As Wendy’s redheaded spokesmodel says in their new TV spot, “It’s time to turn this siesta into a fiesta” -- and the fast food mega-chain accomplishes said fiesta-fication with their limited time offer of the Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club sandwich. It is the fourth spicy item on the current menu, joining the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, the Spicy Chicken Wrap, and the Spicy Chicken Nuggets -- items that each presumably have the same fried chicken coated in the same spicy batter. Here’s how this spicy, yet festive addition rates:
The Claims: The Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club contains a crispy, fried spicy chicken breast, topped with "authentic guacamole," smoked bacon, and pepper jack cheese -- all inside a bun (770 calories). It's available for a limited time. Prices vary at participating locations.
The Analysis: This fiesta of a chicken sandwich is not much of a stretch from Wendy's usual fare, but that's not a bad thing. Wendy's has already established a fairly diverse menu for a fast food mega chain, and the Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club fits right within their culinary range. When you analyze its ingredients, it's more or less an exercise in reshuffling their already available inventory; they already have spicy fried chicken breasts from that other sandwich, the bacon comes from the same stock as the Baconators, and the guacamole is also used in the Baja Salad. The only new thing is the pepper jack cheese, which isn't currently used on anything else on the menu, but I'm sure it's not so hard to get from a distributor if you're already ordering Monterey Jack for other food items.
How does it taste? It tastes like what it is: a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, with a few added flavors and textures. It has the saltiness and crispiness of bacon, and the peppery taste and creaminess of guacamole and pepper jack cheese. Like its predecessor, the spices in the Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club are fairly bold for a nationwide fast food chain, which usually caters to a generally milder palate. The use of pepper jack instead of plain Monterey is a good decision, since it adds yet an extra kick.
Most of the heat of peppers and spices comes from the fried chicken batter, not the guacamole as the name of the sandwich might imply -- although when licking the bun to taste the guacamole by itself, it seems that it too is seasoned. However, it could use a little more guacamole, since a lot of the avocado taste and texture is lost in the spiciness of everything else.
The Final Verdict: B+. The new Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club is a solid sandwich. If you're a fan of the original Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and want the taste (and added calories) of bacon, with hint of seasoned creaminess, then this for you. If you're not into spicy, there's always the Asiago Ranch Chicken Club, which is similar in taste and texture, but without all the heat.
-- Erik R. Trinidad