REVIEW: Jack in the Box Mini Cinnis

While Jack is known for his huge head, Jack in the Box has a history of mini-ing things. If I had a dollar for every time the fast food chain called something “mini,” I’d be able to buy a Sourdough Jack. There have been options like Mini Corn Dogs, Mini Churros, Mini Cookies, mini chicken sandwiches, and mini cheeseburgers. Oh, and let’s not forget about other finger foods, like Jack’s Brownie Bites and Pizza Bites. The latest are these Mini Cinnis, a name I’m surprised no one has trademarked.

Available in five or ten-piece orders, the treat features bite-sized classic cinnamon rolls served warm and topped with icing. Jack in the Box says they are the “perfect end to a meal, or start, no judgment.” Perfect? They are not perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I like them. So much so that I’ve ordered these Mini Cinnis twice. But some of the dough in a few of the pieces in both of my orders were dry, which might not be an issue with a huge honking Cinnabon or Costco-sized cinnamon roll, but with one that’s the width of a half-dollar, it’s a slight issue.

I say “slight” because there’s more than enough cinnamon and sugary icing to make me almost forget about the dry dough. Also, that dryness isn’t preventing me from wanting to dip these into one of Jack’s shakes. They are significantly better than a pre-packaged convenience store cinnamon roll that has been microwaved for seven seconds but pale in comparison to anything a particular cinnamon-scented mall food court staple offers.

Jack in the Box’s Mini Cinnis aren’t going to make you wonder if you accidentally stepped into a Cinnabon or make your stomach feel as if you’ve eaten a whole Classic Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll. But they are a sweet end to a meal or start, no judgment.

Purchased Price: $2.50*
Size: 5 pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 290 calories (No other nutritional information is available on Jack in the Box’s website).

*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: Wendy’s Pretzel Baconator

Over ten years ago, I was driving back to Tallahassee with my boyfriend, and we decided to stop and grab a bite. Wendy’s had just introduced a new burger with a pretzel bun, and I wanted to try it. I remember it being fine. The bun was a little tough, making biting through it hard. A decade later, that boyfriend is now my husband, and we, once again, shared a pretzel bun burger from Wendy’s.

Wendy’s has released various burgers and chicken sandwiches with the pretzel bun, but this is the first time pulling its wildly popular monster menu item, the Baconator, into the mix. Since its introduction in 2007, the Baconator has remained an in-demand item. For me, it shines in its simplicity. With so few ingredients (beef, cheese, bacon, mayo, and ketchup), the burger has to stand on its own and not hide behind special sauces or wild toppings.

In fact, there has only been one official variation of the Baconator (Spicy Baconator) in its 16 years of being on the menu. Before you grill me in the comments, I personally do not consider the Son of Baconator or Breakfast Baconator variations of THE Baconator. I consider them to be more in the “spin-offs of TV shows you know are spin-offs, but stand on their own,” like Frasier and Mork & Mindy. Also, some people list the Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger as part of the Baconator Universe, but it doesn’t seem to be canonically accepted by Wendy’s.

The Pretzel Baconator simply swaps the standard bun for a pretzel one. As mentioned before, the bun was extremely tough when I tried it a decade ago. I would bite into it, and it was like bread taffy. Initially, I hesitated about trying the Pretzel Baconator, but it’s been a decade, and a lot can change.

The bun was soft but held firm. I was able to get a whole bite of burger without issue. The intense flavors of the savory beef and salty bacon, followed by the sweetness of the ketchup and tangy mayo, dominated the bite. I took a sip of Sprite to cleanse the palate and dove in for my second try. Again, the bun offered a great textural addition, but the pretzel flavor was non-existent. The familiar yeasty flavor was there when trying just the bun, but it was extremely subtle. What it lacked in taste, it made up for it with its structural integrity, as it did hold up to the sloppy fillings better than the standard bun.

If you want a strong pretzel flavor to accompany your Baconator, you will be disappointed. It’s still a solid menu item, and dare I say, the firmer bun serves the burger better than its standard bun. I enjoyed it, but it just doesn’t deliver the pretzel taste in the way I expected.

Purchased Price: $9.29
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1050 calories, 71 grams of fat, 27 grams of saturated fat, 155 milligrams of cholesterol, 1630 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 61 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Iced Coffee and Milk Tea with Boba Drinks

If you traveled back in time and told me a year ago that Jack in the Box would be selling boba drinks in 2023, while I was drinking a boba drink, you would have boba flying towards you from my spit take because that would be extremely surprising and laughable. But here we are with Jack in the Box’s Iced Coffee and Milk Tea with Boba.

The iced coffee version features High Mountain Arabica coffee with sweetened cream and vanilla, served over ice with brown sugar boba, while the milk tea one comes with freshly brewed tea with sweetened cream and vanilla, ice, and brown sugar boba. If you’re unfamiliar with boba, they’re chewy tapioca balls that give the drink its other name, bubble tea.

And it’s those dark-colored bubbles in these fast food drinks that make it hard for me to recommend them, especially if you’ve never had boba drinks before. They’re described as brown sugar boba, but they’re more like bland sugar boba because they have a nondescript flavor that’s not even sweet. But I was not too fond of their texture. Chewing on them was like mashing my teeth on clumps of hard raisins, which are too chewy for boba. These issues make them weird compared to other boba I’ve had, which have better flavor and texture.

While the tapioca texture was weird, I will say that the milk tea by itself was tasty, and I wish Jack in the Box offered on its own. According to the app, I could customize it to not include boba, but the price wouldn’t change. It’s sweet, creamy, and tasted like the canned and bottled milk teas I’ve had from Japan. As for the iced coffee, if you’ve had Jack’s iced coffee, it tastes the same, but I prefer the milk tea.

Part of the boba experience is the use of a wider straw that allows the tapioca to be sucked up, and Jack in the Box does provide it. But with my iced coffee one, for some reason, most of the balls had difficulty going up the straw, even after shaking and stirring the drink. Eventually, I gave up and left most of them in the cup.

If Jack in the Box’s Iced Coffee with Boba or Milk Tea with Boba is going to be your introduction to the popular Asian drink, I can’t recommend it, even if you live in a boba desert without a place that sells the drink for hundreds of miles. While the base drinks are fine, they contain the least satisfying boba I’ve ever had in terms of taste and texture.

Purchased Price: $4.99 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Milk Tea), 5 out of 10 (Iced Coffee)
Nutrition Facts: 280 calories (other nutritional numbers aren’t available on the Jack in the Box website).

REVIEW: Chocolate Frosted Donut Kit Kat

Certain snacks just lend themselves to being successfully changed up in a multitude of ways without affecting what makes them great in the first place. The humble Kit Kat is a perfect example of this. At its core, it’s just wafers and chocolate; classic and delicious but also beckoning to be dressed up in as many styles as you can think of. Japan knows this and has seen hundreds of variations, but things have been played a little closer to the vest here in America. In the last few years, however, the Hershey factory has gotten more adventurous, and we’ve seen quite a few new takes on the “Give Me a Break” treat. The latest edition is Chocolate Frosted Donut, a permanent addition to the lineup.

The packaging and appearance of these Kit Kats delight me. Like the Duos flavors, this one is two-toned with a tan base and brown chocolate top, neatly mimicking its donut namesake. The smell is sweet and buttery, and while it doesn’t exactly scream “donut” to me, it’s certainly bakery-esque. It leans a little sweeter than a standard chocolate Kit Kat and the “frosted” flavor rings true. If I blindly tasted the bar, I think my guess would have been along the lines of cake and frosting, but obviously not the birthday cake flavor that already exists in Kit Kat form.

When I picture eating a donut, the ring I see myself holding is of the yeast variety, so it’s possible my expectations might have just been a bit off. Perhaps the reason these remind me of cake is because they’re supposed to taste like a cake donut. Maybe instead of screaming “donut,” what they were actually whispering was “duh.” Part of the magic of a freshly made yeast donut is in the fried factor and the airy-chewy texture, both of which would be difficult to replicate in a candy bar so heavily centered around crispy wafers. But there’s nothing wrong with a cake donut, and if I ignore the fried and yeasted aspects I typically associate with donuts, I’m more willing to believe these Kit Kats can call themselves donut-flavored.

Whether or not these truly taste like a donut, they are enjoyable, and I would have no problem eating them again. Unfortunately, they aren’t as delicious, unique, or well-executed as the excellent Blueberry Muffin Kit Kat, so I’m not sure why this one was chosen for permanent status. They’re certainly worth trying and a nice change of pace, but I don’t feel the need to rush out and grab a dozen.

Purchased Price: $2.19
Size: 3 oz (King Size package)
Purchased at: Mariano’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 fingers – 32 g) 160 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 16 grams of total sugar (including 15 grams of added sugars), and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Girl Scouts Thin Mints Shake

If you can’t wait for McDonald’s Shamrock Shake season in February and March, you can get your green minty shake fill this fall with Jack in the Box’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Shake. The frozen treat features Jack’s ice cream with chocolate mint flavoring and Thin Mints bits mixed with whipped topping and more Thin Mints crumbles on top. Also, sorry, maraschino cherry fans. There is no cherry for you on this shake.

It looks less fun than the bright Shamrock Shake. When everything is mixed up, it has a green-gray color that a paint company would call Aloe Fog, Melted Clovers, or something like that. But it’s as enjoyable as a Shamrock shake with its strong minty flavor. But perhaps it’s a bit too strong. If I drank this shake blindly, I wouldn’t be able to determine that it’s specifically a Girl Scout Thin Mints Shake because it lacks the chocolatey notes that the actual cookies have.

The mint flavoring in the ice cream is so strong that it overwhelms the cookie bits and whatever chocolate flavoring. It also doesn’t help that the larger cookie crumbs provide an additional minty burst without cocoa flavor. Having two types of cookies would be weird, but maybe the chocolate would’ve had a stronger punch if Oreo crumbles were added. It’s an ingredient that every Jack in the Box location has, so it wouldn’t be difficult to add.

Most of the cookie crumbs are tiny enough that they succumb to the milky mess they’re sitting in and become soggy bits or not noticeable at all. But my teeth were rewarded with some crunchiness when they captured more significant Thin Mints bits.

If you want a tasty shake that’ll make your insides as nippy as the weather outside this fall, Jack in the Box’s Girl Scout Thin Mints Shake will help you accomplish that. But if you’re hoping for a bit of chocolate to cut through that mint, you’ll be disappointed.

Purchased Price: $6.69*
Size: Regular
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 780 calories (no other nutritional information was provided on the Jack in the Box website).

*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.