REVIEW: Jack in the Box Spicy Sriracha Burger

Jack in the Box Spicy Sriracha Burger

I imagine there are a number of you who got really excited when you saw the the word “sriracha” in the title of this review. In your head, you’re probably yelling, “SRIRACHA!!!” But I am here to extinguish your excitement like milk extinguishes the capsaicin in your mouth when you eat something spicy.

I can understand your excitement because my head was screaming, “SRIRACHA!!!” after I ordered one. However, my head was thinking something else after I ate it.

The Spicy Sriracha Burger looks like a Sourdough Jack that’s been given a make over by a Subway Sandwich Artist. It has a beef patty, hickory smoked bacon, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickled jalapeño slices, and a creamy sriracha sauce on a toasted sourdough bun.

I’m not sure why Jack went with the shredded lettuce. Their lettuce is awful to begin with, so shredding it won’t make it better. But shredding it does make the burger messy. Despite a kung-fu grip around my burger, the lettuce kept falling out. You might be thinking that’s a good thing because the lettuce is so sad, but it’s not because the sad lettuce was usually coated with the creamy sriracha sauce. So if I let the lettuce fall, most of the sauce won’t be in the burger.

Yup. I just spent an entire paragraph talking about lettuce. But the shredded lettuce isn’t the worst problem.

Jack in the Box Spicy Sriracha Burger 2

It’s the jalapeños.

I raved about the flavor and heat of Jack’s jalapeños in previous menu items, like their Jalapeño Ranch Ultimate Cheeseburger, but that had “jalapeño” in its name. This menu item does not, but it sure tastes like it does. If you’re hoping to get the sweet, spicy, and garlicky flavor of sriracha, I’m sorry to say your hopes and taste buds are going to be smothered by the jalapeños’ flavor and heat. Granted, Jack’s creamy sriracha sauce, as I learned with their Sausage Grande Breakfast Burrito, is noticeably mild compared with the Rooster Sauce, but it should be the sriracha that stands out, not the jalapeño.

There were bites here and there when I could taste other ingredients in the burger, like the bacon’s smokiness and the thin, dry burger patty, but it was mostly The Jalapeño Show Starring Jalapeño Jalapeño with musical guests Jalapeño and cameos by Bacon and Beef Patty.

So if the thought of sriracha excites you and makes you scream “SRIRACHA!!!” in your head, I’d recommend skipping Jack in the Box’s Spicy Sriracha Burger. But if the thought of jalapeño excites you and makes you scream “JALAPENO!!!” in your head, I’d recommend Jack in the Box’s Spicy Sriracha Burger.

(Nutrition Facts – 691 calories, 411 calories from fat, 46 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1612 milligrams of sodium, 478 milligrams of potassium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Spicy Sriracha Burger
Purchased Price: $7.49 (small combo)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Great if you love jalapeño. Flavor of bacon and beef patty pops up every so often behind the jalapeño. Good heat, thanks to the jalapeño.
Cons: Bad if you love sriracha because the creamy sriracha sauce isn’t noticeable. Thin beef patty. Sad shredded lettuce falls out easily, taking much of the sriracha sauce with it. The number of times I used “jalapeño” in a sriracha burger review.

REVIEW: Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae

Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae 1

An ice cream sundae is nothing without its cone. Well, except if it’s in a cup. That’s why Madonna’s cone-bra was so ingenious — it was both cones and cups at the same time. For sanitary reasons, I should probably advise against eating ice cream out of anything that’s been near Madonna’s chest.

For a limited time, Sonic restaurants will be offering the new Waffle Cone Sundae in three flavor combinations: M&M’s Candies & Strawberry, Snickers Bar & Caramel, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate. If you would like to take a walk on the wild side, you can also choose to customize your Waffle Cone Sundae. Or, if you’re bland, boring, and allergic to fun, you can order a plain vanilla Waffle Cone Sundae, devoid of all toppings, for only a single dollar less.

Me? I stand somewhere in the middle. I enjoy an occasional thrill, but I’m nowhere near crazy enough to try crowd-surfing at a Yo-Yo Ma concert. That’s why I went with a pre-made flavor: the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae.

Hmm. Sonic certainly didn’t spare the peanut butter cup topping. As soon as the carhop handed me the ice cream cone, little bits of Reese’s started falling all over the place — probably the reason why he thrust a handful of napkins in my face a few seconds later.

Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae 2

I needed those napkins, too. The waffle cone itself is crisp, yet fragile. On several occasions, a single bite caused large portions of the cone to shatter. I had mistakenly left my Patrick Bateman gloves at home, so I found myself licking frantically to prevent vanilla ice cream from dripping all over my beautiful, bare hands.

Even with such a delicate cone, the ice cream never leaked out of the bottom. This was convenient, as I didn’t want to be burdened with the task of explaining the origin of sticky, white stains on the car seats to my leasing agent.

The flavor of the Waffle Cone Sundae’s vanilla soft serve base is complemented by both the peanut butter cup bits and the chocolate syrup. The first few bites combine the two toppings in perfect proportion, a familiar blend of chocolate and peanut flavors.

Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae 4

Regrettably, the balance doesn’t last for too long, as the top layer of the sundae disappears quickly. What remains is little more than plain vanilla ice cream in a plain waffle cone — a dessert as boring as the Christmas with Colonel Sanders vinyl record. (There was so much potential. The Little Drumstick Boy? The Twelve Days of Chicken? These songs practically write themselves.) To attain a more thorough distribution of flavors, Sonic would have been better off swirling the toppings into the vanilla ice cream base.

I was disappointed to find that the waffle cone seems weakly flavored, smothered by the vanilla ice cream during most bites. As the cone begins to double-up in an overlap toward its bottom, the waffle flavor becomes more apparent, but the cone merely serves as a vessel to hold ice cream for the majority of the sundae.

The most attractive aspect of Sonic’s Waffle Cone Sundae is the price. Ice cream isn’t always cheap in today’s economy, and I definitely don’t want to resort to eating those questionable Walmart ice cream sandwiches whenever I’m craving frozen dairy treats. For just a few cents under three dollars, the Waffle Cone Sundae is a bargain.

Despite all of its flaws, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae remains a satisfying and inexpensive ice cream cone. Both the quantity of toppings and the waffle cone itself were less than ideal, but for the price, its peanut butter and chocolate flavor is sufficient.

On the first day of Chicken,
The Colonel sent to me:
12 pounds of gravy,
11 herbs and spices,
10 tubs of white meat,
9 thighs and drumsticks,
8 buttermilk biscuits,
7 Chicken Littles,
6 wings and sauces,
5 DOUBLE DOOOOOOOWNS!
4 Famous Bowls,
3 Go Cups,
2 pot pies,
and a bucket of Original Recipeeeeee.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on Sonic website.)

Item: Sonic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Waffle Cone Sundae
Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Sonic
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty chocolate and peanut butter flavors. Inexpensive. Twelve Days of Chicken.
Cons: Fragile cone. Just plain ice cream after top layer. Forgetting my Patrick Bateman gloves at home.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Little Caesars’ Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza is a pepperoni pizza with a soft pretzel crust. It’s that simple.

The meeting at Little Caesars for this pizza had one visual aid. It was a photo of a soft pretzel and a plus sign and then a photo of a pepperoni pizza and then an equals sign, and then a soft pretzel pizza.

Q: “But, Marshall, do you think we need to somehow optimize the flavors to each other?”

A: “Larry, do you or do you not want to go eat lunch?”

The meeting was six minutes long and they definitely did not eat Little Caesars for their meal.

Eating a slice of this pizza is like rummaging through boardwalk garbage. It’s a straight up soft pretzel stretched out into pizza form and had pepperoni and cheese put on it. It’s what the pawn seagulls probably bring to the queen seagull. Pretty sure Templeton from Charlotte’s Web has a slice of one of these things during his smorgasbord. I wouldn’t describe the pizza as “terrific” and probably not “humble,” but it absolutely had “some pig” in it.

Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza Crust Closeup

Yo, Little Caesars, have you ever tried your own Hot-N-Ready pizzas? Thems salty. So what did you do? You added a pretzel bread, which is saltier, and then on top of that you sprinkled that rock salt that clears New England sidewalks in the winter.

After the first few bites, I had a salt wince duck face like it was selfie time. The pepperoni was not bad. But in the context of the entire pie, it was a little much having meat discs of sodium to surf on the waves of high blood pressure. Quiz: “I’m really looking forward to more Salt.” Is that a quote from me eating this pizza or Kurt Wimmer, writer of the Angelina Jolie film Salt? Find the answer hidden in this review somewhere! (It’s Kurt Wimmer)

Of course, our taste buds adapt to change, but it was disconcerting when a couple slices in I started to get used to it. Could I ever eat anything without salt again? What if this was my new normal? I looked up from my thoughts and realized I had eaten the entire pie.

I spent weeks wandering the street as a salt junkie until I went through the twelve step salt program. I’m now a salt-free, productive member of society but every once in a while when I’m at a mid-low caliber restaurant, the shaker with the white rocks calls my name. I ignore her pleas but she knows one day I’ll crumble. She knows.

Moreover, Lil’ Caesar, I like the way you run your store. I was in and out in about four minutes and there were two people in front of me in line. Handed over payment and received my product. Someone get the guy who thought that system up to help out with hospital emergency room triage. In and out. In and out. Easy. Everybody leaving the ER has a slice of pizza in their hand. Beautiful.

Since LiCa did such a good job with replicating a pretzel for the bread, there are a couple things to consider here. First is the texture. The soft pretzel bread was very similar to what we all know as soft pretzel bread, but the question is: Do we want that chewy, chewy texture for pizza? The answer for me is that it’s fine, but ultimately I like a crispy exterior and a chewy interior. It works for the novelty, but I don’t want it for my every day pizza.

Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza Slice

Second is the cheese. There is some “real” cheese sprinkled on top but I noticed a cheddar cheese sauce that is also present, more the consistency of a thick nacho cheese. This was a cheese that tasted and felt like a dipping sauce that you might stick a soft pretzel into. It had a bit of zest and all the smoothness of Cheez Wiz. Again, fine for the novelty, but the more I think about it, it’s kind of gross. Like kissing!

It’s all a bit of an unbalanced affair and I’m not sure my hypertension can take another one, but the Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza is an interesting novelty, and a cheap one at that. If you’re ever pressed for time like those executives who thought up this pizza, and you really, really need to eat a soft pretzel and a pizza at once, the Little C got your back. Pizza pizza? Salty salty.

(Disclosure: We received a $10 Little Caesars gift card from Little Caesars to purchase the pizza.)

(Nutrition Facts – 1/8 of a pizza – 270 calories, 11 grams fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 570 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.)

Item: Little Caesars Soft Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Little Caesars
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Fun to eat two food items at once. Cheap.
Cons: Extremely salty. Texture of bread is not pizza bread

REVIEW: McDonald’s Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan)

McDonald's Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan)

When I dream I often come across magical dream items I wish existed in real life. If only I could Inception myself or have a dream thief Inception me (That thought makes me all warm and tingly) so these mystic items could be extracted into reality.

I mean, imagine if you could have a guitar that doubles as a television remote. Then you wouldn’t have to stop playing for a moment to turn the channel! Or a toothbrush that simultaneously flosses your teeth and then rinses your mouth with Listerine. Sure it sounds dangerous, and it probably is, but you’d still want one. I know I would.

So when I encountered McDonald’s Purple Sweet Potato McShake on a walk through Osaka, I bit myself as hard as I could on the hand to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Pinching yourself is so outdated. Get with the dream times, people! The milkshake was real (as was the blood running down my hand and arm) so I wasted no time in going in and getting one.

Irasshaimase!!!” said the workers.

Expect to hear this whenever you walk into just about anywhere in Japan. One time I swear I heard a toilet say it to me as I entered a restroom.

After using my pathetic routine of pointing at the item I want and saying “this one, please” in Japanese and the magic dream item extraction began. Now I know purple sweet potatoes are a real thing, but come on, when do you ever see one of them? I’m close to 30 and I have yet to encounter one, so to me this is as magical a milkshake as there is.

McDonald's Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan) 2

The color was very off-putting. It is a vibrant purple, which is really confusing because you think it will taste like black raspberry, or grape, or just something that is purple, yet the shake is similar to a traditional sweet potato with the orange center. It not only tastes like one, it tastes like one that has been buttered. I shit you not.

McDonald’s was able to replicate this Thanksgiving staple without being overly rich. A welcome surprise. The shake is not triple-thick like the ones in America, so you don’t have to worry about any “God Damn It All The Shake Won’t Come Through the Straw” frustrations. It’s a tad thinner than I usually like my milkshakes but the flavor more than made up for it.

Now I personally love buttered sweet potatoes, so for me this shake was amazing but I could see some people not liking it just because it doesn’t seem like a milkshake flavor that is meant to be.

The one real obstacle you have with this milkshake is the psychological game it plays with you. Imagine if you were given a milkshake that appeared to be vanilla but in fact it tasted like strawberry, or a chocolate-seeming milkshake that in fact tasted like butter pecan. Can you say, “mind fuck?” I can! It’s actually fun to say, rolls off the tongue really well. Give it a try!

So to amplify the MF experience, I drank the milkshake while walking through the famous Dotonbori area in Osaka, which is filled with all sorts of crazy mechanical crabs, electronic signs, and numerous oddities, not to mention the thousands of people walking about trying to decide which delicacy to try.

If you had told me, “Hey, Trev, you’re tripping balls right now,” I wouldn’t have disagreed with you. I would’ve been angry at you for slipping me something, but only for a minute, because what’s the point in getting angry?

Now I can’t tell you to hop on a flight, go to Japan and get this McShake because…wait, no, I can tell you whatever I want. So go book a flight, preferably leaving tomorrow, fly into Tokyo or Osaka, get the McShake and then do whatever else you want.

If you don’t speak Japanese, no worries! A combination of pointing, the words, “I don’t understand,” and crying will get you through most situations.

Ganbatte!

(Nutrition Facts – (Editor’s Note: I’d like to put the nutrition facts here, but I don’t know where it is on the McDonald’s Japan website.))

Item: McDonald’s Purple Sweet Potato McShake (Japan)
Purchased Price: 195 yen
Size: Medkum
Purchased at: McDonald’s Japan
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Actually tastes like a sweet potato. Buttery flavor is delicious and a minor miracle. Being in Japan. Being incepted.
Cons: Milkshake is a tad thin. Dollar to yen confusion. Irasshaimase gets old fast. Shake is a real mind fuck.

REVIEW: Market Pantry Birthday Cake Creme Sandwich Cookies

Market Pantry Birthday Cake Creme Sandwich Cookies

Do you want to know how to ruin my birthday party?

Do any of the following.

Get me a pony instead of the mini unicorn I requested. Give me a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf gift card instead of a Starbucks gift card. Put trick candles on my birthday cake. Make me hit a piñata with a blindfold. Not sing “Happy Birthday” in a language other than English. And pass out these Market Pantry Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies instead of Nabisco’s Birthday Cake Oreo Cookies.

You may think I’m pooh-poohing the store brand because I’m a brand elitist or I’ve got cash to burn so I can spend it on big brands, but I think Target’s Market Pantry puts out some really good stuff, like their Snickerdoodle Milk.

I’d be insulted if someone brought these store brand birthday cake-flavored sandwich cookies to my party because there are several things off about them.

Let’s start with the packaging.

If Target’s Market Basket wants to copy Nabisco’s ideas, might I suggest copying the resealable package. Sure, Nabisco probably has a patent or two for their resealable cookie packaging, but I wish Target would come up with their own because once this package is open, you’ve either got to close it with tape, clothespins, or eat the whole damn thing in one sitting. Also, the graphics on the packaging confuse me. The cookies are chocolate wafers with creme, but the cake on the packaging is yellow cake with frosting. Yeah, that doesn’t match.

Market Pantry Birthday Cake Creme Sandwich Cookies Stcak

Now let’s move on to the creme.

First, it looks like it was either placed on the chocolate wafer by an uncalibrated or emo creme squirting machine (I believe creme squirting machine is the technical name for it) or it looks like my lazy ass put these cookies together. The pat of creme isn’t in a uniform shape and it’s not centered in the middle of the cookie like the creme is with an Oreo cookie. Also, the colorful “sprinkles,” which make the creme appear birthday cake frosting-ish, seem to be nothing more than spots of food dye. It looks like the Nyan Cat sneezed on it.

As for the flavor, I don’t think it tastes birthday cake frosting-ish. It’s more like regular chocolate sandwich cookie creme-ish. I licked my way through several cookies as if I was a dog with a jar of peanut butter, but didn’t think there was anything resembling birthday cake.

While the packaging and creme are off, they don’t make the cookie’s flavor weird. But that happens with the chocolate wafers. They have a crunch similar to Oreo cookies and they start off with a mild cocoa flavor, but they end with a weird, bitter artificialness that brings down the entire cookie and guarantees it ends up on my birthday party shitlist.

So if your arm reaches for these Market Pantry Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies, shift it to the far right or far left, which is where the Nabisco cookies are probably stocked at your local Target, and grab the Nabisco Birthday Cake Oreo Cookies instead before you come to my birthday party.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 140 calories 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 35 milligrams of potassium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

*made with partially hydrogenated oils

Item: Market Pantry Birthday Cake Creme Sandwich Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.09
Size: 15.25 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Cheaper than Birthday Cake Oreo. Getting Starbucks gift cards. Unicorns. Nabisco products being to the left or right of these cookies.
Cons: Tastes cheaper than Birthday Cake Oreo. Chocolate wafers have weird bitterness. Creme doesn’t taste birthday cake-ish. Sprinkles aren’t sprinkles. Packaging shows yellow cake with white frosting, but the cookies are chocolate. It looks like I put the cookies together.