REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich

Quite a bit has happened in the world since Chick-fil-A last released a new breakfast sandwich.

The Star Wars franchise has been revived, Nabisco stuck Fruity Pebbles in an Oreo, and Blake Shelton married Miranda Lambert, got divorced from Miranda Lambert, and is now shacking up with the lead singer of my favorite 1990s pop-ska-rock band.

Also, I got sort of chubby. A bit rotund. Somewhat more heavyset.

Frankly, I blame the fast food breakfast sandwiches, in particular Chick-fil-A’s ethereal chicken biscuit. I know I’m supposed to be getting down with this whole moderation thing, but that’s easier said than done. Where other chains at least offer somewhat healthy breakfast sandwiches on their menus, Chick-fil-A offers oatmeal. Oatmeal? Really? Like oatmeal stands a chance against a juicy fried chicken breast nestled between a fresh-baked biscuit slathered with butter.

The new Egg White Grill sandwich changes that, and might just slow the growth of my increasing flabby diameter. And while I’m not normally one to pass on a molten egg yolk, I’m less wedded to the superiority of cooked fast food eggs over egg whites; that is, provided the texture doesn’t remind me of that time I accidentally ate a deflated water balloon (don’t ask).

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Fortunately, that’s not the case with Chick-fil-A’s egg whites. They’re really not at all chewy, and even have a bit of sweetness and a hint of buttery flavor from the grill. I thought they tasted about the same as the whites that McDonald’s uses, but had a better texture.

The grilled chicken is excellent (no surprise) and much better than the overly salty Canadian bacon you’d get on McDonald’s Egg White Delight. The chicken has a bold chargrill flavor and zesty citrusy aftertaste that’s really flavorful without being heavy, while the size is a perfect fit on the toasted English muffin.

The muffin and single slice of cheese, which was melted nicely toward the center of the sandwich, added quite a bit of flavor. If I have one complaint, it’s that there wasn’t a slice of a juicy tomato to add a little sweetness and relieve the gooey saltiness of the cheese. Also: Bacon. But this would probably detract a bit from the healthy angle.

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Along with the new sandwich, Chick-fil-A has revamped some of its sauces and also added a new Sweet and Spicy Sriracha sauce. I tried it on the new sandwich, and while it has an enjoyable kick and sweetness that plays well with the naturally bland egg whites, it leans closer to a conventional sweet chili garlic sauce than a Sriracha sauce. It actually detracted from the savory and salty cheese on the sandwich, and covered up some of the buttery and toasted flavor, but I’ll definitely be grabbing a couple of packets the next time I order nuggets.

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich 4

I’m not ready to give up chicken biscuits completely, but the Egg White Grill provides a nice transition for trying to live out this whole moderation thing. Of course, that moderation thing could completely go out the window should Chick-fil-A decide to introduce chicken and waffles, but at this rate, I probably have a six-year cushion before that happens.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3.0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 970 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 25 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.35
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Chick-fil-A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A healthy breakfast sandwich that actually tastes desirable. Juicy grilled chicken breast and buttery egg whites provide plenty of protein. Melty cheese and perfectly toasted English muffin.
Cons: Not quite the life-changing experience of a chicken biscuit. Lacks a crunchy element like bacon or breaded chicken. Could use some more sweetness. Decreasing metabolism.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies

Sometime during the 1920s, amidst the green oak pines of St. Lambert Country Club in Quebec, a wealthy hotel mogul by the name of David Mulligan tightened his knickers, squared up to the tee, drew his driver back, and proceeded to hit a golf ball directly into a sand trap—on an adjacent hole.

“Shiitake mushroom!” he exclaimed, realizing there were ladies nearby and wishing to abstain from obscenities. “I do believe I shall need a correction shot for that one!”

“Another one!?!” his friend, Rupert T. Bosworth Esquire III bellowed. “My, you take so many correction shots they ought to just call them mulligans!”

And so the common term for a do-over was born.

Food companies don’t often get mulligans —- at least not as many as the U.S. golfers admit to taking. But then again, companies don’t really deserve second chances, if you ask me. If you’re paying people to engineer delicious, they damn well better engineer delicious the first time around. That or they need a really good reason to try a flavor again.

In the case of Cookie Dough Oreo Cookies, I’m glad Oreo took a mulligan. It’s not that the 2014 limited edition cookie was bad, but rather that it should have been called “Caramel Latte” Oreos. Such was the intensity of the coffee flavor. But when it came to pure, unadulterated, E. coli-be-damned cookie dough madness, well, Cookie Dough Oreo left a lot to be desired.

The new Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo leave far less to be desired. This is a cookie that blurs the line between sandwich cookie and chocolate chip cookie like no other, capturing the very best of packaged chocolate chip cookie flavor without forcing you to stop in front of the Chips Ahoy! display and ponder the question chewy or original?

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies 3

The “choco chip” cookie base, an entirely new conception for Oreo, is crunchy and balanced, with notes of brown sugar and tiny bursts of chocolate. It’s not the greatest representation of a chocolate chip cookie we’ve ever seen in packaged form, but it has a sort of dippable appeal that I’d compare to a chocolate chip Teddy Graham or those old Nabisco Chips Ahoy! 100-calorie pack cookie thins.

Limited Edition Choco Chip Oreo Cookies 2

Speaking of dippable –- yeah, that’s where the creme center comes in. Where traditional Oreo creme is a bit stiff and grainy, the choco chip cookie creme has a frosting-like smoothness and viscosity to go along with a strong burst of sweetness and an aftertaste of molasses and brown sugar. On its own it’s a bit too sweet, but taken in a complete bite with the crunchy wafer, it’s like chomping down on a cookie dough stuffed cookie.

There’s no coffee flavors, and unlike the sometimes disjointed bite of the Cookie Dough Oreo, where the chocolate wafer and coffee creme competed, the flavor of the Choco Chip Oreo is pure chocolate chip cookie. The only downside is predictable: there’s only so much buttery and eggy richness that can be stuffed inside a shelf-stable 14-ounce cookie.

Choco Chip Oreo Cookies aren’t a hole in one, but I’m okay with that. Sometimes you just gotta admire a straight drive down the fairway, and be content with very good. I mean, it could be worse. You could be eating coffee-flavored cookies out of a sand trap or something. So thank you, Mr. Mulligan, for sucking at golf. This Oreo redo is for you.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 10.7 oz package
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Chocolate chip cookie dough meets Duncan Hines frosting. Much more authentic chocolate chip cookie flavor than Cookie Dough Oreo. Second chances in the cookie aisle.
Cons: A bit too sweet. Both the wafer and filling lack eggy and buttery richness. What the fudge is “choco” anyway?

REVIEW: Pillsbury Limited Edition Peanut Butter & Strawberry Toaster Strudel

Pillsbury Limited Edition Peanut Butter & Strawberry Toaster Strudel

For the better part of four years as a TIB reviewer, I have maintained a nearly impeccable streak that few writers in the colorfully chemical world of nutritionally devoid junk food can lay claim to.

I have kept poop references to an absolute minimum.

There have been one or two Fiber One one-liners, maybe some vague references to flatulence, and the occasional, you know what that looks like…, but never have I just come out and said something I’ve eaten looks like poop and pretty much tastes as vile as you could imagine. In other words, like, yeah…

But like Jerry Seinfeld’s barfless streak, Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak, and Don Gorske’s Big Mac streak, my ability to hold out from using the most primal of negative food metaphors has expired. I believe the technical term for moments like this is that the shit has hit the fan.

Pillsbury Limited Edition Peanut Butter & Strawberry Toaster Strudel 3
Skippy Peanut Butter (left) Peanut butter-flavored icing (right)

There is just no other way to describe the artificial peanut butter flavored filling of the Pillsbury Limited Edition Peanut Butter & Strawberry Toaster Strudel. That I am supposed to refer to this brown goo as icing just makes me want to throw up.

Icing is something you want to nibble off a day-old glazed donut; icing is what made Santa Claus fat in the process of hundreds of years of sugar cookie eating; icing is not, and never shall be, a cloying fake peanut butter taste that leaves you with a metallic and bitter alcohol flavor in your mouth when you should be enjoying a PB&J.

Pillsbury Limited Edition Peanut Butter & Strawberry Toaster Strudel 2

If you’re a baker, you might recognize the flavor I’m talking about. It’s the flavor of imitation peanut butter extract; noticeably synthetic, with a cough-syrup like alcohol aftertaste, it’s made all the worse by a horribly out-of-place sweetness. There’s no saltiness, no lip-smacking fatty mouthfeel, and definitely no roasted depth. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the Pillsbury Doughboy is allergic to peanuts.

Oh yeah, and the icing looks like poop.

Pillsbury Limited Edition Peanut Butter & Strawberry Toaster Strudel 4

Thankfully, the D.I.Y. nature of the Toaster Strudel provides a saving grace. Since the packets of the icing are separate, one can simply avoid them like one would avoid, well, foods that are known to cause gastrointestinal distress. Eaten completely without peanut butter, the toaster strudel is fine: The strawberry jelly is admirable for a frozen product, while the flaky layers provide buttery croissant notes.

Adding your own peanut butter makes the pastry delicious, but you’ve probably figured that out by now. Humans have only been enjoying the combination for a gazillion years*, and the slightly caramelized edges of the golden-brown strudel give the combination an unexpected richness that will make you want to start making PB&Js out of croissants.

Overall, the spokesman and chief baker for Pillsbury didn’t just forget to put on a pair of pants, he forgot to put actual peanut butter in his peanut butter and jelly Toaster Strudels.

What follows is one of the more disgusting visuals in frozen breakfasts, not to mention an abrupt goodbye to one of the best streaks in junk food blogging. It’s a shame, really, because all other things being equal, the Toaster Strudels aren’t so bad. Just make sure you get rid of the “icing” ASAP and have jar of Jif close at hand.

*approximate

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry with icing – 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 180 mg of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 11.7 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: A fine and scrumptious flaky layered pastry without the poop-inspired peanut butter flavored icing. Surprisingly balanced buttery crust with sweet, gooey strawberry jelly. More substantial eating than a Pop-Tart.
Cons: The absolute vilest and most repulsive peanut butter flavored product I have ever put into this temple I call my body. Peanut butter icing tastes like a 50-50 mix of sweet and low and peanut butter flavored extract. Poopless review streak coming to an ignominious end.

REVIEW: Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies

During the 45 years or so of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union built up massive quantities of nuclear weapons in an effort to counter each other and become the world’s leading super power.

Each had their own spheres of influence, but since separate hemispheres weren’t enough, both nations just kept building more and bigger missiles until one couldn’t keep up any longer.

A quarter century after the Berlin Wall fell, another arms race is occurring. The good news is that the entire existence of the human race is no longer at stake. The bad news is that we are all going to get massively obese.

It’s a trade I am totally cool with.

Gone are the days when Oreo was content with being the world’s leading chocolate sandwich cookie; likewise, Keebler’s elves aspire to an empire greater than just fudge covered shortbreads. The two companies have fought for cookie supremacy in recent limited time offerings of red velvet and pumpkin spice, but the latest flashpoint in the great cookie conflict is one flavor that I never get tired of celebrating: Birthday Cake.

While I give the elves credit for creating a cookie that has all three traditional elements of birthday cake (sprinkles, frosting, and uh, “cake”) I do need to point out that the box artwork features a cupcake. At first I thought this was just a celebration of portion control, but since the package also happens to be non-resalable — thus increasing my chances of inhaling all the cookies in one sitting — I realize the elves probably just suck at making distinctions.

I, however, do not. And to be sure, the distinction of Birthday Cake vs. Cupcake is one I take seriously. If you show me a cupcake, I expect the frosting to steal the show. That’s not the case with these cookies, though.

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies 2

Oh, I mean the shortbread element is fine. It’s buttery with a delectably fine crumb and the non-overpowering element of sweetness I admire about the original Fudge Stripe.

But whereas the original Fudge Stripe can get away with a faux-chocolate glaze that works to balance the shortbread, the frosting glaze on the latest batch of shortbread just tastes like that generic palm oil glaze we’ve all had a million times. It’s not buttercream frosting; it’s not cream cheese frosting; it’s not even a damn Swiss meringue. It’s just way too sweet, and lacks that luscious mouthfeel of an actual frosting element. Likewise, it’s cut off from the sprinkles, which themselves lack the crunchy contrast I want buried in frosting.

Keebler Limited Batch Birthday Cake Fudge Stripes Cookies 3

Fortunately, since my pantry is always willing to celebrate an actual birthday, I had some rainbow chip frosting handy. Now, while I realize this stuff would be good on anything from pancakes to Ritz crackers, I did find it especially wonderful when stuffed between the Fudge Stripe Birthday Cake cookies.

Biting through the crunchy shortbread into actual, sprinkled-filled frosting — even in an artificial, shelf-stable form — reminded me of Oreo’s birthday cake attempt and how providing just a level of textural contrast can go a long way to really making a birthday cake-flavored product worth the purchase.

Does the fact that Oreo makes a better birthday cake cookie than Keebler mean that the Elves are destined to toil in a downtrodden economy until an ex-KGB spy who likes to take his shirt off attempts to assert them as the world’s leading cookie makers? Probably not. But in the arms race of cookie flavors, Keebler’s latest gambit just can’t keep pace.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: $2.99
Purchased at: Weis Markets
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Delectable shortbread crumb. Crunchy sprinkle pieces. Wonderful vehicle birthday cake frosting.
Cons: Waxy, mostly tasteless frosting element. Too much shortbread taste for a birthday cake product. Non-resalable packaging. Cookie company flavor arms races.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies

Well, I guess this is how it starts.

Yes, “it.”

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s only the single worst thing in the universe; the thing people have been warning us about for years. It’s the reason why I’ve been stocking up the shelves in my basement, quietly prepping for the disaster I knew would eventually befall us. And to think the harbinger of the impending doom is America’s most beloved cookie company.

The cerealapocalypse.

After tasting the new Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies I’m convinced the end of cereal eating as we know could be near. We already knew people were ditching cereal because they’ve been too damn lazy to wash out their bowls, but now that Oreo has managed to pack the flavor of Fruity Pebbles in between their Golden wafers, well, Post might as well file Chapter 11.

Every time Oreo releases a new flavor people say things like, “This is a game-changer.” But I’m not here to tell you what is and is not a gamer changer; I’m here to tell you these cookies taste exactly like Fruity freaking Pebbles, right on down to that initial Paleolithic burst of cloying artificial fruit flavor.

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From the moment I opened the bag the unmistakable aroma of Fruity Pebbles assaulted my nostrils like a friendly prehistoric child with a large club, while an initial sampling of the Golden Oreo base revealed the distinct aftertaste of the Fruity Pebbles cereal we all remember from the days when we smuggled it into our mommies’ shopping carts at the supermarket.

Nabisco Limited Edition Fruity Crisp Oreo Cookies 3

After effortlessly separating the filling from the cookies, I sampled the frosting-like creme on its own. This is not your standard Oreo creme. It’s not as chalky or stiff as regular Oreo creme, and it has a shelf-stable frosting like quality in the way you can pluck it from the cookie with your finger. The taste, bursting with crispy, fruity cereal pieces, is unmistakably milky and sweet, like cereal that’s been steeped in milk for the better part of a day. If I was going to make an ice cream out of cereal, I imagine it would taste a lot like the creme.

Yes, the cerealapocalypse is upon us.

Biting into each cookie, you get every element of a bowl of Fruity Pebbles; the milk is there, the crispy cereal texture is there, and of course, the hypersweet fruity taste dominates. Basically, each cookie renders the cereal box and carton of milk a relic from the past. As a traditional cereal eater, even I will admit it tastes insanely awesome.

But there may be one hope for those of us used to eating cereal the old fashioned way. For as much as I enjoyed the first couple of cookies, I couldn’t get into the same kind of mindless cookie eating groove that I can get into with a standard Oreo. I mean, you have to really love Fruity Pebbles to make it through an entire package, mostly because the overwhelmingly sweet, artificial taste of Fruity Pebbles is so accurate that you feel like you’ve just eaten 3-4 bowls of Fruity Pebbles after just 3-4 cookies. With that in mind, I can see some Oreo fanatics loving these cookies, but not making them a repeat purchase.

In any case, that’s my only hope for the cereal industry, because these cookies are so accurate in copying the taste of Fruity Pebbles, they’ll make you forget Fred Flintstone existed.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 80 mg of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 10.7 oz
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Perfectly captures the taste of Fruity Pebbles in every bite. Milky, frosting-like creme. Crispy textural contrast. Golden wafers that have fruity cereal taste.
Cons: Exceptionally sweet and artificial, to the point where the Fruity Pebbles taste can wear on you. Packaging literally out of the Stone Age. Not as good as some of the other limited edition Oreo flavors. Needs a chocolate lovers equivalent with chocolate wafers and Cocoa Pebbles.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich

Dunkin' Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich

Supreme is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite adjectives. It has a connotation that’s both physically big and exceptional, not to mention it lends its name to the highest court in America, a groundbreaking female vocal group, and that mysterious bad guy we saw in The Force Awakens.

Supreme is bigger, better, and tastier than super. Supreme is what superb aspires to be but will never be. Supreme is what adults say when they want to describe something but don’t want the ambiguity of stupendous.

Dunkin' Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich 2

Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich does not look like it deserves the title supreme. Flatter than a pancake and shoved into an America Runs on Dunkin’ bag amidst the morning rush hour, its appearance might best be described as, “that’s it?”

But looks can be deceiving, and when it comes to taste, the Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich delivers.

But first, a word about croissants. Yes, the French can be annoying. Likewise, I understand southern food and, by extension, biscuits are all the rage in breakfast sandwich land. But I don’t care, because even in it’s smushed, mass-produced form, a croissant is a supreme choice for a breakfast sandwich bread.

Dunkin' Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich 4

Dunkin’s version is buttery, slightly sweet, and wonderfully compliments the hearty egg mixture. While that mixture isn’t much to look at, it has crunchy bits of flavorful potatoes, peppers, and onions, not to mention just a rich eggy flavor. A slice of perfectly melted, salty American cheese helps bring the flavors together. Finally, the bacon is exceptional. If Arby’s bacon is brown sugar bacon is divisive, then Dunkin’s bacon is a great uniter. It’s meaty and smoky, with that perfect combination of crispness and fat to appease all bacon lovers.

Dunkin' Donuts Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich 3

For as wonderful as the buttery croissant, gooey American cheese, smoky bacon, and egg and pepper mixture come together, I found the taste exactly like it sounds: a bit heavy. It’s rich and fatty and salty and everything else I want in a supreme breakfast sandwich, but it’s also missing an element of sweetness and relief.  

I won’t lie to you; I grew up eating eggs with ketchup, and that’s exactly what I wished I had grabbed after my first few bites of the sandwich. While I doubt ketchup is something the Dunkin’ test kitchen chefs would consider, I do think the sweet crunchy flavor of good old fashioned, fresh sliced tomatoes would make a world of difference. A slice of Romaine lettuce, too, would go a long way to cementing the sandwich in the premium category, not to mention boost its aesthetic appeal beyond smushed UFO-looking vehicle of saturated fat and sodium (not that I’m complaining).

Dunkin’ Donuts’ Bacon Supreme Omelet Breakfast Sandwich is definitely super, and maybe even makes the case for superb, but without a bit of sweetness and extra heft, it’s not quite the supreme it could be. Nevertheless, it’s a tasty addition to Dunkin’s menu and a hearty start to any day.

(Nutrition Facts – 600 calories, 37 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 245 milligrams of cholesterol, 1200 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Croissant has buttery, savory flavor that compliments the eggs perfectly. American cheese is wonderfully melted into the nooks and crannies of the croissant. Egg mixture is flavorful with ideal texture. Hearty, put-you-to-sleep type sandwich.
Cons: Could use more bacon to increase coverage to every bite. Needs an element of sweetness or relief from tomatoes. Potatoes don’t make much of an impact. Hearty, put-you-to-sleep type sandwich.