REVIEW: Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich

Wendy s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich Top

I thought that the hardest part of eating Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich would be weathering the habanero hot honey (or saying its name three times fast). As it turns out, the actual hardest part was just getting to the honey.

Prying the top bun off to take a picture of the sandwich’s contents required some legitimate elbow grease, for which I was rewarded with an extremely strong aroma of pickles. I had known the sandwich would contain “pickle chips,” but honestly, I’d assumed that that was just a synonym for a couple of thinly-cut pickle slices, so I was pretty puzzled to discover a hearty heaping of what looked like straight-up potato chips, just a bit green (that’s more or less how they tasted, too). Delving into the “What’s on it” menu on Wendy’s website helpfully specified that these were actually “Crunchy Dill Chips” (as opposed to the more traditional experience of “Crinkle Cut Pickles”). Mystery solved, I sampled each of the other components in turn, a supporting cast consisting of:

“Premium bun”: Soft, airy, and inoffensive. Not immediately clear how it was different from the alternative option that the website has labeled “sandwich bun.”

Applewood smoked bacon: Thick and chewy, striking an impressive middle ground between too fatty and too burnt.

Pepper jack cheese: So creamy and mild that I mistook it for White American at first, though it finally left a whisper of peppery spice in its aftertaste.

Chicken: A typical breaded chicken breast (I opted for the “Classic” version of the sandwich, rather than “Spicy” or “Grilled”). Basically, one giant nugget.

And the titular hot honey?

Wendy s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich Under the Bun

My impression, frankly, was that it was difficult to locate, even after performing bun surgery. I expected the honey would be coating the chicken, so it took a while to realize that it was actually applied directly to the top bun, almost entirely obscured by pickle chips. On its own, the taste made a pleasant impact, with a spiciness that was noticeable but didn’t cross the line into painful, tempered as it was by a simultaneous rich sweetness.

Unfortunately, the sandwich as a whole ended up somehow tasting like less than the sum of its parts. The plump, juicy chicken dominated the experience both in terms of texture and taste. I guess it’s a positive sign that Wendy’s doesn’t skimp when it comes to meat, but you’d hope that the promising array of other ingredients would be way more prominent, and they simply did not deliver. After a few bites, I started to pick up on a bit of tanginess from the pickle chips and some sweetness from the honey (plus after swallowing, the roof of my mouth had a telltale tingle from the heat), but if I’d been taste testing this blind, I wouldn’t have even known the cheese and bacon were there.

Wendy’s also offers a dipping cup of hot honey that you can order as a side, so adding more might help the exciting-on-paper flavor to seriously shine. I did ultimately enjoy my meal, but that might just be because I really like basic chicken sandwiches. If you’re looking for something more exciting, this offering will probably not have you calling out, “Honey (Chicken Sandwich), I’m home!”

Purchased Price: $6.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 31 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2040 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of total carbohydrates, 18 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of fiber, and 37 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Caesars The Batman Calzony

Little Caesars The Batman Calzony Bat

Maybe I’m jaded by fall 2021’s original Crazy Calzony, but my first thought upon seeing this uncannily bat-shaped tangle of bread and cheese was not “Oh, the humanity!” but “Wait… this one actually genuinely looks cool, seriously, I’m not even being ironic this time!” Unlike the deformed plus sign of yore, the Batman Calzony packs more pizza than calzone. It’s shaped something like what would happen if you bit a giant chunk off the top and bottom of a normal pizza pie and then immediately felt guilty and grafted half a calzone onto each gap in the hopes that no one would notice. (If Frankenstein ever gets a new movie adaptation, I have ideas for the next Calzony tie-in.)

The pizza patches are definitely thinner than the typical Caesarean slice, but intriguingly, they retain that soft, chewy texture that can be hard to find outside of thicker pizzas. This worked really well for me, giving a satisfying snap as I bit through the toppings and into the dough and allowing all the tastes — savory cheese, meaty pepperoni, sweet sauce, and bready crust — to mingle together easily. But if the two components of the Calzony are a crime-fighting duo with the superpower of novelty appeal, let’s just say that the pizza parts are the Robin.

Little Caesars The Batman Calzony Slice

Living up to Batman’s rep, the calzone sections immediately appear more glamorous and mysterious, artsily dotted with flavorful cheese. Biting into them, though, is an inconsistent experience. The squared edge where the calzone separates from the main body of the pie is breadier, both at its base and because of the dough folded on top of it, which is distinct both visually and taste-wise from the tapered end. In promo pictures, you can clearly see julienned pepperoni swimming in the open-faced cheese, but I insist they were not so prominent in my Batman Calzony!

Starting from said bread edge, the experience was like a traditional fast food breadstick, mild, garlicky, and pleasantly airy. In my second bite, I was waylaid by a surprisingly spicy pepperoni. I don’t think anyone should find it too fiery to handle, but the zing was noticeable enough to be worth mentioning and tangy enough to deal a pretty potent blast of flavor. However, things were conspicuously un-cheesy until I reached the pointed edge. Even so, if you’re expecting a hearty mouthful of ricotta like you might get at your local non-Little-Caesars pizzeria, you might be disappointed. It struck me as kind of sneakily brilliant that the official press release does not actually describe this section as a calzone in and of itself, but rather as “a calzone crust filled with garlic white sauce, cheese, and julienned pepperoni,” because the filling isn’t exactly the most, well, filling, and while all the ingredients of a calzone are there, I found the whole thing lacking in cohesion.

Little Caesars The Batman Calzony Box

Of course, cohesion is not likely to be anyone’s main reason for purchasing a novelty fast food pizza product shaped like the Bat-Symbol, so I’m still going to recommend this. After all, I’m not a superhero expert, but isn’t making sacrifices for the sake of looking cool kind of the whole point of Batman in the first place?

Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pizza) 2650 calories, 123 grams of fat, 50 grams of saturated fat, 245 milligrams of cholesterol, 6010 milligrams of sodium, 256 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 109 grams of protein.

Click here to read all our fast food reviews

REVIEW: Silk Nextmilk Whole Fat

Silk Next Milk Whole Fat Carton

What is Silk Nextmilk?

Silk Nextmilk is a plant-based blend starring oat mik, soy milk, and coconut milk, among other, less pithy ingredients. It comes in both whole fat and 2% reduced fat varieties (this review focuses on the whole fat option). Rather than claiming to faithfully imitate dairy milk, Silk boldly declares that this alternative “tastes so rich and creamy, you won’t miss dairy.” I’m such a milk lover that I might as well be Miss Dairy, so we’ll see about that…

How is it?

Silk Next Milk Whole Fat Compare

I can only describe the process of transferring the Nextmilk from carton to glass as a “glug.” Even before the taste test, it certainly looked rich and creamy. Side-by-side with a glass of dairy milk (Nextmilk on the right), I found that the Nextmilk seemed the teensiest bit darker in color, but the really noticeable aesthetic difference was that the Nextmilk was so thick that after the first swig, a conspicuously cloudy coating clung to the inside of the glass for the rest of my sipping session.

Silk Next Milk Whole Fat Closeup

My first impression of the taste was “mildly nutty,” which is not shocking given the ingredients list. Fittingly, it reminded me of both oat and soy milk. Knowing that there’s coconut in the mix also explains the faint hint of sweetness I detected, but overall it’s more earthy than sweet. Excuse me for being particular about semantics (I’m a textbook editor, it’s literally my job!), but I’d actually change the branding to “texture so rich and creamy,” since I feel like that’s where this Nextmilk really shines. The taste is certainly pleasant, but I was mostly impressed by the smooth consistency, so full and satisfying it even kept my hangry mood at bay between meals.

Anything else you need to know?

The carton proudly proclaims that this milk shares the same six key nutrients found in dairy (Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, and Riboflavin), and it does all that while being free from not just dairy but also gluten, carrageenan, and artificial color and flavors! In my personal opinion it also makes for a pretty luxurious bowl of cereal.


While you won’t mistake Nextmilk for its dairy cousin, it’s a plantastic substitute for any number of audiences, no matter if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, a novelty-seeker, or just craving some velvety texture.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 59 fl oz carton
Purchased at: Foodtown
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 110 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Wings

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Wings Box

If you had told me a year ago, or heck, even just a few days ago, that I’d be “winging” in 2022 by reviewing chicken wings from Taco Bell, I would have said you were out of your gourd (or gordita, as it were). But if you squint, I guess there’s a strange sort of synergy to it. In recent years Taco Bell has been expanding its roster of alcohol-slinging “Cantina” locations, and what’s a more appropriate bar food than wings?

My first impression was that these Crispy Chicken Wings… looked like chicken wings. That’s maybe not the most profound musing, but cut me some slack, this was the first time I’d ever purchased, nay, even conceived of the idea of a food item from Taco Bell that was not slathered in cheese, beans, sour cream, or some combination thereof. I don’t know, I would have felt more at home if they’d at least slapped a gratuitous Doritos Locos logo on there or something.

I began by searching for the advertised “Mexican Queso seasoning.” I was eventually able to divine some, dare I say, cheetle-esque orange dust, but these wings are pretty standard-looking (albeit crispy). I would describe the coating as more ambiguously savory than particularly cheesy, but my main impression of its taste was, plain and simple, “fried,” which I consider to be a compliment!

Digging in deeper led me to a discovery even more surprising than the fact that Taco Bell is offering chicken wings in the first place, which is the fact that Taco Bell chicken wings are actually quite good.

My wings were tender and flavorful, the meat practically falling off the bone without the grittiness or stringiness that can plague lesser chicken items. I was pleasantly surprised that each wing offered a couple satisfying mouthfuls of meat that didn’t require me to gnaw at the bone for scraps like a hyena. I mean, of course I did that too, but it was for fun, not out of necessity!

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Wings Spicy Ranch

These wings are served with a side of Spicy Ranch sauce, and while I can see how that creamy tingliness could elevate the experience for some, I personally found it a bit overpowering and was glad to let the moist meat stand on its own two chicken feet. The extra oomph of the crispy coating definitely helped, and between that and the substantial meat-to-bone ratio, the experience almost felt more like eating a hunk of fried chicken than a wing specifically. But maybe that’s just because one of my wings was so misshapen and chunky that it looked more like the state of Texas than anything that had once allowed a bird to fly.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Wings Texas

All in all, I had a blast with these wings (a Mountain Dew Baja Blast, to be precise). As long as you make it to your local Taco Bell before their week-long Chicken Run – which started on January 6th — is over, I think you will too.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Five chicken wings per box
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 750 calories with Spicy Ranch sauce/530 without, 54/31 grams of fat, 10/6 grams of saturated fat, 230/205 milligrams of cholesterol, 1970/1770 milligrams of sodium, 26/23 grams of carbohydrates, 3/2 grams of fiber, 1/0 gram of sugar, and 40/39 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream

Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream Pint

What is Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream?

This festive flavor is an on-brand addition to Milk Bar’s lineup of quirky-but-upscale re-imaginings of nostalgic desserts. Between the chunks of gingerbread cookie, brightly colored candy “gems,” and sweet bits of icing, this gingerbread-flavored ice cream is more filled than Santa’s sleigh.

How is it?

Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream Cookie

My first bite of pure ice cream was pleasantly milky with a hint of spice — tasty, but not quite something to write to the North Pole about. The cookie that I secured in my next spoonful packed a much stronger punch of ginger flavor, with an interesting consistency more solid than cookie dough but not as firm as an actual cookie (a bit reminiscent of a Ben & Jerry’s mix-in).

Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream Icing

When I found some icing next (the white color is surprisingly hard to identify in the tannish ice cream), its burst of sugariness was much more flavorful than the bland, just-for-show icing I typically associate with gingerbread cookies. Like the cookie crunch, it also brings a textural surprise — it doesn’t appear in the thick, creamy spirals illustrated on the pint, but rather as a series of squarish shards more similar to pieces of white chocolate.

On their own, these ingredients were tasty though not particularly thrilling. But when I finally scooped up ice cream, icing, and cookie all together, the sweetness of the icing and the spice of the cookie contrasted very nicely, and the rich ice cream was a satisfying backdrop to hold it all together.

Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream Top

Oh yeah, and I guess the candy gems were there too. They just didn’t add much more than a pop of (admittedly welcome) color.

Anything else you need to know?

In case you missed the banner on the pint saying so four times in a row, this flavor is seasonal, so be sure to grab some before it makes like a Christmas tree and leaves.


Filled with cookies and icing, Milk Bar Gingerbread House Ice Cream’s blend of sugar, spice, and everything ice is sure to end up on the nice list.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 14 oz
Purchased at: Whole Foods
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 400 calories, 23 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.