REVIEW: Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit

Wendy s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit

What is Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit?

The less-is-more approach to Wendy’s nationwide breakfast rollout that features a crispy chicken fillet topped with maple honey butter on a “fluffy buttermilk biscuit.”

How is it?

Better than McDonald’s and Burger King, but not as good as you-know-who.

The chasm between fast food biscuit sandwiches is vast, with Chick-fil-A, Hardee’s, and Whataburger leading the way, and McDonald’s and Burger King’s ubiquitous biscuits bringing up the absolute rear (unless you count the likes of 7-Eleven and other convenience stores).

Wendy s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Chicken

Wendy’s is somewhere in-between. The chicken component is good – meaty, juicy, and slightly peppery – and a step above the “value” McChicken that McDonald’s recently slapped between their frozen-and-thawed biscuit halves. But the chicken isn’t as good as Chick-fil-A, the honey butter isn’t as good as Whataburger’s, and the biscuit isn’t as good as Chick-fil-A or Hardee’s.

Wendy s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Halves

In fact, the biscuit was the biggest letdown. It was neither flaky nor spongy, and it was bland and doughy. The only real flavor came from the chicken and lightly applied honey butter.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The biscuit could have been much better if there was a more liberal application of the honey butter, which was applied only sparingly underneath my chicken patty. Given the dry and dense biscuit, more of it (especially a biscuit wash) would have helped.

Conclusion:

I didn’t dislike Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, but it wasn’t as “yummy” as one of my similarly fast food-obsessed coworkers claimed. Unless McDonald’s or Burger King is your only fast food option, I’d stick with the tried and true chains that have been doing chicken biscuit sandwiches for more than two seconds.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 500 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 9 gram of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic

Wendy s Big Bacon Classic

Despite thousands of radio stations, playlists, and aging boomer cover bands, most people concede there is no one uniform, authoritative definition of Classic Rock. Some say it has to be from the 60s or 70s; others that it has to feature certain guitar rifts; some claim that in its truest form that Classic Rock can’t include anything but British bands. Classic, it seems, is at least somewhat in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.

Such might also be said of the classic bacon cheeseburger.

Cheddar? Blue Cheese? Applewood smoked or peppered bacon? Lettuce, tomato, and onion? Or just meat, cheese, and bacon? That’s not even saying anything of the condiments or bun choice.

Wendy’s latest burger offering, the Big Bacon Classic, attempts to answer that question by adding Applewood Smoked Bacon to a Dave’s Single. Groundbreaking, I know, except for the fact that it originally debuted in 1992.

Wendy s Big Bacon Classic Toppings

Like most premium fast food burgers these days, Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic looks impressive out of the wrapper. With a quarter-pound of beef, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mayo, and onions, it has enough heft to inspire confidence without being unwieldy.

I got the burger twice — once during the lunch hour and once in the evening and from two separate Wendy’s.

The first time, I couldn’t get past an off-flavor that was a little bit burnt and a little bit woodsy (having once bitten through a twig roasting a marshmallow, I know these things). Thinking I hit a bad piece of bacon, I took another bite. But I got the same off-flavor result.

Wendy s Big Bacon Classic Split

Unsure which part of the burger was causing the weirdly unpleasant taste, I tested the components individually, and found nothing wrong with them. Everything was fresh and in its proper portion, although the bacon coverage wasn’t as great as “big” leads you to believe. Still, it had a nice smoky flavor and was rendered perfect by fast food standards, with the right balance of fat, crunch, and smoke.

Since I wasn’t sure if the weird off-flavor of my burger was an inherent flaw or some kind of ingredient or handling issue confined to time and place, I got another one later in the week.

Wendy s Big Bacon Classic Bacon

My second was, from a cheeseburger perspective, much better than the first, with a juicy and hot patty dripping with juices and fat, oozing up the cheese. However, its bacon was rather quiet and this time overcooked, although the off and distracting flavor was gone.

Despite being a really good fast food cheeseburger, it didn’t taste better than a well-executed Dave’s Single, which you can get for less than half the price if you’re ordering off the 2 for $5 menu.

All in all, the Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic was good but a bit of a letdown when executed well, and a major disappointment when executed poorly. A good-looking burger with good individual ingredients, to me, it’s classic only in the sense that it’s a classic case of inconsistent execution in fast food.

Purchased Price: $5.59
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 640 calories, 40 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 8 gram of sugar, and 34 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders

McDonald s Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders

Do you trust your taste buds?

It’s an honest question; and no, not in the existential crisis proceeding when you learn that all the loops in Froot Loops taste the same (they do) but in drawing on a memory of something you ate in the past and comparing it to something you ate today.

I bring this up because last year McDonald’s released its Sweet N’ Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders, and I liked them. This year, they released what seems like a similar product — Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders — but I can’t say the same thing.

McDonald’s is advertising the Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders as “smoky,” “juicy,” and “mouthwatering.” They are none of the preceding, and certainly not worthy of the “whoo!” the McDonald’s website claims you’ll say after eating them.

“Meh,” perhaps. “Woo,” please.

McDonald s Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders 2

For starters, they’re not much to look at. It may be fast food, but it’s also 2019, and when your premium tenders are broken and sagging in an oversized box, that says something about preparation.

McDonald s Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders 4

It also says something about your preparation — and maybe even the conception — when my tenders are soggy and have little crunch when ordered during the Noon to 1 p.m. lunch hour. They had no genuine crisp or crackle in the breading. Inside, they were dryer than McDonald’s tenders I’ve had in the past, with none of the succulence white meat needs to be anything other than boring.

McDonald s Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders 3

But perhaps the biggest letdown was the sauce. Where last year’s Sweet N’ Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders nailed the Honey BBQ flavor, the BBQ sauce on this year’s Spicy BBQ tenders leaves much to be desired. It’s not as sweet or bold as last year’s version but carries the same ho-hum level of spiciness — a little cayenne on the back end, some garlic powder, maybe enough black pepper to let you know that hey, we didn’t lie entirely in our marketing.

I tend to treat chicken tenders like pizza, falling back on the theory that they can never be truly repulsive. But I’m also a big believer in opportunity cost, and as the list of McDonald’s menu items I would have rather spent money on grows, my relative enjoyment of a disappointing product dissipates. My suggestion? Get the buttermilk tenders and sauce them separately. You may like them.

Purchased Price: $4.59
Size: 4-count
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4-count) 580 calories, 27 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1950 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 41 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Blizzard

What is the Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Blizzard?

It’s the new Blizzard treat you spotted after you went back to Dairy Queen for your eleventh Pumpkin Pie Blizzard in the last two weeks. With Heath candy pieces added to a mix of chewy brownie pieces, caramel, and Dairy Queen soft serve, the new treat is trying to be a caramel brownie with a bit of toffee crunch.

How is it?

Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Blizzard Top

Surprisingly complex for what seems like a flavor that would have already been tried before. Since Heath pieces tend to be the most overlooked candy mix-ins ever, you never quite know what you’re getting when they’re included. But the hard crunch of the pieces is a good textural contrast to the slightly chewy and chocolatey brownie pieces, which are plentiful enough to give the Blizzard a chocolate flavor that makes the caramel aspect taste both rich and familiar.

Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Blizzard Mix ins

While the caramel flavor hangs in the background, the burnt sugar toffee of the Heath gives the Blizzard a new appeal that keeps it from getting boring.

Is there anything else you should know?

The level of your enjoyment for this will likely vary by the quality and quantity in which yours is made. That’s because the vanilla base seems like the wrong choice to host the established chocolate-caramel synergy, which was a letdown in the spoonfuls that didn’t get brownie pieces. And while the Heath pieces give the Blizzard an added element, they don’t define the baseline flavor the way that the brownie pieces do.

Conclusion:

Dairy Queen doesn’t make a bad Blizzard, and this Heath Caramel Brownie one is no exception. But I tend to think the line between very good and mind blown is pretty discernible, and this latest Blizzard doesn’t reach the latter category. It’s a shame Dairy Queen didn’t go all out and double down on the chocolate and caramel.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Mini
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Mini) 370 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 44 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Maple Creme Oreo Cookies

Limited Edition Maple Creme Oreo Cookies

Poor maple.

Since the dawn of seasonal snack food proliferation and the veritable arms race of limited-edition flavors, it’s been getting overlooked each fall by pumpkin spice and any combination of apple flavors. And while it seems obvious maple would make its way into prime-time cookie form, it sure took its sweet time. Hell, it took Oreo 25 other flavors to even consider maple!

Frankly, Maple Creme Oreo Cookies are long overdue, especially given the fact that people have been smuggling Dare Maple Leaf Crème cookies across the Canadian border for as long as I can remember.

Limited Edition Maple Creme Oreo Cookies Creme

Like any rational human being, I eagerly enjoyed my first Maple Creme Oreo by twisting the cookies ends off and licking the crème, which looks like peanut butter. More viscous than regular Oreo creme and slightly gritty, it has a delicate depth and slightly unprocessed flavor. These are not woodsy, warming, or even caramel, all flavors associated with darker colored maple syrups. But for what they lack in a romantic conception of drizzling maple syrup over pancakes after a long day of chopping wood in Vermont with our best flannel shirt, they make up in general appeal.

Limited Edition Maple Creme Oreo Cookies in Package

In that light, the creme does hit a maple note, although one that straddles a slightly-more-sweet-than-it-needs-to-be mixture of corn syrup and light brown sugar. You’re getting maple flavor, but you’re not getting maple syrup — a sensation complicated by the Golden Oreo wafers.

While the creme is far too sweet on its own, the Golden Oreo wafers help balance out the taste. When I first bit into one, an odd but welcomed memory of Golden Grahams surfaced on my tongue. I’m not sure if the wafers received a slight flavor change for the cookie, or if was the combination of being stuck to the maple-flavored creme, but the taste was different and better than the average Golden Oreo.

Limited Edition Maple Creme Oreo Cookies Wafers

In any case, the wafers had enough complexity to dull the sweetness while rounding out the maple flavor, making the complete cookie chomp the preferred method for eating these.

While Oreo could have gone a lot of different ways in pairing the maple flavor, I tend to think the simplest variation is often the best. It definitely works here, and although Maple Creme Oreo Cookies are not quite as good as Canada’s Maple Leaf Crème cookies (which are made with real maple syrup), they’re still good enough on their own to deserve consideration to be in the regular lineup.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size:12.2 oz. package
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 6 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of total sugars, 13 grams of added sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Krave Cereal Cinnamon Crunch and Strawberry Crunch

Kellogg s Cinnamon Crunch Krave Cereal

I give Kellogg’s a lot of credit with Krave. In an era when new cereal concepts barely last a year, the British import has stuck around with surprising popularity, much like The Office except without the musical exploits of Creed Bratton.

I credit this to a few things, one of which is the decision to add “more chocolate” to Krave. I’m old enough to remember when you’d bite into a cereal biscuit only to get—more biscuit. Today’s original and Double Chocolate Krave avoid the dreaded hollow biscuit, a trend that continues in the two newest additions to the Krave family -— Cinnamon Crunch and Strawberry Crunch.

Why the “Crunch” in their titles? I couldn’t tell you. The Krave Biscuits share the sub-optimal snacking qualities of their forbearers, each with a delicate, crumbly texture that sogs and saturates in milk.

Kellogg s Cinnamon Crunch Krave Cereal 3

When I was younger and less at risk for a whole host of health problems associated with excessive empty carbohydrate intake, I thought it was taboo to combine assertive flavors like cinnamon and chocolate in cereal. Turns out, the two are hardly fish and cheese, and Cinnamon Crunch Krave turns out the very best in the seemingly symbiotic relationship of cocoa and cassia.

Kellogg s Cinnamon Crunch Krave Cereal 4

A strong churros flavor coats each square, with a lickable, stick-to-your-beard sugary coating blooming into an admirable chocolate taste. In milk, this only gets better. What ensues is a flavor similar to Chocolate Toast Crunch but the chocolate is more concentrated. It is, unexpectedly, one of the better chocolate cereals I’ve had in recent memory.

Kellogg s Strawberry Crunch Krave Cereal

Strawberry Crunch Krave didn’t score as high. The strawberry powder tastes… interesting, which is about as cliché and proverbial as it gets but is nevertheless the most apt description. Overall, it has a kind of toasted sugar taste that doesn’t quite match the succulent and slightly tart sweetness of actual strawberries. It’s also noticeably artificial, much like the sticky granules that covered the short-lived Strawberry Tiny Toast cereal of a few years ago.

Kellogg s Strawberry Crunch Krave Cereal 4

Those hoping for some Neapolitan synergy sans vanilla will be disappointed; even in chilled Vitamin D fortified whole milk, the richness that makes strawberry and chocolate an actual thing is MIA. The chocolate competes with the strawberry powder, combining for two disjointed tastes that never come together in the classic Valentine’s Day combination. The cereal isn’t bad, but it’s a relative letdown.

As seems to be the case with many cereals released in pairs, Kellogg’s has at least one winner among its new Krave varieties. And, while Strawberry Crunch will probably win a few niche fans who were deprived actual fresh fruit as children, my gut feeling is that Cinnamon Crunch will take its rightful place on the shelves next to the other varieties. And, like an offbeat British sitcom, it might just stick around for more than a few years.

Purchased Price: $3.64 (each)
Size: 17.3 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Cinnamon Crunch)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Strawberry Crunch)
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup w/o milk) 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.