REVIEW: Arby’s Steakhouse Sub

Arby's Steakhouse Sub

Arby’s is like the middle child of the fast food industry. You’ve got the oldest child, represented by places like McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell. They’ve been around, they’re reliable and you know you can trust them to be there when you need them. Then there’s the baby of the family, that local place that you dote upon – that one little burger joint on Center Street or the musty taqueria that is probably violating at least a half dozen health codes. You tell your friends about them, even show them some pictures, not realizing that they honestly don’t care.

Then there’s Arby’s.

Sure, it’s always hanging around, but its cries for attention go largely ignored. It shuffles its feet, wondering when someone will notice the uniqueness, the ingenuity of its shaved beef sandwiches. It’s even tried other tactics to gain your attention, like its line of Market Fresh sandwiches, which got put on the fridge but was promptly covered up by Wendy’s B+ on her calculus test.

Badly-constructed analogies and sweeping generalizations about a whole nation’s opinion on Arby’s aside, their latest arm-waving “look at me!” creation goes even further, with the limited-edition Steakhouse Sub.

The commercial itself is a sad thing to see: a man is parked literally a few feet away from an actual steakhouse, and then decides to go to Arby’s instead. He is already at a steakhouse that serves real steak. I believe he describes Arby’s new sandwich as a “steakhouse dream,” but by then my brain had already exited my skull, carrying a bindle and sticking its thumb out in a desperate attempt to get as far away from my television as possible, so don’t quote me on that.

What exactly makes this sandwich such a “dream?” According to Arby’s, “When you’re craving that big Steakhouse taste, this sub delivers. We piled our classic, thinly sliced roast beef with melted Swiss cheese and crispy onions on a toasted ciabatta roll and topped it all off with our zesty cracked peppercorn sauce.”

If you’ve never had an Arby’s roast beef sandwich before, imagine the roast beef being a notch or two above the packet of Carl Buddig “Beef” that your mom used to pack in your lunch for school. Or was that just my mom?

Great, yet another childhood trauma I’ll have to bring up with my therapist at our next appointment. Anyway, Arby’s roast beef is thinly sliced, quite salty, and if you try really hard, you can even detect a vague taste of beef. But that’s about all you’re going to get out of it.

The onions added zero flavor or texture to the sandwich. Arby’s claims they are “crispy onions.” Mine were anything but. I ate some of the stragglers on my plate that had escaped from the Steakhouse Sub, and they were soggy, tough and chewy. It’s like they took a can of French’s French Fried Onions and let them sit in a deep frier for half an hour.

The sauce was actually quite nice on its own; I would even venture to agree with Arby’s claims of it being “zesty.” Much like the onions, it seemed to get swallowed up by the rest of the sandwich and I couldn’t really taste it unless my tongue was in direct contact with the sauced bun. I went to check out the ingredient list and there must have been 50 of them in the sauce alone, but I think the inclusion of steak sauce was probably what gave it a little zing. Or it could have been the disodium inosinate. Who can tell?

Part of the reason I couldn’t feel the chewy texture of the onions was that the ciabatta roll itself was overly chewy. Taking a bite of the Steakhouse Sub felt a bit like I was a puppy wrestling with a rope toy; to tear through the bread, I had to whip my head back and forth with my teeth firmly dug into the bun. I may have even growled once or twice, I’m not entirely sure.

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, but I do think that the bread-to-fillings ratio was tipped too heavily in the former’s favor, especially when it came to the sauce and the onions. I got a few bites where I could taste a little zip from the sauce, but the onions added nothing, and most bites were just a mouthful of bread and some mildly beefy-tasting slices of meat.

If Arby’s thinks their Steakhouse Sub is something that’s going to lure someone already at a steakhouse to their nearest Arby’s drive-thru, they need to head out to a Black Angus Steakhouse and do a little R&D. The fact that I’m using Black Angus as my example of a steakhouse taste they should emulate should speak volumes in and of itself.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich (268 grams) – 750 calories, 360 calories from fat, 40 grams of total fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,970 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugars, 30 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 15% calcium and 20% iron.)

Item: Arby’s Steakhouse Sub

Price: $2.99

Size: 1 sandwich

Purchased at: Arby’s

Rating: 3 out of 10

Pros: Cracked peppercorn sauce was zesty, if you licked the bun. Actual steakhouses. Fair-sized sandwich for the price. Hobo bindles. Making sweeping generalizations about other people’s opinions.

Cons: Too much chewy ciabatta drowning out other flavors. Tough, un-crisp onions. Being the middle child. Arby’s roast beef in general. Playing tug-of-war with my lunch. Carl Buddig.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Pepsi Baobab Winners!!!

Here are the two winners of the recent Pepsi Baobab prize drawing and their favorite fruit(s):

1. margaret (who likes mangoes, bananas and grapefruit)

2. Raymond (who likes apples)

The winners have been emailed and I hope to soon send their sodas on their merry way from my kitchen to their lips.

Congratulations to the two winners and thank you to everyone who entered.

REVIEW: Gerber Simply Strawberry Yogurt Blends

Over the years, I’ve reviewed a number of products meant for those whose vocabulary consists of a lot of gurgles and WAAAHHHHHHs. I don’t try them because of my fetish that involves wearing diapers, using regressed motor skills and vocabulary, and being treated like an infant, which some call paraphilic infantilism, while others call it “whatever floats my boat.” I review these products because if I don’t, the mommy review bloggers win.

Just kidding, mommy review bloggers. I love you guys. Now will one of you sling me over your shoulder and burp me.

I don’t remember what types of food my parents gave me as an infant. But if I don’t remember, it must’ve been either so bad that I’ve repressed any memories of them or most of it ended up in my bib instead of my mouth, which tends to happen nowadays when I’m being fed in my man-sized baby chair. Today, I believe babies eat better than I did when I was an actual baby and not when I role play as a baby and pretend to be excited by the jingling of keys in front of me.

Case in point, the new Gerber Simply Strawberry Yogurt Blends.

If I were a real baby, I’d make my parents pick this stuff up for me by using my limited motor skills to reach for it or cry when we pass by it at the grocery store. If I were a “baby,” I’d make my “parents” pick this stuff up by dropping subtle hints like saying “Pssss” and then pointing at it or writing it down on the list of things I’d like them to do while I’m pretending to be a baby.

Each container is about the size of a snack pack pudding cup and within it is a creamy and smooth yogurt with a pleasant mild strawberry flavor. Unlike most adult yogurts, there isn’t fruit on the bottom so there’s no need to stir, which makes it easier for whoever my “mommy” is. The yogurt gets its strawberry flavor via strawberry puree, juice concentrate and natural strawberry flavor.

It’s like a Yoplait Go-Gurt except in cup form and not as tart. It’s good enough that I’d probably eat it whenever I’m in or out of diapers. I think my adult taste buds like it because of the 11 grams of sugar in it, which makes it quite sweet. But I’m not sure if it’s good to feed that amount of sugar to an infant.

According to the label, it’s for children who are “sitters,” which means they sit independently, pick up and hold small objects in their hands and reach for food or a spoon when hungry. I didn’t know toddlers could be split up into groups like that. I guess it’ll be something new to try next time I’m in diapers.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 container (3.5 ounces) – 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 160 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A and 20% calcium.)

Item: Gerber Simply Strawberry Yogurt Blends
Price: $3.50
Size: 4 pack
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice strawberry flavor. Smooth and creamy. No artificial sweeteners. No refrigeration needed before opening. No artificial flavors. Good source of calcium. Jingling of keys. Made with whole milk and real fruit. No preservatives. Mommy review bloggers. My desire to dress up like a baby.
Cons: 11 grams of sugar. Getting more food on my bib than in my mouth. No chunks of real fruit. Getting into my man-sized baby chair. Trying to burp me. Food choices for babies born in the 1970s. My desire to dress up like a baby.


Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we like.

Zotter adds olives and lemons to their chocolate. Sounds like someone at Zotter was sipping on too many martinis while making chocolate. (via Jim’s Chocolate Mission)

An energy drink with a cooling sensation? I guess I can now experience what it’s like to apply Ben Gay inside my body. (via Caffeine Critic)

Pop-Tarts introduces another new flavor…and another new way to fall into a sugar coma. (via Grub Grade)

I wonder if Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda will give me the munchies and make me think Adam Sandler’s movie Grown Ups is funny. (via The Soda Jerks and Pajiba)

Japanese cartoon character Crayon Shin-chan has a line of snacks. I hope they’re not Mr. Elephant-shaped. (via Dave’s Cupboard)

A 35-cent can of Pringles: Great deal? Or greatest way to use the loose change found in between your couch cushions? (via Cheap Eats)

I wonder if Japanese people know what a Hot Karl is. (via Japanese Snack Reviews)

REVIEW: Pretzel M&M’s

M&M’s are quickly turning into the American version of what Kit Kats are in Japan.

With so many variations and flavors, I honestly can say that I haven’t had Plain… Oh, excuse me, Milk Chocolate M&M’s since they nixed the beige color that reminded me of the nurse’s office at my elementary school minus the ethnically diverse posters about how head lice affects everyone and how it’s good to wash your hands after pretty much everything you do, except after washing your hands because then you’ll end up on that show Obsessed.

Before even trying the new Pretzel M&M’s I knew I was going to like them, because Mars used my favorite M&M’s character to pitch them — Orange M&M.

He isn’t a sleaze like Red M&M, who I swear on the Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M’s package had a rapey look in his eyes and was about to slip something into my drink. As for Yellow M&M, he’s simply Red’s lackey. And even though I’m far from being a feminist, my mother’s crazy burn-your-bra 1970s values rubbed off on me a little bit, because I find it’s morally wrong that the only female M&M is one ad away from becoming the first mascot to be on a Girls Gone Wild DVD.

I like Orange M&M because he’s on edge most of the time. Plus, he’s awkward and endearing, similar to Woody Allen. Although I don’t think Orange M&M would marry his adopted daughter (Red M&M probably would though). I also like Orange M&M because he always pitches the flavor of M&M’s I enjoy, including Crispy and Pretzel M&M’s.

Pretzel M&M’s are spherical and they probably could be used as emergency ammunition in a paintball gun battle, not only because they’re about the same size but because they’re as hard as the Red M&M gets when the Green M&M gives him a candied-coated lap dance.

I usually let an M&M melt in my mouth, because like a good little consumer, I listen to what ads tell me to do. However, I felt it was extremely difficult to do so with these M&M’s when I knew there were pretzels hiding in them. Pretzel M&M’s have a nice crunch factor as well as a delicate salty taste that might be too delicate for pretzel purists.

I can’t really call the rat dropping-sized nugget a pretzel; it’s more like a little, semi-salty ball that could be a serious choking hazard when popping them in your mouth during your commute, or when realizing there’s a sex scene between Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 3 (Sorry if I ruined it for you).

Like the balls themselves, the package is quite small, but it’s just enough chocolate to tide you over until M&M’s releases another new flavor. Maybe they’ll take a page from Kit Kat’s book and make a wasabi pea-flavored M&M.

One can only hope and dream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bag (1.14 ounces) – 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% calcium and 2% iron.)

Item: Pretzel M&M’s
Price: 74 cents
Size: 1.14 ounces
Purchased at: The Store That Ironically Doesn’t Sell Walls
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice blend of savory and sweet. Orange being the spokescandy for the product and not feeling threatened by him. My mother’s feminist values. Lower in fat than other flavors of M&M’s. Woody Allen movies. Could be used as backup ammunition.
Cons: Might not salty enough for some. No wasabi pea-flavored M&M’s. The lack of a Brown M&M mascot (Seriously, that’s fucked up and maybe a little racist). Choking hazard for those not used to small balls in their mouth.