NEWS: KFC Tries To Prove Bacon Makes Everything Better With Their Cheesy Bacon Bowl

KFC Cheesy Bacon Bowl Sign

Update: Click here to read our KFC Cheesy Bacon Bowl review

The KFC Famous Bowl is one of the unhealthiest items to eat on KFC’s menu, but I have to admit the combination of mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, popcorn chicken, and shredded cheese is also one of the tastiest items to eat on KFC’s menu.

I thought there was no way to improve it, but I forgot about the power of bacon and its claim that it makes everything better. Although, while bacon has made burgers and asparagus better, it’s also been shown it doesn’t make everything better, like soda.

Well, KFC is taking that power and adding it to their KFC Famous Bowl to create the Cheesy Bacon Bowl. All the goodness of a KFC Famous Bowl, sprinkled with chopped bacon, and all for just $3.99 at participating restaurants.

If you try it, let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

By the way, here’s a commercial for it:

REVIEW: Dr Pepper Ten

Dr Pepper Ten

The fall season is beginning to make itself known here in Orlando. We have traded out 95 degree days (with humidity so thick you can cut slices of it and serve with whipped topping) for temperatures in the mid-eighties. The trees are turning from green to the same green. The air smelling of sweat mixed with citrus perfumes are bowing out for scents of sweat and sandalwood ones. Yep, Fall is here.

Who am I kidding? We would never know Fall has arrived if not for those disgusting cinnamon brooms the supermarkets trudge out that assault our noses. The aroma drives me crazy. Why the hell would anyone want their house to smell like smoker’s sneeze? It’s that unique blend of metal and curdled milk? Sorry dad, when you sneezed, it was the olfactory equivalent of Hiroshima.

So here I was in my local supermarket searching for some pizza rolls and the sickening wafts pillaged my nostrils. I didn’t care if I stretched the neck of my fitted t-shirt but I stuck my nose under the collar. Aware that I looked like I was trying to avoid the avian bird flu while roaming the aisles, I did not care. But then I found it, or maybe it found me (cue the Zamfir).

Dr Pepper Ten! All my friends know I am a sucker for two things: soft drinks with new flavors (I’m still hunting for that elusive mint-tinged Sprite Ice) and women who wear eyeglasses (drool). I am aware of the rules because for every Pepsi Lime there is a Pepsi Holiday Spice. I remember drinking the Holiday Spice and thought there was a demand for paint varnish flavored soft drinks. SCORE!!! I held a cold frosty bottle of the new Dr Pepper Ten.

Just to let you know Dr Pepper Ten also comes in the two-liter bottle (which normally go flat incredibly fast) and the standard case of twelve ounce cans. I decided to play it safe and buy the twenty ounce bottle because I did not want to commit to a dozen cans on the chance they taste like crap.

Dr Pepper is no stranger to different varieties of its flavor. I particularly was a big fan of their Dr Pepper Berries & Cream which was short lived in stores. I have been looking for this Dr Pepper Ten for some time and couldn’t believe they were here in front of me. Since writing this piece, they seem to be widely available now. My assumption is they are preparing for a nationwide rollout.

Just to let you know, the TEN refers to the ten calories per serving the doctor has. The weird thing is the ad campaign is marketing itself as a diet soda for men. I’m not sure if it is manlier to drink a diet soda that has ten calories versus none. I’m also not sure how they came up with ten calories being the threshold for a man’s drink versus eight or eleven calories. Honestly, a man’s drink is a tall glass of cheap scotch.

I am pretty certain if I went to my neighborhood biker bar and ordered a martini straight up with two black olives, holding a Dr Pepper Ten is not going to save me from a beat-down. Also do I think a woman drinking a Dr Pepper Ten is any less feminine because it’s supposedly for men? Nope, especially if she is wearing flirty black thin-rimmed eyeglasses.

Regardless of the stupid marketing, it’s all about the taste. The almost boiling weather couldn’t stop the condensation running from the bottle around my fingers. I twisted the cap and heard that satisfying pffffsssssttttttttttttt!

“Oh yeah,” I thought to myself and that was the last of my happiness.

The more appropriate name for Dr Pepper Ten is Dr Pepper Two. Read on and I will explain because like most underwhelming sequels (Ghostbusters II anyone?), this Dr Pepper rates a two. I give it two points: one for effort and another because it is not hydrochloric acid.

Like some beers, I think soda always tastes better in a pre-chilled glass and so I poured a generous amount. The bouquet (yeah I said bouquet) did not have that unique hint of a “nutmegish” scent that Dr Pepper normally has. In fact, it had no scent.

I took a sip and was instantly depressed. There was very little taste of the famous doctor, in fact there was very little taste. I did appreciate the lack of unpleasant sweet syrup that coats your teeth some diet sodas have. However, this is canceled out by the fact there was little flavor.

In fact, it tasted close to plain seltzer which made me pine for that heavy sweetness. Actually, I wouldn’t care if it tasted like prune juice (as it is rumored Dr Pepper is made from) as my taste buds wanted to grasp on to something. It claims there are Ten BOLD tasting calories but it is no bolder than a grey argyle sweater vest.

A clean finish for sure, which many sodas do not have, but what does it matter when there is no taste? I haven’t been this disappointed since Fox unforgivably cancelled the show “Drive” with geek approved actor Nathan Fillion. Speaking of amped manliness, I keep hoping he will team up with Bruce Campbell.

You know, if there are ten calories…it has got to be from eating the cap and bottle. Dr Pepper Ten is obviously for boring men (or men with way too sensitive taste buds). It hasn’t affected me since I still shop at Banana Republic, listen to New Order and have different colognes for night or day.

Furthermore, Dr Pepper Ten states proudly “It’s not for women.” Women aren’t missing much because a poor tasting product will fail regardless of which gender they are aiming for. If Dr Pepper Ten is for men, I’ll take a “girly” Diet Dr Pepper instead. Or a scotch.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 ounces – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Other Dr Pepper Ten reviews:
BevNerd (video)
Random Dude Eats Random Food

Item: Dr Pepper Ten
Price: $1.59
Size: 20 ounces
Purchased at: My neighborhood Publix that sells those forsaken cinnamon brooms.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Pros: No sticky film on your teeth. Nathan Fillion. Pleasant clean finish. Women in glasses, especially with their hair pulled back. Did I mention it doesn’t leave a sticky film on your “teeths”? Banana Republic circa 2006. It is only ten calories.
Cons: No Dr Pepper taste. No sweet taste. No taste. Networks canceling shows too early thus giving us viewer blue balls. Ad campaign is moronic. Not one of the ten calories are bold. CINNAMON BROOMS. Men, Women…either way it’s not good for either.

WEEK IN REVIEWS – 10/15/2011

      “I had a dream last night, I was eating a ten pound marshmallow. I woke up this morning and the pillow was gone.”

Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we follow.

Awesome! Now I have something I can dip my marshmallows in that’s not fire. (via Crazy Food Dude)

It turns out these cookies aren’t Smurftastic. Or as Drunk Smurf would say, “They’re smurfin’ smurfy. They taste like a piece of surf. Smurf that smurf!” (via Review Spew)

With a name like Smucker’s, I thought I’d be able to use these to write in jam, but there’s no jam in them. (via Clearance Cuisine)

Oh, Trader Joe’s. These makes me yearn to be closer to one of your stores. Instead, I will have to settle for Ruffles dipped in chocolate pudding. (via Candyblog)

With the Phillies out of the playoffs and the Eagles off to a horrible start, this probably won’t make Philadelphians happy. But, this might. (via Grub Grade and Eat!Drink!Snack!)

REVIEW: Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix

Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa

It’s around midnight and I’m writing this Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix review outside…topless.

Why am I outside in the middle of the night half naked? Because if I want to truly appreciate this Starbucks hot cocoa, I feel like I need to drink it in a cold environment, which is difficult when one lives on a tropical island and doesn’t have air conditioning at his place.

Although it’s the middle of the night and there’s a slight breeze, the weather is still in the mid to high 70s, hence the reason why I have no shirt on. I thought I would feel cooler if I took it off, but fripples have yet to form. So here I am standing outside with the moonlight reflecting off of my pale chest, making my torso glow like it’s a bodily fluid under a black light.

I would take off more clothing, but I haven’t done laundry in a long time, so the only item of clothing that prevents me from being completely nude are the cargo shorts I have on. Also, the glowing pale parts of my body seem to be attracting bugs, so if I were to take my shorts off, I would have bugs circling around my body’s airport control tower, which is something I do not want.

Speaking of things that are milky white, in order to make a cup of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa, the instructions say eight ounces of hot milk are needed. However, I got tri-curious and made three different cups using low-fat milk, vanilla soy milk, and water.

If you don’t have milk or soy milk and you’re too lazy to get some, water will do in a pinch, but that’s like settling for QVC during primetime TV hours because the remote control is farther than an arms length away. If you’re going to make a cup of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa, you’ve got to make it with milk or soy milk. Don’t settle for QVC.

Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Closeup

When milk or soy milk is used, the Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa makes me forget about the bugs landing and taking off on my pale glowing body. The cocoa flavor is rich and much better tasting than what Swiss Miss and Nestle offers. However, it’s slightly gritty. The cocoa used is ethically sourced, so if you love responsible, sustainable cocoa farming (and who doesn’t), you’ll like the cocoa in these Starbucks packets.

The dehydrated marshmallows included aren’t your typical mini round dehydrated marshmallows found in other hot cocoa mixes. They’re much larger, handcrafted, and are more like small slabs of dehydrated marshmallows. They don’t melt away easily, but when they do they add a little vanilla flavor to the hot cocoa.

A box of Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix is twice as expensive as a box of Swiss Miss or Nestle hot cocoa, but I don’t think it’s two times better tasting. It’s probably more like 1 1/2 times better. But, to be honest, if I were to find myself topless in the middle of Jack Frost’s wrath, I don’t think I would care about flavor. All I would probably care about is drinking anything hot and doing something to get rid of my fripples.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 envelope not prepared – 110 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% calcium, and 10% iron.)

Item: Starbucks Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Mix
Price: $7.19
Size: 8 envelopes
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Better than Swiss Miss. Chocolatey. Small slabs of dehydrated marshmallows. Made with ethically sourced cocoa. Taking off clothing to thoroughly review a product.
Cons: Slightly gritty. Fripples. Twice as expensive as Swiss Miss. My pale body. When mixed with water. Taking off too much clothing to thoroughly review a product.

REVIEW: Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles Yellow Cupcake Mix with Creamy Vanilla Filling

Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles Yellow Cupcake Mix with Creamy Vanilla Filling

Mistakes happen. For example, I think it was a mistake to use such a dopey name for the new Betty Crocker novelty cupcake mix. FUN-da-middles? I think I see what they’re trying to do here with the cupcake middles being filled with frosting and “Fundamental” being a word. But really Betty Crocker? FUN-da-middles? I… I just can’t.

I’m mature enough to admit when I’ve erred. Unfortunately, this tends to happen long after I’ve pulled twelve incorrectly-baked Betty Crocker Creamy Chocolate Filling FUN-da-middles cupcakes out of my oven and have realized that the trademark gooey center has pushed itself towards the edges of my bite-sized dessert and has made it into an entirely different snack food, one that doesn’t nearly resemble the dessert pictured on the box and isn’t at all FUN. So now, although I’d intended to write a review of two FUN-da-middles cupcake flavors, it’s now just going to be about one. The one I did correctly. My bad.

Baking doesn’t come naturally to me. Apparently, neither does following directions.

I have vivid memories of art classes in elementary school. There would come that moment after activity time, when each of our projects would be displayed on the wall or on the art table… and I would suddenly realize that my project looked different from everyone else’s. Circles that were supposed to be carefully constructed would be ovals. Five-point stars would have seven points. Photo collages would for some reason have drawings of dogs in them. Now I know why. With my mind already preoccupied with what I’d eat for lunch at school, plans to beat World 4 on Super Mario Bros 3 after school, and most likely, the Tiny Toons theme song, I barely listened to the teacher’s instructions and would oftentimes “wing it.” That’s what happened here with these Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles.

I’m not a fantastic baker to begin with. There are far too many variables at play for me to whip up something that looks like it came straight from the pages of Bon Appétit, In fact, my first batch of FUN-da-middles looked like something straight from the pages of Fangoria. And it’s all because I tried to be crafty and cheap and made up the rules as I went. Winging it. Bad idea.

Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles 3

Basically, when preparing the White Cake with Creamy Chocolate Filling FUN-da-middles, I switched out the oil and eggs in the recipe for diet soda. Usually, diet soda combined with cake mix makes a dense, crumbly cupcake that is low in fat. (Yay!) However, swapping in soda for this recipe was a mistake — the structural integrity of the cupcakes was compromised in a way that altered the entire batch. Here’s the way it’s supposed to work: You mix the batter and fill up each cup in the cupcake pan by one-third. Then, using the enclosed frosting packet, you squeeze little dollops of flavored frosting on top then cover with the remaining batter. After baking, the cupcakes should be fluffy and have a perfect, sweet, gooey center.

Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles 1

Not so for my cupcakes. My Creamy Chocolate Filling FUN-da-middles had a pudding-cake-like texture, very sticky. Not inedible, but definitely not what I wanted. I hadn’t realized that the chemical makeup of FUN-da-middles absolutely requires eggs and oil to make a stiffer cake, thereby creating a firm encasing for the gooey chocolate filling. So my cupcakes were more like FUN-da-OUTSIDES.

Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles 2

After kicking myself for about a day, I went back to the drawing board. This time, I baked the White Cake with Creamy Vanilla Filling FUN-da-middles. These looked more like your traditional Twinkie, and I figured if I actually followed the instructions this time, they’d taste like it. Actually, they tasted better than a Twinkie. The whole dozen came out much better than I had imagined, almost mirroring the picture on the box with nice golden outsides and white, gooey insides. Finally, the middles were FUN. Sort of.

Despite having to do a lot more measuring and clean up afterwards, thanks to cracked eggshells and oil drippings, I enjoyed the outcome. The cupcakes were dense but not oily, and the vanilla cream filling was light and sweet. These cupcakes were a little heavier and less squishier than my diet soda-induced, chocolate filling disaster.

So if you want to bake these cupcakes, don’t try to make up the rules as you go. You’ll end up with a real mess on your hands and all over the cupcake pan. I won’t lie, though…. While hard at work on my desserts, I still had the Tiny Toons theme song in my head.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/12 package – 120 calories (mix), 190 calories (as prepared), 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol,190 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 6% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Other Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles reviews:
Baking Bites

Item: Betty Crocker FUN-da-middles Yellow Cupcake Mix with Creamy Vanilla Filling
Price: $2.69
Size: 15.2 ounces / Makes 12 cupcakes
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: When prepared correctly, they had nice golden outsides and gooey insides. Following directions. Tiny Toons. Diet soda in regular boxed cake mix. Drawings of dogs in a photo collage.
Cons: Chocolate disasters. Diet soda in FUN-da-middles boxed cupcake mix. The fact that they’re called “FUN-da-middles.” Circles that are really ovals. World 4 in Super Mario Bros 3. Winging it while baking with an inflexible recipe.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy 1/4 lb. Single Cheeseburger

Wendy's Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: naming a product “Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy” anything is just asking for the more childish among us to snicker uncontrollably and make jokes about hot beef injections.  (Lest you think it’s just me, my wife – an actual woman with emotions and maturity and all that — was the one to bring it up.  So there.)  It’s the same reason seafood restaurants don’t advertise their moist, steamy clams that are easier to open with alcohol.  Just not a good idea.

Name aside, the Hot ‘N Juicy Burgers mark a major and apparently permanent change for Wendy’s.  We all know what to expect from fast food burgers, and being square doesn’t make theirs any different.  But now, someone has awoken the sleeping giant.  What, you ask?  Normally I wouldn’t bother, but you guys are awesome, so I undertook a Google search at great personal expense and wasted productivity, learning that the Hot ‘N Juicy Burger is apparently Wendy’s attempt to catch up with McDonald’s and Burger King and to stay ahead of emerging competitors like Five Guys.  They plan to accomplish this goal by beefing up (pun intended yet immediately regretted) the quality of their burgers with thicker patties, better toppings, and buttered, toasted buns.

Wendy's Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger Wrapper

Which is all well and good, but color me puce (the color of skepticism).  Talk is cheap, so I headed to my nearest Wendy’s and picked up one of their new burgers of the future.  I’m normally partial to bacon cheeseburgers, because it’s like saying to nature, “My hideous cravings cannot be satiated by the flesh of but one animal. Only multiple sacrifices will garner my favor.”  And anything that makes you feel like a Greek god without having to resort to infanticide or bestiality is a winner in my book.  But this time I chose to forgo the bacon because I couldn’t risk its presence artificially inflating the score.  Let’s face it: bacon makes everything better.  It’s the breast implants of the food world.  Ergo, if you choose to unleash its mighty power, you can probably bump up the score a point or two.

Wendy's Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger Innards 2

And the overall verdict is… well, I think the Hot ‘N Juicy Burger is better.  Understand that I usually order the 99 cent double stacks or junior bacon cheeseburgers, which have dulled my taste buds.  Buying one of those is like a tacit agreement between you and Wendy’s wherein they cut you a break on price, and you pretend your burger isn’t 65% sawdust and rat grundles.  This new offering is definitely better than those, but I don’t know how much better it is than the previous 1/4 lb. cheeseburger.  (Also: this is a tangent, but if it’s actually 1/4 lb., then “thicker patties” is a nonsensical claim.  I’m not an idiot, so don’t imply I’m getting more burger if the actual weight remains the same.  And if it’s greater than 1/4 lb., change the damn name.)

Still, it’s pretty good.  Not perfect, but the meat was flavorful, plentiful, and as the name suggests, fairly juicy.  (It was hot too, but I’d prefer to keep that between me and Dave, if you don’t mind.)  On the negative side, it didn’t taste any less greasy than their previous burgers.  You can see from the picture that the cheese is far more melted than they used to bother making it.  The bun definitely looks less smushed and tasted crispier than their prior offerings, no doubt due to the toasting, which is clearly evident in terms of a nice brown on both halves of the bun.  I couldn’t personally taste any butter, but I’ll take their word for it that it’s in there.  My overall impression was that this is indeed an improved burger, though not one you’ll be mistaking for a bar burger unless you’re actually IN a bar getting sloshed.

Wendy's Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger Innards

In the interest of total fairness, many of the upgrades Wendy’s is boasting about lie with the toppings: red onions instead of white; better, crinkled pickles; and whole-fat mayonnaise.  As has been well documented, I’m not a vegetables or extraneous toppings kind of guy, excepting meatstuffs of course.  Having opted for a plain cheeseburger, I can’t comment on whether the new and improved toppings make a big difference to the overall taste or not, but you might find that to be the case.

So with all these improvements, what’s the catch?  Well, Wendy’s has admitted that though franchisees set their own prices, the cost of a burger will probably rise slightly because of the higher-quality ingredients.  I don’t know what the price of a quarter pounder was at my local Wendy’s prior to the revamp, but I’ll offer that $4.09 for a fast food burger feels really steep.  My daughters shouldn’t both have to marry rich just so daddy can afford a better burger, and the guys at the drive-thru have stopped falling for my “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger to-day” routine.

Ultimately, if you’ve never been a fan of fast food burgers before, the Hot ‘N Juicy Burger is unlikely to change your mind.  And the fact that it’s 520 calories with nothing but cheese on it is, well, not unexpected but still distressing.  But if you were okay with them before, you’re in for a treat, albeit one that may be coming out of your own wallet.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/4 lb.. cheeseburger with no toppings – 520 calories, 250 calories from fat, 27 grams of total fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,030 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugars, 30 grams of protein.)

Other Wendy’s Hot ‘N Juicy reviews:
Grub Grade
An Immovable Feast

Item: Wendy’s Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy 1/4 lb. Single Cheeseburger
Price: $4.09
Size: 1/4 lb.
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Keeping up with the Joneses.  Feeling like a Greek god.  Flavorful meat.  Melty cheese. Apparently better toppings.  Toastiest buns outside of Chippendale’s.  A really nice set of… bacon.
Cons: Pairing provocative adjectives with a dead guy’s name.  “Thicker patty” scam where the weight stays the same.  Rat grundles.  Hefty price.  Still pretty greasy.