REVIEW: Jack in the Box Grilled French Toast Plate

Jack in the Box Grilled French Toast Plate

It’s important to start your morning right with a tasty breakfast, but I can’t say Jack in the Box’s Grilled French Toast Plate helped me accomplish that. And now my day has gotten off on the wrong foot and, I mean, they say it comes in threes, so what other two gloomy events are going to happen to me today?

The Grilled French Toast Plate is part of Jack’s Brunchfast menu and it features three pieces of French toast, your choice of bacon or sausage, and syrup. Mine came with two syrup containers. I don’t know if that’s the universe trying to balance my bad start or if that’s what Jack in the Box employees are instructed to do.

But those containers came in handy because the French toast by themselves are a bit bland. There’s a slight egginess and an even more slight sweetness, but it’s lacking flavor beyond that. There was powdered sugar on the pieces, but most of it had melted into the bread by the time I opened the plastic container they came in. I’m disappointed they didn’t have any cinnamon flavor or butteriness.

Jack in the Box Grilled French Toast Plate 2

I dumped the syrup from one of the containers onto all three pieces. One container has enough to coat all of them, but even with that, the grilled bread didn’t have as much sweetness as I’m used to with French toast. So I found myself using the second container as a dip.

The pieces were soft enough that I could use my fork to cut through them. But that’s the only positive thing I could say about them. Well, I thought they looked great, but that belief faded away as soon as I tried them.

As for the sausage, it too was soft enough that I could use my fork to cut through it. It’s salty, porky, and, now that I think about it, I should’ve used it as the meat for a French toast sandwich. That might’ve made the French toast better.

I really like the Southwest Scrambler Plate on the Brunchfast menu. I’ve ordered it almost a dozen times by now. But I can’t say the same about the Grilled French Toast Plate, and this is the only time I’ll ever buy it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have go prepare myself for whatever calamities will come my way today.

(Nutrition Facts – w/sausage and w/o syrup – 555 calories, 213 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 193 milligrams of cholesterol, 1263 milligrams of sodium, 137 milligrams of potassium, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: French toast pieces were soft and easy to cut with a fork. Looks good. Two syrup containers. Sausage was fine. Eating breakfast.
Cons: Not a good way to start your morning, afternoon, or evening, since it’s available all day. French toast NEEDS syrup. It needs it SOOOO BAD. No cinnamon or butteriness. Not making a French toast sandwich with it.

REVIEW: Arby’s Meat Mountain

Arby’s Meat Mountain

Not since the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Most American Thickburger – or maybe that one Pizza Hut variation that had pigs-in-a-blanket as the crust – has there been a fast food offering as audacious as Arby’s Meat Mountain.

So monstrous this tribute to American ingenuity/gluttony that the cashier actually ASKED me if I was serious when I ordered it. In fact, I had to tell her “yes” no less than three times before she rang up the purchase.

Arby’s Meat Mountain 2

You remember those old episodes of Scooby Doo when Shaggy would get the munchies and come marching out of the kitchen with a towering sandwich filled with who-knows-what all the way to the ceiling? Well, that’s pretty much what Meat Mountain is. Underneath one greasy star-cut bun, you get all of the following ingredients: angus beef, cheddar cheese, chicken tenders, corned beef, pepper bacon, pit-smoked ham, roast beef, roast turkey, smoked brisket, and Swiss cheese.

So basically, it’s like eating Noah’s Ark in sandwich form. It’s a 1,000-calories plus behemoth that doesn’t even fit in the company’s stock wrappers – my order came in a wadded up ball of wax paper that, folded out on the table, came out to nearly two feet in length.

Arby’s Meat Mountain 3

Arby’s Meat Mountain 4

In that, I suppose Meat Mountain is more of a limited-time-challenge than a limited-time-offering. You don’t eat it for the pleasurable gustatory sensation, you eat it because it’s a direct threat to your manhood (or womanhood.) One does not simply review Meat Mountain; rather, one seeks to survive it.

Not that it’s a surprise to anybody, but the sandwich is definitely a hassle to eat. It’s so big you really can’t fit your mouth around it without taking out a layer or two of meat first, so you may find yourself tearing chunks of Meat Mountain apart instead of shoveling it down your throat (let’s call that one the velociraptor technique.)

Arby’s Meat Mountain 5

Does the medley of meats come together harmoniously? Not really, but it’s still pretty awesome. It’s not so much the divergent tastes of the product that’s weird as it is the alternating textures. One bite it’s crunchy and a little spicy, the next it’s sinewy and chewy and just a wee bit soggy. That said, getting a mouthful of cow, chicken, pig and turkey all at once does make you feel like a khakis-clad T-Rex, and ultimately, that’s the feeling you’re paying $10 for.

One look at this thing and you’ll know right away whether or not you can handle it. Just one word of caution for all you iron-stomached adventurers out there, who think you’re ready to go napkin to napkin with this mammoth burger: while the sandwich isn’t as oily as you’d expect, it is unbelievably salty, packing a whopping 3,000-plus milligrams of sodium. So be sure you have a cola nearby before tackling this beastly creation – or at the very least, a sizable armada of Arby’s sauces.

Arby’s Meat Mountain 6

(Nutrition Facts – 1,030 calories, 460 calories from fat, 51 grams of total fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 225 milligrams of cholesterol, 3,640 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugars, 87 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $10
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Being able to eat an entire barnyard in one sitting. The feeling of savory, crispy bacon dancing next to corned beef on your tongue. Dipping your turkey-chicken-beef-ham-bacon sammich into a pool of horseradish-pepper-ketchup-and-honey-mustard sauce and realizing what it’s like to be the king of all existence for a few fleeting seconds.
Cons: EVERYTHING is super-duper-extra-salty. Some of the meats don’t gel together well at all. The look on the cashier’s face when you ask if it comes in a vegan-friendly version.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Smokehouse Pizza

Little Caesars Smokehouse Pizza

It’s surprisingly easy comparing the big four of American pizza chains to the big four of 1980s thrash metal bands. Pizza Hut is Metallica, so that makes Domino’s Megadeth by default. And since Papa John’s is Anthrax (because when both go wrong, they go horribly wrong), that must make Little Caesars the fast food equivalent of Slayer.

And much the same way Slayer has consistently been the heaviest and fastest of those bands, so has Little Caesars been the heaviest and fastest of the pizza pie big four. Seriously, what’s heavier and faster than a HOT-N-READY bacon-wrapped DEEP! DEEP! Dish pizza, anyway?

Well, the newfangled Smokehouse Pizza is pretty much the musical equivalent of Slayer releasing a bluegrass album. On the surface, it doesn’t sound even remotely feasible, but then you realize, “Hey, the instruments may be different, but this stuff is STILL really heavy and fast. Just the way I like it.”

Little Caesars Smokehouse Pizza 2

And yes, this super savory meat-a-palooza pie is pretty spectacular. Little Caesars did not skimp out on the fix-ins, as the cacophony of brisket, bacon, and pulled pork gels incredibly well. The high-quality meat is certainly smoky and savory, and you get an absolute ton of it piled atop your pizza.

While each variety of meat maintains a distinct taste and texture, the medley of flavors blends together nicely. No one meat becomes too dominant on your tastebuds – thanks in no small part to the delicious barbecue sauce base, which does a bang-up job tying everything together.

The mozzarella and Muenster mix, however, was a bit underwhelming. With so much meat on the pie, there really needs to be an extra handful of cheese on this thing, lest the dairy flavorings literally be buried.

Little Caesars Smokehouse Pizza 4

The biggest problem with the pizza, however, has to be the superfluous mesquite seasonings on the crust. Basically, it tastes like BBQ potato chip dust, and moving from a very authentic barbecue flavor to a very synthetic tasting one definitely lessens the experience. It’s also an extremely messy pizza, so be mindful if you decide to tackle this bad boy while wearing your Sunday best.

Still, the Smokehouse Pizza is unique and flavorful enough to warrant at least one taste test. For just $9 you are getting a colossal amount of food, and the overall quality of the meat is likely to surprise you.

Little Caesars Smokehouse Pizza 3

Be forewarned, though: as any veteran BBQ enthusiast will tell you, ingesting enough BBQ sauce-slathered pork and beef in quick intervals CAN put you in nap-mode out of the blue. So just to be on the safe side of things? If you order this pizza, make sure to have a pillow or two handy.

(Nutrition Facts – Not listed on website.)

Purchased Price: $9
Size: Large pizza (8 slices)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: A very rich and robust smoked barbecue taste. A nice and savory BBQ sauce base. Being so full of brisket you come *this close* to reaching beef enlightenment.
Cons: Nowhere near enough cheese. The artificial BBQ seasonings on the crust are a little off-putting. Trying to ward off the food coma effects about a half hour after eating your last slice.

REVIEW: KFC Georgia Gold Chicken

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken

Recently, I’ve been referring to KFC as Kan’t Figure (out the) Colonel because of its revolving door of portrayals that started off as confusing and is now weirdly entertaining. The latest Colonel Sanders made his debut along with the chicken chain’s new Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ Chicken.

Let me preface by saying I’m a connoisseur of anything honey mustard-flavored. Amongst the fast food landscape there is the full gamut of choices, from Chick-fil-A’s non-creamy offering to Papa John’s liquid euphoria that I would very much like to bathe in.

That’s the thing about honey mustard and its flavor profile, it’s all over the place. As Forrest Gump’s mom would say, “Honey mustard is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Is it cream based? What’s the honey-to-mustard ratio? How seedy is it? Let’s see where Georgia Gold lies.

(Side note – KFC, how bout Tom Hanks as the next colonel? I BET HE WOULD CRUSH IT.)

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken 2

The chicken tenders I got came in an order of three in their own little container with some pickles for good measure. While I do love a good pickle, I’m not a huge fan when they are hot as they lose some of their gratifying crunch. They were marginal at best. I ate them first just so I could move quickly on to the stars of the dish, the tenders themselves, which were fantastic.

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken 3

The meat inside was juicy, like insanely juicy, which I definitely was not expecting. The breading was, as I like to call it, Goldilocks-style. Not too crunchy or too mushy, it was juuuuuussssssst right.

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken 4

With the perfect meat and breading I was excited for some intense flavor. However, it never materialized. It was hard to distinguish any flavor at all actually. As I looked to the bottom of the container, I saw what had happened. It had all pooled to the bottom grooves of the container so I decided to scoop up the concoction with my spork.

Once in my mouth, I got all the flavors I was hoping for. Hints of mustard and honey, a slight BBQ essence, even a little bit of heat towards the end, and all surprisingly well balanced. All notes could have been a bit stronger and I wish it was more of a smooth sauce rather than being slightly clumpy and oily, but regardless it was tasty!

I remedied the rest of my meal by adding the mixture right on top of the remaining tenders. After I was finished, forget my fingers, I wanted to lick those grooves. Yum, this was CONTAINER LICKIN’ GOOD!

(Nutrition Facts – 3 Tenders – 410 calories, 22 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 940 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 29 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Goldilocks-style breading. Insanely juicy white meat chicken. Tom Hanks as the new Colonel. A bathtub full of your favorite condiment.
Cons: Trying out a new honey mustard = taste bud Russian roulette. Georgia Gold sauce fleeing the tenders for the safety of the container grooves.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Fried Guava Pie

McDonald’s Fried Guava Pie

Two things you should know about McDonald’s pies in Hawaii.

  1. They’re fried. Hawaii is one of the few places in the United States that offers fried McDonald’s pies. (Oddly, we are also the healthiest state in the country.)
  2. We have local seasonal pie flavors many of you would call “exotic.” The Haupia Pie features a coconut-flavored filling with gelatinous pieces and the Taro Pie has a purple filling with gelatinous cubes.

McDonald’s Hawaii’s newest fried pie doesn’t have jellylike cubes, but it does have a thick guava-flavored filling. To be honest, I’m surprised our local McDonald’s didn’t come out with a guava pie sooner because guava is our state fruit.

And if you look that up on the internet, you’ll learn it’s not. But we use the fruit in enough products that it should be.

Even though we love the tropical fruit, the 50th state can’t brag about it being the first one to have McDonald’s guava pies. Florida can claim that fact that no one from there will brag about. Although, not to brag, theirs was baked.

The exterior of the Fried Guava Pie looks like the skin of someone who was in a freak chemistry laboratory accident. But, man, that bubbly skin is crispy like the best fried chicken you’ve ever had. It has a level of crispiness that you wish McDonald’s chicken filets, patties, and McNuggets had.

McDonald’s Fried Guava Pie 2

The viscous pink filling has a flavor that reminds me of the canned guava nectar I drank as a kid, but warm. Perhaps, too warm (and maybe a bit too sweet). My taste buds are so used to having that delicious flavor ice cold that it’s weird to taste it at a higher temperature. It’s like drinking warm soda. Also, a few chomps had a sweet chemical zing to them. It was a turnoff to my taste buds, but it wasn’t in every bite so it didn’t prevent me from eating the whole pie.

Haupia and taro are foods I don’t eat, but love them when in the form of McDonald’s fried pies. With guava and McDonald’s Fried Guava Pie, it’s the opposite.

(Nutrition Facts – 210 calories 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Flavor reminds me of canned guava nectar. Super crispy shell. Fried pies.
Cons: Occasional chemical bite. It’s weird tasting a flavor I usually consume cold. Regional pie variety. Wikipedia saying Hawaii’s state muffin is the coconut muffin.