REVIEW: Taco Bell Cherry Bliss Freeze

Taco Bell Cherry Bliss Freeze Cup

What is it?

Taco Bell’s new Cherry Bliss Freeze is for the kind of people who steal all the red Jolly Ranchers out of the bag. You know who you are.

How is it?

As big a sugar fiend as I am, I’m not a huge consumer of sugary drinks. I don’t dislike them, but my reasoning is that if I have a limited calorie allotment for treats, then I’d rather have my fun in the form of cake, or maybe a sundae, as opposed to a liquid. That said, I was excited to try the Cherry Bliss Freeze because it gave me an excuse to do something unusual for me. I also prefer black cherry soda on the rare occasions when I have soda, so I’m already something of a cherry fan.

Circumstances aligned themselves in favor of me liking the CBF: I got it on an unseasonably warm day, and I was feeling pretty thirsty by the time I got it home. It was actually hard to wait long enough to take a photo, because I was that parched.

Taco Bell Cherry Bliss Freeze Top

My first sip, all I could think about was Luden’s Cough Drops. Apparently, they’ve rebranded as Throat Drops because they were never actually cough drops, or something, but you probably know what I’m talking about. The more I sipped, the more it started to taste like fruit punch. Apparently, Taco Bell uses the flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry in this freeze, so it stands to reason that it would taste like a mix. The final impression it left me with is liquified Cherry Starburst. I think those of us who are into cherry-flavored products will approve of that.

As you would expect, this thing is incredibly sweet. I actually liked it more toward the second half of the drink, as the ice started to melt and the water diluted the flavor a little bit.

Anything else you need to know?

Taco Bell’s promotional images for this depict it as red and purple in color, but what I received was pink. Was this a mistake, or is something else going on here?


If you like cherry-flavored things, you’re not going to do much better than this.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Small
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 180 calories, 0 grams of fat, 70 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 45 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Heath Brownie Caramel Cupfection

Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Cupfection Top

It’s pretty unusual for me to order something where I have no clue what it is. However, when I ordered the new Heath Brownie Caramel Cupfection at Dairy Queen, I didn’t know what I was getting.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew that it would have ice cream and at least the ingredients listed in the title, but I didn’t know much beyond that. Was it a shake? A sundae? What in God’s name is a “Cupfection?”

My treat was served on one of those ubiquitous little cardboard drink trays that DQ uses for ice cream and drinks, and it looked basically like a shake with abundant toppings. “Okay,” I thought, “So a ‘cupfection’ is just a fancy name for a shake; I can handle this.” Seeing all the different layers on top and the pure white soft-serve on the bottom, I assumed I was supposed to mix it all up, which sounded fun. However, I soon realized there is no mixing this thing up because there is an entire freakin’ brownie sitting on top of the treat, and you need to fully consume the brownie before you can access most of the ice cream. I had originally assumed that the “brownie” in the title must refer to small chunks in the mix, but oh, no: this thing is massive.

Dairy Queen Heath Caramel Brownie Cupfection Brownie Dig In

In addition to the brownie, this thing also has a river of caramel and Heath bar pieces. The only time I see Heath bars available in any form is as an optional ice cream topping that I never order, so I didn’t know what they tasted like, and to be honest, I still don’t. Their flavor is totally overpowered by everything else that’s going on here. What the Heath bar pieces do is provide a highly satisfying crunch that serves as a contrast to the abundant, sticky caramel and the chocolatey gooeyness of the brownie.

I started to feel a little sick about two-thirds of the way through, but for some reason, I felt compelled to finish it, maybe to prove my mettle as a dessert eater? I’m not sure what I thought I was accomplishing, but I did eat the whole thing and then felt sick for about two hours afterwards. Do I regret it? Not really; it was nice to have a sugary treat that completely satisfied my gargantuan sweet tooth, which is never truly content with more reasonable portions.

DQ’s website says that this thing has 760 calories, and I frankly think that’s a lie. I know what a 1,000-calorie-plus treat tastes like, and that’s what this thing tasted like. Maybe I got a larger brownie than usual, but 760 just sounds small for this brownie-laden monstrosity. I guess we’ll never know.

If reading this makes you Cupfection-curious, be aware that there’s also a Brownie and Oreo Cupfection that comes with marshmallow topping and chocolate sauce. The caramel was such a prominent part of the experience that I’m genuinely curious what a version without caramel would taste like. But I won’t find out for a while because I don’t trust myself to order one of these again. I guess I could always get one and split it with my husband, but let’s be honest, I’d just promise certain favors until he gave in and let me eat his half too.

Purchased Price: $5.59
Size: n/a
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 760 calories, 29 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 117 grams of carbohydrates, 390 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 90 grams of sugar, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, and 11 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Snickers Brownie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Snickers Brownie Blizzard Top

Dairy Queen’s website says that the Snickers Brownie Blizzard will “transform your taste buds forever.” Maybe it means you’ll be working so hard to determine the flavor that your taste buds will level up from sheer exertion? Maybe I can now be one of those people who can taste “notes of honeysuckle” in a glass of wine because I’ve become a flavor detective? It would be nice to think I got something out of this experience.

I had this twice and had a different reaction the second time. The first time, the brownie bits were missing chocolate flavor, and I was complaining that it was too bland. The second time, the brownie bits seemed much more flavorful. Was my palette fatigued the first time, or maybe I just got a few bigger brownie chunks in my mix the second time? The second event sounds more likely. When I properly tasted them, the brownie bits had a satisfying unctuousness and chocolatey bitterness.

Moving on to the Snickers, I think this would have worked if the candy bar pieces were a little bigger, but as it stands, it’s hard to discern much flavor. I didn’t taste major Snickers components like nougat and peanuts; there was caramel flavor, but it was kind of muted. The caramel did stick to my teeth though, so at least it was definitely present.

Dairy Queen Snickers Brownie Blizzard Spoon

The DQ description states that the Blizzard has “caramel topping,” which in this case means that the topping was mixed into the vanilla soft serve ice cream. This manages to make the soft serve even sweeter than normal, but it doesn’t really register as caramel flavor; it just amps up the vanilla.

Because of the brownie bits’ chewiness and the caramel’s sticky nature, there was textural variation, so the treat has that going for it. It’s just a little underpowered in the flavor department. This is the first Blizzard I can remember having where I felt the vanilla soft serve, bolstered by the caramel bits in the mix, completely overpowered any other flavors.

Look, Dairy Queen has a lot of Blizzards on its menu, and most of them are pretty darn good. Everyone has an off day once in a while, and I have compassion for that. I allow Dairy Queen a swing-and-a-miss, and that’s what we have here. If you want a Blizzard and are tempted to get this, unless you’ve got a real yen for brownie bits, you may want to get an Oreo Blizzard instead. In that treat, the bitterness of the chocolate contrasts with the vanilla soft serve in a truly delightful way, consistently. I’m actually sitting here feeling kind of cheated because I could have got an Oreo Blizzard (twice!) but got this instead. Blizzard Remorse is a sad, sad thing.

Purchased Price: $5.19
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dairy Queen
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 48 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Homestyle French Toast Sticks

Wendy s Homestyle French Toast Sticks Sleeve

French toast occupies a nebulous space in the breakfast continuum. On the one side, you’ve got muffins, doughnuts, and pancakes as sweet breakfasts, then you have eggs, hash browns, and bacon/sausage over on the savory breakfast side. Then you have French toast in this kind of no-man’s-land, some kind of breakfast purgatory, where it’s sort of savory because of the egg flavor, but then you drown it in syrup, and it becomes sweet. Make up your mind, French toast!

Obviously, as a French toast skeptic, I had concerns going into Homestyle French Toast Sticks, the new breakfast item from Wendy’s. However, Wendy’s got around this identity crisis by frying the crap out of these things to the point where classifications like “sweet” and “savory” become lost in an oily confection that makes deep-fried Oreo cookies look healthy. Harsh words? Perhaps, but notice I did not say that I didn’t enjoy it.

According to Wendy’s, this new menu item “delivers a mouthful of flavor, striking the perfect texture balance of a soft custardy interior and crisp, golden-brown crust.” Okay, I will give them that: the texture contrast is really nice. The very deep-fried tasting sticks have lovely little caramelized edges that clash wonderfully with the lightly egg-flavored bread. However, texture and flavor are two different things, and flavor balance is where Wendy’s might have stumbled a little.

When I ordered these, Wendy’s staff told us to move aside from the drive-through line so they could make them to order. Now, I have faith in the Wendy’s work ethic, but I’m pretty sure this did not mean cracking eggs and cooking the sticks in the pan. They are likely fried to order, which is why the overall feeling of “fried” is so strong. Four or six piece sizes are available; I got the six because of course I got the six.

Wendy s Homestyle French Toast Sticks Closeup

When I dipped my nose into the bag containing these little guys, as one does, the smell actually reminded me of carnival funnel cake, which is weird because I don’t think I’ve had funnel cake in a decade. These treats are a good size too, more like long wedges as opposed to sticks. When I bit into one, the decadent flavor of carbs fried in oil went to work on my tongue while my brain tried to remember that I was still looking for other flavors. There is an egg flavor in there, but it’s a little subtle; this likely does not taste like your grandma’s French toast because it’s just not eggy enough. When you dip these sticks into the syrup provided, the sweetness overrides everything, and the egg flavor is no longer discernible.

That said, these things are hella addictive. I had been planning to save the last strip for my husband, except I got lost in a kind of sugary breakfast haze and inhaled every single one. I was left looking at an empty plate with a few dots of syrup on it, wondering how I got here. It was quite enjoyable, but I think I’ve used up my allowance for fried foods for the rest of the month.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 6 sticks
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 490 calories, 25 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 175 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: DiGiorno Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza

DiGiorno Cinnamon Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Box

DiGiorno’s pizza is my go-to dinner on nights when “Mommy is too busy to cook,” or sometimes, “Mommy has gone to a dark place.” So I’m quite familiar with the DiGiorno product line, specifically the DiGiorno croissant crust.

Now, at the request of no one, DiGiorno has decided that it needs to break into the breakfast market and create a sweet pizza. This is hardly unprecedented: Pizza Hut sells an Ultimate Chocolate Cookie that could claim the title of “Dessert Pizza,” plus you can find recipes for them on various food blogs. But this is an indulgent breakfast pizza! Does this really go with your morning coffee, or is it just weird?

DiGiorno Cinnamon Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Frozen

It’s an attractive, if unusual, dish. The light dough-colored balls taste vaguely like cookie dough, and the dark swirls are pockets of cinnamon goodness. The rest of the pizza topping is made up of what I will call “sugary gunk,” a highly technical term used by professionals.

DiGiorno Cinnamon Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Cooked

Okay, so I felt lazy leaving it at that and looked up what the sugary gunk is. According to DiGiorno’s website, the topping includes cinnamon cream sauce, cream cheese crumbles, and churro pieces. The cream cheese crumbles are likely those little bland pieces, in which case this component is really missing the tang of cheese. The churro pieces did not make much of an impression.

DiGiorno Cinnamon Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Slice

The pizza really does taste a lot like a cinnamon roll, though, and the fact that it’s a flat pizza means a much higher sugary-stuff-to-bread ratio, making it arguably better than most cinnamon rolls. I get this information from my husband, who hits the Cinnabon at every rest area on the highway, so he knows his stuff.

DiGiorno Cinnamon Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Crust

What doesn’t quite work here is the DiGiorno croissant crust. I would be happily eating my faux-cinnamon roll when I would get some of the crust in my mouth and suddenly be reminded of a sausage-laden Supreme Pizza, and it led to a weird feeling of disconnection with the product. The sweetness is strong enough that it’s not that noticeable for most of the pizza, but when you get to the end crust, it doesn’t seem to go with what you’re eating.

Now did I have this problem because the crust genuinely clashes with the flavor profile, or is it just because I have such strong associations with the DiGiorno crust? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure the crust is something DiGiorno can improve, at the very least. Another crust-related problem was the fact that the croissant crust did not fully expand in the oven; however, this may be because of how we cooked it. After nearly destroying my oven with one of these pizzas (to the point where my Dad had to come by with professional-grade tools to clean it), I wasn’t taking any more risks, and I put this thing on a tray in the oven, as God intended. So you probably will get a crispier, flakier crust if you follow the directions and put the pizza straight onto the rack. That is, assuming the pizza doesn’t bend while cooking, pour its tasty filling onto the bottom of the oven, and rapidly become carbonized sludge. If you want to attempt it, you’re braver than me.

When it’s not destroying kitchen equipment, the Croissant Cinnamon Roll Pizza is a largely successful breakfast outing for DiGiorno, and I recommend giving it a try. Just keep in mind there’s definitely room for improvement here.

Purchased Price: $9.99
Size: 21.5 oz
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 460 calories, 20 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar (15 grams of added sugar), and 6 grams of protein.