Well it looks like we’re getting off the “budget” bandwagon a little bit here lately. And that trend is going to continue with a bizarre product from United Dairy Farmers (hereforeto referred to as “UDF”). How creepy is it? It’s called a “Handwich” for Christ’s sake…that should tell you everything you need to know.
Why would I review something like this? Honestly, just because I feel like it. Plus, it’s weird. And if anyone knows me, they know I like “weird”. Besides, the point of this blog is twofold: Yes, I frequently review inexpensive items, but I also focus on private label brands. And while this might not fall into the former category, it certainly seems to fall in the latter.
Oddly enough, a quick search of “Handwich” reveals that it was also the name of a food item served in Disney theme parks during the early ‘90s. Theirs were cone shaped, with a variety of fillings shoved inside. Think of it as an ice cream cone, only instead of a cone, it was bread. And instead of ice cream, it was meats and cheese. For some unknown reason, it bombed (sarcasm).
Now, it seems that a different company has stepped up to the plate, offering a product with the same name. But this one ditches the cone-shape in favor of a pie crust folded over the contents. Think of it as a pot pie blended with a Hot Pocket. The pot pie reference is actually pretty apt, because that’s exactly what this is. It’s a chicken pot pie crust enveloping pot pie filling. I love me some pot pie, but I’m not sure how it’s going to translate into pot pie form.
The crust has a ton of flour on it, which gets all over the place. I guess that’s pretty accurate to the real thing, but is it necessary for a hand-based food? The flour is fine on typical pot pies, because you use a fork and it doesn’t get all over the place. But just handling this leads to flour bits falling all over the place. And even if you manage to keep it off your clothes, it still gets all over your hands. That’s not exactly a texture I want to feel after eating finger food.
Even worse: The first bite. It’s all crust. Surprisingly, it isn’t repulsive – in fact, I’d say it’s pretty close to “real” pie crust. But that means it’s almost completely flavorless. Each corner of the “handwich” suffers from this, making the crust to filling ratio dangerously off-balance. We’re not exactly off to a great start here.
Once you hit the filling, though, things take a turn for the better: It’s really not bad. Of course, it’s not anything close to “fresh” – I’d liken it to a frozen pot pie – but it’s a couple notches above merely “edible”. The veggies have a slight “crunch” to them, the filling is abundant, and the gravy is the right consistency. I thought maybe the middle would be overcooked to the extent that the gravy would be hard as cement, but it had an appealing consistency.
At $3.49 per single serve package, this isn’t really budget-friendly, something that was made clear in the first paragraph. And for that price, merely being “slightly above mediocre” doesn’t really beg for a recommendation. Yet I’m giving it one, if for no other reason than the sheer bizarreness of the entire idea. Who in the hell begged for something like this? Perhaps more importantly: Why would you give it the name of a failed product from a world-famous theme park? I saw nothing at all about these anywhere in the search results, and I went a couple of pages back. It looks like this is yet another “handwich” that is destined to fail.
On a side note: It’s also available in ham and cheese. I’m assuming that it is encased in a different “bread”, but I’m not sure. I’m not really too eager to find out, either.
Overall: 5.5/10. I will say that, overall, this is above average. The filling is the right consistency, the veggies are semi-crunchy, and the taste is good (on par with a frozen pot pie). But the end result still feels like a test product that was accidentally released too early to the public. There’s way too much crust, the flour-dipped exterior gets all over the place, and the $3.49 price tag is a little excessive. Granted, it’s from a convenience store, so a high markup is expected. But when you have a product as weird and naturally off-putting as this, you might want to re-think your pricing strategy.