Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kentucky Grilled Chicken

Since moving to Austin, we've been trying to eat healthier and we've largely given up fast foods. But, old habits die hard, and ever the consummate consumer, I was pretty intrigued by KFC's new approach into the trend of healthy eating. 

The commercials certainly looked promising. The colonel's 11 tasty herbs and spices combined with the healthiness of grilled chicken instead of fried? Today I decided to give it a shot finally. 

The results were a bit of a mixed bag as you can probably imagine.  First of all, the pieces are not nearly as big or delicious-looking as the ads (I should have known better). Second of all, "Kentucky Grilled Chicken" is a pretty egregious misnomer-- the pieces are still fried in oil, just not with all the batter.  I have no idea where the "grill marks" are coming from. 

Still, no one can say it doesn't make a difference. A "grilled" drumstick is only 80 calories, as compared to the original recipe (110 calories) or the Extra Crispy (150 calories), and a grilled breast (180 calories) is a HUGE improvement over the original recipe (370 calories) and Extra Crispy (490 calories). 

As for the flavor, it wasn't bad.  Certainly not as tasty as the KFC you're used to, but the fact that it's actually friend instead of grilled was probably redeeming in this regard.  

What got me, though, in the end was the sides.  I haven't had KFC in forever, so I couldn't pass up the usual favorites: cole slaw and mashed potatoes.  Like any dining out experience for the health conscious, the sides can be just as dangerous as the main course, if not more.  Luckily, there are better options on the menu, including green beans, mean greens (whatever that is), and good old-fashioned corn on the cob. 

In the end, this new KGC will not and should not be considered healthy eating by anyone (no surprise there).  But for people with kids who are coerced into eating more fast food than they'd like, or recovering junk foodies like myself, it provides options, and for that KFC should be applauded.  

Now if you'll excuse me, Han and I are getting ready to go get chicken fried steak at Hoover's.  (Which way is the gym?)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Mighty Cone

Q: What are two things that don't go together at all?
A: Moving and running a food blog.

I know the updates have been few and far between these days.  Stress like this generally leads to stress eating, and I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any interest in reading an entry on the Mueller Center Papa John's.  

Anyways, I did get a chance the other day to try out the new Mighty Cone trailer in the rapidly-developing nouveau-South Austin Trailer Park on S. Congress. (What is it with Austinites and trailers anyways?) 

For those of you who don't know, Hudson's On the Bend has a booth every year at the Austin City Limits food court, and their cones are so popular, the line for the Hudson's booth is usually the longest in the food court by far.  So then some higher up, somewhere, said to herself, "Why not offer these cones up year round?" And hence, the Mighty Cone was born. 

The Mighty Cone trailer offers the same delicious cones that they sell at ACL: chicken, shrimp, or avocado fried in a mixture of corn flakes, nuts, and spices, wrapped in kind of a tortilla ($4.95, $5.45 for shrimp). You can also get deluxe cones that combine chicken and avocado ($5.95) or shrimp and avocado ($6.45). 

In addition, the Mighty Cone also has new sliders, both beef ($5.75) and veggie ($5.25) that come with a side of chili-dusted fries. 

There's limited seating available but if you're lucky to get a spot the tables come equipped with "cone holders," which I really appreciated. 

All in all, I think there's two ways to look at the Mighty Cone. One one hand, the food is, of course, delicious. And eating at the Mighty Cone is certainly friendlier on the wallet than dropping three digits at the real Hudson's. 

On the other hand though, the cones do run on the small side.  I may just be a fat Houstonian transplant but I'm pretty sure most people who want to eat "lunch" will have to order at least two cones.  The sliders, while delicious, only come one per order.  I've never known any place where you can order a single slider. So while the Mighty Cone might be "The Only Place You Can Eat Hudson's for under $10," you could also say it's the only place in town where you can pay $10 to eat out of a trailer. 

I also think that there's something else missing about not eating the cones at ACL that loses its appeal.  It's kind of like eating a hot dog at the ballpark, but if you were to eat that same hot dog in your own kitchen, it's a completely different experience. 

I think in the end I would have to say that the Mighty Cone is a delicious treat, but kind of a one-trick pony.  It's a good place to take an out-of-towner, or to get a periodic fix in between ACL festivals, but I'd have to say my preferred trailer-dining experience would definitely be Torchy's just one street over, where I can spend less and get a little bit more variety.
The Mighty Cone
S. Congress and Monroe (across from South Congress Cafe)