REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon Queso Fries

Wendy s Bacon Queso Fries

Bacon. Cheese. Potatoes.

As far as I’m concerned those are three of the major food groups. Toss some nuggets and a Chocolate Frosty in there and you’ve covered them all –- the Wendy’s Food Pyramid.

Make no mistake; Wendy’s ever evolving innovative menu makes her The Queen of Fast Food. I’m never disappointed in their releases. So when I heard about this new queso line of products, I was all in.

The ad claims queso “makes everything better.” Far be it from me to call out the validity of Wendy’s crack marketing team, but I’m not sure it’s true.

Case in point – Wendy’s Bacon Queso Fries.

I love Wendy’s fries. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I eat them monthly, but let’s just say it’s quite often. Too often.

The large order of Bacon Queso Fries come drenched in “spicy” poblano queso, with generous helpings of shredded cheddar and strips of Applewood smoked bacon.

Okay, so, as you can see, this isn’t exactly the prettiest dish. Obnoxious people like to tell us that “we eat with our eyes first,” so these fries were already off to a rough start.

The queso was warm and immediately made me feel like I was trying Wendy’s take on nachos.

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The little green poblano peppers added a nice heat kick, but you won’t be running for a large Frosty to offset the burn. These are probably right on par with Wendy’s Spicy Chicken products at the very bottom of the Scoville Scale.

Wendy s Bacon Queso Fries 2

The shredded cheese wasn’t necessary, but I guess it added a mild flavor balance and another textural element. Speaking of, the bacon was firm and stayed a bit crispy, so that was good. Wendy’s usually comes through with the bacon.

The first few bites were satisfying, but after a while the spice mixed with the fry and bacon saltiness got overbearing. I can’t believe I’m whining that something was too salty, but, man, were these salty. The queso spice dried out my mouth, so it intensified the salt tenfold. I definitely recommend having a drink nearby when you’re eating these, if only to re-moisten your mouth.

Wendy s Bacon Queso Fries 4

Another knock is these got unappetizing as they lost temperature. By the time I was halfway done, they were cold and clumpy, so I lost interest in shoving the rest down. I hate wasting food, but I couldn’t finish.

I appreciate Wendy’s continuing to put out fry variations, but these didn’t hold up to the previous few concoctions I tried. I’d definitely prefer a smaller portion. Maybe if I had a friend to share with, I would have given these a higher score. Plus, I’d have a friend, and I desperately need those.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Serving – 510 calories, 30 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 630 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and less than 15 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Wendy’s has great fries. Bacon was on point. Queso was tasty when hot. Not too spicy. The Wendy’s Food Pyramid. The price was right for the size.
Cons: Way too salty. Got cold quickly. Clumps of plasticky cheese after a couple minutes. Pretty huge serving size. Forever alone 🙁

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts S’mores Donut

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut

Ladies and gentleman, The Impulsive Buy proudly presents to you, the triumphant return of the S’more Connoisseur!

*crickets*

Thank you. Thank you.

It’s great to be back, and it’s my pleasure to review a new s’mores product from my good friends over at Dunkin’ Donuts, the aptly named S’mores Donut.

Why it took this long to pump a donut full of marshmallow is beyond me, but it’s a welcomed addition to Dunkin’s roster.

The press release shows a round donut, so why is the donut shaped that way? I’m told it’s a star in celebration of Independence Day. I can’t help but feel like I lost out on a couple ounces of donut because of the shape, but, hey, it made me feel patriotic. Nothing’s more American than s’mores.

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut 3

Said star came topped with tiny marshmallows, bits of Hershey’s chocolate, and graham cracker chunks. I’m gonna let you folks in on a little secret, those are the three main ingredients of s’mores.

Unlike previous S’mores products I’ve reviewed, this donut didn’t skimp on the marshmallow. Even though the white marshmallow filling appeared to be lacking when I cut into the donut, there was still a decent amount that oozed when I took each of the four bites it took me to finish it.

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut 5

The “toasted” (buzzword) marshmallow-flavored filling had the texture of a thin icing. It wasn’t all that different from the usual crème Dunkin pumps into their donuts. I was anticipating something similar to Marshmallow Fluff, so that was disappointing.

Despite having a mild marshmallow flavor, the chocolate frosting overpowered it, so it didn’t add much to the donut overall.

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut 2

Unfortunately, the same can be said about the Hershey’s pieces. While you will occasionally get a different texture, the chocolate frosting prevented the Hershey’s flavor from standing out.

The little marshmallows on top were the hot cocoa-style, although they lacked that cereal marshmallow crunch. The bits of graham were stale and also provided almost nothing to the overall experience.

It’s basically a Chocolate Frosted donut with a little more pizzazz. I’m a Dunkin Chocolate Frosted lifer, so it was still a solid product for me. I mean, any time you wanna toss a few additions on a Chocolate Frosted, I’m in. But I really wish a Fluff-like marshmallow filling was used.

So did Dunkin’ nail the s’mores concept? Not really. If a normal Chocolate Frosted is a reliable 8 out of 10 for me, I have to knock this one down a little.

I didn’t think the marshmallow icing was strong enough and you can’t pass off the graham element by just slapping a few crumbled cracker pieces on top. Their stale texture also definitely hurt the overall score.

It’s still worth a try as it’s a normal priced donut and not one of those fancy limited edition donuts they keep in the jewelry case on the counter. I may consider making my own with Fluff.

(Nutrition Facts – 420 calories, 24 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 400 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s a chocolate frosted donut with bonuses. Little hot cocoa-style marshmallows. Decent amount of filling.
Cons: Marshmallow filling could’ve had a stronger flavor. Graham bits lacked crunch. They should have integrated graham flavor into the donut itself. “Toasted” marshmallow is nothing but a buzzword. “Ooze” is nothing but a disgusting word.

REVIEW: Salted Caramel Oreo Thins

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins

I prefer Oreo Thins to Oreos.

Sure, you can’t beat a classic Oreo, I’ve just never been able to eat many in one sitting. Regardless of flavor, I’m done after about four. I can polish off an entire sleeve of Oreo Thins without even realizing it. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

Listen, I can hear your outrage from here. “Vin likes Thins more than Oreos?! This is outrageous. Wait, who the heck is Vin?”

I get it. I know people still have some problems with Oreo Thins. They convey an unattainable image to young Oreos. They’re a false portrayal of what society thinks an Oreo should look like. Every new Oreo Thins flavor that hits shelves feels like a slight to Double Stuff Oreos the world over, but hey, I like what I like.

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins 2

Speaking of new flavors, remember like a decade ago when you never even knew salted caramel was a thing? Can you believe we once lived in a world where “sweet and salty” wasn’t a super mainstream flavor profile? Now even the world’s most famous cookie is dipping itself into the salted caramel pool.

The new Salted Caramel Oreo Thins have that distinct Golden Oreo cookie smell with just a spritz of eau de stale caramel.

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins 4

There isn’t much crème per cookie, but I imagine you know the drill with Thins at this point. I personally prefer the Thins ratio to a normal Oreo.

Honestly, the caramel flavor in these cookies isn’t all that strong. It’s more of a “yeah, I guess that’s caramel” than anything, but it still tastes good. I wouldn’t get my hopes up expecting a big blast of caramel flavor.

As for the salt? It’s there, but not overpowering. I did get a couple salt crystal crunches from time to time, which are always appreciated. I could be crazy but the cookie might have a little more saltiness to it than normal. Don’t quote me on that though, I haven’t had a Golden Oreo in a bit.

Salted Caramel Oreo Thins 3

Caramel is a delicious flavor in general, but it’s also very dependent on texture. Sure, I get annoyed when a chewy, sticky piece of caramel sticks in my molar, but that’s also part of the charm. The caramel “crème” in these cookies doesn’t hold a candle to a good piece of actual caramel. You might as well call it “car-mull” crème like one of those weirdos who say “car-mull.”

I’m sure people will complain about the lack of normal sized Salted Caramel Oreos. Let me tell you something – they wouldn’t be good. This is the perfect ratio of crème to cookie. A double serving of this crème would be gross even with more cookie to counter it. They knew what they were doing.

So, these aren’t bad. Salted caramel doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a crème consistency, but these go down easy.

I hope Nabisco continues to drop exclusive flavors on its Thins line, because that’s a line I want to walk.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – 150 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 10.1 oz. package
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Solid caramel-ish flavor with a touch of salt. Golden Oreo thins are much better than the normal size. They go down easy. Oreo’s most recent packaging update. The “sweet and salty” boom.
Cons: Somehow not sweet or salty enough at the same time. Golden don’t beat the original chocolate cookie and never will. The different pronunciations of “caramel.” The cream vs. crème battle wages on. That corny final line.

REVIEW: 7-Eleven Caramel Bar Made with Twix Donut

7 Eleven Caramel Bar Made with Twix Donut

I open my review with a quote from pop culture’s most famous convenience store proprietor, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon:

“You’ve clearly taken items from the candy rack and placed them on top of the donut in an attempt to pass them off as sprinkles. A Mounds bar is not a sprinkle! A Twizzler is not a sprinkle! A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle, sir. Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!”

So, is a Twix bar a sprinkle? Did 7-Eleven break the convenience code, or do they use a different rulebook than the Kwik-E-Mart?

I guess a better question is do you care?

You don’t care. You just wanna know if a donut sprinkled with Twix pieces is good. I’ll kill the suspense right here. Yes. Of course a donut covered in Twix pieces is good.

Do you like heavy donuts? Your entire enjoyment of the 7-Eleven Caramel Bar made with Twix Donut might hinge on that question. This donut was almost as big a mouthful as that name.

I personally like really dense donuts, so this was right up my alley. If you wanna know what the texture was like, think of two chocolate frosted Dunkin’ Donuts violently mashed together. This is a heavy piece of pastry. The fact it’s oblong and hole-less definitely added to that density.

Sticking to that comparison, this basically tastes like a chocolate frosted Dunkin’ Donut with caramel added (Note to Dunkin’ Donuts: Sell those.)

7 Eleven Caramel Bar Made with Twix Donut 2

The caramel is painted on top like a standard icing, and definitely tasted authentic to a Twix. I will say that it did get a bit overshadowed due to the chocolate drizzle and candy pieces that were caked on top as well as the dense dough, but it was still tasty.

The Twix bits, which looked like pretzel pieces on first glance, did their job just fine. I probably could have even used more of them. The Homer Simpson approach of just tossing an intact bar atop the donut may have worked better. Instead of chopping Twix up, I would have liked five or six mini Twix on top – one per bite.

7 Eleven Caramel Bar Made with Twix Donut 3

I thought for sure there would be some kind of caramel or chocolate filling, but I cut it open and was proven wrong. That may have been overkill, but I can imagine some people yearning for a little something to cut the dough.

The donut had a pleasant scent, but everything in a 7-Eleven bakery cabinet smells the same over time.

I would recommend the 7-Eleven Caramel Bar made with Twix Donut for sure. I’d also recommend picking up a Twix and chasing each donut bite to really hammer home the Twix experience. Why not? You’ve been good all week.

This is a winner for 7-Eleven in my eye, but it might be too heavy and too skimpy on the Twix pieces for some people. Still, if you’re stopping in for a morning coffee, this beast will hold you over ’til lunch.

Thank you, come again.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available.)

Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: I really like dense, chewy donuts. Fresh. Tasty combination. Can’t go wrong with Twix. Your brain reading that quote in Apu’s voice. There’s a Simpsons reference for everything.
Cons: Caramel gets masked a bit. Not enough Twix pieces. Oblong donuts. Could have come up with a better name. Nutritional facts not available on website.

REVIEW: Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay Bar

Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay Bar

This bar I bite fills me with fright!

*clap clap clap clap*

Deep in the heart of Texas!

I guess it’s more like right on the coast of Jersey, where I was finally able to track one of these Frankenstein monsters down.

What in the holy hell is this thing? BBQ peanuts and caramel? Not since Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips have I been so fearfully intrigued by a new snack concoction.

The Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay is one of Hershey’s new Flavors of America candy bars. Calling this “candy” is definitely a bit of a stretch. Then again, PayDay was probably never at the top of your “candy” crave list anyway, now was it?

When was the last time you bought one? It’s been a while for me. I feel like I haven’t bought one since the limited honey roasted version was on shelves. Regular PayDays are fine, but what’s the point of getting one when you can just get a Snickers or something? Very rarely will I NOT want chocolate.

Honey roasted peanuts will get me to buy anything though. They are criminally underutilized. Will I feel the same about BBQ peanuts? That’s the question of the day.

Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay Bar 3

Aesthetically, PayDay is one of the least appetizing candy bars to look at. I won’t go into detail why, but you can use your imagination. This one looks just like a normal one caked in Doritos dust.

The bar smelled like a sweet BBQ sauce, but that was expected. BBQ based products usually hit the mark in the olfactory department.

To start I plucked a few peanuts off and ate them solo. They ticked all the BBQ sauce boxes you’d want them to – nice smoky flavor, not too spicy, not too salty, and a bit tang. I’d eat a bag of these.

So, the BBQ element was on point, now was time to bite the proverbial bullet.

It was weird, but I already knew it would be. “Weird” is not always a bad thing.

Flavor of Texas BBQ PayDay Bar 4

The caramel bar isn’t overly sweet, so there wasn’t the Civil War battle of opposing flavors in my mouth that I anticipated. The BBQ flavor was more prominent on the peanuts alone. When mixed with the sweet caramel element this tasted a little like molasses I guess? I had trouble pinpointing it exactly. I guess this was like a sweet BBQ sauce with a molasses or maple syrup mixed in for sweetness. I think that was what they were going for, and they definitely succeeded.

While the overall flavor was solid, this was a textural treat more than anything. The peanuts were as fresh as I could’ve hoped for, and had a good overall bite to them. I’ve always appreciated the center of a PayDay being closer to nougat than regular caramel, so it’s never too sticky. They married perfectly.

Texas BBQ PayDay is a weird and ambitious effort from Hershey’s. I won’t pretend I’m aching to try it again, but I’d recommend giving it a shot. Maybe there’s a brave soul out there who might want to melt chocolate over this bad boy and really go for broke. I imagine that’d be a major test for the taste buds, but hey if this ain’t bad, that may be great.

So yeah, if you want to try a funky unorthodox snack, this is probably for you. If not, there are five other Flavors of America available from Hershey’s. Hit the road.

(Nutrition Facts – 230 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: 83 cents
Size: 1.85 oz. bar
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Texture was perfection. Not too salty, spicy, or sweet. Ambitious. The price was right. I dig the Flavors of America line.
Cons: Maybe a little too ambitious? Chocolate or Honey Roasted PayDays not being a year round candy options. No famous BBQ sauce brand tie-in as far as I can tell.