The first bite. There wasn’t much cheese on that quadrant of the unit. It tasted like it smelled, familiar boneless KFC chicken. Not too spicy, not too chewy… It reminded me a lot of their popcorn chicken, but slightly more firm. Another bite. A little more cheese on this one. The presence of the Monterey Jack really added something to the mix — the taste evolved from bare chicken strips to something more complex, more layered. I had never thought to mix these cheeses with this chicken, and I must say, it actually works.
Sure, it doesn’t look too good. In fact, it looks like hell. But the fact of the matter is, as far as taste goes, it’s actually not too bad. Further bites revealed a strip of bacon, which transformed it once again into a full-blown symphony in my mouth. Bacon makes absolutely everything better. Everything. (Even funerals.)
There were pockets that were incredibly salty. Maybe it was a manufacturing fluke, or an uneven application of spices, but there were definitely points where I wished I had gone with the large soda instead of the medium.
I actually think they gypped me out of a bacon slice, as I only noticed one during the course of the meal. The baconless bites were definitely lacking, and that detracted from the enjoyment of the flavor.
Now, ignoring the taste for a second, this experience was horrible. It was one of the greasiest food products I have touched in recent memory. And yet, the chicken was completely devoid of moisture. It baffles me how something with that much grease on it can be that dry when you get it in your mouth. The chicken was actually crumbling apart in places. The meatheap probably would’ve broken up if there wasn’t that gooey cheese center fusing it together. As for the sauce, well, I couldn’t detect it. I’m sure it was in there in some proportion, though.
When I first held the meatheap, I thought it was unusually tiny. But 2/3 of the way through eating it, I sort of wished I could be done with it. My taste buds were asking for more, but the rest of my body had grown physically tired of chewing and swallowing this thing. I pressed on though, for great justice.
While I was eating, two guys about my age called out to me from the cashier line. “How is it?” they asked me, pointing to the slippery, crumbling Double Down in my hand. I thought for a second and said, “Overall, it’s pretty horrible.” My response didn’t seem to surprise them too much. “Does it at least taste good?” “Yeah,” I said. “It’s pretty much the only redeeming quality.” I overheard their order. Two Double Downs. Apparently they had the same morbid curiosity I did, and just wanted to try to cure that itching desire to try something dumb. I later learned that they were liveblogging their experience.
During my time there, I saw three other people order Double Downs. I’m not sure what percentage of them bought it because they enjoyed eating that kind of thing versus how many just wanted to see such a freakish monstrosity with their own eyes.
Finally, I stuffed the last bite into my mouth. I didn’t even care about the taste anymore, I just wanted to be done with it. I had been chewing dry chicken for so long at that point that I was pretty much out of saliva, which made the experience all the more challenging. Finally I swallowed it, guzzled the rest of my Pepsi, and looked down at my hand.
Sweet lord, that is a greasy meal.
I cleaned off my hands (it took three napkins) and moved on to the macaroni and cheese. While I was finishing the macaroni, the two guys from the checkout line turned to me and raised their soda cups. “To America!” they toasted. “To America.”
After finishing the macaroni, I realized that I had neglected the lump of cheese that had stuck to the wrapper.
Eh, why not? I downed the cheese and washed it down with my freshly-refilled soda. I had ridden the mighty Double Down and, for the time being, I lived to tell the tale.
I got up, packed away all my stuff, and threw my trash away. On my way out, I gave a thumbs-up to the guys I had met, who were now deep into the world of the Double Down, evidently trying desperately to claw their way back out. Wherever you are guys, thanks for sharing the experience with me.
As I walked home, it started to drizzle a bit. It was almost as if some divine entity really, really wanted to wash those culinary sins off my hands. As I walked, I realized two things that didn’t occur during the walk up: I was thirsty as a dog, and I was starting to lose my breath a little.
It got to the point where I bought a 20-oz bottle of sports drink from an incomprehensibly-named deli and chugged the whole thing. I also noticed that I didn’t seem to have the energy to dart through crosswalks when the light changed from “walk” to the blinking “don’t walk.” What little athletic ability I had, the Double Down completely sapped it out of me. (Even now, 16 hours later, I’m still somehow incredibly thirsty.)
As it fermented in my digestive tract, it seemed to break back down into some kind of fundamental chemical compound. I know this because of a strange, definitely non-natural aftertaste that developed in my mouth. To describe it, I’d have to use the closest thing I have ever tasted: dish soap. I can’t tell you what it was, and I suppose it’s better that way. I’m sure I’ll be horrified at what exactly I ate.
I made it home without getting too wet or… dying. For the remainder of the night, I could just feel the thing festering in my gut. Crawling slowly through my intestines, lurking. Searching… Two hours after finishing the meal, I really wished I hadn’t eaten it. I was constantly aware of it. Even now, as I write this, I know it’s still inside me somewhere. Perhaps even controlling my thoughts.
So, the final verdict. Would I do it again? Probably not. Not unless somebody devised a bet around it, or unless I was completely intoxicated. But then again, I wasn’t so disgusted that I’ve sworn it off forever. Perhaps, with the passing of time, I’ll forget all the bad points about that evening and remember only the initial taste, which was really the only pleasant thing about it. Perhaps then, with my warped memories of the past, I will eat a Double Down again and be all too abruptly reminded of why I hated the original experience. And so the delicious cycle will continue, forgetting and re-remembering until it ultimately gets pulled from the menu or I have a massive coronary. And believe me, one of those two will happen.
Now, if anybody needs me, I’ll be at McDonald’s.