REVIEW: Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights

Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights

When I sat down to write my review of the new Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights, I told myself I was going to avoid doing two things.

“Self,” I began with a stern but encouraging tone. “Longtime TIB readers know you have a bad habit of falling back on overstated nautical puns and maritime references when describing Cap’n Crunch and its variants. Stop being such a lazy writer and get off your crutch.”

(Lest you forget, take a look at the gem in the tenth paragraph of this review.)

“Oh, and while you’re at it,” the voice scolded. “Do not, under any circumstance, mention your theories about judging the merits of a fried product on the aftertaste of the burp you burp up two hours after eating.”

But after thinking about the Cap’n Crunch Delights and inadvertently burping up the unmistakably heavy taste of fried dough, I’ve concluded each of these goals is impossible. So I’m sorry; the Cap’n made me do it.

Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights 2

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to tiny pieces of coral growing on, say, a sunken treasure ship, the delights are far from appetizing to look at. Bristling with tiny pieces of crushed up Crunch Berries cereal, they smelled unmistakably like a donut hole and little like Cap’n Crunch, while one piece had a not-so-subtle hole leaking a loose goo from its oily hull (caused from a clumsy broadside, no doubt.)

Taco Bell describes these as “light” and “fruity” but I thought they tasted heavy, oily, and remarkably synthetic. The outside coating only tasted a little like Crunch Berries; there was a vague fruity flavor but nothing remarkable or memorable, and certainly not that coconut oil aftertaste and brown sugar sweetness of Cap’n Crunch.

By far the dominant flavor was fried dough, and not in a light and airy way like a traditional donut hole. Nope, these “delights” were saturated in more surface oil than that which was left by the Exxon Valdez. The aftertaste—including that burped up aftertaste one experiences after happy hour at the Taco Bell soda machine—is strongly of fried dough; unmistakably heavy and in no way fruity at all.

Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights 3

I was really looking forward to the gooey and “creamy” milk center, mostly because all the promo shots featured this really cool image of the filling suspended in midair, making it look like some grand accomplishment of food science and engineering. In actuality the filling is loose and runny, more like a melted coating of confectioner’s sugar and milk.

Frankly the warmth of the filling is off-putting. I mean who eats cereal in warm milk? Hello McFly! And the hyper-sweet flavor tastes way too much of stabilizers and not enough like something which may have, at one point or another, come from a cow. I felt like the sweetness needed some creamy richness for balance, but all the delights offer is a heavy flavor and oily texture.

I’m all for cobranding a mashups, and I get the fact that crappy cereal sales might spur the Cap’n to sail his ship with a millennial-savvy fleet like Taco Bell, but the Cap’n Crunch Delights are neither delightful nor crunchy, nor are they milky or fruity. Mostly they’re just plain bad, even by the standards of cheap fast food.

With any luck the Cap’n will be able to right his course and try the whole donut cobranding thing again, although next time I’m going to pray he doesn’t leave the helm to a Tex-Mex fast food chain.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 delights – 170 calories, 0 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 2.5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Cap’n Crunch Delights
Purchased Price: $1.09
Size: 2-pack
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: Larger than an average donut hole. Inexpensive. Huzzah for cobranding!
Cons: Oversaturated in frying oil. Not crunchy. Poor Crunch Berry coverage. Doesn’t really taste like Crunch Berries, unless you eat your Crunch Berries in frying oil. Warm milk-like substances. My complete and utter failure as a writer.

REVIEW: Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich

Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich

“Honey, what are these for?” she asked.

She picked up a warm, paper-wrapped disc out of a box full of them.

“Those?” he said. “Don’t touch those. Those are for Halloween. They’re for the neighborhood kids.”

“These are hamburgers,” she said.

“It’s actually roast beef,” he said. “From Arby’s. The Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich. But, yeah, I thought we’d do something different this year. Spice things up.”

“You can’t possibly be serious,” she said.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Because,” she said, “these are sandwiches. Every year you try to switch things up and every year we get soap on our windows. Remember 2013? You gave out Dixie cups full of sweet tea.”

“Topped with Torani syrup,” he said. “Let me make an argument here. The Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich is sweet as hell.”

“Yes, I remember,” she said. “I had one too.”

Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich 3

“It’s so sweet, it’s pretty much just like eating candy,” he said. “Weird to think that, right? Because it’s got roast beef in it. It’s also got vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce. And cheese and a Dijon sauce. But you had one too. The sugar bacon is insanely sweet. You remember how everything spun out of control so quickly? I took a few bites and I immediately was looking for an Oompa Loompa to come stuff me into a sack.”

“The brown sugar bacon was good and thick but the sugary glaze is so strong that it’s the only quality that stands out. There is no smokiness or discernible meat flavor, just a chewy texture and sweetness. The texture of the entire sandwich is pretty good though, actually. The roast beef had a substantial feel and the whole thing is a pretty hefty gut bomb. The King’s Hawaiian bun has a pleasant softness that contrasts very nicely with the snap of the lettuce. The tomato is pretty limp though. You remember how sweet it was?”

“Yes,” she said. “And I am a fan of the normal roast beef sandwich. This really broke the orbit of flavor. The pile of roast beef was made dull, overshadowed by the sweetness of the bacon. It might as well have been paper mache. The sandwich just didn’t have the balance needed to pull it off.”

“There were a few bites of equal distribution of flavor in there and they were high points. But I would say there were only three or four instances of that. It’s hard to disregard the sweet tooth wet dream when even the bun has a sugary tinge to it. Although on the back half, I slathered on the Arby’s horseradish sauce and it made it a bit better.”

“I liked it with the horseradish sauce too,” he said.

“Did you plan to give out the sauce during Halloween too?” she asked.

“No. I didn’t know how to siphon it out of that little dispenser at Arby’s,” he said, sheepishly.

“You weren’t even going to add the stuff that made it halfway decent?” she asked.

He didn’t say anything.

Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich 2

“I know,” she said. “I know the sandwich tastes like candy. And it seems cool to do something for the sake of being different. But not everything has to be redefined to be on your terms. You’re part of this culture too, you know. Halloween is all of ours. It’s for everybody. You don’t have to change it to enjoy it. Just go with the flow. You’re not boring. You’re not predictable. You’re not a cliché. And even if you were, who cares?”

There was a pause. He stared out of the window.

“You’re right,” he said, his giant green fingers reflexively touched the bolts in his neck, then massaged his temples as he sighed. “You’re always right. Let’s just give away Twix this year. Full size.”

He paused again. “You know, for us, everyday is…”

“Yes, yes, honey,” she said, as she leaned on his shoulder, her lightning-struck hair brushed against his worn suit jacket. “For us, everyday is Halloween. I know. But seriously. It’s July. And you got a whole box of these!”

“I bought sixty of them,” he said.

She laughed. “What the heck are we going to do with all these sandwiches?”

“Let’s burn them,” he smiled.

They stacked them in the middle of the room and threw a lit matchbook into the pile. As it went up in flames, he suddenly remembered he feared fire and ran into the hills. She sighed.

(Nutrition Facts – 720 calories, 280 calories from fat, 32 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 170 grams of cholesterol, 1620 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, 42 grams of protein.)

Item: Arby’s Brown Sugar Bacon & Roast Beef Sandwich
Purchased Price: $5.79
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Arby’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Hefty. Good texture. Soft bun, crisp lettuce. Use horseradish sauce to help it taste more rounded.
Cons: Roast beef is dulled by sweetness. Expensive.

REVIEW: Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza

Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza

To me, getting a Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza was like getting GoBot for Christmas. Sure, they’re vehicles that transform into robots, but they’re a lame ripoff of other vehicles that turn into robots. They’re no Transformer, robots in disguise.

In my eyes, the Transformer equivalent of a Pizza Hut hot dog pizza is the Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza that other countries, like Canada and the U.K., were sold. It was a pizza that looked like a normal Stuffed Crust pizza but instead of the crust being stuffed with gooey cheese, they had significantly not gooey at all hot dogs in them.

Why didn’t that come to our shores? We’re America, dammit! We’ve done so many things with our hot dogs. We’ve wrapped them in bacon. We’ve injected them with cheese. We watch people eat dozens of them one after another for sport. FOR SPORT! I don’t want a GoBot, I want a Transformer! But I have to settle for the GoBot version of a Pizza Hut hot dog pizza.

Each Hot Dog Bites Pizza has 28 pigs in a blanket as the outer crust. Half the slices have three bites and the other half have four. The crust around them…ugh, I can’t delay it any longer. I have to talk about how they look. I don’t know about you, but there’s something disturbing about the way these bites look. Some folks have said they look like toes, and the photo below helps prove that. But my active imagination sees a few other things that probably aren’t appropriate for a food review. But let me just say these things are seen below the waist.

Now back to the review.

Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza Toes

The crust around the hot dogs were toasted nicely, giving them a slight crispy outside. And the dough inside was soft and had a slight chewiness. But the hot dogs themselves don’t look like hot dogs or taste like them. Instead they look like Vienna sausages and have a flavor that reminds me of those little smokies cocktail sausages. As someone who had eaten a lot of cocktail sausages wrapped up in Pillsbury Crescent dough, I liked the familiar flavor of the hot dog bites. But, again, they don’t taste like hot dogs.

Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza Mustard

Each pizza comes with a container of French’s yellow mustard to use as a dipping sauce. Because, you know, hot dogs. After trying them with ketchup, mustard, and a combination of the two, I have to say going with mustard was the right choice. Ketchup seems too close to the sauce on the pizza. Even with mustard, the smokiness of the meat was still noticeable.

Combining the two super junk foods, pizza and hot dogs, into one bite isn’t going to open a portal into Awesomeland. Together, without the mustard, they’re okay. But I think they’re best left separated.

I will admit, although it’s not exactly the Transformer I wanted, this GoBot is kind of cool and it still makes me want to eat the crust more than a cheese-stuffed crust would. Also, I found that one slice with four hot dog bites was enough to fill me up. Maybe it was the extra protein. But I now know I can never eat hot dogs for sport.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website.)

Item: Pizza Hut Hot Dog Bites Pizza
Purchased Price: $17.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Pizza Hut
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Makes me want to eat the crust more than cheese-filled crust. It’s still pizza with hot dogs in the crust. One slice is filling. Enough mustard for dipping all 28 hot dog bites. Transformers.
Cons: Not as cool as getting a Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza. Hot dogs don’t taste like hot dogs, more like cocktail sausages. For those with active imaginations, the hot dog bites look a bit disturbing. I can’t eat hot dogs for sport. GoBots.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut

Dunkin' Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut

Ever eaten a food that doesn’t live up to the only descriptor in its title? Like a spicy dish that was not spicy at all? If you have, you know it’s a frustrating experience. It’s kind of like a broken promise.

This was the case with Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut. See the word crunch there? I saw it too, and like a sad mindless sheep I gave DD my unconditional trust. Yet not one time did I hear something that even slightly resembled a crunching sound in my mouth whilst eating the donut. It was a more irksome experience than reading the children’s poem “Five Little Ducks” as a grown up.

So here’s the gist of the poem: Five little ducks went out one day, over the hill and far away. Mother duck said, “quack, quack, quack,” but only four little ducks came back.”

The trend continues until one little duck remains, and that little duck doesn’t come back either. And it isn’t until the last duck is gone that the mother duck shows any sign of worry. What kind of irresponsible parenting is that!? Don’t you think she would’ve called the duck authorities to put out a duck Amber Alert after her first kid disappeared? No, she waits until they’re all gone.

At the end she says, “quack, quack, quack,” and all the little ducks come back, but there’s no telling what kind of traumatic event they went through. They’ve probably been brainwashed by a duck cult, or a group of duck terrorists. Either way, the mother’s awful brand of parenting has assured these kids are going to live some ducked up lives.

Dunkin' Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut Closeup

Oh yeah, the donut. So it’s basically a fluffy donut with chocolate frosting on top, which is then sprinkled with crumbled Chips Ahoy! Cookies. Sounds good, and it was good, but the big problem is that the cookie crumbles aren’t big enough and they are not crunchy in the slightest.

The donut was almost like a cruller, not in looks or taste but in how light it was. It wasn’t totally filled with cake the whole way through, as there were air pockets in the middle of the donut. Because of this, it’s not a meal like some donuts, but more of a snack. The chocolate frosting was rather rich, and not having had a donut from DD in a hot minute, I forgot how good frosted donuts were. Hope this doesn’t put me back on the wagon…

Back to those cookie crumbles. They were more of a tease than anything else. Mine did not have big enough chunks to get a true Chips Ahoy! cookie taste, and again, there was a total absence of the promised crunch. The cookies were kind of soft. Maybe the crunch is supposed to come when I slam my fist down on the table in anger after eating it and realizing I’ve been lied to?

I almost went for the Chips Ahoy! Crème donut, but I’m a crunch guy so I went with my gut. I noticed that one also had crumbled cookies on top, and If I were you I would go that route. Again, this donut does not taste bad, but it’s a horrible lie. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… you won’t fool me twice, Dunkin’ Donuts, this is the last time! I’ll not subscribe to your tomfoolery any longer! FREEEEEDDOOOOMMMMM!!!

(Nutrition Facts – 310 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 360 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Chips Ahoy! Crunch Donut
Purchased Price: $1.07
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tasty donut. Rich chocolate frosting is great. FREEEEEDDOOOOMMMMM!!!
Cons: Absence of crunch. Cookie pieces aren’t big enough and aren’t present enough. Irresponsible mother duck.

REVIEW: Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich

Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich

I’m more interested in the nutrition facts for Burger King’s Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich than the actual sandwich.

You may think because it’s fast food the nutrition numbers are high enough to cause consumers to leave angry comments on Burger King’s Facebook page. But they’re not. I’m not saying they’re healthy numbers, just low for fast food.

The new sandwich has 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. To give you an idea of how unusual these numbers are, a few years ago, Burger King had a Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich that had 470 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. That’s twice the fat, almost twice the saturated fat, and 100 more calories than this new pulled pork sandwich.

Here’s another comparison. A regular Burger King hamburger has 230 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat. It has less calories and a little more fat. But the serving size between the two are great. The hamburger is 100 grams, while the Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich is 192 grams. Again, I’m not saying it’s healthy, it’s just unusual. Besides, the sandwich does have a fast food normal 1,290 milligrams of sodium.

The Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich comes with pulled pork in a sweet and smoky barbecue sauce, onions, and pickles on Burger King’s toasted hoagie bun.

If you’re familiar with Burger King’s previous pulled pork offerings, you might be wondering if their pulled pork still looks like clumped up wet cat hair. Oh, it does. That’s why there isn’t a photo of the sandwich split in half. If you want to see that horror, go click this “clumped up wet cat hair” link.

Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich 2

The amount of pulled pork on my sandwich was pathetic. That layer of pulled pork looks like Mr. Stingypants placed it on there. It’s disappointing compared to the mound of meat the Memphis BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich offered. Because there wasn’t a lot of meat, there also wasn’t a lot of sauce, which I guess is good if you don’t want to use more than one napkin. But extra sauce would’ve helped hide the bites of the pulled pork that were dried out.

The sweet and smoky barbecue sauce is mostly sweet and is, sadly, not the better tasting Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce used with their other sandwiches, like their great Rodeo Burger. Because there wasn’t a lot of meat and sauce, they had to battle the bun for flavor supremacy in this sandwich. Yes, the bun.

Oh, you’d think the pickles and onions would help with flavor, but they don’t. They added a slight crunch, but they didn’t add any contrast to the pulled pork. Instead whatever flavor they had, which wasn’t much, got lost among the pulled pork and bun. If it weren’t for their texture, I think most folks wouldn’t realize they were there.

I did not spit out any bites from my Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich. or throw away any fraction of the sandwich, but it’s hard for me to believe that this sandwich will leave most peoples’ taste buds satisfied. It’s not the worst menu item I’ve had from Burger King. That honor goes to the Yumbo Sadwich…I mean, Sandwich. But I don’t think it’s even interesting enough to get it with Burger King’s 2 for $5 deal.

(Nutrition Facts – 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 23 grams of protein.)

Item: Burger King Extra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Some nutrition facts are unusually low for a fast food sandwich. I did not spit it out. Since there’s not a lot of sauce, it’s a clean sandwich to eat.
Cons: Thin layer of pulled pork. Pulled pork still looks like clumped up wet cat hair. Doesn’t use the Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce used in Burger King’s other sandwiches. Last year’s Yumbo. Onions and pickles don’t help. Having to battle the bun for flavor supremacy.