REVIEW: Burger King Frozen What The Fanta Mystery Flavor

Burger King Frozen What The Fanta Mystery Flavor Slush Cup

Fanta recently unveiled a new line of mystery flavored beverages that are designed to “fool senses and challenge tastebuds with opposite flavor notes.” Read: Fanta is trying to screw with you. Some flavors are appearing in 20-ounce bottles and others are in Coke Freestyle machines or in frozen form at various restaurants. I like to confuse my mouth as much as the next person so I picked up a Burger King Frozen What The Fanta Drink and proceeded to, as the ads put it, “Taste the Unknown.”

Yup, I’m definitely tasting the unknown. It’s a familiar sort of unknown that makes me think I can place it but at the same time, I can’t make a guess with any real confidence. When I ordered, the manager told me it was great and showed me his almost empty cup of the green stuff as proof he drinks it himself. I asked if he had a guess as to the flavor and he offered up “maybe lime something?”

Burger King Frozen What The Fanta Mystery Flavor Slush Top

Mine started out perfectly frozen and a light green reminiscent of the daytime color of objects that glow in the dark. It didn’t smell like much at first and tasted fruity but also kind of creamy. These melt fast and the flavor seems to change as they do. After an initial several sips where I thought I should know the flavor but couldn’t put a name to it I began to think it might be strawberry banana. That’s a combination I only know from eating it in the form of Trix yogurt approximately twice as a child because I hate bananas and would never seek out anything flavored like them. That being said, the banana here (if it’s here at all?) isn’t overwhelming or enough to make me dislike it.

Sticking my nose in the cup after about half had turned to liquid gave me a totally different smell, it was heavier on the vanilla and creamy, maybe even sort of caramely notes. Maybe it’s a strawberry banana cream pie? With a little lime and I don’t know…kiwi? Do I even know what a kiwi tastes like? I feel like maybe when they reveal what this mystery flavor is it could be a fruit I’ve never tasted. Jackfruit! Wasn’t that having a moment a while ago? Jackfruit Shortcake is my official guess based on absolutely nothing.

Burger King Frozen What The Fanta Mystery Flavor Slush Sign

To sum up, this tastes like something that would happen when you mix four flavors at the Slurpee machine but have strategically chosen the flavors in the hopes they won’t clash with one another. It’s a good but not amazing drink and one that I don’t think most people would find objectionable even if they aren’t into the whole “mystery” concept and would rather know what they’re tasting. If you think mystery flavors are fun this one should keep you guessing because I’ve seen people say it tasted like everything from caramel apple to key lime pie and at the price of only $1 it makes for some refreshing summer entertainment.

Purchased Price: $1.11
Size: Medium
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 44 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Snickerdoodle Pop-Tarts

Snickerdoodle Pop Tarts Box

When I heard there was a Snickerdoodle Pop-Tart out, I was excited because I happen to love cookies, and I figured it’s hard to screw up something like cinnamon and sugar, right? They sounded more up my breakfast alley than flavors like Peach Cobbler or Everything Bagel. Turns out I was wrong. From my first glance at this box, I feared something had gone awry. The packaging couldn’t be more lackluster, and it represents the contents accurately.

Snickerdoodle Pop Tarts Cracks

Straight out of the foil, these Pop-Tarts are too soft and crumbly to hold themselves together. One was splitting so badly along multiple fault lines that it could definitely never be placed in a conventional toaster. I thought it was a fluke, but upon picking up the other one, it became clear that it, too, was ready to fall apart unless I used the utmost care and immediately set it down. They’re sprinkled with coarse-grained sugar, which is nice in many applications but not what one typically rolls snickerdoodles in. These sugar pebbles atop the sandy-bordering-on-gray pastry base make for an ugly appearance, but there’s no reason to hold that against them just yet.

Snickerdoodle Pop Tarts Filling

I’ll eat Pop-Tarts any way they come to me, so I set about snacking on discrepant pieces of the first pastry as an initial test while I waited for the second to toast (with a silent prayer it didn’t collapse in the process). They taste pretty generic, and I can’t keep them from further falling apart in my hands. I’m missing the classic tang you’d typically find in a snickerdoodle, usually present thanks to cream of tartar that adds flavor and chew to the cookie. The filling is weirdly viscous and kind of gluey, like what you’d find in a not great pecan pie.

Snickerdoodle Pop Tarts Stretch

The toasted pastry emerged almost slightly burnt in places, but it managed to only lose one corner to crumbliness. The darker toasted parts of this remind me of burnt marshmallows, which isn’t normally a bad thing but isn’t anything I associate with snickerdoodles. The more I ate of both the toasted and untoasted tarts, the more both seemed to be mostly flavored like cinnamon-y marshmallows.

I refuse to believe this is a thing that anyone does, but because the box always claims that you can enjoy them frozen, I threw one in the freezer to complete the experience. The cooling muted some of the marshmallow flavor, but the filling is even less agreeable when it’s cold, stretching as you pull off a piece and slowly contracting in an unappetizing fashion.

Snickerdoodle Pop Tarts Toasted

Everything about this flavor seems thrown together, possibly by someone who’s never eaten a snickerdoodle or made a Pop-Tart. They aren’t bad necessarily, although the filling texture is off, but there’s nothing to really set them apart or make them worth trying. They could as easily have been called “Sugar and Cinnamon” or “Cinnamon Roll” or maybe “Cinnamon Corn Syrup” as “Snickerdoodle,” and because I consider the regular Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon version to be top-tier, it makes me wonder why they’d bother with these.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 8 count box
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 pastries) 380 calories, 11 grams of total fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of total sugars, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s Wagyu Steakhouse Burger

Arby s Wagyu Steakhouse Burger Whole

It’s no secret people have strong opinions about Arby’s. You’re probably a fervent supporter or you wouldn’t touch (or eat) their roast beef sandwich with a ten-foot pole. I fall in the former camp. The chain proudly announces “We Have the Meats,” but never before in 58 years has that included a hamburger. I’ve always taken a strange pride in this absence (because in my mind, I operate a profitable Arby’s franchise, and yes, we still serve potato cakes). I’m pleased by the fact that Arby’s succeeds by doing something different and doesn’t feel the need to sling an average burger. So while Arby’s doesn’t NEED to offer a burger, what happens when it wants to? Perhaps it realized it had already served most legal meat products and decided it was time to beat all the other joints at their own game – ground beef.

The Deluxe Wagyu Steakhouse Burger offers up a 6.4-ounce patty that’s a blend of 52% American Wagyu and 48% ground beef. It’s topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion, and burger sauce on a toasted brioche bun. Since Arby’s restaurants don’t have grills, they’ve decided the best cooking route is sous vide, claiming this results in a medium-well burger, something you rarely see in fast food.

Arby s Wagyu Steakhouse Burger Patty

This looks like a classic burger with just a handful of ingredients done right. At first glance, it didn’t appear that hefty, but upon closer examination and consumption, it’s a weighty patty. Many times in the world of fast food, I don’t want this much ground beef. I avoid items like the Quarter Pounder or anything double beef at Taco Bell because it’s more mediocre meat than I want to eat. I didn’t feel this way about the Arby’s burger at all. It tastes meaty in a good way, and the interior of the patty matches the advertised pictures: pinkish, juicy, and not the gray throughout that I’ve come to expect from most hamburgers that are handed to me within three minutes of my ordering.

Arby s Wagyu Steakhouse Burger Half

The cheese was perfectly melted, and the vegetables were fresh and actually contributed something to the eating experience. The pickles are thicker cut and tasty, and the red onion is crunchy with a not-too aggressive bite. The sauce is your standard mixture of condiments. I enjoyed it, maybe more than Big Mac sauce, but there’s too much. It’s applied to both the top and bottom bun and should be contained to just one. I liked its thinner consistency and it had a good flavor balance, the only issue being the ratio of sauce to every other part of the burger is off. It makes for a sloppy situation and because the meat here genuinely does seem to be of a better quality, they could have showcased the wagyu more by saucing less.

Arby s Wagyu Steakhouse Burger Split

Since it lacks a grilled element, you won’t be getting any char on the patty’s exterior, but the texture and quality of the meat and toppings exceed the expectations I have for burgers of this size in a drive-thru setting. If hamburgers are part of your fast food repertoire I’d encourage you to grab this one while you have the chance. It’s available through July 31st, and after that, Arby’s will hang up its ten-gallon hat from the burger game, and both fans and (fake) franchise owners like me will rest assured that they don’t have to serve burgers, but if they want to, damn it, they can.

Purchased Price: $6.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 715 calories, 43 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 97 milligrams of cholesterol, 1567 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 14 grams of sugars, and 39 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese

Dunkin Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Whole

I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I ordered Dunkin’s new Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese, but I didn’t have particularly high hopes. I was intrigued by the concept, but when a sandwich has only four ingredients, there isn’t much room for error. It seems an especially risky move when you consider that the majority of this restaurant’s foods are round breakfast items whose flaws can be covered in icing or cream cheese. The toasted sandwich features two slices of sourdough bread, nut-free pesto, white cheddar cheese, and oven-roasted tomatoes.

I guess I was wrong to doubt Dunkin’ because this is legitimately good! I ordered it twice in one week, and both times the sandwich was nicely crafted with perfectly toasted bread and melty cheese. It comes in a cardboard box which won’t retain its heat for long, and like any grilled cheese, you should probably try to eat it right away while at peak meltiness.

Dunkin Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Top

The bread doesn’t have a robust sourdough tang, but it’s got more heft than regular white bread and a bit more flavor. As someone with a sourdough starter in their fridge (that gets fed as often as a goldfish but rarely becomes an actual loaf), I felt compelled to isolate some bread to taste on its own. You’d probably only be disappointed that it isn’t more sour if you really love sourdough, and I think most people would be pleased with this milder version.

I love a good tomato but find them normally disappointing additions in the fast food world – pale, mealy slices that you fling off after the first bite and wish they’d been left off altogether. Here that problem is solved by oven roasting, concentrating the flavors and bringing out their best sweet and savory qualities. The first time I tried this, the tomatoes were a bit chewy and more akin to the sun-dried variety, but they were tender and juicy the second time. Both were enjoyable in their own ways and definitely not the kind of thing I felt the need to pick off.

Dunkin Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Side

Each sandwich has one thick slice of white cheddar, and while some might want more cheese on something that touts itself as a grilled cheese, I found the amount appropriate. I assume no one would order this unless they like pesto, and the spread delivers where it should, on par with most store-bought pestos I’ve tried. It strikes a nice herby balance without being too garlicky. When I lifted my sandwich, I noticed the parts of the bread the pesto had seeped into looked a bit like a science experiment in a petri dish, but hey, I’d rather the pesto be bright green than an oxidized brown.

Dunkin Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Split

Overall I found this sandwich to be a delightful surprise. It’s higher quality than I anticipated, and the only real issue is that all the filling ingredients contribute to a pretty oily situation. If you’re looking for something to eat while driving or on the go, this isn’t it. It doesn’t come sliced in half, and while you might manage to keep it from dripping on you, you aren’t going to be able to avoid the grease-slicked fingers. If you’re looking to change up your usual Dunkin’ routine, I highly suggest grabbing some napkins and giving this one a try.

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 22 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of total carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Cake Batter Signature Latte

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte 1

Summer is (sort of) here, and with it comes Dunkin’s new summer menu featuring the Cake Batter Signature Latte because nothing says summer like stirring unbaked cake into your coffee. What, you’ve never done that? Do you mean to tell me you’ve never set out to make a cake, decided it was too hot to turn on the oven, and then solved the problem by just swirling the batter into your espresso? Yeah, me neither, but that didn’t stop me from deciding I needed to know what it would be like if I did.

Combining espresso and milk with cake batter flavor and topped with whipped cream, mocha drizzle, and rainbow sprinkles, this beverage blurs the lines between coffee and dessert. It looks like something you’d order if you decided to have a little party for yourself.

My quest for this party began on a cold Chicago day where summer felt far away, but the idea of coffee with sprinkles felt just right. I ordered both iced and hot versions, and my request was met with confusion. I couldn’t tell if this was because the employee didn’t understand why I’d want both or if he didn’t know what the Cake Batter Latte was. After some questioning, I received them, and now it was my turn to be confused.

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte First Attempt

Both had whipped cream and sprinkles, but “rainbow” would be a stretch as most were white or very muted pastels. Where there should have been a mocha drizzle, there was a thin, tan syrup and a dash of brown powder. The drinks weren’t bad but were kind of sad looking and tasted nothing like cake batter. I walked away thinking I had two possibly hazelnut flavored lattes and vowed to try again.

Ok, Round Two! A new day, a new Dunkin’ location.

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte Cake on Summer

This time I opted for just the iced version and was relieved when it looked more like the image on the menu encouraging me to “Cake on the Summer.” Don’t mind if I do! The mocha drizzle was clearly present this time, and the sprinkles had a brighter appearance. Then it came to taste time and I was disappointed that the bulk of this coffee is the same flavor I had before, and it still doesn’t taste like cake batter to me. It seemed closer to a French Vanilla and I’m wondering if the nuttiness is some sort of almond flavoring. Almond extract is a fairly typical ingredient in many cakes, so maybe it’s unfair to say this doesn’t taste like one. I should say that it doesn’t taste like the kind I thought it would, a vanilla-forward birthday cake mix. Maybe this tastes like a petit four?

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte Sprinkles

Dunkin Cake Batter Signature Latte Mocha Drizzle

The espresso has a rich flavor and the (non)cake batter flavoring and toppings don’t totally overwhelm it. It’s sweet but more balanced than you might anticipate something swirled with cake batter to be. The mocha drizzle doesn’t add much taste but aesthetically contributes to a decorated cake look, and the drink itself is pleasantly creamy. Some sips seem thicker and sweeter, like frosting, which wouldn’t really be present in cake batter but does make one think of cake. The highlights for me were any sips with sprinkles. They don’t taste like anything, but they provide some textural pop and festivity. If made correctly, this drink looks like it should be served next to presents and a bounce house, but the taste doesn’t deliver the same amount of fun.

Update: There was a birthday in my house this week, and because I care about authenticity, I sampled a boxed mug cake batter and a homemade cupcake batter. Both confirmed my suspicions that I know what cake batter tastes like, and this latte doesn’t capture it.

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: Medium (Iced)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium iced with whole milk) 440 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 62 grams of sugar (45 grams of added sugar), and 11 grams of protein.