Happy Fourth of July! Here are a few product reviews posted this week from other blogs we like.

Blue Bunny has a red, white and blue popsicle that allow me to suck on America. Or the UK. Or Norway. Or the Czech Republic. Or France. Or Iceland. Or Cambodia. Or Liberia. Or Samoa. (via Freezer Burns)

I think Claim Jumper should rename their Turtle Pie because with 4.5 grams of trans fat per slice, it will be hard to live as long as a turtle by eating it. (via Frozen Food Journal)

There’s a hot dog-shaped bubble gum and it looks realistic. But it would be even more realistic if it came in packs of ten and also included a package of hot dog bun-shaped gum that came in a pack of eight. (via Sugar Pressure)

7-Eleven’s aluminum Slurpee straws are back, but I get more excited when 7-Eleven brings back their Extreme Gulp containers. (via We Rate Stuff)

The Trader Joe’s Fiberful Fruit and Veggie Bar is a wonderful reminder that we all should put on sunscreen and not spend too much time out in the sun this summer. (via Gigi Reviews)

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich

The Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich isn’t really big.

Heck, I don’t think it can be even considered just “big” by today’s fast food standards, which have been set by burgers like BK’s Steakhouse XT and whatever monstrosities Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s come up with. To me, even the Big Mac shouldn’t be regarded as “big” when compared with the latest fast food burgers.

The sandwich has two chicken patties, but even with them it looks small. But if the Really Big Chicken Sandwich can be considered big, then there are certain men out there who should have no reason to buy a 450-horsepower sports car to make up for particular inadequacies in their nether regions.

The size of this Jack in the Box chicken sandwich disappoints me not only because I feel it’s false advertising, but also because if there’s a fast food company that should understand what “really big” is it’s Jack in the Box, whose fake CEO has a head so comically large that I’m surprised people who come near him don’t get caught in his gravitational field and orbit around his head.

Jack in the Box’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich is made up of two crispy chicken patties with two slices of Swiss-style cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayo-onion sauce in between a bun. The sandwich kind of looks like the reproductive result of what would happen if a KFC Double Down and a McDonald’s Big Mac got all hot and oily with each other.

While I don’t think it’s really big, I do think it’s a mighty tasty sandwich, mainly due to the mayo-onion sauce and an ingredient that seems to make almost everything better. No, not the tears of a child whose ice cream has fallen off of its cone and onto the ground; I’m talking about bacon.

The strips of pig may not be visible in the pictures above and they may not be crispy, which is almost always the case with fast food bacon, but they do add a pleasant smokiness to the sandwich. The chicken patties were crispy and flavorful; the cheese was hardly noticeable; the lettuce and tomato allowed me to say I ate a serving of vegetables; and the bun was surprisingly durable and not bad tasting.

A Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich small combo will run you $3.99, even in Hawaii, which is a reasonable price for what you get. But it would be an even better deal if the Really Big Chicken Sandwich was actually really big.

Wait a second…If the Really Big Chicken Sandwich isn’t really big, then shouldn’t we also be wondering if it’s really a chicken sandwich?

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 748 calories, 44 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat* (*contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat due to the use of partially hydrogenated oils), 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1834 milligrams of sodium, 471 milligrams of potassium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 30 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich
Price: $3.99 (small combo)
Size: Small Combo
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty sandwich. Bacon gives it a smokiness. Affordable combo price. Awesome source of protein and potassium. Mayo-onion sauce is tasty. Eating vegetables. Durable bun. Tears of a child whose ice cream has fallen onto the ground.
Cons: Not a really big chicken sandwich. Awesome source of sodium and fat. Cheese was hardly noticeable. Looks like what would happen if a KFC Double Down and a McDonald’s Big Mac hooked up.

REVIEW: Arby’s Steakhouse Sub

Arby's Steakhouse Sub

Arby’s is like the middle child of the fast food industry. You’ve got the oldest child, represented by places like McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell. They’ve been around, they’re reliable and you know you can trust them to be there when you need them. Then there’s the baby of the family, that local place that you dote upon – that one little burger joint on Center Street or the musty taqueria that is probably violating at least a half dozen health codes. You tell your friends about them, even show them some pictures, not realizing that they honestly don’t care.

Then there’s Arby’s.

Sure, it’s always hanging around, but its cries for attention go largely ignored. It shuffles its feet, wondering when someone will notice the uniqueness, the ingenuity of its shaved beef sandwiches. It’s even tried other tactics to gain your attention, like its line of Market Fresh sandwiches, which got put on the fridge but was promptly covered up by Wendy’s B+ on her calculus test.

Badly-constructed analogies and sweeping generalizations about a whole nation’s opinion on Arby’s aside, their latest arm-waving “look at me!” creation goes even further, with the limited-edition Steakhouse Sub.

The commercial itself is a sad thing to see: a man is parked literally a few feet away from an actual steakhouse, and then decides to go to Arby’s instead. He is already at a steakhouse that serves real steak. I believe he describes Arby’s new sandwich as a “steakhouse dream,” but by then my brain had already exited my skull, carrying a bindle and sticking its thumb out in a desperate attempt to get as far away from my television as possible, so don’t quote me on that.

What exactly makes this sandwich such a “dream?” According to Arby’s, “When you’re craving that big Steakhouse taste, this sub delivers. We piled our classic, thinly sliced roast beef with melted Swiss cheese and crispy onions on a toasted ciabatta roll and topped it all off with our zesty cracked peppercorn sauce.”

If you’ve never had an Arby’s roast beef sandwich before, imagine the roast beef being a notch or two above the packet of Carl Buddig “Beef” that your mom used to pack in your lunch for school. Or was that just my mom?

Great, yet another childhood trauma I’ll have to bring up with my therapist at our next appointment. Anyway, Arby’s roast beef is thinly sliced, quite salty, and if you try really hard, you can even detect a vague taste of beef. But that’s about all you’re going to get out of it.

The onions added zero flavor or texture to the sandwich. Arby’s claims they are “crispy onions.” Mine were anything but. I ate some of the stragglers on my plate that had escaped from the Steakhouse Sub, and they were soggy, tough and chewy. It’s like they took a can of French’s French Fried Onions and let them sit in a deep frier for half an hour.

The sauce was actually quite nice on its own; I would even venture to agree with Arby’s claims of it being “zesty.” Much like the onions, it seemed to get swallowed up by the rest of the sandwich and I couldn’t really taste it unless my tongue was in direct contact with the sauced bun. I went to check out the ingredient list and there must have been 50 of them in the sauce alone, but I think the inclusion of steak sauce was probably what gave it a little zing. Or it could have been the disodium inosinate. Who can tell?

Part of the reason I couldn’t feel the chewy texture of the onions was that the ciabatta roll itself was overly chewy. Taking a bite of the Steakhouse Sub felt a bit like I was a puppy wrestling with a rope toy; to tear through the bread, I had to whip my head back and forth with my teeth firmly dug into the bun. I may have even growled once or twice, I’m not entirely sure.

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, but I do think that the bread-to-fillings ratio was tipped too heavily in the former’s favor, especially when it came to the sauce and the onions. I got a few bites where I could taste a little zip from the sauce, but the onions added nothing, and most bites were just a mouthful of bread and some mildly beefy-tasting slices of meat.

If Arby’s thinks their Steakhouse Sub is something that’s going to lure someone already at a steakhouse to their nearest Arby’s drive-thru, they need to head out to a Black Angus Steakhouse and do a little R&D. The fact that I’m using Black Angus as my example of a steakhouse taste they should emulate should speak volumes in and of itself.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich (268 grams) – 750 calories, 360 calories from fat, 40 grams of total fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,970 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugars, 30 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 15% calcium and 20% iron.)

Item: Arby’s Steakhouse Sub

Price: $2.99

Size: 1 sandwich

Purchased at: Arby’s

Rating: 3 out of 10

Pros: Cracked peppercorn sauce was zesty, if you licked the bun. Actual steakhouses. Fair-sized sandwich for the price. Hobo bindles. Making sweeping generalizations about other people’s opinions.

Cons: Too much chewy ciabatta drowning out other flavors. Tough, un-crisp onions. Being the middle child. Arby’s roast beef in general. Playing tug-of-war with my lunch. Carl Buddig.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Pepsi Baobab Winners!!!

Here are the two winners of the recent Pepsi Baobab prize drawing and their favorite fruit(s):

1. margaret (who likes mangoes, bananas and grapefruit)

2. Raymond (who likes apples)

The winners have been emailed and I hope to soon send their sodas on their merry way from my kitchen to their lips.

Congratulations to the two winners and thank you to everyone who entered.

REVIEW: Gerber Simply Strawberry Yogurt Blends

Over the years, I’ve reviewed a number of products meant for those whose vocabulary consists of a lot of gurgles and WAAAHHHHHHs. I don’t try them because of my fetish that involves wearing diapers, using regressed motor skills and vocabulary, and being treated like an infant, which some call paraphilic infantilism, while others call it “whatever floats my boat.” I review these products because if I don’t, the mommy review bloggers win.

Just kidding, mommy review bloggers. I love you guys. Now will one of you sling me over your shoulder and burp me.

I don’t remember what types of food my parents gave me as an infant. But if I don’t remember, it must’ve been either so bad that I’ve repressed any memories of them or most of it ended up in my bib instead of my mouth, which tends to happen nowadays when I’m being fed in my man-sized baby chair. Today, I believe babies eat better than I did when I was an actual baby and not when I role play as a baby and pretend to be excited by the jingling of keys in front of me.

Case in point, the new Gerber Simply Strawberry Yogurt Blends.

If I were a real baby, I’d make my parents pick this stuff up for me by using my limited motor skills to reach for it or cry when we pass by it at the grocery store. If I were a “baby,” I’d make my “parents” pick this stuff up by dropping subtle hints like saying “Pssss” and then pointing at it or writing it down on the list of things I’d like them to do while I’m pretending to be a baby.

Each container is about the size of a snack pack pudding cup and within it is a creamy and smooth yogurt with a pleasant mild strawberry flavor. Unlike most adult yogurts, there isn’t fruit on the bottom so there’s no need to stir, which makes it easier for whoever my “mommy” is. The yogurt gets its strawberry flavor via strawberry puree, juice concentrate and natural strawberry flavor.

It’s like a Yoplait Go-Gurt except in cup form and not as tart. It’s good enough that I’d probably eat it whenever I’m in or out of diapers. I think my adult taste buds like it because of the 11 grams of sugar in it, which makes it quite sweet. But I’m not sure if it’s good to feed that amount of sugar to an infant.

According to the label, it’s for children who are “sitters,” which means they sit independently, pick up and hold small objects in their hands and reach for food or a spoon when hungry. I didn’t know toddlers could be split up into groups like that. I guess it’ll be something new to try next time I’m in diapers.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 container (3.5 ounces) – 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 160 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 4% vitamin A and 20% calcium.)

Item: Gerber Simply Strawberry Yogurt Blends
Price: $3.50
Size: 4 pack
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice strawberry flavor. Smooth and creamy. No artificial sweeteners. No refrigeration needed before opening. No artificial flavors. Good source of calcium. Jingling of keys. Made with whole milk and real fruit. No preservatives. Mommy review bloggers. My desire to dress up like a baby.
Cons: 11 grams of sugar. Getting more food on my bib than in my mouth. No chunks of real fruit. Getting into my man-sized baby chair. Trying to burp me. Food choices for babies born in the 1970s. My desire to dress up like a baby.