Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: Jollibee

So it's been a long time since I last posted (i.e. years ago) and I really don't have any excuses. Sure, life got in the way (wedding, dog, home, dog, the house again), but life's always going to get in the way of whatever you are doing, so you have to push through and keep going. I also had the revelation that even though I haven't updated my Danielle's Dish Instagram in years, I've still got a steady stream of followers who kept following, so I should probably give the people what they want - more food reviews! So while Danielle's Dish posts may not be as frequent, when I have a food story to tell you about, I will.

Enough about that. This week I was messing around on my phone, probably in one of those bored moments because I have no idea how I actually stumbled upon this or even found out that this place existed, but there's a new-ish fast food restaurant that opened up in Skokie (and now in Chicago) called Jollibee. Jollibee's been around for awhile throughout the world and the United States. From what I understand, it's the Filipino solution to McDonald's. And the Jollibee mascot looks like a bumblebee in a red suit jacket. When I asked my foodie friend about Jollibee (who also knows when every new place opens up in Chicago), she said she heard about the Jollibee hype, too. And being a fast food lover myself, how could I not try this or attempt to brave the said 'long lines' mid-week when I actually had time to sit and wait?

So I buckled up myself and my dog (what can I say, I wanted company!) in the car, and we were off. First of all I have to set the record straight - there was not a crazy line at the drive-thru (2 cars ahead of me) so perhaps some of the hype around Jollibee wore off. I know much of the negativity around Jollibee has to do with how long people have said they had to wait for the food at a FAST FOOD restaurant.

I do want to say one thing about the Jollibee menu compared to other American fast food joints. It's extremely random. Sure, they have burgers and chicken. But when I pulled up to the window at the drive-thru, it smells like Chinese restaurant. Oh, and they sell Spaghetti. Something called Fiesta Noodles. A sandwich with Spam inside.

Given that I'm one person and wanted to try a sampling, below's what I came away with from Jollibee. There's only so much food that I believe is actually justifiable for one person to try and eat themselves.


To break my Jollibee findings down, I got:
  • Jolly Spaghetti meal, which came with a 2 piece Chicken Dippers, gravy for dipping, and a drink
    • Jolly Spaghetti is different from any traditional spaghetti I make at home or eat in a restaurant because the sauce is VERY sweet (I'm told this is more of a traditional Filipino spaghetti). And I LIKED that! Kind of reminded me of the spaghetti and sauce I used to eat in the elementary school cafeteria. Inside the spaghetti sauce is chunks of meat, and it's not very distinguishable what kind of meat this is. The Website says it is ham, sausage, and ground beef, but I swear it's hot dogs. It's topped with a mild cheddar cheese and the noodles are cooked al dente. Maybe it looks weird, maybe it looks like something you wouldn't normally get from a fast food restaurant - but seriously - TRY IT!!
    • There's absolutely no need to get the Chicken Dippers. The chicken batter is so flavorless that I'd rather go to KFC or Popeye's or McDonald's or Taco Bell any day for chicken. Gravy was delicious and very salty, but what fun is it to have gravy when the dipping vessel for said gravy is no good?
  • Amazing Aloha burger. Your traditional beef burger with cheese, tomato, and lettuce, but what makes it special is their sweet mayo and a juicy pineapple slice. Last time I had a burger with a pineapple slice was in Hawaii, and I loved the way the sweet meshed with the salty-ness of the burger patty. If I'm craving a fast food burger with pineapple, Jollibee's where I'm going!
  • Peach Mango pie. Has a thicker, less crispy crust than McDonald's, but a TON more filling. The mango cuts down on the overall sweetness of the filling. It was good, but I'd take chocolate any day over a fruity dessert.

Takeaways:
  • First of all, remember this is FAST FOOD joint. So I'm reviewing this like if I was looking to eat fast food spaghetti, or a fast food chicken tender (not like what I'd eat at a Michelin Star restaurant if I ever went to one). So go in with an open mind because this is fast food.
  • Seriously try the Jolly Spaghetti and the Aloha Burger. Remember that both of these items have a sweet flavor to them. 
  • Skip the Chicken Dippers.
  • Only have the Peach Mango Pie if you are a pie person. Or love Peaches and Mangoes. Next time I'll have to try the Halo-Halo dessert (it's the colors of the rainbow and has what looks like balls of ice cream in it).

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