Category Archives: Fast Food

McDonald’s Chorizo Burrito

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito

[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.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Don't Mess with Breakfast

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.

McDonald's Chorizo Burritos

As I had two burritos to work with, I cross-sectioned one, and unrolled about the other.

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Halved

McDonald's Chorizo Burrito Open

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.

McDonald's Hot and Mild Picante Sauce Packets

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

  • Score: 4 out of 5 pork salivary glands
  • Price: $3.00
  • Size: 2 burritos
  • Purchased at:McDonald’s #35172

Jack in the Box Hella-Peno Burger Munchie Meal

Images courtesy Jack in the Box
Images courtesy Jack in the Box

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.”

Shut up.

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?

Jack in the Box Hella-Peno Burger Munchie Meal

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.”

Jack in the Box Hella-Peno Burger

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.

Jack in the Box Hella-Peno Burger Open

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.

Jack in the Box Hella-Peno Burger Cut

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

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5 Big Mouth Billy Basses
  • Price: $6.00
  • Size: 1 Munchie Meal
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #106
  • Nutritional Quirk: While I couldn’t find nutritional info on the burger itself, the entire meal claims to only have 1,600 calories. This has to be either wrong, or a miracle. However, it does fess up to containing a whopping 3,644 milligrams of sodium, which sounds just about right.

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!

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.

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.

News: Wendy’s Wants to “Lettuce” Introduce You to Their Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

Wendy,s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad; Photos Courtesy Wendy's

The “lettuce” pun was Wendy’s, not mine, and I can’t decide if I wish I’d thought of it. They also use the phrase “unbe-leaf-ably tasty”. I’m proud of you, Wendy’s marketing team.

Anyways! Wendy’s has two new salads involving chicken, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

The new Asian Cashew Chicken Salad includes garlic-and-onion-dusted cashews, fire-roasted edamame, red peppers, sliced cucumbers, eleven different field greens (resisting the urge to make a Soviet time zone joke here) and “a Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette made with chili garlic sauce, roasted peanuts, soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar”. That’s…a lot of ingredients!

The BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad features fire-roasted corn, diced tomatoes, Applewood-smoked bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, the same ridiculous amount of field greens as the Asian Cashew, all drizzed with honey barbecue sauce.

You may be wondering where the ranch comes into play. Well, in addition to the honey barbecue sauce, this salad also comes with BBQ Ranch dressing, “made with real buttermilk, parmesan cheese, ancho chili pepper, honey and brown sugar”.

The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad goes for $5.99 full-size and $3.99 half-size. The BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad is $6.19 full-size and $4.19 half-size. Prices may vary depending on location.

 

News: Taco Bell Introduces XXL Crispy Steak Taco in Its Continuing Effort to Get You Wearing Size XXL Pants

Taco Bell XXL Crispy Steak Taco, image courtesy Taco BellTaco Bell loves going XXL: So far they’ve gone plus-sized on their Chalupas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, and most recently, their nachos.

Not content to sit on their wide-bottom laurels, they’ve now gone XXL on their tacos, touting the new XXL Crispy Steak Taco as their “BIGGEST taco ever.”

According to Taco Bell’s press release, “The XXL Crispy Steak Taco features double the marinated steak, fully loaded with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, avocado ranch sauce and reduced fat sour cream, all in a new crispy shell.”

The XXL Crispy Tacos will launch at participating Taco Bells nationwide on February 27. The steak offering will be priced at $2.99, while the shredded chicken option will be $2.79 and the seasoned ground beef $2.49.

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger (and TWO Giveaways!)

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger WrappedJack in the Box always delivers on the marketing side of things, and the Bacon Insider burger is no exception. First off, we have the commercial.

I want to hate the jingle, but for some reason I find it difficult to do so, even though I managed to memorize the entire thing and get it stuck in my head after just two viewings. Well, I guess that’s the sign of a good jingle.

What does it say about me that I’d rather have the curly fry tree than the chopper out back?

What we really need to focus on here, though, is the bork. In case you haven’t figured it out, it’s beef and pork, represented in the commercial by pigs with cow-like markings on them.

This creative take on the “stuffed burger” concept seems cute and innocent in the commercial, but I sense some dark, Island of Dr. Moreau-esque undertones. This is punctuated by the bork at the very end of the commercial that proclaims, “Moink?”

It’s the desperate cry of an abomination, confusion showing in the question mark as it struggles to understand its place in nature when, in reality, it has none.

I’m just fucking with you. I instantly fell in love with “Moink?” and have said it like, five times today. It’s a delightful portmanteau.

If you want a real bonus treat, watch the Spanish-language version of the commercial, which contains mariachis wearing Mexican pointy boots, a thing I did not know existed until now. The boots, not mariachis. Credit to sometime guest-reviewer Robert for finding this gem.

Also true to form, Jack in the Box has created a special promo site for the Bacon Insider, including a tour of Jack’s farm and a game where you control a bork in…virtual space? that shoots bacon at regular hamburgers and turns them into Bacon Insiders. If this weren’t Jack in the Box, I’d consider that a bizarre sentence.

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger

Here’s Jack’s long-winded description of the Bacon Insider: “Jack’s newest creation is a bacon triple threat. A juicy beef patty mixed with savory pieces of bacon. This new bacon and beef patty is sandwiched between hickory smoked bacon and topped with creamy bacon mayo, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese. All served on our new soft warm brioche bun. This burger is sure to make you want to ‘bring home the bacon.’”

Can we pretend they never used the phrase “bring home the bacon” and just stick with “moink” and “bork”? I’m sure the Swedish Chef would agree. Bork bork bork.

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger Open Top

The Bacon Insider, deconstructed. The lettuce was a little sad, but the tomatoes were juicy, and look at that lovely bacon configuration. Instead of letting the slices just flop out the sides, they’ve been neatly arranged to fit in the burger. And plenty of it, too!

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger Open Bottom

But wait, there’s more! And by that I mean more bacon and bacon mayo underneath the bork patty. Double bacon layer. That’s pretty awesome.

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger Bacon Mayo

Speaking of the bacon mayo, I tasted some on its own and it was tangy (because it’s mayo, duh) but only vaguely bacon-y. As you can see, there were little speckles in it that looked bacon-ish, but it wasn’t like there was some JitB employee hand-crumbling pieces of bacon into the condiment.

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger Bork Patty

Now we come to the bork patty. There were definitely some visible bacon pieces in the burger, and when tasted on its own, the bacon was impressively noticeable. In my experience, most “stuffed” burgers don’t actually gain any flavor from whatever they’re stuffed with, so this is a bit of an accomplishment.

Now that we’ve deconstructed the Bacon Insider, the real question is, how did it taste altogether?

I found it to be what is probably the most baconiest fast food burger I’ve ever had. The bacon strips were what I would call mid-level crispy, and the configuration of the strips, in addition to having them on top of and beneath the burger, guaranteed that I got bacon in each and every bite. How often does that happen with a bacon cheeseburger?

Looking at the big picture, it seems like it’s the proliferation of bacon strips that did all the heavy lifting on the Bacon Insider. Maybe the bork patty and the bacon mayo added a little extra bacon support, but I could also argue that their flavor disappeared under all that bacon.

The bottom line, however, is that the Jack in the Box Bacon Insider burger really does deliver the bacon goodness. (I almost made a “bring home the bacon” joke there, and then realized what I was doing and quietly backspaced. Oh, wait, I probably wasn’t supposed to tell you that.) I credit the amount and configuration of the bacon strips, but I do wish the bacon mayo and the bork patty had been able to shine a little more. However, it made for a great marketing campaign, and I learned about Mexican pointy boots!

At the end of the day, all I can say is…moink?

[Disclaimer: This Bacon Insider burger was purchased with gift cards provided by Jack in the Box. This is no way compromises the integrity of this review.]

See below for giveaway rules!

 

Jack in the Box Bacon Insider Burger

  • Score: 4 out of 5 Bork bork, bork bork bork bork.
  • Price: $4.99
  • Size: 1 burger
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #106
  • Nutritional Quirks: 68% of your daily recommended amount of total fat. But with that much bacon, can you really find that surprising?

Thanks to Jack in the Box, I have TWO freebies to give away today! One lucky person will receive two $10 Jack Ca$h Cards, and another will receive one $10 Jack Ca$h Card and a special “What Does the Bork Say” (size large) t-shirt!

Just leave a comment on this post – the two winners will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday, February 18, 2014. Make sure to include your email address – this information is not public but I will need it to contact the winners!

News: Taco Bell Wants to Get You Loaded with Two New Loaded Grillers

Taco Bell Loaded Grillers POP - Low ResStarting on January 23rd, joining the two already-existing Loaded Grillers (Beefy Nacho and Loaded Potato) are two new Loaded Grillers designed to taste like popular appetizers all rolled up in a tortilla.

The first is the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Loaded Griller, “Taco Bell’s take on a spicy chicken wing with ranch dip, and it includes grilled chicken, kicked-up chipotle ranch sauce and cool sour cream, all wrapped up and grilled for maximum portability.”

The second is the Chili Cheese Fries Loaded Griller, “Our version of loaded chili cheese fries, featuring savory chili, crispy potato bites and warm nacho cheese sauce, all wrapped in a tortilla and grilled.”

I’m honestly intrigued by both of these new offerings, although it sounds more like they should be calling them Stoner Grillers as opposed to Loaded Grillers.

I don’t know what price Loaded Grillers usually go for, but for a limited time all four offerings will be sold for $1 all day long, as opposed to just during “Happier Hour” (2-5pm).