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).

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich 2

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.

Chick-fil-A Egg White Grill Breakfast Sandwich 3

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: Hostess Limited Edition Key Lime Slime Twinkies

Hostess Limited Edition Key Lime Slime Twinkies

What’s your favorite scene from the original Ghostbusters?

Was it the library ghost sequence to open the movie? What about Venkman getting slimed? Maybe you liked the big climax where our heroes saved New York City? There are plenty to choose from.

My favorite scene was when Egon ate a Twinkie. Classic!

Okay, that’s not entirely true, but if you were wondering how the famous snack cake ties in with the Ghostbusters, there’s your connection. Egon Spengler used a Twinkie as a metaphor for some scientific mumbo jumbo and then chowed down.

Fast forward 32 years (OMG, you’re so old!) and we have new Ghostbusters and new Twinkies. Long gone are the days of Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, Hudson, and boring old vanilla cream. Now we have Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, Jones, and Key Lime Slime cream!

Hostess has graced the public with the same oily Twinkie cakes we’ve loved since 1930 (OMGGG, you’re sooooo old!) This time, however, they tried something new with the cream.

Twinkies are always a gamble for me. Sometimes you get a nice moist, fluffy cake. Other times you get a firm, spongy disaster. I lucked out with a perfect batch this time.

Hostess Limited Edition Key Lime Slime Twinkies 3

The “slime” colored cream bursting out of the three holes on the underbelly of the cake makes it look moldy. I have a feeling this may turn some people off, but if you stick with it, the Key lime flavor will make you forget about that. It also looks a lot tastier once you bite or cut into the Twinkie.

I was skeptical of Key lime as a Twinkie flavor, but they managed to pull it off. In reality, it’s artificially colored green, so they could have just dyed the regular filling like Oreo does with the orange Halloween cookies. Why not? It’d be a perfect representation of the movie it’s promoting – a cheap gimmicky repacking of an old idea.

Whooooaaaa! Proton blasts fired!

Nah, I kid because I love. The lime flavor is very subtle. It tasted like a regular Twinkie with a faint citrus blast.

Hostess Limited Edition Key Lime Slime Twinkies 4

Normally I’d probably hold that against a product. It almost seemed like they didn’t believe in the flavor so they diluted it, but it worked well here. I’ll let it slide.

I expected the cream to be either too sweet or too sour, but it toed the line nicely. It also had a great whipped texture, and there was plenty of it stuffed within the cake.

I picked up some Banana Twinkies just for taste and appearance comparisons, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I might like Key Lime Slime more than Banana.

Now please allow me a mini rant.

Hostess Limited Edition Key Lime Slime Twinkies 2

I said it in my Ecto Cooler review, but they’ve really done a subpar job with the marketing of this movie. The box here has one tiny Ghostbusters logo and shades of green. This could have been a really cool collectable box if designed better. This is yet another “slime” tie-in that has no mention or appearance of Slimer. It’s not like they lost the rights to the character. I know he’s in the new movie, so put him on the box! I know he’s an ugly little spud, but put him on the damn box! Stay Puft is on the White Fudge Marshmallow Twinkie box. Where’s Slimer?!

Anyway, the serving size for these Twinkies is two cakes. I ate two. That should tell you that these are a winner. Happy hunting.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cakes – 260 calories, 80 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 35 mg of cholesterol, 350 mg of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 29 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 13.58 oz. box/10 cakes
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Not overly sweet. Not overly sour. Perfectly fresh Twinkie batch. Ample cream filling. The name “Egon Spangler.” Might be better than Banana.
Cons: Key lime could have been a tad stronger. Moldy looking. Complete lack of Slimer in the marketing. My mother gave most of my old Ghostbusters toys away. Scientific mumbo jumbo. We’re old.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows Cereal

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows Cereal

There are three things I never got to see that bum me out – Ebbets Field, a World’s Fair, and Banana Frosted Flakes.

According to Wikipedia – the world’s most trusted source – there have been less than ten Frosted Flakes flavor variants in North America since its inception in 1952, so you can understand why it took 64 years for Kellogg to sprinkle a few marshmallows in.

Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows.

It’s so simple, yet so necessary. I think I’ve subconsciously always wanted these to exist. Why wouldn’t there be Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows?

I’m sure some of you skeptics are thinking, “Meh. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Why you gotta harsh marshmallow’s mellow? (Say that ten times really fast.)

Didn’t you ever mix two cereals together when you were a kid? I still do that. I could write a book about the best cereals to mix together. Dare me. Dare me to write that book. I’ll write that book so hard!

Threats aside, I don’t think I need to go into much detail about Frosted Flakes. At this point, you should know all about the sugary corn flakes. They’re literally sugar coated Corn Flakes and one of the most iconic cereals on Earth.

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows Cereal 2

Tony the Tiger is one of the most recognizable marketing mascots ever, up there with Mickey Mouse, Ronald McDonald, and every child’s favorite, Progressive Flo. Just in case anyone was wondering, the box notes that Frosted Flakes is indeed the official cereal of Tony the Tiger. Thanks for confirming our lifelong suspicions, Kellogg.

So, you’re well aware of the flakes. How are the marshmallows?

They’re Gr-r-r-ross!

Nah, I’m playing, they’re fine. Not quite “gr-r-r-reat,” but they’re okay.

They look like hot chocolate-style marshmallows. Texturally, they are pretty much what you expect from a cereal marshmallow. They have a nice sticky crisp, if that makes sense.

Kellogg's Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows Cereal 3

It’s hard to get too excited about the appearance. This is a no-frills cereal, and annoying people tell me you eat with your eyes first. They could have at least made them little tiger paws or something. Instead, it’s just a boring bowl of whiteish-yellow flakes and little rock marshmallows devoid of color.

The marshmallows have a really good crisp that gets immediately overtaken once you crunch them along with the cereal flakes. Frosted Flakes is a cereal that loses crispness in milk quickly, so after a couple spoonfuls, you’re left with soggy flakes and slimy marshmallows. That being said, the after-milk was the same as I remember. It’s like mixing five tablespoons of sugar in a glass of milk.

I never thought of Frosted Flakes as a “without milk” cereal, but I think these could be a nice starter kit for a top notch snack mix. Throw in some honey roasted peanuts, M&M’s and pretzels, and we’re on to something. I may buy another box and give this a shot.

I consider Frosted Flakes a good “if they’re on sale” purchase. They’ve always been a 7 out of 10 cereal to me, and I don’t think I can give these a different score. The marshmallows didn’t really change the taste, and barely provided a different texture. I could hold that against them, but why bother? It was still a satisfying bowl of cereal.

I’m sure you weren’t expecting this cereal to reinvent the wheel, so I think you’ll like ’em. If you love Frosted Flakes, give ’em a whirl. Now, who wants to start a petition with me to get Banana Frosted Flakes back on shelves?

(Nutrition Facts – 29 grams – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 135 mg of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 13.6 oz box
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Classic cereal. Really good fresh out of the box. Potential base for a snack mix. Mixing multiple cereals together. Tony the Tiger. Saying Tony the Tiger’s famous catchphrase out loud.
Cons: Really not much different than normal. Boring appearance. Almost instant sog. Super sugary cereal milk. Tongue twisters. I really wanted to go to a World’s Fair. “Ya know, anyone can edit Wikipedia.”

REVIEW: Pillsbury Girl Scouts Thin Mints Brownie Mix

Pillsbury Girl Scouts Thin Mints Brownie Mix

Before we begin, let me say this: don’t Google “Pillsbury Doughgirl.”

I did so with the intention of cracking some joke about how the Pillsbury Doughboy shouldn’t be allowed on this box of Girl Scouts Thin Mints Brownie Mix, but instead I learned three things:

  • Yes, there was a female “Poppie Fresh” mascot introduced in the ‘70s, but fans still weirdly debate whether she’s the Doughboy’s wife or sister.
  • It only takes creepy internet photographers two Google image search results to make these mascots’ relationship disturbingly erotic.
  • The Urban Dictionary definition of “Pillsbury Dough Girl” would make even George Carlin blush.

So excuse me as I unplug my computer and mourn the loss of my innocence by cramming an 8”x8” rectangle of baked chocolate mint goodness into my mouth.

Pillsbury Girl Scouts Thin Mints Brownie Mix 2

The brownie mix itself is pale brown and floury: the kind of messy stuff you’ll inevitably end up wearing like a cocoa powder apron. It tastes like a pulverized Junior Mint mixed with beach sand.

The recipe is so easy a blob of anthropomorphized crescent roll dough could make it. It only requires water, oil, and an egg, so just raid your nearest public swimming pool, Jiffy Lube, and McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast to procure the necessary ingredients.

Pillsbury Girl Scouts Thin Mints Brownie Mix 3

After the specified 50 strokes of a spoon, what’s left is a decadent and thick chocolate batter studded with little square chocolate chunks. I popped a solid chocolate square in my mouth, and it popped back with a rich, slightly bitter chocolate mint bite —- a lot like an Andes Mint.

With a perfect golden ratio of chocolate to mint, the batter tasted so good raw I didn’t want to bake it. But salmonella might’ve been what killed the Pillsbury Doughgirl, so I let it sit in the oven for 30 minutes while wondered — in a chocolate daze — whether that minty fresh brown batter is what courses through the Doughboy’s veins to keep him Poppin’ Fresh.

When I finally opened my oven, a gust of mint chocolate scented air smacked me like a water balloon filled with Shamrock Shakes. After my bubbling cocoa lava brownies cooled, I dug in with the voracity of a cartoon caveman.

Pillsbury Girl Scouts Thin Mints Brownie Mix 4

Yep, these taste exactly like Thin Mints. Like any sane human, I prefer my brownies gooey in the middle and crispy on the crust, and this helped recreate the “crisp cookie enrobed in creamy chocolate” textural contrast of the famous Girl Scout Cookie.

These Thin Mint Brownies lack a lot of the traditional vanilla-tinged, eggy fudge flavor of other brownies, mostly because the pleasant and pervasive buzz of peppermint usurps its place. The milk chocolate and sweetened cocoa brownie base, meanwhile, is still appropriately moist, and the formerly solid chocolate morsels provide welcome land mine bursts of magmatic, minty chocolate liqueur.

I can’t recommend these brownies to everyone, because loving mint is an obvious prerequisite. Girl Scout Cookie consumers tend to be loyal to a specific cookie, and because Thin Mints are tied for 3rd in my book — right behind Do-Si-Dos and my personal, peanut buttery Tagalong messiahs — I thought these brownies were just slightly above average.

On the other hand, those who can casually empty a roll of Thin Mints like it’s a peeled banana will give satisfied merit badges to these complexly chocolatized delights.

Wait, how half-baked and dumb do I have to be to think “chocolatized” is a real word? Did the Doughboy put another “special green” ingredient in these brownies?

(Nutrition Facts – 1/12 package, as prepared – 190 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 14.1 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Authentic Thin Mint texture. Ooey-gooey-kablooey chocolate morsel explosions. Declaring “Tagalongology” as my official religion. Chocolatize me, Cap’n!
Cons: Fudge droughts. A criminal lack of Do-Si-Do brownies. Feeling half-baked after eating half-baked brownies. The number of red squiggles spellcheck gave this review.

REVIEW: Lay’s Beer ‘n Brats Potato Chips

Lay's Beer 'n Brats Potato Chips

With it being cookout season, I imagine many of you will find yourselves outside with a cold beer in one hand, a nice bratwurst in the other hand, not enough sunscreen on your body, and way too much bug repellant because those reports on the evening news about the Zika virus are freaking you out.

Frito-Lay is celebrating summer with the rollout of Lay’s Beer ’n Brats Potato Chips, which is a flavor that I imagine is causing some of you to spew profanities at your screen right now because it was your entry for the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest.

Full disclosure: I am not a beer drinker.

Full disclosure 2 Electric Boogaloo: But I am a beer-flavored potato chip eater.

I’m a huge fan of Kettle Brand’s Cheddar Beer Potato Chips. I voted for it during Kettle Brand’s first People’s Choice vote in 2005. I love its combination of maltiness and tangy cheesiness, and how those flavors really popped. Oh, God, I want some right now.

So how do these Lay’s chips get their beeriness and bratiness?

With Beer ’n Brats seasoning, of course. No really. That’s what it’s called in the ingredients list. Thankfully the seasoning is broken down. Here are some of the highlights in no particular order: salt (of course), onion powder, cheddar cheese, brown sugar, sugar, yeast extract, whey protein concentrate (imagine me flexing right now), spices, butter, Romano cheese, chicken broth, chicken powder, buttermilk, chicken fat, dijon mustard, natural extractives of beer, and beer solids.

What’s a beer solid? It sounds like a favor that’s sealed when two people drink beer with their drinking arms intertwined. It’s not, but the knowledgeable ingredients list also breaks down what beer solids are — malted barley, corn syrup, hops, and yeast.

Lay's Beer 'n Brats Potato Chips 2

The Lay’s Beer ’n Brats Potato Chips have an aroma that smells like the undercarriage of a lawnmower that just ran over an herb garden and New York City hot dog carts. It’s sweet, herby, and mustard-y. My nose likes it and my nose also thinks it smells somewhat similar to turkey and stuffing potato chips I’ve had in the past.

A beer-like flavor registered once I put them into my mouth. But quickly after that it got a little more complex. It’s slight herby, there’s a mild onion flavor, the cheese gave off a slight funk, and the chicken ingredients gave the chips a greasiness that tastes like a bratwurst. But overall, the chip leans more towards a bratwurst than a beer, and that taste lingered in my mouth long after I ate them. They have a unique flavor and my palate enjoyed them, but they don’t make me say, “Don’t you dare take these off shelves or else I will cut you!”

As much as I liked these chips, I could see how others might think they’re gross. Herbs, onion, funk, and grease don’t sound like an awesome combination to some, but I guess, much like beer, it’s an acquired taste.

Thanks to my pal Candy Hunting for sending this bag to me. If you have an Instagram account you can follow her @candyhunting.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 330 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: N/A
Size: 7 3/4 oz bag
Purchased at: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Initial flavor is beer-like. It also tastes somewhat like a brat. Complex flavor. Unique flavor. Kettle Brand Cheddar Beer Potato Chips.
Cons: Some might find its flavor off-putting. I wish the flavor popped a bit more. Might be difficult to find. Zika virus.

REVIEW: General Mills Strawberry and Blueberry Tiny Toast Cereals

General Mills Strawberry and Blueberry Tiny Toast Cereals?
Toast is so en vogue right now. You’ve got your avocado toast, your restaurants that only serve toast, and your beer made from toast. Hell, at this point, you’d half expect toast to start singing “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It).”

Toast wasn’t always the critical darling it is today. For years, it perched precariously on the side of breakfast platters everywhere, only there to sop up the remnants of runny yolks (or last night’s bad decisions, if you know what I mean).

But then, in 1984, the cereal wizards at General Mills introduced Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and the rest was history. What then followed were years of toast cereal offshoots like French Toast Crunch and Peanut Butter Toast Crunch, which led me to believe that General Mills should just change their name to “That Cereal Company That Only Makes Toast Themed Cereal.”

Enter Strawberry and Blueberry Tiny Toast cereals to prove my point.

In what is apparently General Mills’ first new cereal brand in fifteen years (I know, I was just as surprised as you), Strawberry and Blueberry Tiny Toast cereals were developed to have an “all-family appeal.” I’m not sure where General Mills finds their test families, but I imagine that the folks who thought this cereal would appeal to everyone are the same folks who think Pop-Tarts are a good source of your five-a-day.

Upon opening the box, the tiny toast cereals have a scent reminiscent of fruit and cream instant oatmeal. While it’s totally artificial, it brings back memories of all of the times in college I didn’t have the time or the initiative to make a more nutritious breakfast. Then upon pouring it out, I was greeted by an adorable bowl full of tiny pieces of toast. We’re talking Honey, I Shrunk the Kids tiny here. Rick Moranis would be proud.

General Mills Strawberry Tiny Toast Cereal

The look of the cereal is a different story, as the specks of fruit on each piece of tiny toast look a little more like measles and mold than anything natural. If Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the “taste you can see,” this cereal is more like the “taste you should see a doctor about.”

As a cereal purist, I first tried both cereals sans milk. Upon scooping out my first bite, I noticed the toasts had a dry and dusty appearance, which was affirmed when they immediately dissolved on my tongue. While the texture isn’t the most pleasant (think arid desert), the taste is much better, with both giving off muffin-like oat flavors mixed with the fruit.

General Mills Blueberry Tiny Toast Cereal

Tired of the Sahara-like climate inside my mouth, I drowned the cereals in milk. Let me tell you – Milk. Is. A. Game. changer. The milk immediately fluffs up the tiny toasts, giving them a more pleasant appearance and mouthfeel, and making the cereal much more enjoyable to eat. It’s like that Lubriderm commercial where they apply it to an alligator – it works that well.

Overall, the Tiny Toast cereals are a pretty good, albeit artificial, addition to your balanced breakfast. Let’s just hope that General Mills doesn’t come out with a crappy sequel.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 120 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99 each
Size: 11.1 oz box
Purchased at: Star Market
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Blueberry)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Strawberry)
Pros: R&B jams. “Honey, I shrunk the breakfast.” Muffin-like fruit flavor. Moisturized with milk.
Cons: Need for cereal antibiotics. Dusty texture sans milk. Remembering bad decisions.