Friday, June 2, 2006

Hungry-Man Sports Grill - Beer Battered Chicken

Although I eat more TV dinners than I’d personally like to admit, I rarely enter into the Hungry-Man domain.  Known by most for their large servings, I usually relate them more to their hefty price tag.  There’s also some mental imagery working there, most of which I’d rather not relive when I’m sitting down to eat.  I picture some lumberjack coming into his cabin after a hard day’s work, rocking the flannel like it’s going out of style, and stomping into the kitchen.  Ever since his wife perished – God bless her soul, he’s been too mournful to make proper meals, which results in this occasion in him ripping the freezer door right off the refrigerator.  Therein lies a Hungry-Man frozen meal and that’s when we get a close-up of the product, yell “cut!” and call it a day.  Now… that’s advertising!  I don’t have a fancy office where I spend more time looking at porn than spreadsheets like the average marketing executive, but I guarantee that commercial would make tons of money.

But not only did I decide to be risqué and lose my Hungry-Man virginity (not unlike the night in the backseat of that Toyota in ’96), I also took it decidedly one step further, venturing into their relatively new Sports Grill sub-category.  How’s that for balls?  Now, in the comfort of your own home, you can eat your favorite bar and grill favorites.  This should especially make your wife happy, since you won’t come home smelling like smoke after ogling obtuse breasts, but spend more time at home with the kids and the new toy she bought for Father’s Day.

I know little about beer and chicken’s paths crossing, but my curiosity is certainly getting the better of me.  I’ve dabbled in bear battered seafood once or twice, some shrimp at Red Lobster in the mid-90’s, and more recently, some fish at IHOP.  But, for some reason the concoction of beer and chicken teaming together seems to be sending my mind in a whirlwind of thoughts.  I daydream of chickens getting drunk momentarily, before focusing elsewhere on the meal’s other entry, potato wedges with cheese sauce!  Now that sounds a little more appropriate for sports bar fare, and shouldn’t be too hard to get right.

The picture of the frozen food looks downright ordinary now that I look at it; but, for some reason when I was taking this shot, I felt like I was peering at a baggie containing frozen human pieces.  Strangely, this illusion didn’t frighten me nearly as much as you might suspect – I think I watched too many Troma films while growing up.

My preconceived thoughts were that the food would likely be pretty tasty.  It doesn’t seem there’s a lot that can go wrong.  Although there were no major glitches, I wasn’t entirely satisfied after trying the food.  The picture is somewhat misconceiving – although it all looks nice and crispy, a lot of the food’s texture was quite the opposite.  Most of the chicken pieces were only dark on one side, the other side offering a weird wet white visage that didn’t strike me as pleasant or appetizing.  I found it hard to cut through a couple of the pieces with a fork, leaving me puzzled.  If you’ve never seen raw chicken before – it’s not an enticing sight, and that’s the mental image I fought with while trying to finish these.  The chicken had little flavor, especially in regards to its highly acclaimed beer battering.  The fries on the other hand weren’t too bad, although not spectacular; they did their part in saving the meal from being a total disaster.  There’s actually a lot more cheese than the photo suggests, and ultimately, I enjoyed snacking on these.

In conclusion, I went from being a hungry man to a humiliated one in short time.  The hoopla was unjust, as Hungry-Man strikes me as not wholly different than the multitude of substandard TV dinner producers on the market.  The Sports Grill concept is kind of a fun one, though; I applaud them for originality in that regard.  In the end, instead of stopping by the grocery on the way home from work, I envision most hungry men stopping by the bar, betting on professional football games, eating greasy food, making out with greasy women, and then finding their way back to the sanctity of home life.

Overall Grade: C+ 

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