Happy Halloween, everybody! I mentioned this before, but I didn’t get to review nearly the amount of stuff I wanted to review this month. And now, here we are, on the holiday itself. So get ready for a MEGA REVIEW.
Well, it’s not really mega, but I’m going to do short reviews of four different Halloween items. OooOOOOooo procrastination.
Snak King Fright Bites Tortilla Chips
I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw these at the store. Like I said in my Cheetos review, savory snacks just don’t get the spooky treatment like candy does, so this item deserves a shout-out. Way to go, Snak King. You are such a leader that you add “King of Snacks” underneath your logo, just in case people weren’t clear on that.
The bag itself is wonderfully spooky, with a strange, flat-topped vampire child, a ghost who appears very surprised or even scared by said vampire’s hair, a freaked-out tree, a happy Jack O’Lantern and a tombstone. Love it.
And look at those goddamn chips. I expected to have a hard time finding properly shaped/intact examples, but a large amount of them were in this pristine condition. Not even a regular bag of Tostitos can accomplish that easily.
Of course, the color doesn’t effect the taste at all, and they’re actually decent as a tortilla chip. I expected the quality of the chip itself to suffer, but they were well-salted and on par with any other name-brand tortilla chip.
The only quibble I have is that they’re a little too lightweight to do any heavy lifting, like a salsa or guacamole. They worked well with cheese dip, with little eye hole leakage.
But who cares about that when you’ve got tortilla chips shaped like ghosts, pumpkins and bats, and all appropriately colored? If you’re not putting Fright Bites out at your Halloween party, you are clinically insane.
Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda
Apparently Jones released this can design and flavor last year also, but I missed it, so here we are. There were four available flavors and cans last year, but this year they only went with two – this and the zombie-themed Caramel Apple, which they were out of when I went to the store. This is probably for the best.
Count Vlah manages to look mildly scary but also comical at the same time, going with a bow tie instead of the traditional wrap around…thing fastened by an amulet. I just realized I have no idea what the hell that thing is called, if it even has a name. Maybe we should call this guy Professor Vlah instead.
When I started pouring the soda into the glass, I almost had a spastic freakout because the soda looked pink. I could already imagine the thousand-word essay I would spew onto this page about how dare Jones make a Blood Orange soda pink and blah blah vlah. Fortunately for both myself and you, the end result was actually the appropriate shade of bright orange.
Jones Limited Edition Blood Orange Soda tastes like if orange Fanta grew up and moved out of its parents’ house. It’s mostly a regular orange soda, but the addition of real sugar that Jones always uses makes it much more clean and…mature, if you could possibly use such an adjective for orange soda. It also seemed a little more tart than other orange sodas.
I know a lot of people aren’t fans of orange soda, and Jones Blood Orange probably isn’t going to change your mind on that. But if you are a fan of the beverage, you’ll enjoy this iteration. Plus, you get to drink out of a vampire’s head.
Hershey’s Candy Corn Bar
This is a new item this Halloween, but just the idea of it didn’t thrill me. Oh boy, more candy corn in stuff that isn’t candy corn, which in itself already sucks!
I was also not thrilled by this packaging. It’s like Hershey’s either didn’t try at all, or tried too hard to look minimal and retro. If the latter is true, no kid is going to appreciate the effort. You’d score 1,000 more points by just throwing a zombie candy corn on the package. Instead, we get…stripes.
I guess the official name of this is Hershey’s Candy Corn Candy Corn Creme with Candy Bits. While that’s redundant, it did actually shatter my misconception that this was going to be white chocolate with candy corn bits. This only increased my trepidation.
I gotta say, however, that the flavor really did surprise me. It took me a second to pin it down, because it wasn’t the generic, plastic candy corn taste I was expecting. It turns out that Hershey’s Candy Corn bar tastes a hell of a lot like cotton candy!
I have to assume this was a happy accident. I mean, I would have been a hell of a lot more stoked to see Hershey’s Cotton Candy, but that’s exactly what Hershey’s Candy Corn is.
It made my mouth confused, then happy, but then kind of sad again, because holy shit is this candy sweet. I ate one snack-sized bar and I felt overloaded with cloying sweetness. Also, while you can see the decorative little orange and yellow bits in the bar, they add nothing to the taste or texture. It would have been fun to have little crunchy bits in there.
So I wasn’t completely disgusted by Hershey’s Candy Corn bar, but that’s only because it tasted nothing like candy corn. If I got this in my trick-or-treat bucket, I’d probably toss it to the side, never to be seen again, and I’d never know that it tasted like cotton candy and ten pounds of sugar. Missed opportunity, Hershey’s.
Seattle Chocolates Dead Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with Sea Salt and Toffee
After eating Hershey’s, this sure does sound like some fancypants shit, doesn’t it! Truffles and sea salt and toffee, oh my!
I don’t usually go for these fancy chocolate bars, mostly because I’m not a chocolate fanatic, and also because I usually have enough sweets laying around from reviews to satiate any cravings I may have. But this guy was just too good to pass up.
Despite the muted color scheme, the eye is immediately drawn to this chocolate bar’s wrapper. It’s called Dead Sea Salt, and there’s a dancing skeleton on it! There’s also a cat, and like, fifteen different spooky fonts with random Halloweeny words like “bloodcurdling” and “fangs”. It almost looks like a geocities website, but somehow, the clutter totally works.
…Suffice to say that all the effort went into the packaging.
No matter though, because that’s what made me buy the bar, so I guess it’s working! As for the taste itself, Seattle Chocolates brings the quality. The chocolate is rich, smooth and creamy, and there are crunchy toffee bits throughout that add great flavor and texture. The hint of salt is there just to add some flavor depth and a nice aftertaste.
That last sentence was me completely talking out of my ass. I don’t understand anything about fancy chocolates. I don’t even know where the “truffle” part came in. I just know that chocolate good, toffee good. Good bar. Good wrapper. Fangs.
Phew! While I wish I’d been able to spread this out over the month, I gotta say, marathoning it all out on Halloween day certainly got me in the spirit! Have a happy Halloween, boils and ghouls!
This is not so much a review as it is a celebration of what I think is the best new thing to come around this Halloween. The month is almost over and I haven’t gotten to do nearly as much as I wanted, but this item deserves to shine.
Guys, it’s a Bag of Bones!
I have always felt like the savory snacks get sorely neglected every holiday season. It’s all about the candy. But why?! Come Halloween, the best you can usually hope for is some holiday-themed snack bags to give out to trick-or-treaters.
But Cheetos has gone all out with their Bag of Bones. You’ve got all the parts to make your own skeleton – skull, ribcage, generic connector bones, and hands/feet. The hands and feet are the same, but hey. I got no bones to pick with that. You know I was going to go there.
I’m not here to talk about the quality of these Cheetos – if you’re looking for that, they’re the same as these Winter White Cheddar Cheetos in both flavor and texture, except that they’re shaped like skeleton parts so they’re 1,000 times more awesome.
So I, a grown woman, spent an afternoon playing with Cheetos. Here are just a few things I came up with. Yes, I actually made more shapes than this, but didn’t even photograph them. I did it purely for the joy of Halloween Cheetos.
Here we have Joe Bones, the original skeleton as pictured on the front of the bag. I tried to make sure his fingers actually pointed in an anatomically correct manner. Can’t say as I accomplished this feat (or feet, as it were), since some of the digits were broken off and…well, it’s a Cheeto, so.
This is Slim Jim. I wanted to give him extra leg bones, but I ran out of room. These Cheetos are deceptively large. Slim is about two feet taller than all the other skeletons, due to actually having a neck. He is the star center on the basketball team at Monster University. He can also palm the ball. Which is a severed human head.
This is Duane Bradley and his parasitic twin, Belial. Pretty self-explanatory.
We shall call these…this…her? Bette and Dot, keeping with this year’s theme on American Horror Story. I figured I needed to include a strong female presence. Hm, they should have made Cheeto pelvises. That would have been fun.
I think this is my favorite. It’s also the scariest, if you can make puffed corn snacks actually scary. It doesn’t have a name, it just wants to eat you. It also took a while to find all those bone parts, since they are smaller and thus sunk to the bottom of the bag. I had to eat my way through a lot of rib cages and skulls to collect them all. It was a labor of love, and cheese powder.
Well, there you have it! I declare Cheetos Bag of Bones White Cheddar a fabulous break from all the Halloween sweets out there. They’re tasty, they’re fun, and they’re not candy. Bag of Bones is the best.
This here is #3 of 4 in Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalists 2014. That’s not their numbering; it’s mine. As in, “this will probably be the third least delicious flavor”, or, alternatively, “this will be the third best contender for grossness”. I’m starting to confuse myself, so let’s just move on.
Wavy Mango Salsa comes to you courtesy of Julia Stanley-Metz, whose profile picture looks like she’d be perfectly at home shilling Flameless Candles on QVC. She’s an event planner and “avid yogi”, which always makes me think of Yogi Bear and not flexible people. Hey Boo-Boo! Let’s steal those Wavy Mango Chips from that pic-a-nic basket!
When not busy running from Ranger Smith, Julia enjoys cooking with her family, and credits many of her culinary creations to her husband, who “loves to experiment”. Oh, sorry, “loves to experiment with flavors”. Right.
The family partakes in Taco Tuesday, of which I approve, and her experiment-loving husband makes “the most amazing” mango salsa. So shouldn’t her husband be the one submitting this flavor? Perhaps he was too busy “experimenting”.
Julia’s fun fact is that she’s been to Madagascar while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. This is by far the most interesting Flavor Finalist Fun Fact I’ve read so far, and it shows that Julia is a humanitarian. I see your ploy, Julia, trying to win the hearts and minds of America with your volunteer work. Well, it’s not going to work on me. I’m just here for the chips.
As mentioned, Mango Salsa got the Wavy treatment, which seems appropriate, since Wavy Lay’s are more dip-friendly than their regular, more fragile counterpart. Not that these were made specifically for dipping; it just seems to fit thematically.
When I first opened the bag, I smelled nothing but regular ol’ potato chips. I found this odd, seeing as how you’d think mango salsa chips would have an odor, like maybe mango, or salsa. Call me crazy.
But boy, how things changed with the first chip passed my lips. Here’s what my brain did upon first crunch: OH GOD MANGO SO MUCH MANGO JUST POTATOES AND MANGO
Seriously, there was a lot of mango.
In what is turning into a disturbing trend with Do Us a Flavors, Lay’s completely nailed the taste of mango, and I wish they wouldn’t have. The bright, tropical flavor of mango was right at the forefront, so much so that you could almost feel the flesh of the fruit itself.
After a few more chips, I started to taste hints of the salsa portion of mango salsa. They were very subtle, but I could detect some onion and garlic powder. These do not a salsa make, however. It felt like they were added as an afterthought.
Potatoes and mango, together at never should have been. I’ve had some real mango salsas that were pretty tasty, but Lay’s Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips did not accurately reflect the real thing. They nailed the mango, and then proceeded to hammer the shit out of it, but missed the mark on the salsa. If you think the idea of tropical fruit-flavored potato chips is appealing, then these may be right up your alley, but I’m putting these back in the pic-a-nic basket.
Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Wavy Mango Salsa Potato Chips
This year, Do Us a Flavor is branching out to include some of their different varieties of chips. For Wasabi Ginger, we get Kettle Cooked. This seems like a random combination, but I’m okay with it.
Wasabi Ginger is the brainchild of Meneko Spigner McBeth, who may not win the contest but definitely wins “Best Finalist Name”. She’s a registered nurse in Philadelphia, so she can help you out if you choke on her Wasabi Ginger potato chips. Just a little Heimlich and you’re right as rain.
Meneko’s grandmother apparently used to make her sushi by hand when she was growing up, which both melts my heart a little and makes me extremely jealous. So now we know why she came up with this flavor.
Meneko’s fun fact is that her friends have dubbed her “The Clearance Queen” because she always finds the best bargains. This is what your fun fact is when you have three kids. This is what your life becomes. Also, I hope she doesn’t buy clearance sushi because that’s gross.
I’m not sure what the methodology was in deciding what flavor got what kind of chip, but kettle seems to suit Wasabi Ginger just fine. Lay’s kettle chips aren’t the best on the market, but they’re passable. Also, this doesn’t seem like a flavor made for dipping, so the sometimes-crumpled-up nature of the kettle chip won’t be a hindrance.
Wasabi Ginger was off to a good start when it hit my taste buds. The distinctive taste of wasabi was strong and spot-on. I’m using the term “wasabi” liberally, because when you eat sushi, the majority of the time you’re getting horseradish-wasabi, not actual wasabi.
Let’s just say that the wasabi you know was the wasabi that was represented in this chip. Strong enough to be delicious, but not so strong that my sinuses exploded.
I also detected a hint of soy sauce, which was a great compliment to the flavoring.
This all sounds like it’s going great, which it was, but then the ginger hit. Once again, we go back to Lay’s totally nailing the flavor, but it being a double-edged sword. After the lovely soft-burn of the wasabi, I was suddenly bestowed the flavor of those thin-sliced pieces of ginger that are served with sushi.
I did a quick Google search to verify that ginger is served as a palate-cleanser (answer: yes) and Wikipedia taught me that the actual term for it is gari, and this also reminded me of an important disclaimer:
Dear readers, I know that the definition of sushi, sushi-eating, and pretty much everything related to sushi are hotly debated. Please do not bring this debate here. We are talking about Lay’s potato chips. Give me some leeway.
Okay, got off on a tangent there. The point here is that I was perfectly happy enjoying my wasabi chips, and then the pickled ginger came along and made everything wonky. Ginger is refreshing, but “refreshing” is not really a quality I’m looking for in a potato chip.
While I was initially put off by this, I found myself continuing to eat Lay’s Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips. The wasabi and soy sauce combo was fantastic, and these would easily be a winner in my book if the ginger hadn’t come along. That said, it didn’t deter me enough to not finish the bag.
These chips really do a great job of emulating the whole sushi package. Chalk it up to umami, I guess? Honestly, this is one of the most unique Frito-Lay flavors I’ve tasted that doesn’t seem to be designed to be purposefully disgusting. If I had my druthers, these wouldn’t win the Do Us a Flavor contest, and then Lay’s would immediately turn around and come out with Kettle Cooked Wasabi Soy Sauce Potato Chips. Now that is something I would buy again.
Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger Potato Chips
Lay’s is at it again with another “Do Us a Flavor” contest. The first one garnered a lot of attention, and the winner wound up being Cheesy Garlic Bread, which was surely better than Chicken & Waffles, but more boring than Sriracha, although those didn’t even taste like- you know what, not going to get into that again.
Here’s the thing, though – after the contest was over, they continued to sell all three of the flavors in stores. I feel like Lay’s betrayed us. How can I trust them again after that? What’s the point of a contest if all the flavors are just going to wind up on the shelves anyways?
Well, regardless, I feel it is my duty to cover this round of flavor finalists. This time there are four instead of three. I shall be covering all four, and I figured I shouldn’t bury the lead. So here we go, with cappuccino-flavored potato chips.
Cappuccino is, of course, is the crazywacky entry for Do Us a Flavor. There’s one in every batch. It’s the flavor that will never win, but that everyone will talk about for the weirdness factor.
I predict this will be the worst flavor, which is kind of like predicting the sky will be blue tomorrow morning. I bet it will also get a ton of votes, because people on the Internet are ridiculous, but I’m also sure this whole voting thing is rigged, so it doesn’t matter. Again: the Internet.
While we don’t get pictures or quotes on the bags this time, we get even more detail this year on the voting website.
Meet Chad Scott, a visiting lecturer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Now you know exactly where to send your angry letters after eating his chips. What does he lecture on? I have no idea, but “creating awful chip flavors” seems the most obvious guess.
He apparently submitted this flavor because “cappuccino is his lifeblood”. I hope tasting his own chip creation does not turn him off of his lifeblood forever, because then he will die.
Each flavor finalist has a “fun fact”, and Chad’s is that he didn’t like his name as a youth so he introduced himself as Corey. This is more weird than fun, and raises many questions. Why Corey? Where did Corey come from? Was Corey more charismatic than Chad? Would Corey have taken a life path divergent from Chad, one that led him away from thinking cappuccino-flavored potato chips was a good idea? Maybe I should write a letter.
Okay, time to get to the chips. I guess. Do I have to, mom?
Upon opening the bag, all I could smell was that familiar Lay’s potato chip odor. But I was not fooled. The flavor dust looked exactly as you’d expect – a brown, speckled dusting that spoke of things to come.
I’m a little confused as to whether or not I should praise Lay’s for this next statement. Cappuccino Potato Chips tasted exactly as they’re supposed to. It’s so ridiculously easy to describe: take a bag of regular Lay’s, sprinkle in one of those high-end instant coffees (something like Starbucks VIA comes to mind), and you’ve got these chips.
What makes this especially detrimental is that this isn’t straight coffee, so more than the flavor of that caffeinated beverage, you get prominent notes of milk and sickly sweet vanilla. These are not things that you want to taste on your salty potato chip.
So Lay’s nailed the flavor, but, as we’ve seen in the past, this is not always a good thing. Cappuccino is a great example of that. While they weren’t so bad that they made me gag, they were disgustingly sweet and I threw them away as soon as I’d nailed down the flavor profile, which was quickly.
Oh, by the way, Lay’s wants you to know very firmly that these potato chips do not contain caffeine. That’s a shame, because that would have been the only redeeming quality about these chips. Unless vanilla-milk-coffee-flavored chips are your thing. Which they shouldn’t be.
Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Finalist: Cappuccino Potato Chips
Today is International Bacon Day! To celebrate, here’s a little thing I’ve had on the back burner for a while.
You might look at new Ritz Bacon Crackers and see yet another bacon-flavored fad product.
I see the potential to relive a childhood favorite in a matte red box.
Nabisco used to have a cracker called Bacon Thins that I just adored as a child. They disappeared, and I’ve lamented them ever since. Can Ritz Bacon Crackers fill that void in my heart?
The Good: Has the familiar taste of Bacon Thins that I loved so much. The buttery flavor of Ritz is still there, but doesn’t interfere with the bacon flavor like I thought it would. They have cracked black pepper in them that doesn’t really show up until after you’re almost done chewing, but has a pleasant, lingering spice to it.
The Not-So-Good: I would prefer them without the butter flavor. Even though I love it, the bacon taste is very artificial, so may not appeal to some. These have that flaky Ritz texture as opposed to the old Bacon Thins, which had a crisper and more dip-worthy texture.
Ritz Bacon Crackers aren’t perfect, but the flavor is so close to Bacon Thins that they make my nostalgic belly happy. Hope you enjoy International Bacon Day!
[Please enjoy this guest review from Robert - Not Bob, a valued sometimes-contributor to Junk Food Betty who had the privilege (or curse - read on to determine) of being in a test area for this new product. Thanks, Robert!]
In the five (!) years since Junk Food Betty first graced the information superhighway (Congrats, by the way), I’ve almost certainly read more about, and spared more thought for, fast food than I probably had in all my previous years combined. That’s a bit of a mixed blessing, obviously, but it has amused me, and on occasion, I’ve even learned a few things.
One of the things I’ve learned is that the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area is a seething hotbed of fast food test-marketing. For that reason, I find myself, once again, submitting a guest review, this time for McDonald’s Chorizo Breakfast Burritos. Well, that and the fact that your JFB host isn’t one to eat an egg, regardless of how it’s gussied up.
For those not in the know, there are actually two very dissimilar food items called “Chorizo”. One is a hard, cured European sausage, made from pork and Spanish paprika. The other is a fresh Mexican sausage made of God only knows what.
Chorizo con Huevos, which is Mexican chorizo and eggs, is a breakfast staple of taquerías, and is commonly rolled into burritos or breakfast tacos. However, it’s long been conspicuously absent from the fast food breakfast lineup. Even nominally “Mexican” fast food chains like Taco Bell, not one to shy away from mystery meat, has kept it out of their breakfast burrito offerings. I’m guessing that this is because chorizo tends to be spicy, and not spicy in a way that’s anything like the pickled jalapeño flavor that pretty much forms the basis of the typical fast food consumer’s idea of “spicy”. It has a pretty unique taste and texture, and is not very similar at all to familiar breakfast meats like bacon or ham.
A quick look at the sign advertising the chorizo burritos also confirms that whoever designed it has little familiarity with chorizo. In the burritos pictured you can clearly see chunks of yellow egg and chunks of something red, which is presumably pretending to be the chorizo. As anyone that’s had it can attest, that’s not the way chorizo and eggs look. When you cook chorizo and eggs together, they basically become one homogenous mass. Perhaps that’s another factor that’s kept it off most breakfast menus. When Americans look at their meat and eggs, they want to see identifiable meat chunks, rather than a pile of eggs that just look like someone got confused with the dye at Easter.
Let’s take a look inside the real burritos.
As I had two burritos to work with, I cross-sectioned one, and unrolled about the other.
As you can see, these bear little resemblance to what was pictured, but we all know that that’s the norm with fast food advertising. Anyway, there’s not much to look at here. Chorizo and egg mix, a few red and green pepper bits and a flour tortilla. The strong odor of chorizo seemed pretty promising and, once tasted, I had to admit, these weren’t bad at all. The tortillas themselves left a bit to be desired – the ones you get at taquerías tend to be more flavorful and are typically pan fried before use – but the chorizo y huevos inside tasted exactly like it should. And, for two for $3, seems like a pretty decent breakfast deal.
Along with the burritos I received 4 packets of McDonald’s Picante Sauce, two mild and two “hot”. Do not be tempted to put these on your chorizo burritos. Place them in the nearest trash receptacle. I tasted the “hot” and it was thoroughly vile. Putting ketchup on your chorizo burrito would be unforgivable, but would still be a better choice than McDonald’s Picante Sauce. If you do want to put some sauce on your chorizo burritos, that bottle of Tapatío in your file cabinet drawer or those old packets of Taco Bell “Fire Sauce” in your glove box are both much better options.
I do know of at least two taquerías in the path of my morning commute that offer chorizo and egg burritos that are about the same size, and are slightly better, and are slightly cheaper, so I probably wouldn’t make McDonald’s version a regular purchase. However, if I found myself in a taquerías-free zone (yes, even in Texas that can happen) and wanted a breakfast fix, I could definitely see getting them again.
McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito
Here are the winners of the Jack in the Box Jack Ca$h Card giveaway!
Congrats, winners! I’ll be emailing you soon! Thanks to everyone who participated!
In conjunction with Jack in the Box’s Hella-Peno Burger Munchie Meal, 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 hella-love jalapeños, whatever you like. Just make sure you include your email address!
This giveaway will end at 11:59pm PST Monday, August 11, 2014, and the winners will be announced Tuesday, August 12.
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’.
In case you don’t remember because you were completely high when you read my last Munchie Meal review, Jack’s Munchie Meals are available between 9pm and 5am, aka Prime Stoner Time. Each one comes with two tacos, an order of halfsie fries (half french, half seasoned curly) and a 20 ounce drink to help you combat cotton mouth.
The real star, however, is always the entree. Previous Munchies have included things like the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger and Loaded Nuggets, and the newest Munchie Meal is just as stonertastic: the Hella-peno Burger. A name that should leave me groaning, but I find myself smirking instead. Call it contact high.
Jack made more than a passing nod at the idea of their Munchie Meals being stoner-themed when the first batch came out, and this time around, I feel like they’ve embraced the idea with a vengeance.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the commercial for the Hella-peño burger. We start out with a girl sitting in a beanbag chair in what has to be the classiest room I’ve seen since I went to a friend’s kegger in college. His house was inhabited entirely by males, and the height of their artistic interior decoration was a poster of two girls making out, which was placed front-and-center in their living room.
This should give you an idea of what their garage looked like, which is pretty much what this girl’s room looks like, complete with lava lamp and Big Mouth Billy Bass. It looks like a garage sale threw up in someone’s 1970s wood-paneled basement. I’ve known many dedicated pot smokers in my day, and most would be downright offended by this aesthetic.
“Would you rather have spoons for hands…or elbows for ears?” The beanie-clad girl asks in a dreamy, disconnected voice.
The Jack puppet, who is sitting in a beanbag chair next to her, replies, “I’d rather have food,” to which I wholeheartedly agree, if only to end this commercial.
After briefly describing the Hella-Peno Munchie Meal, this whole embarrassment ends with the puppet saying, “I’ll eat it with my spooooooon haaaaands,” to which the girl replies, “What? I can’t hear you. Talk into my ellllbooooow.”
It’s also hella-apparent that they’re hella-stoked about the name, encouraging people to Tweet with the hashtag #hellahungry. They also describe the burger as “hella-hot” and mention that the Munchie Meal is available hella-late. Are you hella-tired of this yet?
Now to the actual burger. According to Jack, the Hella-peño is “A burger heaped with both stuffed and sliced jalapeños, gooey cheese and taco sauce.”
Right off the bat, I could tell that gooey cheese was definitely present, as it had leaked all over the wrapper. You may find this gross; I find it a harbinger of good things to come.
And good things were there, indeed. Upon removing the top bun, I was so pleased to see that the stuffed jalapeños covered almost every square inch of the burger. Topping coverage – a rare sight, indeed! There were a few sliced peppers, as promised, covering the areas the stuffed ones missed. And, holding it all together, a mess o’ cheese. Lookin’ good, Hella-Peno burger.
And, I have to admit, it tasted hella-good. (Sorry. I really am.) The combination of stuffed and sliced jalapeños meant there was a delicious amount of heat in every bite, and the breading of the stuffed ones remained, through some sort of dark magic, perfectly crunchy. So often have I seen fast food restaurants promising crunchy toppings, only to receive a soggy mess. Not the case here!
And the cheese was everywhere. I feel like half of it had leaked out onto the wrapper, which was unfortunate, but the cheese stuffed inside the poppers definitely took up the slack, adding at least double the amount of cheese you’d find on a regular cheeseburger and probably triple the calories, although I’m pretty sure you’re not concerned with that if you’re eating a Munchie Meal at 2am.
The Hella-Peno burger was not without fault, however. Jack in the Box’s taco sauce, which is a laughable approximation of hot sauce to begin with, completely disappears under the heat and flavor of the jalapeños. In fact, pretty much everything takes a backseat to the jalapeños and the cheese. I almost forgot there was an actual burger in this Hella-Peno burger.
These are minor complaints, however. I love jalapeños. I love cheese. I love the crunch that the breading added to the burger. I love that, for once, there was actual topping coverage.
I will, however, bitch about the fact that a.) Munchie Meals are only available from 9pm to 5am, and b.) you can’t just buy the Hella-Peno burger on its own. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Jack’s tacos, aka grease pockets, and the halfsies are nice, but I’d like to have a choice of when and with what I order my Hella-Peno burger.
In the end, what’s important is that if you like jalapeños, and you like cheese, and you like some actual crunch on your burger, then the Hella-Peno is for you. Putting poppers on a burger screams gimmick, but it really works. And if you scream gimmick to my elbow, I will use my spoon hand to punch you in the face.
[Disclaimer: Jack in the Box kindly provided me with a gift card to purchase this product and contacted me in regards to potentially reviewing this product. This has in no way influenced my review of said product; neither has any drug, illicit or otherwise.]
Jack in the Box Hella-Peno Burger Munchie Meal