Sunday, September 11, 2011

McDonald's Premium Chicken Sandwiches

McD's has recently rolled out a new line of premium chicken sandwiches, and they want some FvF readers to try them out for free.  Available in original, Club or Ranch BLT, you can get the chicken either grilled or crispy on a new bakery-style bun.  Same drill as the last contest:  you send me a fan on FvF's Facebook page and you'll get a coupon in the mail for a freebie.  Make sure the friends you send let me know that you put them up to it! 

Company 7 BBQ - Englewood, Ohio

You all know how assy I can be about BBQ, having found very little to write home about either here in Ohio, or in our travels.  On our recent trips to Kentucky and Tennessee, I wasn't even interested in trying out an of the local barbecue joints, because it seemed it was always a disappointment. Dry brisket, fake smoke flavor, and shitty sides.

About a year ago, a business acquaintance of mine left his post at a prominent local company to start up a BBQ joint with his wife and her family in Englewood.  It would be called Company 7 BBQ, after the majority of family starting this venture, who are all fire and EMS workers.  I kept in touch for a while and kept promising to make it up there to try it, and letting loose that I had a secret life as a food blogger.  Life has a way with making things slip your mind, so come this summer, I still hadn't made it to Englewood to try Company 7.  One night that cooking at home sounded too labor intensive, we headed north to check it out, based on the recent recommendation of a friend.

I was hoping to see my friend, but I figured since he was one of the head honchos, it'd be tough to catch him on the floor. Wrong!  We hadn't been seated for two minutes before he popped behind the bar and started filling drinks.  Come to find out later, the guy who brought our food out and chatted Mr. FvF about Texas BBQ was another owner, his father-in-law.  You can tell that the presence of owners and management keeps this place running pretty smoothly.  They had live bands on one side, a room full of full bellies on the other, apparently a buffet in the back, a full bar and still a little room to grow.  I'm not familiar with the area, so I'm not sure what this place used to be, but the size of it certainly surprised me (insert "that's what she said" joke).

Perusing the menu and the table-toppers presented some info I was happy to see.  Something along the lines of "When we run out of a meat - that's it. We won't have any more until the next day, because we smoke it for 18 hours."  After deciding that neither of us wanted to pick just one meat, we both got a two-meat combo, which comes with two sides and a cheese muffin. I chose pulled pork and brisket, and the Mister got pulled pork and smoked sausage.  We also threw in a last minute order of smoked chicken wings, for little other reason than the price was right.  I don't normally care for wings at all, but...
I obviously had no problems polishing half of this order off.  They were super crispy, likely smoked then maybe flash fried - and not too greasy. They come naked, because C7 already has six of their signature sauces on the table (no sugar added and painfully hot sauces also made in-house are available for the asking). I didn't use the sauce on my wings, but tried them all via finger-lickin' method (very scientific) before our entrees arrived.  Chief Smokey and Lieutenant Tangy were definitely the front runners for me, though they were all pretty good.  I was hoping I wouldn't even need the sauces, though. You know the rules.  Good BBQ doesn't need sauce. 

Mr. FvF got mac & cheese and fries with his. I didn't sample the fries, but the mac was a lot like Stouffer's, which means it was excellent.  My current motherly state tells you that I'm already a fan of my husband's sausage (wakka wakka!), but I sampled this one, too.  I have some pretty major texture issues when it comes to food these days, so I had a hard time eating much more than one or two bites - but the flavor was spot on.  
He's really the expert here, so I'll defer to him for comment.  From the desk of Mr. FvF:
It's really good - very sweet & spicy.  Close to Kruez's, but not the same as Black's.

The pulled pork was probably some of the best I've had in a restaurant.
Tender, moist*, and wonderfully smoky without tasting overpowering or fake.  No Liquid Smoke at Company 7 - just the real deal. There were some beautiful pieces of bark on both of our plates, too.   The brisket was sliced, like it's supposed to be.  I don't know why some northern barbecue joints have taken to shredding their brisket, but it's not right. It's like serving pizza in squares.  The terrorists win!  
Anyhow, the brisket was top notch.  It had a really nice smoke ring, which I apologize for not getting a better photo of.  There were juices still flowing from both servings of meat when our food came to the table, which made for great dipping with the cheese muffin.  The cinnamon apples were delicious, but I only managed to eat about three slices before I had to tap out. Even maternity pants have their limits.  Speaking of limits, I'm convulsing at the thought of going back so I can try their ribs.  

Just over 12 bucks a plate for massive servings of  two meats and two sides, and the wings were under $5 - so the prices are definitely right.  Service was very good, and it's nice to see the brass working the floor like everyone else there to earn a living.  It's a bit of a hike for us to Clayton, but it's absolutely worth the drive back.  

5 out of 5 sporks! 

*Sorry, Lando!

Company 7 BBQ on Urbanspoon

Fair Food!!!

Everyone loves fair food, so there's no point in reviewing it.  But, I want to tell you about an old love...

...pork tenderloin twice the size of my face.

And a new love...

...deep fried Snickers.

It's probably best that I found myself too busy to attend more than one fair this summer, because otherwise - helloooooooooo, gestational diabetes.