REVIEW: Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

Since I received the news that my fantasy baseball team was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, I’ve been beating myself up a little bit. I mean, me, a three-time champion in the seven-year existence of The Super Best Friend’s League, missing the playoffs? That’s something that sad losers do, not Trevor. I honestly think it may be one of the first signs of the apocalypse. Now maybe, just maybe it isn’t end of the world-related, but just to be safe I’d keep an eye out for rivers running red with blood, swarms of locusts, The Four Horsemen, and seven angels with trumpets.

With the recent hardship and possible apocalypse looming, I was in need of a pick-me-up. I sought it in the form of Pizza Hut’s Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Now being in the ultimate state of depression I was in, my dumbass forgot to buy milk before ordering the cookie. When I got it back to my apartment, I didn’t want to lose out on the just-from-the-oven taste of the cookie, so I settled for no milk. This joins drafting Tampa Bay Rays Outfielders Wil Myers and Desmond Jennings on my recent list of regrets.

Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie 2

The first thing I notice about the Ultimate Cookie when I open the box is that it’s just a cookie cake without frosting. I’m not sure why I was expecting it to be a giant cookie. Pizza Hut should really put “cake” at the end of the title to avoid confusion. I was really hoping for a giant cookie, the kind that Paul Bunyan would eat. But alas, it was cut into eight pieces, thus becoming a cake and not one cookie.

The best part about this dish is the heavy amount of Hershey’s chocolate. It’s made with semi-sweet chocolate chips and they were melty and delicious, kind of like Hershey’s chocolate in a s’more.

The cookie was good, but I wanted a lot more. My mother makes my brother and I cookie cakes for our birthdays every year, so my standards are a bit inflated, but I was still a bit disappointed. It didn’t have enough of that salty-sweet that I look for in a cookie cake. But I guess that’s why it’s not called a cookie cake.

It’s a tasty cookie, but it will dry out your mouth. You won’t die if you order the cookie and don’t have any milk on hand but at the same time you will miss out on a lot of the experience.

Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie 3

I ate four of the eight slices while it was still fresh and after a full day had passed I went back to see how it held up to the test of time. I had put it in plastic wrap and in the cupboard and it really was not worth keeping. The cookie’s flavor is dependent on it being warm. It’s not like when you make a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies and they will still be good for a few days. It makes you realize how average the cookie part is and that without melty chocolate chips, it’s really nothing special.

I really wish there was a frosting on it. It’s just a cookie cake somebody forgot to finish decorating. It’s like they got three-quarters of the way there and said, “Ah, good enough.” It’s not essential for the taste or anything, though it would be better, but it’s really confusing looking at a frosting-less cookie cake.

This giant cookie is decent, but like your friend who only wears jeans and a t-shirt whenever you go out, it needs something more to reach it’s true potential.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 slice – 180 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Pizza Hut Ultimate Hershey’s Chocolate Chip Cookie
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Loads of chocolatey goodness. Winning three fantasy baseball championships in first seven years of your league’s existence.
Cons: Cookie is a tad dry. Doesn’t taste great the next day. Forgetting to buy milk before eating a giant cookie. Having a bad fantasy baseball season and unintentionally setting the wheels of the apocalypse in motion.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Jalapeño Double

McDonald's Jalapeno Double

If you’re looking for a hot, cheap date, I recommend sitting under a phoenix dactylifera during an African summer. But if you’re looking for a hot, cheap burger, I’d recommend McDonald’s Jalapeno Double.

For two dollars, you get two beef patties, a slice of white cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeno slices, jalapeno crisps, buttermilk ranch sauce, a regular bun, a paper bag, and napkins. Although, through my experience, there’s a 10 percent chance you won’t get napkins.

My McDonald’s Jalapeno Double was topped with seven pickled jalapeno slices. I took that as a sign that I was going to get lucky and taste something good or Ray Kroc was smiling down at me…hoping I burn my mouth for all the negative McDonald’s reviews I’ve written.

Fortunately for me, it was the former.

While my burger had a nacho’s worth of pickled jalapenos, I can’t say there were a lot of jalapeno crisps. What are jalapeno crisps? That’s a good question. You should be a journalist. Looking at their appearance and ingredients (jalapeno peppers, enriched flour, sunflower oil and/or safflower oil and/or canola oil, and salt), which I didn’t include to increase this review’s word count, I assume they’re jalapeno bits that have been coated with flour and then deep fried to near oblivion.

McDonald's Jalapeno Double Topless

The jalapeno crisps provide very little jalapeno flavor. I think they’re really there to give the burger a bit of crunchiness, which they also don’t go a good job of because there’s so few of them. However, the pickled jalapeno slices completely make up for jalapeño crisps’ lack of flavor and crunch.

As for the burger’s heat, the pickled peppers made my burger hole warm, but not uncomfortably so. Or, if you want to use a scale of heat that uses McDonald’s products as references, then it’s spicier than their Hot Mustard Sauce, but not as hot as their habanero sauces.

Perhaps the reason why, with seven jalapeño slices, the burger isn’t burning my mouth is the buttermilk ranch sauce. It has that familiar ranch salad dressing flavor many of us use to make vegetables tolerable, but the flavor goes in and out like a radio signal through a series of tunnels. I found that weird because there’s enough ranch sauce on the burger to make a McNugget jealous.

Speaking of the McNugget’s Creamy Ranch Sauce, it’s not the same sauce on this burger. To prove it and to definitely inflate this review’s word count, I’ve listed the ingredients below.

The McNugget’s Creamy Ranch Sauce is made up of soybean oil, water, cultured lowfat buttermilk, distilled vinegar, sugar, egg yolks, sea salt, garlic juice, xanthan gum, salt, lactic acid, spices, modified guar gum, onion powder, natural flavor, potassium sorbate, autolyzed torula yeast extract, parsley, and calcium disodium EDTA.

The burger’s buttermilk ranch sauce has soybean oil, cultured buttermilk, water, sour cream, egg yolks, distilled vinegar, maltodextrin, salt, dextrose, modified food starch, soy sauce, dried onion, garlic powder, lactic acid, natural and artificial flavors, shallots, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, calcium disodium EDTA, xanthan gum, spice, phosphoric acid, sodium acid sulfate, propylene glycol alginate, and autolyzed yeast extract.

Like the ranch sauce, the cheese shows itself every so often and seems to help temper the jalapeños. I wish McDonald’s offered a pepper jack cheese, because that would’ve been a nice addition here.

McDonald's Jalapeno Double Wrapper

The McDonald’s Jalapeno Double tastes like a McDouble with jalapenos, and that’s fine and disappointing at the same time. It’s fine because it’s a tasty combination and it’s only two bucks. It’s disappointing because they added ranch sauce and jalapeño crisps to make it more than just a McDouble with jalapeños, but those ingredients don’t do a good job at it. They seem unnecessary, like listing the ingredients for the jalapeño crisps and the two ranch sauces in this review.

(Nutrition Facts – 430 calories, 23 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Jalapeño Double
Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: N/A
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: A spicy McDouble. Worth the two dollars. Strong jalapeño flavor with a warm heat. Crunchy jalapeño slices. Cheese is a great glue that keeps the beef patties together.
Cons: Listing ingredients to add to a review’s word count. Ranch sauce doesn’t stick out. Jalapeño crisps didn’t add much flavor or crunch. Ray Kroc haunting me.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Fiesta Potatoes Grilled Breakfast Burrito

Taco Bell Fiesta Potatoes Grilled Breakfast Burrito

Taco Bell is a terrifically sad place at 7:30 in the morning. It looks depraved and miserable and…oh no, is that father buying a Taco Bell breakfast for his six-year-old? Dear God.

All around me, every patron sported the same placid expression of someone who was not only giving up on their chance for a nutritious breakfast, but also in some small way on themselves. As I waited in line, now one with the other early-morning crew, I was overcome with the unshakable feeling that this was the start of my very long, slow decline.

“Well”, I said to myself. “Burritos always make me feel better.”

Enter Taco Bell’s Grilled Breakfast Burritos, one of the latest Taco Bell breakfast offerings and the temporary antidote to my morning sadness. Available in three varieties—steak, sausage, and Fiesta Potatoes-I went for the latter. Fiesta Potatoes, for those of you who aren’t as talented with language as I, roughly translates to “party potatoes.” And I like to party, especially when there are potatoes involved.

Taco Bell Fiesta Potatoes Grilled Breakfast Burrito 1

The burrito itself has some pretty simple ingredients: eggs, nacho cheese sauce, and the Fiesta Potatoes all wrapped in a little grilled tortilla sleeping bag. The eggs, which are reheated scrambled eggs, actually have a pretty nice texture that avoids being too squishy. Although, like most hastily prepared eggs, it’s not exactly packed with intense flavor. The nacho cheese sauce, which does a great job of keeping everything from being too dry, also suffered from being pretty bland.

Taco Bell Fiesta Potatoes Grilled Breakfast Burrito 2

The real flavor in this burrito lies in the Fiesta Potatoes. A spiced out version of traditional diner home-fries, these crispy potatoes gave the burrito a little crunch, and a mild, but tasty, peppery kick.

However, because I am pretty sure I am the first person in Rhode Island to ever order the Fiesta Potatoes Grilled Breakfast Burrito, mine also included pico de gallo. Seriously, I could hear a cook in the back uneasily asking his equally uninformed manager about the ingredients, unsure of whether or not to include the condiment. It was decided to go for the middle ground, and scoop out a smidge. But I may have just gotten lucky.

Though I did really enjoy this burrito (despite how miserable it is to frequent a Taco Bell before noon), I have to say that the Grilled Breakfast Burrito may just be the least “Taco Bell” item on the Taco Bell menu. In fact, if you changed the word “burrito” to “breakfast wrap” I could easily see this being on the breakfast menu at McDonalds or Burger King-even without showcasing any southwestern flare. Either way, while it certainly isn’t the start of a Special K day, it’s a filthy cheap, quick, and damn good burrito. It’s also a great pick-me-up from the early morning Taco Bell blues.

(Nutrition Facts – 340 calories, 130 calories from fat, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugars, and 10 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Fiesta Potatoes Grilled Breakfast Burrito
Purchased Price: $1.69
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Pretty large and filling considering the price. Fiesta Potatoes have enough spice to give the burrito sizeable flavor. The eggs have a good scrambled consistency.
Cons: Holy hell! I do not like being in Taco Bell in the morning. Seriously, it is one of the most depressing places I have ever been. The burrito is also a little bland.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Croissant Donuts

Jack in the Box Croissant Donuts

Are you one of those people who hate greeting cards that are booby trapped with confetti and glitter because, despite how careful you are, you end up showering your floor with sparkling envelope puke?

If that bothers you, I’d suggest you avoid Jack in the Box’s new Croissant Donuts because there’s a good chance you’ll get cinnamon sugar everywhere. But if that doesn’t bother you or it does bother you, but you have an awesome vacuum, love ants, or you’re eating them at a location where you don’t care if you make a mess, like at a Jack in the Box restaurant, you shouldn’t hesitate picking up the fast food croissant donut hybrid.

In 2013, Dunkin’ Donuts in South Korea and Krispy Kreme in the Philippines were the first major fast food chains to offer knockoffs of Dominique Ansel’s popular Cronut. But both specialize in donuts, so it’s not really impressive. However, having a burger chain like Jack in the Box attempt to make a Cronut knockoff is impressive…and a bit scary.

Jack’s Croissant Donuts are made with buttery croissant dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. They’re served warm and sprinkled with more cinnamon sugar, which provides all the flavor. Oh wait. Did I say “sprinkled”? I meant to say suffocated with cinnamon sugar. Each one is around 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches wide, but just like the spiky hair on my head makes me look slightly taller, the cinnamon sugar coating on the Croissant Donuts make them look slightly bigger.

I bought a 3-piece serving and, at the bottom of the sleeve they came in, there was enough cinnamon sugar to make a batch of snickerdoodles jealous. If I tilted the sleeve at a wrong angle, it would’ve meant sparkling sleeve puke everywhere. And I have a horrible vacuum cleaner.

Jack in the Box Croissant Donuts Innards

The Croissant Donut’s innards don’t have that impressive flaky layered look that Cronuts have. Instead, it looked more like airy bread, but at least the innards’ texture was soft. The outer shell wasn’t oily and had a nice crispiness, although some of that crunch could’ve been the heavy cinnamon sugar layer. The exterior was also a smidge tough, but not enough to take away from how wonderful these Croissant Donuts are.

I’m not a huge fan of Jack in the Box’s previous warm desserts, like their Mini Churros, Mini Cookies, and Brownie Bites, so I came in with low expectations. But these Croissant Donuts are a sweet tooth satisfying dessert that I would see myself buying again, even if they force me to have a vacuum at the ready whenever I bring them home.

Jack in the Box Croissant Donuts Closeup

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pieces – 136 calories, 56 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 58 milligrams of sodium, 21 milligrams of potassium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Croissant Donuts
Purchased Price: $2.69*
Size: 3 pieces
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Suffocated with cinnamon sugar. Slightly crispy exterior. Sweet tooth satisfying. Not oily. Soft innards. Best when served warm. Much better than most previous warm Jack in the Box desserts. Strong vacuums.
Cons: Can be messy if you’re not careful. Exterior is slightly tough. Doesn’t have that neat flaky layered look. Having a piece of crap vacuum. Doesn’t have a creme filling like real Cronuts. Booby trapped greeting cards.

*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.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito (Bacon and Sausage)

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 001

I’m a big fan of breakfast. Like most things bad for us, it has that magical power of wrapping together comfort food and guilty pleasure into an eternal dance. It’s like the edible yin and yang: bacon and eggs; pancakes and syrup; butter and toast; chicken and waffles; bourbon and Frosted Flakes. You get the point.

And with that great pleasure comes the other end of the spectrum, uncontrollable rage. There was this time when I had thick cut bacon that was overcooked to hell. I’ve seen relics that remained from the ghastly A-bomb drop in Hiroshima that were less scorched. This built up my inner rage to a maximum, ruining my day.

I also once threw a disproportionate fit at a hipster breakfast joint because the promised rye toast finally came when my wife’s southern fry plate was half done. A lot of beards, let alone my patient wife, were unhappy with me that day.

I just ask for one simple thing, please don’t fuck with breakfast.

When Taco Bell first introduced their breakfast line, particularly the breakfast burrito, I was disappointed and pissed off. How can one mess up salty, fatty, porky sausage and eggs with melted cheese wrapped in a tortilla? Taco Bell did.

In fairness, everyone deserves a second chance even if someone rendered so much fat from thick cut bacon, I’ve seen Ethiopians that were chubbier (Zing! The 80’s want their tasteless jokes back). Taco Bell updated and tweaked their brekkie line with new menu items, which is a sign of encouragement to their dedication to the breakfast menu.

The Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito comes with bacon, sausage, or their questionable and dreadful steak. Simply put, this is an upgraded breakfast burrito from the original and comparing the two is like comparing a greasy road map (the ones you have to annoyingly fold back correctly) to a GPS.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 004

I ordered both the bacon and sausage to appease my piggy meat breakfast fervor. The first sign I knew the Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito was traveling on a different path from its predecessor was how surprisingly weighty it was. There was a comfortable heft to them that whispered, “I’m the real deal jackass.” The warmth of holding it in my hand was comparable to pulling fresh boxers out of the dryer on a cold morning.

Sinking my teeth into the Grande Scrambler Burrito with bacon, I immediately noticed the eggs were fluffy and looked scrambled. They were rich and buttery, the way my Grandma never made because she made me eat ginseng root soup instead…stupid Grandma!

The warm nacho cheese sauce, which normally makes me gag because I hate that stuff, worked well with the cold sour cream. They melded in supreme fashion together and the slight acidity of the sour cream cut right through the heavy nacho cheese. There to add another layer of flavor was the pico de gallo. It had fresh chunks of tomato, which also coursed successfully through the heavy nacho cheese sauce.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 005

The bacon was in “Bacobits” style, but that in no way muted the salty and crispy bite we demand. I do wish the chunks were bigger to make the bacon flavor more prevalent, but it’s there. The melted shredded cheddar cheese was surprisingly not drowned out by the nacho cheese sauce and it competed well with the tanginess from the pico.

However, the true star of these burritos were their “seasoned breakfast potatoes.” They were perfectly seasoned and had a hybrid tater tot/home-fries like consistency. The only way these could be better is if they were actual tater tots. The potatoes add a satisfying texture to the delicious gloppyness of the burrito. To crank the achievements even more, the tortilla was fluffy and warm like a pillow birthed from a smiling cartoon cloud pooping a rainbow.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 006

With that said, the sausage one yielded even better results. The sausage’s peppery flavor imparted a nice compliment to the chunky pico de gallo and it swathed right through the nacho cheese sauce. Although the sausage was in that crappy “kibble” form, it still provided that salty and fatty mouthfeel we crave. Again, the melted cheese and potatoes nicely rounded out the burrito. This time, Taco Bell was less heavy-handed with the sour cream which was fine because it could easily wash away the spicy notes from the sausage.

The price is $2.49 for each, which seems reasonable to me considering the generous size of the burritos. I’m not one of those old timey types that cry out, “you get what you pay for.” Despite that, like scotch or dildos, you really get what you pay for in regards to a breakfast burrito.

The quality is not anywhere near you would get from a good breakfast house that seductively charms you with the aroma of bacon and fluffy pancakes. Yet, for fast food, it really puts some of those meager fast food breakfast burritos to shame. Taco Bell set the bar pretty high and I would bet, if it didn’t violate my probation, that some of the other chains may follow suit. If not, they’re stupid idiots like my grandma who fed me ginseng root soup for breakfast.

(Nutrition Facts – With Bacon – 680 calories, 320 calories from fat, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 1570 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars, and 22 grams of protein. With Sausage – 670 calories, 330 calories from fat, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 1410 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars, and 19 grams of protein)

Item: Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito (Bacon and Sausage)
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Bacon)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Sausage)
Pros: The melted cheddar cheese, the warm nacho cheese sauce, the sour cream and pico de gallo all complement each other. The potatoes are texturally and flavorfully awesome. The $2.49 price tag is more than reasonable. Piggy Meat Breakfast Fervor (best name for a band that never existed). Getting angry and shouting.
Cons: The bacon could be bigger, thus the bacon flavor would be more prevalent. The sausage is in “kibble” form. When servers bring toast late, it’s like the fries come last after you have received your cheeseburger. The spouse dealing with you getting angry and shouting.