Let me start by saying that this chicken was $6. This is in Ardmore, PA. Prices may vary from one store to the next. It might not seem so bad, and it isn’t terrible. But, when you consider that you can buy a decent chicken dish at “Chotchkies” for as low as eight to nine dollars, this Serenada will change your life. You get frozen chicken from Trader Joe’s. Not getting side-dishes and service and a cute waitress with 15+ pieces of flair, but you have to heat it and prepare it yourself.
Do you remember Chotchkie’s? It was a fictional knock-off of the TGI Friday’s/Ruby Tuesday/Applebee’s-genre of restaurants in the Mike Judge film Office Space. Right now, my favorite of those is Ruby Tuesday, as I’ve had excellent service and food there lately—at multiple locations. Although this is not a review of Trader Joe’s food products, I’m going use this blog to criticize Applebee’s. This is mainly due to the horrendous service I received at their Havertown, PA, location several months back. Trust me, you won’t want to ask. I’m usually a kind, sympathetic human being, but I certainly wouldn’t lose any sleep if the earth opened up and swallowed that particular location of that restaurant down into the bowels of the earth. I advised their regional manager to take that $25 Crapplebee’s certificate that he offered me in compense for the horror I experienced, to gift it to his worst enemy and to tell him to use it in Havertown. But I am not bitter.
We’re back to the Trader Joe’s Chicken Serenada. Most bites were delicious. However, some bites were more delicious than others. The majority was made up of juicy, white breast meat. A few bites were a bit too stringy and there was some skin. Some people like my wife love chicken skin and don’t mind it being a bit mixed with their meat. I’m not one among them. I hate animal skin of any type. It’s more than the idea of the thing. It’s also about the texture. Skin is too elastic and chewy. But anyway, the bites with skin were just aberrations in an otherwise terrifically-textured plate of poultry.
Flavor-wise the chicken was great and the sauce was fantastic. Although I don’t know what was in the sauce it seemed to contain several types and colors of onions and peppers. About the third bite, I experienced a very special moment when my mouth felt unusually, uncommonly, or abnormally happy. WayIt’s happier than ever. But it’s not always this way UnHappy…but that one bite was just not for me. It happened at least three more time during my meal. I tried slowing down to be more aware of what I was eating so I could identify what was causing the occasional moments of noshing bliss. I didn’t know what it was. I think those green-looking peppers are my best guess.
That handful of magic bites was all that I needed to change my life. This chicken was not transcendent, and it happened too often and irregularly. Also, I should mention that the serving size was just barely enough for one person. Sonia and me shared it to share the experience and score it. Sonia enjoyed it. She doesn’t know the origin of the dish. It’s not Mexican, but she says so. We think it might be a Spanish dish. “Chicken Serenada.” It’s almost like a bake yardbird writing a song for you. I imagine farm fowl dancing flamenco together and clapping their hands in unison. It’s beautiful. However, it’s not beautiful enough to overlook the tiny bites and small serving sizes as well as the high price. It’s a 3.5 for me. Sonia gave it a 4 because of its pleasant taste and texture. It’s a great gourmet entree that you can heat in your microwave.
Final verdict: 7.5 out 10.