Tag Archives: fries

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger and Bacon Queso Fries

Oh Wendy’s, you had me at queso.

I’m pretty sure most of my blood is queso at this point. If you make a cheese that comes in sauce form, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried it. (Herdez Queso Blanco currently reigns supreme to me.) Quotes from the offensively boring commercial for Wendy’s line of queso products include “everything’s better with queso” and “feed your queso obsession”. I felt like they were talking directly to me.

Is everything really better with queso, though?

I thank both the Spring Oreos and the Herdez queso for their sacrifice. And yes, I tried it. It was beyond gross. Why did I do that?

Bacon Queso Burger

I picked the burger over the chicken sandwich that’s available (with all the same toppings) because I felt the beef/queso combo would be more interesting. I’ve dunked chicken into cheese sauce numerous times, but usually my cow interacts with cheese in slice form.

Wendy’s describes their Bacon Queso Burger as “A quarter-pound of fresh, never frozen beef topped with warm and spicy poblano queso, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, fire-roasted salsa, red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese, all served on a toasted red jalapeno bun.”

I’ma get right down to it before I break down the various working parts: this burger was straight-up disappointing. I was hoping to just get real messy with some queso, but it was hardly there.

As you can see, there was more salsa than queso. It was had a little bit of heat, but the flavor was very bland. There was a hint of fire-roasted tomato, but other than that, it wasn’t something I would equate with actual salsa. It was more of a tomato mush.

I couldn’t taste any heat in the “red jalapeno” bun, although I could see little red flecks in it. It acted as little more than the usual deflated fast food bun, but the fact that it was toasted seemed to add a little extra touch to the burger that an untoasted bun wouldn’t; plus, that might have helped protect it from getting extra mushy from all the salsa.

One highlight: the bacon. I haven’t eaten at Wendy’s in quite a while, but one thing they seem to consistently get correct is their Applewood smoked bacon. It was thick, it was crunchy, and it was everything that fast food bacon usually isn’t. It’s just as good as if you made it at home in your cast iron skillet.

Also crunchy were the onions, being able to resist sogginess in their raw form. Their sharp bite seemed a bit unnecessary among all these other flavors, though.

And finally, on to the thing we’re really here for: the queso. The main star of the show. And the biggest problem.

First off, there were technically two types of queso on my Bacon Queso Burger. One of them was shredded cheddar cheese, except all I could detect were a few scant pieces on my burger. No worries though, because the star of the show is the queso sauce!

Except the queso sauce totally sucked.

First of all, I expected my burger to just be exploding with cheese sauce, much like with Jack in the Box’s Hella-Peño Burger. I don’t mind the mess; I welcome it. But the sauce was quite scant and the amount of salsa easily overshadowed it.

The biggest sin, however, is that this queso sauce had no queso flavor, and no poblano flavor to boot. Tasting it solo, there might have been a teensy bit of spiciness, but other than that, nothing. This burger had less cheese flavor than a regular cheeseburger, and it had TWO different cheeses on it.

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger made me sad. But I thought perhaps the next item I ordered would really let the queso shine…

Bacon Queso Fries

Wendy’s description: “Our natural-cut fries seasoned with sea salt and topped with warm and spicy poblano queso, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese.”

Okay, so no salsa mucking up the works now.

Which only reinforced how offensively bland this queso sauce was.

The bacon was still crispy and delicious (although a somewhat unwieldy fry topping) and Wendy’s fries are actually quite good and have that “natural potato” taste, so those were both good points. But it was, again, the highlight ingredient that was its downfall.

I will say that, on the surface, the fries looked short on toppings, but once I mixed it all together it coated all the fries quite nicely, and there was a lot of bacon to go around. Nothing irritates me more than cheesy fries or nachos that don’t get adequate coverage.

It took me a while to really pin it down, but Wendy’s queso is basically Bechamel sauce and xantham gum. Furthermore, Wendy’s promised me not just queso, but poblano queso, and while there seemed to be little bits of…things in the sauce, the flavor just wasn’t there.

You’ve besmirched the good name of queso, Wendy’s. I’d consider this a capital crime, but you do have really good bacon. And I can’t quit that chili. Just…work on your cheese sauce game, or just stay out of it.

Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 “everything’s better with queso”s
  • Price: $4.89
  • Size: 1 burger
  • Purchased at: Wendy’s #00000621
  • Nutritional Quirk: On the Wendy’s website, the ingredients for Poblano Queso Cheese sauce just says “CONTAINS MILK”

Bacon Queso Fries

  • Score: 2 out of 5 “feed your queso obsession”s
  • Price: $2.49
  • Size: n/a
  • Purchased at: Wendy’s #00000621
  • Nutritional Quirk: At 510 calories, these fries are just 40 calories less than the burger. That seems wrong, somehow.

Burger King Summer Menu: Sweet Potato Fries and Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

I kicked off my reviews of Burger King’s Summer Menu with the Bacon Sundae, defying tradition and having my dessert first. Burger King says I can have it my way, and I’m doing it, dammit.

Next up, we have our side dish and main course – namely, Sweet Potato Fries and the Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich.

Burger King Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes seem to be the most recent trend making the rounds at major fast food restaurants. I’m sure they’ve been available regionally, somewhere, in some places I’m too lazy to look up, but recently they’ve been introduced on a nationwide level on the big chains’ menus. Sonic has Sweet Potato Tots, Wendy’s recently introduced their own Sweet Potato Fries, And Chick-fil-A had Sweet Potato Waffle Fries, although that seemed to be a limited edition item.

Not to be outdone, Burger King now has their own Sweet Potato Fries.

Burger King describes these fries as “sweet and savory alternative to our French fries, served hot and freshly prepared, they are the perfect combination of salty and sweet. Enjoy the crispy outside and the tender sweetness on the inside.”

I’ve never actually had sweet potato fries before, so this was a completely new experience for me. I am not used to my fries being an even brighter orange than The Thing. Foods like carrots and oranges obviously share a similar hue, but if I’m going to Burger King, I’m not there to improve my eyesight or ward off scurvy. I’m there to improve my chances of getting Type II diabetes.

The fries had a nice texture; they were crunchy without being hard, and were, as advertised, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They also seemed longer than regular fries, with very few short fries in the box. I hate when half my order of fries turn out to be an inch long. Fries are made for dipping, and short fries make that messy and difficult.

Speaking of dipping, I ate my Sweet Potato Fries straight, because I was unsure what would be the appropriate dip for them. Again, as promised, they were both sweet and savory, but seemed to lean more towards the sweet side.

Unfortunately, my fries seemed to be undersalted. With more salt, I feel like the sweet and savory balance would have been more even, which would have led to a more enjoyable sweet potato fry experience. They were also lukewarm at best, despite my local Burger King being less than a five minute drive away from my home. I can’t hold that against the fries, though; that can often be attributed to the vagaries of different restaurant locations.

Burger King’s Sweet Potato Fries were a new experience for me, and I was happy to have tried them. I’m not a big fan of sweet and savory together, but even with the salt level not being up to my taste, I did eat the whole order. As fries go, the texture was pretty much ideal – just the right crispiness on the outside, with tender innards. There was an almost negligible number of soggy, overcooked, or short fries, which is a rare thing in my fast food experience.

If you’re into sweet and savory, Burger King’s Sweet Potato Fries will be right up your alley. Get ’em while you can, though; Burger King’s Summer Menu obviously will only last…well, through the summer, I’m assuming. If you don’t understand the concept of seasons, then I can’t help you.

Burger King Mephis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

I’ve never been to Memphis, or the South, or to any place that’s really known for their barbecue prowess. However, between the Food Network and the Travel Channel, I’ve probably seen about 15 different shows about barbeque. I’ve also had some really great pulled pork from local BBQ joints. I’m not claiming that either of these things makes me an expert by any means, but I’m pretty confident that I can tell the difference between good barbecue and crappy barbeque.

Let the indignant comments from residents of true barbecue cities commence!

And yes, I do plan to spell bar-b-que in all of the different and yet “officially” acceptable ways throughout this review. I like to keep it fresh.

Burger King’s official description of their BBQ sandwich: “The Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich combines tender pulled pork with the hickory-smoked and sweet flavor of Memphis BBQ Sauce, topped with sliced onions, and a sweet southern sauce, all on a warm, toasted artisan-style bun.”

Hm. Both “Memphis BBQ sauce and “sweet southern sauce”? I’m not even sure what the latter means, but we’ll see how these two play together.

Speaking of the sauces, we’ll start with those first. As you can see, there was some…runoff from my sandwich. Despite looking somewhat unappealing, this did give me the chance to taste the sauces separately. I found the sweet southern sauce to be tangy and, indeed, a little sweet, but the flavor wasn’t overpowering. I’d like to think this was engineered, as one wouldn’t want the southern sauce to overwhelm one of the key components of any bbq sandwich, which is, of course, the barbecue sauce.

Unfortunately, the Q sauce is a letdown. It basically tastes like the barbeque sauce you would dip your chicken nuggets into. Into which you would dip your nuggets. I want to say it’s a little bit richer, but that may just be my mouth trying not to think Burger King would disgrace the good name of barbecue by just dumping little dipping tubs of sauce onto their Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

BK appears to use their regular sesame seed hamburger buns for the Memphis sandwich, which was a poor choice. Due to the inherent flimsiness of fast food buns and the plethora of sauce, my pulled pork sandwich was soggy as hell right from the start, and continued to disintegrate drastically as I ate it. Barbecue is supposed to be messy, but I expect more than a sad bun that disappears into mushy nothingness when I’m eating a pulled pork sandwich.

Let’s get to the meat of things, HAHAHAHA okay. The pork exceeded my expectations, but my expectations were admittedly low to begin with. Parts of the meat were thinly shredded and tender, which was enjoyable, but there were also punctuations of large, dry chunks, which were disappointing. Each bite was a crapshoot on what quality of pork I would get. The onions added a little crunch, which was nice, but didn’t really add any flavor to the sandwich.

A fast food restaurant taking on “real” bar-b-que and having the balls to call it the Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich is already setting itself up for failure, or, at the very least, intense scrutiny. Unfortunately for Burger King, their execution was pretty much what was expected. Sub-par sauce, a soggy bun, flavorless onions, and inconsistent meat texture. The one good thing I can say is that the pulled pork surprised me in that there were actual hints of tender shredded meat hidden under all that sauce that almost made me believe I was eating actual barbecue.

My advice to fast food restaurants is this: do not mess with something as iconic as barbecue. It’s too risky. Stick to coming out with outrageous shit, like sticking a milkshake inside a hamburger or something. That way, nobody can ever fault you for being inauthentic or sub-par, because nobody knows what the fuck you’re doing in the first place.

Burger King Summer Menu: Sweet Potato Fries

  • Score: 4 out of 5 foods The Thing can relate to
  • Price: $2.09
  • Size: Small
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirks: Nothing too crazy, but if anyone eats a ton of these and your skin turns orange, please let me know!

Burger King Summer Menu: Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

  • Score: 1.5 out of 5 angry barbeque lovers
  • Price: $3.99
  • Size: 1 sandwich
  • Purchased at: Burger King #17145
  • Nutritional Quirks: BBQ sauce may actually just be BK’s dipping sauce. No confirmation on that.

Chester’s Fries Chili Cheese Flavored Corn & Potato Snacks

Today, a seemingly normal snack food that is shrouded in mystery. Chester’s Fries Chili Cheese Flavored Corn & Potato Snacks.

First, the procurement of said snack. I have never heard of these before in my life. Apparently, these have been showing up in the vending machine at my husband’s work off and on for a while now. A strange choice of offerings, given that most work vending machines I’ve seen (and I’ve seen my fair share) usually go with more traditional offerings, like original Lay’s or Rold Gold pretzels. If you’re lucky, you might score some Miss Vickie’s. But not this vending machine. This machine had gone rogue.

Somehow, these Chili Cheese Fries managed to slip in there. Or, more precisely, managed to slip out. The bag says 75 cents, but my husband scored them for free. During an innocent trip to the break room, he spotted them sitting on the counter. Alone, possibly even lonely; I can’t truthfully speak for the state of mind of the snack itself. He looked around, searching for an owner; the room was empty, fluorescent lights buzzing quietly, Formica tables bereft of employees shoveling bland Lean Cuisines into their mouths. No one was there to claim this odd bag of snacks. No one was coming back for them. Chester was officially an orphan.

So, my husband took them under his wing. No snack left behind. And now, like a de facto foster mother who is just in it for the paycheck, I will pass judgment on them.

There’s one more small mystery to this case. Much like whoever abandoned this bag of Chester’s Fries Chili Cheese, Frito-Lay seems to have abandoned them, as well. I couldn’t find them anywhere on F-L’s website, which extensively catalogs each flavor of each brand they carry. And trust me, that is an extensive list. They have Chester’s Flamin’ Hot Fries, but no Chili Cheese. I’m starting to wonder if this vending machine comes from the same magical source as the one that dispenses these.

The bag is pretty straightforward. There’s Chester, keepin’ it cool like he does, lounging around, eating his fries. There’s a picture of the fries, which the bag also informs me have been enlarged to show texture. To be honest, they do look like real seasoned fries. In the picture, that is.

There’s also a cartoon bowl of chili with cheese on top, which actually looks more like a bowl of mud with some yellow seagulls stuck in it. And then there’s the “guaranteed fresh by” date. Jan. 25. My husband only gave these to me a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps this explains the abandonment of the Fries. It also shows that perhaps this is not the most popular snack in the vending machine. I’m just hoping it’s Jan. 25 of this year.

Lucky for you readers, I’m a rogue. I don’t play by the rules. You can take my badge and my gun, but I’ll still conduct my own investigation. Expiration dates are for sissies.

The back of the bag describes these fries as “crispy, crunchy french fry-shaped snacks with a rich, hearty chili & cheese flavor. Satisfy your french fry fix with Chester’s Fries Chili Cheese Flavored Corn & Potato Snacks!” I appreciate a snack that actually uses the ridiculously long full name of their product anywhere other than on the front of the bag. It also says I can learn more at www.fritolay.com. This is obviously a lie. I always obey what the back of snack bags tell me to do, so I feel a little betrayed. Of course, if these expired Jan. 25, 2005, perhaps they were on Frito-Lay’s website at that time. We’ll never know.

Chester’s Chili Cheese Fries do not taste like french fries. They will not satisfy your french fry fix. They are, however, pretty good. The fries seem to be designed to each be a uniform 2.5 inches long, but given the various transports my bag endured, I’m not surprised some of them were broken. As you can see, they aren’t exactly the same color as the fries on the bag. The texture and density of them are pretty similar to Planters Cheez Balls, which no longer exist, which not only breaks my heart on a daily basis but also makes the comparison relatively useless. Let’s just say they’re less dense than Cheetos, but a little more dense than Cheetos Puffs.

I was surprised by the flavor. Considering they are, or perhaps were, part of the Frito-Lay family, I expected them to have the exact same flavoring as Chili Cheese Fritos. Instead, I got a much more subtle flavor. The cheese tasted a lot like Cheetos cheese but not as strong, and the chili seasoning had the flavors of other chili-flavored snacks, but again, it’s more subtle, which actually allows the cheese a little more room to shine.

I don’t know if you’ll ever be able to find Chester’s Fries Chili Cheese Flavored Corn & Potato Snacks. Maybe they’re everywhere and I’m just unobservant or live in the wrong area. Either way, Frito-Lay seems to deny their existence. I may never see them again, but I have to say, I enjoyed the bag I had. In a world of snacks that punch you in the mouth with aggressive flavoring, these fries had a subtle but pleasant flavor, which also allowed the flavor of the corn (and potato I guess, I couldn’t really taste much of that) and the tasty texture to come through. Chili and cheese have obviously been done before, but it’s the Cheez Ball-esque composition that I really enjoyed.

And for the record, they weren’t stale at all. Expiration dates are bullshit. Unless you’re dealing with milk. Don’t fuck with milk.

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 Internet petitions to bring back Planters Cheez Balls
  • Price: Free, but someone else allegedly paid 75 cents
  • Size: 1 1/2 oz. bag
  • Purchased at: Lovingly rescued at an undisclosed break room location
  • Nutritional Quirks: Expired by 3 months (or 10 years, depending), but still tasting fresh!

Jack in the Box Chorizo Cheesy Fries

Jack in the Box revamped their french fries last year, which I reviewed over at The Impulsive Buy. I gave them a 7 out of 10, which some people objected to, but I don’t even remember what they tasted like. People have strong opinions about fries, and they really want you to know those opinions. Fair enough. The point here is not that I possibly suck at judging fries, the point is that Jack in the Box has now put stuff on their fries. Namely, cheese sauce and chorizo. Chorizo! I do not believe I have ever seen a fast food restaurant that had anything with chorizo on or in it before. Kudos to Jack. In the competitive world of fast food one-upmanship, it’s hard to find something unique.

There are Cheesy Fries and Chorizo Cheesy Fries available on the menu. I chose the latter because I figured I could tackle two birds with one stone. Interestingly, I’ve seen very little media coverage about these. No commercials, no emails…there’s no promo on JitB’s website, but the Cheesy Fries are in the menu section. No chorizo to be seen. The only real advertising I’ve seen is a big poster in the window of the restaurant itself. Just seems…odd.

Anyway. I love chorizo. I love chorizo even though it gives me terrible heartburn, every time. It’s an abusive relationship, but chorizo always tells me baby, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again. In the back of my mind I don’t believe it, but I can’t quit chorizo. So I was pretty excited to try these fries.

My husband was with me when I ordered the Chorizo Cheesy Fries, so he got an order, too. I opened mine up and was greeted with a sad box of fries with barely any chorizo on it. The other box fared a little better, so he made the ultimate sacrifice and let me have his box to photograph and eat. He’s an honorable, courageous man. I’m organizing a 5k in his honor.

Even with the switch, there wasn’t as much chorizo or cheese sauce as I would have liked. It may look like a fair amount in the picture, but it really wasn’t. Look at all those naked outliers. I want my fries smothered and covered, and these fries were like, wearing a towel around their waists. Terrible analogy that I will not continue.

I know this picture looks disgusting. I know a lot of pictures I take of fast food look disgusting. But this one has an actual defense in that chorizo always kind of looks like a dog barfed up a bowl of chili. Don’t judge a book by its cover, people. Chorizo has a really great personality and a great sense of humor. Your blind date with it will go fantastic, I’m just sure of it.

I was surprised by how authentic the chorizo tasted. I guess I’ve kind of gotten used to fast food that kind of tastes like real food. Taco Bell’s ground beef kind of tastes like ground beef. McDonald’s chicken nuggets kind of taste like real chicken. But this chorizo actually tasted like chorizo, with that delightful spicy sausage flavor. It was a pleasant surprise. It was also greasy as hell, but that’s just the way chorizo is. And I wonder why I get heartburn.

Unfortunately, since there was so little cheese sauce and chorizo has a very strong flavor, the cheese sauce basically disappeared. That made me sad, because I really like JitB’s Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges, and I assume they used the same cheese sauce on these fries as they do on the wedges. Granted, the cheese sauce on the wedges isn’t super flavorful, but they always pile it on and for some reason I really like it.

Overall, I enjoyed Jack in the Box’s Chorizo Cheesy Fries. The fries were soggy, but that’s to be expected, and that’s why you get a fork. It was also really salty, but I dig that. It’s the perfect drunk food, but I think I’ve established that I don’t have to be drunk to enjoy that particular niche of edibles. I think if I get them again, I’ll request double cheese and double chorizo, so that I can get the proper smothering (and extra heartburn) I was looking for. Hopefully, with a double cheese sauce, it will become a bigger player. The strong and authentic flavor of the chorizo helped me feel less sad about all those naked fries. I think Jack has the formula right, but the application wrong. A simple portion fix would really elevate Chorizo Cheesy Fries to the next level.

(Note: The Impulsive Buy also reviewed these fries AND the Cheesy Fries.)

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 swigs of Mylanta
  • Price: $1.99
  • Size: 1 box
  • Purchased at: Jack in the Box #196
  • Nutritional Quirks: Since Chorizo Cheesy Fries aren’t on Jack’s website, I looked at the Cheesy Fries. With them already at 1,145 milligrams of sodium, I can’t imagine what the chorizo would bring to the salt party. Have water nearby!