REVIEW: Domino’s Bread Twists (Garlic, Parmesan, and Cinnamon)

Domino s Bread Twists

Domino’s new bread twists have an interesting shape. They look like those cancer research ribbons people wear.

“Oh, good for you Domino’s, raising money for a good cause. And what cause will you be supporting? I can’t seem to find the organization on any of the news stories. Oh, there is none? Awwwkward!”

Anyway, while odd, the shape is a nice switch up from the standard small bite, knot, or very boring breadstick. There are two savory flavors to choose from, garlic and parmesan, and one sweet one, cinnamon. I couldn’t dare pick just one to try so I went with all three. Each order comes with a good number of twists and they aren’t uniform in appearance which gave me a good vibe of potentially being homemade.

On all three flavors the shining star was definitely the dough and the cooking method used to bake them. These two aspects worked together to make the exterior crispy and insides pleasantly soft. The weird shape actually made them more fun to eat and, as you probably have experienced with pretzels, there were different experiences when biting into either the center crossing, end pieces, or top bend.

Domino s Garlic Bread Twists

While the garlic ones were very buttery with a good amount of herbs and spices sprinkled on top, they were my least favorite. The garlic flavor was somewhat artificial. When I tried them with the marinara sauce, the garlic was completely overpowered so all I tasted was the dipping sauce.

Domino s Parmesan Bread Twists

The Parmesan Bread Twists were very similar to the garlic ones, just with a heaping amount of parmesan pieces on top. They started off tasting exactly like the garlic ones but then I got a blast of cheese at the end with the herbs and spices. These had multiple layers of flavor and, unlike the garlic ones, worked well with the marinara sauce provided, making them my favorite. It was like having a pizza party in my mouth.

Domino s Cinnamon Bread Twists

Finally, the only sweet one of the bunch was cinnamon. Cinnamon sugar is strewn about in strips atop the twists unevenly but this really allowed both the buttery bread and seasoning to shine separately. It also meant these weren’t a sugar bomb, until the mediocre sweet icing was added. When dipped, everything was too sweet to enjoy.

Domino’s Bread Twists are an odd product if you think about it. First, their shape makes me want to donate to some cause. Second, the garlic and parmesan varieties taste strikingly similar. Third, Domino’s already has parmesan bread on their menu, but in bite form. Fourth, Domino’s had cinnamon bread called Cinna Stix on their menu, albeit non-twisted.

While they may be odd, they are, for the most part, also pretty darn tasty. Just make sure to enjoy them hot and only sauce up the parmesan ones. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have one twist left that’s going on my lapel. I have to go to a fancy benefit for bread research.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 pieces – Garlic – 220 calories, 90 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat,4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Parmesan 230 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Cinnamon – 2 pieces – 250 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.99 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Garlic)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Parmesan)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cinnamon)
Pros: Breathtakingly good buttered browned bread. Unique shape that is surprisingly fun to eat. Parmesan twists plus marinara sauce = a pizza party in my mouth.
Cons: Strange shape that evokes cancer research. Garlic and Parmesan varieties taste similar. Marinara sauce overwhelms garlic flavor.

REVIEW: Domino’s Chicken Apple Pecan Salad

Domino's Chicken Apple Pecan Salad

A short list of things I never imagined I would do in my lifetime:

  1. Meet Hulk Hogan at a rave
  2. Go nude skydiving
  3. Date a vegan
  4. Help an Eskimo run the Iditarod
  5. Get a salad from Domino’s

So full disclosure, numbers one through four have not happened…yet. Number five, unfortunately, did happen.

Usually the single man’s trip to Domino’s ends with a medium pizza that will get finished in one night. It usually has ham and pineapple on it and it is usually eaten in the company of Wes Montgomery albums and good vodka. Sometimes, though, you have to switch things up.

The Domino’s salads come prepackaged, and when I say prepackaged, I mean factory sealed and then shipped to Domino’s stores. At least that’s what I read.

Factory fresh salad…YUM!

Domino's Chicken Apple Pecan Salad 2

Besides being factory sealed, it is also a salad you have to put it together yourself. How dare they make us do work!

This isn’t the worst tasting salad, but for the price, it didn’t seem worth it in the end.

The main culprits are the spring mix and the chicken. I know greens aren’t supposed to be flashy but the greens in this salad, even with the Ken’s Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, just weren’t good. I think the factory seal takes some of the freshness away.

The chicken didn’t seem to lose freshness but it didn’t matter, it was like that semi-grizzle-y chicken Subway had years ago. Tastes like nothing and you get those pieces you can’t chew cleanly through, and nobody likes those.

Nothing was really wrong with the cheddar cheese and apples. Those probably had the freshest taste to them, and if those are your freshest ingredients, your salad is in trouble. The cranberries were few in quantity and you won’t complain about it. The salad didn’t need them.

Domino's Chicken Apple Pecan Salad 3

Cover all this with Ken’s Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette and the result is just so underwhelming. The dressing doesn’t have a strong enough sweet-tart taste that a normal balsamic would, and in the case of this salad, more flavor was needed to cloak its shortcomings.

The only part of the salad that stood out was the pecans. I would buy the salad again just for those, no joke. They were so sweet; I think they may have been candied. They reminded me of pralines you find in ice cream.

If I were you, I’d fork over the extra two bucks and get a salad from Panera that you will actually enjoy.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 serving (2 per salad) – 190 Calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 14 grams total sugars, 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $6.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Pecans are otherworldly good. Crazy low in calories.
Cons: Spring mix and chicken leave much to be desired. Dressing isn’t flavorful enough. Not meeting Hulk Hogan at a rave.

REVIEW: Domino’s Specialty Chicken (Classic Hot Buffalo, Sweet BBQ Bacon, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, and Crispy Bacon & Tomato)

Domino’s Specialty Chicken

My favorite review items manage to be both repulsive and intriguing; ideally, they’d launch pearl-clutching pieces about the state of food, draw some whimsical coverage on Gawker, and get shoehorned into a head-scratching tech tie-in. A product as outrageous as “ fried chicken crust pizza” has predictably checked all the boxes.

Fortunately for the pearl-clutchers (though disappointingly for me), it’s not really fried chicken and it’s not really pizza. I would actually describe Domino’s Specialty Chicken as chicken nuggets-as-nachos. Domino’s just takes a bunch of standard boneless chicken bites, arranges them in a loosely-packed rectangle, and covers them with various toppings. There are four varieties: Classic Hot Buffalo, Sweet BBQ Bacon, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, and Crispy Bacon & Tomato.

To review all four without consuming up to 2400 calories and 120 grams of fat, I ordered these into the office in hopes of persuading a few coworkers to weigh in. Hilariously, I hadn’t realized I was ordering on Earth Day, when everyone brought in snacks and drinks that were organic and environmentally-friendly. The only way I could have brought less organic and environmentally-friendly pizzas would’ve been to go back to school, get a degree in agricultural biochemistry, genetically modify and chemically fertilize my own tomatoes and grains, cut down a rainforest tree to power my pizza oven, and deliver those pizzas in a Hummer. Despite my thematically inappropriate food contributions, several coworkers tried the Specialty Chicken. The consensus would be best summarized as, “better than you’d expect, but you won’t be able to eat too many at once.”

Domino’s Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Closeruper

Domino’s Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Closeup

Let’s start with the overall problems before jumping into each specific type. The chicken bites were quite salty, much more so than, say, a pizza crust or a nacho chip. We couldn’t eat more than a few bites before having to chug water. Don’t treat these as a full meal – they’ll definitely work better as side dishes. Also, the Specialty Chicken all had structural challenges with keeping the toppings intact. Because each chicken bite was small and oblong, the cheese and accoutrements fell off as soon as we tore it from the rest. You’ll need a fork and knife not to make a big mess (and you’ll probably make a moderate mess anyway).

Domino’s Specialty Chicken Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple

The Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple was my personal favorite. The jalapeño and pineapple slices joined a dousing of cheese and mango habanero sauce. The flavors were interesting and well-balanced, with the pineapple sweetness/tartness and jalapeño spiciness offsetting the saltiness of the chicken and cheese. Having the fruit and sauce likely contributed to chicken that was moister than some of the other Specialty Chickens.

Domino’s Specialty Chicken Crispy Bacon & Tomato

The Crispy Bacon & Tomato was also well-received, though I hated the name. (The first rule of food naming should be the same as the first rule of writing: “show, don’t tell” me that the bacon is crispy, which is an adjective on a different plane of uselessness than the flavor descriptors of spicy, sweet, or hot. This rule is why I write all these personal side-ramblings to show, and not tell, you that I’m very self-involved.) The diced tomato played well with the parmesan-garlic cream sauce, and I must begrudgingly admit that the bacon was, in fact, quite crispy. I was pleased with the combinations of flavors and textures, and these chicken bites were also moist and juicy.

Domino’s Specialty Chicken Sweet BBQ Bacon

Domino’s Specialty Chicken Classic Hot Buffalo

The Sweet BBQ Bacon and Classic Hot Buffalo could be described together – they were both too dry, too salty, and a little boring. The Sweet BBQ Bacon just had bacon, barbecue sauce, and noticeably less cheese. The sauce was weak and the chicken was dry. The Classic Hot Buffalo came off saltiest, as the buffalo and ranch sauces compounded the saltiness of the cheese and chicken without bringing much extra tang to the table. These really were like chicken nuggets that I could’ve dipped in barbecue or ranch sauce myself.

Though I clearly enjoyed two of the four varieties of Domino’s Specialty Chicken, I wouldn’t recommend that you run out and order them immediately, especially since the price ($5.99 each) feels a little high. Still, if you’re already ordering Domino’s, you should tack on a Jalapeno-Pineapple or Crispy Bacon & Tomato, just to see for yourself what all this fuss over “fried chicken pizza” is about.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 pieces – Classic Hot Buffalo – 170 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1070 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 11 grams of protein. Crispy Bacon & Tomato – 230 calories, 16 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 750 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple – 170 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 610 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein. Sweet BBQ Bacon – 190 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 710 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Item: Domino’s Specialty Chicken
Purchased Price: $5.99 each
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Domino’s
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Classic Hot Buffalo)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Sweet BBQ Bacon)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Spicy Jalapeño-Pineapple)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Crispy Bacon & Tomato)
Pros: Tastier than you’d think. Jalapeño-Pineapple had interesting and well-balanced flavors. Bacon & Tomato had good combination of flavors and textures. Bacon was, in fact, crispy. Chicken of these two varieties were moist and juicy. An actual fried chicken pizza would be awesome. Earth Day. “Show, don’t tell.”
Cons: Too salty to be main dishes. Structurally unsound for holding toppings. A little on the pricy side. BBQ Bacon and Classic Hot Buffalo were too dry, too salty, and kind of boring. Pearl-clutching. Useless adjectives. Not contributing more to TIB.

REVIEW: Domino’s Sandwich Slices (Italian Club and Garden Chicken Club)

Domino's Sandwich Slice Box

When it comes to new fast food items in test markets, I’ve always been a bridesmaid, never the bride. Seeing other people in test markets get to try delicious (or not) new menu items made me unreasonably jealous.

Well now it’s my turn, bitches! Eat it! Oh wait, you can’t yet. But I will. And I’ll leave any further bragging out of the rest of these paragraphs.

When I first got the promotional email from Domino’s advertising their new Sandwich Slices, I was interested; but once I read the bottom of the email, I went from interested to excited: “We don’t mean to brag, but we think our new Sandwich Slice is pretty amazing. And we want you to be one of the first people in Phoenix – actually one of the first people in the world – to try it.”

I felt like a pizza princess! Or, in this case, the Sovereign of Sandwich Slices.

The promo email also called them “The best thing since sliced bread. Literally.” If we’re going to go down the literally meme hole, I’d think maybe Alexander Fleming would object to this statement; although, you could argue that sliced bread played a part in the discovery of penicillin, so…penicillin, sliced bread, Domino’s Sandwich Slices. Sharing the spotlight.

Getting to the Slices themselves – when I saw them, I was immediately reminded of Stouffer’s French Bread Pizzas. The concept is pretty much the same: the foundation seems to be part of Domino’s Oven Baked Sandwiches, which is then topped like a pizza.

Domino’s advertises four different Sandwich Slice varieties: Pepperoni Garlic Bread, Ham & 4 Cheese, Garden Garlic Chicken and Italian Club, but you can create your own with whatever toppings Domino’s has to offer.

I went with the Garden Garlic Chicken and Italian Club, because Domino’s suggested them and that meant I wouldn’t have to make any agonizing topping choices on my own.

While I chose two Slices with different toppings, they shared some fundamental similarities. First of all, the sandwich bread-to-pizza ratio was just right – there wasn’t so much bread that it overwhelmed the toppings, but the bread was able to support the toppings without caving or becoming soggy. That said, it wasn’t at all tough and had that oven-baked quality to it.

Each Sandwich Slice was 7-8” long. The banner outside my local Domino’s declared that they are “great for lunch!”, with which I both agree and disagree. On the one hand, it sucks when you’re at work craving pizza and nobody else wants to get in on that with you, at which point you can either get a sad personal pizza or a regular-sized pizza and look like a giant glutton.

Sandwich Slices seem like a great solution to this problem, except I found that one Slice wasn’t quite filling enough, but two Slices would have given me a case of Work Itis, which is never good.

Perhaps someone with a larger appetite than mine would have found two to be just right, but I think if they’d just extended their slices out to maybe 12 inches, that would have been the perfect lunch portion.

That said, I was pleased that the toppings did a good job of reaching all the edges of the bread. I hate when the first bite of a sandwich is nothing but bread. Well, the cheese at least did a good job.

Here’s the thing: if you’ve ever been in a situation where there are communal pizzas, you’ve probably done the Instant Topping Calculation – that thing where your eyeballs scan the pie, looking for the pieces that were blessed with the most toppings. Don’t act like you haven’t done it.

With the Sandwich Slice, you have to take your chances, much like you would hope that ordering a jalapeño burger from a drive-thru would result in getting more than one pepper slice on it.

Here is where we get to the individual Slices.

Domino's Sandwich Slice Italian Club

Domino’s describes the Italian Club Sandwich Slice as “Salami, ham, bacon and vine-ripened tomatoes over a creamy ranch sauce. Baked with a cheese blend of 100% real mozzarella and provolone on a slice of our signature rustic bread.”

I’m going to quietly ignore the fact that ranch sauce has absolutely no business belonging on something called an Italian Club, but I will say that it did work surprisingly well with the meats, possibly because it was very understated twang. While I enjoyed that, I guess ranch fans might have wanted more.

Domino's Sandwich Slice Italian Club Halves

Speaking of more, what I would have wanted more of was salami and bacon. My Italian Club Sandwich Slice was very ham-heavy; while this made for an enjoyable sandwich vibe, I do find it the most pedestrian of the three meats.

Domino's Sandwich Slice Garden Garlic Chicken

As for the Garden Garlic Chicken, Domino’s calls it “Grilled chicken breast, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh baby spinach over a garlic parmesan sauce and a cheese blend of 100% real mozzarella and provolone. Baked on a slice of our signature rustic bread.”

I much preferred the Garden Garlic Chicken over the Italian Club. There was a piece of tender chicken in pretty much every bite, complimented nicely by the juicy tomatoes.

Domino's Sandwich Slice Garden Garlic Chicken Halves

The real star here was the garlic parmesan sauce. It went great with the toppings and was so garlicky I’m pretty sure I could have fended off a vampire from a hundred feet away. The spinach seemed to disappear into the background, but the sauce combined with the cheese and the other toppings more than made up for this deficiency.

All in all, I found Domino’s Sandwich Slices to be a success. While there were some faults, like the slightly too-small size of the Slice and the fast food vagaries of the toppings, but each Sandwich Slice was covered well and the bread base held up well in both taste and topping support. Not a bad deal for a $2.99 lunch treat.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on Domino’s website.)

Item: Domino’s Sandwich Slices (Italian Club and Garden Chicken Club)
Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Domino’s Pizza
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Italian Club)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Garden Chicken Club)
Pros: Nice bread-to-toppings ratio. Being in a test market! The garlic and chicken were delicious together. Penicillin. Toppings reached all edges of the sandwich. Instant Topping Calculation.
Cons: Not quite big enough for a satisfying lunch. Getting Work Itis. Not enough salami or bacon on the Italian Club. Bridesmaid dresses. Spinach seemed to disappear on the Garden Chicken Club.

NEWS: Pizza Hut…Um, I Mean Domino’s Launches Handmade Pan Pizzas

Domino's Delivers

Oh, it’s on like Donkey Kong!

With the introduction of Domino’s Handmade Pan Pizza, we’ve just entered Pizza War II. Or it could be Pizza War III, I’m really not keeping track. With their new pan pizza, they’re trying to do what Pizza Hut has been doing for decades — make a pizza with a crispy golden crust that has a buttery flavor.

In a press release, Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Pizza president and chief executive officer, said, “There is a standard out there for pan pizza that we realized could be better.”

Oh snap! Pizza Hut burn!

The new Domino’s Handmade Pan Pizza are made from fresh, never-frozen dough and features two layers of cheese and toppings. To celebrate the new pan pizza, Domino’s is offering a medium two-topping Handmade Pan Pizza for $7.99 each at participating locations.

Our friends over at Grub Grade have a review.