This week I reached out for a new Chicken Parmesan Ranch Wrap at Subway.
Here's the blueprint: a scoop of chunked chicken breast, a squirt of ranch dressing, a shake of grated Parmesan cheese, a spritz of oil and vinegar, onions, black olives, green peppers, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper, all snuggled inside a 10½-inch flour tortilla.
Calories: 333. Fat grams: 5. Price: $3.59.
Subway finally has caught on to the alleged California wrap craze that so far hasn't made a dent in the drive-thru lane. The only fast-food chain that's really clicked with wraps is Taco Bell, and they call 'em burritos.
Subway is running a little behind schedule with its three new wraps: Chicken Parmesan Ranch, Steak and Cheese, and Turkey Breast and Bacon.
These wraps are exactly like Subway's usual hero sandwiches -- except wraps use a flat, round tortilla instead of bread. Wait a minute, the best thing about a Subway sandwich is the bread.
Going to Subway and leaving out the bread is like buying bleacher seats to a St. Louis Cardinals game on a day when Mark McGwire isn't in the lineup. There's no other reason to be there.
Subway's bread is fresh-baked right in the store. Nothing beats the smell of piping-hot bread. Sometimes they even put the oven near the front door so the aroma can waft into the street.
Except Subway doesn't call it an oven. No, it's a 'baking center." I'm guessing Subway is hiring former government officials.
Each Chicken Parmesan Wrap is made fresh to order. Everything is done strictly by the manual at Subway.
The first step is popping a small paper cup of chicken chunks into a microwave.
Whoa, stop right there. Why would you put anything in a microwave when you've got a perfectly good baking center?
The chicken is plopped in the center of the tortilla. Then comes the dressing, a shake of Kraft grated Parmesan cheese and the usual array of Subway veggie toppings.
The tortilla is nipped and tucked-in tighter than Cher.
The result is a nonleak, crumb-free sandwich that is perfect for mobile consumption. That's the only advantage of a Subway wrap.
The first few bites are too doughy. By the time you get to the good stuff in the middle, you've been chewing on a flavorless tortilla for five minutes.
My wrap was pretty skimpy on the chicken. The ranch dressing and vegetables overpowered the meat.
But what I missed most was that great Subway bread. Eating wraps at Subway is like watching a hit movie that's been "edited for television."