REVIEW: Starbucks Pineapple Passionfruit and Paradise Drink Refreshers

Starbucks PIneapple Passionfruit Refreshers Cup

What are they?

Starbucks is sliding into summer with two new fruity beverages: Pineapple Passionfruit and Paradise Drink Refreshers. The Pineapple Passionfruit combines – you guessed it – pineapple and passionfruit flavors plus dried pineapples on top for a sunny yellow drink.

The difference between the two is the Paradise Drink has the base of the Pineapple Passionfruit but adds coconut milk. Starbucks has recently been adding these coconut milk versions to the menu, like the Dragon Drink and Pink Drink.

How are they?

Starbucks PIneapple Passionfruit Refreshers Top

Let’s start with the Pineapple Passionfruit. This one was rather underwhelming. It was not as sweet as I expected it to be, and the aftertaste was very tart. It left me even more thirsty! But, the flavor combination itself was very nice. A plus to this was the dried pineapple chunks – the quantity of these was much larger than the dried fruit in the other Refreshers!

Starbucks Paradise Drink Refreshers Cup

After trying the Pineapple Passionfruit, I was curious how the Paradise Drink would compare. Dear readers, this was like a day and night difference for me. I really, really liked the Paradise Drink. The addition of coconut milk makes it creamy, and the milk cuts the tartness of the pineapple. This tastes like it should be on the cocktail menu at a tropical resort… pass the rum to add, anyone? This super refreshing drink had me wishing I got a larger size.

Starbucks Paradise Drink Refreshers Top

A friendly reminder to those not as familiar with the Refreshers – these beverages don’t pack a huge caffeine punch. I enjoy these as a small afternoon pick-me-up after I’ve already had my morning java jolt.

Anything else you need to know?

If you’re looking to jazz this up even more, the Starbucks app shows a third beverage in this family, the Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Starbucks Refreshers beverage. I’d love to know if you’ve tried this one – leave a comment if so!

Conclusion:

If you’re a pineapple fan or maybe just pretending you’re on vacation, check these out.

Purchased Price: $3.75 (Pineapple Passionfruit), $4.65 (Paradise Drink)
Size: Tall
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Pineapple Passionfruit), 8 out of 10 (Paradise Drink)
Nutrition Facts: Pineapple Passionfruit – 80 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 0 grams of protein, and 35 milligrams of caffeine. Paradise Drink – 110 calories, 2 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 18 grams of total sugars, 0 grams of protein, and 35 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Sandwich (2022)

Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Sandwich  2022 Whole

What is it?

Jack in the Box’s app says, “We took a good sandwich and made it juicier, tastier, and better than ever. Er, well, made it ‘Good Good.’ The classic, grilled 100% all white meat chicken fillet, lettuce, and tomatoes get so much better with Good Good Sauce all on top of Jack’s famous sourdough.”

This new Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a bit more basic regarding toppings and naming than Jack’s previous non-fried chicken sandwich offering — the Sourdough Grilled Chicken Club. It had lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, and mayo on sourdough.

How is it?

Sometimes my willpower to resist the worst items on a fast food menu is strong, and I decide to pick something sensible, like grilled chicken sandwiches, so I have nothing against them. But I can’t say I’ve ever had a GREAT fast food grilled chicken sandwich, and that’s still the case after eating this.

Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Sandwich  2022 Top

As a fan of Jack’s Good Good Sauce, I thought adding the sweet, tangy, and peppery condiment might elevate this, and it does a little. Actually, “elevate” might not be the best word to describe what the sauce does. It saves the sandwich by helping hide the chicken’s main flaw: it has very little flavor. While it’s bland, the poultry piece is surprisingly easy to bite and chew. As for the lettuce and tomato, they do a great job at being the obligatory ingredients in a grilled chicken sandwich.

Overall, I wouldn’t say it’s better tasting than Jack’s previous grilled chicken sandwich. It’s just different.

Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Sandwich  2022 Split

Anything else you need to know?

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a grilled chicken sandwich from Jack in the Box because I’ve been enjoying its Cluck Sandwich these past few years, but if my memory serves me right, I think the past grilled chicken was noticeably thicker.

Conclusion:

This updated Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a perfectly edible sandwich. It will not blow away minds, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick it up again if I want to eat something sensible from Jack in the Box’s menu.

Purchased Price: $7.49*
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 500 calories (full nutritional information not available).

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Strawberry Frosty

Wendy s Strawberry Frosty Top

It’s the most anticipated new Wendy’s menu item since breakfast was unveiled! That’s right, folks. Wendy’s has a Strawberry Frosty.

Yup, it took over fifty years for the chain to add a Strawberry “shake” to its menu. Let that sink in.

Like breakfast, Wendy’s has always been pretty late to the desert game. Sure, the Chocolate Frosty has been a fast food staple for decades, but it didn’t even add Vanilla to the menu until 2006. Now, sixteen years later, Vanilla is getting the temporary boot during the big Strawberry rollout.

So, is it worth all the buzz?

I’d say, yeah… tentatively.

Actually, I’m not entirely sure.

I love a good Chocolate Frosty. I’ve always categorized it as its own entity – not quite a milkshake, but also not quite ice cream. It kinda exists between the two, and it has a texture all its own. The Strawberry Frosty I had just reminded me of a decent strawberry shake.

At no other time would I be disappointed slamming a “decent strawberry shake,” but I guess I expected a little more here. In what might seem like a huge nitpick, I actually think it was too creamy. Also, you’ll rarely hear me say this about anything like this, but I wish it was sweeter.

Wendy s Strawberry Frosty Spoon

The Frosty tasted like Strawberry Nesquik, a childhood favorite, but it was as if they released something called “Strawberry Nesquik Lite.” Say you were mixing it yourself and only used 75% of the suggested amount of syrup. That’s where I landed on the flavor. That might be right up your alley, but I was mildly bored.

To be fair, Wendy’s is pushing the idea that it has the flavor profile of “freshly picked strawberries,” so it’s probably not supposed to be the super artificial sugar bomb I was anticipating.

Don’t get me wrong that would be just fine overall, but I also noted a very faint medicinal aftertaste. Did you ever have chewy Tums or Rolaids antacids that look like candy? I swear I tasted a similar faux fruit taste and the accompanying chalkiness, and that was all I could think with every spoonful.

It sounds like I’m ripping on it, but it wasn’t that bad. I think most people are gonna like it more than I did. If I had to rank it against the other Frosty flavors, it’d be third. If I had to rank it against (my vague memory of) fast food strawberry milkshakes, it would probably be last.

I loved the color. I loved the aroma. I semi-enjoyed the taste.

I didn’t get fries to dip, but it did a great job neutralizing the heat of my Spicy Nuggets, so I certainly wasn’t upset about my meal.

Wendy s Strawberry Frosty Cup

Overall, Wendy’s Strawberry Frosty is not a hit, but it’s also not a dud. It’s a “decent strawberry shake.” There’s a place on the menu for a decent strawberry shake. In fact, I think Wendy’s should bring Vanilla back so people can order a Neapolitan-style mix. I also think it should add toppings and try to make a McFlurry rival called… ready for this obvious gem? Wendy’s Blendies. Let’s chat, Wendy’s R&D.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: Small
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 350 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 40 mg of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 61 grams of total carbohydrates, 52 grams of sugars, 0 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Girl Scout Adventurefuls Caramel Brownie Shake

Jack in the Box Girl Scout Adventurefuls Caramel Brownie Shake Cup

What is it?

I’ll let what I copy and pasted from Jack in the Box’s app explain it:

The name says it all: it’s gonna be delicious, and it’s only gonna be around for a limited time. That’s right, our latest craveable shake is inspired by the newest Girl Scout Cookie – Adventurefuls. This is our classic vanilla shake with brownie pieces and caramel syrup, topped off in the best way: with a Girl Scout Adventurefuls Cookie. Hurry in, the adventure won’t last forever.

The adventure also includes excavating a mountain of whipped topping.

How is it?

Full disclosure: I found the actual Adventurefuls cookie to be underwhelming. It’s good, but the brownie-flavored part should’ve been chewy instead of crunchy, like a real brownie, and I wish the caramel part wasn’t a disc of caramel-flavored creme candy.

But I’m happy to report that this delicious shake makes up for a shortcoming of the actual cookie. However, it has a few shortcomings of its own.

Jack in the Box Girl Scout Adventurefuls Caramel Brownie Shake Brownies

The brownie pieces’ sizes vary from specks to straw-clogging. While the larger ones are chewy and have a rich fudge taste, the flavor of the tinier pieces isn’t noticeable in the caramel-flavored ice cream. Also, I’m not sure I’d say the shake is full of brownies, or brownieful, if you will. The caramel syrup is thoroughly mixed throughout the base, and its flavor complements the fudginess of the larger brownie pieces. But because it’s a flavored syrup and not actual caramel, there aren’t any gooey swirls.

Jack in the Box Girl Scout Adventurefuls Caramel Brownie Shake Specks

Jack in the Box Girl Scout Adventurefuls Caramel Brownie Shake Cookie

In the promo photos, the cookie is placed along the cup’s rim, like it’s lounging in a hot tub. But in my shake, it was placed face down, like it drowned in a hot tub. I know Girl Scout cookies are expensive, but I wish there were also Adventurefuls chunks mixed into the shake, like, um, body sweat in a hot tub.

It didn’t dawn on me until after the fact, but I should’ve crumbled the cookie and mixed it myself instead of doing the uncreative action of taking a couple of bites and then letting the rest sink to the bottom of the shake. But those bites helped me realize that the shake’s flavor is better than the cookie’s.

Anything else you need to know?

If you’re in the drive-thru or eating at the restaurant, ask for a spoon because there’s a good chance your straw will get clogged. Also, thank goodness there isn’t a cherry on top of this shake.

Conclusion:

Jack in the Box’s Girl Scout Adventurefuls Caramel Brownie Shake is more satisfying than the cookie.

Purchased Price: $5.50
Size: Regular
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 800 calories (other nutritional info not available on Jack in the Box website.).

REVIEW: Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Whole

I had already slurped half of my Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float through a straw before I started to wonder if I should be using a spoon instead, and that feeling of confusion perfectly sums up my experience with this new offering from Sonic. It can essentially be broken into three parts — the Sour Patch Kids, the slush, and the float — and they never quite work together.

The majority of this hard-to-describe dessert consists of the slush, which is watermelon-flavored and so sour that I’m glad that this isn’t a video review because the pucker it put on my face was not pretty! I was impressed with how smoothly it went down, though, appealingly liquid-y with gritty ice bits intermingled well enough to give it texture while avoiding the classic Slurpee problem of sucking out all the flavor syrup right away and then getting stranded with a plain cup of ice.

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Spoon

The “float” part comes from the iceberg of vanilla soft serve that sits atop the slush, but I found the name a little misleading. One of the greatest pleasures of a traditional ice cream float is the way the scoops of hard ice cream melt to combine with the soda into a new substance, milky yet flavorful and somehow more than the sum of its parts. That’s what I hoped for here, but it just didn’t happen. The rich soft serve was so intimidatingly thick that not a drop could be sucked through the straw, and even as I lingered over the treat, it showed no signs of melting into something more mixable. With the unyielding ice cream trapping the slush below, I had to do some serious digging to capture both components in the same spoonful, and when I did, there was no harmonious mingling of flavors, just a cold, shockingly tart lump.

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Lid

Of course, to complement the sourness of the slush, there are the Sour Patch Kids candy pieces themselves, but you’d be forgiven for missing them. Their signature “weird little gremlin-person” shape has been traded out for a form that looks more like Fruity Pebbles and doesn’t amount to much more than a colorful garnish. These flakes pretty much all either sat on top of the ice cream or sunk to the bottom of the slush, so they were mostly only present in my first and last sips/bites. But, to give credit where credit’s due, whenever I did encounter them, they were pleasantly chewy, never frozen stiff like I’d feared.

Sonic Sour Patch Kids Slush Float Sign

Though it had its tasty moments, my biggest problem with the Sour Patch Kids Slush Float is that it didn’t capture the versatile flavor profile so perfectly summed up by the Sour Patch Kids slogan, “First they’re sour. Then they’re sweet”. That rapid transition from intensity to relief works brilliantly in a candy where the sour coating can be sucked off to reveal the sweetness underneath, but the slush and the ice cream here never blended well enough to pull off such a trick. I kept wishing I was separately munching Sour Patch Kids candy, slurping a slushie, or licking vanilla ice cream because, like the naughty children in the Sour Patch Kids commercials, these ingredients just did not play well together.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 106 grams of carbohydrates, 92 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.