REVIEW: Arby’s Fish ‘N Cheddar Sandwich

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Wrapper

What is Arby’s Fish ‘N Cheddar Sandwich?

“WE HAVE THE FISH,” declares Arby’s new Fish ‘N Cheddar Sandwich wrapper.

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich We have the Fish

I guess it does because Arby’s has THREE limited time fish sandwich options: the Crispy Fish Sandwich (crispy fish, tartar sauce, lettuce, sesame seed bun), Fish N’ Cheddar (crispy fish, cheddar cheese sauce, tartar sauce, lettuce sesame seed bun), and the King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe Sandwich (crispy fish, cheddar cheese, tartar sauce, lettuce, tomatoes on a King’s Hawaiian bun).

We’ve seen the Crispy Fish and the King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe before, but not the Fish N’ Cheddar. But let’s be real. It’s basically the crispy fish sandwich with cheddar cheese sauce.

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Hang off the Bun

Arby’s also boldly declares that the fish lineup is “Hang Off The Bun Huge.” As someone who lived in Indiana and has experienced a Pork Tenderloin sandwich, which is known for the meat outsizing the bun, I can appreciate this.

How is it?

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Profile

If the meat is going to outsize the bun, it better be dang good. Unfortunately, in this case, the fish wasn’t. The flavor was fine, but the texture was its downfall. To be fair, it wasn’t like a soggy wet nap, but it simply didn’t have that desirable deep-fried crunch.

In my opinion, they were way too fair on the breading-to-fish ratio. I wouldn’t have been upset if Arby’s skimped just a bit to make the breading a smidge more robust to create a delicious, crispy exterior.

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Cheese

Now on to what makes the sandwich “new” — the cheddar cheese sauce. This sauce was basically a less liquid-y nacho cheese. I concluded that even though it provides a more favorable melted texture than a square of American cheese, its flavor doesn’t complement the rest of the sandwich.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Arby s Fish  N Cheddar Sandwich Comparison
Fish ‘N Cheddar (left) Filet-O-Fish (right)

I ate this side-by-side with McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. Arby’s offering was bigger, wasn’t doused in tartar sauce, and contained iceberg lettuce and cheese sauce, but these differences didn’t really give it an edge over the Filet-O-Fish and is not worth the extra couple of bucks.

Conclusion:

I would pick the Filet-O-Fish over this any day. If Arby’s brought back its Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich, I may consider making it my fast food fish fix. But, when it comes to a basic fried fish sandwich, I prefer the McDonald’s classic.

Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 540 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies

Oreo is starting the new decade with a FLAVOR BANG. The brand announced four new flavors (Chocolate Marshmallow, Caramel Coconut, Dark Chocolate Fudge-Covered, and Tiramisu) and launched three of said flavors this month.

I was most excited for the Caramel Coconut flavor because I know and love coconut crème. Probably like most folks, my mind went to Girl Scout Samoas or Caramel deLites Cookies. But, it’s SO MUCH tastier.

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies Sleeves

The caramel aroma really drew me in. The smell isn’t like your sundae caramel syrup or even what’s in a Ben & Jerry’s pint. It’s a deliciously deep scent that twinkles with a warmth that I ascribe to honey and/or brown sugar. And no, it’s not artificial like a Yankee Candle either. Oddly, there’s nothing about the scent experience that would even remotely hint at the coconut part of this flavor.

The scent makes up for the look because frankly, the brown crème doesn’t look very appetizing. It’s not something that would stop me from eating the cookie, but the off-tan seems to lean more like a pumpkin or maybe even maple crème.

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies Creme

Despite the creme color, I enjoyed eating every single cookie in this Family Size pack. Speaking of, why was I forced to buy Family Size?! I would’ve been so irked if this didn’t deliver. Yes, I checked if I could buy a regular-sized pack. I’m fairly certain a smaller size wasn’t made.

Anyways back to the cookie — it’s definitely more caramel forward but does have a coconut finish. If you’re not familiar with Oreo’s execution of coconut, I can see how it’s easily missed.

I also didn’t see any coconut bits when examining the crème, but I did discover small pieces wedged in my molars. That didn’t bother me too much as the stringy texture of longer strips of dried coconut isn’t my favorite.

Caramel Coconut Oreo Cookies are so wonderful that I’m going to drop this controversial thought: How about the Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers reformulate their respective Girl Scout coconut and caramel cookies to be more like this Oreo? I would buy SO many boxes.

Purchased Price: $3.56
Size: 17 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of total sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae

Wendy s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae

Woo, it’s Sagittarius season y’all!

Happy 50th Birthday to Wendy’s and golden birthday to me! I was delighted I was able to celebrate with the fast food chain’s new Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae.

Fifty revolutions around the sun is a pretty big deal, but it’s an even bigger deal because this birthday cake flavor is the first new Frosty flavor since the controversial vanilla launch in 2006.

While the cookie sundae concept may seem new, it’s not. There was a collab with Ghirardelli earlier this year featuring chocolate chip cookie chunks and G’s chocolate sauce. But, everything always seems more festive with rainbow sprinkles. So, this b-day version of the cookie sundae features rainbow sprinkles and sugar cookie bits.

Wendy s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae Spoonful

I appreciate that Wendy’s is very transparent in describing in the production description that it’s “our creamy vanilla Frosty mixed with the flavor of classic birthday cake” because that’s exactly what it tastes like. I was able to discern it was not quite the vanilla one, but the birthday cake flavoring was relatively subtle.

Wendy s Birthday Cake Frosty Cookie Sundae Cookie Closeup

It just tasted sweeter to me, but maybe sweeter vanilla is all birthday cake is! I liked the texture from the sugar cookies and sprinkles, but that’s about all they added. The cookie itself was a tad eggy for my liking, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

I know I sound like a harsh critic, but my gold standard is Christina Tosi’s Milk B’ day Cake. Wendy’s didn’t come close to reaching that level, BUT at a fraction of the price/time without being an actual cake, it’s solid.

Although Wendy’s is technically a Scorpio with a founded date of 11/15/1969, I’m glad it was started and that the Vanilla Frosty came to be about 13 years ago. Without those two things happening, this birthday cake sundae maybe wouldn’t have existed for this limited time!

Purchased Price: $2.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 Calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 47 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Papa John’s Garlic Parmesan Crust

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust

Papa John’s makes my favorite chain pizza.

Before you @ me, hear me out: it has the perfect balance of flavors as the slightly sweeter pizza sauce is the perfect primer for the savory toppings and signature Garlic Sauce. Also, the texture of the pizza has the springy goodness of fresh bread. Since I’m a crust enthusiast, that’s pretty dang important to me.

So, when Papa John’s launched its new garlic parmesan crust earlier this month, my crust purist self was a little skeptical. Why ruin a good thing?! It’s the first time in company history that it’s taken a page out of Pizza Hut’s book and changed up the crust. According to the VP of the menu strategy team, the chain found inspiration from its glorious Garlic Sauce.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Half and Half

For good measure, I deviated from my usual pepperoni order with a half pepperoni, half mushroom pie with the garlic parmesan crust. Why? Because I was worried the new addition would throw off the aforementioned perfect balance. I figured mushroom was the tastiest neutral pick.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Closeup

The new crust passed the visual test; it looked pretty different from the standard crust. I liken the look and feel of it to Subway’s Italian Herb and Cheese bread because you can see the shredded parmesan-romano cheese baked into it.

Papa John s Garlic Parmesan Crust Closeup 2

Flavor-wise, I could taste the parmesan, and it didn’t throw off the balance at all! It was fine with both pepperoni and mushroom. The flavor was like eating cheesy breadsticks. It wasn’t garlicky or buttery enough for my liking, though. Especially if it’s supposed to be inspired by the signature sauce.

However, after dipping the garlic parmesan crust into the garlic butter, I had some seriously vampire-warding breath.

Overall, Papa John’s Garlic Parmesan Crust was average. It didn’t add or take away from my experience. I could see it as a nice way to jazz up a pizza order, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Purchased Price: $10.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: N/A.

REVIEW: Duncan Hines Gooey Bakes

Duncan Hines Gooey Confetti Sugar Cookie and Chocolate Chip Cookie

I say Duncan Hines. You say Pusha T’s verse: “That white frost on that pound cake so your Duncan Hines is irrelevant.”

But, contrary to rap music’s opinion, Duncan Hines is pretty relevant with all its innovative drops. It just made money moves into the frozen aisle with its new Gooey Bakes line with four new products:

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie – a chocolate chip cookie with melted chocolate chunk and chips with a super gooey center.
  • Confetti Sugar Cookie – a confetti sugar cookie with a super gooey center and with melted confetti chips and sprinkles.
  • Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie – an oatmeal cookie loaded with melted butterscotch-flavored chips and a gooey center.
  • Double Chocolate Brownie – a double chocolate brownie with a gooey center and loaded with melted chocolate chunks.

Duncan Hines Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie

Duncan Hines Gooey Confetti Sugar Cookie

I was only able to find two of the cookies, but if the other two taste half as good, that would still be pretty dang tasty. Between the two cookies, I favored the more true-to-form chocolate chip one. The latter was delicious and festive, but more like a vanilla confetti cake than a sugar cookie.

I was amazed by how easy this made it to have a “fresh” cookie. It was just a minute or so of microwave time. To be precise, I preferred 1 minute 15 seconds for the more melted chunks in the choco chip one, and one minute was fine for the other.

So, you may be wondering what’s different with this and the “Perfect Size” line? From my vantage point, it’s THAT, but even EASIER – no need to add/mix ingredients.

Duncan Hines Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Spoonful

But, because it’s heated up in the microwave, there weren’t any crispy edges. I prefer cookies with crispy edges and gooey centers. That said, the chocolate chip one’s texture feels more like a slightly under-baked cookie, whereas the confetti one is like a cake.

Duncan Hines Gooey Confetti Sugar Cookie Spoonful

Note that it wasn’t quite as fluffy or risen as Duncan Hines’ mug cakes, but it didn’t seems as cookie-like to me. Also, another gripe was that the confetti chips added nothing; they melted down into white blobs that I thought was unmixed flour.

The size probably also contributed to the perception of cake because each of these babies has NINE servings. I wanted to eat both in one sitting by myself, but I failed. If you find yourself in a cookie surplus situation as I did, you can put it in the fridge overnight and microwave it for a quick minute when you want to consume it. It’s like new again!

Folks, we have entered a new era of cookie craze – from edible cookie dough to these new ready-to-eat frozen cookies – and I’m here for it.

Purchased Price: $3.89 each
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Chocolate Chip), 8 out of 10 (Confetti Sugar Cookie
Nutrition Facts: (1/9 cookie) Chocolate Chip – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Confetti Sugar Cookie – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..

REVIEW: Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie

Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bagels

What are Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie?

If you’re not familiar with Bantam Bagels, think donut hole filled with cream cheese, but it’s a bagel instead of sweet fried dough. Their claim to fame is Shark Tank, and you may have had them at Starbucks pre-sous vide egg bites.

Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Apple Pie Bagels

The brand has two new limited edition flavors that are sold exclusively at Target this season. The Pumpkin Spice Bantam is a cinnamon bagel with pumpkin spice cream cheese. The Apple Pie Bantam is a sweet sugar bagel with apple pie cream cheese.

How are they?

Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bagels Inside

I may be a bit biased because I’m admittedly super basic and all about pumpkin. So the pumpkin spice one is a solid addition to the PUMPKINUNDATION! It captures the essence of my favorite fall gourd without being overpowering or tasting like a Bath & Body Works candle. Note that there’s pumpkin puree in this; it’s not all just pumpkin spices.

Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Apple Pie Bagels Inside

As for the apple pie one, I’m not a fan. Cinnamon and I are friends, but this had so much of it that it tasted bitter. There was also this tangy note, reminiscent of a granny smith apple, that did not help the cause.

I didn’t notice the bagel flavor in either one as the cream cheese flavoring dominated.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Bantam Bagels Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie Oozing

You have to follow the cooking instructions to a T so that you get the crispy, toasty exterior and beautifully molten interior. But be careful, it may ooze out at an unpalatable temperature! Don’t get lazy and microwave it or else you’ll get a grossly chewy bagel.

Conclusion:

Valiant fall effort by the Bantam fam! It was quite ambitious to have two flavors when it could’ve done great with only a pumpkin-flavored one. Also, it would be awesome if Starbucks would carry it so I can be peak Millennial and eat these more often without the hassle of heating them AND pair ‘em with a PSL, of course!

Purchased Price: $4.99 each
Size: 7.8 oz (6 – 1.3 oz. Bantams)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Pumpkin Spice), 4 out of 10 (Apple Pie)
Nutrition Facts: (1.3 oz.) 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar (including 0 grams of added sugar), and 3 grams of protein.