REVIEW: Cheeseburger, Cheese Pizza, and Cheddar Nachos Cheez-It Crackers

Cheez It You Choose The Champion Flavors

Having to choose a favorite between cheeseburgers, pizzas, and nachos is like trying to pick a favorite child.

Just kidding. It’s not.

First born.

Just kidding. I don’t have kids…that I know of.

Cheeseburger.

But having to choose a champion between cheeseburger, cheese pizza, and cheddar nachos-flavored Cheez-It crackers is difficult.

Just kidding. It’s not.

Cheeseburger.

But why do we have to choose a champion? Can’t we give everyone participation trophies? Because while I enjoyed the cheeseburger flavor more than the other two, they are also worthy of recognition. Actually, this whole You Choose The Champion line deserves some kind of award because it’s nice to see Cheez-It offer flavors that are more complex than different types of cheeses, like cheddar, white cheddar, sharp cheddar, Italian four cheese, baby Swiss, Colby, mozzarella, provolone, and pepper jack.

Cheeseburger

Cheez It Cheeseburger

It’s my favorite of the three because it did a great job with replicating the flavor of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. It smells like steak sauce, but it’s got the pickles’ tanginess, the onions’ bite, mustard, of course, the cheese, and there’s a little bit of beef patty flavor. If you’ve had cheeseburger-flavored snacks before, besides those horrible Cheeseburger Goldfish, you’ll know what these this like. Although it’s not an original flavor, it’s the one that tastes most like what it’s trying to emulate.

Cheese Pizza

Cheez It Cheese Pizza

To be honest, it’s a little boring that it’s cheese pizza and not something a little bit more complex, like a pepperoni pizza. After all, there’s beef flavor with the cheeseburger, so why not add extra spices and artificial flavoring to get some pepperoni.

But with that said, I also enjoyed this flavor because, with almost every one I put into my mouth, it was as if I was putting tiny cheese Totino’s Party Pizza in my mouth. The crackers capture the cheese, sauce, and herbs one would taste and smell on those wonderful cheap pizzas, which I adore. Even the crispy texture of the crackers kind of reminds me of the Party Pizza’s crust.

Cheddar Nachos

Cheez It Cheddar Nachos

I’m not sure why the cheese needs to be announced for this flavor. I mean, the word “nachos” alone excites me and including the word “cheddar” makes it a little less mysterious. Like the other two flavors, this one also reminds me of something else and that is Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce.

There’s also a paprika-level of spiciness that builds up, but it more of a tickle than a slap. But to be honest, it’s good, but is the least impressive because it’s not as complex as the other two. This flavor could just be one of the regular Cheez-It flavors, but with a slight kick.

Cheez It  Cheddar Nachos Closeup

While all three flavors vary from great to good, there’s an issue with them. The application of seasoning is inconsistent. Some are blasted with it, some aren’t seasoned as much, and others have so little that they taste like regular Cheez-It crackers. But I imagine shoving handfuls into your mouth, and not eating it like a bird, which I do, will solve that problem.

NOTE: Thanks to Impulsive Buy reader Carla for sending these to me.

(Nutrition Facts – about 25 crackers – Cheeseburger – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 220 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Cheese Pizza – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Cheddar Nachos – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 12.4 oz. boxes
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Cheeseburger)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Cheese Pizza)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cheddar Nachos)
Pros: All munchable. Cheeseburger tastes like cheeseburger. Cheese Pizza tastes like Totino’s Party Pizza. Cheddar Nachos reminds me of Taco Bell’s Nacho Cheese Sauce.
Cons: Inconsistent seasoning. Having to choose between cheeseburgers, pizza, and nachos. Cheddar Nachos has a very light spiciness.

REVIEW: Reese’s Stuffed with Crunchy Cookie Cups

Reese s Cookie Crunch Cups

I want a chocolate chip cookie stuffed in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

But, sadly, while the insides of a Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup look like a chocolate chip cookie, it’s the same peanut butter studded with bits of chocolate cookies (think Oreo).

Announced back in March as part of Reese’s CUPfusion rebrand to CUPspiracy, this cookie iteration follows the Reese’s Pieces Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups. Like the Pieces version, these look exactly like the regular cups on the outside. The ones I had looked like they had a rough going with the summer heat and the sun won, so they weren’t the typical smooth and round cups.

Reese s Cookie Crunch Cups 2

?The Reese’s food scientists must have heard my fellow TIB food reviewer’s gripes about the Pieces’ lack of texture in its stuffed peanut butter cups, because they turned it all the way up this time. But, that’s all it offers.

Reese s Cookie Crunch Cups 3

I was disappointed to find that it mostly tasted like a regular cup. I found the lingering chocolate peanut butter aftertaste to be a tad bit saltier than usual, which is the cookie bits doing. As a habitual ice chewer, I enjoy crunchy textures but I expected so much more than JUST texture and an ever so slight taste difference.

Like a looping slow-motion replay on a contentious referee call, I ate cup after cup for a total of four cups just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. I had little bites and big bites with swishes of water in between to cleanse my palate. Unfortunately, I came to the same conclusion…four times. Cue the sad trombone because we’ve all been played by the Reese’s marketing team.

While the chocolate cookie bits don’t provide much flavor, if you’re a Reese’s diehard like I am, you’ll still get to enjoy the classic peanut butter and chocolate combination. And that’s better than nothing.

But for now, I shall continue to wait for my something — a chocolate chip cookie stuffed in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cups – 200 calories, 90 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 21 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: 1.4 oz/2 cups
Purchased at: 76 Gas Station
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Texture! It still tastes like a good ol’ Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Cons: The only difference is the texture. I want a whole chocolate chip cookie stuffed in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Smoky Jack

Jack in the Box Smoky Jack

When I look at the Jack in the Box Smoky Jack, all I think to myself is, “Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with a random drug test today because that’s a urine-tainting amount of poppyseeds.” There are so many that this bun would look at an everything bagel and yell, “Have some decency and cover yourself up!”

Besides the artisan poppyseed bun, the burger also includes a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, hickory smoked bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, and a condiment called hickory sauce. The Smoky Jack is also available with crispy chicken.

While the bun might blow away any chance of me passing a drug test, the burger as a whole doesn’t blow me away taste-wise.

The smoky cheddar is a welcomed change from the regular cheeses Jack uses. Usually, it seems as if the cheese is there to prevent other toppings from falling out, but not provide much flavor. But the smoky mild cheddar does add a bit of smokiness AND prevents toppings from falling out. Its flavor lingers in the mouth well after the burger is consumed.

Jack in the Box Smoky Jack 2

The bacon, cemented to the cheddar, is a bit chewy, but adds even more smokiness. As for the beef patty, it’s a little dry, but that’s par for the course and something I’m used to.

The tomato seems fresh and the lettuce is as green as lettuce could be, which I bring up because that’s rare in the fast food world. As for the hickory sauce, I’m not sure my burger got it because the condiment tastes more like peppercorn mayonnaise. But whatever it is, its light flavor allows the smokiness of the other two toppings to come through. The bun has a sweetness to it, but the poppyseeds don’t add any flavor or texture.

Jack in the Box Smoky Jack 3

Thanks to the bacon and cheese, the Smoky Jack earns its name. But its smokiness make me yearn for another. As a whole, it’s a decent burger, but it’s also boring when you compare it with something like the chain’s Buttery Jacks or anything from the late night Munchies menu. Think of it as a slight upgrade from a Jumbo Jack.

I have to admit, being the headliner of a special inexpensive $4.99 combo does make it taste a little bit better. But it’s not something that would make me beckon the Crave Van and its property damage wake so that I can eat it.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website.)

Purchased Price: $5.99* (combo)
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent burger. Cheese’s smokiness is noticeable. Green lettuce. Being part of a $4.99 combo makes it taste a little bit better.
Cons: Blanket of poppyseeds on bun might cause you to fail a drug test. Kind of boring when comparing it to other Jack in the Box offerings. Dry beef patty. Chewy bacon. I don’t crave it.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. In most areas the Smoky Jack combo is being advertised for $4.99.

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: Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal smells WONDERFUL.

I want to stick a bowl of it in a coffee grinder, turn it into a powder, dump that into a drip coffee maker, brew a cup, and start my day with a cup of Mocha Crunch Cereal coffee. The aroma that comes out of the bag smells like a combination of coffee and fudge brownies. I could smell it all day or until my nose reaches temporary sensory fatigue and can no longer smell it.

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal looks EXACTLY EXACTLY like Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal.

How exact? Well, as exact as the two EXACTLY I typed in the previous paragraph. They have the same shape and dark chocolatey powder coating. It’s as if General Mills separated the two cereals at birth, kept them apart all these years to prevent Darth Vader from finding them, and now they’ve come together to fight the Empire of Kellogg’s. Yes, I know Luke and Leia are not identical twins. I just have Star Wars on my mind.

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal 2

Limited Edition Mocha Crunch Cereal tastes good, BUT…

From the image on the front of the box, it appears the cereal is attempting to recreate the flavor of a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, McDonald’s Mocha Frappe, Dunkin’ Donuts Mocha Coolatta, Krispy Kreme Frozen Mocha, or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Mocha Ice Blended Drink in cereal form. Unfortunately, it doesn’t accomplish that.

While the mint is noticeable with the Thin Mints Cereal, coffee isn’t with this one. I think of it as tasting like the Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cereal, but without the mint. It’s made with cocoa powder AND cocoa processed with alkali. That double dose of cocoa gives this cereal a nice chocolatey flavor that also end up in the milk a little. It’s like a darker version of Cocoa Puffs.

But despite not having a coffee flavor, it’s a nice tasting cereal. When I had the Thin Mints Cereal, I thought a version of it without the mint would be good, and this is it. But if you want a coffee-flavored cereal, this is not the cereal you’re looking for.

See Star Wars on my mind.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup without milk – 110 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 70 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 12 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: More than I should from eBay
Size: 18 oz. box
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Smells like coffee and brownies. Nice chocolatey flavor. Powdered coating makes milk chocolatey.
Cons: Doesn’t have a hint of coffee flavor. Looks exactly like Limited Edition Thin Mints Cereal. Shoehorning Star Wars references into a review.