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.

REVIEW: Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Bread (Cheese, Spinach & Feta, and Bacon & Jalapeno)

Domino's Stuffed Cheesy Bread

It’s a wonderful time for cheese lovers. Cheesy Christmas music is playing everywhere, Cheeseheads can purchase shares of the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, and Domino’s recently introduced their new Stuffed Cheesy Breads. While watching another Packers victory as well as the 60 Minutes segment on Michael Bublé’s Christmas special, my roommates and I decided to make it 3-for-3 on the cheesiness for the day and ordered all three Stuffed Cheesy Breads varieties: Spinach & Feta, Bacon & Jalapeno, and Cheese only.

The Stuffed Cheesy Breads looked like big calzones with garlic and cheese seasoning on top. One order had eight pieces, with each piece weighing in at 140-160 calories. Normally we’d be concerned about such high caloric intake, but since it took us so much energy to sit on the couch in our underwear and watch football that day, we felt completely justified in carbo-loading before the rigorous evening TV lineup. I had expected the orders to come with marinara sauce, and I was disappointed to find out that wasn’t the case. But sometimes life throws you curveballs, and all you can do is roll with the punches and mix your sports metaphors, so we dove right in sans dipping sauces.

Domino's Stuffed Cheesy Bread Inaards

Domino’s claims each Stuffed Cheesy Bread contains as much cheese as their medium pizza. The pieces on the ends, then, were akin to the pizza crust, as no cheese was actually inside the two end pieces. The remaining six pieces really were quite cheesy. The gooey mozzarella and cheddar mix on the inside played well with the different texture and taste of the crusty Romano cheese seasoning on the outside. Similarly, the top of the bread had an appropriate amount of crunch, while the inside was soft and doughy (though occasionally too doughy). The bottom of some pieces got to be a bit soggy and grew soggier as we slowly made our way through each Stuffed Cheesy Bread.

Domino's Stuffed Cheesy Bread Varieties

jalapeño

The Cheese Only one was fine but quickly became boring, especially in the absence of any dipping sauces. I won’t ever order it again if only because the other two varieties were clearly tastier. The Spinach & Feta Stuffed Cheesy Bread contained a reasonable amount of both titular ingredients, and the sharp, salty tanginess of the feta really shined. I only wish the feta had been spread more evenly throughout the order. The Bacon & Jalapeno one had a hefty amount of both ingredients, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bacon came in actual strips and the jalapeño came in whole slices that gave the Cheesy Bread a real spicy heat. I suppose I don’t have any Bacon & Jalapeno-specific complaints, unless you count the fact that Domino’s doesn’t use a tilde in their spelling of jalapeño (in which case, you and I would probably make great friends, but possibly only because you’ve driven away all your other friends with your grammatical nitpicking).

One final thought: This might sound silly to a lot of you, but it kind of bothers me not to know what role these Stuffed Cheesy Breads should play in a meal. Is it a side dish or is it a main dish? Breadsticks are clearly appetizers, but ordering bread stuffed with the cheese of a medium pizza to serve as the appetizer to an actual pizza feels like a convenient semantic loophole for fat people to exploit. (Note: I may be one of these fat people.) If you don’t particularly care about the identity crises of your foods, just go out and get cheesy this December. Take a Lactaid supplement, turn up the Michael Bublé Christmas album, and order a couple Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Breads.

(Nutrition Facts – Cheese – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 420 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Spinach & Feta – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Bacon & Jalapeno – 160 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Other Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Bread reviews:
So Good Blog
dillonpapst (YouTube)
Poor Food and Wine

Item: Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Bread (Cheese, Spinach & Feta, and Bacon & Jalapeno)
Price: $5.99 each
Purchased at: Domino’s
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cheese Only)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Spinach & Feta)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Bacon & Jalapeno)
Pros: Really cheesy. Nice contrast between gooey mozzarella and cheddar on the inside, crusty Romano on the outside. Top of bread has crunch, inside of bread is soft and doughy. Spinach & Feta had good amount of spinach and feta. Bacon & Jalapeno had tons of bacon and jalapeños. Bacon came in strips. Jalapeños came in whole slices, which added some nice heat.
Cons: Bottom of some pieces grew soggy. Two of eight pieces had no cheese inside. Didn’t come with marinara sauce. Cheese Only got boring fast. Feta could have been more evenly spread. Domino’s doesn’t use a tilde when spelling jalapeño. Grammar nitpicking. Semantic loopholes. My roommate is going to be mad when he reads I think Michael Bublé’s music is cheesy.

NEWS: Stuff Your Pie Hole With Domino’s Stuffed Cheesy Breads

192/365 - 4/18/2011

I’m still waiting for Domino’s Pizza to bring back their “30 Minutes or It’s Free” offer and the Noid, but until then I’m going to have to settle for their new Stuffed Cheesy Bread line.

The line comes in three varieties: regular Stuffed Cheesy Bread, Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Spinach & Feta, and Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Bacon & Jalapeno. All varieties are come with eight pieces, are stuffed with the same amount of cheese as a medium pizza, and are covered in a blend of 100 percent mozzarella and cheddar cheese. They’re also seasoned with garlic, parsley, and Romano cheese. Marinara or your favorite dipping sauce can be added for an additional charge.

A piece of Stuffed Cheesy Bread has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 420 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

A piece of Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Spinach & Feta has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

A piece of Stuffed Cheesy Bread with Bacon & Jalapeno 160 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

And if the Stuffed Cheesy Bites are enough carbs for you, Domino’s also introduced their new Parmesan Bread Bites, which are oven-baked, bite-size breadsticks lightly sprinkled with Parmesan, and seasoned with Asiago cheese and garlic. They’re available in 16- or 32-pieces. Four pieces have 150 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 190 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News