REVIEW: Burger King Cheetos Chicken Fries

Burger King Cheetos Chicken Fries

Eating Burger King’s new Cheetos Chicken Fries (CCFs) is very similar to going on a Tinder date. You see pictures and read a description of somebody, use a cheesy pick-up line, chat them up for a bit, and then you agree to meet at a bar.

Only when you get there, you find out the person looks nothing like their picture or they just aren’t the person they represented themselves to be online. I mean, you write that you like sailing in your profile but then you tell me you can’t even tie an anchor hitch!?

Cue dramatic piano music.

This was how I felt after eating the newest in the Chicken Fries line. Sure, the box had art similar to a bag of Cheetos. Sure, it says the word “Cheetos” on the box. Sure, they’re covered in a Cheetos breading. Sounds pretty great, right?

Well, the CCFs have one whale of a problem. No, that’s not enough. They have one MOBY DICK of a problem, and it is the fact there is barely any Cheetos flavor on them.

I do not know if it’s because I went on the initial release day and the BK workers hadn’t quite perfected their technique, but the final product tasted like somebody dropped Chicken Fries onto a pile of Cheetos crumbs and a minuscule amount of the flavor rubbed off on them.

Burger King Cheetos Chicken Fries 2

I was expecting them to be bright orange, just like actual Cheetos. Instead, they just look like darker Chicken Fries with some orange specks sprinkled on them. The lady who took my order asked if I wanted a dipping sauce, so I ordered a side of ranch thinking I would not need it. But after eating the third one plain I started dipping so they would have some kind of actual, noticeable flavor.

Burger King Cheetos Chicken Fries 3

I did get a tiny hint of Cheetos flavor but it was all in the aftertaste and I didn’t even notice it until after I ate several of them, and I really had to concentrate and use my imagination. They just didn’t have the cheesy kick many others and I were probably expecting.

I thought maybe my sense of taste had temporarily gone on vacation, but I got an order for my co-worker and he said the same thing, barely any Cheetos flavor.

The best part about the CCFs was, in all honesty, the box art. Woof.

I imagine somewhere Chester Cheetah is blowing lines of Cheetos cheese dust whilst crying, listening to Joe Satriani and uttering words of contempt about Burger King’s hack job of a recipe using his moneymaker.

(Nutrition Facts – 280 Calories, 18 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams total sugars, 14 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 9 pieces
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Cool box art. Cheesy pick-up lines on Tinder.
Cons: Hardly recognizable Cheetos flavor. Chester Cheetah having his good name tainted.

REVIEW: Domino’s Chicken Apple Pecan Salad

Domino's Chicken Apple Pecan Salad

A short list of things I never imagined I would do in my lifetime:

  1. Meet Hulk Hogan at a rave
  2. Go nude skydiving
  3. Date a vegan
  4. Help an Eskimo run the Iditarod
  5. Get a salad from Domino’s

So full disclosure, numbers one through four have not happened…yet. Number five, unfortunately, did happen.

Usually the single man’s trip to Domino’s ends with a medium pizza that will get finished in one night. It usually has ham and pineapple on it and it is usually eaten in the company of Wes Montgomery albums and good vodka. Sometimes, though, you have to switch things up.

The Domino’s salads come prepackaged, and when I say prepackaged, I mean factory sealed and then shipped to Domino’s stores. At least that’s what I read.

Factory fresh salad…YUM!

Domino's Chicken Apple Pecan Salad 2

Besides being factory sealed, it is also a salad you have to put it together yourself. How dare they make us do work!

This isn’t the worst tasting salad, but for the price, it didn’t seem worth it in the end.

The main culprits are the spring mix and the chicken. I know greens aren’t supposed to be flashy but the greens in this salad, even with the Ken’s Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, just weren’t good. I think the factory seal takes some of the freshness away.

The chicken didn’t seem to lose freshness but it didn’t matter, it was like that semi-grizzle-y chicken Subway had years ago. Tastes like nothing and you get those pieces you can’t chew cleanly through, and nobody likes those.

Nothing was really wrong with the cheddar cheese and apples. Those probably had the freshest taste to them, and if those are your freshest ingredients, your salad is in trouble. The cranberries were few in quantity and you won’t complain about it. The salad didn’t need them.

Domino's Chicken Apple Pecan Salad 3

Cover all this with Ken’s Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette and the result is just so underwhelming. The dressing doesn’t have a strong enough sweet-tart taste that a normal balsamic would, and in the case of this salad, more flavor was needed to cloak its shortcomings.

The only part of the salad that stood out was the pecans. I would buy the salad again just for those, no joke. They were so sweet; I think they may have been candied. They reminded me of pralines you find in ice cream.

If I were you, I’d fork over the extra two bucks and get a salad from Panera that you will actually enjoy.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 serving (2 per salad) – 190 Calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 350 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 14 grams total sugars, 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $6.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Pecans are otherworldly good. Crazy low in calories.
Cons: Spring mix and chicken leave much to be desired. Dressing isn’t flavorful enough. Not meeting Hulk Hogan at a rave.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen M&M’s Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Blizzard

Dairy Queen M&M's Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Blizzard

At first glance, it’s really easy to read Peanut Butter Monster Cookie as Peanut Butter Cookie Monster. That’s what I did, and the first thought that formed inside my Thunderdome of a mind was of Cookie Monster’s much less celebrated, but much more wholesome brother who Sesame Street forgets to talk about.

He’s a behind-the-scenes hero, taking care of Cookie Monster’s kids, consoling his distraught wife, just being the glue when his brother doesn’t come home at night because he’s fallen off the cookie wagon. Is he in jail? On the cookie version of Skid Row, snorting copious amounts of cookie crumbs? Nobody knows, but Peanut Butter Cookie Monster is there to pick up the pieces. What a stand up, made-up guy.

The Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Blizzard more than lives up to the imaginary character it isn’t named after. The word “monster” is appropriately used too since this Blizzard IS a monster…of peanut butter flavor.

Dairy Queen M&M's Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Blizzard 3

There are two peanut butter factors at play with P.B. cookie chunks and peanut butter being blended throughout the Blizzard. The sweet, nutty condiment is in every bite. It takes over the vanilla ice cream like some kind of edible symbiotic life form. You can try really hard to gather up the M&M’s and choco chunks but you’re still going to get a strong nutty presence.

I like how they put both the cookies and smooth peanut butter topping inside. It’s kind of like spreading some of the popular condiment on a P.B. cookie. You get the authentic peanut butter taste, and the more processed taste from the cookies, and the result is a heavenly combo, never an overkill.

Dairy Queen M&M's Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Blizzard 2

The M&M’s accent the P.B. The candy shells really jump out. Because of their surrounding, they basically turn into Peanut Butter M&M’s. But if the Blizzard scientists had tried to put actual Peanut Butter M&M’s inside, I think that would’ve been an overload. It would most likely result in an actual peanut butter monster being born, only it wouldn’t be friendly like P.B. Cookie Monster. Instead, it would be more like a boss from the Dark Souls game series.

I went to the drive-thru to get mine, and I have to say I really hate how they make it a point of handing you the Blizzard upside down now. The window guy looked so cocky when he did it, like he wanted to rub it in my face I wasn’t going to get a free Blizzard for giving it to me right side up.

Not that I would call them out on that anyways, but man, I wish the next Blizzard he handed out fell right out of the cup. Then he could go make himself a nice humble pie Blizzard.

(Nutrition Facts – small – 730 calories, 280 calories from fat, 31 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 98 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 79 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dairy Queen
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Two different peanut butter tastes. Chocolate and M&Ms accent peanut butter nicely. Peanut Butter Cookie Monster holding his brother’s home together.
Cons: Cocky Blizzard passer-outers.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s flavors that are exclusive to one store or area carry a strong sense of injustice, for me at least. I saw a flavor last year that was exclusive to Texas. It’s like, hey, what’s wrong with (insert other 49 states here)!? You think you’re better than us?

Driving to Texas for an exclusive flavor is one thing, but it’s frustrating enough when I can’t go to my precious Wegmans to get a certain flavor and I have to go to a Target or Walmart instead. Bleh!

Even though Pecan Sticky Buns sounded really enticing, the thought of going to a Walmart in Rochester sounded anything but. I don’t think I’d been to one in a good two years. I hadn’t had sticky buns in a few years either, not since the last time I attended an adult caramel party. Think of the party from Eyes Wide Shut, only a lot weirder and with a lot more caramel.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ice Cream 2

With this ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s did a really good job with getting certain flavors of an actual sticky bun down. The buttery brown sugar ice cream was pretty accurate. You definitely get a strong brown sugar flavor with this. I know because I used to pour a pound of brown sugar into my oatmeal when I was little.

There are chunks of sticky bun dough to further nail the brown swirly ooey-gooey parts of the sticky buns. You know what I mean. The sticky bun dough chunks were exactly like the cinnamon bun dough chunks from Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Bun flavor, which I’m not even sure is a flavor anymore. I know they have different names, but I’m suspicious they were the same exact chunks. Think they tried to sneak one by us here.

Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Pecan Sticky Buns Ice Cream 3

The pecans were ridiculously flavorful. They appeared to be normal pecans but they tasted like those cinnamon roasted one you get at a baseball game or festival. They had that boiled in something sweet taste and it is pretty magnificent. I mean, there are not many things that wouldn’t be delicious if you boiled them in cinnamon. I bet Hannibal Lector boiled some of his victims in cinnamon before going to Chowtown. I just know there’s a deleted scene of that. Probably.

Lastly, there’s a cream cheese frosting swirl whose presence in a bite will always surprise you because it blends in perfectly with the ice cream. The swirls aren’t very thick, which was nice because you don’t get surprise flavor slammed by cream cheese, and they are a nice touch as they take you away from the cinnamon taste for a second.

Overall, it’s a good concoction, but it is SUPER rich, even for Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve had other exclusive Walmart flavors, but they were subpar (I’m looking at you, Cotton Candy). This one was worth the trip.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – 300 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of total fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.09
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Has flavors very reminiscent of real pecan sticky bun. Adult caramel parties.
Cons: A bit too rich. Having to go to Walmart to get it. Ben & Jerry’s exclusive flavor injustice.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Royal Oreo Blizzard

Dairy Queen Royal Oreo Blizzard 2

The concept of a “core” of filling is nothing new. Think of Earth, the planet which most of you who read this live on. Its core is filled with lava. Then there’s the Drumstick Ice Cream Cones that have a core of fudge or caramel among other things.

I’ve done some dabbling in this core business myself, like when I was in high school and I would pray to the green goddess, and while my lungs were still filled up with holy smoke I’d take a shot of whiskey, which would act as the core. Then I’d run to the bathroom and fill the toilet with a core of vomit.

Dairy Queen jumped on the core bandwagon with the Royal Blizzard, which is the famous Blizzard treat filled with a core of topping. There’s only three flavors currently (Rocky Road Brownie and New York Strawberry Cheesecake) but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see more drop.

Being in a cookie mood as opposed to a cheesecake or brownie mood, the Oreo Royal was the easy choice.

Dairy Queen Royal Oreo Blizzard

I didn’t watch them make the Blizzard and I wish I had to see how the core is injected into it, but there was a Bugs Bunny cartoon on a TV and I was drawn like a moth to a box of old clothes.

The Blizzard looks just like the normal Oreo version for the first few bites, since the core doesn’t start at the top. You have to dig a little before you strike fudge. When you do see the gooey chocolaty goodness you will feel like a miner from the California Gold Rush, only you’ll probably be better dressed and much cooler because you have an iPhone and they didn’t.

The fudge core was actually wide, which I was not expecting. All the cores in ice cream products seem to be light in total area and some really get slim at the bottom. The fudge area actually got wider as I went further into the Blizzard.

Dairy Queen Royal Oreo Blizzard 3

Now I wasn’t totally sure if the fudge was supposed to be hot or not but since it is surrounded by ice cream it gets cool and congeals, meaning you’ll have to put a little more effort when you want to spoon out a nice bite of it. Kind of reminds me of McDonald’s hot fudge sundae. If you’ve had one of those, the fudge at the bottom is what you can expect in the Blizzard. Still tastes great but would be better if it was hot.

The fudge really adds a lot more punch and richness, blends exceptionally well with the crunchy Oreo cookies, and, honestly, it made the thought of a regular Oreo Blizzard just seem kind of average. It’s like taking a shot of really good tequila and then taking a shot of well tequila right after. You would never want to touch the well tequila again. Now I’m not a regular consumer of Blizzard treats, but if I were to go back and get something with Oreo, it’s most definitely going to be the Royal variety.

(Nutrition Facts – 760 calories, 270 calories from fat, 30 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 430 milligrams of sodium, 111 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 85 grams of sugars, 14 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.09
Size: Small
Purchased at: Dairy Queen
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Fudge core is good sized. Blends well with Oreo cookies. Being better dressed than a California Gold Rush miner.
Cons: Would’ve been better if fudge was hot. Shots of well tequila.

REVIEW: Red Robin Red Ramen Burger

Red Robin Red Ramen Burger

Much like how all the Brits are stealing all the good lead acting gigs (Rick Grimes, Daredevil/Matt Murdock, Norman Bates… yes, they’re all Brits!) chain restaurants are taking food crazes and making their own versions. Dunkin’ Donuts did it with the Cronut, and Red Robin is doing it with the Ramen Burger.

People seem to get upset about the so called “food plagiarism,” but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so people should chill out. These foods typically come from big cities like New York or Los Angeles, and seeing as not all of us live in those cities, we deserve to try it too. We have food rights! Pretty sure that’s what Patrick Swayze died fighting for in “Red Dawn.”

Red Robin’s version of the ramen burger, dubbed the “Red Ramen Burger,” features the ramen noodle bun, is topped with teriyaki and chiu chow aioli, fried jalapeño coins, chili-infused shredded cabbage, carrot and onion, and is garnished with basil.

Red Robin Red Ramen Burger 2

The first thing you will notice with the burger is it is going to be a messy affair. I’m talking three to five napkins, minimum. Maybe a wet-nap. The ramen bun falls apart faster than a millionaire’s marriage to a stripper he fell in love with after seeing her on stage. You typically don’t eat burgers with a knife and fork but this is one you’ll want to deploy the silverware for.

They did a good job with the bun. The ramen was crispy on the outside, and when you bite into it there is soft ramen on the inside. That seems really tough to pull off. The bun is apparently seasoned but there wasn’t any noticeable taste, just tasted like normal ramen.

The teriyaki and chiu chow aioli dominates the burger and is easily the strongest flavor. Teriyaki is, er, teriyaki, and chiu chow is God knows what. The first four Google search returns didn’t give me a clear answer so I gave up. But the sweet teriyaki most definitely runs the show.

Red Robin Red Ramen Burger 3

Next you have the ginger-infused cabbage, carrot, and onion mix. This did not belong on the burger. The taste did not stand out at all because the teriyaki covered it up, so there’s just this shredded vegetable nuisance you have to deal with throughout the course of the burger. Honestly if you order it you should hold the veggies. They just get in the way, kind of like me in a pickup basketball game.

The fried jalapeño coins are insanity. They weren’t spicy but they just melt in your mouth. You still get that jalapeño flavor but without the sweating, coughing, eye watering, and the pointing and laughter of your fellow diners. The coating on the peppers was buttery and delicious. If these coins were a real currency, they’d be, like, the golden dollar of fried coins.

Red Robin Red Ramen Burger 4

My burger was cooked perfectly and overall was a unique treat that you don’t typically see anywhere. The ceramic cat in the burger promo suggested I eat the burger with a Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale, so I gave in like a sad sheep and listened. They did pair really well together, and I got a good chuckle when the bartender handed me the bottle and I exclaimed, “This isn’t my father’s ginger ale!” Oh man, it gets me every time! It doesn’t seem to get anyone else though. The bartender didn’t acknowledge the joke, he just asked if I needed anything else. Yes, I do. I need you to laugh at my joke so I don’t feel like a King Goober.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website.)

Purchased Price: $11.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Red Robin
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Ramen bun is neat. Nice teriyaki flavor. Fried jalapeño coins are heaven. Making jokes about your father’s ginger ale.
Cons: Teriyaki flavor takes over at times. Burger is rather messy. Veggies just get in the way. Having your father’s ginger ale joke fall flat.