REVIEW: Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Carl's Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Doesn’t seem like chicken tenders would be such a big deal. Lots of fast food places have them. I’m actually surprised Carl’s Jr. has waited so long to introduce them to the menu.

You’d think such an addition would go gentle into that good night, but no. According to Carl’s, these are not just any chicken tenders. These are hand-breaded chicken tenders, and that is a big deal. There have been an onslaught of commercials: one going the fear route, with nothing but video of “Box 1457 B partially cooked frozen chicken strips” slowly panning out while the ominous voice-over informs you that they’ve been sitting there for 12 days, trying to convince you that even though you’ve been eating these crappy chicken strips for years, if you do it just one more time YOU WILL DIE. Okay, maybe not that bad, but close.

Another takes quite a different spin. Two receptionists stuff their faces with the hand-breaded chicken tenders; one asks the other why she stopped working at Carl’s, and she says it was too much work, with all the dipping and the hand-breading and the frying and the hey lady! Then the phone rings, and the first girl says, “That phone is soooo annoying.” Continue with face-stuffing.

As a female and a former career receptionist/secretary/office bitch, I should be offended, if I was the type of person to be offended by such things. But hey, if it gets the point across and Carl’s Jr.’s marketing department doesn’t mind being accosted by angry feminists and secretaries for portraying all of them as completely vapid bitches, have at it.

The Spanish-speaking contingent gets the best commercial. Isn’t that always the way? Obviously meant as a parody of telenovelas, some dude ogles the hot Latina maid dressed up in a “Sexy French Maid” Halloween outfit. Another hot Latina chick, presumably his wife, catches him in the act and starts screaming, wiping the table clean with a dramatic sweep of her arm and the breakage of several pieces of delicate flatware. The maid then sexily brings the man a tray of chicken tenders, the wife and the man sexily eat the chicken tenders, and the maid looks at them both sexily. I have no idea what is going on, but it is obviously the best of the bunch.

Carl's Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders Inside

Carl’s description of the chicken tenders is “Freshly prepared hand-breaded chicken tenders. Premium, all-white meat chicken hand dipped in buttermilk, lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown. Served with a choice of honey mustard, buttermilk ranch or sweet & bold BBQ dipping sauces.”

Some of these things are true. Some of them are indeterminate. I have to say, I thought the chicken definitely tasted fresher, or perhaps more chicken-like, than I’ve experienced with other fast food chicken strips. It both looks and tastes like an authentic piece of chicken breast. The meat is juicy and fairly tender.

As for the breading, I wouldn’t call it “lightly breaded,” but I also wouldn’t call it “smothered in two inches of crunchy breading,” which is how I would describe KFC’s chicken. Not that that’s a bad thing. Unfortunately, my tenders were fried to a little more than golden brown. I might go so far as to say they were over-fried. They didn’t taste burnt, but they could have been a little more on the golden side. That’s just the vagaries of fast food though; the next order could have been fried perfectly. The breading was crunchy and a little greasy, and didn’t really seem to contain any special spices.

I enjoyed Carl’s Jr.’s Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, but they didn’t exactly blow my mind. Yeah, the chicken tastes fresh, and the breading is pretty good, but to be honest, if I hadn’t been beaten over the head by Carl’s with the idea that these were “freshly prepared” and “hand-breaded,” I wouldn’t have known the difference. The breading is a little bit of a different texture, but doesn’t scream groundbreaking. The Chicken Tenders came with some buttermilk ranch dip, but it too didn’t blow my mind. It would really help if a hot Latina served them to me in a French Maid outfit, though.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 chicken tenders (246 grams) – 560 calories, 280 calories from fat, 31 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,930 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars and 47 grams of protein.)

Other Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders reviews:
An Immovable Feast
Grub Grade

Item: Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Price: $4.69

Size: 5 tenders (246 grams)

Purchased at: Carl’s Jr.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Pros: Chicken was juicy. Hot Latina chicks. Meat seemed like real breast meat. Breading had a good texture. “Box 1457 B.”

Cons: Tenders were over-fried, but that could just be bad luck. Stereotypes that receptionists are dumb and lazy. Breading had no spices or special flavoring. Fear of ever eating pre-breaded chicken strips again. Couldn’t tell if they were hand-breaded or not anyway.

REVIEW: Jones Bacon Flavored Soda

Jones Bacon Flavored Soda

Sometimes I feel like I’m the lamest member of the Jackass crew.

I’m not willing to get kicked in the balls, have animals attack me on purpose, sit in a port-a-potty that’s about to get knocked over, or get my ass cheeks pierced together, but I’m willing to eat fast food items with 1,500+ milligrams of sodium and drink Jones Soda’s Bacon Flavored Soda.

There isn’t a word in any language that properly describes how vile this bacon flavored soda tastes. Shit, I’m surprised I mustered the courage to taste it because a foul stench of artificial bacon wafted into my nasal passages as I brought my mouth towards the opening of the bottle. The smoky, nauseating aroma put my entire digestive system into defensive mode.

Its flavor is extremely potent. It’ll grow hair on your chest, and if you’re somehow able to drink an entire bottle, it’ll probably grow a third nipple, as well. The bacon soda’s smoky and sweet flavor tastes like Jones Soda figured out a way to bottle the things that make babies cry: smoke and candy taken away from babies.

Speaking of crying, drinking it made me tear up. It wasn’t a happy cry or a sad cry, it was more of a frantic “Mommy! Please make it stop!” cry.

I only sipped my way though one-fifth of a bottle because sipping the reddish bacon soda is a chore. Every sip warranted several chasers of something that would get rid of that godawful taste from my mouth.

While those chasers helped wash away the flavor from my taste buds, they did nothing for the memories etched into my brain. Each sip made those grooves deeper and deeper, and it already has reached to the point where just the thought of this bacon soda makes me gag.

While my experience with it was bad, I really feel sorry for the Jones Soda employee or intern who had to taste test all the prototype versions of the Jones Bacon Flavored Soda. Because if the final version is horrible, all the test versions of it must have been worse.

I hate to say this, but I think Jones Bacon Flavored Soda has ruined bacon for me. I’ve said on a number of occasions that bacon makes everything better, but this limited edition bacon flavored soda proved me wrong. Now, just the thought of a bacon cheeseburger makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

Thanks, Jones Soda!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle/12 ounces – 10 calories, 0 grams of fat, 516 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Jones Bacon Flavored Soda
Price: $9.99 (Bacon soda set)
Size: 2-12 ounce bottles
Purchased at: Jones Soda Website
Rating: 0 out of 10
Pros: There’s a bacon flavored soda. Only 10 calories. May get you to quit bacon.
Cons: Godawful. Hard to get. Pricey. Artificial bacon stench. Ruined bacon for me. The prototype versions of this soda. Makes me cry. Its flavor is etched into my brain.

THE WEEK IN REVIEWS – 11/13/2010

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

Started a new store brand review blog this week called Grand Store Brand Land. There are only two reviews up and I predict within a month it will die from neglect, just like my other two blog endeavors: The Impulsive Download (iPhone app reviews) and Cereal Mashup.

There’s a canned spray cheese that’s cheddar and bacon-flavored. All we need are spray meat and spray bread, and then I can consider the world doomed. (via Probably Edible)

If you’re a company that produces carbonated beverages, are you sure you want to name it Flatt? (via Caffeine-A-Holic)

This holiday season, Starbucks is offering an ice cream version of their Peppermint Mocha. Great! Now whenever I have a late night craving for a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, I can just stick it in the microwave. (via On Second Scoop)

Wat-aah! Energy Oxygenated Water has more oxygen than regular water, but can’t I get the same results from drinking a regular bottled water while wearing a Breathe Right nasal strip? (via Screaming Energy)

REVIEW: Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar TIAS!

Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar Tias!

I don’t have any command of the Spanish language, and some might argue I also don’t have a command of the English language, so it’s been difficult to find out why Kettle Brands calls their line of tortilla chips TIAS! I thought the internet would help, but it was quite useless.

When I looked up “tias” on an online language translator, it told me it means aunts in Spanish. When I looked it up on Wikipedia, it told me Tias is a city on the Canary Islands and it’s also the Treaties and Other International Acts Series, a document printed by the U.S. Department of State.

When I looked up the word on YouTube, I hoped to find telenovela clips, but instead I found lots of videos with voluptuous girls in bikinis and slideshows of girls smashing their boobs together to form cleavage while booty music plays in the background. Those videos eventually lead me to tanga videos, and those videos caused YouTube to suggest I watch Brazilian bunda clips.

After spending half a day on YouTube watching a never-ending stretch of booty and boobs, I still don’t have any clue why these Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar Tortilla Chips are called TIAS!

The Nacho Cheddar TIAS! sound like the Toyota Prius of cheese-flavored triangle tortilla chips because they’re all-natural, mostly made from organic ingredients and I felt smug after buying them. Let me tell you, since I bought this bag of Nacho Cheddar TIAS!, I have felt a high level of disdain toward Doritos eaters. It’s a level I haven’t felt since I watched myself eat an entire bag of Doritos in front of a mirror.

Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar Tias! 2

If you read what the packaging says, it’s easy to feel smug: ZERO grams of trans fat, ONLY all natural colors and flavors, ONLY natural oils, NO preservatives, NON-GMO ingredients and REAL food ingredients. These Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar TIAS! may make me feel like an asshole, but at least I can be an asshole while eating something awfully appetizing.

While not as cheesy as Doritos, they have a more authentic cheese flavor. The amount of seasoning on each chip looks ample, but it doesn’t translate into a really strong cheesy flavor. That lack of an intense cheesy flavor also makes the sloppy seconds I have with my fingers, sucking off the light orange seasoning, less delectable.

The Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar TIAS! may not be healthier, as cheesy or as crunchy as Doritos, but they’re an extremely satisfying smug replacement.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce/about 12 chips – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 6 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 55 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% vitamin A, 4% calcium and 2% iron.)

Item: Kettle Brand Nacho Cheddar TIAS!
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 8 ounces
Purchased at: Whole Foods
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Has an authentic cheese flavor. Tasty. All natural colors and flavors. Made mostly from organic ingredients. Zero grams of trans fat. No preservatives. Contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Tanga videos. Brazilian bunda videos.
Cons: May feel smug while eating them. Not healthier than Doritos. Sucking off cheesy fingers is less tasty. Not as crunchy as Doritos. Feeling disdain towards Doritos eaters. The internet unable to tell me why they’re called TIAS!

NEWS: Wendy’s Goes All ‘What Not To Wear’ (Or Insert Any Other Makeover Show Here) On Their Fries

This week, Wendy’s announced a nationwide rollout of its new natural-cut fries with sea salt. After 41 years of their classic fries, which taste great dipped in a Frosty, Wendy’s decided it was time to give them a makeover.

Hmm…an attempt at a makeover after 41 years? Sounds like a particular French fry is having a mid-life crisis.

The fries are made using Russet potatoes that are sliced “natural-style” with the skins left on for additional texture and taste. Then they are cooked in a proprietary oil that contains no allergens and has 0 grams of trans fat. Sea salt is sprinkled to enhance the flavor. The fries are designed to be hotter, crispier and tastier than the original version.

Wendy’s Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt will be priced the same as their current French fries and offered in the same sizes. The nationwide rollout begins November 11th.

Image via Wendy’s

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Snickerdoodle Cookie

Ben & Jerry's Snickerdoodle Cookie

Full title: “Ben & Jerry’s Limited Batch Snickerdoodle Cookie Buttery Cinnamon Ice Cream Loaded with Snickerdoodle Cookies.” Limited Batch! Buttery Cinnamon! Cookies! I haven’t had Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in years, but when I saw this limited edition flavor I knew I’d have to give it a go.

I’ll be honest with you, I had to consult Wikipedia in order to remember exactly what a snickerdoodle cookie is. I knew I’d had them before, specifically around Christmastime, but my family Christmases were so chock full of cookies, candy and everything sugar that I wasn’t sure if I was thinking of the flavor of snickerdoodles, my grandpa’s pfeffernüsse, or those weird white cookies my cousin baked every year that nobody ever ate.

For anyone who might have a memory as poor as mine, snickerdoodles are basically cinnamon-sugar cookies, which explains their inclusion in this cinnamon-infused ice cream. This is the perfect time to introduce this ice cream flavor, what with Christmas sneaking up on us like a mugger in a dark side alley, ready to demand all our money in the form of Clappers and Chia Pets shaped like Garfield’s head.

As the inevitability of crowded malls, sold-out “must have” toys and dysfunctional family gatherings washes over you, maybe you should comfort yourself with a pint of Snickerdoodle Cookie ice cream. To me, cinnamon equals chilly nights, cozy blankets and hot cocoa, all the good things that come along to keep me sane during the oft-stressful holiday season. Let’s try out this ice cream and see if it’s going to give me warm fuzzies or curse Ben & Jerry’s for ruining one of the few things about the holiday season that keeps me from hanging myself from the ceiling fan with a length of tangled Christmas lights. I’m already glaring at it for making me talk about Christmas in November. That shit is verboten in my house.

Fun fact: turns out I don’t own an ice cream scoop.

It’s hard enough to play food photographer and try to make nice, big, inviting mounds of ice cream with a scoop; without one, fuggedaboudit. During my search, however, I did find a scoop-like device in the utensils drawer, a.k.a. the Murder Drawer of Sharp, Unsheathed Knives. I think it used to belong to an espresso machine, but it looks more like a melon baller. Either way, it became an impromptu ice cream scooper. I am MacGyver.

As you can see, there’s plenty of snickerdoodle cookie in Snickerdoodle Cookie. Instead of chunks of cookie, I’d describe them as clusters of crumbles. Delicious crumbles! The ice cream is, as described, buttery, and by that I mean rich and creamy, not “containing properties resembling butter.” That would be gross. Somewhere, someone at Jones Soda just decided to make a Butter Ice Cream flavored soda. I take full responsibility for this.

Both the cinnamon in the ice cream and in the cookie crumbles are perfectly portioned. Too much cinnamon and I would have felt like I was eating a softer version of one of those cinnamon-scented grocery store pine cones that always make me sneeze; too little and it would have just been a creamy vanilla ice cream with sugar cookies. But Snickerdoodle Cookie strikes just the right balance, resulting in me eating the entire bowl and wishing it was a month from now and about 50 degrees cooler outside. Time travel doesn’t exist (yet) and it will never be 20 degrees where I live, so I’m shaking my fist at Ben & Jerry’s while at the same time contemplating eating another bowl.

Snickerdoodle Cookie ice cream nails the flavor of the cookie while also delivering a rich and creamy cinnamon ice cream that is the perfect compliment to the cookie crumbles. Ben & Jerry’s is wise for making this a “Limited Batch,” because while it’s a great flavor for the holiday season, the richness of it wouldn’t make for a very refreshing summertime frozen treat. There’s something about the cold winter season that makes rich foods comforting instead of overwhelming, and this is the case with Snickerdoodle Cookie. I’d suggest waiting until Christmas window displays make you happy instead of angry, curling up under a soft blanket, and eating this ice cream while you watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.

A healthy pour of bourbon to help keep you warm wouldn’t hurt, either.

(Nutrition Facts – ½ cup — 230 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, , 26 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugars, 4 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 0% vitamin C and 0% iron.)

Other Ben & Jerry’s Snickerdoodle Cookie reviews:
On Second Scoop

Item: Ben & Jerry’s Snickerdoodle Cookie
Price: $3.50 (on sale; normally $4.79)
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Albertson’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Ice cream rich and buttery. The word pfeffernüsse. Cinnamon was well-balanced. MacGuyver. Cookie crumbles were yummy. Bourbon.
Cons: Ice cream may be too rich for some. Early Christmas decorations. 230 calories per serving helping to pack on the holiday pounds. Butter Ice Cream flavored soda.