QUICK REVIEW: Burger King Crispy Pretzel Chicken Fries

Burger King Crispy Pretzel Chicken Fries 1

What is it?

Hooray, it’s a new Burger King menu item that ISN’T just a slight variation of its King burger formula! Alas, that doesn’t mean said product is anything radically unique, though. Instead, BK’s newfangled Pretzel Chicken Fries are more or less a minute redressing of its meaty side dish…complete with a snazzy cardboard container featuring plenty of puns about both poultry and pretzels.

Burger King Crispy Pretzel Chicken Fries 2

How is it?

Burger King Crispy Pretzel Chicken Fries 3

If you’ve tried the BK Chicken Fries before, you know what to expect here. The taste, text and general mouthfeel is the same, and to be perfectly honest with you fine people, I thought the pretzel flavor — while noticeable — was still a little underwhelming.

Burger King Crispy Pretzel Chicken Fries 4

You might expect the fries to have a nuttier, saltier taste, but by and large you have to really focus to even absorb the pretzel taste while you’re chewing. And in case you’re wondering, using any of BK’s proprietary sauces pretty much negates any kind of pretzel flavoring you might detect in these suckers.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Long story short, if you’ve had the regular Chicken Fries, you’ve basically already tried these. Yes, there is a subtle pretzel flavor in there, but it’s so subdued that I’m not even sure I’d be able to distinguish it from the regular Chicken Fries in a blind taste test. That said, the 9-piece set is actually astonishingly filling — you may not think that less than 400 calories worth of side dish can put a dent in your stomach, but these things might just surprise you.


Although the product is only nominally “new,” as a limited-time-only offering it’s not bad at all. The fries are warm, flavorful and chewy, and they go incredibly well with the in-house zesty sauce (which, I think we can all agree, should’ve become a retail item a LONG time ago.)

As an overall fast food item, I’d say it’s well above average, but as an “event” food, so to speak, it’s hardly anything worth going out of your way to experience. And if you’re a health-conscious consumer, don’t even think about going anywhere near these things: with a whopping 1,200 milligrams of sodium, the Pretzel Chicken Fries contain nearly 30 percent MORE salt than a regular old BK Whopper.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 9-pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 340 calories, 21 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,200 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Cold Brew Frozen Coffee

McDonald s Cold Brew Frozen Coffee

Superman is Clark Kent without glasses and a suit.

McDonald’s Cold Brew Frozen Coffee is the Golden Arches’ Cold Brew Frappe without the whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.

While it’s hard to believe no one realizes Mr. Kent is the Man of Steel, it’s easy to see the Cold Brew Frozen Coffee is a Cup of Slush.

The fast food behemoth’s newest attempt to cool and caffeinate you at the same time is a combo of the chain’s new cold brew coffee Frappe base and ice that ends up looking like a chocolate shake. Sadly, McDonald’s isn’t offering a non-frozen version of the beverage. Although, if you wanted a less crystalline drink, you could buy this and let it melt in the summer sun.

With McDonald’s Frappe, the whipped topping, drizzle, and syrup in and on it create a coffee camouflage that does a great job at hiding from your taste buds the fact you’re drinking java.

McDonald s Cold Brew Frozen Coffee 2

This blended beverage is still sweet and creamy, like a Frappe, but without the added sugary ingredients, the coffee flavor stands out a bit more. The cold brew process creates a sweeter and smoother cup of joe than hot brewed, but it’s impossible to tell in this since it comes with a bunch of sugar and cream.

Although I didn’t try the Frappe version, this has the right level of dairy and sweetness for me. Whenever I order a Frappe or a Starbucks Frappuccino, there’s almost always a point when it gets too cloying and I don’t want to finish it (but I somehow find the strength to muscle through it). But with this, I sucked the whole thing through a straw without hesitation.

Okay, not completely without hesitation. There were moments when I had to pause due to brain freeze.

Because I like my McDonald’s java drinks to be sugary, creamy, and made with a proprietary coffee base, this is right up my caffeinated alley. So if you enjoy McDonald’s Frappe beverages, but wished there was something that tastes and looks less like a dessert, the Cold Brew Frozen Coffee might be for you.

Of course, if you have coffee running through your veins from a country I can’t find on a map, you will probably shun this delicious combo of cold, coffee, caffeine, cream, and sweet crystals.

(Nutrition Facts – small – 290 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 34 grams of sugar, 0 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: Small
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: A delicious combo of cold, coffee, caffeine, cream, and sweet crystals. Tasty way to get caffeinated. No whipped cream, syrup, or drizzle to mask the coffee’s flavor. Not cloying like a Frappe (but still sweet).
Cons: Hard to notice the nuances of cold brew coffee. Was so easy to drink that I got brain freeze. Unknown amount of caffeine. McDonald’s cold brew should also come in a non-frozen form.

REVIEW: Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino

I generally can’t take anything with the adjective “serious” in it, seriously. But that’s the beauty of Starbucks’ new Serious Strawberry Frappuccino Blended Beverage. Strawberry is a fun, summer flavor, but this drink is so good that you should take it seriously.

We know Starbucks has a track-record for creating awesome fruit-flavored summer beverages, but I didn’t see this one coming! I thought at least the tasty mango pineapple flavor from last summer would be back, but I actually saw it as the lead at its Hong Kong and Taipei locations instead.

Either way, I’m not complaining. This new flavor makes more sense as it stays in the theme of R&D refreshing core flavors we already know and love. Although, truth be told the old Strawberries & Crème flavor never appealed to me, but Serious Strawberry’s botanical infusion and puree definitely did.

Speaking of the old flavor, Serious Strawberry means business as it replaces said old flavor completely, unlike the other new flavors. So, it’s particularly surprising that it’s not denoted with “Blended Crème” per Starbucks’ typical non-caffeinated nomenclature.

When picking up my drink, I got a kick out of the barista announcing, “Serious Strawberry for Tiffany!” It sounded so silly that I had my own Bart Simpson Anita Bath tee-hee-hee moment. But, that’s part of the charm – that moment can’t be replicated with a Misto or Matcha Latte.

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino 2

I noticed it was a little more liquid-y than expected. I enjoyed my beverage indoors, but I could see this melting very quickly in the heat if it were consumed outdoors. It was a fleeting thought as I was immediately distracted by the pretty pink and white resembling the pink marble trend all over Instagram right now. I was also pleased to see real strawberry seeds in the swirls of puree because it sparked hope that it wouldn’t be artificial tasting.

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino 3

My mind was blown from the first sip. The flavor was like if I stuck my straw in a juicy strawberry; there were some sips that were tangier than others and some sweeter like eating the fruit itself. The nuance was in part from the botanical infusion of apples, licorice root, hibiscus, rose hips, and lemongrass.

Starbucks Serious Strawberry Frappuccino 4

But, the botanicals also contributed to what I misread at first as a slightly artificial aftertaste. However, as I continued drinking I knew that it wasn’t at all like an artificial/powdered strawberry milk flavoring. The vanilla whipped cream rounded out this classic combination of berries and dairy.

With all these seriously stellar summer flavor launches, it’s going to be a tough act for Starbucks to follow in the fall.

(Nutrition Facts – Tall 12 fl oz – 260 calories, 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugars, 3 grams of protein and 0 milligrams of caffeine.)

Purchased Price: $4.45
Size: Tall
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like a drinking a strawberry – some sips are tarngier and some sips are sweeter. Still Instagrammable like pink marble. No caffeine (if you’re looking for a non-caffeinated option).
Cons: A bit more liquid-y than usual (may melt faster in the summer heat). Not seeing the value in the fancy botanical infusion – just created a bit of tastebud confusion as I mistook it for a slight artificial taste at first

REVIEW: Wendy’s Berry Burst Chicken Salad

Wendy s Berry Burst Chicken Salad

As a marketing writer for a semi-large organization, and as a perpetual bullshitter, I tend to appreciate the subtle ability of words to transform the same old thing into something completely different.

Let’s put our cards on the table: a straight description doesn’t work anymore. Nobody wants what is. Everyone wants what is ideal.

Case in point, what was the Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad seven years ago became the Summer Berry Chicken Salad two years ago and now has morphed into the Berry Burst Chicken Salad.

Granted, there are some slight variations, but who actually remembers a slight switcheroo in a cheese or a berry or a dressing?

For what it’s worth, what is basically the same salad from 2011 and 2016 is still delicious. Although, perhaps to stay consistent with the times, we should say it’s still delicious AF. Regardless, the salad has that rare ability to make you stop and say, “Wait, that came from Wendy’s?

Wendy s Berry Burst Chicken Salad 4

If you still haven’t had Wendy’s revamped grilled chicken, which debuted two years ago, get with the times, man. It’s juicy, succulent, and it has flavor like something grilled on one of those short-season Food Network summer grilling shows. I can’t believe I just said that about white meat. Anyways, the chicken is more than passable and a few notches above any pre-packed salad you’d find in the grocery store.

Wendy s Berry Burst Chicken Salad 3

I was really impressed with the berries, particularly the strawberries, which had a slightly macerated taste and texture that was sweet without being cloying or overripe. The blueberries were by and large plump and ripe, their modest sweetness pairing nicely against the salty feta cheese. Both the cheese and the smoky, crunchy almonds, give the salad a hearty feel — perhaps even a burst.

The biggest drawbacks are the dressing and the amount of lettuce. The sweetness of the dressing tends to be a little too much with the berries. It’s like putting ketchup on my ketchup flavored potato chips -— both delicious, less so together. As for the lettuce, I feel like Elaine Benes might be cool with it, but when I’m fairly full and there’s still a forest staring back at me, sans chicken and berries, the ratio is a little off.

Wendy s Berry Burst Chicken Salad 2

I told myself I wasn’t going to look at the past reviews of Wendy’s Chicken/Almond/Berry salad combos when scoring the Berry Burst Chicken Salad. Well, lo and behold I have no self-control and saw past scores of 8 and 9. Given that nothing much has changed, but more importantly, given that this is still a great salad, a 9 seems more than appropriate.

(Nutrition Facts – Full size – 460 calories, 17 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1090 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 29 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fiber, and 41 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $6.79
Size: Full size
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: “Lots of fresh strawberries and blueberries” — literally ripped this line from the 2011 review, which is still applicable. Grilled chicken is a step above 2011 version. Well composed salad with super fresh ingredients. Crunchy almonds and feta cheese create good contrasts in flavors and textures.
Cons: Raspberry vinaigrette is like putting ketchup on ketchup potato chips. A little too much greenery. Lingering debate over the connotation of “chicken salad” vs. “salad with chicken.”

REVIEW: Sonic Pickle Juice Snow Cone Slush

Sonic Pickle Juice Snow Cone Slush


They’re just one of those things that are inherently funny. They don’t even have to do anything; just the fact that they exist is amusing. (Kind of like cats, noses, and octopuses.)

One thing (out of many) that makes them funny is their polarizing qualities. Pickle is one of the food fads du jour, but plenty of people can’t stand them.

I like pickles, but I’m no fanatic (I like to get pickle products mostly to gross out my pickle-hating friends). I think the cukes’ silliness is the main reason they’re having their heyday. Because of this, I think Sonic’s new Pickle Juice Snow Cone Slush is primarily a marketing gimmick to make people laugh.

I don’t eat in my car, so I went to a Sonic with a dining area. When I walked in, I said to the cashier, “Can I get a…” and she finished my sentence: “Pickle slush?” She thought I chose small because I wasn’t a risk taker, but the fact is that I just can’t eat that much slushiness.

I told her I was trying it for this review, and she asked if I was going to put in a pickle spear, instead of a decorative umbrella. I was disappointed when she said they didn’t actually offer pickle spears with the drink. What a missed opportunity, Sonic!

Sonic Pickle Juice Snow Cone Slush 2

When I took my first sip, I thought, “Yep. That’s totally pickle juice.” It’s exactly what you would expect to find in a jar of dill pickles—a tart, acidic flavor.

But by my second sip, I thought, “Yep. That’s totally a Sonic slush.” See, even though dill pickles are a savory food, this is still a sugary slush. I have had shaved ice that had pickle juice flavoring, and it was just like pure pickle juice, not sweet at all. But Sonic’s version is just as sweet (or almost as sweet) as their other flavors. I’ve heard of serious athletes using pickle juice as a recovery drink, but this slush is no health food.

Personally, I enjoyed it, and I liked it more than I probably would have if it weren’t sweet. The dill and the sweetness didn’t clash as much as you might expect. It was refreshing.

Sonic Pickle Juice Snow Cone Slush 3

I got a cheeseburger with my slush, and since there were no actual pickles in the slush, I transferred a couple of pickle slices to the drink. But I don’t recommend it; the sweetness didn’t match the real pickles, and I don’t like chewing cold things.

I can’t help wondering who this is for. If you don’t like pickles or pickle juice, then you won’t like it. And if you love pickle juice, you will be disappointed that it’s so sugary. I guess it’s for people who are somewhat apathetic about pickles, who like sweet slushes, and who enjoy trying weird foods.

I might get it again, but only because of its utter weirdness. It’s not any better than the other Sonic flavors.

(Nutrition Facts – Not listed on Sonic’s website, but a small Slush without any flavoring contains: 180 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 30 grams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 48 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: Small
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Sweet and refreshing. Dill flavor doesn’t clash with the slush as much as you might expect. Pickles are hilarious.
Cons: Not a health food. Doesn’t come with pickles. Who is it for, exactly?