REVIEW: KFC Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffles

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken  Waffles Sign

Combining two of its regional rip-offs in one entrée – the tempting Nashville Hot Chicken and those doughy delectable waffles — KFC is determined to end the year on a high note and, for the most part, it succeeds.

The Nashville Hot Chicken has seemingly gotten better over the past year, this batch with very little skin uncovered in that smoking red sauce, allowing every bite to predictably burn. It’s something you really want and crave in any chicken, from Nashville or not, especially with the word “hot” in the header.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken  Waffles Sans Syrup

The waffles are still a well-crafted confection, thick and bready as ever, with a taste that’s more suited to a carnival midway than a KFC. But, here, its unapologetic sweetness almost makes up for a slight wish I’ve had for years that KFC would get off their behinds and make a breakfast menu, with this as their first item.

Regardless, the noble marketing geniuses, Southern gentlemen all, have decided to put these two rebel yells together in the fast food battlefield, brothers-in-arms fighting a common enemy: hunger.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken  Waffles Syrup

Thankfully, the doubled-up aggression towards your ever-lovin’ tastebuds are far more than a tasty skirmish. The spicy heat that envelops the Nashville Hot charges right onto the waffles, already a sweet treat that becomes an absolute tooth-terror with the heady addition of Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup drizzling over every inch of red and white.

The hot meat and the cakey sweet do a well-timed promenade in your mouth, both tastes mixing swell and working well with each other. It’s nice to have these here chicken and waffles perfectly complement each other and, while they’re not the best I’ve ever had, still, for KFC, they do a darn good job that I can highly recommend.

The only real war-wounds here? The $6.49 price for a basket as well as the outrageous count of 1000+ calories.

Purchased Price: $6.49
Size: One waffle/leg and thigh
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Numbers are for the sandwich version, basket nutrition numbers are not available on website) 1010 calories, 61 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1510 milligrams of sodium, 83 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Chili Cheese Bites and Bacon Mac & Cheese Bites

Sonic Chili Cheese Bites and Bacon Mac  Cheese Bites

Since the much-publicized Arby’s merger, Sonic has been definitely surprising me with its constant foodstuff experimentation — some good, some bad — that, lately, seems to be keeping them at the forefront of culinary innovations that are on the ironically thin cusp of making America just a little bit hungrier and a whole lot heavier.

From the Oklahoma-based group — with offices down the street from me! — this month’s bold idea comes in the form of bite-sized smatterings featuring both chili cheese and bacon mac and cheese, both reminding me of the vegetable-stuffed fried goods of my public school lunch-loving youth.

The Chili Cheese Bites and the Bacon Mac & Cheese Bites are an inventive, if not obvious, dedication to duty for Sonic. One that, whenever I’m in need of a quick unhealthy snack, I can always grab on the go.

Sonic Chili Cheese Bites

Mostly roundish in shape but decidedly Boyardee in taste, the Chili Cheese Bites encompass everything that makes a toddler’s messy lunch tray so dang delicious to pick off of. The thickly breaded and fried casing on the outside holds in place a generous glob of chili and cheese that, of course, is the same that you would probably find on a Coney.

While it is a bit of a shock to not have the plump wiener as an all-beef buffer, these bites still work fabulously. And, if I may say so, they’re even better after being left in the refrigerator overnight for a well-meaning breakfast or pre-lunch snack.

Sonic Bacon Mac  Cheese Bites

From, I’d imagine, the frozen foods aisle to your flash-fried stomach, comes the long overdue Bacon Mac & Cheese Bites. They’re a collective piece of hungry art that is much larger than the Chili Cheese Bites and have more of a triangular shape, which, I imagine, is for the kids as well, wrapped up in a lighter bread coating.

With a harsh hint of bacon and over 700 milligrams of sodium, I’m really not sure the kids will love these as much as the adults will. However, the gummy macaroni and cheese is much more welcomed than it sounds, supplying a different kind of cheesy taste than we’re used to at Sonic. The bacon – I want to say applewood smoked, but I’m probably wrong — is a great accent that, as every bite goes on longer, becomes far more notable.

Between the two of these — both of which are delicious — I will probably give the edge to the Chili Cheese Bites, mostly because Sonic has found a way to make one of its most famous standbys into a vaunted snack again, one that I would probably order on the regular if I had low self-esteem. But, and I reiterate this, that blurb isn’t to knock the dandy candy of the Bacon Mac & Cheese.

Purchased Price: $1.99 each
Size: Small
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Chili Cheese), 7 out of 10 (Bacon Mac & Cheese)
Nutrition Facts: Chili Cheese – 40 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 8 grams of protein. Bacon Mac & Cheese – 260 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 700 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Forbidden Melt Taco

Taco Bell Forbidden Melt Taco

The Taco Bell that’s closest to my house is a very special one: it always has the special test items that only very special people in very special cities get to taste, well before the less-special general public even hears about them. This month’s taste treat is the ultimately forbidding Taco Bell Forbidden Melt Taco.

Taco Bell Forbidden Melt Taco 2

It features an edible taco holder made from the storm clouds of a thousand children’s tears — actually, it’s just a fried blue corn tortilla shell. At first glance, it looks badly burnt and overcooked, but images can be deceiving. This taco shell, while nowhere near the genius of the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa, still makes a delicious enough mark on the ever-changing and always evolving Taco Bell menu.

Taco Bell Forbidden Melt Taco 3

But, to this hungry Chicano, what truly makes the Forbidden Melt even better is the titular “melted” part inside the taco shell. Beyond the zesty meat, cool reduced-fat sour cream, iceberg lettuce, and shards of cheese is what has to be a good ladle’s worth of Taco Bell’s patented nacho cheese, poured along the edible fault-line, definitely making it even more verboten.

The main problem — and this, sadly, is usually an issue with many Taco Bell products — is that while the molten cheese is a bright yellow cream dream come true, after a few minutes of sitting in the bag, the belly of this blue corn beast swells to a mostly soggy mess. The cheese sauce completely seeps through the specially-made taco shell.

The one tip I have to defeat this meat-loosening bulge? Take some time, try to relax, and enjoy the Taco Bell Forbidden Melt Taco fresh out of the fryer, while the outside is still a crispy lark and the inside a gooey mess. Instead of going through the drive-thru, how about setting up in the dining area, quietly learning to love this blue corn-based forbidden fruit Taco Bell menu item.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry

What is Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry?

Joy to the world! It’s officially cranberry soda season, with Sprite taking the lead with its unique Winter Spiced Cranberry, a mixture of the classic lemon-lime taste of Sprite with a twist of cranberry and spiced with other “natural flavors.” What those spices are, however, I’m not sure.

How is it?

The thing about the holidays I like the most are all the surprises soda companies have in store for us. Like a carbonated Santa, the Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry is definitely one of them.

I’m sure by the soda’s subtitle you have a basic idea about what you’re getting, but hold it, feel it, shake it — maybe don’t shake it — and when you finally open this bottle of Sprite, the cranberry flavoring is ever so slight, with the heavily spiced (of what, I may continue to ask?) quotient truly making this a drink for the season.

Limited Edition Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry 2

With a taste that’s reminiscent of ginger ale and crushed ornaments, it’s a cool sparkling beverage that feels more like an extra-sweetened holiday La Croix than anything Sprite has ever produced before. That being said, it ain’t all that bad, especially if you need a gentle stomach-setter after eating eight or nine of Tia Lupita’s deviled ham tamales. Yum!

Is there anything else you need to know?

One 20-ounce bottle contains 109% of your daily recommended allowance of sugars. That some sugar for today, and some for tomorrow also. Space out your sips!

Conclusion:

Sadly, there’s no Sprite Zero companion liquid to this, but, still, if you need one holiday soda (that’s not cinnamon flavored, natch) to get you through the 12 days of whatever holiday you may choose or not choose, I suppose you should probably make it this one.

Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 20 fl. oz. bottle
Purchased at: Winco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 Bottle) 200 calories, 0 grams of fat, 110 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 54 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger

As I sampled Sonic’s spectacular new Garlic Butter Bacon Burger, it struck me as kind of odd that more hamburgers don’t offer a medium scoopful of garlic butter swathed across their toasted buns and seared into their beef patties.

It is such a rich and wealthy additive that, when it comes to such dairy products, I loudly say, to no one in particular, “To hell with cheese! Give me more of that damning garlic butter!”

I arrived at my local Sonic and was happy to see it has the Garlic Butter Bacon Burger in a Jr. size. However, as I was enjoying it, all I could think about was quickly shoving this Jr.-sized burger in my mouth and then following it with another. With such a notable taste, it’s impossible not to feel like a beef addict, needing more and more of that creamy garlic butter running through your veins.

Every bite was, of course, juicy as a flood of grease and oils flowed down my chin and onto my chest and lap, with the omnipresent American cheese seeping out of the sides. The garlic and butter concoction mixes admirably with the four or five pieces of crispy bacon and, of course, the profound all-beef patty. The taste was a unique intoxicant of everything a burger should be, fast food or otherwise.

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger Toppings

The buns, as you’d imagine, tasted like garlic bread. The tiny onions that dotted the top were unnecessary but welcomed to this feeding frenzy. Feeling, at times, more like a dirty breakfast sandwich than a sexy noontime burger, there’s a wholly sinful part of me that wants to nosh on this every day around 6 a.m. with a cup of strong black coffee. And possibly a Route 44 slush.

Sonic Garlic Butter Bacon Burger Bite

But I can’t. As it is, I had to slow down eating and catch my breath while dining on this burger. I haven’t had a non-Mexican fast food offering that aroused my lustful hunger like this in a very long time. Even after one, however, I feel like I have to cut back on food in general and hit the gym, possibly right now.

Very rarely have I ever eaten anything that left me feeling so preternaturally guilty and so predominantly proud because of its sheer butter content. Thanks, Sonic.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Jr.-sized
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 530 calories, 34 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Snickers and Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk

Snickers and Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk

What are Snickers and Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk?

Everyone loves the chocolate-based goodness of the well-known candy bars Snickers and Twix, right? Well, now the flavors of those beloved confections are mixed with low-fat milk to form a chocolate drink of sorts, because why not, this is America.

How are they?

With a wonderfully sweet smell and a surprisingly thick consistency, the stomach growls for these dessert-like beverages as both are poured slowly into the cups of my choice.

Snickers Chocolate Lowfat Milk

The Snickers low-fat milk is undeniably sugary, with a taste very reminiscent of what you’d expect: chocolate, peanuts, and nougat. The slight difference here is the faint coffee-like aftertaste that sits in the back of your throat for minutes after drinking. That doesn’t make it a bad thing.

Twix Chocolate Lowfat Milk

The Twix low-fat milk, on the other hand, is far more subtle, almost like drinking non-dairy creamer straight from the bottle. As a rich river of chocolate and cookie flavoring bunch up in your stomach after each gulp, the remaining caramel surprising overpowers every taste bud you have left. To be honest, I felt a little woozy after polishing off my bottle.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Thinking about the coffee-friendly aftertaste, I poured a little remaining Snickers milk into my morning coffee over the past couple of days and, I gotta say, this low-fat treat works far better as an additive than a snack to drink all by its lonesome.

Conclusion:

The Snickers and Twix low-fat milks are novelty drinks that are worth trying at least once.

Purchased Price: $2.49 each
Size: 14 fl. oz.
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both)
Nutrition Facts: (per bottle) Snickers – 270 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein. Twix – 270 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.