It might be "hot" in the culinary world, but if so, it's been sitting under a heat lamp. Chicken and waffles is not a new phenomenon. It is allegedly a tried-and-true southern tradition, although I grew up in the south and never heard of it until about a decade ago, thanks to The Food Network.
Since that time, I've tended to order chicken and waffles everywhere I've seen it, just to get different takes on it. Trust me, IHOP does it very differently than The Third Base (whose balsamic syrup is both jarring and delicious. Did I mention that the waffles have cheddar cheese in them?).
When my friend alerted me to the Popeye's chicken waffle tenders, I knew I had to try them.
I had to wait for more than ten minutes for my tenders, but at least I knew that they were being made fresh. Of course, then I had to drive all the way home, so I still didn't get to taste them.
What I noticed when I pulled them into the car with me was that they *did* smell overwhelmingly like waffles. I was pleasantly surprised.
This is what I got:
The meal had three large tenders, fries underneath, and a biscuit, in addition to the sweet honey maple sauce (which contains egg yolks, as well; wonder why they don't advertise that in the title).
The tenders were vaguely seahorse-shaped. One appeared to have whose wingy things, even. (Sources say that they're called "fins." Whatever.)
And here's a cross-section. They're real cuts of meat, not processed meat glued back together. So that's a plus.
That said, they're just chicken tenders. I had gotten used to the smell in my car, and the flavor wasn't any more "waffle-y" to me than regular chicken tenders are. Maybe this could work better if they made the fries out of waffles and gave out straight-up syrup instead of honey mustard maple dipping sauce.
The sauce was good, too... I ended up dipping my fries in it, and they were tasty to the point that I was disappointed when I ran out of sauce before I ran out of fries.
So, basically, these are good chicken tenders... but they're not really discernible as an homage to chicken-and-waffles except when the initial scent hits. Since I live within lazy-person walking distance of a Chick-fil-A, I'm not likely to get into my car to pick up an order of these any time soon.