On Saturday morning, I woke up craving a chicken salad sandwich. Quite by accident, I wound up having a great one in an unexpected place. More by mismanagement than good planning, my husband and I found ourselves around 1 p.m. in a newly refurbished Boston Market near New Canaan, Connecticut. Ever the trends analyst, my husband knew that Boston Market had rejiggered its old formula and he was somewhat interested to try it. Rarely do we ever eat in fast food restaurants, or fast-casual ones, and on that particular afternoon we were just looking for a pizza joint. No go. We were starving, so we sucked in our breath and walked into a surprise. Anchored on each table, in clean and bright Boston Market surroundings, was a bottle of the trendiest condiment of all — Sriracha sauce! This spicy, fire-engine red Thai chili sauce has become the darling of upscale restaurant chefs, and it was a welcome semaphore of things to come. Standing in front of the Boston Market food line, with nice friendly servers behind, were the usual array of Americana side dishes — corn niblets, creamed spinach, mac and cheese, haricots verts! (skinny string beans) and wall units of slow-roasting chickens. I was about to order some when I saw a sign for…chicken salad sandwiches! Craving satisfied? I took a chance: For $5.79, freshly-roasted chicken, cut into friendly chunks with just the right about of mayo, sat like juicy mortar between two slabs of credible whole grain bread (with whole grains!) layered with, what was this? Tender leaves of mesclun? Served on large white china plates? In addition to Sriracha there was also Jamaican Pick-a-Pepper Sauce and Mexican Cholula hot sauce, too? Real silverware? This huge sandwich, weighing in at 68o calories, felt almost virtuous and was especially tasty drizzled with the trendy condiment. My husband enjoyed his dark meat chicken, served with sides of corn and string beans and an adorable little loaf of corn bread. Lunch for the two of us was $13.69. We left arm-in-arm with lots of change in our pockets, happy that we took a chance.
How to use Sriracha:
Drizzle it on chicken salad
Dot it on top of cream soups
Spoon a bit into marinara sauce
Stir a bit into melted butter and spoon it on lobsters, scallops, steak
Drip it into guacamole
Dash it into scrambled eggs