REVIEW: Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco

Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco

I’ve heard of eggshells, but an egg AS a shell?! What the…

Let me clear the air here, I love Taco Bell breakfast. The A.M. Crunchwrap should win them whatever a Michelin Star is. If there was a location closer to my house, I’d have breakfast there weekly.

When it comes to fast food innovation, no one can compete with Taco Bell. So far they’ve given us “shells” made from Doritos, chicken, waffles, now an egg?! Other restaurant chains may try to match their creativity, but in the end, the marketing geniuses at Taco Bell always retain the belt.

So, you’re probably wondering, is the Naked Egg Breakfast Taco worth the extra morning drive time?

Well, it’s interesting.

I’m gonna go ahead and skip past the fact I’m not a big fan of the word “naked” when pertaining to food and get to the review.

Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco 2

It’s not exactly the most photogenic menu item Taco Bell offers, that’s for sure. It looks like a three-day old omelet. The fried egg “shell” does its best to show off a yolk, just so you know what you’re eating.

Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco 3

The taco came with a cardboard sleeve that I found inconvenient to eat out of, so I ditched it. Once I did, I realized why it was there. As you might expect, a fried egg taco “shell” is greasy. It’s probably best to eat it with utensils, but that kinda kills the novelty of eating a taco, right? Also to be fair, it’s not much greasier than a McGriddle cake.

Using an egg as a “shell” is all good in theory, but in order to keep some stability, it had to be firm. The egg was overcooked. I’d compare it to a rubbery hard-boiled egg white that got cold almost instantly.

The taco comes filled with cheddar cheese, nacho cheese sauce, seasoned potatoes, and the sausage crumbles I opted for.

Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco 6

The “warm layer” of cheddar cheese they promised was actually congealed plastic, but it did act as a glue to hold the taco together. I thought there was way too much of it, but when I opened the taco to check out the other ingredients, they all kinda spewed out.

Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco 5

The other three inner ingredients were tasty. I have no complaints there. The zesty nacho sauce added a (this is gonna sound gross) lubricant, and I’ve always been a fan of their seasoned potatoes. The sausage crumbles were standard fare.

Taco Bell Naked Egg Breakfast Taco 4

So overall, it’s kind of a mixed bag. You have a rubbery egg, some plastic cheese, and then the good warm inner contents. Mixed together, it’s not bad, but I absolutely missed a tortilla to tie everything together.

The Naked Egg Breakfast Taco is a cool gimmick, but unless you’re trying to cut a few carbs from your morning, I see no reason to ever get this over other superior Taco Bell menu items. It’s a one time purchase.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 190 calories from fat, 21 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 170 mg of cholesterol, 520 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Fun little gimmick. The inner ingredients all worked well. Taco Bell innovation. A.M. Crunchwrap is the G.O.A.T.
Cons: Rubbery egg “shell.” Plastic cheese. Greasy. Pretty small. The word “naked” pertaining to food. Not even close to the other breakfast options at Taco Bell.

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.

Jack in the Box Birthday Cake Shake 2

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.

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: Baskin-Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream

The crafty cookie-obsessed churners at Baskin-Robbins entered the middle of 2017 facing a real dilemma. How the hell could they make another dessert-themed frozen dessert with the iconic Oreo?

It isn’t enough that the chain always stocks Cookies n’ Cream and now has Golden Oreo ’N Churro as a summer seasonal. Even last month’s All About Oreo couldn’t possibly quench America’s thirst for the beloved sandwiched “white stuff.” There needed to be another…layer.

After malted chocolate and cake batter and birthday cake and cereal and mint, there’s seemingly only one place to go – the decadent, heavy, cheesecake. One of the oldest desserts in history, which was allegedly served to athletes at the first Olympic Games, was destined to make sweet creamy magic with Nabisco’s #1 seller during the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Baskin-Robbins’ Oreo Cheesecake combines Oreo cookie pieces, cheesecake pieces, and a chocolate cookie crumb ribbon in cheesecake flavored ice cream.

The base is immediately apparent with a distinct tanginess that jumps out from the first bite and doesn’t fade. It’s smooth, velvety, and delicious with a good balance of sweet and savory. Oddly, the tang reminds me a little bit more of Greek yogurt than cheesecake, as I don’t get any particular cheesiness coming through. But the point gets across and I don’t think I’m eating vanilla or sweet cream.

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream 2

The cheesiness goes up a notch with the actual cheesecake pieces. They’re like those small-to-medium sized ones you can find at build your own frozen yogurt shops. They’ve maintained their squishy-dense texture and give off a hint of graham cracker crust flavor that pops against the tangy ice cream base.

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream 3

I worried about the redundancy of the Oreo pieces and cookie crumb ribbon, but the two are distinct and interwoven very well throughout the scoop. The ribbon is more akin to what you find in typical cookies and cream flavors, with some good gritty texture and mellow bitter cocoa notes.

Baskin Robbins Oreo Cheesecake Ice Cream 4

Much more prominent are the bigger pieces of Oreo cookie, which have entire layers of creme filling intact. They’re a welcomed sweet element to temper the tang of the cheesecake. The wafer cookies soften and soak up the creamy goodness, and the sizes of the mix-ins are pretty big for Baskin-Robbins’ standards which makes the whole experience elevated and impressive for what I expect at a chain shop.

It’s a pretty simple recipe – Oreo and cheesecake. Baskin-Robbins could’ve been lazy with this one and made a cookies & cream ice cream with a cheesecake base, but they didn’t. By hitting each element from two different angles, this monthly special is one of the more enticing in recent memory. It’s worth scooping up to end the last full month of summer on a blissfully tangy sweet frozen note.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 oz. scoop – 300 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 4 oz. scoop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tangy creamy cheesecake base. Ample cheesecake chunks. Big pieces of Oreo cookie with distinguishable creme.
Cons: Tang is a little closer to yogurt than cheesecake.