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REVIEW: Jack in the Box Jack’s Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich

Written by | April 17, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Fast Food, Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box Jack's Blazin' Chicken Sandwich

I don’t think Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Jack in the Box is spicy. Whenever I’ve eaten one, I’ve never felt the need to reach for whatever Coke beverage that came with my meal, or jump over the cash register counter at Jack in the Box and place my mouth under the ice cream machine’s nozzle, in order to soothe my oral cavity.

Because of my feelings towards Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, I was hesitant to believe a new Jack in the Box chicken sandwich with Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce would satisfy masochistic desire to burn my taste buds and give me a good reason to jump over a Jack in the Box cash register counter so I can suck on an ice cream machine’s teat.

For those of you who aren’t Scoville scale scholars, Ghost Peppers, or Bhot Jolokia, were once the hottest peppers in the world. In 2012, the title of world’s hottest pepper was taken by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, and, in 2013, both peppers were overtaken by the Carolina Reaper from the PuckerButt Pepper Company. I mention the other peppers because with the information I just gave you, I believe you can now consider yourselves Scoville scale scholars and it allows me to put “PuckerButt” into a paragraph.

Well, it turns out my feelings about the sandwich’s spiciness were right because Jack’s Blazin’ Chick’n Sandw’ch is not blazin’ and its name doesn’t contain that many apostrophes. I added a couple extra.

Jack in the Box Jack's Blazin' Chicken Sandwich Sauce

With the Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce, I was hoping for a level of spiciness that would, um, make me tear up a little as if I was watching Toy Story 3′s ending, but that didn’t happen. It didn’t even make me sweat. While the Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce has some heat, the sliced jalapeño are spicier, which emphasizes how tame the sauce is. The sandwich comes with the same spicy chicken patty used in Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it’s not spicy to me. However, the chicken patty did have a little crispiness, but it was also slightly dry.

If your mouth prefers the extreme safe side of the Scoville scale, this sandwich still might be a little too much for you. To give you a reference point for how spicy this sandwich is, it’s noticeably less so than McDonald’s Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder or their Southwest Premium Chicken McWrap, both of which have made me sweat a little.

But even though it’s not blazin’ and the lettuce I received with my sandwich was the saddest looking piece of lettuce I’ve ever seen, it’s a tasty sandwich.

The flavor from the pickled jalapeño stood out, followed by the Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce, which has a nice smokiness and pepperiness. It also kind of tastes like a milder version of McDonald’s Habanero Ranch sauce.

The sandwich is also topped with grilled onions, Swiss-style cheese, and tomatoes. I didn’t get very many grilled onions on my sandwich, and I thought it was weird to have grilled onions on a chicken sandwich, but they didn’t add anything flavor-wise because they got lost behind the jalapeño and Ghost Pepper Sauce. The Swiss-style cheese’s flavor does come through a little bit and it slightly tempers the sandwich’s spiciness.

Again, even though it’s not blazin’ to me, it’s a really good sandwich. And I guess it’s a good thing it wasn’t blazin’, because if it was overly spicy, the heat would’ve distracted my taste buds from the flavors. Jack’s Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich is a giant step up in terms of flavor and heat from Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and, to be honest, I wish Jack in the Box would replace their Spicy Chicken Sandwich with it.

(Nutrition Facts – 665 calories, 269 calories from fat, 30 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1172 milligrams of sodium, 662 milligrams of potassium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Jack’s Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.99 (sandwich only)*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A giant step up in terms of flavor and heat from Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce may not have a lot of heat, but it does have a nice flavor. Crispy jalapeño provided most of the flavor and heat. Slightly crispy chicken. Thank goodness they used Swiss-style cheese instead of American cheese. Toy Story 3.
Cons: Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce is not blazin’. My computer’s autocorrect correcting “blazin’” with blazon. Received the saddest piece of lettuce. Grilled onions didn’t add anything. For some reason not available in Austin, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Laredo, McAll/Brownsville, Palm Springs, Reno, or Tulsa. Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

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QUICK REVIEW: Nabisco Ritz Crackerfuls (Bold Buffalo & Ranch and Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese)

Written by | April 7, 2014

Topics: 6 Rating, 7 Rating, Asian

Nabisco Ritz Crackerfuls (Bold Buffalo & Ranch and Crunchin' Chili & Cheese)

Purchased Price: $2.50 each
Size: 6 packs/box
Purchased at: Times Supermarket
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Bold Buffalo & Ranch)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese)
Pros: Both are good, but the Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese does a better job of tasting like its name. Now comes in three short filled crackers instead of one long filled cracker (They’re shareable). Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese sometimes tastes like chili powder and sometimes like a Jack in the Box taco. Filling made with real cheese. Buffalo seasoning left on fingers (it’s the only time the Buffalo flavor is distinguishable). Nice mild Buffalo burn.
Cons: Licking the filling like they’re Oreo cookies, because their savory flavors are a little off-putting when consumed by themselves. Has a different crunch than a regular Ritz cracker. Hard to distinguish either flavor with the Bold Buffalo & Ranch one; it has a kind of generic spicy, cheesy flavor. Ranch flavor is missing its tanginess. Use of partially hydrogenated oils.

Nabisco Ritz Crackerfuls Bold Buffalo & Ranch

Nabisco Ritz Crackerfuls Crunchin' Chili & Cheese

Nutrition Facts: 1 pack – Bold Buffalo & Ranch – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Crunchin’ Chili & Cheese – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

*made with partially hydrogenated oils

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QUICK REVIEW: Starbucks Blueberry Acai Refreshers

Written by | March 25, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Energy Drink, Starbucks

Blueberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 12 fl oz
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: My favorite of the canned Starbucks Refreshers flavors. Has a pleasant acai berry and mild blueberry flavor. Contains 25% juice (which is better than the 5% juice in Mountain Dew Kickstart). It did give me a good boost of energy, albeit short. Has 100% of my daily vitamin C, so, ARGHHH, no scurvy for this scallywag.
Cons: Has the slight bitterness from the coffee that all canned Starbucks Refreshers have. With its very light carbonation, it’s, perhaps, too easy to drink and it’ll be gone before you want it. Can doesn’t say how much caffeine it has (it does say it has 50 mg of panax ginseng).

Blueberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 90 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 25% niacin, 25% pantothenic acid, 100% vitamin C, and 25% vitamin B12.

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QUICK REVIEW: Herdez Cocina Mexicana Chicken Mole Bowl

Written by | March 24, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Frozen Food

Herdez Chicken Mole Bowl

Purchased Price: $3.50 (on sale)
Size: 10 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Mole sauce had a pretty accurate flavor and a little spicy kick. Great size for a work lunch. Can be microwaved thawed (so you can keep it at your desk and prevent food theft!) Most of the chicken was tender. Rice had a good, sticky texture and real cilantro taste with a hint of lime. Kudos for at least trying to make authentic-tasting frozen Mexican food.
Cons: Some of the chicken was dry. Expensive for the amount of food you get. Mole sauce could have had a stronger presence. There were bland spots in the rice. Don’t pronounce mole like the animal (it’s moe-LAY).

Herdez Chicken Mole Bowl Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 390 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,290 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 19 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 4% calcium, and 15% iron.

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REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

Written by | March 10, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Ben & Jerry's, Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream

I had the most emotional experience a few years ago when my parents took me up to the northeast to drop me off at college. It was heart wrenching. Painful. Soul crushing. Never have so many tears been shed.

We took a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard.

Here, I witnessed all the good things in life I would never be able to know. Dozens of incredible ice creams who all died too young. Rainforest Crunch? Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road? Why did we turn our backs on remarkable ingredients like cashew-brazil nut buttercrunch and peanut butter cookie dough? So Pistachio Pistachio could keep its spot in the freezers? I couldn’t handle it. The world wasn’t the same without these. The inimitable lost ice creams needed to be revived.

The new line of “core” flavors is actually a resurrection of sorts. The concept first appeared back in 2002, and Karamel Sutra has been on shelves since. However, I can’t say this was the resurrection I was hoping for. For the most part, all of the new flavors are just recycling components already found in other pints. There’s very little ingredient innovation going on here. These pints are basically the same as when Taco Bell announces some new rehashing of tortilla, ground beef, and cheese.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Lid

That being said, there’s nothing that prevents a rehashing from tasting good. Their Salted Caramel Core flavor, a sweet cream ice cream base with blonde brownies and a salted caramel core, seemed to me to be one of the best combinations they could make with their current arsenal. That is, unless they develop an ice cream with a cookie dough core. Flavor gurus, take note.

I was most excited about writing this review for the sole purpose of doing this:

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Core Middle

This cross-section is a work of art. I believe in the industry this is what they refer to as “core-core porn.” Regardless of the practicality of the core, I will admit that this is beautiful. So if you’re the kind of person who regularly likes to take out your aggression on a pint with a 10 inch blade, this might be the flavor for you.

The biggest issue at hand here is core mixing: how to get that center pocket distributed into every bite. I feared that I would run into the same issue that I do with cupcakes, where you get a few really great bites of heavy frosting and then are left with a lot of dry mediocre cake.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream SPOON

By the time I started eating, the ice cream and caramel were soft enough that I could mix them together on my spoon fairly easily and avoided that problem. However, I’m usually an impatient ice cream consumer who ends up chiseling at a frozen pint, and I can’t see this set up working for me on a normal basis. I also don’t see how this would work well in their fudge core flavors, because while cold caramel still has a certain malleability, cold fudge seems impossible to distribute.

Ben & Jerry's Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream Core Again

The best thing this pint has going for it is that it’s safe from the chunk diggers in your household. The blondie pieces are prevalent, but much smaller than those in Rockin’ Blondies, so they’re impossible to extract on their own. And while it’s technically possible to hollow out the pint and eat nothing but caramel, I can’t see that being a pleasant experience unless you like to lick salt rocks to pass the time. I thought the salted caramel paired well with the sweet cream base, but it’s not a component that can stand alone.

All in all, is this ice cream good? Yes, very. Does it deserve the hype it’s been getting? Probably not. The core does nothing that a great swirl couldn’t, and there’s nothing special about a salted caramel flavor anymore. If Ben and Jerry’s wants to rehash old components, at least bring back the stuff you can’t get from anyone else. Give me cashew-brazil nut buttercrunch, then we’ll talk.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 270 calories, 130 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Core Ice Cream
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Co-op Food Stores
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good flavor combination. Gooey caramel. Lots of mix-ins. Chunk digger prevention. Playing with knives.
Cons: Rehashing old ingredients. The horrors of the Flavor Graveyard. Trans fat. Dry cupcakes. Being too impatient to let ice cream soften. Making you work for caramel distribution. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk didn’t deserve to die for this.

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