A Fast Times conundrum presented itself to me at Bush Intercontinental Airport a couple of weeks ago. Before boarding a nine-and-a-half-hour flight to Anchorage, my husband and I had to decide whether to scarf down McDonald's and skip the in-flight meal, or eat whatever weird pre-heated mess Alaska Airlines had on the menu that day. Well, you know what they say about the devil you know ...
My pre-flight pick was the titular grilled chicken sandwich sans mayo. It looks shockingly decent, for a fast food sandwich, no? Just look at that big, green lettuce leaf and the nice, thick slice of tomato. And the bun! It's not a wadded-up mess of bread! We eat with our eyes first, so the fact that the sandwich looked good got my hopes up.
Unfortunately, McDonald's is not lending chicken sandwiches any credibility with their Premium Grilled Chicken Classic; fresh lettuce and tomato can only do so much.
The chicken portion is just--weird. For a "grilled" chicken sandwich, I thought that the outside was oddly crispy; not coated or breaded, just crispy. Texturally, this is one unpleasant food item, in that the chicken is so obviously pumped full of water as to make the fillet itself watery. In fact, McDonald's breaks down each ingredient into that ingredient's separate components, and their "new grilled chicken fillet" lists "water" as its second ingredient after "chicken breast fillet with rib meat." ("Chicken skin" and "chicken fat" are also listed. Yikes.)
Even the "bakery style bun" was weird -- mealy, and grainier than their regular hamburger buns, but not in a yummy "whole grain" way. I'll take the McD hamburger bun any day of the week.
I can't even say this sandwich is much healthier than a McD cheeseburger, which also comes in at 300 calories. Sure, the cheeseburger has a few more grams of fat and is higher in sodium, but it's a far better choice than this decidedly non-premium Premium Chicken Classic.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Alaska Airlines has a kick-ass fruit and cheese plate that I highly recommend.
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Nutrition Information: 300 calories, 3.5 g fat, 730 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 27 g protein. (Note: Adding mayo adds 50 calories, 5.5 g fat, 90 mg sodium, 1 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein.)
Price: Approximately $4, but I didn't save my receipt. I was on vacation, yo.