Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A battle over the internet for the chicken sandwich title

If you’ve been paying attention lately to the internet, you’ve probably seen a fair amount of interest by both the public and media about the new chicken sandwich that Popeye’s recently launched.

Many people say its a contender or even better than the Chick-fil-A version, and it comes without the controversy that Chick-fil-A has recently found itself in.

To be quite honest this is the first time I’ve ever seen people talk so much about Popeye’s so the sandwich is definitely a win from a PR perspective. Other fast food giants are also racing to join the conversation. Wendy’s is getting sassy on Twitter, which should surprise no one at this point.

 

I haven’t had a chance to try the Popeye’s chicken sandwich yet, but it’s definitely on my radar. Personally, I’m not a big fan of Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich…I prefer the morning chicken biscuit better so we’ll see how I like this sandwich when I finally do make it over to a Popeye’s.

Some more chicken reads:

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10 food journalists to follow on Twitter

Food Twitter has always been entertaining, but the world of food media is finally advancing and recovering from some tumultuous years (thanks Web 2.0).

New voices and personalities are appearing online, including plenty of writers that I personally enjoying reading on a regular basis both in newspapers and on Twitter.

Many of these writers are also incredibly funny and interesting people in general. One thing you’ll notice about food writing is how it is evolving from simple reviews or critiques to more thought-out pieces that reflect the people writing about it and their cultural roots…and I love that.

In a world where the media industry seems to constantly be in upheaval, there is quality content being rolled out all the time that could always use more love (and a paid subscription).

Here are 10 food journalists to follow on Twitter:

  1. Noah Cho (@NoahReservations): Noah writes a column called Bad Kimchi for Catapult that I can connect to on so many levels after living in South Korea in 2011 and coming back to an America that is experimenting and popularizing kimchi. His writing is very personal and enjoyable to read and he actually led me to start throwing American cheese in my ramen and boy is it good.
  2. Soleil Ho (@hooleil): The new food critic at San Francisco Chronicle is entering a giant food void that has been left post-retirement of Michael Bauer, who ruled SF for 32 years. Soleil is a partner in the Racist Sandwich Podcast, which explores race and food issues. Although she hasn’t published her first article yet, her tweets and social media posts are entertaining and she is very active in the food media ecosystem. From what I can gather, her style will be completely different from the previous era of food and that’s a good thing as the food media industry is evolving.
  3. Joseph Hernandez (@joeybear85): The current Travel Editor at Thrillist and former Food Writer at Chicago Tribune knows his food. There are not too many Filipino food writers on the internet nowadays and Joseph’s story about his experiences growing up are a great read.
  4. Gowri Chandra (@gowri_chandra): Gowri probably consumes just as much food media as I do and is a great person to follow to stay updated on what is happening around food online. Her hot takes are actually good. She also contributes to a number of publications including Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Thrillist, Los Angeles Magazine, L.A. Weekly, Vice, and more.
  5. Dan Q. Dao (@danqdao): My experiences with New York are limited, but Dan provides interesting commentary that makes me think of what I would encounter should I head to NYC someday. He is funny, sassy, and writes a good number of pieces for Food & Wine and other publications as a contributor.
  6. Serena Dai (@ssdai): Serena writes for Eater New York and sparked quite a debate recently when Yelp came for her local Thai neighborhood spot. Her tweets are very relatable as someone writing in the food industry.
  7. Gustavo Arellano (@GustavoArellano): Gustavo tweets a ton (215K+ tweets) but his opinions and responses about food are truly great. His stories and commentaries on Mexican food should not be missed including a recent one about Vegan Pozole. He is also the author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.
  8. Carlos Frías (@Carlos_Frias): It’s a little surprising that there isn’t more Twitter activity in Miami for food considering how quickly restaurants open and close there and how many interesting concepts exist there. Also the unusual things that happen in Miami (think Florida Man) are constantly hitting the press. Carlos keeps everyone updated on Miami’s food scene as the Editor at Miami Herald Food and Miami.com. He writes and produce tons of engaging content in that sassy Miami vibe that I’ve come to love. Carlos is also a James-Beard Award winner.
  9. Mona Holmes (@monaeatsLA): This writer from Eater LA has some spicy tweets that I enjoy reading. Her tweets are’t always about food, but they generally involve something happening in the food sphere.
  10. Andrea Chang (@byandreachang): I am so happy that LA Times is beefing up their food content with a print food publication back in the market as a long time fan from the East Coast. Andrea Chang is the Deputy Food Editor there and there has been noticeably great coverage lately from her and her colleagues Peter Meehan (@pfmpfmpfm), Lucas Peterson (@lucaspeterson), and more. I’m rooting for this team and you should too. Go subscribe!

BONUS: Lauren Lee (@lauren_lee_la): This Audience Engagement Intern for LA Times sparked a battle across the internet this week about french fries that did not miss a single timeline and led to some interesting conversations between myself and a brand I hardly ever engage with: Checker’s. She has a promising future.

Burger 21 VIB: Very Important Blogger “Slide into Summer” Tasting #B21VIB

This and many future blogs to come were saved by my good friend Jason Lawrence, who saved my hard drive from my former laptop (RIP). A big thanks to him! If you ever need IT work, Jason is your guy!

I was invited to Burger 21 for their VIB: Very Important Blogger “Slide into Summer” Tasting a few weeks ago. This tasting was a complimentary event for local bloggers. Burger 21 is frequently buzzed in Tampa by local diners (It is currently #1 in Tampa on Urbanspoon) and my excitement was built by many of my Twitter followers, who claimed Burger 21 has the best burger they have ever had. A bold statement indeed.

I made it to Westchase early to avoid the 275 rush hour traffic. The Veterans Expressway made the trip shorter than expected. It was my first time the neighborhood and Westchase is simply beautiful. Burger 21 picked a nice place to drop their first restaurant. I was the first one to arrive at the tasting. Two tables were reserved in the back of the restaurant for diners. Burger 21 has a diner feel to it, but is spotlessly clean and there are many windows that allow light into the restaurant…perfect for taking photographs at a food tasting event. I got hooked up to their Wi-Fi and was live-tweeting before I knew it.

As you can see I was about to have a food feast! Many other bloggers, writers, and social media personalities made it to the event. I was re-united with some old friends and I met many new people as well (some frequent readers of this blog). The staff at Burger 21 was completely hospitable to us and after a few minutes the first of our first of seven shakes arrived.

The first shake was the chocolate malted milk ball shake. Burger 21 paid attention to detail on their shakes. They only use Blue Bell ice cream in their shakes. They were all perfectly made to the smallest detail in appearance. Fellow blogger Tender B. and I both agreed that the sweetness was not over-powering. It was a nice starter, but the shake I was awaiting was the tiramisu shake. The food and shakes came out quickly and before I knew it the first slider arrived.

The bacon cheddar slider and sweet potato fries. The slider was certainly much better than your average slider. I loved the bacon inside, but it was a little hard to compare the burger to a real burger when it was clearly made well-done and doesn’t have the complete properties of a true burger. The sweet potato fries were excellent! I seriously fell in love with them.They were a perfect mix of sweet and salty. I experimented with many of the sauces at Burger 21 and the Thai Ketchup was my favorite. It has a kick to it in a way that regular ketchup just cannot compare. True story: Since trying Burger 21’s Thai Ketchup I am dissatisfied with regular ketchup and feel like there is something missing every time.

The next slider was Burger 21’s BLT Turkey Slider with regular fries. I do not like turkey meat burgers…my Step-Dad makes them at home and those are the nights I tend to avoid the house, however Burger 21 actually did a great job on their BLT Turkey Sliders. The turkey meat was moist (something you don’t normally find in turkey meat after it has been cooked) and I actually enjoyed the slider. The regular fries were good, but could not compare to the amazing sweet potato fries. I would order the sweet potato fries on every visit to Burger 21.

The strawberry short cake shake was the next stop on this tasting adventure. One thing I noted was how fresh the fruit tasted. Anytime Burger 21 used a shake that incorporated a fruit you could taste the real fruit in the shake. They put just the right amount of sweetness for my taste buds. Some places add tons of sugars when fruits naturally sweeten a drink.

The Ybor City double espresso shake was delicious! I love food creations involving coffee, such as coffee cake, and this double espresso shake could stand alone without a meal. It had a coffee taste without a bitter after-taste. It made me think of the tasty coffee shakes I have at Cafe Kili – refreshing.

The black and bleu slider was my least favorite slider. It has a smoked taste and was quite dry. In my opinion it would benefit from some different toppings and a signature sauce.

The chocolate peanut butter shake was probably the only shake I disliked. The balance of chocolate to peanut butter was off and it ended up tasting more like peanut butter blended with sprinkles of chocolate. There was still more food and shakes on the way (including my anticipated Tiramisu shake) so I only had a few sips of the chocolate peanut butter shake before moving on.

Burger 21 is known for having some of the best hot dogs in Tampa and only uses Hebrew National hot dogs. From the 4 hot dogs offered I decided to go with the chili cheese dog with no jalapenos (I’m sensitive to spiciness -__- let’s hope I fix that in Korea). Losing the jalapenos did not detract from the taste of the hot dog. WOW. This has to be the best chili cheese dog I have tasted in Tampa Bay. Better than Mel’s Hot Dogs near USF, though a different style. The toasted bread bun was delicious as well and completed the chili dog.

Yum!

Finally, the tiramisu shake (monthly feature during my visit as well) arrived in front of me! My favorite dessert in the world was now in front of me in shake form. It was great! Fellow diner Chandra Lee and I agreed that it could not replace a true tiramisu, but in my opinion it came pretty close! I especially loved the presentation of the shake.

The banana foster shake rivaled the tiramisu shake well. Many people claimed it was their favorite. I think I could put in on the level of the tiramisu. The taste of banana was fresh as was the strawberry, but far superior in overall taste and mixture.

The final shake: the key lime pie shake came after all the others and everyone was stuffed before it arrived. I tried to evaluate it fairly, but decided I was far too full to fairly evaluate it. Maybe someday in the future.

Overall, Burger 21 has many great things on their menu. I enjoyed the sliders, shakes, and fries. The sweet potato fries were delicious and I fell in love with their Thai Ketchup sauce. My two favorite shakes were the Tiramisu and the Banana Foster shakes. I want to go back and try their burgers again someday with and see how a true burger fares against the sliders. I read online that their Ahi Tuna burger is excellent and I hope to try it one day.

Burger 21 is opening a new location on North Dale Mabry in Carrollwood this Fall so I imagine a burger battle will be brewing for who has the best burgers in Tampa. The Carlos Eats Team will be there to cover it when it opens.

#B21VIB guests:

@missdestructo (declaring it Destructo vs. Food)

@JeffHouck (with Son o’ Stew in attendance as well)

@ChandraLee

@WestchasePatch

@TenderB_WCCL(read his blog on the event)

@Tracyguida (read her blog on the event)

@DineTampaBay

@Antony511

@tampabayfood

Burger 21 on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Burger 21

Cuisine: American

Neighborhood: Westchase

Address: 9664 W. Linebaugh Ave. Tampa, FL 33626

Phone Number: (813) 475-5921

Website: http://www.burger21.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/myburger21

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Burger21

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Metromix’s #WellDoneMix Tweetup

I had the pleasure last week of attending a tweetup in Carrollwood hosted by Metromix and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. The #WellDoneMix event hashtag was a play on Anthony Coal Fired Pizza’s catch phrase “Our pizza is well done”. The event was a tasty networking event. When I came inside I was greeted by Metromix employees and won an awesome bag filled with swag, such as t-shirts, a cup, plastic shot glass, and more as one of the first seven people to arrive. In the back of the restaurant, Anthony’s provided pizza, meatballs, wings, and salad for visitors at no cost to tweeters.

My personal favorite was the “fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, and basil” with no sauce. Normally I don’t enjoy pizza without tomato sauce, but this pizza tasted as fresh as its name and wasn’t heavy or greasy. Although I do enjoy greasy pizzas at times, I don’t the stomachache I get later that day, and the food at Anthony’s left me feeling great. The pizza had a thin crust and was cooked just right. My second favorite that I sampled was their pepperoni pizza.

A small specialty pie at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is normally $16.25 and a large specialty pie is normally $19.25. I became full after my second slice with some of the salad and meatballs on the side. While perhaps not the cheapest pizza around, it did taste good and was a good change from your usual pizza chains. In other words, I wouldn’t mind spending the money for a pizza like this. There is an Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Brandon I have yet to visit. The only other pizza places out in the Brandon area I really enjoy are Cappy’s Pizzeria and occasionally Marco’s Pizza.

There was a line of hungry tweeters behind me (and my camera battery was dead -__-), so I apologize for the blurry photos. I’ll link to the Metromix page where you can view the professional pictures at the bottom of the page.

The meatballs, wings, and salad were great additions to the pizza. They complemented the flavors well.

The employees there were very helpful and happy to explain any of the pizzas to visitors. I noticed that the people handling their event were the catering staff. The Metromix employees were happy to come and chat, while snapping lots of photos of visitors. Metoromix had a giveaway at the end and I won 3 Blu-ray movies as well! Overall, this event was pretty cool and certainly something different for a restaurant to engage social media with a great local partner as Metromix. I would like to see more of these pop-up around town. I met a few local bloggers and tweetups are just a great place to network with people you might never meet otherwise.

Here is the link to the official photo gallery on Metromix: http://tampabay.metromix.com/events/essay_photo_gallery/metromix-and-anthonys-coal/2700018/content

Tweeters documented in attendance at #WellDoneMix:

@AnthonysCFPizza

@MetromixTampa

@fsutoby

@MealsandMiles (Checkout her blog post on the tweetup)

@TriCourt

@ZmandaB (Checkout some of the photos she sent me at the tweetup)

@jwilburg

@theashleygrant

@FLallday

@TwinsFanFL

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

Neighborhood: Carrollwood

Cuisine: Pizza

Address: 13020 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33618

Phone Number: (813) 265-2625

Website: http://anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/

Twitter: @AnthonysCFPizza