REVIEW: Jack in the Box Homestyle Potatoes

Jack in the Box Homestyle Potatoes

French fries.

Seasoned curly fries.

Hash browns.

I guess we should include Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges.

And now Homestyle Potatoes.

That, my friends, is the list potato sides you can get at a Jack in the Box. If you’re a potatophile, this list should give you a carb-on. Although, if Wendy’s can have a baked potato, why can’t Jack in the Box? Come on, Jack! Get on that!

The chain’s Homestyle Potatoes are part of their new Brunchfast menu and they feature diced potatoes mixed with bell peppers and onions. The side comes in one serving size and it’s almost the same as a large fries.

I’ve gotten my money’s worth at several brunch buffets in my lifetime and almost all of them had roasted potatoes that looked like these. Some were just potatoes while other included peppers and onions.

The flavor of Jack’s Homestyle Potatoes do remind me of the roasted potatoes I’d form mounds of on my plate at a brunch buffet. Well, to be more exact, they’re like the potatoes I’d get from a brunch buffet that have been sitting in the Sterno-heated tray for too long, but I took them because I didn’t want to wait for a fresh tray.

Jack in the Box Homestyle Potatoes 2

The potatoes appeared to be seasoned with some herbs (although I couldn’t taste them), had a soft texture, and some of the potato skins had slightly crispy edges. The veggies, which there were not a lot of, were somewhat crisp. While I enjoyed the Homestyle Potatoes with my Brunchfast, a part of me wished I had hash browns. There’s something about that golden brown, crispy, greasy brick of potatoes, that appeals to me more.

Like all of Jack in the Box’s menu, the Homestyle Potatoes are available all day. So you can order them for Lunner, Dinnfast, Snacner, or whatever meal portmanteau tickles your fancy.

(Nutrition Facts – 259 calories, 106 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 580 milligrams of sodium, 489 milligrams of potassium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.39*
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Another potato side at Jack in the Box. Tastes like brunch buffet potatoes. Some vegetables. Some potatoes has crispy skin on the edges. Available all day.
Cons: I think I’d rather have hash browns. Tastes like brunch buffet potatoes that have been sitting out for a while. Couldn’t taste herbs. Not a lot of veggies. No Jack in the Box baked potato, yet. Making portmanteaus with a portmanteau.

*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: Jack in the Box Garlic Herb Fries

Jack in the Box Garlic Herb Fries

My hope, when it comes to garlic fries, is that it has enough garlic to prevent any vampire or human being from wanting to invade my neck or personal space.

Unfortunately, the only way Jack in the Box’s Garlic Herb Fries can keep anyone away from my neck or personal space is if I use them to pelt those who want to get up on me.

I’m not Jack. I don’t have a giant head I can swing around to get people away from me. I’m also not a hoatzin. I can’t just eat whatever and then make myself smell like cow manure. I need help and Jack in the Box is preventing me from getting stinky.

The herbs and the way the fries glisten from the butter make them look so inviting. But when I compare them to the pictures I’ve seen of ballpark garlic fries or McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries the chain is testing in California, with their generous amounts of garlic, I can’t help but think I’m getting gypped.

With Jack’s version the butter is infused with garlic. I’m not sure if it’s the exact same stuff on the chain’s line of Buttery Jack burgers, but I assume it is because it would complicate things in the kitchen if there were two garlic herb butter ingredients.

Having had several Buttery Jack burgers over the past few years, I’ve experienced the garlic herb butter and it has a light garlic flavor in the burger. Without having the ingredients of a burger in the way, I thought the garlic would be a bit more pungent, but it’s just as light as it is with the Buttery Jack. Also, oddly, there was a slight cheesy flavor.

That’s not what I want.

I want that garlic herb butter to affect those within a two foot radius around me when I say, “Whaaaat doooo yoooou meeeeean myyyy brrrreeeeath smeeeells?” The only thing the butter did a great job at was laying a greasy coating on and around my lips that gave them a glossy look that I only like when I’m dolled up. Thankfully, a fork came with the fries so I couldn’t build a layer of butter on my fingers.

Jack in the Box Garlic Herb Fries 2

The garlic herb butter was dumped in the middle of the fries and a lot of it ended up on the bottom of the container it came in. So the fries that didn’t get any butter love could get some by mopping up whatever greasy liquid remained. The herbs added a nice flavor to the melted dairy. Surprisingly, even with all that butter, the fries maintained a decent level of crispiness.

Jack in the Box’s Garlic Herb Fries were disappointing. I don’t think they’re worth picking up if you’re a fan of garlic fries. They look good and smell good, but they need a stronger garlic punch.

(Nutrition Facts – 459 calories, 244 calories from fat, 27 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 29 milligrams of cholesterol, 819 milligrams of sodium, 487 milligrams of potassium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.29*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Comes with a fork. Looks good. Smells good.
Cons: Needs a stronger garlic punch. Garlic-infused butter instead of having chopped garlic. Makes it easy for others to invade my personal space.

*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: Jack in the Box Panko Onion Rings

Jack in the Box Panko Onion Rings

Even though I’ve eaten pounds of Jack in the Box Curly Fries and paid dollars upon dollars in upgrades to swap regular fries with them in my combo meals, I’m replacing them with Jack in the Box’s new Panko Onion Rings as my favorite Jack in the Box side.

To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations, but I blame the promotional photos that don’t do them justice. When I first saw a photo of them, I thought they were going to be formed onion mush inside breading, much like the uniform-sized onion rings from a fast food chain that begins with “B” and ends with “urger King.”

But in real life these look like they’re from a sit-down chain restaurant, like Chili’s or Applebees. I know that doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it’s a compliment. They come in different sizes and have actual rings of onion in them.

Oh, and look at that golden brown panko. From what you’ve probably learned via the Food Network, panko tends to be lighter and crispier than other breadcrumbs and that’s definitely the case here. The coating wonderfully crispy (of course your results may vary). With every chew it’s as if a staticky television is going off in my head. They’re also not at all greasy and the coating doesn’t easily flake off.

And that crispy coating is wrapped around rings of onion that have a slightly sweet flavor. There were times when couldn’t bite through the onion causing me to pull some of it out of the panko coating and I do wish the onion was a bit more oniony, but, my goodness, writing this review makes me want to buy more of them. I’ll be right back.

(20 minutes later)

Still love them.

I imagine Jack in the Box’s Panko Onion Rings would go great with a Buttery Jack, Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Jumbo Jack, or anything else on the menu with the name “Jack” attached to it. They would also go great with any dipping sauce Jack in the Box offers, if you’re willing to pay for a container because, sadly, they don’t come with a dipping sauce. Ketchup is fine, but I got container of ranch sauce and they made these onion rings even better.

(Nutrition Facts – 443 calories, 215 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 623 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Wonderful crispy exterior. Uses actual rings of onion. Better than Jack’s Curly Fries. They look like they’re from Chili’s or Applebees (that’s still a compliment). Not greasy.
Cons: It doesn’t need a dipping sauce, but it would’ve been nice to have to option. Perhaps the onion could’ve been more oniony. Sometimes I couldn’t bite cleanly through the onion.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club

Jack in the Box Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club

I don’t think I cared for Jack in the Box’s premium crispy chicken sandwich, whatever it was called. See. I don’t even remember its name. That’s how much I didn’t care for it. I’ve probably had it a couple of times, but I can’t recall the last time I ordered it.

But then again, maybe I did like it and the reason why I haven’t had it in so long is because Jack in the Box has so much damn stuff on their menu that it’s hard to make up my mind.

Well, whatever that chicken sandwich was called, Jack’s new Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club has replaced it.

It features a new Southern-style breaded chicken fillet, grilled hickory smoked bacon, ranch sauce, lettuce, tomato, and cheese on a gourmet bun. If you’re wondering if this new chicken has buttermilk like McDonald’s new chicken, its ingredient list appears to have a lot of components that could be in buttermilk, but doesn’t specifically say buttermilk. If you’re not satisfied with that non-answer, perhaps the ingredient list will help you figure it out…or, more likely, help you fall asleep. Here it is:

Chicken Breast Fillets with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Yeast Extract, Salt, Natural Flavor and Chicken Fat), Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Seasoning [Whey Powder, Non-fat Dry Milk, Maltodextrin (from Corn) Anhydrous Milkfat, Cultures, Lactic, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Citrate, Culture (Milk)], and Seasoning [Water, Sodium Benzoate (preservative)]. Breaded with: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Battered with: Water, Have You Fallen Asleep Yet, Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Salt, Sugar, You’re Getting Sleepy, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate), Sleepy, Nonfat Dry Milk, Garlic Powder, Yawn, Spice, Onion Powder, Dextrose, and Spice Extractive. Predusted with: Bleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Zzzzz, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Dried Egg Whites, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Leavening (Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Soybean Oil.

Jack in the Box Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club Halves

It was surprising to see how good my sandwich looked. Of course, your results may vary. There’s the bright green lettuce, a layer of bacon to ensure there’s enough in every bite, red tomatoes, the shiny glow of that wonderful slightly sweet gourmet bun, and the golden brown breading on the chicken. Even the melted cheese that congealed makes this sandwich look good. And it has a flavor that matches those looks.

When eaten separately, the chicken reminds me a little bit of KFC. It tastes like it has all those secret herbs and spices, but in lower quantities. The breading is crispy and makes an audible crunch. The chicken under it has a decent thickness, albeit a little dry. The bacon is smoky, salty, and porky, but unfortunately also chewy and not at all crispy. The cheese doesn’t seem to add anything, but it does help prevent the bacon from falling out.

Jack in the Box Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club Split

But what made me enjoy this sandwich was the ranch sauce and how it complemented the chicken. It’s been on numerous menu items that, like the previous crispy chicken sandwich, I can’t name, but it really works on this. While I’m not sure if buttermilk is used to season the chicken, the tanginess of the ranch sauce makes it taste like it was.

Much like the Buttery Jack being a step up from Jack in the Box’s previous premium burgers, the Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club is a step up from…whatever it was called. I like this new chicken sandwich so much that I won’t forget its name.

(Nutrition Facts – 632 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 72 milligrams of cholesterol, 1687 milligrams of sodium, 512 milligrams of potassium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 34 grams of protein..)

Item: Jack in the Box Homestyle Ranch Chicken Club
Purchased Price: $7.99 (small combo)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Ranch sauce complements the chicken well. Lots of bacon. Green lettuce. Crispy breading. My sandwich looks really good. That gourmet bun; liked it with the Buttery Jack, and I like it with this.
Cons: Bacon not crispy. Chicken a little dry. Long ingredient lists that make you sleepy. Cheese seems to be used more as an adhesive than something that adds flavor.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Portobello Mushroom Buttery Jack

Jack in the Box Portobello Mushroom Buttery Jack

Jack in the Box’s Buttery Jack is much like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, crab legs at an all you can eat buffet, and baby back ribs at a barbecue joint.

What do these have in common? Besides being foods you’ve seen on your friend’s Instagram that shows EVERYTHING he eats (STOP IT, BRANDON!), they’re also messy enough that you’ll need a few extra napkins if you’re eating them.

The Buttery Jack originally came in two varieties — Classic and Bacon & Swiss. But now there’s a third, the Portobello Mushroom, so get your napkins ready. The burger comes with a 1/4 lb beef patty topped with garlic herb butter, Portobello mushrooms, buttery grilled onions, Swiss cheese, and peppercorn mayo on a gourmet signature bun. So, yeah, it’s basically a mushroom and swiss burger with a fancy name.

If you’re thinking someone’s A-key isn’t working on their keyboard because you thought it was “portabella” not “portobello,” then let me do your Google search for you and say either one is acceptable. So if a Facebook friends corrects you, tell them that they’re wrong, play the instrumentals to Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen,” and then sing the following lyrics:

Spelling bee queen.
Now we’re spelling the same thing.
There are more spellings than one.
No more confusion.

Jack in the Box Portobello Mushroom Buttery Jack 2

Like the plastic wrap Dexter uses to secure his prey, the melted Swiss cheese holds the mushrooms and onions down on the beef patty, preventing them from escaping. My burger came with a decent amount of fungi and aromatics, and they both provided a decent amount of flavor. But to be honest, they don’t taste any different than what’s been on other fast food mushroom and swiss burgers I’ve had.

Although the Portobello mushrooms are in the name, the real star of every Buttery Jack is really the garlic herb butter. As I mentioned in my review of the other varieties, it helps compensate for the patty’s dryness and gives your hands a slick coating that’ll make it easier to slide down fire poles and make Jenga a bit more exciting. The garlic flavor isn’t strong enough to prevent a vampire from invading your personal space, but it does enhance the patty’s flavor.

Jack in the Box Portobello Mushroom Buttery Jack 3

Besides allowing the top bun of the slightly sweet and sturdy gourmet bun to stick to the rest of the burger, I’m not sure about the inclusion of the peppercorn mayo. I didn’t get any pepperiness from the burger. Although, combined with the Swiss cheese, the two did give the burger an added creamy texture. As for the Swiss cheese itself, its mild flavor is hard to detect with the garlic herb butter also hitting my taste buds.

A mushroom and swiss version of Jack in the Box’s Buttery Jack was inevitable. Whenever fast food chains offer a new burger line, it seems mushroom and swiss is almost always one of the options or a later addition (See McDonald’s Sirloin Burger and Angus Third Pounder, Burger King’s Whopper and Big King, Carl’s Jr.’s All-Natural Burger). But the garlic herb butter does help this burger stand out among those others I’ve tried. It’s a good burger, although not as good as the Classic version. And it’s a good addition to the Buttery Jack line.

(Nutrition Facts – 807 calories, 462 calories from fat, 51 grams of fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 128 milligrams of cholesterol, 1081 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein..)

Item: Jack in the Box Portobello Mushroom Buttery Jack
Purchased Price: $9.27* (large combo)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Garlic herb butter helps hide the dry patty and makes this burger stand out among other mushroom and swiss burgers I’ve had. Gourmet signature bun is still great. Swiss cheese helps prevent mushrooms and onions from falling out.
Cons: Messy. Hard to notice the Swiss cheese and peppercorn mayo. Predictable burger variety.

*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.