REVIEW: KFC Beyond Fried Chicken Nuggets

KFC Beyond Fried Chicken Nuggets Plated

I am still shocked by how ubiquitous meatless has become, especially at fast food restaurants. As the quality of meatless proteins has improved, the cost has also come down enough to make it more commercially viable. Plus, with the social media popularity of #MeatlessMonday, you’ve got a lot more people seeking out a meatless option when going through the drive-thru. KFC recently rolled out its entry into the meatless market: Beyond Fried Chicken Nuggets.

Starting with regional testing in 2019, KFC has taken its time to tweak the nuggets to be uniquely KFC. After trying the Beyond Chicken Tenders last year and being fairly underwhelmed, I was worried these nuggets would be more of the same. Thankfully it seems KFC and Beyond spent three years of research and development to deliver an absolutely delicious product. While these particular items seem to be the most expensive of the fast food meatless options (12 nuggets cost $13.99), considering their special nature, it makes sense. They are a one-of-a-kind product that can’t be found in stores like most other fast food meatless items can.

It has been quite some time since I went to a KFC. With the plethora of fried chicken options available, the chain never seems to fall into our rotation. If these Beyond Chicken nuggets become a standard menu item, that will change.

The first thing I noticed was the strong, familiar smell of KFC while opening the box. This was a promising sign. As I mentioned, I was worried these would be just a deep-fried version of what you can get in the store. Thankfully, they weren’t.

KFC Beyond Fried Chicken Nuggets Closeup

The breading has that unique flavor of 11 herbs and spices, accented with grease that makes these about as authentically KFC as possible. The “meat” was what we’ve come to expect from meatless items: firm and, sometimes, tough. I think your mileage will vary when it comes to these nuggets, and it’ll depend on the location. One of the difficulties with meatless is they are easy to overcook. I know the store employees are doing their best, but just know your nuggets might end up more on the tough side.

For me, these ended up being a home run. I don’t mind the firmer texture of the meatless proteins. The breading is the absolute star and, when paired with the KFC Sauce, it hits all the right notes.

KFC Beyond Fried Chicken Nuggets Split

Much like other meatless fast food products, these aren’t going to fool you into thinking they are real meat. But they are absolutely worth trying if you go in with that expectation. They aren’t a cheap option, but their uniqueness justifies the price tag for me. They are also extremely filling and were easily split between myself and my husband. I’m already planning my next outing to get them and maybe see if I can substitute the popcorn chicken on the Famous Bowls with the Beyond Fried Chicken.

Purchased Price: $13.99
Size: 12 Pieces
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 960 calories, 54 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 2880 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 72 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa

Taco Bell Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa Shell

Taco Bell has always been different in how it approaches new items. Sometimes it takes huge swings with things like the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco. Other times, it finds a way to remix a few ingredients and package it as a new item. The Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa falls squarely into the latter.

It consists of a deep fried flatbread shell, seasoned beef, tomato, lettuce, creamy chipotle sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese. To be entirely honest, I was a little underwhelmed when I first ordered it. A change of cheese and substituting sour cream with chipotle sauce didn’t seem like it would make much of a difference. After the first bite, I was eating my words.

Taco Bell Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa Sauce

The creamy chipotle sauce is the same one used in the Spicy Potato Soft Taco. It’s creamy, smokey, and offers just a little bit of heat without being painfully spicy. It was a pleasant surprise when I took a bite of the chalupa and realized it was the same sauce. Using shredded cheddar cheese instead of the shredded three cheese blend added a little more sharpness, but it didn’t stand out like the chipotle sauce. The chalupa shell will always be one of the best food items Taco Bell has ever added to not only its lineup, but the fast food landscape.

Taco Bell Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa Filling

I honestly don’t know why I thought I would be underwhelmed with the item considering my deep love for the long discontinued Baja Beef Chalupa. The simple swap was absolutely delicious and made me want to get it again or, at the very least, remember the customization for next time. Although, when this item eventually is no longer offered, the cost to customize a chalupa to this recipe will run me a dollar more.

I would love to see Taco Bell bring back a few variations to standard menu items on a more permanent basis (like the Baja or Nacho Chalupas were). At the very least, it should be a 1 for 1 swap that doesn’t cost more to remove a sauce and add another.

The Chipotle Cheddar Chalupa isn’t going to change the world, but it does an excellent job of adding a new twist to a standard product and to shake me out of my Taco Bell rut. I tend to stick with the same three items when I go to Taco Bell, so it was a nice reminder to explore outside the norm. Even if it’s as simple as swapping sauces.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 420 calories, 28 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 610 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

REVIEW: 7UP Pomegranate (2021)

Pomegranate 7 Up  2021 Bottle

What is 7UP Pomegranate?

First introduced in 2007, and not seen on shelves since 2016, this limited edition product makes its return just in time for the winter season. Bright red, this soda combines pomegranate flavor with the standard 7UP lemon-lime.??

How is it?

Holiday themed sodas are easily one of my favorite things about the dark, cold months ahead. Drinks that are normally cloyingly sweet affairs now have an edge to them that makes them extremely enjoyable.

Pomegranate 7 Up  2021 Top

7UP Pomegranate, however, falls short of impressing me. Instead of the pomegranate hitting first, it’s overwhelmingly the standard lemon lime taste. The red fruit comes towards the end, but not the way I was hoping for. It’s very subtle and seems to dull the sweetness associated with lemon lime soda more than add a new flavor profile. It’s definitely not like the pomegranate-flavored Red Bull I tried a few weeks ago.

Pomegranate is just a hard flavor to execute, but I do applaud 7UP for at least swerving left when most companies swerve right (cranberry) when it comes to adding holiday tastes to their products.

Anything else you need to know?

This site did a review of it when it first came out in 2007. I avoided reading it until I had finished my own review. Apparently the pomegranate wasn’t strong then either. You’d think they’d have tweaked it a bit in the last 14 years.


Pomegranate 7 Up  2021 Label

While a perfectly drinkable item, it fails to deliver the pomegranate flavor in any meaningful way. It tastes more like a slightly less sweet, bright red 7UP than a whole new variety.

Purchased Price: $1.25
Size: 2 Liter
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12oz) 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Beyond Chicken Tenders

Beyond Chicken Tenders Bag

What are Beyond Chicken Tenders?

Beyond Meat has recently brought its “chicken tenders” direct to consumers after testing them out at nearly 400 restaurants earlier this year. Found in the freezer section, these tenders are certified 100% vegan, getting their protein from the humble faba bean.

Beyond Chicken Tenders Description

How are they?

Generally speaking, Beyond has had some really good products. It’s been mostly focused on beef/pork replacements (burgers, sausage, brats), but these tenders are its first entry into the chicken side of meatless.

Opening the package, I was struck by how much of a chicken smell there was. They are a bit larger than most veggie tenders on the market. As I am in the air fryer cult, it was nice to see air fryer instructions on the packaging. Further proof it’s not JUST A PHASE.

Beyond Chicken Tenders Plated

Biting into them, they were fairly thicker than other meatless tenders I’ve had. The breading is quite crispy, but despite there being visible black pepper pieces, there wasn’t much flavor. The “meat” itself was okay in both taste and texture. As I chewed, it felt like a weird blend of chicken tenderloins and the mixed and pressed meat nuggets you find for cheap. Not unpleasant, just odd.

Beyond Chicken Tenders Innards

The flavor of the “meat” was almost non-existent, especially considering how strong of a chicken smell they had out of the package. They also were a bit dry, but this might be due to slightly overcooking them on my part. Once I started dipping them into Chicken Sauce, my enjoyment went up tenfold.

Anything else you need to know?

The density of the “meat” and the crispiness of the breading makes me think these would do well being tossed in a buffalo sauce.


While not terrible, in a market so flooded with different choices, the Beyond Tenders don’t really stand out for me. I think they will be a good entry point for people exploring meatless through the Beyond brand, but might underwhelm those already familiar with different meatless chicken products.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 pieces) 210 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Red Bull Winter Edition Pomegranate Energy Drink

Red Bull Winter Edition Pomegranate Can

I need to take a moment to mourn the passing of my all-time favorite Red Bull variety: Cranberry.


Cranberry Red Bull, just as I was beginning to get to know you, you suddenly left. Literally overnight, you packed your bags and were gone forever. Replaced by that tart Watermelon, you were the perfect Red Bull. I will forever miss you and just wished I could have said goodbye….or at least bought a case.

Seriously, Cranberry Red Bull just left the shelves with no warning. While the other flavors are fine, none have come close to filling Cranberry’s shoes. Even calling the Watermelon the “Red Edition” hurts to see and has led to a few moments of false hope. Usually, when seasonal versions are announced, they don’t catch my attention. This year’s Winter Edition, however, immediately caught my eye: Pomegranate.

Pomegranate-flavored foods tend to walk a very odd line flavor-wise. Real pomegranate tends to be naturally sweet but also quite tart with an earthy quality. As a result, fake pomegranate flavors are usually overly sweet to compensate for their tartness. I know that this flavor wouldn’t completely replace my beloved cranberry, but I had high hopes it would be in the same realm.

Red Bull Winter Edition Pomegranate Glass

The pomegranate scent was very strong when I opened it. Smelling it reminded me of those funky-shaped bottles of pomegranate juice. The earthy juice smell the fruit is known for was very pronounced. This was promising as it made me hopeful it wasn’t going to be cloying.

Well, I’m happy to report, it exceeded my expectations. It has a wonderful balance of tart pomegranate flavor that tingles my cheeks with enough sweetness to enhance the fruitiness. While it’s easy to enjoy as is, it’s certainly a drink that was made to be a mixer.

This Winter Edition doesn’t replace my precious Cranberry, but it’s easily the best flavored Red Bull that’s been released in quite some time. Pomegranate is a hard flavor to get right, and I think Red Bull managed to do so without it being too tart or too sweet. I can foresee this being a popular base for winter/holiday cocktails/mocktails. In fact, I think it would make a good faux-mosa (orange juice and Red Bull Pomegranate) for Christmas breakfast.

Purchased Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Size: 12 fl oz can
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 114 milligrams of caffeine.