REVIEW: Jack in the Box Pumpkin Spice Shake (2017)

Jack in the Box Pumpkin Spice Shake  2017 1

If you decide to share your purchase of Jack in the Box’s new Pumpkin Spice Shake on social media, Jack would like you to use the hashtag — #OMGPumpkinSpice.

This new shake shouldn’t be confused with Jack in the Box’s Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Shake that we reviewed in 2013 or the Pumpkin Pie Shake that we reviewed way back in 2004. #OMGThisBlogIsSoOld

This updated pumpkin spice shake features real ice cream blended with pumpkin spice syrup and is topped with whipped cream, gingersnap cookie crumbles, and a cherry (mine didn’t come with one). The cookie crumbles appear to be the only difference between the 2017 Pumpkin Spice Shake and the one that came before it.

Jack in the Box Pumpkin Spice Shake  2017 2

The ice cream and pumpkin spice syrup in my cup weren’t mixed well. But after some intense stirring, I got it to the color in its promotional photo. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make me think of pumpkin spice. Instead, it reminds me of the walls at my doctor’s office.

The shake’s flavor is almost as non-festive as it looks. There’s a wisp of pumpkin spice, but I don’t want a wisp. Also, the whipped cream doesn’t help. It dilutes the flavor even more.

But the doctor’s office-colored cloud has a silver lining.

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The ample gingersnap cookie crumbles amp up the flavor of the shake with ginger and cinnamon. Although they move it away from being a pumpkin spice shake and move it towards being a gingerbread shake. But they also take it from blah to rah and kind of make up for the fact that the pumpkin spice flavor isn’t strong.

The ones that topped mine weren’t crumbles. Instead, they were straw-clogging chunks that surprisingly maintained their crunchiness as they sat in the dairy.

Full disclosure: I prefer Jack’s original Pumpkin Pie Shake over the version that came out in 2013 because its pumpkin spice popped. This latest iteration might be even weaker than the previous version, but the cookie crumbles add that punch I want. Although, if I think about it, maybe the shake itself is light because it might be overpowering if both it and the cookies provide strong flavors.

Overall, thanks to the cookies, I do think this version tastes better than the previous one, and I’d buy it again. But I don’t think it beats the original. #OMGItsGood

(Nutrition Facts – Regular – 860 calories, 41 grams of fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 112 grams of carbohydrates, 92 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.19*
Size: Regular
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Gingersnap cookie pieces take this shake from a blah to rah and kind of make up for its lack of pumpkin spice flavor. Cookie pieces maintain their crunchiness.
Cons: Shake base has a weak pumpkin spice flavor. Its color reminds me of my doctor’s office. Whipped cream dilutes the already weak pumpkin spice flavor. Gingersnap cookies make it taste more like a gingerbread shake than a pumpkin spice shake.

*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.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Wakey Bakey Hash Munchie Mash-Up

Jack in the Box Wakey Bakey Hash Munchie Mash Up

There’s something about intoxication that draws people back to the basics. Whether it’s been a long night at the bar or a lost weekend at Bonnaroo. By the end, everyone’s palate reverts to an almost childlike state. Cravings for the greasiest, saltiest, and cheesiest delicacies emerge.

No franchise is wiser to this trend than Jack in the Box, whose Munchie Meals have made a fortune out of serving the midnight masses. For their latest trend, Jack has brought a diner favorite – stuffed hash browns – into the fast food field.

Munchie Mash-Ups top the chain’s classic hash brown patties with an assortment of fix-ins smothered in a white cheese sauce. The Wakey Bakey Hash features a whole fried egg, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and garlic butter, creating a sloppy sheet of breakfast standards.

Jack in the Box Wakey Bakey Hash Munchie Mash Up 2

As I was handed the hash in the drive through, I already had a sign of the meal to follow. The grease was visibly staining the brown paper bag. Opening the box revealed the culprit – the garlic butter had all pooled to a single corner. A yellow lake of greasy, salty delight. If the visuals of this box are off-putting, the taste won’t win you over.

Despite being smothered in egg, bacon, cheese, and butter – the hash brown patties were satisfyingly crisp down to the last forkful. Alone, these patties are rich and salty – dense with fryer oil. The egg, cheese, bacon, and butter weigh them down even further. Every bite is rich and fatty, full of similar flavors fighting to come out on top.

It’s the cheese sauce that typically proves victorious. When combined with the garlic butter, it creates an alfredo-esque flavor that saturates the palate like grease on a brown paper bag. Hearty and not half bad, but an odd pairing for a bacon and egg.

The egg is the same overcooked fried egg that ends up on most breakfast sandwiches, and the bacon bits are disappointingly small. They get lost in the trough of hash, which is a shame. A more pronounced protein may have been a better pick here, offering more contrast with the rich cheese and garlic.

In total, the Wakey Bakey Hash will satisfy those looking for something standard. It’s salty, cheesy, and has enough carbs to soak up the worst of hangovers. At $3, it’s also a satisfying value. But in the daylight, this hash doesn’t have the same appeal. Better versions of this same combination are available elsewhere, and won’t require you to say the words “Wakey Bakey Hash” out loud to another adult.

(Nutrition Facts – 790 calories, 570 calories from fat, 63 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 285 milligrams of cholesterol, 1400 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Crispy potatoes. Good size for the price. Viable hangover cure.
Cons: Cheese sauce is overpowering and clashes with rest of dish. Extremely greasy. Garlic butter is unneeded.

QUICK REVIEW: Jack in the Box Birthday Cake Shake

Jack in the Box Birthday Cake Shake

Happy Belated 66th Birthday, Jack in the Box!

Or Happy Early 67th Birthday, Jack in the Box!

I’m not sure which one because the fast food chain was founded on February 21, 1951, and we’re currently at the halfway point between birthdays. Well, no matter whose birthday it is, you can celebrate with Jack in the Box’s new Birthday Cake Shake. Or you could show that you care about that person by spending some cash to buy an actual birthday cake.

The creamy dessert features real ice cream, birthday cake syrup, whipped cream, and LOTS of colorful sprinkles. There’s also a cherry on top that, along with the sprinkles, makes the shake look as if a unicorn sneezed on a clown’s face.

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Birthday cake shakes have been done before by other fast food chains (see Burger King) and this one from Jack in the Box tastes similar. It has a yellow cake batter flavor that’s become the default for birthday cake-flavored products. Some get birthday cake flavor wrong, making it taste more like frosting, but this one gets it right. It’s really sweet, but then again, it’s a shake.

The whipped cream’s flavor reminds me of cake frosting when mixed with the shake. As for the unicorn snot, I mean, sprinkles, they add a lot of bright colors and a crunchiness whenever one finds itself between your molars.

While Jack in the Box’s Birthday Cake Shake is a tasty sugar bomb, I wish the shake’s color was more vibrant. I never thought I’d be writing this ever, but the shake needs more food coloring. Its yellow hue was more bathroom wall yellow than birthday cake yellow.

Purchased Price: $4.19*
Size: Regular
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Regular) – 860 calories, 400 calories from fat, 44 grams of fat, 33 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 600 milligrams of potassium, 109 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 94 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

*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.

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.

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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: 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.

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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.

VIDEO REVIEW: Jack in the Box Cinnabon Iced CinnaCoffee

Purchased Price: $2.89*
Size: Large
Nutrition Facts: (Large) 341 calories, 125 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 36 milligrams of cholesterol, 133 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 43 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

*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.

NOTE: If you want to watch the video without sound, video captions are available. Just click the CC button on the player.