QUICK REVIEW: Baskin-Robbins Tiramisu Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Tiramisum Ice Cream

Bucking the ho ho ho-hum trend of cramming peppermint or gingerbread into every new or limited flavor this time of year, Baskin-Robbins’ November Flavor of the Month is Tiramisu. Tiramisu-flavored ice cream is filled with pound cake pieces, a chocolate mocha ribbon, and chocolate flakes.

Coffee is unabashedly the dominate flavor in this dish, emanating a distinct smell and exercising as much subtlety as a Targaryen barbecue. The tiramisu-flavored ice cream base seems enjoyable on its own, but I had difficulty isolating it from the generous mocha ribbon.

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Unfortunately, this proves to be too much of a good thing as a coffee-flavored ribbon in a coffee-flavored base leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste and feels as unnecessary as taking a dip in Goo Lagoon when you already live in a pineapple under the sea.

It also creates a problem for the semi-sweet chocolate flakes which add a nice snap but fail to punch up the chocolate notes enough to stand out despite decent representation. Meanwhile, the scarce pound cake pieces are relegated to merely providing a pleasant spongy texture as their flavor is completely overshadowed by the coffee.

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Perhaps the rich buttery essence of a mascarpone swirl would have resulted in a more balanced and authentic flavor than the coffee overload created by the mocha ribbon.

I like a bold coffee-flavored chocolate ice cream, and this certainly fits that bill; it just isn’t the iconic, layered taste experience you know and love in ice cream form. This rendition of tiramisu is as authentic to its Italian heritage as a Brooklyn plumber riding a dinosaur.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Large scoop (4 oz.)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small Scoop) 260 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of sugar, 1 gram of dietary fiber, and 5 grams of protein..

REVIEW: Burger King Spicy Nuggets

Burger King Spicy Nuggets

It’s beginning to look a lot like Chicken Season.

Fresh off the heels of Wendy’s and McDonald’s new chicken tender options, Burger King has once again dipped their toes into the “spicy” chicken pool, this time in the form of nuggets.

I say it every time I review their food, but Burger King is smart. I always find myself fighting on their behalf. They’ve embraced the weird “Taco Bell” style menu niche, and they’re the only ones really doing it in the burger world. No matter what they add to their vast menu, it seems to pique my interest.

This isn’t the first time they’ve filled in the fast food blank either. I still don’t understand why Wendy’s took Spicy Nuggets off their menu, but Burger King is attempting to swoop in and corner that market.

Good on them, but are they actually good?

Well, it depends on your definition of good.

I won’t sit here and pretend this is high-class cuisine. Then again, I think you’re all smart enough to realize that at 15 cents a nugget, you probably shouldn’t be expecting that.

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First and foremost, I’m a fan of BK’s nuggets. I’m not only a fan of the ridiculously cheap price point, but I think they’re pretty tasty. They aren’t the best nugget on the market, but they still always provide a nice tender bite of white meat chicken, and you can buy them in bulk.

The spicy nuggets have a darker orange hue to them, with some speckled bits of pepper – that’s the universal sign you’re about to eat breaded chicken branded as “spicy.”

Burger King Spicy Nuggets 3

Upon the first couple bites, they taste like the regular nuggets. Once you chew a few seconds, the slight heat kicks in. Sorry to say Spiceheads, but it’s slight. These aren’t even as spicy as Wendy’s nuggets were.

Getting 10 nuggets (I actually got 11 – bonus nugget!) for less than two bucks is a gift and a curse. After you eat about three or four, you start to notice that they are really salty. As the heat dries your mouth a bit, it amplifies the saltiness. You might think you need a drink for the burn, but you really need it for the salt.

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Still, I find these pretty damn satisfying and they would pair nicely with one of BK’s cereal shakes.

Like the other restaurants, BK didn’t offer any fancy new dipping sauces, but honey mustard worked well for me. No complaints there.

The nuggets also had a solid afterburn. They didn’t give me agita, but I knew I had something “spicy” for a little while. There was nothing unpleasant about the aftertaste.

So look, these aren’t gourmet, but for $1.49 you could knock out a ridiculously cheap meal one night.

I’m hoping this gets McDonald’s to attempt a spicy nugget next.

(Nutrition Facts – 10 nuggets – 530 calories, 37 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, milligrams of cholesterol, 1420 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 10 nuggets (11 for me!)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Very tender white meat (I hope.) Cheap as hell. Filling a Fast Food void. Two free dipping sauces. Bonus nugget!
Cons: Definitely could be spicier. Increasingly salty. Not as good as Wendy’s Spicy Nuggets. Price makes you want to order more stuff.

REVIEW: Burger King Farmhouse King

Burger King Farmhouse King
 
Usually when you order a fast food burger the product is considerably smaller than the item advertised. In the case of Burger King’s Farmhouse King, however, it’s just the opposite – as soon as the cashier handed me the bag, I thought they had accidentally dropped a napkin dispenser in there.

Be forewarned, the Farmhouse King is not for the faint of heart. Packing in a monstrous 1,220 calories, it surpasses the calorie count of Arby’s Meat Mountain sandwich. Indeed, this item could be considered the breakfast version of Arby’s aforementioned Noah’s Ark Sammich (since it pretty much contained two of each animal under its buns.)

We’ve got nearly a pound of burger going on here. That includes about half a pound of flame-kissed beef in the form of two Whopper patties, plus a heaping helping of smoked bacon, plus a double shot of melted American cheese, plus a handful of crispy onions and – the kicker – a fried egg capping the whole thing off like an angel atop a Christmas tree. And underneath the toasted sesame seed buns you’ve got a smattering of ketchup and BK’s proprietary “creamy sauce,” which to me, tastes a lot like honey BBQ sauce.

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Needless to say, this stuff is intense. All by itself it makes up more than half of one’s recommended daily allowance of calories, and with more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium, it does constitute an entire day’s worth of USDA-approved salt intake. That said, it’s undeniably a yummy novelty burger, and if absolutely nothing else, one of the most filling single-serve fast food items in recent memory.

I suppose the first question most people would ask is whether the addition of the egg improves or worsens the product. To be perfectly honest, the taste of the egg itself is pretty hard to distinguish from the goulash of meats and sauce, which ultimately coalesces into this extremely tasty medley of BBQ sauce, beef, bacon, and onion (which, for whatever reason, most fast food places describe as “Western”). I mean, if you really focus you can pick up the yolky aftermath, but it’s nowhere near as prominent as you’d imagine. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the egg is superfluous, but it’s certainly downplayed once you start chowin’ down.

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If you’re looking for a satiating sandwich, unless you’re a world class competitive eater, this sucker ought to have you down for the count. About halfway through my sandwich I was getting winded and by the time I finished the last bite, full-fledged the itis had set in. In hindsight, it wouldn’t surprise me if that BK “secret sauce” was actually Nyquil-laced Thousand Island dressing.

I wouldn’t want to down a Farmhouse King every week, but for a one-time, super-gluttonous fast food treat it’s downright marvelous. But if you’re going to eat it, be prepared; not only are you going to need a small army of napkins, you better have a pillow handy, too.

(Nutrition Facts – 1,220 calories, 720 calories from fat, 80 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 3 grams of trans fat, 335 milligrams of cholesterol, 2050 milligrams of sodium, 62 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and 63 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The beef, bacon, cheese, onion and BBQ sauce medley is downright delicious. It WILL fill you up. the egg taste is subtle, yet distinct.
Cons: The price point is pretty steep. Some might find the egg flavor too downplayed. Eating the sandwich at noon and having a duel to the death with The Sandman until 5 p.m. rolls around.

QUICK REVIEW: Dairy Queen Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard

Dairy Queen Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard

Oreo is ostensibly milk’s favorite cookie, but it is an unrequited love. Especially of late, Oreo is swiping right on everything from chocolate bars to Android operating systems. Selfishly, I was happy to hear its latest dairy dalliance is with Dairy Queen as a new treat, the Oreo Hot Cocoa Blizzard. Oreo cookie pieces and cocoa fudge are blended with vanilla soft serve and topped with whipped cream.

With a classic whipped spiral atop a dark brown base, the Hot Cocoa Blizzard certainly dons the appearance of its namesake. Digging in, it definitely presents as a chocolate dessert, but I did not find it to be overwhelmingly so. It’s easy to see why the Oreo cookie chunks never spend a night alone; they add a pleasant crunch and are predictably tasty despite their flavor being a bit masked by the fudge.

Speaking of the headlining “hot cocoa” flavor, it appears to have a bit of stage fright. If I closed my eyes, I could almost convince myself I was detecting a slight cocoa powder like aftertaste, but it is very mild and instead reminds me mostly of cold, hot fudge topping.

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A bit of needed creaminess is added by the whipped topping, but there isn’t enough to provide a consistent or remarkable flavor combination on the whole. Perhaps I would have an easier time buying into the hot cocoa moniker if marshmallow bits or a swirl had been included; alas, no marshmallows were harmed in the making of this Blizzard.

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I love the idea of an Oreo fling with the oxymoronic hot chocolate flavored ice cream. Unfortunately despite being a respectable chocolate and Oreo Blizzard, I find little in the way of hot cocoa in it beyond the name.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Small
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 790 calories, 34 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 460 milligrams of sodium, 111 grams of carbohydrates, -1 gram of dietary fiber* 83 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

*Dairy Queen lists fiber incorrectly as a negative value

QUICK REVIEW: Dairy Queen Candy Cane Chill Blizzard

Dairy Queen Candy Cane Chill Blizzard

I have an odd relationship with candy canes. They are undeniably a minty herald of the holidays. Still, something about food that sharpens to a point while being eaten makes me uneasy. I can’t help but think that a partially consumed candy cane would be the improvised weapon of choice for elves doing time in Santa’s Secret Gulag.

Fortunately, Dairy Queen has come to my rescue with the returning favorite Candy Cane Chill Blizzard. Vanilla soft serve is mixed with choco chunks and peppermint candy cane pieces, no soap on a licorice rope required.

I had never tried the chocolate chunk version before; my experience had been solely with its sibling, the excellent Oreo Candy Cane Blizzard. This version of the treat greets you with colorful red specs nestled between chocolate chunks that paint a pleasing festive picture.

Chocolate pieces in vanilla ice cream are nothing new to Dairy Queen fans, so it’s left to the candy cane bits to differentiate this offering from the standard fare. They are more than up to the task, imparting a refreshing and enjoyable peppermint taste that is powerful but not overbearing.

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The mix-ins are prominent and plentiful with the hard candy providing a pleasant crunch that never fades while the chocolate pieces linger and melt pleasantly in your mouth. I don’t feel overly hyperbolic when I say that this tastes like Christmas.

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This is some of Dairy Queen’s best work, both in taste and as a balanced representation of the Christmas season. It is distinctly different but equally as enjoyable as its fraternal Oreo twin. Bribing Santa with a Candy Cane Chill on Christmas Eve may move you off the naughty list, or, at the least, keep you beyond the reach of the striped shanks of North Pole gen pop.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Small
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 630 calories, 17 grams of fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 109 grams of carbohydrates, and 11 grams of protein.