News: Frito-Lay Announces Doritos Jacked Test Flavors #404, #855 and #2653 and Winner; I Missed the Boat

Doritos Jacked Test Flavors 404, 855, 2653Frito-Lay recently announced the flavors of their Doritos Jacked Test Flavors, as well as the winner via fan votes on their “Bold Experiment” website.

I fully intended to review these mystery flavors before they were announced, but I got derailed by my move and just plain ol’ missed the boat. Look at that picture at the top! I took that picture!

Well, now that the cat’s out of the bag, I figured I’d share the actual flavors of the Test Flavors as well as what I predicted they were. If you’re thinking I could easily cheat, that’s true; but I think you’ll see by my predictions that I’m being honest, possibly to the point of embarrassment.

Test Flavor #404

My guess: “Garlic-Lime Chicken” – there was a strong citrus presence right off the bat with some definite garlic notes. There was also a bit of spice, but I couldn’t figure out how that fit into the equation. I picked chicken only because it seemed to make the most sense when paired with lime. There was no strong chicken flavor, it just…seemed to make sense.

Actual flavor: “Caribbean Citrus Jerk”. That actually makes a lot of sense, and is way more interesting of a flavor name than my guess.

Test Flavor #855

My guess: I went with “Spicy Taco Deluxe” due to what tasted like spicy taco seasoning, but with a strong sour cream flavor and some cheese. I figured it would be a good bet, given the recent collaboration with Taco Bell and their Doritos Locos Tacos.

Actual flavor: “Spicy Street Taco”. Okay, so I was kind of close on this one, but the taco seasoning was pretty easy to spot. However, I strongly dispute the use of the term “Street”. I challenge you to find a street taco that contains sour cream. Or cheese, for that matter.

Test Flavor #2653

My guess: Easily the most interesting of the bunch, I decided on “Mole Enchiladas”. I figured the chipotle and chocolate combo (confirmed by the ingredients list) made this one a dead giveaway. I was also very pleased with the flavor of these chips and they were my favorite of the bunch.

Actual flavor: “Chocolate Chipotle Bacon”. Bwaaaa? I mean, both chocolate and chipotle were listed as ingredients, but bacon? I contributed the smoky flavor to the chipotle, and wanted to give Doritos points for actually capturing that aspect of the pepper. If it really had turned out to be Mole, I would have patted myself on the back and never been the wiser. I feel like they threw the bacon term in there just for a buzzword. Also, I’d be 1000% more likely to try Chicken Mole Enchilada Doritos as opposed to Chocolate Chipotle Bacon ones.

And the winner? Spicy Street Taco. Way to be boring, America. Frito-Lay goes on to describe it as “a bold combination of sriracha sauce and savory taco spices cooled with a kick of sour cream.” I tasted no sriracha, no street taco has sriracha or, again, sour cream, and I’m generally disappointed by this entire thing. The end.


Taco Bell Quesarito and Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze

Taco Bell Quesarito Wrapper and Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float FreezeSomething old, something new, something borrowed, something red, white and blue.

…Okay, that was super lame. But it seems thematically appropriate for Taco Bell’s new Quesarito and Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze. I moved a little while back and that really threw off my game, so I’m a little rusty. But I’m back! And here’s a double review for you!

Taco Bell Quesarito

Taco Bell Quesarito

Here we have the something old and something borrowed. I think you can see where this is going. While the Quesarito is a new menu item, it has employed the classic Taco Bell technique of rearranging existing ingredients into a new configuration.

In case you couldn’t figure it out from the name or the inside of the wrapper (kudos to Taco Bell for making a unique wrapper for the Quesarito, as a side note), this is a burrito snuggled inside a quesadilla.

In Taco Bell’s own words, “The NEW Quesarito is the best of a quesadilla and burrito rolled into one! It’s filled with seasoned beef, premium Latin rice, Chipotle sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, and then wrapped up in a grilled quesadilla loaded with melted cheeses.”

Taco Bell Quesarito Filling

I did not have high hopes for the Quesarito. Upon unwrapping it, I was impressed with the grilling marks. Upon cutting in half, I said to myself, oh hell yes.

Look at those globs of melty, melty cheese. Eating with my eyeballs alone, I was already sold. If that looks like an oozing mass of grease and fat, you’re right, and my heart sang at the sight. In a sort of choking, crying voice, but it sang nonetheless. I was expecting a sad, barely-visible layer of cheese hidden between two layers of too much tortilla, but I was so glad to be wrong.

There was another thing that there was also a hell of a lot of too – the Latin rice. In one of those classic cases of “who the hell made this?”, there was rice throughout, but all the ground beef was in one half and all the sour cream was in the other. In fact, by pure coincidence, the lines were drawn pretty much exactly down the line where I cut it for the picture.

The rice actually had a bit of flavor to it – it seemed to be the same rice as their Cantina rice, which has hints of lime and cilantro.

But, seriously, how hard is it to evenly distribute the meat and sour cream?

What was evenly distributed was the Chipotle sauce, and for once, there was an actual hint of chipotle flavor there, nice and smoky. Holy shit. It also had a nice kick, and they didn’t skimp on it. This paired great with the sour cream and with the gooey cheese. I’d actually like to see this as a sauce packet option in the future. I would put it on pretty much any Taco Bell item.

I want to give high praises to the Quesarito, in spite of the bizarre ingredient distribution, if just because of the surprising amount of cheese and the Chipotle sauce. However, soon after I got this Quesarito, I went and got another one, and on that one the cheese layer was almost non-existent, which really diminished the experience. So I have to knock it down a notch because, depending on who prepares your Quesarito, it’s either going to be solid or it’s going to be disappointing. It’s all about the queso.

Taco Bell Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze

Taco Bell  Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze

Here we have something new and something red, white and blue. The second part of that sentence may be confusing until you realize that Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float came out in grocery stores first, and their packaging looks like everything Americana threw up all over it.

Taco Bell took that drink and turned it into a freeze. If you ask me, this was a great idea; the soda itself is already designed to taste float-like, so freezing it should just add to that experience.

The original Dr. Pepper taste was a little toned down, allowing the vanilla taste to come through. I found the vanilla flavoring to be somewhat less artificial-tasting than some other vanilla-spiked sodas I’ve tried. Maybe it was the unique flavor of Dr. Pepper when combined with the vanilla, but I was impressed. This paragraph is dying for a synonym for vanilla.

Taco Bell  Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze Close-Up

As for the float part, I really could taste a bit of floatiness coming through in the soda. Maybe it was the slushy-freeze element that helped that along, but there was a distinct creaminess to it that went beyond just vanilla flavoring. Maybe that’s why I felt it stood apart from the plethora of vanilla sodas already on store shelves.

Nothing is going to replace an actual ice cream float, but Taco Bell’s Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze is a pretty good substitute, especially if you like soda slushies. This is probably my favorite “commercial” vanilla soda creation I’ve had in a long time. Bald eagle stars and stripes fireworks Uncle Sam.

Taco Bell Quesarito

  • Score: 4 out of 5 oozing cheese blobs
  • Price: $1.99
  • Size: 1 Quesarito
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell #029492
  • Nutritional Quirk: I’m betting the amount of cheese you get in your Quesarito will vary the calories by like, 500 either way.

Taco Bell Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5 “is there another word for vanilla?”
  • Price: $1.00 (“Happy Hour” price)
  • Size: Regular
  • Purchased at: Taco Bell #029492
  • Nutritional Quirk: A lot less calories and fat than a real ice cream float!

Happy 5th Birthday, Junk Food Betty!

Birthday Cake by Theresa Thompson, on FlickrToday marks Junk Food Betty’s 5th Birthday!

I’d rather be posting a review than a birthday announcement, but this is a good time to apologize for my lack of posts recently. I recently moved, which is obviously chaotic, and threw off my already inconsistent rhythm.

That said, I want to thank all of my loyal readers and let you know that there are reviews to come! Five years is a pretty long time in Internet years, but I’m glad to be sticking with it, and as always, am grateful to everyone who has found me one way or another.

Here’s to another year of crazy junk foods and some more guffaws!


Quick Pick: Ritz Crackerfuls Bold Buffalo and Ranch Filled Crackers

Ritz Crackerfuls Bold Buffalo and Ranch Filled Crackers BoxThe Good: These ain’t your kids’ sandwich crackers – they have a strong spicy kick with actual buffalo flavor instead of just “generic spiciness”. There’s lots of flavor dust. The filling has some tangy ranch flavor. You can taste that signature buttery Ritz cracker under the buffalo spice.

Ritz Crackerfuls Bold Buffalo and Ranch Filled Cracker and Filling

The Not-So-Good: Because these are sandwich crackers, you may look silly eating them as an adult. In that same vein, kids probably aren’t going to like these because of the heat level. The filling is grainy instead of being creamy. When eaten as a whole Crackerful, the buffalo of the cracker completely overwhelms the ranch. Would have made a better buffalo cracker than a Buffalo and Ranch Crackerful.

  • Score: 3 out of 5
  • Price: $2.50
  • Size: 6 individually wrapped packs of 3 filled crackers
  • Purchased at: Walmart

Quick Pick: Carl’s Jr. Bacon Ranch Fries

Carl's Jr. Bacon Ranch FriesThe Good: The bacon was actually crisp. Appeared to be actually crumbled up bacon and not just sad little bacon bits. Carl’s uses buttermilk ranch, which has more flavor and is thicker than regular ranch. It also helped immensely in getting the bacon to stick to the fries, which I’ve found to be frustrating in the past when eating fries that involve bacon as a topping.

Carl's Jr. Bacon Ranch Fries Toppings

The Not-So-Good: I appreciate that my fries were hot, but that just made my ranch hot, which is not very appealing. As often is the case with fries covered with toppings, the toppings are far too sparse, with all the bacon clustered in the middle and almost nothing getting to the bottom fries. I wound up adding my own ranch. $3 is a pretty high price for some fries, the equivalent of a side cup of dressing and about one slice of crumbled bacon.

  • Score: 2.5 out of 5
  • Price: $3.00
  • Size: 1 serving
  • Purchased at: Carl’s Jr. #0828
  • Nutritional Quirks: These are really bad for you! That is not a surprise. Or a quirk.

Mrs. Fields Nibblers Cookies Milk Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Double Chocolate

Mrs. Fields Nibblers Cookies Milk Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Double Chocolate BoxesMrs. Fields. To me, the name is synonymous with childhood trips to the mall with my parents: hours of agonizing shopping in boring department stores, where the only means of entertainment were hiding under clothing racks and touching things I was explicitly told not to touch.

My only relief: the promise of a trip to the food court afterward. Oh, the wonders! The choices! So much fast food, all in one place! What to choose?

Well, inevitably I chose Sbarro, because the only time I got to eat at Sbarro was when we went to the mall. For dessert, I would always get CheeseKorn from the KarmelKorn store attached to the Orange Julius, because I was a weird kid who didn’t really like sweets.

While I walked around smearing orange dust on things when my parents weren’t looking, my mom would munch on a Mrs. Fields cookie – another mall-only staple. At the time, the only thing that interested me about Mrs. Fields were the giant, pizza-sized cookies they’d always have on display.

I dreamed of one day getting one of those cookies, but every time I’d ask for one, my mom reminded me that I’d never actually eat it, which I had to admit was true. In hindsight, she should have just acquiesced and then taken the whole thing for herself. Opportunity missed.

The days of having to walk past a Hot Topic just to get a Mrs. Fields cookie are finally over, however – the First Lady of Cookies is finally breaking into the grocery store game, introducing her Nibblers cookies to Kroger stores nationwide in three flavors: Milk Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chip and Double Chocolate.

All three varieties have some things in common: first off, they are, indeed, Nibblers – they’re about the size of an Oreo, as opposed to the larger size of other Mrs. Fields cookies or even a regular Chips Ahoy. They also have all had their previously bare bottoms dipped in fudge. Let the fudge and butt jokes commence.

I was mailed these cookies courtesy of Mrs. Fields, and I was worried about what kind of shape they’d be in when they arrived, given the high temperatures and the nature of the cookies. I figured I’d wind up with one giant, melted cookie mess, which, don’t get me wrong, had a certain appeal – the idea of a giant chocolate chip and fudge cookie wad holds a certain allure.

Mrs. Fields had it covered, though – each box of Nibblers contains a plastic tray that holds each cookie separately, and it’s further protected by foil packaging. My Nibblers were still a little melty, but for the most part, they remained intact and unbroken. Not the most eco-friendly packaging, but effective!

Mrs. Fields Nibblers Cookies Milk Chocolate

I went with Milk Chocolate Chip first, it being the most pedestrian-sounding of the flavors. The fudge-dipped bottom started melting the instant I touched it, making me once again thankful that the cookies were kept apart from each other.

Chewy Chips Ahoy are one of my favorite cookies; I much prefer soft cookies to hard ones. These Mrs. Fields Nibblers were like a slightly upgraded version of those cookies. There was a little bit of a crunch on the top which quickly gave way to the chewy innards. The two textures mixed together nicely.

The milk chocolate chips, which were mini to match the size of the cookies, were evenly distributed in almost all the cookies in the package. The cookie flavor itself was spot-on for a chocolate chip cookie – not overly sweet and baked just right.

The fudge bottom added more chocolate goodness without being too overwhelming, although I think calling it “fudge” is a bit of a misnomer; it tasted much more like melty milk chocolate.

Mrs. Fields Nibblers Cookies Peanut Butter Chip

I was most excited to try the Peanut Butter Chip Nibblers, because soft peanut butter cookies are great and peanut butter cookies with chips and dipped in chocolate can only be better, right?

Well, yes and no. The sad news is, there are no chips in these Peanut Butter Chip Nibblers. At least, not that I could see or feel. Which raises fundamental questions about the name of these Nibblers. I’m straight confused.

The good news: these cookies are delicious. My mom used to make soft peanut butter cookies for Christmas, and I’ve never found any brand confection that could compare. Grandma’s Cookies were the closest I could get, but Mrs. Fields blows those out of the water, and adds a nice milk chocolate – er, fudge – finish to boot.

I just wish there were peanut butter chips. Sniffle.

Mrs. Fields Nibblers Cookies Double Chocolate

I figured “Double Chocolate” would mean “double milk chocolate”, but I guess it means “milk chocolate and white chocolate chips”, although it’s also fudge-dipped, so technically it’s triple chocolate. Again, confusing name.

I was surprised at both the lack of richness of the chocolate in these chocolate cookies and also how much the white chocolate chips contributed to the flavor. I figured the chips would disappear under the chocolate flavor of the cookie, but it was actually the chips that took over in the flavor department.

While these Nibblers do actually live up to their Double Chocolate name, chocolate lovers are going to be ultimately disappointed at the lack of richness in the cookie itself.

Mrs. Fields Nibblers are generally delicious and almost too easy to eat – I found myself having to force myself to put the packages away before I plowed through the entire box and got about 500% of my daily recommended value of saturated fat.

I thought Milk Chocolate Chip was a little too pedestrian, given that it was pretty close to Chewy Chips Ahoy. I fell in love with Peanut Butter Chip, even though they had no chips. Double Chocolate Chip was pretty good, but I felt like the white chocolate chips did most of the work and the cookies themselves lacked chocolate’s signature richness. And the fudge dipping wasn’t really fudge-y, but still added a little something extra to each of the chips. Including sticky fingers.

Overall, Mrs. Fields Nibblers are a solid cookie offering. The biggest question for me is the price – I got mine for free courtesy of Mrs. Fields, but they’re available at Kroger stores nationwide in a 15-count box. A quick Internet search didn’t yield a price point. But if they’re not mall-price expensive and you’re a fan of Mrs. Fields and soft cookies, they’re worth a try.

[Disclaimer: These Nibblers cookies were provided for free via mail courtesy of the kind people at Mrs. Fields. This is no way influences my review of the products, and, in the nature of full disclosure, I still hate the mall.]

Mrs. Fields Nibblers

  • Score (Milk Chocolate Chip): 3.5 out of 5 cheesy orange fingers
  • Score (Peanut Butter Chip): 4.5 out of 5 mysterious lack of chips
  • Score (Double Chocolate Chip): 3 out of 5 gooey fudge-covered bottoms
  • Price: Free
  • Size: Box of 15 cookies
  • Purchased at: Received in the mail (but available at Kroger stores nationwide)
  • Score Quirk: Surprisingly, there’s only 120 calories per serving of two cookies. I would have expected a more heart attack-inducing number.

Jack in the Box Jack Ca$h Cards Giveaway Winners!

Jack Ca$h CardHere are the winners of the Jack in the Box Jack Ca$h Card giveaway!

Cheezburgers. Please.

Mike

Lindsay

Congrats, winners! I’ll be emailing you soon! Thanks to everyone who participated!


Jack in the Box Jack Ca$h Cards Giveaway!

Jack Ca$h CardIn conjunction with Jack in the Box’s Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich, they have kindly provided me with three $10 Jack Ca$h Cards to give away to three lucky readers!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Tell me about your day, or how much you love ghost peppers, whatever you like. Just make sure you include your email address!

This giveaway will end at 11:59pm PST Monday, June 2, 2014, and the winners will be announced Tuesday, June 3.

The not-so-fine print: Your email address will not be publicly visible and will only be used for the purpose of informing winners. No repeat comments. No spammin’.

Good luck!


Jack in the Box Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich

Jack in the Box Blazin' Chicken SandwichJack in the Box didn’t form a large campaign around their Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich, instead opting for a sexual harassment commercial that, while mildly amusing, I found frankly disappointing.

Normally, I would barely notice or care if a fast food place went pedestrian when it comes to sandwich marketing – after all, new menu items come out all the time, especially if you’re Jack in the Box – but as soon as I heard the description for the Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich, I was struck with the Lightning Bolt of Marketing Brilliance.

“The new Jack’s Blazin’ Chicken has spicy crispy chicken, Ghost Pepper Ranch sauce, and sliced jalapeños.”

I took two words away from this: Ghost Ranch.

Jack went all out with their Bacon Insider Burger, giving us an inside view of Jack’s farm that includes a curly fry tree and a helicopter.

But you know what’s missing? Jack’s motherfuckin’ Ghost Ranch.

Imagine the commercial: Jack’s tooling around the farm, moving hay bales or experimenting with the genetics of mutant animals or what have you, and suddenly he hears a strange noise coming from a corner of the farm that has long since been abandoned and neglected.

He parts the branches of a grove of weeping willows to find a spooky-looking ranch, complete with fog machine and maybe a graveyard for all the previous failed genetic abominations he’s created. Suddenly, he hears a loud noise…

“MOO!”

Jack jumps three feet in the air, probably not soiling his overalls since this is a rated G commercial, but then he sees a chicken with a loudspeaker!

“Aw, I messed it up,” the chicken says, looking crestfallen. “I was supposed to say ‘BOO!’”

“That’s okay, I’ll keep your secret,” Jack says amicably. “What is this place?” But as he looks back the chicken is suddenly…gone.

Flummoxed and freaked out, Jack notices a strange glowing a little ways away. He goes over to explore, and finds a whole field of ectoplasmic slime! But right in the middle of the goo, he spots it – the ghost pepper plant.

And then some other spooky stuff happens. I kind of ran out of ideas at this point.

Sooo let’s move onward to the actual sandwich!

Jack in the Box Blazin' Chicken Sandwich Inside

There’s three heat factors to the Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich, and I will address them separately first. Let’s start with the jalapeños.

Dear every fast food chain ever: Why can’t you put more than three fucking peppers on my sandwich? This is a widespread, chronic problem that continues to frustrate me. Is this some sort of rule? The three jalapeño max? Pickled jalapeños must cost, like, half of a cent each. So why can’t you give me enough to cover my whole sandwich?

That said, there was nothing special about these peppers, but they did add a nice touch of heat to the sandwich.

Next up, the spicy crispy chicken. I actually quite enjoyed my chicken – it was juicy and definitely crispy, with a thick breading that had an excellent amount of seasoning and a nice touch of heat. I’m assuming it’s the same chicken they use on Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, which I’ve never had, but I’d put it up at the top of my list of spicy chicken sandwich filets.

Jack in the Box Blazin' Chicken Sandwich Ghost Pepper Ranch

And finally, the ingredient designed to set the Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich apart: the Ghost Pepper Ranch. While my lack of jalapeños was disappointing, the amount of ghost pepper ranch on my sandwich made up for it.

I’ve come up with a scale when it comes to fast food peppers: take whatever spicy ingredient they claim they’re using and take it down about two notches (unless you can see physical evidence of the pepper itself). For example, if you see “habanero”, think “jalapeño”.

Therefore, when I saw “ghost pepper”, which is actually the first time I’ve seen a fast food place with the balls to use them, I figured “habanero”. Which is not an unimpressive amount of heat, mind you.

Jalapeño slices and spicy breaded chicken already make a great combo, but I have to say, I was really impressed by the Ghost Pepper Ranch. The base was distinctively ranch dressing, with its signature tanginess, but the ghost pepper part of the equation really did pack a punch. It hits you immediately and builds with every bite. In fact, my lips were burning after just a few bites, and continued to do so after I’d finished the sandwich.

The Ghost Pepper Ranch wasn’t just heat for heat’s sake, though – it was also quite delicious. The ranch balanced the heat, which is exactly what it should do, and the flavor of the peppers also managed to come through the spiciness. I’m so glad I got a heaping helping of it, and I wanted more even after my sandwich was done and my mouth was burning.

Jack in the Box Blazin' Chicken Sandwich Halves

Now let’s put all these ingredients together. I got some sad lettuce, as per usual, and some nice tomatoes that I didn’t feel were really necessary. The bun was pedestrian sesame, and the cheese, which Jack in the Box calls “Swiss-style”, was actually melted and added a nice creaminess to compliment the crunch of the chicken, which was not at all soggy, I might add.

I just noticed on Jack’s website that I was supposed to get grilled onions on my sandwich. They were nowhere to be found. That sucks. They wouldn’t have been necessary, but they would have been a nice addition.

By the way, maybe it was just the amount of Ghost Pepper Ranch on my particular buy, but my Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich was messy as hell. I didn’t care, since I was eating it in the privacy of my own home, but my buns were sliding all over the place (teehee) and the whole thing needed constant rearrangement to keep from falling apart completely.

All in all, I call Jack in the Box’s Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich a rousing success. I got a sucky amount of jalapeños, but Jack makes a nice spicy chicken, and the shining star was the Ghost Pepper Ranch sauce. I wasn’t exactly crying tears of capsaicin horror, but it was legit spicy and delicious at the same time. I want Jack to start offering Ghost Pepper Ranch as a side sauce. I would put it on everything.

I usually conclude a supposedly-spicy fast food sandwich by saying something like, “you suck, this wasn’t at all spicy, I hate when fast food even mutters the word spicy, blah blah blah”, but in the case of the Jack in the Box Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich, I can recommend it with a clear conscience if you’re looking for a kick from your chicken. Just ask for extra jalapeños. And extra-extra Ghost Pepper Ranch. And extra napkins.

[Disclaimer: This Blazin' Chicken Sandwich was purchased with a gift card courtesy of Jack in the Box. This in no way influences my review or changes my mind that Jack should have had a Ghost Ranch.]

Jack in the Box Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5 soiled overalls
  • Price: Free (regular price $4.69)
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #111
  • Score Quirk: I’m calling this a “score quirk” because I gave it high marks despite the lack of onions and not enough jalapeños. Sometimes you can’t blame the company for the franchise. Plus I got extra ghost pepper ranch so nyah.

Domino’s Specialty Chicken: Crispy Bacon & Tomato and Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple

Domino's Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato and Spicy Jalapeno-PineappleThere seems to be some confusion surrounding Domino’s new Specialty Chicken. I first heard mention of it from Conan O’Brien, where he described it in his monologue as “ new pizza where, instead of dough, they’re using fried chicken.” Half-listening, I thought to myself, “Oh, that must not be in this country. The United States has gotten pretty insane with our pizzas, but not that insane.”

And yet, as I was doing my usual Internet food-trolling duties later that day, I came across the Specialty Chicken.

I love the mysteriousness of the name. What makes this chicken so special? Is it because it is, indeed, a chicken pizza crust? Domino’s themselves describes it as “100% whole breast white meat chicken covered in our toppings, sauces and cheeses.”

Well, that sounds like a chicken pizza crust to me!

At this point, Specialty Chicken became known as “Domino’s Abomination” in my household, two words I tried desperately to portmanteau. “AbDomination” was the best I could come up with, which still reeks of trying-too-hard so I don’t even know why I’m telling you this.

So far, Domino’s Abominations come in four flavors: Classic Hot Buffalo, Sweet BBQ Bacon, Crispy Bacon & Tomato and Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple. Given the concept, I only chose two, as the idea of eating or even possessing four chicken crust pizzas was too daunting for my mouth.

When my special chickens arrived, they came in the same box that Domino’s uses for their sandwiches and wings. Upon opening, I was more than a little disappointed by the size. Instead of a whole pizza, it was more the size of a slice.

I’ll discuss the basics before I get to the specific toppings. First of all, Specialty Chicken is not a chicken crust. While Domino’s description above is questionably accurate, what they fail to add is that the chicken basically comes in nugget form. Call it disappointing or encouraging, this does not a chicken crust make.

That said, the pieces were lightly breaded with a nice seasoning, and the chicken was surprisingly tender. I wish I’d taken the time to count exactly how many there were – I’d estimate a little over six per.

The real failing here was the topping coverage. The Crispy Bacon & Tomato managed to hold it together, you might say, but the Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple just looked like a disaster.

Domino's Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple

Starting with the latter, Domino’s describes it as “Tender bites of lightly breaded, 100% whole breast white meat chicken, topped with sweet and spicy mango-habanero sauce, a blend of cheese made with mozzarella and cheddar, jalapeno and pineapple.”

Domino's Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Close-Up2

I feel like I was missing a fair amount of all of these things except the chicken. There was a lot of cheese overflow, resulting in some lovely cheese crisps, but that wasn’t the point. I had to actually work to get cheese, a piece of jalapeno and a piece of pineapple on the same piece, and I didn’t even know there was a sauce until I read the description.

That said, when I managed to get the toppings in tandem with the chicken, the spicy and the sweet worked quite well together. I’m not a huge pineapple fan, but it worked well to balance the impressive level of heat from the peppers. If there had been any trace of the mango-habanero sauce, I feel like that would have taken this Specialty Chicken to the next level.

Domino's Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato

The Crispy Bacon & Tomato actually kind of resembles a pizza slice. Domino’s describes it as “Tender bites of lightly breaded, 100% whole breast white meat chicken, topped with garlic parmesan white sauce, a blend of cheese made with mozzarella and cheddar, crispy bacon and tomato.”

Domino's Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato Close-Up

The toppings were joyously more prominent on this Specialty Chicken. The garlic parmesan white sauce definitely made its presence known, adding a creamy lubricant (phrasing) that compliments the toppings and the cheese that binds it all together.

I actually had a bit of fun pulling these chicken pieces apart, watching the cheese stretch and enjoying the smoky bacon that was actually crisp, along with the juicy tomatoes. The tomatoes were more scarce than the bacon, but I’d rather have that than the other way around. The sauce was tangy and really brought it all together.

All of this sounds overly complimentary in the face of my description of the Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Specialty Chicken, but in reality, neither of these delivered on the toppings-to-chicken ratio. If you ordered a pizza and half of it was completely topping-less, you’d probably call Domino’s asking for your money back. If we’re treating this like a chicken pizza, that was exactly the case here.

I’m amending my initial moniker of Domino’s Abomination and calling Specialty Chicken Domino’s Disappointment. If these had initially been described to me as “breaded chicken pieces smothered in sauce, cheese, and toppings”, I would have responded with, “Fuck yeah, where do I sign up?”

While this is what Specialty Chicken was meant to be, this is not what I got. Everything was lacking except the chicken – barely any toppings, cheese that didn’t even start to cover each piece of chicken, and sauce that was meager or tasted non-existent. Furthermore, the price for these things is completely overblown – I was able to eat both in one sitting, which comes to $12 for a lunch from a fast food joint. I feel like Domino’s Specialty Chicken could be so much more if they lowered the price and upped the toppings.

Domino’s Specialty Chicken

  • Score (Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple): 2 out of 5 sad “Where’s the sauce?” jokes
  • Score (Crispy Bacon & Tomato): 2.5 out of 5 creamy lubricant jokes
  • Price: $5.99 each
  • Size: 12 pieces each
  • Purchased at: Domino’s #7602
  • Nutritional Quirks: Domino’s website tells me there were 12 pieces each, but I swear I got cheated.

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