REVIEW: McDonald’s Chips Ahoy McFlurry

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry

When was the last time you bought regular Chips Ahoy! Cookies?

I’m talking about those run of the mill, plain ol’ blue bag Chocolate Chip Chips Ahoy!?

I bet it wasn’t recently. Why would you? I did the math, and there are approximately 394 better cookie options sold in any supermarket at any given time. Hell, Chips Ahoy (no more exclamation points) spinoffs probably equate for about 50% of those.

They’re iconic, but they’re just not that good anymore. They’ve been lapped. I have no time for the old school “meh” flavor and texture of a regular Chips Ahoy, so why do I wanna try them as an ice cream topper so badly?

I guess I can chalk it up to loving the Chipwich. And the McDonald’s McFlurry.

The newest member of the McDonald’s frozen family blends chunks of Chips Ahoy cookies and caramel in its classic vanilla soft serve ice cream.

A blended Chipwich with caramel swirls? That sounds damn good to me regardless of the cookie.

If you’ve ever had a McFlurry – and I know you have – you know that iconic vanilla soft serve is a perfect base.

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry Top

McDonald’s soft serve will forever hold a soft spot in my heart. I always reminisce about getting one of those complimentary tiny cones when I went there as a kid. I wish they sold it as a standard vanilla ice cream in stores, so I can mess around and make my own McFlurry Frankenstein monsters at home.

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry Cookie Closeup

The aforementioned “meh” texture of Chips Ahoy makes for an ideal ice cream add-in. They never lose that crunch, and I just find that it works better in morsel-sized bites.

McDonald s Chips Ahoy McFlurry Caramel Lid

The heaping blob of caramel piped into the ice cream is the star of the show. It acted as a binding agent that delivered a generous bite of cookie with every scoop of ice cream.

As I ate on, I realized exactly what this reminded me of — a coconut-less Girl Scout Samoas Sundae.

I don’t know how I could dislike a cookie so much but love it when it’s added to ice cream. But here we are. I feel the same way about the original Milk Chocolate bag of M&M’s. I would never buy them on their own, yet I can’t get enough of them in ice cream.

This was one of the better McFlurries I’ve had in ages. It also acted as a delicious neutralizing dessert for the Spicy McNuggets (I’d give them a 7 out of 10) I ate before it.

I went in knowing it would be decent at worst. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and caramel, how could it be bad? I came out shocked at just how good it was. Usually, a “snack size” McFlurry hits the spot just fine, but I was actually bummed I didn’t opt for at least a medium.

I plan on trying the McNuggets again, so you better believe I’ll be chasing them with another Chips Ahoy McFlurry, exclamation point. I hope the ice cream machine is operational next time you hit up Mickey D’s because you need to give this a try.

Purchased Price: $2.79
Size: Snack
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 460 calories, 13 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 77 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 53 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Domino’s Cheeseburger Pizza

Domino s Cheeseburger Pizza Whole

There is a semi-large, local to Kansas City pizza chain that makes a really fine cheeseburger pizza. I just thought I’d throw that out there to let it be known that a tasty cheeseburger pizza is within the realm of possibility.

What this local chain does right, it’s worth noting, is add pickles (you know, sliced pickle “chips”) and gobs of mustard. Now, I’m not even a mustard and pickle person on my REGULAR cheeseburger, let alone when I consume a pizza masquerading as a cheeseburger. But on this particular pie, it works.

Sadly, unless you are in the KC Metro area, you can’t have this unorthodox delight. Instead, I present to you, Domino’s depressing new cheeseburger pizza. According to the chain, their pizza is made with “a ketchup-mustard sauce, American cheese, beef, fresh onions, diced tomatoes, shredded provolone and cheddar cheese.” Opening the box, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well it had been constructed. The smell was appealing, too, but only in a generic, “yep, that smells like a pizza, alright” sort of way.

The visual and olfactory positives would be the high points of this forgettable dining experience.

Domino s Cheeseburger Pizza Plated

The first thing I noticed when taking a bite was the overpoweringly obnoxious falsity that is American cheese. I’ve unwittingly ended up with American cheese on another Domino’s pizza at some dark point in the past, and all I really want to know is why? American cheese has its place in the world, sure – on an actual cheeseburger, mixed up in some scrambled eggs, melting messily atop a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich – but the desire to include it on a pizza is peculiar, no matter what the pizza purports to be.

The next thing I noticed was that I DIDN’T notice the sauce. As previously stated, the pizza was supposed to have a ketchup-mustard sauce. There was something under the cheese, I think, but all I really detected were subtle notes of slightly tangy wet.

Onions were present, but there were few and they added little, and the beef was your standard pre-formed, pre-cooked, straight-from-a-box, hamburger pellet that seems to find its way onto any national chain pizza when “beef” is involved. (Somewhere there is a beef pellet factory churning out hundreds of thousands of pounds of this product annually, I’m sure.)

Domino s Cheeseburger Pizza Closeup

Two things surprised me in a good way: the diced tomatoes added a pleasant and necessary juiciness to the proceedings (and I say this as someone who is generally anti-hot tomatoes in most situations) and the hand-tossed crust tasted fresh and flavorful, with a buttery, crunchy exterior and a soft, pillowy interior.

Domino s Cheeseburger Pizza Floppy

In fact, the crust was so enjoyable, and the construction and freshness of the overall pizza so impressive, I found myself excited to try Domino’s again at some point in the near future. Only, you know, not this particular pizza. And okay, probably not for full price. But the next time they run one of their 50% off specials? I will definitely consider probably giving them another shot. Maybe.

Purchased Price: $11.99 (promo price)
Size: Large
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice) 380 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 880 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Domino’s Chicken Taco Pizza

Domino s Chicken Taco Pizza Whole

I am an Iowa native.

Why is this relevant?

Because Iowa is home to the first taco pizza! Happy Joe’s, a Midwest pizza chain, supposedly invented it in 1974. I grew up on the “original” taco pizza with refried beans, taco-seasoned meat, lettuce, tomatoes, taco chips sprinkled on top (my favorite part), and taco sauce on the side.

Although Domino’s Chicken Taco Pizza lacks many of those ingredients, I wanted to give it a try. I could’ve added my own chips and salsa, but sadly my kitchen lacked these add-ons when I ordered mine. It does includes American cheese, taco seasoning, grilled chicken, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, provolone cheese, and cheddar cheese. It looks like it was built in this order as well.

Domino s Chicken Taco Pizza Slice 2

It has no traditional sauce, instead replaced by American cheese and taco seasoning. With my pizza, these base ingredients were not equally distributed with my first slice being heavy with the seasoning, while my second slice was more American cheese. The seasoning is what really gives this its taco essence. Plus, I don’t know a lot of folks who include American cheese in their usual lineup of taco ingredients.

Domino s Chicken Taco Pizza Slice

The other components were better distributed, but kind of blended together with no single ingredient overpowering the others. As expected, there were obvious texture differences — a chunk of chicken tastes and feels different from a green pepper string.

Domino s Chicken Taco Pizza Cheese Closeup

The provolone and cheddar cheeses also blended together and started congealing, which pizza cheese does if not immediately eaten. That was likely due to time delays from my pizza being ready until I actually got to bite into it. (I had to wait about 30 minutes from the time Domino’s Pizza Tracker indicated mine was ready until it finally hit my mouth!) So it was lacking in cheesy ooziness as well as a strong scent, which are two components that typically get me excited to dive into a pizza.

Domino’s has touted this (as well as its new Cheeseburger Pizza) as “designed for delivery” given that tacos and burgers are not food items that always deliver well. This pizza is not a taco replacement, but it is a solid Domino’s offering with some taco-flavored inspiration (mostly the seasoning).

Some of the ingredients could be found in a taco, although the onion and green peppers seem more fajita-esque. To enhance it with your own taco-flair, I recommend adding some chips (hard-shell bits or crumbled Doritos) and salsa.

While I do not think Domino’s Chicken Taco Pizza compares to the “original” taco pizza, I would probably order it again if wanting a change from any traditional pizza.

Purchased Price: $11.99
Size: Large
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 slice) 350 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 780 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 1 gram of added sugars, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets and Mighty Hot Sauce

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Package 1

If there were a Netflix mini-series about Fast Food Fried Chicken, spicy nuggets deserve their own episode.

Obviously, spicy chicken is nothing new, but when it comes to fast food’s big players, Wendy’s was the first one out of the gate with spicy nuggets. But its on-again, off-again availability eventually opened up space for Burger King to come onto the scene in 2017. They also came with a healthy side of creative social media stunts, including giving away free nuggets to anyone named “Wendy.” Amazing!

McDonald’s has offered spicy chicken items along the way, from various sandwiches to its Spicy Chicken McBites in 2012. But these new McDonald’s Spicy Chicken McNuggets are, apparently, the first new nugget flavor (officially) since 1983. And that’s not all, folks. These are accompanied by the Mighty Hot Sauce, the first new dipping sauce since 2017 (2018’s Szechuan sauce was a return, remember?)

My first impression? The packaging is lame. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so who cares?

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Orange 2

My second impression? These nuggets are gorgeous! They had more of an orangey hue (am I imagining that?) than the standard Chicken McNuggets, and the tempura coating looked extra flakey. The Mighty Hot Sauce had the crimson tincture of torturous flames and visible chili flakes. Ohboyohboyohboy!

I tried the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce first. The texture was familiar and on point, super flakey and with that sort of airy fluffiness McNuggets are known for. I’m sure that texture isn’t everyone’s preference, but these deliver if you like McNuggets.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Bite 3

The spice level started out mild and grew naturally, like heat from a real spice source. Mine seemed to have a “dry heat,” which you’d expect on chicken. There doesn’t appear to be any seasoning within the nugget; it’s all on the coating.

My only small complaint is that the spice level seems to vary drastically from nugget to nugget. I was concerned when the first McNugget didn’t deliver much heat, but it grew with the second. But it doesn’t get hot enough for me when eating the Spicy McNuggets without the sauce.

McDonald s Spicy Chicken McNuggets Sauced 4

But then, from a humble little black plastic cup, comes the Mighty Hot Sauce, karate-kicking the doors RIGHT off this mother with HEAT.

This sauce is fire. It coats the Spicy McNugget perfectly. In the laziest of descriptions, it’s like the sweet and sour sauce with heat. But it’s better than that. It has pepper flavor, a vinegar kick that hits you right away, a sweet *thwak* from, what is that on the label, Apricot? And then a long slow burn that leaves your tongue and lips tingling for a while after you’re done eating.

Pretty soon, I couldn’t tell whether the heat of each new bite was building from the McNuggets, or if the Mighty Hot Sauce was just blazing away. I found myself wishing I’d asked for honey or maybe ranch to balance it out. When I get these again (yep, “when”), I’ll definitely order fries and try dipping them in this spicy sauce.

Overall, I think this entry into the spicy nugget competitive landscape was well done by Mc’y D’s. It stayed true to its style of McNuggets while offering something new with a spice level you can build upon to your liking. If you want to take it to a 10, load on that Hot Mighty Sauce.

I’m glad McDonald’s didn’t try to overhaul its signature McNuggets too much, and that it launched a hot sauce that is genuinely hot. I will definitely be a repeat customer.

P.S. For what it’s worth, 50% of my McNuggets were boot shapes! Is there some kind of McNugget horoscope reading for when that happens?

Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 6 Spicy McNuggets + 1 Mighty Hot Sauce
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 McNuggets) 250 Calories, 16 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 540 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Pretzel Bacon Pub Chicken Sandwich

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Top

If we can agree on anything in these divisive times, it’s that pretzel buns are one of the greatest food inventions since Jakob Gareth Food created food in 1295.

We can agree on that, right? I know you’re nodding your heads, “yes,” so I can just move on.

In 2013, Wendy’s released the Pretzel Pub Sandwich, and it instantly knocked the Bacon Mushroom Melt out of my Wendy’s gold medal spot.

The combination of that iconic chicken, two types of cheese (Muenster and cheddar), and honey mustard on a perfectly tender pretzel bun had me coming back at least once a week. I would throw those bad boys down faster than you can say, “Sir, this is a Wendy’s,” but alas, just as the employees were memorizing my name and face, it was gone.

I’m pretty sure Wendy’s dabbled with other pretzel bun fare in the years since, but nothing ever came close to that Pretzel Pub Sandwich. Well, guess what, folks? It’s a miracle. Pretzel Pub Sandwiches are back, but this time along with the cheese and honey mustard, there’s bacon, pickles, and fried onions along for the ride.

So that’s it. That’s the review. I gushed about the OG Pretzel Pub, and this is the same sandwich with three awesome additions. It’s a 10 out of 10, right?

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Flipped Lid

No, and I’m bummed beyond belief. There is just way too much going on with this sandwich. Each ingredient is great on its own, but once plopped on top of each other, none really stood out, and it made for a buzzkill of a meal.

I remember the original sandwich being a compact, tasty, and harmonious masterpiece. Here, the two gloopy ingredients (beer cheese and honey mustard) mixed with the lightly melting muenster make a gross texture with a flavor I could only describe as…warm?

I got a spicy chicken filet, and even that familiar flavor ended up being bland and masked. Honestly, the pickles had the most dominant flavor in the sandwich and kinda didn’t belong.

Now, while I’m pretty mad, it wasn’t all bad. I didn’t hate it.

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Middle

The pretzel bun was still God-tier. I just love a soft pretzel’s taste and texture and believe any sandwich instantly improves with them as bread. Wendy’s cooks the best bacon in the fast food game, so no complaints there. Crispy fried onions are the most underutilized burger topper in the world, and should replace every raw onion moving forward.

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Bite

Again, these are all good ingredients on their own, but combined? What a mess. There were too many cooks in the kitchen when they came up with this updated sandwich.

You can order a Pretzel Pub Burger, and I suspect all these ingredients might work better with beef. But I think the move might be to customize your own variation in the app.

I’m not even positive that’s allowed, but I’m going back to try this with two fewer ingredients. I think I might just cut the “Pub” out entirely and lose the beer cheese. Two sauces were just too messy.

I’ve probably romanticized the 2013 Pretzel Pub too much over the years, so you may like this much more than I did. It’s worth a shot, but just make sure you’re parked or at home while you eat it, because it’s a big sloppy experience.

Purchased Price: $6.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 840 calories, 42 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1780 milligrams of sodium, 71 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Pumpkin Cookie Butter Shake

Dairy Queen Pumpkin Cookie Butter Shake Cup

What is the Dairy Queen Pumpkin Cookie Butter Shake

While the Fall Blizzard Menu gets all the attention, Dairy Queen has also launched a new autumnal shake. It’s a pumpkin shake (made with real pumpkin puree) with cookie butter flavoring. I think it’s supposed to be topped with a sprinkling of nutmeg, but I didn’t get any.

How is it?

This shake really nails everything it tries to be. I taste the pumpkin spice flavor that is so iconic and comforting this time of year. I also notice the speculoos cookie butter (you know, like the Biscoff cookies you get on an airplane), and there are even minuscule, crunchy cookie crumbs.

The ratios of pumpkin, spices, cookie crumbs, and ice cream are perfect. It’s delightful!

Dairy Queen Pumpkin Cookie Butter Shake Top

They gave me a spoon, but I consumed the whole thing with a straw.

Anything else you need to know?

I literally have nothing bad to say about this shake’s flavor.

So why am I not giving it a 10 out of 10?

Well, pumpkin shakes have been around longer than the pumpkin craze, and cookie butter has been quite popular in recent years. Both pumpkin spice and cookie butter have similar flavor profiles. So while this shake is wonderful, it’s not really new territory.

Conclusion:

Don’t let the Blizzards’ publicity distract you from this gem of a shake.

Purchased Price: $2.39
Size: Small
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 520 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fatty acid, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, 56 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.