When the taste of the tender chicken melds with that unbelievable sauce, the journey from styrofoam to paradise is merely seconds away.

Okay, so that's hyperbole but to many taste buds, the opening of Raising Cane's in Temple has ended a year and a half of anticipation almost too much to fathom for fans of the Chicken Finger chain without driving 30-45 minutes to either Hewitt or Georgetown to get their fix. I know, I did it. Many times.

The Baton Rouge-based chain has been a part of my existence since they opened in the mid-1990s just steps away from the LSU campus. In its menu's simplicity lies the great taste of fresh ingredients properly prepared. Chicken, flour, crinkle-cut potatoes. As Five Guys lets the meat and fresh potatoes do the talking, so does Cane's when it comes to chicken.

Heck, I've been writing about Cane's so much I ought to be designated a Cane's Ambassador! With twenty years of doing it and doing it hard, I know how to rock a Cane's box. Over time, I have developed my own hacks. These are little adjustments which I believe make the most of your dining experience. Here are some useful tips, from me personally, all tried and true:

1. The Best Combo on the Cane's Menu is the Sandwich Combo if you're ordering through the drive-thru. With three Cane's fingers inside (a perfect amount of fingers IMHO), the sandwich normally comes on a Kaiser Roll which is perfectly fine. I order it the same way Smacker Miles (Les Miles's daughter) ordered hers in a Cane's commercial. Sandwich Combo on Texas Toast. Talk about good! Tell them to leave off the lettuce, it just gets in the way. They put Cane's sauce between the garlic bread and three chicken fingers, and the heat between the two makes the sauce bond with the chicken like a glaze. Mmmmmm! Be sure to ask for an extra Cane's sauce and keep it cool, away from the rest of the food. When you get home, peel off the top slice of Texas Toast, grab a hot finger with the congealed sauce and dip it in the ice cold extra sauce. A flavor explosion!

2. They will charge you extra for a Cane's Sauce but seeing how this is unavailable anyplace else, it's minor. Get it if you can swing it.

3. The coleslaw tastes even better with Cane's Sauce mixed in. Wowsers! Another good reason to get an extra Cane's Sauce. If you only see the need for one, put in a dab of ketchup - they serve the OG Heinz - and stir it around with a dash of pepper.

4. The Texas Toast is made for dipping. Once again, in the sauce. I told you to get extra!

Photo courtesy Raising Cane's
Photo courtesy Raising Cane's

5. Don't use up all the sauce with the toast. You'll want it for the chicken. And these aren't tiny McNuggets.

6. If you're on a diet, get the three finger combo with a Diet Coke or unsweet tea. Each finger is under 130 calories. Substitute coleslaw for fries. If you're really wanting fries, get the kid's meal with two chicken fingers.

7. The Caniac Combo has SIX fingers. Six! This is perfect for two over candlelight. It's a major undertaking when going it solo. You can finish four - the standard number in a Box Combo - but doubt begins to set in once you start eating finger number five. It's almost a five finger death punch! When eating number six, I usually need to break it into pieces.

8. Sometimes, you have a finger or two left over. It happens. For reheating Cane's fingers, I do not recommend the microwave at all. Use a baking sheet and place the chicken fingers in the oven for 7-9 minutes at 325 degrees or until crispy.

9. There is a divide between Caniacs who love their freshly-squeezed lemonade and those who love their iced tea. As much as I love the lemonade, I think the sweet tea is nectar from above. Unfortunately, the standard combo has the regular size and I usually want the large size with the commemorative cup. The regular size simply is not enough. Again, pay the extra. It's the only way I could have so many plastic cups with Les Miles on them.

10. I find the drive thru moves fast. The benefit of eating inside is the unlimited refills on drinks. Decide which is more important.

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