REVIEW: Taco Bell Cherry Sunset Freeze

Taco Bell Cherry Sunset Freeze

What is the Taco Bell Cherry Sunset Freeze?

Taco Bell’s frozen drinks are quite popular, especially in the searing sun of the summertime. This latest flavor, Cherry Sunset Freeze, totally exploits that burning need to cool down with a bit of cherry syrup layered in with the pineapple slush to make a beautifully scenic drink.

How is it?

Taco Bell Cherry Sunset Freeze 2

Like a positively primo Don Henley tune, this smooth elixir is the perfect taste for an evening of, perhaps, eating tacos on the Taco Bell patio, if there is one. Or, most likely, hanging in the backyard with the dog and a couple of bean burritos, which is more my speed in the summertime.

Taco Bell Cherry Sunset Freeze 3

The thirst-quenching cherry syrup hits my first like a wave of dusk washing over the evening sky, with the clever pineapple slush refreshing my insides like the last peeks of sunlight on a sultry day. Both flavors are very present and complement each other graciously, providing cool relief without the horrid cough syrup aftertaste that so many of these novelty freezes seem to have.

Is there anything else you need to know?

If I was a drinking man, which, sadly, I’m not, a couple of jiggers of rum really would have been tropically lovely in this, making for a festive fiesta of one.

Conclusion:

Holding tight to my cup, even as my Cherry Sunset Freeze melted in the 103 degree Oklahoma evening, it maintained a decidedly winterish feel to my summery surroundings. With an absolutely inventive taste that keeps going after the drink has long melted into a cup of syrup, this is the flavor sensation to truly beat the freakish heat.

Purchased Price: $1.00 (Happy Hour)
Size: 16 oz.
?Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 49 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

I haven’t set foot in a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for around, sadly, a decade, since stopping at a Denver location that was a few blocks from my former favorite record store (Twist and Shout, if you’re interested). Even back then, however, I always thought that, when it comes to fried chicken, with its Louisiana-inspired seasonings and spices, Popeyes was the best in the biz.

When I received word that Popeyes was taking on Chick-fil-A with its own version of the heralded chicken sandwich that has made the Chick-fil-A so popular for so long, I knew it was finally time to rekindle my passionate taste for Popeyes once again.

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich 3

The sandwich is pretty basic, especially when you read about it in print: a large chunk of boneless fried chicken, placed on a “buttered bun” with a few pickles and (spicy) mayo. Of course, it comes in two variations, classic and spicy. I undoubtedly went the latter, as it was originally Popeyes spicy fried chicken that I had always devoured.

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich 2

Delivered to me in a foil-like silver bag, the first thing I noticed was how gratuitous this sandwich truly is. Popeyes already beats the chicken skin off of not only Chick-fil-A but just about every fast food chicken sandwich on the market with the sheer largesse of this New Orleans-style beast. I mean, it’s shocking how heavy the thing is. For only $3.99, even if the sandwich is just okay, you’re still getting your money’s worth.

But, you know, the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich is not okay… it’s mother-clucking fantastic!

It’s probably the best (non-gimmicky) chicken sandwich I’ve had in a long time. Every blessed bite is a mouthful of crispy fried skin and tender white meat, all coated with that special Popeyes seasoning that I have missed for so long. Every juicy sliver of meat is spiced with enough heat to not overdo it, but without that overly “greased” feeling that seems to buckle down a lot of fast food chicken.

(If I’m being honest though, I did squeeze a couple of packages of Louisiana Hot Sauce on top for a little additional down-home warmth.)

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich 4

With a couple of mild pickles and a small dab of spicy mayo for taste — not to mention the very firm, very plump, and very rich buttered buns — it doesn’t need all the unnecessary hoopla so many other sandwiches do and, maybe, that’s the thing I love so much about Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.

With basically a strongly empowered piece of fried chicken and very little else, Popeyes may have crafted the chicken sandwich of the year — and if you don’t believe me, well, then it’s your loss, champ. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available on the Popeyes website that keeps crashing my browser.

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REVIEW: Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Fries Supreme and Reaper Ranch Fries Burrito

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Supreme and Burrito

As the Reaper-fueled fire in my belly from the Sonic Mocktail the other day had finally become little more than smoldering embers along my digestive track, Taco Bell succinctly took over the gastric position of flavor inciter with a heated pair of delicacies that surely stoked those internal flames with its latest addition to the what-seems-to-be nationwide call for a Carolina Reaper-based line of edibles: the new Taco Bell Reaper Ranch duo of supreme fries and a burrito.

And, unlike the Sonic Reaper Margarita, this one actually does make sense, to me, at least.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Supreme

Combining the calculated burn of the diabolical Reaper pepper with the cooling vibe of ranch dressing, the Reaper Ranch sauce, as it is called here, is a prime testament to how to make this pepper work without scaring and traumatizing those who usually need to be gently coaxed into the hot tub of spicy goodness. The seasoned spice-user, on the other hand, will love the methodical slow burn of the food items, one that allows you to actually enjoy the heat and the eat.

Featuring a pliable handful of chopped tomatoes, nacho cheese and sour cream – as well as plenty of that Reaper Ranch sauce, mama — this most beautiful mixture is dropped on the chain’s specially-seasoned Nacho Fries, with plenty of largish chunks of steak to make for a dream-worthy meal. Of course, the fries give off their own zippy flavor, but partnered up on the dance floor with the specially-made sauce and you’ve got another short-term classic on your hands, Taco Bell.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Burrito

But it’s still missing something, and it’s brutally found and made mercilessly better in the tempestuously transcendent Reaper Ranch Fries Burrito. Wrapped loosely in a wide flour tortilla, this burrito showcases all the same supreme fries ingredients above but, you know, all in a wholly convenient two-handed carrier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing can force me to give any foodstuff an extra point like a tortilla, be it corn or, in this case, like I said, flour.

Taco Bell Steak Reaper Fries Burrito Innards

The Reaper Ranch gives the burrito a mature kick I wasn’t expecting, even more adult than the Rattlesnake Fries released a few months ago. Maybe it’s because all the tastes are bunched up together, but when the Reaper hits — and, man alive, does it hit — it makes for even better eating by allowing the meat, cheese, and sour cream — rather than just the potatoes — to never overpower it, instead working with it for a deliciousness that truly represents what the Reaper Ranch should be about.

The prices — $3.09 for the burrito, $3.59 for the fries — may seem a little steep at first glance, but, as these goods are available for the dreaded limited time only, now is the time to dig deep into that piggy bank and, at the very least, give one of them the ol’ college try. Don’t fear the Reaper…Ranch, that is. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $3.59 (Fries) $3.09 (Burrito)
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Fries) 9 out of 10 (Burrito)
Nutrition Facts: Fries – 470 calories, 29 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 gram of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. Burrito – 490 calories, 24 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1060 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 4 gram of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

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REVIEW: Burger King Crispy Taco

Burger King Crispy Taco

As a longtime Latino — 40 years and counting — for so long I have dreamed of an edible epoch in this nation’s history when there would be some form of taco available on every street corner, from every fast food chain, and on every dollar menu. Now, thanks to Burger King, this simple dream is now one step closer to fruition.

Besides the usual taco chains around town like Taco Bell or Del Taco, if I’m under oath, I’d have to admit that I supremely love Jack in the Box’s taco deal, consisting of two greasy corn shells filled with meat and cheese, both for a little over a dollar; it’s a good taste at a great price, especially when their ain’t a convenient taqueria in sight.

Burger King Crispy Taco 2

That being said, I do believe that Jack has finally met his snack match in Burger King’s tremendo Crunchy Tacos; with each equally greasy corn shell – that’s from the deep-frying, ya’ll – dripping with puro faux-Mexican flavor, the additives of a small dash of lettuce and a sprinkle of cheese, as well as a nicely proportioned glob of seasoned beef that, remarkably, doesn’t taste like ground up leftover hamburger filling, makes for a moderately spicy treat at a mostly fulfilling price.

As I sat there in the lonely Burger King, munching on the crunchy taco with affordable ease, I immediately noticed how it’s not at all rubbery, the way Jack’s tacos can often quickly get, especially fresh out the deep-fryer. Instead, the King’s maintains a stolid bite-path that never gets in the way of the beautifully greasy taste, which is far better than it sounds. These are very much like the tacos that one friend’s mom would make when you spent the night as a kid -— contrived as Hell, but delicious as Heaven.

Burger King Crispy Taco 3

Now if I had one complaint, it would be for the absolute lack of both taco sauce and taco salsa — the taco sauce that was supposed to come with the taco and a couple of packets of taco salsa to be included with my order. That’s like fries with no ketchup, if you ask me. So I guess if you happen to pick a pair — or even more, natch — of these tacos up, ask for extra sauce or, as I’m gonna start doing, just bring your own. I recommend San Luis; it’s in a white bottle that looks like bathroom cleaner.

Otherwise, McDonald’s, it’s your deep-fried taco move now. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

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REVIEW: Sonic Reaper Spicy Margarita

Sonic Reaper Spicy Margarita

What is the Sonic Reaper Spicy Margarita?

As a part of Sonic’s somewhat innovative line of supposed non-alkie “mocktails,” the Reaper Spicy Margarita takes everything alcohol-lovers enjoy with a classic margarita, subbing the usual tequila with, what the Hell, the absolute terror of liquefied Carolina Reaper Peppers.

How is it?

As cold and satisfying as the Reaper Margarita is on the first sip, almost immediately, the fires of a demonic inferno are quickly unleashed on the insides of your mouth, burning your tongue, numbing your nose, and scalding your throat, causing anyone with a well-worn grip on their remaining senses to throw this drink down on the ground, cursing the heavens with a closed fist in a most stupid fit of self-imposed rage.

Sonic Reaper Spicy Margarita Top

While there is an extremely slight citrus-flavor that is hovering around, it is practically impossible to taste over the mouth-destroying Reaper additives, a garden-peppery coating the slowly moves down the throat in a esophageal thrashing that’s normally reserved for Saturday night at the taqueria, not for a Tuesday afternoon getting a Sonic Happy Hour treat on the way home from work.

Sorry guys, but this just doesn’t work; I mean, for real: who is this drink for?

Is there anything else you need to know?

The night I forcibly drank about half of this, the scalding belches and burps continually seared my gutwerks with each gastric devil-bubble that traveled up my throat. Consequentially, I ended up downing about two or three rather large gulps of Pepto-Bismol just to cool my aching body-tubes.

Conclusion:

Sonic Reaper Spicy Margarita Lid

Anyone who knows me knows how much I truly enjoy the spicier things in this life. Give a roundhouse kick of heat on just about everything I eat, please. That being said, I truly get what Sonic is trying to do here, but, if I’m being honest, this isn’t a drink as much as it is a novelty dare. The mix should be sold on page 35 of the Archie McPhee catalog, not at my local Sonic Drive-In. Maybe, just maybe, it would work if the Scovilles was brought way down, maybe to level it a bit more evenly with the sugar. But, as for now, it’s too little, way too hot.

Purchased Price: $1.79 (each)
Size: Small
Rating: 1 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 0 grams of fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 50 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: KFC Cheetos Sandwich

KFC Cheetos Sandwich

I’m sure the culinary elite among us will be the first to loudly show their usual disdain for the junk food collision that is KFC’s latest inventive foodstuff, the rather tasty Cheetos Sandwich.

If they do, it really is a shame — mostly theirs — because this pile of fried chicken and cheesy doodles is practically every child’s dream dinner come to neon orange fruition.

My reasonably clean fingers were almost immediately coated in the fine Cheeto dust as I inspected the sandwich, its festive Chester Cheetah-designed box receiving two paws up for its lovingly creative branding; with the usually plump bun making for a truly inviting sandwich, errant Cheetos poked out of the sides, causing even the edges of the fried chicken to turn a bright orange hue.

KFC Cheetos Sandwich Mountain

While, as an aforementioned child, I used to absolutely love the use of the crunchy cheddar snack as a full-on sandwich accoutrement, usually to give the cheap ham or cheaper bologna my mother bought some semblance of direct flavor. But here, the fried chicken of the Crispy Colonel Sandwich is delightfully flavorful enough, the cheddar crunch of the added Cheetos is a well-proportioned riff on an already indelible menu item.

KFC Cheetos Sandwich Topless

But it’s the added flavor of the provocative Cheetos Sauce that is a perfectly zingy taste sensation that should replace those bland slices of that American cheese nonsense in most sandwiches and burgers across the country, starting right here, right now. The sauce — very much with the look and feel of somewhat wet macaroni and cheese powder, with the Cheetos taste, natch — keeps things perfectly crunchy and crispy, making sure it coats everything it touches.

While there is a buttery aftertaste of sorts, it’s not entirely unwelcome. As a matter of fact, my main fear with the Cheetos Sandwich was that, sure, it might be good for a couple of bites, but after a few minutes alone with it, a sort of cheesy fatigue would set in. This should have been the obvious example of too much of a good thing — and it truly is — but this is a good thing that, like sitting on the couch in front of the television and downing a full bag of Cheetos, you don’t get tired of it.

Yes, this is a “limited time only” thing, per usual, but I would like to see KFC expand on this, much like how Taco Bell has exploited its Doritos offerings. Maybe various flavors like a Chipotle Ranch or, Lord forbid, a Flaming Hot variation of a chicken sandwich? Or how about some Jalapeno Cheddar-infused potatoes wedges or, and here’s an idea you can have, KFC, a Mexican-style Cheetos elote.

But, Hell, to be fair, I would pay extra for a couple of packets of that crazy Cheetos sauce to liberally squeeze on my two-piece or, if I’m being grossly honest, to suck straight from like it was directly drained from Chester Cheetah’s nipples. I’m not that hard to please, guys.

Purchased Price: $4.79
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out 10
Nutrition Facts: Currently not available.