REVIEW: Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sub

Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken

I have good news and I have bad news when it comes to Subway’s new Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sandwich. The good news is that’s it’s significantly better than just smearing BBQ sauce over Subway’s “Oven Roasted” Chicken. The bad news is that you may very well incur the wrath of an esteemed sandwich “artist” in ordering one.

If the guy smoking freshly-killed chicken with Applewood out back in his shack in the North Carolina woods is the Rembrandt of the barbecue universe, then I suppose we should extend the metaphor and proclaim Subway’s very own “artists” as the equivalent of first graders during arts and crafts time.

I knew the sandwich was new and expected some kinks going in, but the look of befuddlement I received when asking for the sandwich (despite, I should add, several prominent displays in the windows for it) was enough to make me wonder if my artist had even brought her brushes to work. That she continued to refer to the meat as “pork” and asked me if I wanted cheese with it made me question if it wasn’t “switch place with your spouse at work day,” but the real kicker was when she proceeded to grow noticeably angry at my polite insistence that she construct this masterpiece to include whatever the picture called for.
 
Clearly, I must not understand tasteful art.
 
But I do understand barbecue, and when it comes to something you can order at a suburban fast food restaurant, this is about the high point. Obviously that’s not saying a lot should you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but who are we kidding, this is a Subway review. The chicken itself is an admirable stab at smoked and pulled chicken. Despite coming from one of those dreaded pre-portioned containers held in a refrigerator, it manages to convey a certain less-than-cloying sweetness with an unexpected lightness of acidity and tang of apple cider vinegar.

Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Innards

The shredded chicken has a mild spice and hint of smoke flavor, which, I’m almost 100 percent certain, was conveyed in the meat and not just the sauce. The meat avoids any fatty strings or cartilage, and has a succulent taste about it which could pass for the kind of really solid imitation pulled chicken BBQ your Weight Watchers Aunt (or Charles Barkley) makes in the slow cooker. Above all, it’s a step up from Subway’s floppy Oven Roasted Chicken, which, even with barbecue sauce, mostly just tastes like rib meat and salt.

Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Next To Oven Roasted Chicken with BBQ

That said, the portion is meager and looks nothing like the advertisement. Crunch (like slaw) is needed on top, while a potato bread base could go a long way to imitate the authentic barbecue experience. Some shaggy interior decorating and southern rock music wouldn’t hurt to inspire the faux atmosphere either, although something tells me that may clash with the artist process.

Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Portion

If you prefer chicken to beef, have exactly four dollars (plus tax) to spend, and decline to dine outside the confines of fast food restaurants, I can see this being a frequent purchase. If, however, you happen to just be some schmuck who’s running late for work and falls victim to unrealistic advertisements (like me), then I would suggest passing. That is, unless you insist on some finger painting and stick figure drawing, for which I’m sure your sandwich artist would be happy to provide on your complimentary napkin.

(Nutrition Facts – 6-inch sandwich – 380 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sub
Price: $4.00 (6-inch)
Size: 6-inch
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chicken gets good BBQ sauce coverage and has a nice smokey-sweet flavor. Not too salty. Better than Oven Roasted Chicken. 32 grams protein (allegedly). Fingerpainting.
Cons: Getting yelled at by a sandwich artist. Holding up the line at Subway. Too little meat. Needs crunch. Bring your own Skynyrd. Admitting I don’t dislike healthy crock pot “BBQ” chicken.

REVIEW: Snickers 3X Chocolate Bar

Snickers 3X Chocolate Bar

Somebody or something must have pissed off the person who created the packaging for Snickers 3X Chocolate. I imagine this individual must have found out that he is the victim of an adulterous relationship involving a baboon infected with Ebola, he lost his music library because the hard drive crashed and his DVR taped Housewives of Karadashianville instead of the latest Parks and Recreation all on the same day. How else to explain it?

This wrapper is more obnoxious than that Mad Money bald guy on CNBC that just screams at me for how stupid I am for not buying low and selling high. I admit it. I am stupid for not buying Apple stock!!! Are you happy? I know I’m a disappointment to my family. Yes, it’s called self-medication, I prefer it to self-flagellation!!

(Swallows some Johnnie Walker Double Black)

Snickers 3X Chocolate Save for Later

First, the package is a hideous blue with “Snickers 3X Chocolate” in a bold logo. Next to the words is “2 TO GO” in a red stripe that leads you to the words “Twist to close”. Before I can even open the damn thing, the package reminds me, or rather scolds “Save One for Later”. Eff you stupidhead, I’m gonna eat both.

In the rare times when I want a candy bar, I definitely do not want one that nags the piss out of me. Geeze, my ego can only take so much before I feel insecure and turn to a rerun of the “Facts of Life” for comfort.

Speaking of comfort, I walked into my usual convenience store. I was hoping to find those fabled 7-Eleven banh mi sandwiches a few of my friends have run into there. If Vietnamese sandwiches from a gas station sound disgusting, they probably are. Anyone who has scarfed down a Cuban breakfast grill sandwich from this place knows what hell they are bringing themselves to.

Looking in vain, I sadly went down the candy aisle toward the exit. Then a blue candy bar caught my attention. How can it not with all of its obnoxious writing? Snickers 3X Chocolate?! As humans we sure love numbers: twice as hard, five times likely, a guaranteed three times the increase, twenty five-hundred times the absorbing rate. Vague claims but, in a Pavlovian manner, we just nod and agree it is twice or five times the whatever.

Refreshingly the 3X does make sense here. It refers to the 3 times chocolate, so congratulations to all of you who have a chocolate fetish.

The bar is made of milk chocolate with chocolate caramel and chocolate flavored nougat. That’s a lot of damned chocolate! And of course there are the obligatory peanuts Snickers is known for. This Snickers aims to not only satisfy your hunger but to also satiate those who need to have as much freaking chocolate in their life as possible.

Snickers 3X Chocolate Single Bar

Upon opening the package, you get two dense and heavy chocolate bars that are each about two and a half inches long. They have the heft of one of those old cell phones with the flimsy retractable antenna. My wife dismissed it and continued drinking her cherry Slurpee spiked with Bacardi which makes for a quickie solution if you want a “cruise shippy” drink.

Snickers 3X Chocolate Closeup

Lucky for us, the person who designed the ugly wrapper probably had little to do with the candy bar itself. The chocolate bar is indeed dense and tightly packed. I was amused when I sliced it in pieces as it resembled those educational diagrams demonstrating what is under our feet. You know the ones that look like a layer cake: first the grass, followed by the soil, then a billion old Atari 2600 cartridges buried during the video game glut, some bedrock, and finally the magma. I was concerned the bar would be tough to bite into it. However, the bar had a soft give which was nice.

I immediately tasted the roasted nuttiness from the peanuts which is the best thing to me about Snickers. The milk chocolate shell of the bar is not waxy like cheapo chocolate, rather it’s very milky and flavorful. Surprisingly, the chocolate caramel is rich but doesn’t overwhelm the peanuts. Then like the ending to most of Dolph Lundgren’s movies, I was left feeling a tiny bit disappointed. The fluffy chocolate nougat is too sweet for my liking and leaves a slight unpleasant aftertaste.

With that said, while it may sound like there is too much chocolate, Snickers 3X Chocolate works. Neither component takes over strongly even with the overly sweet nougat. You can still taste the caramel and peanuts. I like the bar enough to buy it again but if given a choice, between Snickers or its amped up chocolate cousin…I would go with the original because of the chocolate nougat.

I believe you should be able to find this at most convenience stores. It is definitely worth a try if you can get through the bitchy wrapper. If anything, you’re probably safer sticking with this than a cultural sandwich exchange from a gas station.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 210 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 3 grams of protein.)

Other Snickers 3X Chocolate Bar
Chocolate Mission

Item: Snickers 3X Chocolate Bar
Price: $1.29
Size: 3.14 oz package (contains two heavy bars)
Purchased at: 7-Eleven that has thoughtful, if not tasty, international tinged sandwiches
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The chocolate is very milky and smooth. Ron F’n Swanson. The peanuts bring the entire bar together. No flavor overwhelms each other and works together nicely. It still satisfies and if you love everything chocolate, you can happily die now. Atari 2600 graphics. The ending to Showdown in Little Tokyo.
Cons: The chocolate nougat is a little too sweet and it leaves a bleh aftertaste. Mad Money Jim Cramer. Packaging that treats me like an imbecile. Eating both bars is 18 grams of fat, 18 grams of fat! Blowing in cartridges to get them to work. The ending to I Come in Peace (“…and you go in pieces”).

REVIEW: Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak

Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak

With menu items like Beijing Beef and their new Shanghai Angus Steak, it’s safe to say Panda Express likes using alliteration and Chinese locations in their entree names, so I’m hoping the next item that pops up on Panda’s menu is Canton Chicken Feet.

If you’re a Chinese cuisine expert, or read Wikipedia entries about Chinese cuisine for 15 minutes, you would know Shanghai is not known at all for steak. Instead, Shanghai, one of the most populated cities in the world, is known for two other foods that begin with the letter S: seafood and stinky tofu. While I could see Shanghai Shrimp being served at Panda Express, I don’t think most American palates and olfactory organs could handle stinky tofu.

But back to Panda Express’ new Shanghai Angus Steak, which consists of thick slices of Angus Top Sirloin marinated with Asian seasonings, asparagus, mushrooms, and Panda’s new zesty Asian steak sauce.

PanEx wasn’t kidding when they said on their website that this entree has “thick cut slices” of Angus steak. (Yes, I’m going to start calling Panda Express, PanEx, like I call American Express, AmEx. Be one of the cool kids and do the same.) Look at the photo above. Then look at the photo below. Some of those chunks are the size of baby limbs.

Baby limbs!

Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak Closeup

And they’re also as tender as I imagine baby limbs to be. Occasionally, there was some connective tissue or something else, which made part of the meat a little tough, but 98 percent of the time the thick steak slices were easy to chew. The Angus steak also has a nice flavor that wasn’t overwhelmed by the dish’s sauce, which I’ll talk more about in a moment.

The mushroom slices were also substantial. Their size made me wonder if any Smurfs are now homeless. As for the asparagus, the stalks were chopped into one inch pieces, but there weren’t any asparagus tips in the two Shanghai Angus Steak servings I purchased. The “zesty Asian steak sauce” tastes like a light teriyaki sauce with a slight kick at the back end. I could’ve done without the zesty part, but the rest of the sauce was pleasant and, again, it didn’t drown the flavor of the steak.

The Shanghai Angus Steak isn’t as tasty as PanEx’s Beijing Beef, but it’s significantly healthier. A serving of Beijing Beef has 690 calories, 40 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 890 milligrams of sodium, while a serving of Shanghai Angus Steak has 220 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 910 milligrams of sodium.

Just like when you order a shrimp entree at PanEx, you have to pay an extra dollar for the Shanghai Angus Steak. Is it worth it? I say yes.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 serving – 220 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 910 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 21 grams of protein.)

Item: Panda Express Shanghai Angus Steak
Price: $9.69 (2-entree plate)
Size: 2-entree plate
Purchased at: Panda Express
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Baby limb-sized slices of Angus steak. Huge mushrooms. Tender steak. Pleasant Asian steak sauce. One of the healthier items on the menu. Good source of protein. Calling Panda Express, PanEx.
Cons: Not as tasty as Beijing Beef. Zesty part of sauce seemed unnecessary. Charging an extra dollar per serving. Around for a limited time. Not as tasty as Orange Chicken. Stinky tofu. Homeless Smurfs.

REVIEW: Skinny Cow Slimited Edition Mmmmocha Truffle Bars

Slimited Edition Skinny Cow Mmmmocha Truffle Bars-WM

As a reviewer at The Impulsive Buy and a natural-born impulsive buyer, I am often swayed into checking out new items based on the punny-ness of the products’ names. It should be obvious, then, that I needed to try the new Skinny Cow ice cream bar, as its name offers puns both inspired (Slimited: so straightforward yet so effective) and confusing. (Is “Mmmmocha” supposed to represent me saying “mmmm” with delight, or it is an oddly-executed play on cow onomatopoeia?)

Plus, swimsuit slimsuit swimsuit season is right around the corner, so I figure a review of a low-fat product is in order. Each Mmmmocha Truffle Bar has just 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat while somehow containing 3 grams of fiber. Let’s all take thirty seconds to do a Google search of “how could there be fiber in ice cream” and see how terrifying the results are. Ready? Hey, not that terrifying! We should just act like ice cream fiber is totally normal so I can get on with the review.

Slimited Edition Skinny Cow Mmmmocha Truffle Bars Closeup-WM

When taken out of its packaging, the ice cream bar looked pretty appealing. It was a slightly lighter color than the photo on the box, and the chocolate drizzle was neatly latticed. As I took my own photos, I was surprised by how quickly the bar began to lose its shape. Without a hard chocolate shell like many other ice cream bars, the Mmmmocha Truffle Bar just melted very quickly. The Skinny Cow ice cream really needed a Spanx-like chocolate shell to maintain its form, but all it had was some fishnet stocking chocolate drizzle.

The bar had a pleasant coffee taste that wasn’t particularly strong or sweet. The chocolate drizzle added moments of more acute sweetness, and the slight crunch of the chocolate provided a little bit of a textural contrast. I was mildly surprised at how creamy it was, but my expectations for low-fat ice cream were probably unreasonably low. In the end, it didn’t quite satisfy my ice cream fix for the day, so I threw away the last few bites and grabbed a scoop of the premium stuff in my freezer.

Overall, I felt decidedly “meh” about the Skinny Cow Slimited Edition Mmmmocha Truffle Bars, especially since $6.99 for six bars felt kind of pricey. Still, they may have a role to play in your dieting plans (prepare for the most back-handed recommendation ever): As a friend was explaining to me recently, great-tasting low-calorie foods actually ruin plenty of diets because people feel justified in eating more servings and always end up finishing the whole box. These ice cream bars are fine but not so tasty that you’ll want to eat all six servings at once. If you’re really committed to dieting but can’t give up ice cream completely, the Skinny Cow Slimited Edition Mmmmocha Truffle Bars will be a very nice fit for you.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 100 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 6% vitamin A, and 20% calcium.)

Item: Skinny Cow Slimited Edition Mmmmocha Truffle Bars
Price: $6.99
Size: 6 bars
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant coffee taste. Chocolate drizzle added sweetness and a slight crunch. Creamier than I expected. The word Slimited. Working Spanx into a well-shaped metaphor. Also having premium ice cream in the freezer right now. Sticking to diets.
Cons: Melted really quickly. Still not that creamy. Kind of pricey. The word Mmmmocha. Backhanded recommendations. Not actually thinking ice cream fiber is normal.

NEWS: Hot Pockets Snackers Now Comes In Honey BBQ Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_1293

Last year, we reviewed the original four Hot Pockets Snackers varieties. This year, Hot Pockets has added two new flavors to the bite-sized snack line: Honey BBQ Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese.

To be honest, after reviewing them, I thought the Hot Pockets Snackers would end up being discontinued. Instead, they ended up coming in bigger bags and now there are more flavors. And those instincts are the reasons why I will never be a product manager for a major food company.

The “baked not fried” snacks come in 10-ounce bags that contain approximately 12 Snackers. Freezer Burns recently reviewed the Honey BBQ Chicken variety.