I tried Chick-fil-A’s new honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich and caramel crumble shake. One time was enough for me.

Pimento cheese sandwiches are ordinarily supposed to be served cold, but using the spread on a hot chicken filet works better than you might expect.

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Chick-fil-A is offering a twist on its classic filet with the honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich.
The seasonal offering is complemented with a new caramel crumble shake, so I tried both.
I was skeptical of the sandwich, which was better than I expected, but the original’s still the best.

Chick-fil-A’s original chicken sandwich is about as close as it gets to perfection in fast food.

The pickle-brined chicken breast filet, hand breaded and fried, served with pickle slices on a buttery bun is often imitated, though never duplicated – and the thing about perfection is you simply don’t mess with it.

That’s why my eyebrows raised and brow furrowed when the company announced it would indeed mess with the classic recipe (albeit for a limited time), topping it with pimento cheese spread, honey, and pickled jalapeños.

My skepticism was further heightened at the notion of putting pimento cheese – which is typically served in a cold sandwich – on top of a piping hot filet of fried chicken. It’s enough to have my Southern grandparents rolling in their graves.

Obviously I had to try it for myself.

I’ll admit my bias up front: I think Chick-fil-A is the best fast food chain, and I could probably eat one of their original sandwiches every day and not get tired of it.

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The quality, price, service, and speed are consistently excellent, and I rarely venture away from my Number 1 combo with sweet tea. And I’m not alone – the chain served about 527 million chicken sandwiches last year, according to data from QSR Magazine.

As I pulled into the drive-thru lane, a sign was posted promoting Chick-fil-A’s new honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich.

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“We wanted to create a standout sandwich that would deliver a unique spin for our guests, without losing the classic taste of the Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich,” said Chick-fil-A chef Stuart Tracy, the brains behind the sandwich, when the menu item was announced last month.

The brand also announced a seasonal caramel crumble milk shake, but it comes in a styrofoam cup and is topped with whipped cream, so you can’t really see what it looks like.

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Chick-fil-A says it is intended to be a take on blondie desserts, with caramel flavors, blondie crumbles, and the trademark “Icedream” recipe.  The newest milkshake is the seventh seasonal shake since 2006, and follows the release of last year’s Autumn Spice shake.

The first sip was a sledgehammer of caramel sweetness, punctuated by crunchy crumbles. It was a bit overwhelming for my taste, but I could see it being pretty popular.

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At least it’s not another iteration of Pumpkin Spice, and who are we kidding? We’re here for the sandwich.

As expected, the pimento cheese spread had melted into a gooey mess, but the taste and texture were better than expected. The flavors contrasted creamy with tangy, and spicy with sweet.

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One thing I like about the original sandwich is it’s pretty tidy to eat. This is definitely not. Chick-fil-A usually gives you plenty of napkins, but you might want to ask for extra.

The pimento cheese spread used shredded cheddar rather than crumbles, and the pepper bits were fairly chunky.

Dominick Reuter/Insider

It definitely wasn’t the type of pimento cheese I ate growing up, but it works for the purpose at hand.

Under the filet were pickled jalapeño peppers that were moderately spicy.

Dominick Reuter/Insider

I think Chick-fil-A’s usual pickles would have been the better choice here.

The total price of the sandwich, shake, and fries worked out to $13.83 before tax, which seems a bit high for a Chick-fil-A meal.

Dominick Reuter/Insider

The classic sandwich meal is $9.19 at this location, and the seasonal milkshake costs 30 cents more than regular flavors.

Altogether, the sandwich is an interesting departure from the original, but the classic has stood the test of time for a reason.

Dominick Reuter/Insider

I’m glad I tried Chick-fil-A’s honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich and caramel crumble shake, though once is probably enough for me. 

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