REVIEW: Jimmy John’s Frenchie

Jimmy John s Frenchie

What is the Jimmy John’s Frenchie?

Jimmy John’s vaguely problematically-named “Frenchie” sandwich contains salami, capicola, provolone, and salted butter on a thinner version of its standard French bread. They’re premade in limited quantities each day, so plan on an early lunch if you want to be sure to get one.

How is it?

As the name suggests, the Frenchie is Jimmy John’s take the popular French jamon-beurre sandwich. I went to a fancy culinary school, and speak culinary French, and so can tell you that jamon-beurre means ham-butter. (That’s not true. The only language skills I picked up during my time working in restaurants was to answer to “Oi! Pinche pendejo!”). As the name suggests, it’s a straightforward sandwich of ham and butter on a baguette, which requires all three elements to be of top quality for it to work.

Jimmy John s Frenchie Side

I’m a fan of Jimmy John’s, but its ingredients aren’t up to the task. The bread is soft with a nice bite to its crust, but it doesn’t have the chew and crackling crust of a great French baguette. The cold cuts and cheese are better than Subway’s, but you could find the same in your grocer’s deli. I’m not looking for the Frenchie to transport me to a café in Paris, but without really top-quality ingredients this is a fairly plain sandwich.

Jimmy John s Frenchie Meats and Cheeses

Jimmy John’s tries to overcome this shortcoming by replacing the traditional ham with salami and capicola, but neither stands out, neither adding nor subtracting from the sandwich, making me think they should’ve simply stuck with ham.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The only ingredient Jimmy John’s added to their menu for this sandwich is the salted butter. For some, this may not seem enough to justify a whole new sandwich, but as a Wisconsin native, I must disagree. The home of the Butter Burger knows that butter can improve any recipe. I had a friend in grade school who had peanut butter and butter sandwiches for lunch every day. We like butter so much that we once outlawed margarine. Though I was generally disappointed in the Frenchie, the butter adds a salted richness that serves to meld the flavors is a pleasing way.

Conclusion:

The Frenchie is a good option if someone is looking for a few simple ingredients combined in a satisfying arrangement. Fans of the franchise’s “Plain Slim” options with only meat and cheese may find something to like. Others will be better served by ordering something else, unless they really like butter. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for the annual butter sculpture eating contest.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jimmy John’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 760 calories, 34 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 2130 milligrams of sodium, 75 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna Sandwich

Arby s Big Kahuna

What is the Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna?

Remember when Arby’s first released the Meat Mountain? Piling every one of its meats on a single sandwich, the “secret menu” item was the subject of articles written with equal parts awe and disgust. I saw it as more of a stunt offering than a real menu item, not fit to be ordered by a respectable gentleman of refined taste such as myself. I certainly did not order and consume one late one night from the nearby gas station-attached Arby’s near my house.

I mention the Meat Mountain only to highlight that the Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna sandwich features three types of meat: a fried chicken fillet, ham, and smoked brisket, as well as Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a pineapple habanero mustard on a sweet Hawaiian roll. It’s a hefty sandwich, and it’s on the regular menu without any particular attention. Truly, the arc of the fast food universe is long, but it bends towards gluttony.

How is it?

The King’s Sweet Hawaiian roll is something Arby’s has returned to again and again for good reason. Its sweetness complements the sandwich without overwhelming any individual element. By itself, it’s noticeably sweet, but that sweetness lessens when eaten as a part of the whole.

Arby s Big Kahuna Halved

The chicken remains crisp even after the drive home, and the ham and Swiss are natural cordon bleu-esque additions. The smoked brisket adds smokiness, but is a bit dry. It seems extraneous to me, but doesn’t subtract from the whole. The pineapple habanero mustard really tastes like sweet pineapple and adds a needed kick to the whole affair. Without it, the sandwich’s sweetness could have been overwhelming.

Is there anything else you need to know?

There’s been a trend in recent years for burgers and sandwiches to be piled so high that they’re too unstable to be actually eaten by hand. I certainly remember the Meat Mountain eroding into a hill of various meats and cheeses, forcing me to pick through them with my fingers in the harsh, judgmental dome light of my car.

The advertising photos of the towering King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna sandwich made me think I’d be in for a repeat of my shameful late-night mountaineering expedition, but I was pleasantly surprised at the structural integrity of this sandwich. This is one time I was happy the actual product was smaller than advertised. The tomato caused a bit of slippage, but I was able to handle it and get a bit of each element in every bite.

Conclusion:

It’s a sandwich that will satisfy your inner gourmand without being too much. I mean, we’re through the looking glass now with eating contest-sized sandwiches becoming the norm, but I’m not complaining. I look forward to trying Arby’s Meat Continent in a few years.

Purchased Price: $6.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 860 calories, 39 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 2380 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 60 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Monster Energy Ultra Paradise

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise

What is Monster Energy Ultra Paradise?

Monster Energy just released “Paradise” as the newest addition to its sugar-free Ultra line of energy drinks. According to the back of the can, Monster Ultra Paradise delivers “Pure, Crisp, Invigorating Island Flavors.” The question is, what exactly is an island flavor?

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise 2

How is it?

I’m a frequent consumer of Monster Ultra, so I know the flavors can be difficult to place. Sure, Ultra Red kind of tastes like fruit punch, and Ultra Sunrise tastes vaguely orangish, but what flavor is Ultra Blue? Ultra Zero? Ultra Paradise at least gives us a hint that it’ll be tropically flavored.

Monster Energy Ultra Paradise 3

Upon opening, Ultra Paradise is a hazy light green color. The island flavor is… nondescript. Pineapple, maybe? Or maybe Pina Colada? Is the green color supposed to be a hint? It’s definitely tropical, but I still have no idea what that means exactly. You could tell me it was passion fruit flavored, and I’d believe you. (Full disclosure: those weird purple Starburst are the complete extent of my experience with passion fruit.)

Is there anything else you need to know?

Some varieties of Monster Ultra can be too sweet for my tastes, so I appreciate this one keeps it more subdued. It allows the citric acid tang to add a bit of a kick, which is appreciated when I’m looking for a pick-me-up.

Conclusion:

When imbibing a caffeinated beverage, I’m mostly interested in its pharmacological effect. Most of the time that means coffee, but if I’m at a convenience store of questionable quality, with a pot of coffee that’s been there longer than the clerk, I may reach for an energy drink instead. Monster always gets the job done with 140 milligrams of caffeine, and Paradise fits in well with the rest of the Ultra options.

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 16 fl. oz. can
Purchased at: Festival Foods
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein, 100% Niacin, 100% Vitamin B6, 100%, Vitamin B12, 100% Vitamin B5, and 140 mg of caffeine.

Click here to read our previous energy drink reviews.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts Bites

Kellogg s Pop Tarts Bites

Do you wake up precisely 43 seconds before you need to be out the door? Or maybe you have a heart condition, and the sudden POP! of the toaster would too much for the ol’ ticker? Or perhaps you don’t like your kids too much, and don’t want to do anything that could be mistaken as cooking for them?

If so, Pop-Tarts Bites are the product for you! Able to go from box to mouth in under 10 seconds, these bite-sized pieces promise the classic Frosted Strawberry or Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavor without all that tedious toasting.

An even faster, less labor-intensive version of toasted Pop-Tarts may seem like a product in search of a problem, but I’m willing to be convinced. After all, I’m a guy so impatient that I’ve never successfully cooked a TV dinner using the conventional oven instructions. I always get tired of waiting and throw it in the microwave.

Kellogg s Pop Tarts Bites Pouches

I open a pouch of each and stick my nose in deep to sniff that classic Pop-Tart scent of slightly undercooked pastry. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon has an additional spice scent, and the strawberry strongly reminds me of strawberry jam. So far, the experience is identical to regular Pop Tarts.

I pop a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bite into my mouth, crunch through the frosting, and into the sugary center. These taste like Pop-Tarts. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bites have a kick of spice to them, and the Strawberry Bites have a nice tartness, but these are fundamentally the popular toaster pastry.

Kellogg s Pop Tarts Bites Innards

If anything, they’re a bit more monotonous. With a traditional Pop-Tart, you can vary the eating experience by adjusting the amount of filled center vs. unfilled edge in each bite. I know I’m not the only one who likes to nibble away all the edge first, leaving the super sugary center for last. It’s also possible I way over think these things.

For me, the major drawback to these is that they can’t be toasted. While I understand one of the selling points of Pop-Tarts is that they allow you to eat breakfast while still in REM sleep, I’ve always preferred them toasted. Having a “cooked” breakfast will enable me to maintain the facade of being a functional adult. Plus, it gets rid of the aforementioned undercooked dough flavor. A brief 20 second trip in the microwave results in a pillowy crust and warm filling, an improvement, but one not intended by the manufacturer.

Everything you need to know about Pop-Tarts Bites is right there in the name. They’re mini bite-sized Pop-Tarts. They deliver precisely that but don’t add much to the Pop-Tarts Extended Universe.

Purchased Price: $4.98
Size: 10 pouches/box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 pouch) Strawberry – 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Brown Sugar Cinnamon – 150 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava

What are Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava?

After decades of merely fiddling with its Diet Coke lineup with the occasional vanilla, cherry, or lime addition, last year Coca-Cola let its food scientists run wild and released four new and exciting flavors aimed at the Millennial demographic. Diet Coke isn’t just for your mom anymore! Today, Coke adds two more: Blueberry Açaí and Strawberry Guava.

How are they?

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava Cans

Both of these sodas have a strong fruity flavor, though I don’t taste much of the second listed fruit in either case. The Blueberry Açaí Diet Coke mostly tastes like blueberries, perhaps with some extra tanginess. It’s like how a fruit snack can somehow be more like its fruit flavor than the actual fruit itself.

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava Closup

The Strawberry Guava Diet Coke mostly tastes like strawberries, though a bit mellowed in this case. It seems inadequate to say the guava adds a tropical flavor, but here we are, me having written the obvious and you having read it.

Is there anything else you need to know?

A confession: I know that readers rely on us at The Impulsive Buy to be your knowledgeable guides through the ever-changing culinary world, but I have to admit that I had no idea what açaí actually is. I don’t even know how to make that weird “c” thing (Thanks, spellcheck!)

Sure, it’s trendy, so I’ve eaten it in various bowls, smoothies, and other overpriced preparations, but what exactly is an acai? Google tells me that it’s a “small edible blackish-purple berry.” So it’s a blueberry. That explains why I could only taste the blueberry flavor in this soda. Or was I just tasting the açaí?

Conclusion:

If you’re a diet soda fiend like me, you’re always happy to have more options at hand. Man cannot live on Coke Zero alone. These two new additions may not be as exotic-tasting as their names suggest, but they’re tasty nonetheless.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 8-pack
Purchased at: Festival Foods
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 can) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat,0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 35 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Java Monster Swiss Chocolate

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate

What is the Java Monster Swiss Chocolate?

It promises “the taste of Swiss chocolate paired with premium coffee and cream and supercharged with our Monster Energy Blend.” It’s currently a Dollar General exclusive flavor.

How is it?

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate 2

When poured, the color is the same as heavily creamed coffee, with a scent to match. The java flavor is strong without being overpowering. It’s not as tooth-cracklingly sweet as some other pre-made coffee beverages I’ve had, though it still has a “syrupy” character.

As a regular energy drink consumer, I’m on the lookout for that medicinal energy drink aftertaste, the one that makes it seem like the manufacturer crushed up a multivitamin into your drink. I detect some, but it’s so small that it could easily be a sense memory of the hundreds of other energy drinks I’ve had.

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate 3

The chocolate flavor is very slight. I don’t want to alarm you, but it’s possible the chocolate element in this beverage actually has no connection at all to Switzerland, and “Swiss” was added to the name in an attempt to brand the product as more exotic and exciting than it really is. Shocking, I know. There’s so little of it here that I don’t think it deserves top billing, naming-wise.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I usually drink my coffee hot, so I was curious what would happen if I heated this in the microwave for a few seconds. I’m secretly hoping the added thermal energy will have some strange alchemical effect and transmute the Monster Energy Blend into a Jekyll/Hyde concoction, allowing me to unleash the beast within.

Alas, the beast must remain chained, as heating only has the effect of making it hotter. If anything, the heat distracts from the already very slight Monster Energy Blend flavor, turning this into a plain hot cup of joe.

Conclusion:

Java Monster Swiss Chocolate delivers a decent coffee flavor with a slight chocolate note. It’s not bad but doesn’t separate itself from a hundred other options.

Purchased Price: $2.10
Size: 15 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 500 milligrams of potassium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 35 of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.