I recently read an article on social media that shares the title of countless prose of the past. Yes, it was that old literary chestnut we’ve all read called, “What Women Really Want.”
It was a hard-hitting piece of journalism that lead the reader to believe the author had unlocked the mind of the fairer sex and would gladly let us in on the secret that confident, well-dressed men in good shape who have a witty sense of humor and above-average intelligence are at an advantage in today’s dating pool.
Good luck finding that unicorn, ladies.
But a recent lunch at a West Mobile location has me thinking the article is off by a long shot.
It was a semi-sunny break from the downpours that led Rob Holbert, Agent 549, and yours truly along with our good friend Snake to see what all the fuss was about Chicken Salad Chick. This impromptu lunch meeting was more Rob’s idea, but I’d heard nothing but good things about this chain of restaurants that reaches 26 cities in six states.
As we met in the parking lot at the intersection of Cottage Hill and Hillcrest we noticed there were a lot of cars on that end of the shopping center. This was my first visit, but my publisher and I were saying this must be a good sign. Crowded or not we were going to have our business meeting. But luckily the line went quickly.
When I tell you this place is all about the chicken salad I mean to say there are 15 different flavors of chicken salad sold by the pound, by the scoop and by the sandwich. Of course the names are irresistible and you want to try all of them, but today I will only have room for a few.
I began the ordering with the Chick Trio ($8.45). This is a chance to sample three scoops of your choice on a bed of lettuce with wheat crackers and one of the best pickle spears you’ll have. I thought my maiden voyage should start with the Classic Carol. This is the base model that began the successful franchise. I notice right off how finely chopped the chicken is. It’s almost as if this is chicken mousse. It’s not a heavy mayonnaise soupy salad. But don’t take that to mean dry, either.
Next I tried Dixie Chick. How could I resist their “most offensive salad” that was designed for an onion lover. I certainly claim to be one of those. There was a decent kick to it, but not terribly offensive. I may have had a little more kick in the Buffalo Barclay scoop. The intention was to create chicken salad that tastes like Buffalo wings. There is a hint of that. Loaded potato soup ($3.15) helped break the monotony of three chicken salads and though it was good, it could’ve used a dash of hot sauce (they did not have any). Despite that we were off to a good start.
Snake wasn’t playing around and ordered the Original Chick combo ($7.89). This is a choice of sandwich or scoop plus a side item and a cookie of the day. The ever-alliterative Snake had a Sassy Scotty sandwich and soup of the day. This was an interesting chicken salad, blending ranch with bacon and cheddar cheese that came as requested on a croissant.
Rob was also in the sandwich mood but went a bit larger with the Gourmet Chick combo ($8.45), which is essentially an Original Chick with two side items. He opted for the Kickin’ Kay Lynne on sourdough bread making sure they do not add any extra mayonnaise to his sandwich. They assured him the bread would be bone-dry, and it was, but the Kickin’ Kay Lynne was anything but. It’s got the Buffalo sauce, bacon, ranch, cheddar cheese and jalapenos for an incredible flavor.
So Agent 549 was not dining with us, but grabbed three containers ($9.95 per pound) to take to an undisclosed location. I of course had to try these flavors in exchange for my pickle spear. The first was Jalapeno Holly. Everyone who speaks of Chicken Salad Chick is quick to mention this one. It is by no means difficult to eat, and only the most fragile of taste buds would be searching for the beer after a bite or two. But it has enough jalapeno to let you know it’s there. Nutty Nana was pleasurable with cashews and pecans, but nothing I was crazy about.
Of all the chicken salad I had that day the best one was the Fruity Fran! Something about seedless grapes and Fuji apples made this one my personal favorite, and it may have been because it was most like my mom’s that she makes every Easter. Every now and then I prefer a fruitier chicken salad and on this day I was certainly in the mood.
While wrapping up our pleasant conversation and tying up the loose ends of gossip from our brief lunch I looked around and noticed the ratio of females to males. I didn’t do an exact count, but the estimate was probably 20:1. Then it hit me. Every person that mentioned Chicken Salad Chick to me has been female. Chicken Salad Chick is a Chick magnet!
Sure, chicken salad isn’t the manliest thing to chase down on a lunch hour, but I admit this place is pretty good. I will be back for the cayenne and bacon-heavy Jazzy Julie for sure, but this West Mobile location holds the key to what women really want. So fellas, before you join a book club, sign a gym membership or max out the credit cards on new threads, your best bet may be to head on over to Chicken Salad Chick.
Open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Chicken Salad Chick
2370 S. Hillcrest Rd, Unit R
Mobile, AL 36695