REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon Queso Burger

Wendy s Spicy Queso Burger

Historically, fast food “spicy burgers” have been pretty underwhelming.

Try as they may, neither Burger King’s Angry Whopper nor Carl’s Jr.’s El Diablo Thickburger lived up to the hype, and let’s not even get into the deluge of disappointing spicy-in-name-only chicken sandwiches that we’ve seen over the last couple of years.

Wendy’s themselves are no stranger to so-so spicy sammiches, such as the okay-but-that’s-about-it Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich from 2015. And while their latest and greatest tongue-torching burger makes a few noticeable improvements over their last foray into hot-ass hamburgers, the Bacon Queso Burger still feels more than a few degrees shy of being a truly top-notch, perspiration-inspiring product.

Wendy s Spicy Queso Burger 2

The quarter-pounder burger comes topped with a creamy poblano queso sauce, a heaping helping of fire-roasted salsa, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, some chopped up red onions (an aside, but is it just me or do those things look more purple than red?), and a smattering of shredded cheddar cheese. And all of it is wedged between two roasted red jalapeno buns, which I didn’t even notice until I Googled the product after I already ate it, which, yeah, should tell you just how potent the jalapeno taste is here.

Wendy s Spicy Queso Burger 3

First, the good. Wendy’s has long had some of the best bacon in fast food, and this limited-time-only offering is no exception. Secondly, the beef is flavorful and doesn’t get lost amid the goulash of other ingredients. And thirdly, the poblano queso sauce has a unique taste and texture (thicker than aioli sauce but still not thick enough to be a traditional fondue) that doesn’t have an analogue at any other mainstream burger chain.

Unfortunately, there are more negatives than positives here. The salsa is way too pulpy and has virtually no spiciness, and it doesn’t blend that well with the queso at all (at first, I thought they just dumped a bunch of chili on the burger and called it good.)

Additionally, the onions feel (and taste) way out of place – that is, if you can even taste them at all after rubbing up against so many different sauces. And I was not a fan of the shredded cheese adornments – the icy cold taste and texture clashes with the rest of the burger AND every time you go for another bite it seems like half of the cheddar falls out.

Speaking of which, this might be the messiest non-Sloppy Joe sandwich I’ve ever eaten – forget tying on a bib; you’ll probably have to eat this one with a beach towel wrapped around your shoulders.

But the ultimate transgression of Wendy’s new burger, of course, is that it isn’t spicy enough. It’s unique and fairly flavorful and pretty filling, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to making good on that particular advertising point. And when you can’t deliver the primary thing your L-T-O marketing promises, can we really consider the offering as a whole anything less than a substantial disappointment?

(Nutrition Facts – 550 calories, 290 calories from fat, 29 grams of total fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,140 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 33 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: Single patty (also available in double and triple versions)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: The bacon is juicy, plump, and delicious. The hamburger patty is flavorful and filling. The queso tastes unlike anything else you’ve probably had at a big name burger joint.
Cons: The product isn’t spicy – at all. The salsa is too clumpy. The shredded cheese adds nothing to the experience (and in fact, detracts from it). Realizing beard + queso burger = shame the hard way.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Donuts S’mores Donut

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut

Ladies and gentleman, The Impulsive Buy proudly presents to you, the triumphant return of the S’more Connoisseur!

*crickets*

Thank you. Thank you.

It’s great to be back, and it’s my pleasure to review a new s’mores product from my good friends over at Dunkin’ Donuts, the aptly named S’mores Donut.

Why it took this long to pump a donut full of marshmallow is beyond me, but it’s a welcomed addition to Dunkin’s roster.

The press release shows a round donut, so why is the donut shaped that way? I’m told it’s a star in celebration of Independence Day. I can’t help but feel like I lost out on a couple ounces of donut because of the shape, but, hey, it made me feel patriotic. Nothing’s more American than s’mores.

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut 3

Said star came topped with tiny marshmallows, bits of Hershey’s chocolate, and graham cracker chunks. I’m gonna let you folks in on a little secret, those are the three main ingredients of s’mores.

Unlike previous S’mores products I’ve reviewed, this donut didn’t skimp on the marshmallow. Even though the white marshmallow filling appeared to be lacking when I cut into the donut, there was still a decent amount that oozed when I took each of the four bites it took me to finish it.

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut 5

The “toasted” (buzzword) marshmallow-flavored filling had the texture of a thin icing. It wasn’t all that different from the usual crème Dunkin pumps into their donuts. I was anticipating something similar to Marshmallow Fluff, so that was disappointing.

Despite having a mild marshmallow flavor, the chocolate frosting overpowered it, so it didn’t add much to the donut overall.

Dunkin Donuts S mores Donut 2

Unfortunately, the same can be said about the Hershey’s pieces. While you will occasionally get a different texture, the chocolate frosting prevented the Hershey’s flavor from standing out.

The little marshmallows on top were the hot cocoa-style, although they lacked that cereal marshmallow crunch. The bits of graham were stale and also provided almost nothing to the overall experience.

It’s basically a Chocolate Frosted donut with a little more pizzazz. I’m a Dunkin Chocolate Frosted lifer, so it was still a solid product for me. I mean, any time you wanna toss a few additions on a Chocolate Frosted, I’m in. But I really wish a Fluff-like marshmallow filling was used.

So did Dunkin’ nail the s’mores concept? Not really. If a normal Chocolate Frosted is a reliable 8 out of 10 for me, I have to knock this one down a little.

I didn’t think the marshmallow icing was strong enough and you can’t pass off the graham element by just slapping a few crumbled cracker pieces on top. Their stale texture also definitely hurt the overall score.

It’s still worth a try as it’s a normal priced donut and not one of those fancy limited edition donuts they keep in the jewelry case on the counter. I may consider making my own with Fluff.

(Nutrition Facts – 420 calories, 24 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 400 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: It’s a chocolate frosted donut with bonuses. Little hot cocoa-style marshmallows. Decent amount of filling.
Cons: Marshmallow filling could’ve had a stronger flavor. Graham bits lacked crunch. They should have integrated graham flavor into the donut itself. “Toasted” marshmallow is nothing but a buzzword. “Ooze” is nothing but a disgusting word.

REVIEW: Starbucks Matcha Lemonade

Starbucks Matcha Lemonade

Starbucks’ Matcha Lemonade looks like water from a pond that has too much nitrogen and phosphorus causing excessive algae growth. But does it suck as much as algae blooms suck out the oxygen from ponds? Let’s find out.

Science reference! High five!

According to Starbucks, the Matcha Lemonade combines finely ground Teavana matcha green tea and lemonade, shaken, not stirred, with ice.

I do the matcha-cha every so often by eating matcha ice cream, Kit Kat from Japan, Jamba Juice smoothies, and lattes. But combining the green tea’s bitter flavor with sour and sweet lemonade, creating a Matchalf & Matchalf, doesn’t seem like a good match-a to me. Sorry.

But I do like matcha green tea flavored products. And I do like lemonade. So I should like this combination, right?

Starbucks Matcha Lemonade 2

Well, it doesn’t suck as much as algae blooms suck out the oxygen from bodies of water. But it also doesn’t make me want to pay a medium $500 to do a seance to speak to Arnold Palmer’s ghost to tell him this tea and lemonade mashup is better than his.

With all the matcha products I’ve had in the past, they’ve been made with either dairy or chocolate, which help cut through the tea’s bitterness. But the lemonade doesn’t quite do the same here. I get a sweetness from the lemonade, but unlike a Half & Half where there a balance, this leans more towards the tea and I don’t taste the lemonade. It’s pretty much sweet matcha water.

Now this reads like I’m putting down the beverage, but there was a part of me that enjoyed it. I didn’t spit it out or dump it down the drain. But I’m not going to proclaim it to be My Summer Beverage of 2017. It’s weird, but sometimes weird is good. And the weird part of me enjoyed this. But I don’t think it’ll appeal to most taste buds.

(Nutrition Facts – Grande/16 oz. – 120 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, and 80 milligrams of caffeine.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: Grande
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: A part of me enjoyed it, but that’s probably because of my love of matcha. Doesn’t suck as much as algae blooms sucks out oxygen from bodies of water. Science reference!
Cons: Won’t appeal to most taste buds. Lemonade doesn’t really shine. Looks like algae in a cup.

REVIEW: DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns

DiGiorno’s Pizza Buns are like mini cinnamon buns. Except instead of cinnamon, sugar, and frosting, there’s meat, cheese, and sauce.

When I first saw these, I thought it was a silly and horrible idea. But that’s based on my experience with a similar product — Target’s Market Pantry Pizza Spirals. They. Were. Horrible. They didn’t heat up well, even in an oven, the dough was chewy, the pizza filling was mushy, and they made me cry.

So let’s find out if DiGiorno’s Pizza Buns will make me do the opposite of crying, which is shaking my buns.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns 2

It’s available in many varieties, but I decided to go with pepperoni. The snack also features mozzarella cheese, a chunky tomato sauce, and preservative free dough. The cheese is on top, while the pepperoni pieces and sauce are between the layers of spiraled dough. Each bun is about two inches wide and, as you can see above, pre-burnt on top.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns 3

Like products that come with microwave and conventional oven instructions, the latter always does a better job. But the microwaved ones are above decent. They don’t have a slight crispy exterior, like the oven prepared ones, but they don’t end up tough or dried out either. The microwaved dough is soft and easy to bite through.

Usually, I’d say, if you’re willing to wait, go for the oven. But for these Pizza Buns, the time spent waiting might not be worth it.

Now I’m happy to report they’re 100 times better than Market Pantry’s Pizza Spirals. They’re good enough that I don’t want to throw them away or write an angry letter to Target corporate soaked with my tears.

DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza Buns 4

The pepperoni has a slight spicy kick and the sauce, while not chunky, does have a nice sweet tomato flavor. Since the cheese is on top, it’s pre-burnt. So no gooey cheese.

While tasty, a serving of Pizza Buns isn’t a filling snack. A serving is two buns and there are three individually wrapped pairs per box. A pair is a lot lighter than a Hot Pocket and a little bit less than a serving of six Pizza Rolls. Also, the Pizza Buns don’t have as bold of a flavor as the other two frozen pizza snacks.

Well, at least it doesn’t have a molten filling that burns my mouth like the other two.

So I’m kind of torn about DiGiorno’s Pizza Buns. They taste fine, but they’re not exciting enough to make me shake my buns.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 pizza buns – 200 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 mud 410 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: 8 oz. (3 pairs)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: A decent amount of pepperoni per bun. Nice sweet tomato sauce. Better than okay when microwaved. No molten filling to burn my mouth. 100 times better than Market Pantry’s Pizza Spirals.
Cons: Doesn’t have as bold of a flavor as other frozen pizza snacks. Comes pre-burnt. No gooey cheese. Not a filling snack. Doesn’t make me shake my buns.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

Jack in the Box’s new BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers come with your choice of a sweet honey bourbon BBQ sauce or spicy red chili BBQ sauce. I prefer the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with sweet BBQ sauce, which you can see above.

Or is that a photo of the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger with spicy BBQ sauce that I also bought.

Ugh. I don’t remember. They look the same.

Oh, they also look like Jack’s Outlaw Burger.

Besides the sauces, the burger brothers also come with a beef patty, bacon, onion rings, two slice of American cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on a bun.

Now I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad thing but the sweet BBQ sauce reminds me of what you can get with McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. I don’t taste bourbon, but it has a nice, sweet, and mellow flavor that will appeal to more taste buds.

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger 3

The spicy BBQ sauce is also tasty and slightly sweet, but VERY peppery. So much so that at one point it made me cough. Heatheads will think it’s just a tickle, but if you’re sensitive to spiciness, you should order one with the sweet BBQ sauce.

But with either burger you’ll get a lot of sauce. So don’t take it out of the white paper wrapper it comes in.

(The More You Know theme plays)

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger 2

The onion rings disappoint me. At first glance I thought these weren’t Jack’s wonderful Panko Onion Rings, but instead something that looks like they might’ve come out of Burger King’s fryers. But a closer inspection shows they have actual onion slices and not the onion mush in BK’s offering. That’s good, but the burgers would look more spectacular if they had one large Panko Onion Ring instead of the smaller pieces. It would also up the onion flavor and crunch, which these burgers could use a little more of.

The bacon isn’t impressive texture-wise. They are small limp pieces that don’t fall out because they’re incased in a melted cheese slice. But they do add a smokiness that complement both BBQ sauces. The beef patty seems to be the same one on the chain’s Jumbo Jack, the lettuce provides a little crunch, and the tomato is there to fall out as you take a bite from the burgers. To be honest, I wish these were sans veggies.

I know. Lots of little complaints. But as a whole, I found myself enjoying both versions of the burger, especially the sweet one shown below.

Jack in the Box BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger 4

Or is this the spicy one?

(Nutrition Facts – .)

Purchased Price: $5.79 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Sweet BBQ Sauce)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Spicy BBQ Sauce)
Pros: Both sauces are good, but I prefer the sweet one. Bacon adds a smokiness that complements the sauces. Lots of sauce. Two slices of cheese add a creaminess.
Cons: Spicy BBQ sauce is VERY peppery and might be too spicy for some. Wish the onion rings were bigger. Why are there lettuce and tomato? Limp bacon. Can be messy.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.