KFC's Double Down: Is There A Cardiologist In The House?

Categories: Chain Reactions
Yes, that's right. I put my cardiac health on the line today. I drove to the KFC on Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove, steeled my nerves, crossed myself, walked in and ordered a Double Down. Let no one say I never take one for the team.

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Dave Lieberman
Note to the KFC in Garden Grove: the kids in this picture make the caption really, really creepy.

On the surface, it doesn't sound so bad. It's really a chicken club without the bun, except that it's also devoid of anything resembling a vegetable. Even iceberg lettuce has been banished from the Double Down.

It took eight minutes to get my sandwich; unlike pretty much everything else at KFC, the breaded chicken breasts are fried to order for the Double Down. They lovingly smear "Colonel's sauce" on the breasts, then layer on Monterey Jack and pepper Jack cheeses and two pieces of bacon (also, from the smell emanating from the back, freshly cooked). The two breasts are clapped together, wrapped in paper, put in a box and rushed to you.

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Dave Lieberman

The first thing you notice is how greasy it is. It soaked completely through the wax paper in which it was wrapped; six double-folded napkins later, it was still greasy enough to cause me to get grease on the touchscreen of my camera.

Then you dive in to the nutritional information: 540 calories, which is actually less than some of the "man meals" of other fast food chains (the Low Carb Six Dollar Burger at Carl's Jr., for example, has 570 calories). A whopping 32 grams of fat (10 of them are saturated and 0.5 are trans fats). The real kicker, though, is the massive 1,380 milligrams of sodium.

Let me put that into nutritional perspective for you with a mental image:

1. Take a microwave-safe bowl and measure out two and a half tablespoons of Crisco.
2. Toss eight ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast into the bowl.
3. Add a heaping half-teaspoonful of plain old table salt.
4. Mix it all together, microwave until the chicken is cooked, and eat, licking the bowl clean.
This disgusting-sounding concoction contains 535 calories, 32 grams of fat (30 from the Crisco, 2 from the chicken), 54 grams of protein, and about 1400 mg of sodium, and it still isn't as bad for you as the Double Down, because it's lower in saturated and trans fats.

The taste? It mostly just tastes salty, that slightly umami saltiness associated with the cap falling off the Parmesan shaker in an Italian restaurant. I ate a few bites, tossed the rest of the half I ate from, and foisted the other half onto an unsuspecting friend. This is not at all a sandwich for the ages; if you find yourself in the same plaza, go get a sandwich at Lee's.

Me, I bought a $3 package of fresh salad rolls, a banana and a $1 cup of Vietnamese yogurt at Nhu Lan Bakery on the opposite corner of Harbor and Garden Grove. I had to redeem myself, you see. Edwin, Gustavo, Willy, one of you gets the next punishment assignment.


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