REVIEW: Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger and Pickle Fries

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger and Pickle Fries

I have no shame in admitting that I am what is known as a “pickle girlie.” There is always a minimum of two open jars in my fridge at any given moment, and I will always argue why we should get the fried pickle chip appetizer anytime we go out.

Pickles have popped up in many different forms over the years, although they never seemed to get the same trend saturation as sriracha or bacon. While they have been a common component in fast food sandwiches, they never seem to be the focus. But now, Sonic Drive-In is giving us our first pickle-centric burger this summer, the Big Dill Cheeseburger, as well as the new Pickle Fries.

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger Bun

The Big Dill Cheeseburger consists of a beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, crinkle-cut pickle slices, crispy pickle fries, and a dilly ranch on a brioche bun. The crispy pickle fries included in the burger are also available as a stand-alone side. I got both, but let’s start with the burger as it didn’t shine as much as the Pickle Fries.

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger Top

The dill pickle smell is unmistakable and loud. My poor husband’s car smelled of them for a solid day after bringing home the items. Trying the burger first, I was fairly impressed by the higher quality brioche bun. Soft and hearty, it was a nice upgrade from the standard fast food bun. The burger patty and cheese are what I’ve come to expect from Sonic. As odd as it might sound, the meat and cheese not standing out works well for this item as it allows the pickle flavors to shine. The description said the spread was a “dilly ranch,” but I’m certain it was just mayo.

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger Split

The regular pickles you get on other items were very present and overshadowed the pickle fries the more I tasted the sandwich. The fries didn’t add much texture. I thought they would be the star, but they were just sort of there. The more I ate it, the more I thought I should just order a cheeseburger with extra pickles the next time I want to satisfy my pickle desire. With my expectations low, I took a swig of my cranberry limeade slush to cleanse my palate before trying the stand-alone pickle fries.

Sonic Pickle Fries Closeup

I was impressed with how well Sonic had nailed the fry shape in how the pickles were cut. So often, we get alternative “fries” that don’t eat like fries, especially when it comes to the dipping part. Trying one sans the ranch they gave as a dip, I was very impressed by them. The batter was like mozzarella stick breading and tempura melded together: light and crispy, but also hearty and bready. The pickle inside managed to stay firm and not get overcooked. Dipped in ranch, they held up well and were delicious. The dill flavor was strong but not overpowering, which probably explains how they got lost in the burger.

Despite being disappointed by the Big Dill Cheeseburger, the Pickle Fries are an absolute home run for me. I do think I’d prefer to try them with a different dip next time (Sonic Signature Sauce?), but they nail that hard-to-walk line between keeping the pickle’s firm texture and crispy outside coat. Both are available for a limited time, so if you’re also a self-identified pickle person, I highly recommend trying the fries as soon as possible.

Purchased Price: $5.19 (Burger), $3.29 (Fries)
Size: Medium (Fries)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Burger), 8 out of 10 (Fries)
Nutrition Facts: Burger – 780 calories, 51 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1860 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein. Fries – 420 calories, 31 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 1660 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, 1 and grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Cup

With the recent temperature increases in Florida, my slush cravings have hit hard. As if magic (or just a targeted ad), Sonic Drive-In’s new Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush was popping up on my feed. I’m already a huge Red Bull fan, so a chance to try the limited edition summer flavor in slush form seemed like an easy choice.

While Red Bull has been periodically releasing Summer Editions since 2014, it wasn’t until 2020 that Sonic started offering the limited edition flavors as part of its slush lineup.

As with most fast food companies, Sonic is very much pushing the use of its mobile ordering app. I bring this up only to note that if you order a drink through the app, they are all half price all day. I ordered a medium of the summer slush and raced it home. I had worried the 20-minute drive would cause it to lose some oomph. Luckily, the styrofoam cup kept it at the perfect temperature.

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Hello Kitty

Before transferring it into my Tervis tumbler, I took a few sips of the light pink slush. Red Bull tends to have a very sweet start and a slightly tangy finish in the flavors I’ve tried. This one was sweet all the way through. In fact, had you not told me it was part of the Red Bull brand, I would have thought it was just any other sweet-flavored slush. The strawberry and apricot (which comes across as more peach flavored) are subtle but present and blending the energy drink with the slush ice made for a pleasant sipping experience.

I reached out to Sonic about the caffeine content (I couldn’t find it anywhere on its website). I was shocked when I was told a medium has only 40 milligrams. For reference, the 8.4-ounce can has 80. It would appear it uses half a can which explains why the flavor might be more subtle than if you drank it straight. Honestly, learning that it wasn’t even an entire can in the medium (20 oz) lowered my opinion of the item. If I’m getting a Red Bull drink, I’m looking for the caffeine that comes with a Red Bull.

Sonic Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush Top

While a fine treat, the Red Bull Summer Edition Strawberry Apricot Slush doesn’t deliver on what I feel a Red Bull slush should. The flavor in this form doesn’t stand out as uniquely as a Red Bull, and the lack of caffeine (in relation to what is expected from Red Bull) doesn’t have me racing back to get it again. If you’re curious, make sure to use the app to order so you get half off because I wouldn’t recommend it at the regular $3.99 price.

Purchased Price: $1.99 (half off via the Sonic app)
Size: Medium (20 oz)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 250 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 65 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Nitro Pepsi

Nitro Pepsi Cans

Beverages having nitrogen in them isn’t a new concept. Its origins go as far back as the 1950s with Guinness beer. In the 2010s, the first wave of nitro cold brew coffee hit the scene. It was only a matter of time before we got the first nitro soda from a big brand.

Nitro Pepsi comes in two flavors, Draft Cola and Vanilla Draft Cola, and is described as a “smooth, creamy, delicious taste experience” that “will redefine cola for years to come.”

Nitro Pepsi Instructions

To properly enjoy it, it’s recommended to use the right glass (pint glass), make sure the soda is cold, and follow the instructions to “pour hard.” It’s also suggested to refrain from using ice or straws with it. When popping the can open, an almost eerie noise accompanies the usual sounds. This, I found out in my research, was the “widget” at the bottom of the can that aids the nitro process.

It feels so weird to just dump the entire can upside down (hard pour) as I’ve spent my 30+ years perfecting the cautious soda pour, but I trust the process. I started with the Draft Cola flavor to get a baseline of what to expect. While taking my first sip, the most delightful layer of cola-flavored foam greeted me. It had a rich, creaminess to it that reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Nitro Pepsi Draft Cola

The drink itself was confusing at first. The sweet, familiar Pepsi flavor is there, but the texture sent my brain into a quick momentary confusion loop. It tasted like Pepsi, but it didn’t drink like Pepsi. The crispness you expect from the soda isn’t there. With the first sip, it’s easy to feel the drink might be flat. However, to describe the beverage that way is an unfair assessment. The more I sipped, the more the drink’s complexity showed. The nitro process creates incredibly tiny bubbles that give the beverage a richness you don’t get with flat soda.

Nitro Pepsi Vanilla Draft Cola

The Vanilla Draft Cola offered the same experience but with sweet vanilla flavor, and it translated slightly better into the nitro process than the regular cola. It threw my brain less for a loop, but that could also be due to knowing what to expect. Its flavor tasted exactly like the last one-third of an ice cream float where the soda is less carbonated and mixed with the melted ice cream.

Nitro Pepsi is a unique item that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I feel like it will be a polarizing product. If you try it without expecting it to drink like a regular Pepsi, I think you’ll have a more enjoyable experience.

Purchased Price: $1.88
Size: 13.65 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Cola), 9 out of 10 (Vanilla Cola)
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 230 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 63 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Roasted Tomato & Hummus Toast

Dunkin Roasted Tomato  Hummus Toast Box

What is Dunkin’s Roasted Tomato & Hummus Toast?

A little over a year after the debut of its Avocado Toast, Dunkin’ brings a new item to its expanding toast menu. This variety starts with the same sourdough bread but has hummus as the spread and is topped with oven-roasted tomatoes. It’s then finished with a generous dusting of za’atar seasoning (oregano, thyme, sumac).

How is it?

I genuinely feel like Dunkin’ must be reading my diary because this item feels made for me. Hummus is one of the foods you will always find in my fridge, and za’atar is a pantry staple. Admittedly, I was a little worried the quality of both would be lacking since the Avocado Toast was a letdown. The first bite, however, was delicious. The hummus has a strong but not overpowering garlic flavor that works well with the sourdough. Za’atar adds a kick that elevates the entire item.

Dunkin Roasted Tomato  Hummus Toast Tomato Closeup

The oven-roasted tomatoes honestly reminded me more of sun-dried tomatoes in the sweetness they had. They felt like rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes (if that’s even possible?), and it was a pleasant surprise. I wish the tomato pieces were a little smaller, as taking a bite with them meant you were committed to a whole tomato chunk.

Anything else you need to know?

From now until March 22nd, if you order the Hummus & Roasted Tomato Toast through the app, you will get 2x the points. If you don’t like tomatoes, you can request just the hummus and za’atar on the toasted sourdough.

Conclusion:

Dunkin Roasted Tomato  Hummus Toast Side

The Roasted Tomato & Hummus Toast is an absolute win for Dunkin’. The price is a little high for what amounts to a snack, but it feels worth the cost because of the quality of ingredients and size of the item. It feels like a slide out of the breakfast zone and more into a midday snack you can grab when you get your afternoon caffeine boost. Just make sure to have some gum or mints after to curb that hummus breath.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 piece) 300 calories, 13 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 690 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag

What is Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn?

Kicking off the year strong, Frito-Lay created a Sam’s Club exclusive variety of its popular Smartfood Popcorn that uses the classic Doritos Nacho Cheese seasoning. It offers the flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos, but without the stained fingers you might get with the chips.

How is it?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bowl

The flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos is strongly present but without the expected crunch of the tortilla chip or corn flavor. Admittedly, it was a little jarring at first. Once my mouth and brain took a moment to adjust expectations, it was a very delicious snack. Without the chip’s corn flavor, you get a chance to really taste the different elements of the nacho cheese seasoning. The garlic, onion, and paprika shine the most, with the cheese flavor coming in subtle at the end.

Anything else you need to know?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag Back

Because this is available at Sam’s Club, the item is over 2.5 times bigger than the standard Smartfood bag. If you don’t want to open it yet, you can always use it as a lower back pillow when you’re sitting at your desk.

Conclusion:

Smartfood’s Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn is an all-around enjoyable item. It’s a nice blend of Smartfood Popcorn and Doritos Nacho Cheese that feels new, but familiar. I could absolutely see it being a hit at parties or as a new snack to break up the normal noshing. Hopefully, it does well enough that we get other crossover flavors in the future. Maybe some Smartfood Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Popcorn?

Purchased Price: $5.28
Size: 17 oz bag
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/3 cup) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.