I feel like I should be the target audience for the Nacho Cheese Sticks at Harvey’s.
If you’re going to deep fry something that’s not normally fried, I’m gonna want to eat that. No; I’m going to demand to eat that. I’m going to respectfully request that you take it straight from the fryer and put it directly in my mouth. Will I suffer severe burns? Probably. But I’ll drive to the hospital with a smile on my (horribly burned) face.
There’s even a place in my heart for nacho cheese –- you know, that gloppy, unnaturally smooth, vaguely jalapeno-tinged cheesefood that’s the approximate colour of an orange safety vest? I love that stuff. It tastes like nothing even resembling real cheese, but I love it all the same. I could eat it by the barrel.
So as a connoisseur of unusual fried foods and neon orange nacho cheese sauce, I was all over these. I went to Harvey’s to buy them like a cartoon character floating towards a pie.
An order comes with five pieces, each about the size of a small mozzarella stick, along with a small container of zesty sauce for dipping.
I’m sure my high expectations didn’t help, but man… what the heck, Harvey’s? Seriously: now I know how Obi-Wan felt in Revenge of the Sith. How could something so awesome in theory be so middling in execution?
The main ingredient here — the cheese — is just not very good. It’s like someone decided to mix nacho cheese sauce with bottom-of-the-barrel supermarket cheddar. It tastes muddled, without the comforting, smooth blandness of real-deal nacho cheese, or the satisfying sharpness of real cheddar. It’s somewhere in between, in some kind of horrifying flavour limbo where deliciousness goes to die. No jalapeno flavour, either, which is unfortunate.
The texture, too, is somewhere between real and fake; more plasticky than smooth. It’s essentially the worst of both worlds: too fake to be real cheddar, and too real to be nacho cheese.
The breading is okay. It’s crispy and fried, so it fits the bill on that level, but the taste leaves something to be desired. Despite its nacho appearances, it mostly has the same generic flavour that you’ll find on any number of frozen breaded chicken strips or onion rings. The tortilla flavour doesn’t stand out nearly as much as it should.
They’re not even completely filled with cheese. A couple were stuffed from end to end, but the rest were mostly hollow, with a gooey coating of cheese lining the inside. This might have been a bigger issue, but since the cheese wasn’t even that great to start with, I didn’t really mind.
The dipping sauce could have helped to round out the middling flavour of these sticks, but it’s too zesty for its own good; it clashes rather than compliments. It tastes completely out of place.
I really, really wanted to like these. Instead, I got Fredo’d. Nothing about them was nearly as delicious as it should have been.
You broke my heart, Harvey’s. You broke my heart.
(Nutrition Facts – Not available on the Harvey’s website.)
Item: Harvey’s Nacho Cheese Sticks (Canada)
Purchased Price: $2.99 (CAN)
Size: 5 pieces
Purchased at: Harvey’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Crispy and fried. Melty cheese.
Cons: Taste and texture of the cheese leaves a lot to be desired. Useless dipping sauce. Betrayal. Anakin Skywalker. Fredo Corleone.