The Carnation Cafe is always on our list of must-do restaurants for every trip. Sometimes, it’s even on the list twice, once for lunch/dinner and again for breakfast. And their seasonal specials are usually quite good. For Halloween Time, the seasonal offering is a Haunted Firehouse Chicken Sandwich.
I had fully expected this to be a buffalo-style chicken sandwich with a spicy kick, like the one at D-Luxe Burger. Although it wasn’t what I expected, spice-wise, it also didn’t disappoint. In fact, I think it had more flavor by virtue of it not being so spicy.
Looks can certainly be deceiving. What looks like buffalo chicken is actually a fried chicken breast in a red pepper coulis. What looks like lettuce underneath is actually arugula; what looks like spicy ranch is actually a white cheese sauce; and what looks like bacon is in fact crispy pancetta. However, what looks like bread is actually bread, so at least you’d get that correct!
I thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich. It was a bit messy due to the cheese sauce, and the bread was a bit over-toasted, which meant the crust was too crumbly to be edible, but the taste was fantastic. The red pepper coulis hinted at spicy, but nothing like the buffalo sauce I was expecting. The cheese sauce was definitely made for this sandwich, vs. something out of a big can, so there wasn’t that fake-cheese-sauce flavor. The arugula added a nice peppery kick, which would have been sorely lacking had they opted for just any old lettuce. And although the pancetta tasted just like bacon, it complemented the other ingredients really nicely.
This sandwich is definitely a winner. If you’re in the mood for something other than a burger (even though Carnation’s Sourdough Melt is hard to beat), I’d suggest giving this a try. If you never had the Melt, it would be a tough call to recommend this over the Melt, so your best bet would be to find a buddy and split them both, and that way you get to taste the two best sandwiches on the menu!