Torani announced (then subsequently declared an April Fools joke then subsequently caved into pressure to make it) a Chicken N Waffles Syrup to add to their “gourmet” product line. Americans are familiar with the concept, but if you’re anything like me, you were confused and a little disgusted at the idea.
So you can imagine my joy when I found Chicken N’ Waffles at The Ex this year.
Chicken N’ Waffles at The Ex
Fresh Fried Chicken? Check.
Freshly made Waffles? Check.
Maple Syrup? Check.
Louisiana Hot Sauce? Check.
Powdered Icing? Check.
The thought of a crunchy, salty deep fried meat with hot sauce on a soft, freshly made waffle with sweet maple syrup almost had my stomach turning; but this chance to try the southern “delicacy” that had people lashing out at Torani’s publicity stunt was too good to pass up. When you’re at The Ex, you’re there to try deep fried mars bars wrapped in bacon and other heart-clogging foods, so why not Chicken ‘N Waffles?
My first venture into the poutine-esque container was to skewer a piece of the deep fried chicken without any waffle, not an easy task with flimsy plastic forks. The crunchy outer breading is nice and flavourful and the chicken inside is actual chicken and fresh. Definitely better than anything you get at KFC. The Louisiana hot sauce is delicious and not too overpowering.
Next a stab at the waffle, which without a knife to cut it (awkward in the container anyways) leaves you to pick up the thing whole with your fork and bite off pieces. You’re at an overcrowded carnival that doesn’t have enough seating inside so you don’t feel out of place eating like a slob sitting on a retaining wall outside as hundreds of people swarm around eating a myriad of junk fast food. The waffles are made from batter and baked in a waffle maker on the spot so they’re fresh as well. The maple syrup tastes great on it – and some of the Louisiana hot sauce has soaked in as well, leaving an odd but not entirely unpleasant taste.
Finally the moment of truth. With a piece of waffle left over after you’ve bitten off chunks, and a half of a piece of deep fried chicken, you have to try to pierce both the moist waffle and the crispy chicken with your plastic fork so that you can combine these two delicacies into a supposed mouthly masterpiece. What comes next? Gastronomical bliss? Vomit?
The first thing I noticed was the salted deep fried chicken, in part because it hit my toungue first and in part because the crunchy shell is far more noticeable than the soft waffle. As you begin to chew, it all kind of melds together to form a spicy-salty-sweet thing that has the consistency of some sort of enpanada. I really have no words to describe the texture – it’s not mushy, not chunky per se, but definitely not something you’re used to. The taste itself is not bad, but not great either, just somewhere in between “what am I eating” and “I could have this for dinner… or breakfast… is that lunch… no… err…” The aftertaste is mostly Louisiana hot sauce and maple syrup, which both tend to linger on your taste buds.
And then you realize you’re only half way through the container.
Once you get past the $8.50 price (over $11 with a mandatory bottle of water to wash it down with) it actually isn’t bad. The food isn’t pre-processed frozen items that are microwaved, they’re freshly made on the spot and simply combined in an unconventional way. The serving sizes are actually quite large unfortunately, as you tend to want to try a bunch of things at The Ex but don’t have the stomach capacity to.
It sits heavy in your stomach (in part due to the size) so you feel sluggish the rest of the day, and it’s not something you’d want to consume on a regular basis. Would I recommend getting it as a syrup? If Torani can distinctly separate the salty chicken and sweet waffles, I think it would be a great conversation piece to add to cocktails at a party or a barbeque, but it’s a once-in-a-while syrup, definitely not a daily drinker. For those of you who are interested in trying the Torani Chicken N’ Waffles Syrup, we’re keeping our eyes out for when it does pop-up on our order form and we will be bringing in a limited quantity when it does.
Go by The Ex if you’re in Toronto and you have a chance.