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REVIEW: Wendy’s Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe

Written by | June 13, 2014

Topics: 6 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy's Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe

When it comes to burgers, Wendy’s can be rather unorthodox. We’ve seen pretzels for buns, burgers topped with foie gras, even “renegade” burgers named after dinosaurs. With their latest twist on the hamburger, Wendy’s hopes to bring down the house. The steak house.

For a limited time only, Wendy’s restaurants will feature the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. In addition to having way too many syllables in its name, the burger consists of a beef hamburger patty flavored with steakhouse seasoning and a garlic aioli, topped with tomato, lettuce, red onion, and American cheese. As part of Wendy’s Right Price Right Right Size value menu, you have little to lose when trying the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe. I guess you could say the *steaks* are low. (See what I did there?)

In appearance, the Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe I ordered from my local Wendy’s closely resembled a typical Wendy’s cheeseburger. A quick bun-scan revealed the garlic aioli and steakhouse seasoning applied to the underside of the hamburger buns.

Each bite offers the same beefy flavor as a regular Wendy’s hamburger, only kicked up a notch through the addition of steakhouse seasoning, which possesses a strong black pepper flavor and just a hint of heat. If my tastebuds are correct, there’s also a bit of cayenne and paprika in there.

Wendy's Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe Topless 2

The burger is flavored with Montreal steakhouse seasoning. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm whether or not the Wendy’s seasoning accurately resembles Montreal seasoning in flavor, as I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec. That said, I imagine it tastes somewhat like hockey, maple syrup, and poutine.

The peppery steakhouse seasoning meshes well with the flavor of the beef hamburger patty, adding some variety to the more mundane flavor of a value menu cheeseburger. Its only flaw is that it can seem too powdery at times, as the peppery flavor really sticks in the back of your throat. For this reason, I strongly recommend pairing it with a beverage.

Wendy's Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe Topless 1

The dominant flavor in each bite of the burger is the steakhouse seasoning. As a result, the garlic aioli applied to the underside of the buns seems to fall flat — its light, buttery garlic flavor seemed nearly undetectable against the burger’s strong peppery notes. Similarly, the lettuce, tomato, and onions contributed almost nothing to the flavor, merely adding a light crunch to the texture of every bite.

Wendy’s new Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe is tasty, but not breathtakingly delicious. It’s nothing to write home about. (Unless you’re a person who really likes to send letters to your parents about hamburgers. Then by all means, write home!) Though the steakhouse seasoning does enhance the flavor profile of a run-of-the-mill value menu burger, I can only recommend purchasing it the next time you find yourself in need of an inexpensive lunch. It’s a welcome addition to the Wendy’s menu solely because of its low price.

If peppery hamburgers excite you, be sure to try the new Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe while it’s still available. If you miss it, you might just regret your mistake. Misteak? Ah, forget it. I’m done with steak puns. (Or should I say, well-done with steak-puns?)

(Nutrition Facts – 390 calories, 24 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 8 grams of monounsaturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 780 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein. .)

Item: Wendy’s Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe
Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Strong peppery flavor. Inexpensive. Houses literally made of steak.
Cons: Garlic aioli nearly undetectable. Steak seasoning seems powdery at times. An abundance of steak puns.

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REVIEW: Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad

Written by | April 1, 2014

Topics: 5 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy's Asian Cashew Chicken Salad

Ah, the fast food salad. Perfect for those on a diet and in a hurry and who aren’t very picky and are already at the restaurant with a group and don’t mind dropping some decent change on some lean meat and a handful of greens.

If you fall into that flower-like Venn diagram of compromise, it means you’ve probably made some questionable decisions in your life to get to this place (Or you’re just a mom with kids… which means you’ve definitely made some questionable decisions. Bam! Pow! Splat!). Anyway, Wendy’s wants your sad money, so they rolled out this new thing, the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad.

It’s topped with chicken, edamame, red bell peppers, cucumbers, cashews and *takes deep breath* Marzetti Simply Dressed Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette dressing *ends deep breath*. Woo whee. That dressing name is so long it looks like a Panic! at the Disco song title, or a Jaden Smith tweet. Plus, it comes in packets and you put it on yourself (Cardio for the day!). It has a light peanut-y balsamic flavor and an escalating spice that initially lets the rest of the ingredients breathe a bit.

The chicken is pretty good—standard grilled fast food chicken, salty and warm. The red bell peppers taste like red bell peppers. Cucumbers are cucumbers. The edamame has burnt spots, because it’s “fire roasted” but there is no roast flavor in them and they kind of sit there helping out a little bit, attempting to round out the taste. The various lettuce mix is fine, crunchy and cold. The pieces of cashew come in their own baggy, as to not get soggy.

Here is where things get difficult. A salad with so many “heavy” items as this one has the problem of construction. You dump your own dressing. You dump your own cashews. There are never enough cashews. Sometimes Wendy’s might slip you two packets of dressing. Sometimes one. Your mileage may vary. What if you put all the dressing in one corner of the salad? You’re screwed.

It’s tough to collect a bit of slippery soybean, lettuce, cashew and bell pepper in one bite on a plastic fork. When that happens, it’s a good salad. But that mostly does not happen. It would be a different story if all the ingredients were individually bright (they’re not), and if the dressing pulled all the components together into a unified front (it doesn’t). The dressing progressively gets spicier and the subtle peanut flavoring gets overpowered at a point, losing any semblance of depth. With all the fork dancing around the plate scooping up the toppings to make perfect bites, the second half of the meal is straight up spicy lettuce.

The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad is actually very low in calories, but also costs a pretty penny. You must be shelling out for that diet. Weird, some of the fattest people I know are Asian (E. Honda, Sammo Hung, Totoro). All in all, it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. But when the planets align and Hanukkah lands on Thanksgiving again, and we are put in a position of purchasing a fast food salad, it’s a solidly okay bet.

So this might be the best it gets as far as fast food salads go, Moms With Kids. Then one day your kids will be at Wendy’s 3000 ordering a Western Cashew Chicken Salad. (Ingredients are the same but Future China now owns the planet.) But maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. Break the cycle. Go with a Baconator and a side of chili next time. Enjoy your life. Love yourself.

(Nutrition Facts – Full Size – 380 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 970 milligrams of sodium, 1130 milligrams of potassium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fiber, and 36 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad
Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: Full size (half size available)
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chicken is decent. When all components are in one bite, tastes pretty good.
Cons: Hard to get even distribution with ingredients. Back half of meal is just spice in mouth. Pretty expensive.

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REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Written by | January 24, 2014

Topics: 8 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich

There is not much you can buy for a dollar. Maybe four pieces of Now & Later candies from my neighborhood convenience store that sells the coveted synthetic cannabis K2 and the weird miniature glass domes with a suspended tiny rose. What the hell do you with those anyway?

You could buy a few back issues of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters dumped in the yellowed back issue bin from the depressing comic book shop I used to frequent. Parsonovich, you never got your due and I’m still waiting for that autograph on my personal copy of issue number two I sent you.

I bought a few of those “like-porcelain” Chinese soup spoons for my upcoming dinner party and those were a buck each. You know the kind, those enamel-shined white ones that turn yellow after it has been through your dishwasher once.

The point is, there’s nothing much you can buy for a dollar that is worth it.

Wendy’s, however, wants to rectify that with its new Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich. I normally go for a burger but sometimes you just want something different, like a breaded chicken sandwich.

Gracefully, Wendy’s presented a sandwich that doesn’t emphasize you’ve only spent a paltry dollar nor will the taste remind you that you’re cash-poor (Who isn’t? My funds are all tied up in liquid assets, homies). Sure it’s a small sandwich, but it’s roughly four-inch diameter hides a good hammering of flavoblast (not a word).

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich Topless

The yellowish-orange mayonnaise-based chipotle sauce is tangy, earthy, and packs some heat. I know some of you smart asses are going to be all “Heat? I eat molten lava and even that sheeeeeeyit ain’t hot, Brosky!”

Look, it’s got heat for a GODDAMNED fast food sandwich, let alone a ONE DOLLAR GODDAMNED fast food sandwich. I’ll say it’s weaker than Tabasco, but stronger than your order of “American hot” Szechuan beef. You know those cooks back that are laughing at you, right?

The heat lingers a bit, which is always welcome. I was surprised the chipotle sauce went well with those sucky, ubiquitous, and rubbery pickled jalapeño peppers. I discard those immediately whenever they’re scattered on my dish at a Tex-Mex restaurant. However, those green pieces of bouncy crap works in this sandwich!

It’s clever because the acid from the pickled Jallapopos (also not a word) carries the heat and cuts through the creaminess of the chipotle dressing. It’s similar to a spicy tartar sauce, so a big ups for this brilliant twist.

The white pepper jack cheese made an impression as big as the announcement for another Resident Evil movie sequel (enough already!!!). I found the cheese to be useless because it didn’t enhance or add depth to the sandwich. Frankly, the spicy character of the pepper jack was muted. It was simply flavorless, characterless, and sad like my stupid goldfish.

Wendy's Spicy Chipotle Cripsy Chicken Sandwich Halves

But the breaded chicken was awesome. It reminded me of those school cafeteria chicken patties that were well seasoned and not greasy. I still dream of those things and have been unable to find a comparable version.

The crunch from the chicken was very nice and the chipotle sauce complemented it very well. The chicken was also moist and juicy. It also had a robust, slightly roasted taste that paired well with the chipotle sauce.

I was really amazed because when I hear a fast food burger or sandwich costs a dollar, my excitement hovers around the “let’s look at your vacation photos” level. By the way, if you’re one of those offenders, know that no one enjoys looking at your toes in the sand or that you’re holding a seashell in one hand and a fruity drink in the other. Nobody.

The Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich delivered on both adjectives in its name. Even though I griped about the cheese, it’s still a minor quibble because overall, this chicken sandwich was fantasticachillionaire (definitely not a word).

(Nutrition Facts – 420 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 9 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 230 milligrams of potassium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $1.00*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The sandwich is spicy and the chicken is crispy. The deep earthy flavor of the chipotle sauce plays very well with the pickled jalapeños. It’s only a dollar. Making up words.
Cons: The cheese was flavorless. The cheese added no depth to the sandwich. Looking at vacation photos is NEVER fun.

*Note: It’s being advertised for 99 cents, but mine was a dollar.

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REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger

Written by | January 17, 2014

Topics: 7 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger

Chipotle.

What does it mean?

They tell me it’s a smoked jalapeño, but the word has been repeated so much in recent years, it might as well be Klingon on my tongue. Assembled in an American trend factory, “chipotle” has been introduced to the public, pumped full of hype and then abandoned, surreptitiously left outside to slowly evaporate. My brain doesn’t even register it anymore. It took me three passes to not just read “Wendy’s Spicy Jr. Cheeseburger.” Chipotle. Chipotle. Chipotle. Oh no, I just summoned a Beetlejuice made of peppers.

Standing in line waiting for my order at the local Wendy’s, the question suddenly presents itself: What exactly am I about to eat? And then I look up to see this sign.

Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger sign

Thoughts, in order: Is this Russian? I can read “brioche.” Can I … read Russian? Am I in Russia right now? (I am waiting in a line for food, after all). Have I been in Russia my entire life? Does Wendy’s serve cold beet soup? … What is chipotle again? Am I ordering a cheeseburger with a mediocre Mission-style burrito on it? A cheeseburgeritto? Well, at least I know nobody in Russia would come up with “cheeseburgeritto.” I must be in America. Whew. Anyway, I got the cheeseburger and it wasn’t bad!

The Wendy’s website lists the components of the Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger in a handy list. “Sandwich bun, junior hamburger patty, spicy burger sauce, pepper jack cheese.” If you’ve dabbled in the Wendy’s value menu before, the bun and patty are familiar. The bun is springy, functional, and inoffensive. The patty is chewy like a warm ground up sponge, but, like, a reasonably tasty sponge. The meat is also noticeably less greasy and flavorful than the non-“Right Price Right Size Menu” burgers.

Oh, boy.

“Right Price Right Size?” Shut it down, Wendy’s. Nobody wants to say that many words. I’ll eat at Wendy’s every day for a year if one person has ever said the name of that menu out loud in casual conversation. (Someone say it! I need an excuse to eat Wendy’s for a year!)

Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger Topless

Let’s get to the flavor portion of the pageant. There’s the sauce, cheese and jalapeño, which, in concert, give a decent kick to the burger. While the aforementioned “spicy burger sauce” is a little too mysterious for my liking, it has a hit that immediately dissipates into a soft numb that barely lingers at all. The tiny pile of jalapeño looks like it fell off a truck on the way to a Subway, and definitely exhibits that earthy jalapeño taste, for better or worse. The peppers are sliced but not chopped, and the texture of “full” vegetables along with the spiciness kind of recreate the feeling of eating some sort of torta-burger concoction. The cheese adds a reliable, creamy counterbalance to the bite of the sauce, rounding out the burger.

The Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger is a decent choice (great for the price point) but feels a little like a relief pitcher, good enough to get you through a few innings but not the entire game. It has a unique heat that seems to draw inspiration from Mexican sandwiches, rather than the sharp, aggressive burn from most other fast food spicy fare, which almost marginalizes it as a novelty or a side dish. Since it lives on the value menu, perhaps that’s by design.

I would recommend getting this item in a collection of foods, as it serves as a good change-of-pace burger. Okay, we ain’t in Russia for sure. We eat so much we got change-of-pace burgers, y’all. And I’ll eat Wendy’s every day for a year if Vladimir Putin has ever eaten anything that had “chipotle” in its name.

(Nutrition Facts – 340 calories, 170 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 210 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 17 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger
Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Great price. Well balanced flavor. Good chance of pace from regular Jr. Cheeseburger.
Cons: Some may not cotton to the taste of jalapeño. Not satisfying enough to eat just one. Saying “Right Price Right Size” out loud. “Chipotle” means nothing. Never learned Russian.

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REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche

Written by | November 26, 2013

Topics: 7 Rating, Fast Food, Wendy's

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche

I believe a burger is as good as its bun and vice versa. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of eating a juicy medium-rare, perfectly seasoned hamburger that was ruined because it was on a dry, whole grain, toasted English muffin. And I’ve eaten a dried out, over-cooked burger on a luscious and rich onion bun.

Both occasions left me with the urge to punch someone in the face as I defecated on the floor like an untrained puppy. It just pissed me off on how thoughtless these burgers were concocted. Seriously, Dante may have given up immediately if one of the circles of hell was to eat a burger on a whole grain English muffin.

In regards to hamburgers, neither the bread nor the beef is more important than the other because when in unison, there is a harmonious perfection that is stronger than either part alone. It’s an amalgam of pleasure and guilt that is achieved by simple concepts: beef and bread.

So when Wendy’s touted their new brioche buns with the re-tooled Bacon Portabella Melt, a.k.a. Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche, I was mildly intrigued. I know I can be a complete asshole at times. So when I heard Wendy’s was putting brioche on the menu, I scoffed and went about my business drunk internet shopping.

Granted, most of us want a normal burger from a fast food joint. Yet, a little twist on the “gourmet” side is always welcome. Despite how judgmental and skeptical I was, I made the choice to try it because I knew it could not be worse than eating a burger on a fucking DRIED WHOLE GRAIN ENGLISH MUFFIN.

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche Bun Top

I was a bit put-off by the price because, at $5.99, it’s getting close to those “order to temperature” burgers. However, I was really surprised by the brioche bun. It was bronzed and toasted. The bread had a nice chewy give with the slight toasty edge. There was not the eggy/buttery-richness one normally gets with a brioche but it was not bad for a fast-food bun.

In addition, the bun defiantly (and definitely) held up against the juicy burger, wet mushrooms and melty cheddar sauce. The bread did not get soggy or mushy which made up for the almost-timid taste of the bun.

As for the melty cheddar cheese, this again was piss poor Velveeta-like nacho crap. I hate that shit and whoever invented it sucks. I absolutely despise this kind of “fake cheesery” and felt the burger would be miles better with just the melted American cheese alone.

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche Topless

With that said, the “melty” cheese sauce had an unnatural salty tang but the portabella mushrooms countered this with its earthy flavor and only added to the rich deep taste of this burger.

The beef patty was jammed pack with beefy goodness that should awaken your alpha “Affliction-wearing tee-shirt” soul somewhere. Too often do we get a dried beef patty from a fast food place but Wendy’s is usually consistent on the juice to beef ratio.

Another plus, the burger is bereft of rabbit food. Meaning no stupid lettuce or even a brined cucumber slice to stand in the way of the cheese, meat, cheese orgy!

The bacon was plentiful, nice and crispy with its salty fat that rounded out the offering nicely. Additionally, it added a good porky taste that just indulges your “to hell with all kale salads” side.

Combined, this burger had a deep and complex profile. The muskiness of the mushrooms lent a great reservoir of flavors unheard of in a quick-serve burger. I was surprised because the portabella resembled those spongy mushrooms from a can tossed like an afterthought on a bad pizza.

Yet, it’s not the brioche but the portabella that really makes this burger shine. The mouthfeel is significantly like a “restaurant burger” and the taste is just as equal. I ordered the single, but you can get the double or triple if you’re looking for a heart attack in the quickest and most efficient manner.

I quite liked it and would pay for this again if I have the urge for a “restaurant”-style burger and can’t get to one.

Besides, price alone isn’t always the worst thing if you want to splurge. Because the worst thing is a burger served on a whole grain English muffin. If ever offered one, just pull down your pants, bend over and ask for a donkey punch instead. Trust me, that would be much more delicious and humane.

(Nutrition Facts – Single Burger – 600 calories, 300 calories from fat, 34 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 12 grams of monounsaturated fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 1390 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugars, 2 grams of fiber and 34 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Single
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The portabella mushrooms really give the hamburger a rich complex flavor. The brioche has a wonderful texture and it’s toasted. The bacon only adds to the richness. Fried kale with garlic is actually nice.
Cons: The melty cheddar cheese sauce sucks. The brioche is not as eggy/buttery as brioche should be. The price may scare some off. Kale smoothies are awful but not as bad as friggin’ burgers on whole grain English muffins.

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