REVIEW: Del Taco Crispy Chicken Tacos

Del Taco Crispy Chicken Tacos Sign

What are the Del Taco Crispy Chicken Tacos?

The latest addition to Del Taco’s Del’s Dollar Deals value menu, this pollo-friendly concoction features ostensibly a small-ish crispy chicken strip, slathered in creamy ranch sauce and blanketed in shredded cheddar cheese and lettuce and then thankfully wrapped in a soft flour tortilla.

And, as tasty as that sounds, for those of us that need a bit more spice in our sad lives, there’s a hot ‘n ready habanero variation, one that dutifully replaces the regular ranch sauce with an arousing habanero-flavored sauce, also best described as “creamy.”

Del Taco Crispy Chicken Tacos 2

How are they?

The unleaded Crispy Chicken Taco delivers so much more taste than I expected from a dollar item. Though somewhat small, this cut of chicken packs a mighty peck, doing more faux-Mexican flavor-ready damage than even the greenback-friendly McChicken Sandwich from McDonald’s.

Del Taco Crispy Chicken Taco Open

The warm ranch cradles the chicken and provides a nice flavor. The mainly useless lettuce and cheese do add some hefty girth to the proceedings. Though not all that crispy, the chicken does it’s clucking job, providing a hearty taste far better than most other corporate taco-competitors.

Del Taco Habanero Crispy Chicken Taco

On the other hand, the habanero variety outshines the previous one, delivering a far spicier kick that surprised even my tastebuds. With the selected ingredients utilized much of the same way as the regular crispy taco, the smooth habanero sauce’s addition is a much-needed presence. It provides a controlled flavor, one that I’d like to really see more of on the Del Taco menu.

Anything else you need to know?

In addition to these crispy chicken eats, Del Taco also has other crispy chicken menu items — the Epic Crispy Chicken and Guac Burrito and a three-piece Crispy Chicken and Fries Box, which is not really all that Mexican.

Conclusion:

Since the addition of its Beyond Meat items, we haven’t really heard too much from Del Taco lately. With these Crispy Chicken Tacos, however, that will hopefully change. And, with both tacos part of Del Taco’s value menu — each one costing only a measly dollar — it’s more than worth a summer sampling.

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Del Taco
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Regular), 8 out of 10 (Habanero)
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 230 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 540 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, and 10 grams of protein. Habanero – 240 calories, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 550 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Subway BBQ Rib Sandwich

Subway BBQ Rib Sandwich Sign

When people usually think of pre-formed rib portions, they often think of McDonald’s famed McRib, and rightfully so. Wanting in on that long-running fandom and fanfare that comes maybe once a year, the sandwich artists at Subway are horning in the fake-rib business with the introduction of its BBQ Rib Sandwich.

Using a similar rib-shaped patty to the McRib, Subway’s variation seems more significant, nearly filling the entire six-inch sub I ordered. And while the artisan behind the glass recommended white bread, I instead went with whole wheat. This is where the Subway sandwich begins to differ from McD’s greatly.

Subway BBQ Rib Sandwich Patty

The pale patty with fraudulent grill-lines is placed on bread and absolutely slathered with Subway’s somewhat passable barbeque sauce. It is then put into the proprietary space-age super-oven and toasted nicely within a minute. After it’s pulled out, another heavy squeeze of sauce is added. And then comes the cheese and vegetables.

Subway BBQ Rib Sandwich

With the McRib, you get it the way the clown wants to give it to you: rib, bun, pickles, slivered onions, and sauce. But with Subway, its method of making the sandwich right in front of you brings this rib patty concoction into a whole new realm of possibilities. In addition to the bread, I also got a few slices of provolone cheese, some fresh tomatoes, red onions, green peppers, and jalapenos.

While it will never be a true BBQ feast, for a fast food sandwich, it is one of the better BBQ sandwich offerings out there. While the patty is less fatty than McDonald’s, there is an easy smoky flavor that is enhanced by Subway’s tomato-rich barbecue sauce. Combined with the melty provolone cheese and various vegetables, it’s like a BBQ dinner in a bun.

With Subway’s BBQ Rib Sandwich, I got better than expected results. It’s available for a limited time, but if it comes back somewhat regularly, like the McRib, I can see myself lining up for a taste year after year after year.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 6-inch sub
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 430 calories, 18 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 590 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito Innards

As a kid, I didn’t grow up with grilled cheese sandwiches like other American youth. No, instead my own personal comfort food was always a hot tortilla, toasted light brown on a comal and always with a fistful of cheese.

It’s kind of magic that Taco Bell has not only recaptured that, but improved on it gloriously with its Grilled Cheese Burrito, going as far as to actually coat the whole damn thing in a remarkably thin layer of cheese on the outside.

When I first heard about it, even knowing the hungry geniuses that rock and rule the Bell, I was a bit skeptical about them pulling it off, but they did.

Opening up that warm foil wrapper, the cheese dutifully spilled out of the loosely wrapped tortilla as a sun yellow glaze tints the presumably once-white burrito sheath.

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito

Thick and hearty, the sizable girth comes from the three-cheese blend, seasoned beef, seasoned rice, reduced fat sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, chipotle sauce, and those festive red tortilla strips that add some crunch.

Much like the aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich, this burrito hit my tongue with a mock-buttery goodness that gives off the immediate taste of the well-worn and well-used grill, with the first layer of cheesiness and tortilla recklessly coming together in a passionate embrace.

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito Innards Open

But then you bite through the crispy outsides to unleash a torrent of Taco Bell’s beautifully mixed and matched insides, with the tangy cheeses and tart sour cream being the first to flood through. But look out, here comes the seasoned meat and chipotle sauce mixed somewhere in there with the rice to fill your stomach after every nosh and nibble.

While I might have had grilled cheese tortillas as my comfort food growing up, I’ve never had anything like the Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito. And, thank God I didn’t because I would have been lounging in that aura of comfortability way more than I ever should have because it’s a faux-Mexican masterpiece.

Now, as a grown-up, I have the self control to stop at two or three.

Possibly four.

Definitely five.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 710 calories, 39 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1490 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 26 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Summer Strawberry Salad

Wendy s Summer Strawberry Salad Dressing

Summer is often a terrible time for many people, including me. As the uncomfortably cruel and rigidly taunting sun beats down on me, salty sweat drips down my head as I desperately try to find a cooling balm to bring my core temperature back down to a normal range, oftentimes failing miserably.

But this is when I raise my sunburned hands to the sky and thank the equally-heliophobic Wendy’s for its yearly berry salad. For 2020, it’s the Summer Strawberry Salad.

On a cool bed of crisp green lettuce — mainly romaine — sits a Tuscan cheese blend dusting, cuts of applewood smoked bacon, succulent grilled chicken breast, and surprisingly candid candied almond slivers. The salad’s complete reason for being, the sliced bits of strawberries, lay in the leafy shade, giving the entrée its summer branding and doing it remarkably well.

Gently spritzing the large helping of zesty champagne vinaigrette over the top of the salad, it managed to slide down into every nook and cranny, guaranteeing a savory experience. The strawberries are plump and notably firm, not a bruised berry in the bunch.

Each juicy bite, like a fruity fire extinguisher, cools me down internally as I nibbled carefully, enjoying the salad wholeheartedly. The tangy dressing, with its olive oil feel and garlicky taste, offers a decent counterpoint to the abject sweetness of the strawberries and, even more so, the candied almonds.

Wendy s Summer Strawberry Salad

The romaine lettuce leaves were also surprisingly fresh. Bits of the Tuscan cheese — featuring a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, and Fontina — tantalizingly resting on them with the vinaigrette acting as a delectable glue keeping them in their place. The bacon, though predictably salty, mixes well with the grilled chicken, the candied almonds giving a sweet aftertaste that was definitely needed.

Wendy s Summer Strawberry Salad Berry Close

But what it all comes down is to the strawberries in the nomenclature. While I would have liked more of them, they held this summer salad together perfectly, especially in the half-salad I ordered, the large size only about two dollars more.

In these cruel summer months, Wendy’s has gifted us with a berry-good meal-deal that has me counting down the heated days to next year’s salad unveiling. But, until then, this will definitely do.

Purchased Price: $5.69
Size: Half
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 calories, 21 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 45 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Stuffed Crazy Bread

Little Caesars Stuffed Crazy Bread

With Little Caesars’ latest cheesy concoction, it came, it saw, and, probably a little too much, it conquered the market on pizza side-items with the recently released Stuffed Crazy Bread, wherein the middle of its dream-worthy breadsticks are absolutely filled with a river of “gooey cheese.”

And I only say “a little too much” because, if I’m being honest, after sampling these crazy champions of cheesy-bread, I have to ask, “Why even bother ordering the pizza when you can have this instead?”

We can all agree that Little Caesars’ Crazy Bread is already a much-loved and much-needed foodstuff. With their buttery outside covered in a dusting of garlic salt and Parmesan cheese, they are a side-piece that, most days, beats Little Caesars’ pizza as far as pure taste goes, especially when paired that tangy marinara dipping sauce, also filled with secret herbs and spices.

Little Caesars Stuffed Crazy Bread 2

But this newest incarnation takes things to a whole other level of high-caloric snacking. While the outside is still that lovingly baked bread we all know and care for, it’s when you tear a stick into two that the warm cheese stretches in a dull yellow string, steaming from the inside.

Little Caesars Stuffed Crazy Bread 3

And while Little Caesars’ press release calls this product “gooey cheese,” it works for me. It’s a dairy flavor unbeknownst to my dumbfounded hunger, but it’s a texture I’m more than settled with, combining wonderfully with the said Crazy Bread. The marinara dipping sauce that comes with the bread gives it that little extra oomph that I always crave.

Perhaps the only flaw in this, I feel, is for those people with big families with big hungers. Compared to old school Crazy Bread’s eight-pieces per bag, the Stuffed Crazy Bread is stuffed crazily into a bag with only three thick pieces. While this trio definitely suits me, I can see why this low count would ruffle certain thickly-thrifty feathers.

Regardless, more competition than a complement, Little Caesars’ Stuffed Crazy Bread is a filling meal that, though extensively carbo-loaded and thoroughly cheese-heavy, makes for a great taste itself. It’s worthy of being a heavy lunch or a light dinner or, if you can handle it, possibly both.

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 3 pieces
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 980 calories, 38 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1960 milligrams of sodium, 126 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 36 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Burger King BLT Chicken Jr. Sandwich

Burger King BLT Chicken Jr Sandwich

Burger King is seemingly always in second place to the globally far-reaching McDonald’s. Its reputation as the bratty burger brother has always struck me as unfairly harsh and unusually cruel, especially when it offers up delish new items like the BLT Chicken Jr. Sandwich, a small menu item that can take on any of Mickey D’s big cluckers.

Burger King BLT Chicken Jr Sandwich Top

The sandwich itself, true to the unwieldy name, is BK’s take on the classic BLT, offering crisp lettuce, crispy bacon, and a very well-cut tomato. What differs, however, is the splendid addition of one of BK’s famed chicken patties underneath. Junior-sized, of course.

While not a spicy as I would have liked — let’s look into that later, Burger King — the sandwich has a rather juicy bite to it and a satisfying crunch with every mouthful. The chicken patty is actually moist and meaty instead of dry and cardboard-ish, with the tomato giving a crave-worthy splash of acidic flavor that does not go unnoticed.

Burger King BLT Chicken Jr Sandwich Bite

The bacon also does a good job of mutually satisfying the taste buds with its salty wonder of greasy fat. But, as usual, the lettuce acts more like pretty garnish than a taste additive, with a large, vein white leaf adding a small bit of bitterness to these eats. After pulling most of it out, though, I was left with a gorgeously tasty experiment on the always exciting BK menu.

I understand this was included on the King’s likable 3 for $3 menu — although I paid $1.99 for the sandwich by itself — but I see no reason why this sandwich could not be expanded to a monstrous Whopper-sized pollo-friendly blessing, with much more of the chicken, bacon, and tomato.

Hold the lettuce, though.

Still, I guess that if you’re hungry enough, you might as well order two or three of these babies and call it a day. But do you think that I could get a spicy chicken BLT next time, Burger King?

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 492 calories, 32 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 39 milligrams of cholesterol, 773 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.