. “Were you just sort of lurking around, waiting for them to open so you could get one, like I was?” I continued, stupidly.
“No.” There was no change in his facial expression. I was talking to a wall. A neckbearded wall.
I stood in red-faced silence until he got his order and beat a hasty retreat out the door. In order to mitigate my embarrassment, I concentrated all my attention on how the Double Down was being constructed.
KFC describes the Double Down as “two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce.” You see, there’s two of everything. Double! The sandwich’s motto is, “This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!” I love it. So brazen. Just a big “fuck you” to both bread and people who want to live past 30.
My sandwich lived up to KFC’s description, at least in construction. The masterful artist behind the counter, who looked kind of like Edward James Olmos, pulled two chicken filets out of a drawer, set them down on a metal counter, drizzled one with the Colonel’s Sauce, pulled out one of each of the cheese slices from a chill chest, set them both on the sauced filet, took two pieces of bacon on top of the cheese, and slapped the other filet down on top of it all. I thought there would be a further cooking process, but he just wrapped it right up and stuck it in a chicken sandwich box. He didn’t even bother trying to close the box all the way, because it was obvious that that wasn’t going to happen. The Double Down cannot be contained by any ordinary sandwich box.
Perhaps hoping to make me feel better about my earlier awkward conversation, or just being friendly, as Edward James Olmos put my box in a bag he smiled warmly and said to me, “This will really fill you up, mang.” Or he could have said “ma’am” instead of “mang”, I’m not really sure. I’m at an age where it really could have gone either way.
I smiled back and said, “I’m sure it will. I’ve been waiting for this for a while, that’s why I’m here on the day it came out.”
“Actually, it came out yesterday,” he replied. “We just haven’t had a lot of people come in yet because they haven’t seen the commercial.”
“Oh really?” I said, surprised, since every website in the world had told me it came out on the 12th. I wasn’t going to argue with the man who’d just made my Double Down, though, so I just said, “Well, I’ve been waiting since August, anyway.”
“Dang, mang, you known about it before I did!” He said, chuckling.
“Oh yeah, it’s been all over the Internet,” I replied. He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who watched for new fast foods on the Internet. Edward James Olmos was completely oblivious regarding the controversy surrounding the sandwich he had just made for me. I found it endearing.
We said our pleasantries and I tried not to run out of the KFC to my car, because that would look weird, and I didn’t want to look weird, especially not after buying a giant chicken sandwich at 10:09am. I impatiently fumed at the entrance to my apartment complex, waiting for an elderly couple to sloooowly make their way across the sidewalk in front of the entrance. It was like they’d been placed there by the gods of situational comedy. I considered just running them over, but figured that might put a kink in my day, so I just waited. In hindsight, I should have just run them over. The Double Down waits for no man. Especially not an old one.
But fuck Internet buzz and neckbeards Edward James Olmos, right? How does it taste?
My first couple of bites were mostly just chicken, but the chicken was tender and juicy. I don’t think I’ve ever shoved that much KFC chicken in my mouth at once. It felt voluptuous, decadent, overindulgent. I was transformed into a Cyrenaic. And I loved it.
Then I hit the cheese and the Colonel’s Sauce all at once, and it was madness. The cheese was melty and creamy, which I was concerned about after seeing the process of making the Double Down. I figured the whole sandwich would need a little more heat, but apparently they keep the chicken screaming hot, because the cheese was perfect and the sandwich was perfectly hot. The sauce was zippy, tangy. Combined with the juicy chicken and the Colonel’s 11 secret herbs and spices, it was so wrong, but so very right. Screw grapes, I want hot scantily clad chicks hand-feeding me Double Downs all day, as I lounge on my gilded bed with shirtless dudes fanning me with palm fronds.
While I’d like to say the Double Down was perfect, I do have a few quibbles about it. The bacon was largely swallowed up by the massive chicken filets. It fell victim to the classic fast food problem: limp bacon that lacks flavor and crispness. I got a little bit of crunch and a little flavor, but, and I hate to even admit this, I actually wished there was more bacon on the sandwich. More bacon or better bacon, whichever would make the bacon a little more prominent.
I would have liked a little more Colonel’s Sauce on my Double Down, but I do tend to like my burgers and sandwiches sauced up to a point that most people probably wouldn’t enjoy. Since I’ve already shamed myself pretty thoroughly in this review, I’ll go ahead and admit that at one point I actually opened the sandwich up, like a delicious book, and licked the sauce right off the chicken, so I could get a purer sense of what it tasted like. A woman, in her late 20s, not wearing pants, fending off two cats who REALLY wanted to eat my Double Down, licking sauce off the inside of a sandwich that uses chicken filets for buns. I do this for you, dear readers.
Colonel’s Sauce tastes like a zippy southwestern sauce. Probably mayonnaise mixed with something mildly spicy. A light Google search and KFC’s website itself offer no clues, but I’m comfortable with that. I like a little mystery in my food. That’s probably not something a person with all their faculties intact would ever say.
I couldn’t finish my entire sandwich. I am no match for the Double Down. Edward James Olmos was right; it will, indeed, fill you up. Mang. I felt logy afterward; this is a sandwich made to be eaten when you’ve cleared your plans for the rest of the day. But my excitement to write about my Double Down experience got me through this review. And I will give the health nut Double-Down naysayers this: damn son, this bitch be salty. The medium iced tea I got with it was sucked dry, and I still felt like Lot’s wife. But that’s okay with me. I used to eat salt straight out of the shaker. I can handle a little sodium in my sandwich. And by a little, I mean 1,380 milligrams of it.
Don’t look at me like that.
So, was it all worth it? The hype, the waiting, the controversy, the awkward conversation, the food coma, the excessively long, boring review? Absolutely. I loved it. It’s like splurging on a really expensive meal at a fancy, overpriced restaurant – you know you’re being naughty, but you sure do enjoy yourself while you’re doing it. You’re obviously not going to do it every day, but every once in a while, it’s fun to throw responsibility to the wind and just go wild.
Eating a Double Down probably does qualify as throwing responsibility to the wind, but I loved every minute of it.
Oh, and there’s also a grilled version of the Double Down, but I recommend you at least try the original first. And if you think the grilled version is healthier, consider this – it actually has 500 more milligrams of sodium than the original version. Ha!
By the way, this is what my napkin looked like at the end of the meal:
- Score: 4.5 out of 5 neckbeards
- Price: $4.99
- Size: 1 sandwich
- Purchased at: KFC #Y303048
- Nutritional Quirks: Where to begin? You know what, you just figure this one out for yourself.