If you missed what this whole Tour de Hamdel thing is about, click here. Last time at Hamdel, I had the Cubano.
How did the Hamdel cooks distort The Lion King‘s “Hakuna Matata” into “Acuna Matada?” Seriously uninspired spelling bodes poorly for this sandwich. More importantly, what does the Acuna Matada, a hero with Arizona chicken salad, melted Muenster cheese, tomato, and hot peppers have to do with its Disney song namesake? Does lion taste like chicken? Is Arizona in Africa? Is anything about this sandwich at all African?
To answer the above inquiries: Hakuna Matata deserves playtime at the National Spelling Bee, nothing, I don’t think so, not the last time I checked, and no.
Much to my chagrin, some dreadful concoction called “Arizona chicken salad” does indeed exist on the internet, though the recipe contains no specific references to the food of. . .Arizona. Similarly, Hamdel’s chicken salad clearly possesses no distinct ties to Arizona, although I remain in doubt as to what ingredients would distinguish a chicken salad as hailing from “The Grand Canyon State.” Unfortunately dry and overcooked, the chicken chunks feel tough and stringy. The overall effect evokes deserts of Saharan proportion. Mild Muenster provides a melty blanket for the bread, but disappears into the calcified crevices of arid chicken pieces. While tomatoes add a distinctive pink coloring to the salad and contribute an appreciable sweetness, the hot peppers remain invisible, hidden in the sloppy scoop of filling heaped on the hero.
Not only does the Acuna Matada make little sense as a cultural reference, the combination of ingredients makes even less sense as a culinary creation. Bland and boring, this sandwich is a passing craze. Moreover, eating an Acuna Matada for lunch means more worries for the rest of the day, since the chicken salad ever so slowly works its way through the digestive system. If Hamdel thinks slapping together nonsensical ingredients serves as a problem-free philosophy, then this sandwich needs a new motto. The Acuna Matada is not a problem-free sandwich, and I would not order this sandwich again.
Next: the Mojo Melt (hot roast beef, melted American cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing on a toasted hero).