REVIEW: Subway Western Egg & Cheese

Subway Western Egg & Cheese Closeup

Right now, I’m chillin’ like a villain who gave every superhero an ass whippin’ because I just ate what I consider to be one of the best Subway sandwiches I’ve ever had — their Western Egg & Cheese.

I don’t understand how a sandwich so simple could stimulate my taste buds in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time with a Subway sandwich. The Western Egg & Cheese consists of only ham, cheese, eggs, red onions, and green bell peppers in between a flatbread.

I’m surprised it didn’t come with some kind of barbecue sauce, because if eating fast food has taught me anything besides eating fast food is bad for me, it’s that any fast food item with “western” in its name must have barbecue sauce, like the Burger King Western BBQ Cheeseburger and Hardee’s Western Bacon Thickburger. But, again, it doesn’t have any, nor does Subway offer barbecue sauce, so it appears they’re breaking one of the cardinal rules of fast food.

Since there’s no barbecue sauce, I wondered why Subway called it the Western Egg & Cheese. To find out, I put on my cowboy hat and leather chaps, which were probably unnecessary because finding out didn’t involve riding a horse, or even going outside. It just involved me, a computer, and Google.

Subway Western Egg & Cheese Closerup

It turns out there’s a dish called the Western omelet, which is filled with ham, onions, and green bell peppers. I didn’t know about it because I know it as the Denver omelet. If I was a foodie, I probably would’ve known that Western and Denver omelets are the same. Also, if I was a foodie, I probably wouldn’t eat a Subway Western Egg & Cheese, instead I would turn up my nose at Subway and head to a weird part of town where there’s a quaint, hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop that has many five star reviews on Yelp, crappy parking, and for some reason is closed on Tuesdays.

I’ve eaten enough Subway sandwiches to span across the length of several football fields, and with most of them they need mayo, mustard, or some kind of sauce to make them palatable. But with the Western Egg & Cheese no liquid condiment is necessary. The red onions and bell peppers do a wonderful job of giving the sandwich flavor, but not overpowering the cheese, ham, and egg. The flatbread is tasty, warm, and soft, but doesn’t fall apart easily like other flatbreads.

Sure, the eggs patties they use look unnatural and look like they came from a giant egg from the Flintstones, and a Western Egg & Cheese footlong has over 2,400 milligrams of sodium, but even with those faults, I still think it’s a really good Subway sandwich.

Item: Subway Western Egg & Cheese
Price: $6.00
Size: Footlong
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 6″ with egg whites – 350 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,200 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of protein

REVIEW: Subway Oven Crisp Chicken Sub

Subway Oven Crisp Chicken Sub

Yes. No. Yes.

Those are the answers to the following questions about Subway’s new Oven Crisp Chicken sub.

Are they really prepared in an oven? Yes, the pieces of breaded chicken are heated up in Subway’s proprietary toasting oven (yes, the same one they toast the bread in).

Are the breaded oven baked chicken pieces crispy? No, they are not at all crispy.

Are they using real pieces of chicken? Yes, they are real pieces of chicken. Although, after eating them, some might disagree.

Preparing the Subway Oven Crisp Chicken sub looks like it’s a pain in the ass for the Sandwich Artists behind the counter. I ordered a footlong on Italian bread with honey mustard sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and while it sounds like a simple sandwich, it sure took awhile to make. The guy who made my sandwich had to stick the two pieces of chicken in their super-duper proprietary toasting oven for what seemed to be a long time when you have a slowly growing line of people wanting you to make a sandwich for them.

But all that time spent in an oven that, to be honest, doesn’t even do a good job of toasting bread, didn’t help with making the exterior of the chicken crispy. I couldn’t hear or feel any crispiness. Oh, the sandwich did have a little crunchiness, but that was thanks to the lettuce and cucumbers I put in it and definitely not the chicken.

Subway Oven Crisp Chicken Sub Innards

If you look closely at one of the pieces of chicken in this sandwich, it looks like there are some herbs in the breading. However, whatever flavor is in the breading, it easily gets lost if you add any condiment. Even a bite of chicken, sans honey mustard sauce, had very little flavor. Along with not having much flavor, the chicken is also a bit dry, which is actually par for the course when it comes to any Subway chicken sandwich.

Overall, I think the Subway Oven Crisp Chicken sub is slightly better tasting than Subway’s Oven Roasted Chicken. Although, to be honest, that’s not saying much since I don’t think too highly of the Oven Roasted Chicken sub.

(Nutrition Facts – 6-inch sub – 420 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6.7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 940 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Other Subway Oven Crisp Chicken reviews:
Grub Grade
Hungry Thirsty Guy

Item: Subway Oven Crisp Chicken Sub
Price: $7.00
Size: Footlong
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: It’s new. Slightly better than the Subway Oven Roasted Chicken sub. The bread is making my bones strong.
Cons: It takes awhile to make. Not crispy. Chicken didn’t have much flavor. Subway’s proprietary ovens can’t make chicken or bread crispy. Vegetables provided all the sandwich’s crunchiness.

REVIEW: Subway BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Subway BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

The people running Subway might be the greatest salesmen in the world. They’ve positioned their sandwiches as health foods solely on the strength of one erstwhile fat guy’s crazy diet, and the five-dollar footlong campaigns have been so successful that they could actually ruin both the fast food and porn industries in one fell swoop. Subway’s marketing department has even had success in generating great publicity in fictional worlds, as seen by their support of Happy Gilmore’s epic quest to save his grandmother’s house and hook up with the hot blonde mom from Modern Family. At this point it almost feels ridiculous to doubt Subway’s ability to sell any and all of its products; you’re better off trying to dispute people’s enthusiasm for the new Harry Potter movie, hipsters’ willingness to wear sweaters in the summer, or my ability to use three sloppy analogies in a row.

And yet, I had doubts that a BBQ pulled pork sandwich could work at Subway. A pulled pork sandwich seems fundamentally different from all of Subway’s previous limited edition releases. Making a good pulled pork sandwich feels like it would require significantly more expertise than most other sandwiches. Also, judging by the number of hours dedicated to barbecue on the Food Network, people have a love for pulled pork that just doesn’t exist for, say, cold cut combos, so it would be extra disappointing if Subway did a poor job with a foodie-favorite. Finally, the sandwich costs $8.00, and at that price point you might as well spend the extra $2 and order two footlongs, which gets you double the porn jokes AND all your sodium for the week!

The process of actually ordering the sandwich did little to allay my doubts. The pulled pork was held in the same type of container as the tuna, which meant it was scooped out ice cream-style. I had assumed the pork would be held in the microwaveable cardboard trays; instead, the only heating the meat got was from the toasting of the overall sandwich. I watched in quiet anticipation of the barbecue sauce being added, but the woman behind the counter took my silence to mean I was satisfied with the current contents of my sandwich, and she began to wrap it up before I realized I had to specifically ask for the barbecue sauce. I suppose the Sandwich Artists can occasionally put together a masterpiece, but the output of this particular experience felt more like a poorly-followed color-by-numbers worksheet.

Subway BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich Innards

By the time I sat down to actually eat, expectations were remarkably low. The pulled pork sandwich beat those expectations, though not by much. The pork was fairly flavorful, if a bit too salty, but the paste-like texture was rather unpleasant. I think the meat really could have benefited from a brief blast in the microwave, which possibly would have melted some fat and added some juiciness. The barbecue sauce was solid, with a nice smokiness and not too much sweetness, but because it was added last and not mixed in with the pulled pork, I was always acutely aware that I was eating “pulled pork with BBQ sauce on top” and not “BBQ pulled pork.”

Would I buy Subway’s BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich again? Probably not. Then again, I wouldn’t count out the Subway marketing team just yet. There could be some new jingle or a movie promotional tie-in that convinces me otherwise. Who knows, maybe they could even help make Adam Sandler movies funny again (but don’t hold your breath on that one).

(Nutrition Facts – 1 footlong – 570 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1340 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 56 grams of protein, 8% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, 30% calcium, and 25% iron.)

Item: Subway BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
Price: $8.00
Size: Footlong
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Pulled pork was flavorful. Barbecue sauce was smoky and not too sweet. Subway’s marketing department. Old Adam Sandler movies.
Cons: Pulled pork was paste-like. Pork wasn’t heated up at all. Barbecue sauce wasn’t mixed in with the meat. Sandwich Artistry. The potential ruination of the porn industry. New Adam Sandler movies.

REVIEW: Panda Express Garlic Lover’s Chicken Breast

Panda Express Garlic Lover's Chicken Breast

I might be one of the few people on Earth who eats the fortune cookie before digging into a styrofoam takeout tray of Panda Express food. I prefer to know my fortune before knowing what faux Chinese food tastes like just in case I get a fortune that says, “You have paid for this meal, but get ready to pay for it again.”

During my latest visit to Panda Express to pick up their new Garlic Lover’s Chicken Breast, I received an extra fortune cookie. After opening each cookie and reading their fortunes, I wondered if one of them was trying to tell me something.

The first one said, “Your warmth radiates on those around you.” It was a fortune I received before, and I didn’t think anything of it. However, the second one said, “People in your background will be more cooperative than usual.”

That fortune made me wonder if the amount of garlic in Panda Express’ new entree would make the people in my background be more cooperative than usual because the people in my foreground are frozen by my garlic breath.

Along with a vampire-repelling amount of minced garlic, Panda Express’ Garlic Lover’s Chicken Breast also includes broccoli, red bell peppers, baby corn, white meat chicken, and a savory black bean sauce. However, despite what appears to be a cockblocking amount of garlic, the dish isn’t as garlicky as I would like.

But, there’s enough garlic to make baby corn taste better. Although, there’s not enough garlic in the world to make them less creepy to eat. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something weird about eating undeveloped corn. It’s like the vegetable equivalent of balut. It doesn’t even taste like any corn I’ve had, and I’ve had it cobbed, canned, creamed, and sold to me in popped form in a movie theater for seven dollars a bag.

The black bean sauce wasn’t noticeable and I didn’t even know it existed until I did some research for this review. To be honest, if this entree is supposed to be for garlic lovers, it should have some kind of garlic sauce. As for the rest of the dish, the broccoli is always a welcomed addition because it makes me think I’m eating something healthy, the red bell peppers were just there for color, and if you’ve had Panda Express’ Mushroom Chicken, then you know what the chicken’s texture is like.

Personally, I wish this dish was call Breast Lover’s Garlic Chicken, because that would make me giggle like a 12 year old boy. Overall, I thought the Garlic Lover’s Chicken Breast was decent, but I don’t see myself ordering it again because the amount of garlic flavor it has doesn’t make me feel like its aroma would radiate on those around me.

(Nutrition Facts – 5.8 ounces – 180 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.)

Other Panda Express Garlic Lover’s Chicken Breast reviews:
An Immovable Feast

Item: Panda Express Garlic Lover’s Chicken Breast
Price: $6.59
Size: 2-entree
Purchased at: Panda Express
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Broccoli. Lots of garlic pieces. Good source of protein. Corn on the cob. Panda Express’ Orange Chicken.
Cons: Despite the amount of garlic pieces, it wasn’t garlicky enough for me. Baby corn freaks me out. Black bean sauce wasn’t noticeable. Balut. Getting fortune cookies that warn you about the Chinese food you just ate/are about to eat.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake and Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Shake

Wendy's Caramel Frosty Shake

Wendy’s and I have an interesting relationship with each other. I don’t mean to sound like an old man, but when I was growing up, there wasn’t a Wendy’s to be found in New Jersey, lending it a mystique not found in your more prevalent chains like McDonald’s or Burger King. I remember the only one I knew of was on the way to Snowvania, which is what they called Vermont in those days. We would go there on our annual ski trip. You couldn’t get real skis because of the war, so we had to buy two snowboards and tie them to our feet.

Now, we’d stop at the Wendy’s on our way every year or so, and my sister and I would each get a Frosty, or as we called them in those days, thickshakes. “Give me five thickshakes for a dollar!” you’d say, and a smiling Ella Fitzgerald would bring them out to your motor car. Oh, did she have gams, that Ella! Anyway, once we finished our thickshakes, my sister and I would hollow out the bottoms and wear them on our ears, which was the style at the time.

But the point is, I’ve always liked Wendy’s, partially because of their scarcity when I was a kid, and partially because they actually make their burgers plain in the first place instead of what McDonald’s used to do; i.e., making them with the works and then just scraping that shit off when you dare to ask for a plain burger. Like that’s the same thing, jerks. Anyway, Frosties have always held a special place in my heart due to my childhood memories, so when I heard they were rolling out new Frosty Shakes, I was all over that like reality show stars on professional athletes.

But then I learned something that tempered my enthusiasm: Frosty Shakes were actually replacing my beloved Twisted Frosties, where they would blend M&Ms or Butterfingers in. I have mixed feelings about that, because those things were seriously damn good, yet are also the reason I can no longer comfortably fit into 28-inch waist jeans without my Strippercize DVD. But it does create some pressure on the Frosty Shake, because if you’re not as good as what you’re replacing, well, SOMEONE is in for a few curse words muttered into my dashboard and a scathing blog review. I’m just saying.

Wendy's Caramel Frosty Shake 2

This isn’t the first time Wendy’s has offered Frosty Shakes, but they have added two new flavors — in addition to the original chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, you can now get your fill of caramel and wild berry. As always, I will be reviewing the one that doesn’t even play at being healthy. It does, however, aspire to a higher class of caramel by name-dropping the Ghirardelli brand. I sort of question the wisdom of that — you don’t go to Wendy’s expecting kobe beef and watercress on your burger, so are you really going to care that the caramel in your two-bucks-and-change shake is associated with the finest chocolatiers in the world? I’m not sure it was worth shelling out for the brand name, but that’s the ghost of Dave Thomas’ business, not mine.

For starters, I have to give Wendy’s credit for sheer visual appeal. You know how fast food always looks great in the ads and then like a lump of reheated turds when you pull it out of the bag? Well, I’ll be damned if this shake didn’t look nearly as good in real life as it does on TV, which is impressive. This probably varies by the server, but the whipped cream on mine was plentiful and even had criss-crosses of caramel covering it, a nice touch. (Mind you, it’s summer, so that’s going to last about 3 minutes before it melts into a blob of goo.) But taste is what really matters, and this… this tastes good.

It’s thick enough that I initially had trouble getting some through the straw, though this would likely be substantially less difficult for groupies, congressional aides, and certain Jersey Shore cast members. But once I did, I was impressed by how vivid the flavor was. This isn’t watered down in the slightest — that’s pure caramel.

Wendy's Chocolate Frosty Shake

It’s almost a little overwhelming, and I can see people who are just kind of “enh” about caramel thinking it might even be a bit too strong, but I really dug it. It’s rich, very sweet, and lingers on your tongue like a dog who won’t go away after you feed him scraps, but it’s okay because he’s pretty cute and doesn’t look rabid. Also, the whipped cream melts into the shake and dilutes things a bit while lending an extra little creaminess to the whole thing. I would’ve ordered another if not for the fact that it’s so filling, and also because there’s a warning label cautioning that two will cause instant cardiac arrest.

Though the caramel Frosty Shake is the main attraction, I also sampled the chocolate variety just so I could give you a broader accounting of the overall line. I know, I really spoil you guys. Though not quite as impressive, it’s still pretty good. It’s nearly as thick as the caramel variety and has copious whipped cream with chocolate sauce drizzled over it. Also very creamy, but while it’s not quite as sweet as the caramel, it tastes very distinctly of chocolate syrup. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it quite as much — familiarity breeds contempt and all that, and it’s almost like someone just emptied half a bottle of Hershey’s syrup into a vanilla milkshake.

I don’t know that I’ll ever stop mourning the loss of my Twisted Frosties (you could mix M&Ms into a chocolate Frosty!), but the shakes go a long way toward healing that rift. It’s convenient to be able to expand the size of your ass without having to burn all those precious calories lifting a plastic spoon to your mouth again and again. Assuming you’ve got belt notches to spare, pick one up with your next plain cheeseburger — I don’t think you’ll regret it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 small shake – Caramel – 680 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 330 milligrams of sodium, 126 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 102 grams of sugar, 11 grams of protein. Chocolate – 610 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 109 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 98 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein.)

Other Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake reviews:
On Second Scoop

Item: Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake and Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Shake
Price: $2.39
Size: 12 oz.
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Caramel)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chocolate)
Pros: Five different flavors. Ella Fitzgerald’s gams. Fast food places that make your burger plain. Visually-appealing whipped cream. A milkshake that brings me to the yard. Copious quantities of caramel. Rich chocolate syrup.
Cons: The war. Sacrificing Twisted Frosties. Pointless corporate name dropping. Difficult to get any through the straw unless you work in the entertainment industry. Ridonkulously unhealthy.