French toast occupies a nebulous space in the breakfast continuum. On the one side, you’ve got muffins, doughnuts, and pancakes as sweet breakfasts, then you have eggs, hash browns, and bacon/sausage over on the savory breakfast side. Then you have French toast in this kind of no-man’s-land, some kind of breakfast purgatory, where it’s sort of savory because of the egg flavor, but then you drown it in syrup, and it becomes sweet. Make up your mind, French toast!
Obviously, as a French toast skeptic, I had concerns going into Homestyle French Toast Sticks, the new breakfast item from Wendy’s. However, Wendy’s got around this identity crisis by frying the crap out of these things to the point where classifications like “sweet” and “savory” become lost in an oily confection that makes deep-fried Oreo cookies look healthy. Harsh words? Perhaps, but notice I did not say that I didn’t enjoy it.
According to Wendy’s, this new menu item “delivers a mouthful of flavor, striking the perfect texture balance of a soft custardy interior and crisp, golden-brown crust.” Okay, I will give them that: the texture contrast is really nice. The very deep-fried tasting sticks have lovely little caramelized edges that clash wonderfully with the lightly egg-flavored bread. However, texture and flavor are two different things, and flavor balance is where Wendy’s might have stumbled a little.
When I ordered these, Wendy’s staff told us to move aside from the drive-through line so they could make them to order. Now, I have faith in the Wendy’s work ethic, but I’m pretty sure this did not mean cracking eggs and cooking the sticks in the pan. They are likely fried to order, which is why the overall feeling of “fried” is so strong. Four or six piece sizes are available; I got the six because of course I got the six.
When I dipped my nose into the bag containing these little guys, as one does, the smell actually reminded me of carnival funnel cake, which is weird because I don’t think I’ve had funnel cake in a decade. These treats are a good size too, more like long wedges as opposed to sticks. When I bit into one, the decadent flavor of carbs fried in oil went to work on my tongue while my brain tried to remember that I was still looking for other flavors. There is an egg flavor in there, but it’s a little subtle; this likely does not taste like your grandma’s French toast because it’s just not eggy enough. When you dip these sticks into the syrup provided, the sweetness overrides everything, and the egg flavor is no longer discernible.
That said, these things are hella addictive. I had been planning to save the last strip for my husband, except I got lost in a kind of sugary breakfast haze and inhaled every single one. I was left looking at an empty plate with a few dots of syrup on it, wondering how I got here. It was quite enjoyable, but I think I’ve used up my allowance for fried foods for the rest of the month.
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 6 sticks
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 490 calories, 25 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 175 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.