The man who ate Lincoln Rd has finally made it to one of the main players on Lincoln Rd, the holy temple of chicken, the big chookhouse itself - KFC.
I went there on Sunday night with my daughter Minka and her pal Zahra. The truth about little girls is that they're really kind. They both gave the place high marks. But the man who ate Lincoln Rd is all man and not so little anymore and I found the experience fairly goddamned average.
I got a Zinger burger, fries, nuggets, a drumstick and a wing. The best of it was the drumstick and the wing. That's as it should be; the Colonel has built his global empire on chicken. Chicken is his foundation. Chicken are his piles. Chicken are his floorboards.
But he's never done much else around the house. True, the KFC potato and gravy is unbeatable, and no one does a better bread roll. However the burger range is lacking in imagination as well as meat - the chicken breast is nearly as thin as the lettuce. The twister rolls are like Pita Pit gone wrong, the chicken popcorn doesn't taste like either chicken or popcorn, and crispy chicken strips just don't have it going on, bro.
The Zinger burger, fries and nuggets all looked and tasted like cardboard. I'll eat anything and cardboard has its virtues - it's filling - but it was all a bit fairly goddamned average.
I like KFC. I like its chicken. I like going to its stores at lunchtime, and hearing myself order the best-named meal in New Zealand: "I'll have a Wicked Lunch, please." Most of all I like the one thing that you can never take away from KFC, and I don't mean that literally, because taking it away from KFC and eating it at home or a family picnic or some place like that is one of the great joys of New Zealand life - I'm talking about the bucket.
The KFC bucket is such a happy sight. Whenever you see one you immediately want to reach in with your paw and fish out some chicken. I'm not fixing to die anytime soon but I'd be stoked if someone brought along a KFC bucket to my funeral. It brings good cheer to any table.
I wish I'd ordered it on Sunday night. But I was happy with my drum and my wing, and with the company, and the view of Pak 'N Save, which actually looks really beautiful at night - hanging lights in the rafters set up a blaze like an oil refinery. "True," said Minka, "but the Pak 'N Save view is always good." "Yeah," said Zahra.
My favourite TV show, The Edge Fat 40, was playing on the Edge music channel. I sucked on the chicken bones and grooved to "Closer" by the Chainsmokers FT Halsey, and sent the girls out into the night to buy bottled water at a nearby Subway. The queue at KFC was too long. The litter at the front was a drag. But the tables were clean, and so was the bathroom.
O KFC! So much to like, so much that's drab and shabby. To the ratings: a fairly goddamned average 7/10.