Wendy’s used to send gift cards to food bloggers, particularly to sample a new or LTO product. They stopped, not sure why. Couldn’t have been that significant of an expense as a line item in their advertising budget. Now they email press releases in hopes that people like me will write about something. If one asks a question of the sender (some minion at Ketchum) one (at least me) never gets a reply. Seems like in the five years I have been doing this thing, there have been at least 5-6 people in that press release sending position.
I often get free meals and food in the mail. It never affects my post about it. I do admit to trying to find something redeeming in every food experience I have, but even if I really don’t like something, I often say “but you might, so go ahead and try it.” Different strokes, you know.
Fast food fish is an homage to a centuries old tradition of fasting during Lent, the forty days prior to Easter. While the practice of fasting in Christianity dates back to 300 AD, it has evolved and been diluted over the years to become “meatless Friday,” and fish was deemed to be “not meat” by the Vatican. As a result, many Catholic churches have fish frys during lent, they are especially plentiful in New Orleans. One church there has even put in a drive thru!
You won’t find any mention of religion in fast food marketing, of course, but the tradition is why they roll out the finned creatures this time of year.
White Castle has Shrimp Nibblers, which I really like. They are prepared on the spot, hot, crispy, and decent size shrimp. You all know about McDonald’s fish sandwich, which is available year round. Not really a favorite of mine, as I think it’s more like a “tartar sauce” sandwich with a hint of fish flavored protein. Popeye’s has good catfish year around, but they substitute a bland whitefish above the Mason Dixon line. Don’t know why. The fish is (I think) available year round, and they have a shrimp LTO from time to time. (Not as good as White Castle, IMO).
When Wendy’s first rolled out their “premium north Pacific cod, hand cut, panko breaded sandwich”, I tried it, noted it, and pretty much liked it. It was made better with the new fries Wendy’s rolled out at the time, natural cut taters with sea salt, which I probably called the best fast food fries around. At least they were when they were piping hot.
Finding myself near a Wendy’s recently, I gave the panko fish another shot. It didn’t strike me as much as the first time, though it is still good. First off, I don’t think fish filets that are “hand-cut” would all end up as a perfect rectangle. Second, you can’t really tell it’s panko, as the bread crumbs have been reduced to microscopic size. Panko bits are usually bigger (and crisper).
Much as I wanted to love this sandwich, if for no other reason than the actress who plays Wendys in the TV spots is cute as a button, I just didn’t. I deem it still be better than the other fast food fish sandwiches, but not as good as the one I had two years ago. Perhaps they reformulated. Perhaps they switched suppliers. Bun was a little dry as well, cracked upon picking up. Lettuce was a little past its prime.
They slipped on the fries, as well. Thin as shoe strings, not a hint of potato peel revealed, and over salted (a statement you will rarely hear from me), perhaps they ran out of natural cut and ran next door to McDonalds to get these. They were fine for fast food fries, but did not have the ample body and (a)peel of the fries I usually get at Wendys. Another change?
Would I eat it again? Yes. Should you try it? Yes, if you’re into meatless Fridays, Mondays, or just like fast food fish. Catch it soon, it’ll slip off the menu in the next month or so.
Photos depict the same sandwich from two years ago and today.
Wendys Premium Cod