Episode 53: Ryback Weekend 2

One weekend, I left work so hungry, I thought another Ryback Weekend is in order. And so it is.

I’ve turned my back on my oath to do away with fastfood ever since I did a review of the Amazing Aloha, but until that weekend, I’ve resisted the urge to eat out in such places. Maybe this time it’s because I’m looking for a quick meal, or I was too drained to think of proper nourishment.

In any case, off I went that lunchtime after work to the nearest mall to pig out. Lunch consisted of a McSpicy with fries and drinks.

From what I gathered, McDonald’s McSpicy is a localized item; I couldn’t find it in the US menu, but it seems it’s available in other countries, such as Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong. (Come to think of it, I hear we’re the only country whose Mickey D’s serves McSpaghetti, but I digress.)

McDo describes the McSpicy as “100% juicy whole chicken meat, seasoned with just the right amount of choice spices, topped with fresh crunchy lettuce and flavorful dressing, all in a perfectly toasted sesame seed bun.”

Looks like McDonald’s really did a number on this one, trumpeting it as one really spicy sandwich that can tickle the Filipino tastebud. Some (off-cam and off-mike) even compare it to KFC’s Zinger, that mighty sandwich that made tongues burn and hearts palpitate (when it first came out, that is).

So I ordered a McSpicy, and what I got was a deconstructed chicken fillet with shredded lettuce and dressing on top, sandwiched between the halves of a sesame seed bun.

Does it look good? Yup. Does it look tasty? Judging by the ads, and then comparing it to the stuff on my plate, so-so. Now, does it taste good? The chicken fillet was meaty, and there was a small hint of spiciness in the fillet, but that was it. I’m sure I ordered a McSpicy, not a McNotSoSpicy. A guy like me who likes his food spicy should know. Then again, your mileage may vary.

Anyway, the McSpicy does tickle the ordinary burger eater’s taste buds, but nothing much can be said, other than it being the next Mickey D’s novelty burger. There must be a burger out there that’s worthy of the tag “spicy,” aside from the Zinger, that is.

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Speaking of KFC, I took the trouble of falling in line to get one of those “manly,” big-sized meals of theirs, one of which is that Double Decker Fully Loaded Meal

I have to give credit to KFC for coming up with monstrosities like the Double Decker Burger. It’s basically two chicken fillets with cheese and coleslaw in a sesame seed bun. Now THIS is what I call a manly burger. Now add a cup of rice and a piece of chicken (original or hot and spicy, and you’re in for a heavy meal.

Does it look good? Yup. Does it look tasty? So-so. Now, does it taste good? Well, if you’re the type who likes all of his favorites in one plate, a Fully Loaded Meal is meant for you.

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Come Sunday, I’ve had enough of fastfood chicken, so I went after that one place at SM North EDSA that I’ve been most curious about: Chuck’s Grub.

From what I’ve gathered, Chuck’s Grub is a brainchild of the husband and wife team Enrique and Isha Andaya-Valles. It started as a featured stall at Mercato Centrale at The Fort (yup, THAT Mercato Centrale), and takes pride of being the first fish and chips shop in the country. It’s said that Enrique, who stayed for a while at London, thought the Philippines should be able to enjoy this staple British meal. To date, it already has a good following, with six branches already opened around Metro Manila.

The best-sellers at Chuck’s Grub would be the beer battered dory and chips. Now, dory is your typical, everyday budget fish fillet treat, but here it becomes more special. Nowadays they also serve rice meals, burgers, and calamari, among others, so anyone who needs a quick seafood fix can feel at home here.

My lunch/dinner – lupper? – was a serving of cobbler (four pieces of it), a recommended fish for meat lovers because of its flavor and consistency in the palate. This came with unlimited chips (promo, promo), and dips of your choice (mine was vinegar and garlic mayo). I also ordered some beer to help everything go down.

To say that I liked Chuck’s Grub’s fish and chips is an understatement. The fish was flavorful, the chips were not too salty, and the dips complement the meal. Even though I was hungry, I couldn’t help but let the flavors of the fish linger in mouth so I could savor the experience of eating good fish. My only problem is the price – each is worth a full meal elsewhere, which would be a turn-off for heavy eaters out there, but it’s worth every cent, for all I care.

Anyway, I left the shop full and satisfied, hoping for a chance – and a bigger budget – to try out their beer battered halibut. I hear it’s rich and creamy, a mouthwatering experience for fish lovers, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

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