Honey Nut, Coffee Nut, and Chili Nut M&Ms Vote 2016

Honey Nut, Coffee Nut, Chili Nut M&Ms PackagesVoting. It’s something about 50% of you will be doing come November, statistically speaking. It’s something you might have already done, if you participated in the primaries. Or in Lay’s Flavor Swap.

It’s all the rage, and M&Ms doesn’t want to be left behind, so they’ve created a vote of their own.

Peanut M&Ms haven’t gotten the extreme makeover that regular M&Ms have gotten over the years. They’ve never been turned into candy corn, or claimed to be sundaes. Pretty much the best makeover they can hope for is turning red and green every Christmas.

But now there are not one but three different Peanut M&Ms for you to try! Hooray for Nazi Psychologist J. Jonah Jameson Yellow M&M. (That’s your Google project for today. You’re welcome.)

Let’s break them down.

Honey Nut

Honey Nut M&Ms

I like what they tried to do with the color motif here, but my bag obviously came out a little lopsided. I think the beige ones are supposed to be honey, and the black and yellow ones are supposed to represent a bee. Except I only got one yellow one.

When I think Honey Nut, my brain automatically goes to Honey Nut Cheerios, a childhood cereal staple of mine that holds up to this day. Could they replicate that taste and even make it better with the addition of chocolate?

In all honesty, my first few Honey Nut M&Ms just tasted like a normal Peanut M&M. After a few more, however, a hint of extra sweetness came through. But that was it. There’s no way I would have categorized it as honey. Me and the bee are disappointed.

Coffee Nut

Coffee Nut M&Ms

This is by far the most appealing color combination of the three. Sure, it’s just browns and cream, but the browns have these enticing speckled patterns, and together they definitely evoke the essence of coffee.

Unlike Honey Nut, Coffee Nut M&Ms had an immediate, distinct flavor. Sort of like a cafe au lait with added nuttiness that came up through my nostrils as I chewed. It wasn’t a truly authentic coffee flavor, but it definitely had roasted coffee notes, as well as a creamer-like flavor and a dash of artificial sweetener for good measure. Eating these with coffee made them taste even better.

Chili Nut

Chili Nut M&Ms

This is what I consider to be the most adventurous of the three new M&Ms flavors. While it’s not unusual to pair chocolate with chili, I think it’s something that many people may think twice about.

I like the combo of dark red, bright red and bright orange. It’s basically a big fat warning signal in candy coating form.

Much like the Honey Nut M&Ms, upon chewing the first few, I felt they tasted like regular Peanut M&Ms. Disappointment washed over me.

But then I swallowed. Oh, damn! These M&Ms have some kick. I mean, I’m not talking snot-levels of heat, but Mars was not shy. Soon not only my throat but also my mouth was coated in a low burn.

The problem, however, is that it seems the chili and the rest of the M&M flavor are completely disconnected from each other. Chili and chocolate can work together, but in this M&M it almost seemed like they were on different pages.

I do have to give kudos to M&Ms for not shying away from the heat, though. Oh, and unlike the previous two flavors that list only “artificial flavors” as the contributing factor to their names, Chili Nut M&Ms include both “spice” and chili extract in the ingredients.

Quite a range of flavors to be had here, from the barely-noticeable to knocking out your taste buds. In the end, it was the one that landed in the middle that I liked the most: Coffee Nut M&Ms. The creamy coffee-esque flavor is obviously a great match with chocolate, and the peanut inside only adds to the profile. I would have liked a little stronger coffee and a little less artifical sweetness, though.

But don’t take my word for it – you can vote for your favorite here. You have until June 17, 2016 (sorry, I know this is short notice) to have your voice be heard.

Honey Nut, Coffee Nut, and Chili Nut M&Ms

  • Score (Honey Nut): 2.5 out of 5 Buzz the Bees
  • Score (Coffee Nut): 4 out of 5 coffee buzzes
  • Score (Chili Nut): 2.5 out of 5 burned  taste budz
  • Price: $1.00 each
  • Size: 1.74 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Walgreens #06177
  • Nutritional Quirk: Chili Nut M&Ms use actual chili extract, which I thought was neat. Wish they’d done something similar with the other two flavors.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich PackageI remember trying the original Angry Whopper back in (what Wikipedia tells me was) 2008. This was before I had a website where I could share my views on fast food with the world, but that didn’t stop my husband and I from reviewing it with each other, and the general consensus was “unimpressed”.

We also pondered why the Whopper was angry, and was the whole burger angry? I declared that I would be disappointed if every ingredient wasn’t angry. I want my iceberg lettuce angry, dammit. This conversation went on for several minutes. We have fun.

Now, eight years later, Burger King is at it again with its Angriest Whopper Sandwich. I feel like we skipped a rung. Where was the Angrier Whopper? I also feel like they’ve marketed themselves into a corner. If this is the angriest a Whopper can possibly get, and it’s not spicy as hell, I guess we’ll all just have to give up and go home.

That wrapper is making a lot of assumptions about a.) the current status of my health and b.) how impressed I’m going to be with the Angriest Whopper. Also, what am I supposed to do, pin my sauce-stained wrapper to my shirt as a badge of pride? Show it to all my friends?

Oh, I know what I’m supposed to do: post it to Instagram, where nobody can care, and without looking you in your pride-filled eyes.

Here’s how Burger King describes the burger: “The Angriest WHOPPER® sandwich consists of savory flame-grilled beef, piled high with thick-cut bacon, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, angry onion petals, jalapeños, creamy mayonnaise and spicy angry sauce all layered between a red bun that has hot sauced baked in.”

That’s right, “hot sauced”. Apparently Burger King was so busy dyeing their buns a violent shade of red that they forgot to hire a copy editor.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich

Here we see the Angriest Whopper in all its unnatural glory. The angry onion petals and jalapeños are readily apparent, which is nice.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich Ingredients

Here we see Burger King’s notoriously shitty iceberg lettuce. I can actually see some green in there, which is a marked improvement from the usual BK sandwich. Also, good angry petal coverage, confusing tomato slice placement.

Of course, I had to try the bun on its own, to see if I could really taste any hot sauce(d). As it turns out, I actually could! It didn’t have a distinct hot sauce(d) flavor, but there was definitely some spice in there. Color me impressed. Also, color my poop red. More on that later.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich Halves

My Angriest Whopper got very angry when I cut it in half. Things were sliding out everywhere. There were casualties. However, this gave me the opportunity to try the angry onion petals by themselves, one of the few unique ingredients on this burger.

They did indeed taste spicy, but I couldn’t tell if that was the petals themselves or the fact that they were already covered in angry sauce. Predictably, they were also very soggy, which is disappointing since they could have added a nice crunch.

Which brings us to the other unique ingredient, the angry sauce. There certainly was a lot of it, and it was pretty spicy, but there were several things that bothered me about it. First of all, it was also sweet. And it was more of a glaze than a sauce – it had the consistency and appearance of sweet and sour sauce.

The sweetness in the sauce really bothered me. There’s no sweet in angry! There was a real opportunity to make a snot-inducing habanero sauce or something similar. I did get some sniffles, but that was about it.

As for the other ingredients: the bacon was crispy but not really necessary. The lettuce and mayo completely disappeared and were also unnecessary. The tomatoes were actually juicy and added a nice cooling factor. The jalapeños were your typical pickled variety and added to the heat.

And the cheese. The cheese! One pathetic slice of American?! Even the original Angry Whopper had pepper jack! American is a step down in angry level. It also added nothing of value to the burger.

Overall, Burger King’s Angriest Whopper Sandwich was a messy disappointment. There was too much crammed into the burger, the cheese was lame, and the fact that the sauce was sweet really did make me angry.

Was it spicy? Yes, the copious amounts of sauce and the jalapeños did make for a pretty high level of heat for a fast food burger. But the sauce pretty much dominated everything. And it was sweet. Did I mention that?

I wish I could have tasted if the angry onion petals were actually angry or not. I’d like to see them as a side dish menu option as an alternative to onion rings. I would definitely order those with a side of ranch.

It was hard to tell if the hot sauced bun added any heat to the burger, but that brings me to an important Public Service Announcement:

Burger King seems to have a propensity for adding food coloring to their menu items that make the end result at best interesting and at worst, alarming. Yes, I am talking about your poopies. The Halloween Burger turned people’s feces neon green, and the Red Velvet Oreo Shake sent some people running to their doctors, alarmed that they had a sudden case of “I am hemorrhaging blood out of my ass”.

Given that nature doesn’t make fire truck-red hamburger buns, I am expecting similar…results after having eaten the Angriest Whopper Sandwich. I’m not above resorting to poop humor in my reviews, but I’m including this in all seriousness in case someone eats this burger and then runs to the ER because they think they are dying. You are not dying. Your poops have just been dyed.

Unless you really are dying. I’m not a doctor. I’m just trying to help save some people some panic attacks and medical bills.

Burger King Angriest Whopper Sandwich

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 red poopies
  • Price: $5.79
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirk: 51 grams of regretted fat.

Lay’s Flavor Swap: Honey Barbecue vs. Korean Barbecue and Flamin’ Hot vs. Fiery Roasted Habanero

Lay's Flavor Swap Honey Barbecue vs. Korean Barbecue BagsLay's Flavor Swap Flamin' Hot vs. Fiery Roasted Habanero PackagesWelcome to part two of Lay’s Flavor Swap! Otherwise known as “I didn’t want to photograph and review eight bags of chips all at once”. You can read part one here.

Buying the chips gradually succeeded in not making me look like a crazy person, but failed in that my Safeway inexplicably stopped stocking some of the flavors. What the hell, Safeway?

This forced me to go to Walmart, which resulted in me buying this:

Lay's Flavor Swap Mix Bag

Which was nice, because I now have 20 small bags and not 4 more big bags, but also infuriating because I already bought 4 big bags. My kitchen cabinet looks like an actual grocery store chip aisle. Junk food review problems.

Brief rundown of the Flavor Swap concept: one flavor stays, the other disappears off shelves, based on Internet votes. One is an existing flavor and one is a new flavor. It’s a duel to the potato chip death. The streets will run red with flavor dust.

Honey Barbecue vs. Korean Barbecue

This one is particularly interesting to me, because I’ve never had Honey Barbecue Lay’s before. In fact, I’ve never even seen them on shelves. When I first heard of the Flavor Swap, I tried to use Frito-Lay’s “flavor locator” to find them, and there were none in a 50 mile radius, confirming that I wasn’t just blind.

So, before now, Honey Barbecue hasn’t existed in my area, which makes this more of a Flavor Addition than a Flavor Swap.

Lay's Flavor Swap Honey Barbecue

I gotta say, I wasn’t exactly wowed by my first Honey Barbecue experience. They basically taste exactly like regular Lay’s Barbecue, with just a touch of sweetness at the end.

I prefer my barbecue with more vinegar than sweetness, but that’s a personal preference. I’m sure for some people this is their go-to Lay’s flavor. At least I know I wasn’t really missing anything before this.

But how about its contender, Korean Barbecue?

Lay's Flavor Swap Korean Barbecue

As opposed to the ho-hum taste of Honey Barbecue, Lay’s Korean Barbecue punches you right in the face upon first bite. There are strong tastes of both ginger and soy sauce. It’s definitely a more savory flavor than the honey variety.

While there’s no taste of actual meat (thank you, Lay’s), there’s a definite sense of umami here. I’ll admit – I’ve never had Korean barbecue – but if the flavor of these chips were applied to some ribs, I would definitely enjoy them. Swap or not, this is a solid, unique and interesting potato chip flavor.

Verdict: Korean Barbecue, no question. Honey Barbecue tastes almost exactly like regular Lay’s Barbecue, and the Korean kind is vastly different not only as a Lay’s flavor but even up against other brands.

Flamin’ Hot vs. Fiery Hot Habanero

At this point, Flamin’ Hot is more of a…genre than a flavor. A category? Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that Frito-Lay has pretty much Flaminized every product they have. Off the top I can think of Lay’s (of course), Cheetos, Doritos, Funyuns, Takis, and I think even sunflower seeds.

Of them all, I have to say Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are my favorite, especially the con Limon variety. I’d never had Flamin’ Hot Lay’s before, simply because I never felt I needed to. There are much more enticing flavors out there.

Lay's Flavor Swap Flamin Hot

And I was right, because Flamin’ Hot Lay’s taste just like every other Flamin’ Hot snack, except less intense than Cheetos because the flavor dust isn’t as thick. It’s a one-trick pony – heat, but no distinct flavor to speak of, minus some hints of onion and tomato. Which is fine, if that’s what you’re looking for.

I was curious to see how Fiery Hot Habanero would stack up against Flamin’ Hot, since that flavor is so recognizable and yet so generic at the same time.

Lay's Flavor Swap Fiery Roasted Habanero

Right off the bat, I could see physical differences. Flamin’ Hot Lay’s sported the iconic Crayon-red flavor dust, whereas Habanero is a more organic orange hue with dark flecks, which somehow made it look more dangerous.

Fiery Roasted Habanero has a heat that’s slow on the taste buds but will hit you right in the back of the throat before it takes over your entire mouth. Most notably, there’s an actual fire-roasted flavor to these chips, as opposed to Flamin’ Hots’ generic heat.

The bag lists actual habanero peppers as an ingredient, and I’m inclined to believe them. Not only do these have a more authentic roasted pepper taste, but the spicy heat builds and stays far longer than Flamin’ Hot. The heat isn’t intolerable, but it might be too intense for some people, who probably shouldn’t be trying chips called “Fiery Roasted Habanero” in the first place.

Verdict: Fiery Roasted Habanero, hands down. Not only does it have that roasted pepper taste, but there’s also like, ten other Frito-Lay products to choose from that are Flamin’ Hot-flavored.

Lay’s Flavor Swap: Honey Barbecue vs. Korean Barbecue and Flamin’ Hot vs. Fiery Roasted Habanero

  • Score (Korean Barbecue): 4 out of 5 uses of “umami” to describe chips
  • Score (Fiery Roasted Habanero): 3.5 out of 5 not another Flamin’ Hots
  • Price: $6.98 (for bag of 20 1 oz. bags)
  • Size: 1 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Walmart
  • Nutritional Quirk: I wonder how many calories worth of Lay’s I have in my cupboard right now.

Lay’s Flavor Swap: Smoked Gouda & Chive vs. Cheddar & Sour Cream and Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs vs. Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

Lay's Flavor Swap Smoked Gouda & Chive and Cheddar & Sour Cream PackagesLay's Flavor Swap Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs and Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper PackagesI feel like Lay’s Flavor Swap campaign was designed to make reviewers like myself buy a bunch of different Lay’s potato chips whether we want to or not. In fact, that would be true of the general populace – if you want to vote on which Lay’s flavor you’d like to keep, you basically have to buy all eight bags, or at least four if you’ve got the original flavors already memorized.

In between Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Contests and now Lay’s Flavor Swaps, 25% of my income and 75% of my cupboard space is going to Frito-Lay.

As I mentioned, there are four swaps comprising eight different flavors, four already-existing and four new. I’m covering two swaps in this post and the last two in an upcoming post.

Smoked Gouda & Chive vs. Cheddar & Sour Cream

Right off the bat, Lays’ is going and breaking my heart. I consider Cheddar & Sour Cream to be one of the most perfect potato chip flavor combos. I prefer the Ruffles version, but I’ll definitely reach for some Lay’s in a pinch.

Lay's Flavor Swap Cheddar & Sour Cream

It’s the perfect combination of sharp cheddar and tangy sour cream. Sure, it sounds simple, but that’s why it works. It hits your tongue with enthusiasm. To see such a classic go-to removed from store shelves would be a real blow.

Lay's Flavor Swap Smoked Gouda & Chive

Now, on to the newbie contender: Smoked Gouda & Chive. (I’m keeping the “pre-existing” flavors relatively brief because those are flavors that have been around for quite a few years now.)

In an interesting move, with this flavor they’ve swapped the sour cream with chive, when traditionally sour cream goes with chive in potato chips.

The traditional green flecks meant to represented chive on potato chips are obviously here from the start. Gouda isn’t bright orange like cheddar, so its flavor dust is pretty much invisible.

I gotta say, Smoked Gouda & Chive is pretty fantastic. The chive hit me first, and tasted exactly like the green stuff from Sour Cream & Chive Lay’s. For a split second, that was all I could taste, and I was about to raise my arms in victory for Cheddar & Sour Cream.

But then the Smoked Gouda hit my buds, and damn, it was a fine flavor. They really nailed that smoked cheese taste. I couldn’t have identified it as gouda specifically, but you could really taste that it was a smoked cheese, and as I started to eat more of the chips, the chives and smoked cheese struck a really nice balance.

Verdict: Damn you, Lay’s. Why you gotta make this so hard right off the bat? Okay, okay. I’m going with Smoked Gouda & Chive, but only if you promise me my Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles are safe.

Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs vs. Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

Our original flavor here, Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper, is another favorite of mine. I can see how it would turn some people off, though. The pepper is not only pronounced on the chips but also as a flavor, which some people (pussies) might consider so strong as to be offputting.

Lay's Flavor Swap Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

If you don’t have fresh peppercorns at home that you put in a mill and then crank over pretty much everything you eat, these chips probably come on too strong.

Plus, the sea salt makes them salty even for a potato chip, and it along with the pepper can abrade your mouth after too many chips. Again, stop being a pussy. These taste great.

As per tradition, you can see the little green flecks of herbs on the Olive Oil & Herbs chips. Those herbs are listed specifically as basil, oregano and thyme in the ingredients.

Lay's Flavor Swap Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs

The herbs really pop, specifically the basil and thyme. I feel like the olive oil added a depth of flavor, but that’s one of those bullshit sentences that really means “I think it was there but I can’t really tell you how it tasted.” INSIDER SECRETS!

There were also hints of onion and garlic powder, which don’t count as herbs, but rounded out the flavor profile nicely.

I liked the in-your-face herby flavor, but it felt like familiar territory. I reached into the depths of my swiss cheese brain and shook out the memory of reviewing Lay’s Kettle Cooked Creamy Mediterranean Herb Flavored Potato Chips.

Impressive job, memory! Olive Oil & Herbs taste remarkably similar to these chips that were introduced five years ago and have since gone to that farm upstate where all failed Frito-Lay flavors retire to. I assume they failed because they used the word “Creamy” in the name.

Even beyond these old chips, I still feel like the “herbs and powders” formula has been done before. Olive Oil & Herbs taste just fine, but they’re nothing new and exciting.

Verdict: I’m sticking with Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper. Those herbs just didn’t leave me with enough mouth abrasions.

I was gonna skip the usual round-up, but considering we have some new flavors here, I decided to throw it in. Also, look for the other two Flavor Swaps being reviewed soon on a Junk Food Betty near you!

Lay’s Flavor Swap: Smoked Gouda & Chive and Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs

  • Score (Smoked Gouda & Chive): 4.5 out of 5 “take my Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles out of my cold, dead hands”
  • Score (Kettle Cooked Olive Oil & Herbs): 3.5 out of 5 “been there, creamed that”s
  • Price: $2.50 each
  • Size: 8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Safeway
  • Nutritional Quirk: Not really quirky. Feeling slightly off after eating so many chips.

M&Ms White Strawberry Shortcake

M&Ms White Strawberry Shortcake PackageHey guys, scrambling for that last-minute Valentine’s Day gift? Well look no further, because M&Ms has got you covered with their new White Strawberry Shortcake candies!

No, no, put your car keys down, I was joking. If you throw a bag of M&Ms in your wife’s face for V-Day you are definitely not going to be getting any V.

In case you weren’t aware, strawberry shortcake is a dessert made with with strawberries that have been mixed with sugar to bring out the fruit’s delicious juices, which are then placed on a white cake and topped with a bunch of whipped cream. At least, that’s how I know it.

Strawberry Shortcake is also a cartoon character I grew up with and loved. My favorite of her friends was Plum Puddin because she wore glasses and was a nerd, but she was a cool nerd. (This was before being a nerd was cool, btw.)

I just found out that the new Plum Pudding lost her glasses and teaches hip-hop dance now. I guess girls don’t need a genius role model with poor eyesight to look up to anymore? Well, color me disillusioned.

While I could probably talk about Strawberry Shortcake for far longer than any adult should, I need to get to these M&Ms.

Representing White Strawberry Shortcake M&Ms is, of course, Green M&M, aka the sexy one. Of course, because it’s Valentine’s Day! I’ll save you my rant on how gross it is that they made a sexy candy and- wait, why is she wearing bunny ears? Did I get confused? Is this an Easter candy?

…Oh. Ohhhh noooo. Green M&M is dressed up as a sexy Playboy bunny for Valentine’s Day. Just off-bag is her fluffy ass thing to complete the outfit. This is so disturbing. I’m going to just get to the candy instead.

M&Ms White Strawberry Shortcake

I’m guessing pink is supposed to be strawberries, white is representing the whipped cream, and that off-white color is supposed to be the shortcake. This is just a color choice, mind you; all the candies taste the same. But it would be cool if they really did separate the flavors.

M&Ms White Strawberry Shortcake Inside

M&Ms went with white chocolate for this flavor, which was the obvious choice since there’s no chocolate in strawberry shortcake, unless you decide to break protocol. And it works here, because it sort of adds the sweet whipped cream aspect to the candy.

As for the strawberry, it definitely isn’t shy. Of course, it doesn’t actually taste like strawberry the fruit, because this is candy. Instead, it tastes a hell of a lot like a strawberry Starburst, which is objectively the best Starburst. So yay!

White Strawberry Shortcake M&Ms are very sweet, but it’s an artifically-flavored white chocolate candy, so I can’t really knock them there. I’m really not sure why they decided they added Shortcake to the description, because there’s absolutely nothing cakey about them, and I honestly would have been impressed if they’d managed to incorporate that into the candy.

Instead, what you’re really getting is a white chocolate M&M with a strong strawberry-candy punch. They’re just sort of…okay. They’re really, really sweet though. After about a dozen of them, I felt like I needed to brush my teeth because I could feel the cavities forming.

My lasting impression of White Strawberry Shortcake M&Ms is just “meh”. If you like white chocolate and strawberry Starbusts but you feel weird eating them at the same time (and you should), this here is your thing.

M&Ms White Strawberry Shortcake

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5 creepy Playboy Green M&Ms
  • Price: $3.19
  • Size: 8 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Target
  • Nutritional Quirk: Nothing quirky here, just sugar, sugar and more sugar.

Taco Bell Quesalupa

Taco Bell Quesalupa PackageTaco Bell was all abuzz on Twitter last week, touting it had what could be the “Biggest Idea Ever” (shove it, electricity) and showing a bunch of maybe-celebrities holding a green brick, because nothing gets you excited for Taco Bell like a fake greenscreened brick. And Mario Lopez. I saw him in there somewhere.

So excited was Taco Bell about this new product that they wouldn’t talk about their new product. Instead, they enticed Twitter followers to pre-order this Holy Grail of fast food online, allowing them to receive the mystery item two days before the rest of the filthy serfs who weren’t obsessed with greenscreen bricks.

I toyed with the idea of pre-ordering it, because I had to be honest with myself and realize that I am one of those people who would pre-order Taco Bell. But then I figured, eh, I can wait two days and avoid being That Guy. Plus, I was 99% sure what the new product was anyways.

And I was right! If you watched the Super Bowl, you saw that it was the Quesalupa, which TB describes as “A beautiful, chewy Chalupa shell on the outside, with delicious pepper jack cheese baked right inside the shell. Yes. Majestic, melty cheese stuffed inside the shell. A cheesy shell, filled with seasoned beef, lettuce, tomato, reduced fat sour cream, and you guessed it, even more cheese.”

Beautiful and majestic. Two things I always associate with Taco Bell.

While I wasn’t willing to pre-order, I did decide to try Taco Bell’s online ordering, mostly because you can customize the shit out of your order without shame. Extra sauce and jalapeños on everything, please! (I ordered my Quesalupa as-is for the sake of this review.)

I could tell my local Taco Bell didn’t get a lot of online orders because when I pulled up to the speaker I said that I placed my order online and the man immediately said, “Oh, Kelley?” I had apparently been the only person to order online in at least a few hours.

When I went up to the food-getting window, another guy came up and said, “Oh, is this the online order?” So, I guess online ordering isn’t very popular in my area. But the transaction did go very smoothly.

Taco Bell Quesalupa Filling

In case you’ve never had a Chalupa, the draw is the shell – it’s fried flatbread, which puffs up and becomes chewy and crispy; almost flaky. So, yes, the Quesalupa is just a Chalupa with pepper jack cheese inside the shell.

Since the inside ingredients are exactly the same as a Chalupa (and many other Taco Bell items), I’m not really going to talk about them. They were sufficiently Taco Bell.

Taco Bell Quesalupa Cheese Stuffed Shell

Right off the bat, I had beef with my Quesalupa. In every single advertisement, it shows people pulling their Quesalupa apart, with delicious-looking cheese stretching out between the two halves. I cut mine with a knife in order to take pictures, but I can assure you that at no point was there any stretching, even when I tried.

The issue, as far as I could tell, is that the cheese stuffed into the shell was just a big glomp near the bottom of the shell. Let it never be said that I don’t like cheese, but it felt like it was just sitting there, being greasy and congealed. And definitely not stretching.

I guess the fundamental problem is that I wanted enough cheese in my Quesalupa to make it feel like a quesadilla/Chalupa combo, but that amount of cheese resulted in a fatty overload. It felt like a bogged-down Chalupa. And the pepper jack was very mild and didn’t add much flavor.

I might be taking an unpopular stance here, but I kind of wish they’d stuffed the Chalupa shell with nacho cheese. Would that make it messy as fuck? Hell yes. But I feel like you could add more of it, and get more flavor, without having the clumpy, greasy effect.

Is Taco Bell’s Quesalupa Bigger Than Everything (hashtag hashtag hashtag)? Hardly. In fact, while I was eating it I realized that I felt the Quesarito was a bigger success, and then I wanted a Quesarito instead.

Taco Bell Quesalupa

  • Score: 2 out of 5 green bricks
  • Price: $2.99
  • Size: 1 Quesalupa
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell #022951
  • Nutritional Quirk: One Quesalupa has 40% of your daily fat covered, and you’ll feel it when you’re eating it.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken ContainerI always get excited when KFC comes out with something new, because they’re pretty unique in the fast food arena in that they’re not coming out with a new menu item every week. In fact, I’ve been doing this review thing for [checks imaginary watch] seven years now and I can count my KFC reviews on one hand.

Can we also talk about the new Colonel? If you gave me five million guesses as to what Norm MacDonald would be doing in 2016, I never would have guessed “being Colonel Sanders”. Also, that would be a really exhausting game. “Being Burt Reynolds” probably would have come up at least a dozen times.

Okay, focus. KFC’s new Nashville Hot Chicken was first test marketed in Pittsburgh. Just joshing, it was test marketed in Nashville.

…Wait, no, it really was test marketed in Pittsburgh. What?

Perhaps they were afraid Nashvillains, which I am totally calling people from that city from now on, would disapprove, and Nashville Hot Chicken would never live to see its nationwide release.

You see, Nashville Hot Chicken is a real thing, with a storied history that would be far too long for me to explain here, and is already explained very eloquently in that article.

To put it overly simply, Nashville Hot chicken is fried chicken that’s hot, and it comes with dill pickle slices. Count me all in.

KFC’s website sucks at telling you about their menu options, so I’ll inform you right now that you can get Hot Chicken in 1-piece, 2-piece or 8-piece options. I found this odd, and dubbed them “Why Bother, Decent Lunch, and Fat Man Party Time”.

They also offer Tenders, but I forgot to note their quantities because stop being a pussy and just eat your bone-in chicken. (I’m allowed to say that because I used to be one of those pussies.)

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

I chose Decent Lunch, which came with a biscuit and a small coleslaw. I was not aware of the latter part until I got my Decent Lunch home. Nobody asked me what side I wanted. I would have chosen mashed potatoes, of course. The last time I ate KFC coleslaw was about 20 years ago. It turns out I still hate it.

Oh, right, the chicken. Here’s how KFC’s “we’ll tell you about our food but not how much you can buy” website describes it: “Get that flavorful, spicy, smoky Nashville Hot Chicken. Now with pickles! It’s finger lickin’ hot! (The chicken, not the pickles. The pickles are more like soothing lozenges for your mouth.)”

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken Skin

Here’s how I describe it: not smoky, barely spicy. Quite the review, right? Honestly, though, that’s about it. The chicken was moist, which was good. The batter was crunchy and medium-thick, which was also good. But the Hot was only a mild build of spicy heat, and I only detected a bit of smoky in a few bites. The bright spot was a mild peppery spice that worked well with the batter and the chicken.

Even the pickles were sad – they were the exact same ones you’d see on a shitty McDonald’s burger. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I felt like the pickles were part of the whole experience, so they should have been better.

In the end, I was left with a red grease slick on my fingers that made me wonder why it was there when the heat wasn’t. Sure, there was a little spice, but not enough to need a pickle lozenge. I feel like KFC did a disservice to the name Nashville Hot Chicken.

In its defense, it was a lot better than the bucket of regular KFC chicken I bought along with it, which had a super-thin batter and was soggy like it had been sitting around for half a day. Has KFC’s regular chicken declined, or does my local restaurant just suck?

So, I’ve spent the majority of this review shitting on KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken, and now I’m going to turn around and tell you to try it. It’s actually pretty tasty; it just fell short of my expectations in both the spicy and the smoky departments. But hey, it’s something new and different from KFC! That doesn’t come around too often, so give it a go.

Or, if you live in Nashville, get some real Hot Chicken.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

  • Score: 3 out of 5 pickle lozenges
  • Price: $5.79
  • Size: 2-piece meal
  • Purchased at: KFC #D212071
  • Nutritional Quirk: No nutritional info on their website, but I could tell from the red grease slick that covered my fingers that this is not health food.

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies PackageI’m so relieved to see that Nabisco’s 2016 New Year’s resolution wasn’t “stop making 700 different flavors of Oreos”.

I’m pretty sure that was sarcasm, but even I can’t tell anymore.

When I opened up the kitchen cupboard that’s reserved for things I’m going to review, I was greeted with the sight of several unopened packages of last year’s limited edition Oreos. My heart had good intentions of reviewing them, but my brain said, “Please, stop. I just can’t do this anymore.” Then my stomach said, “Seriously, Brain is right, this is just out of control. Stop.”

So I did. But then the hype machine went into overdrive about Cinnamon Bun Oreos, and I couldn’t resist. Everyone seemed to be going bonkers waiting for these cookies to arrive on shelves, so I had to check them out.

Besides, who doesn’t like cinnamon buns?

Two things of note about Cinnamon Bun Oreos – first, the cookie part isn’t just a regular Golden Oreo, it’s a Cinnamon Cookie Oreo. It’s the creme that is cinnamon bun-flavored. Second, unlike many of Oreo’s million flavors, nowhere on this package are the words “Limited Edition”. So is this meant to be a permanent fixture in the Oreo lineup?

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

If not, it should be, because Oreo nailed it. And not in that way they usually do, where you go, “holy shit, this does taste like this other thing, but I don’t want it to.”

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies Creme

The first thing I did was twist off the top and eat it, because, duh. The cookies have little flecks in it that I suspect do nothing other than let you know you’re not eating a normal Oreo, but maybe they’re really cinnamon; what do I know. The cookie alone tasted exactly like Cinnamon Teddy Grahams. Do those still exist? Hold on.

Okay, I’m back. Cinnamon Teddy Grahams do still exist. Of course, I’m an adult, so I haven’t eaten them in about 20 years, but I’m pretty sure these Oreos tasted exactly like them. The cinnamon wasn’t overpowering, and the cookie wasn’t overly sweet, which I loved.

(Just kidding about the adult thing, this is me we’re talking about. I just haven’t felt the urge to buy any Teddy Grahams lately.)

They could have sold these cookies alone as Cinnamon Oreo Wafers and I’d still love them. But there’s more! Cinnamon bun creme! After I ate the top, I obviously licked the innards…

What the… am I at an airport? Because I feel like I just ate a motherfuckin’ Cinnabon. The creme had that absolutely perfect cinnamon bun glaze taste, but it tasted like the bun, too.

Next up, I ate a cookie as a whole. I highly recommend this method of Oreo consumption for Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies. The cookie tempered the sweetness of the creme, and it really all comes together to make a somehow even more realistic cinnamon bun experience.

The best part was that at no time during this review did I feel like I need to add the word “artificial” as a descriptor to anything. These really, truly tasted like cinnamon buns. It’s pretty cut-and-dry: if you like cinnamon buns, you’re going to love Cinnamon Bun Oreos. And if you don’t, well, you’re a monster. And you won’t like these cookies.

Nabisco Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies

  • Score: 5 out of 5 fattening airport sweets
  • Price: $3.09
  • Size: 12.2 oz.
  • Purchased at: Safeway
  • Nutritional Quirk: Just for fun, I looked up the nutritional information for a Cinnabon. There are 880 calories in a Cinnabon Classic Roll. There are 150 calories in a serving of two Cinnamon Bun Oreo Cookies. Just sayin’.

Jack Ca$h Card Giveaway!

Jack Ca$h CardJack in the Box kindly sent me two $10 Ca$h Cards to give away to two lucky readers! That’s 20 tacos before taxes!

If you want in on this action, just leave a comment on this post and make sure to put your email address in the email field so that I can contact you if you’re a winner. How would you spend your $10 at Jack in the Box?

Giveaway ends Saturday, January 16, 2016 at midnight PST. Winners are chosen at random. Good luck!

Fine printy stuff: Junk Food Betty will not use your email address for anything other than to contact you for your shipping address if you’re a winner. We also will not use your shipping address for anything other than delivering these gift cards that will put free food in your mouth.

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