REVIEW: Wendy’s Jalapeño Fresco Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's Jalapeno Fresco Chicken Sandwich

My first experience with a Wendy’s was, surprisingly, only a few years ago.

I would have tried it earlier – hell, I would have been inhaling Dave’s delicious cheeseburgers through a straw, if the laws of physics allowed – if not for my mother’s utter disdain of the establishment.

Whenever I asked if we could eat there, she never failed to go off on the familiar rant – flashback to her adolescent years. A new Wendy’s was opening up within bus distance of her house, and she was ecstatic to finally try their fabled burgers. She walked in and out within a minute, food in hand.

Immediately she knew that something was up – if it wasn’t her burger’s pungent smell, it was perhaps the meat, with its usual square shape, as well as a not-as-usual green hue, that threw her off. Regardless, she plunged in for a bite, curiosity getting the best of her.

This is where she likes to conclude her story, glossing over the (presumably) nauseating aftermath of her outing. Needless to say, she wasn’t exactly keen on ever going back to a Wendy‘s again, and she simply refused to subject me to their inherent misdoings as a company. For years, I was physically barred from ever trying Wendy’s.

Thankfully, since I no longer need my mom to take me to places, I was able to try out Wendy’s new Jalapeño Fresco Chicken Sandwich!

Look, I love Wendy’s – their aforementioned cheeseburgers, their Frostys (or Frosties? Both spellings look weird to my eyes. Let‘s just go with Frostteez), and everything in between. Few nationwide fast food joints have earned my undying admiration and respect (Shoutout to Carl’s Jr./Hardee‘s, despite their goofy mascot) and Wendy’s is definitely at the top of the heap.

And I love a good, hot kick to my foods, so I was more than happy to tackle this unholy chicken sandwich.

Wendy's Jalapeno Fresco Chicken Sandwich 2

When I opened up the little cardboard box, the first thing I noticed was an angry, saucy smell – reminiscent of nacho cheese, but not as artificial. This, it turned out, was the bright-orange ghost pepper sauce, which drowned the chicken breast with its oozing essence.

That’s good news for me, because the sauce was delicious and one of the most interesting additions to a fast food sandwich I’ve ever had.

It was fascinating because it seemed to both heat, then immediately cool down my mouth. I don’t know what the flavor scientists at Wendy’s were doing when they stumbled upon this one, but their creation is one that complements the surrounding ingredients.

Wendy's Jalapeno Fresco Chicken Sandwich 3

And speaking of those surrounding ingredients, the diced jalapeños were another standout. They added a nice textural contrast, while providing a different sort of flavor and heat in comparison to the ghost pepper sauce.

The sliced onions were firm and crisp. And of course, there’s the breaded chicken breast, which was huge, crispy, juicy, spicy in its own right (comparatively spicier than most “spicy” chicken fillets I’ve had at other fast food places), and gets no complaints from this guy.

According to the Wendy’s website, this sandwich also contains “Colby pepper jack cheese”, which…really? I’m normally a pretty avid cheese aficionado, but there was absolutely no need for it here. It added nothing to this sandwich. What a waste of cheese!

Wendy's Jalapeno Fresco Chicken Sandwich 4

Lastly, there’s the red jalapeño bun. I took a nibble of it and it definitely had a light kick, but when eaten with the rest of the sandwich, its flavor got lost among the other spicy parts of the sandwich. I understand Wendy’s intentions – when they say spicy, they MEAN spicy – but the bun was a bit of a disappointment.

Nitpicking aside, this was perhaps my favorite Wendy’s sandwich since their pretzel bun stuff a while back. God, I miss those pretzel buns. I’m so impressed with it that I’ll definitely be going back for seconds.

Take that, Mom!

(Nutrition Facts – 580 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 1390 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 32 grams of protein..)

Item: Wendy’s Jalapeño Fresco Chicken Sandwich
Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Ghost pepper sauce is the delicious star of this thing. Balance of different flavors and textures. Carl’s Jr.
Cons: I’m still pissed about the uselessness of the cheese. Mothers banning their children from eating tasty hamburgers. Seriously, what kind of mascot is a star with sunglasses?!

REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon & Blue on Brioche

Wendy's Bacon & Blue on Brioche

Wendy’s Bacon & Blue on Brioche boasts big B-word buzz by bundling bankable blends between boring bread and beef.

You know what? Forget this.

Wendy’s used up all the B-related alliteration I can handle. No more B-words for the rest of the review. They are henceforth banished. Oops. Bungled it. Argh, bollocks! How do the Crips do it? They avoid saying words that start with B … Hmm, do Bloods favor Red Robin?

Gang-related fast food questions aside, Wendy’s trotted out the Bacon & Blue on Brioche for us. Knowing Wendy’s history with blue offerings, this seemed like it would be a treat. (I, however, never tried the old Bacon & Blue Burger from five years ago). How did it fare? It’s unique and bold, if not a little bit unbalanced, like a celebrity.

The first B is for bacon, and the strips in this burger definitely delivered on the crispy texture and smoky flavor. The bacon seems to be a popular item here. The person ahead of me in line and the person behind me both ordered Baconators. They then both high-fived over my head and stared me down while shaking their heads slowly.

Wendy's Bacon & Blue on Brioche 2

Which brings me to the second B, the blue cheese flavors. The item sports both blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese aioli, and that might have been too much. The blue cheese combo has a back-of-the-throat coating quality that is interesting and hits immediately upon first bite. While the aioli does a good job of melding the flavors together, the combo also displays a minor, pungent blue cheese stink. This proves to be particularly powerful and overwhelms the flashes of bacon taste. It spins the entire thing a little out of whack, although the occasional balanced bites were pretty decent. The spring mix is slightly bitter and does a very good job of breaking up the monotony.

Wendy's Bacon & Blue on Brioche 3

The beef in my burger was the weak point. Next to the great, pretty flavors of the eponymous “B & B,” the ground beef was mostly flavorless, which is sad because I think the blue cheese’s smooth flavor would’ve shined if consumed with better tasting beef.

Again, there were a few bites that seemed to balance everything well, including the beef, but the planets did not align as much as I would have liked. The third B in the name, brioche, is fine. It’s shiny and has a slight crisp on the outside, which adds a nice textural flair to the entire meal.

This item is definitely not going to have universal appeal and for that fast food version of bravery, Wendy’s gets a high five from me. High five, guys.

Oh, everybody leaving me hanging?

What, nobody else in this Wendy’s is ordering the same thing as me?

I’m not putting it down until someone slaps five with me. I refuse to use a word that starts with B until someone high fives me. See? It’s easy. I could be a Crip. Unless that means I can never go to Red Robin again.

In that case, bye bye, bros.

(Nutrition Facts – 650 calories, 39 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 1290 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 34 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Bacon & Blue on Brioche
Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Good flavors in some bites. Unique flavors.
Cons: Blue cheese is a little overwhelming. Bacon gets lost. Burger meat flavorless.

REVIEW: Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Wendy's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

There are several places I never want to find pulled pork, including a high school cafeteria, the bathroom, and inside an open wound. Fortunately, Wendy’s has nothing to do with these three things.

Similar to Denny’s fascination with bacon, Wendy’s has a newfound obsession with pulled pork. This autumn season, Wendy’s fast food restaurants will be offering a limited-time only menu including BBQ Pulled Pork Cheese Fries, a BBQ Pulled Pork Cheeseburger, and a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wendy’s introduced a pulled pork Frosty before the month ends. Wait a second…

Oh, Wendy. You sassy, redheaded minx.

Before I continue my review, I must confess: pulled pork has always confused me. Yes, it’s delicious, but I’ve never understood which part of the pig must be pulled in order to procure said barbecued meat. Behind the ears? No. Under the stomach? Nope. Between the legs? Good lord, no!

Still pondering the anatomy of hogs, I found myself inside a local Wendy’s restaurant. With five dollars in my pocket and the hunger-pangs in full effect, I decided it was high-time to try the new BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, which features hickory-smoked pulled pork meat, a layer of coleslaw, and a toasted brioche bun. Each sandwich is finished with one of three sauces: smoky, spicy, or sweet.

The sandwich arrives in a red, cardboard box decorated with Wendy’s smiling mug. Opening this package reveals the pulled pork sandwich in all its glory, topped with a grease-soaked bun that glistens in the sunlight.

The pulled pork itself is smoky and meaty. A praiseworthy approximation of barbecue flavor, it lacks the dry, chewy qualities I’ve noticed of low-quality pulled pork. Sure, Wendy’s pulled pork might not be as succulent and flavorful as pulled pork from the finest Southern barbecue joints, but it certainly holds its own.

The pork flavor is enhanced by the sweet sauce, which has a pleasant tang reminiscent of the sauce found on both the McRib and Burger King BBQ Rib Sandwich. The amount of sauce on my pulled pork sandwich was just right; the meat was not supersaturated with sauce, but I was still able to taste the barbecue sauce flavor. The only drawback was that the sweet sauce seemed a bit lukewarm when compared to the meat. I suspect the sauce wasn’t heated before the sandwich was assembled. As I continued to eat, the residual heat from the pulled pork slightly improved the sauce’s temperature, but the first few bites were subpar.

Wendy's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich 2

In comparison to both the pulled pork and sauce, the coleslaw is a letdown. Its flavor is subdued and one-note, hardly noticeable in a mouthful of smoky pork. Its main contribution to the sandwich is textural, adding a light crunch to each bite. Even so, it fails to seem as crisp as the freshest of coleslaws.

My sandwich’s contents occasionally spilled out mid-bite, but this cannot be seen as a flaw — pulled pork is an inherently messy food. Luckily, the cardboard box conveniently doubles as a tray. You will receive full protection from falling meats, just in case you decide to eat the pulled pork sandwich while in the nude, all alone in your empty apartment on a Friday night.

I finished my Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich feeling fulfilled. Though the coleslaw topping lacked bite, the sandwich’s balance of smoky pork and tangy sauce was deeply gratifying. For a fast food take on a Southern classic, Wendy’s pulled it off. The BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich rivals other barbecue sandwiches I’ve tasted at a competitive price.

As a disclaimer, I want to assure the reader that neither I, nor The Impulsive Buy, endorse the pulling of pigs. Furthermore, we have never engaged in any form of hog-yanking activity. Please be kind to our animal friends, no matter how tasty.

(Nutrition Facts – 410 calories, 120 calories from fat, 14 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1230 milligrams of sodium, 360 milligrams of potassium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 17 gram of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Smoky pulled pork flavor. Tangy sauce. Perfect amount of sauce. Eating in the nude?
Cons: Lukewarm sauce. Coleslaw flavor is one-note. Ethical dilemmas of pulling pigs.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche

Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche

Dad: “That’s-a Gouda sandwich.”

Son: “Stop it, Dad.”

Dad: “Nice size, too. Serving size is not poultry.”

Son: “…”

Dad: “Ahem. Not poultry”

Son: “It is poultry. It’s a chicken sandwich.”

Dad: “Like paltry.”

Son: “Oh. I see. … Stop it, Dad.”

Dad: “Sheesh. Sorry to brioche the subject.”

Son: “I am going to die.”

Dad: “C’mon you got the onions to withstand a conversation with your old man. Certainly this sandwich does. Well, did. They’re all chopped up now. Makes me want to shed a tear.”

Son: “Oh my god.”

Dad: “And they got a healthy dose of greens in this thing. That’s good for my digestion, for my trip to d’john later. Let me be over here. Looking at me with an a-hole-y face.”

Son: “Are you having a stroke?”

Dad: “No. Dijon. Aioli. It has Dijon aioli. A-hole like asshole.”

Son: “Dad, you aren’t saying anything about the food. You want to talk about the sandwich, go ahead. Please. By all means. But puns are not a form of communication. I’m not eating with you so you can trot out stupid, tired dad jokes. If you want to talk about the sandwich, at least tie an opinion onto something instead of unloading on me the lowest form of humor imaginable. We aren’t connecting.”

A pause.

Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche Topless

Dad: “Okay. Well, the Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche is pretty good. Pretty good. Full stop. The chicken is breaded fine—nobody will mistaken it for Chick-Fil-A or anything, but it seems to be a lighter batter than the dollar menu items. It’s a good canvas for what goes on above it.

The cheese and the caramelized onion sauce play extremely well together. The sweet onion flavor is very reminiscent of fig, and the eponymous Gouda lands a few bites of earthy flavor in the sandwich. It’s not super stinky like expensive cheese, but somehow they’ve stolen a little bit of that Gouda power, and a mouthful here and there is filled with that wannabe classic cheese-and-fig pairing. It’s very fancy for fast food fare. Fancy for fast food fare. Try saying that—”

Son: “Dad.”

Dad: “Sorry. Adulting up the proceedings even more is the bitter greens mix, which is actually bitter and again contrasts fairly well against the onion sauce. The chopped red onions give off tiny flares of acidity. The Dijon aioli cools things off, but in the face of all the other flavors going on, its rounded profile is lost a bit in the shuffle.

Bringing it home is the brioche. It’s soft enough but not soft enough to be noteworthy. It’s more like a piece of bread dressed up in a brioche Halloween costume.

It’s a pretty expensive sandwich. The entire deal is very balanced taste-wise and, like I said before, it’s substantial. But it clocks in at over five bucks. Not sure if it’s worth it since we’re at Wendy’s right now but I wanted to have lunch with my son and have a nice time, so to me it’s a bargain.”

A pause.

Son: “Thanks, Dad. Sorry about saying your jokes were stupid before.”

Dad: “It’s okay. I get it that sometimes j’can’t-stand-kitsch.”

Son: “What?”

Dad: “J’can’t-stand-kitsch. Chick-en-sand-wich?”

Son: “Ugh, I thought we were over this.”

Dad: “We are.”

Dad disappears in a puff of smoke. Son is sitting alone at a restaurant eating a sandwich. It was an imagined conversation the entire time. The son looks at his meal and pauses. He sighs, continues to eat.

Dad walks up to the table.

Dad: “Sorry, the bathroom took a while. There was a line.”

Son smiles. The conversation was imaginary but his dad is still around.

Dad: “Also, I got stuck.”

Son shakes his head and chuckles.

Son: “Oh, Dad.”

Freeze frame like at the end of an 80’s sitcom. Pull out to reveal it’s a photo in an album. Son is in old man makeup looking through photos.

Son (voice over): “And that was the last time I saw him before he left.”

Shot remains on the son. Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle plays in entirety, except instead of the line “You know we’ll have a good time then” it’s replaced with “You know we’ll have a Gouda time then.”

(Nutrition Facts – 600 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1550 milligrams of sodium, 460 milligrams of potassium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche
Purchased Price: $5.19
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Onion sauce and cheese are nice together. Bitter greens are bitter. Sophisticated flavors for the fast food world.
Cons: Pricey. Bread could’ve been softer. Chicken breading is fine but not spectacular.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe

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.