REVIEW: Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Carl's Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Doesn’t seem like chicken tenders would be such a big deal. Lots of fast food places have them. I’m actually surprised Carl’s Jr. has waited so long to introduce them to the menu.

You’d think such an addition would go gentle into that good night, but no. According to Carl’s, these are not just any chicken tenders. These are hand-breaded chicken tenders, and that is a big deal. There have been an onslaught of commercials: one going the fear route, with nothing but video of “Box 1457 B partially cooked frozen chicken strips” slowly panning out while the ominous voice-over informs you that they’ve been sitting there for 12 days, trying to convince you that even though you’ve been eating these crappy chicken strips for years, if you do it just one more time YOU WILL DIE. Okay, maybe not that bad, but close.

Another takes quite a different spin. Two receptionists stuff their faces with the hand-breaded chicken tenders; one asks the other why she stopped working at Carl’s, and she says it was too much work, with all the dipping and the hand-breading and the frying and the hey lady! Then the phone rings, and the first girl says, “That phone is soooo annoying.” Continue with face-stuffing.

As a female and a former career receptionist/secretary/office bitch, I should be offended, if I was the type of person to be offended by such things. But hey, if it gets the point across and Carl’s Jr.’s marketing department doesn’t mind being accosted by angry feminists and secretaries for portraying all of them as completely vapid bitches, have at it.

The Spanish-speaking contingent gets the best commercial. Isn’t that always the way? Obviously meant as a parody of telenovelas, some dude ogles the hot Latina maid dressed up in a “Sexy French Maid” Halloween outfit. Another hot Latina chick, presumably his wife, catches him in the act and starts screaming, wiping the table clean with a dramatic sweep of her arm and the breakage of several pieces of delicate flatware. The maid then sexily brings the man a tray of chicken tenders, the wife and the man sexily eat the chicken tenders, and the maid looks at them both sexily. I have no idea what is going on, but it is obviously the best of the bunch.

Carl's Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders Inside

Carl’s description of the chicken tenders is “Freshly prepared hand-breaded chicken tenders. Premium, all-white meat chicken hand dipped in buttermilk, lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown. Served with a choice of honey mustard, buttermilk ranch or sweet & bold BBQ dipping sauces.”

Some of these things are true. Some of them are indeterminate. I have to say, I thought the chicken definitely tasted fresher, or perhaps more chicken-like, than I’ve experienced with other fast food chicken strips. It both looks and tastes like an authentic piece of chicken breast. The meat is juicy and fairly tender.

As for the breading, I wouldn’t call it “lightly breaded,” but I also wouldn’t call it “smothered in two inches of crunchy breading,” which is how I would describe KFC’s chicken. Not that that’s a bad thing. Unfortunately, my tenders were fried to a little more than golden brown. I might go so far as to say they were over-fried. They didn’t taste burnt, but they could have been a little more on the golden side. That’s just the vagaries of fast food though; the next order could have been fried perfectly. The breading was crunchy and a little greasy, and didn’t really seem to contain any special spices.

I enjoyed Carl’s Jr.’s Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, but they didn’t exactly blow my mind. Yeah, the chicken tastes fresh, and the breading is pretty good, but to be honest, if I hadn’t been beaten over the head by Carl’s with the idea that these were “freshly prepared” and “hand-breaded,” I wouldn’t have known the difference. The breading is a little bit of a different texture, but doesn’t scream groundbreaking. The Chicken Tenders came with some buttermilk ranch dip, but it too didn’t blow my mind. It would really help if a hot Latina served them to me in a French Maid outfit, though.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 chicken tenders (246 grams) – 560 calories, 280 calories from fat, 31 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,930 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars and 47 grams of protein.)

Other Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders reviews:
An Immovable Feast
Grub Grade

Item: Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Price: $4.69

Size: 5 tenders (246 grams)

Purchased at: Carl’s Jr.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Pros: Chicken was juicy. Hot Latina chicks. Meat seemed like real breast meat. Breading had a good texture. “Box 1457 B.”

Cons: Tenders were over-fried, but that could just be bad luck. Stereotypes that receptionists are dumb and lazy. Breading had no spices or special flavoring. Fear of ever eating pre-breaded chicken strips again. Couldn’t tell if they were hand-breaded or not anyway.

REVIEW: Panda Express Kobari Beef

Panda Express Kobari Beef

In the Korean language, I’m pretty sure kobari is a swear word.

Okay, I’m not 100 percent sure. It could just be a completely made up name Panda Express wordsmithed to give to their new Korean Kobari Beef. I’m not Korean, nor do I have a Korean translator handy to ask, but kobari really does sound more like Korean profanity than a Korean dish. According to the internet, which I trust when diagnosing rashes on my body, the words jiral, shibal, poji, gaeseki, kochu and byungsin are all real Korean obscenities.

Don’t you think kobari would fit nicely in that list?

Actually, I have to admit, if those swear words were on a Korean barbeque menu, they would all sound delicious. I would especially want to put some kochu in my mouth to go with a bibimbap. As for kobari, I still think it sounds like a swear word.

And if it’s not, I think we should all start using it like one. But I’m not sure what it should mean because after doing Korean profanity research, they appear to have words for all the common swear words that English speakers have. So it’s going to have to be an uncommon English swear word.

Personally, I think it should mean taint licker, i.e. a level above brown nosing.

For example: Man, Bob wants that raise so badly that he’s being a total kobari!

Well, until kobari is added to Urban Dictionary, I guess for now it will be the name of Panda Express’ Kobari Beef, which is made up of thin slices of marinated beef with wok-seared bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and leeks and tossed with a sweet, smoky and spicy Kobari sauce.

While the previous sentence makes Kobari Beef sound delicious, I have to say that it’s quite possibly the most boring and blandish non-starch item I’ve ever eaten at Panda Express. I don’t have a beef with most of the ingredients, but I think the Kobari sauce is the cause of this dish’s lack of flavor. While it’s sweet, smoky and spicy, it’s also not a very strong sauce. It’s what makes Kobari Beef The English Patient of Panda Express dishes, and I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep while eating it.

When I heard Panda Express was doing a Korean dish, it seems a bit odd to me because if you ask some people, they’ll say Panda Express doesn’t even do Chinese very well. But I’m a Panda Express fan and there is a very short list of their dishes that I won’t eat, most of which include shrimp, which I am allergic to. However, that list got a little longer because of Kobari Beef.

While I may not enjoy it, others probably will and if Kobari Beef becomes successful, it could encourage Panda Express to create menu items from other Asian cuisines and give them names that sound like profanity from their respective languages.

(Nutrition Facts – 5.3 ounces – 210 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar and 15 grams of protein.)

Item: Panda Express Kobari Beef
Price: $6.50 (2 choice plate)
Size: 5.3 ounces
Purchased at: Panda Express
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Uses leeks. Wide variety of vegetables used. Other Panda Express choices. Decent calorie count. Good source of protein. Knowing how to swear in other languages. Putting some kochu in my mouth.
Cons: The English Patient of Panda Express dishes. Boring and bland. Weak sauce. Not having a Korean translator handy. Awesome source of sodium. Kobari sounds like a Korean swear word.

REVIEW: BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich

The new BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich has so much pork, in the forms of sliced ham and bacon, that if one were to put a white gown on it, a blonde wig on top of it and somehow make it say moi, Kermit the Frog would fall in love with it.

However, the most interesting ingredient found in this breakfast sandwich are the two slices of tomatoes. I don’t know about you, but it feels a little weird to be eating vegetables in the morning. I think they do it on a regular basis in some European countries, but I’m too lazy to Google it to see if it’s true. I guess I’m just used to fast food breakfast sandwiches only having filling that was either slaughtered or comes from the poop hole of a chicken.

Along with the ham, bacon and tomatoes, the BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich also comes with cheese, a layer of scrambled eggs and a smoky tomato sauce in between a rectangular whole grain ciabatta bun. Wait…tomatoes AND a whole grain bun? Those ingredients almost make it sound kind of healthy and makes me think I won’t need a Zumba workout to burn it off.

Unfortunately, it contains 23 grams of fat and seven grams of saturated fat so I’m still going to need the workout sensation that’s sweeping the nation — Zumba!

The sandwich is a decent size and is as heavy as Burger King’s Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich. The slightly stiff crust of the ciabatta bread makes it quite sturdy and helps prevent ingredients from falling out of the sandwich. If only celebrity dress were made out of the same stuff, then maybe The Superficial would have less nip slip photos.

Oh wait, that would be a bad thing.

While the ciabatta bun is nice, what really makes this sandwich are the tomatoes and the sauce. They give the sandwich a nice flavor that compliments well with the ham, cheese, egg and bread. What about the bacon? Well, the typical flavorless BK bacon doesn’t contribute anything, which makes it seem unnecessary, like news anchor banter in between stories. But the ham definitely makes up for the bacon.

Overall, I really enjoyed the BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich. It’s not your typical egg, meat, cheese and bread breakfast sandwich, thanks to the addition of something simple — a couple slices of tomatoes. At first, I thought having vegetables for breakfast sounded weird, but now that I think about it, it doesn’t sound too crazy at all since I already eat cereal for dinner.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 480 calories, 23 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 210 milligrams of cholesterol, 1270 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar and 24 grams of protein.)

Item: BK Breakfast Ciabatta Club Sandwich
Price: $5.19 (small combo)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty sandwich, thanks to the tomatoes and sauce. Decent amount of ham. Eating cereal for dinner. Sturdy ciabatta bun. Bun made from whole grains. Zumba! Nip slip photos.
Cons: BK Bacon is useless and a poor excuse for bacon. Eating tomatoes in the morning might seem weird. Despite tomatoes and whole grain bun, it has typical fast food nutritional facts. Finding out chickens poop and lay eggs from the same hole.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Angus Snack Wraps (Mushroom & Swiss, Deluxe and Bacon & Cheese)

If you’re expecting the new McDonald’s Angus Snack Wraps to taste exactly like their bigger brothers, you should know that, just like Owen Wilson’s nose alignment, they’re slightly off. This can be attributed to the use of a soft tortilla instead of a bun. But the folks at McDonald’s have captured almost all of the great taste of their Angus Third Pounder Burgers with these burrito-ized versions of them.

The Angus Snack Wraps come in the same three varieties as their bigger brethren: Mushroom & Swiss, Deluxe and Bacon & Cheese. All of them come wrapped in a soft tortilla and with half of an Angus third-pound patty, which, if my math is correct, equals more meat than what’s attached to the bones of a waif supermodel or more meat than the amount a waif supermodel has eaten in past six months.

The Deluxe also comes with half of a tomato slice, a leaf of lettuce, red onions, pickle slices, American cheese, mayo and mustard. The Bacon & Cheese is also made up of red onions, pickle slices, a strip of bacon, American Cheese, ketchup and mustard. And the Mushroom & Swiss has sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese and mayo.

When you compare these Angus Snack Wraps with all previous Snack Wraps, it makes the older varieties look as sad and pathetic as I do whenever I put on running shorts and walk around with my pale hairy legs exposed. Each Angus Snack Wrap has a nice heft and look much more substantial than the chicken and Big Mac Snack Wraps.

Because of their weight, I wondered if eating one could be more of a meal instead of a snack. But after chomping down the first one, I forgot about what I was trying to do and ate all three varieties in one sitting. I ended up consuming 2,800 milligrams of sodium, not including fries. It made me wish silly ol’ me looked up the nutrition facts before eating them, which might’ve prevented the gluttony and future high blood pressure.

Because I really enjoyed the Angus Third Pounder Burgers, I knew the likelihood of me enjoying the Angus Snack Wraps would be as high as the percentage of failed attempts to find love via reality shows. The Deluxe Angus Snack Wrap (view innards) tastes like a classic burger and every ingredient was noticeable. But none of them overpowers the others, even the red onions. It’s probably the most appetizing of the bunch because of the vegetables, which look surprisingly fresh. The Bacon & Cheese Angus Snack Wrap (view innards) is also very flavorful, but the bacon disappoints a little. While it’s a nice sized slice of bacon, it wasn’t noticeable enough when mixed with the stronger flavors of the mustard and ketchup. It was also extremely soggy, but that’s par when it comes to fast food bacon. As for the Mushroom & Swiss Angus Snack Wrap (view innards), I definitely could taste all of the major ingredients, especially the mushrooms. However, I think whoever made mine went all Duck Hunt with the mayo gun, since a lot of it oozed out from the Snack Wrap.

I like all three varieties, but a few items bother me about them. First of all, the patties are slightly dry, which isn’t surprising for McDonald’s and will probably never change. But despite being dry, I like the meat’s flavor, which is definitely of a higher quality and is better than the usual McDonald’s patties. Also, at $2.49 each, they seem a bit pricey. Fortunately, for most of you, because you don’t live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be paying $1.99, which is what they’re worth.

Overall, I really enjoyed all three varieties of these slightly less guilty versions of McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders, and I believe they are the best menu items McDonald’s has in Snack Wrap form.

Just don’t eat all three of them in one sitting.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 wrap – Deluxe – 410 calories, 220 calories from fat, 25 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 20 grams of protein. Mushroom & Swiss – 430 calories 230 calories from fat, 26 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 730 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and 22 grams of protein. Bacon & Cheese – 390 calories, 190 calories from fat, 21 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1080 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 21 grams of protein.)

Item: McDonald’s Angus Snack Wraps (Mushroom & Swiss, Deluxe and Bacon & Cheese)
Price: $2.49 each ($1.99 at most McDonald’s)
Size: Varies
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Mushroom & Swiss)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Deluxe)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Bacon & Cheese)
Pros: McDonald’s best Snack Wraps. All three were very tasty. Captures almost all the flavors of their Angus Third Pounders. Their heft makes previous Snack Wrap varieties look sad and pathetic. Slightly less guilty than McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders. Lettuce and tomato in Deluxe were colorful and fresh.
Cons: Patties are slightly dry. Having to pay $2.49 for them and not $1.99 like most people. Great source of sodium and trans fat. Mushroom & Swiss had too much mayo. Bacon in the Bacon & Swiss was limp and was overpowered by the mustard and ketchup. My pale hairy legs in running shorts.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich

The Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich isn’t really big.

Heck, I don’t think it can be even considered just “big” by today’s fast food standards, which have been set by burgers like BK’s Steakhouse XT and whatever monstrosities Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s come up with. To me, even the Big Mac shouldn’t be regarded as “big” when compared with the latest fast food burgers.

The sandwich has two chicken patties, but even with them it looks small. But if the Really Big Chicken Sandwich can be considered big, then there are certain men out there who should have no reason to buy a 450-horsepower sports car to make up for particular inadequacies in their nether regions.

The size of this Jack in the Box chicken sandwich disappoints me not only because I feel it’s false advertising, but also because if there’s a fast food company that should understand what “really big” is it’s Jack in the Box, whose fake CEO has a head so comically large that I’m surprised people who come near him don’t get caught in his gravitational field and orbit around his head.

Jack in the Box’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich is made up of two crispy chicken patties with two slices of Swiss-style cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and mayo-onion sauce in between a bun. The sandwich kind of looks like the reproductive result of what would happen if a KFC Double Down and a McDonald’s Big Mac got all hot and oily with each other.

While I don’t think it’s really big, I do think it’s a mighty tasty sandwich, mainly due to the mayo-onion sauce and an ingredient that seems to make almost everything better. No, not the tears of a child whose ice cream has fallen off of its cone and onto the ground; I’m talking about bacon.

The strips of pig may not be visible in the pictures above and they may not be crispy, which is almost always the case with fast food bacon, but they do add a pleasant smokiness to the sandwich. The chicken patties were crispy and flavorful; the cheese was hardly noticeable; the lettuce and tomato allowed me to say I ate a serving of vegetables; and the bun was surprisingly durable and not bad tasting.

A Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich small combo will run you $3.99, even in Hawaii, which is a reasonable price for what you get. But it would be an even better deal if the Really Big Chicken Sandwich was actually really big.

Wait a second…If the Really Big Chicken Sandwich isn’t really big, then shouldn’t we also be wondering if it’s really a chicken sandwich?

(Nutrition Facts – 1 sandwich – 748 calories, 44 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat* (*contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat due to the use of partially hydrogenated oils), 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1834 milligrams of sodium, 471 milligrams of potassium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 30 grams of protein.)

Item: Jack in the Box Really Big Chicken Sandwich
Price: $3.99 (small combo)
Size: Small Combo
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty sandwich. Bacon gives it a smokiness. Affordable combo price. Awesome source of protein and potassium. Mayo-onion sauce is tasty. Eating vegetables. Durable bun. Tears of a child whose ice cream has fallen onto the ground.
Cons: Not a really big chicken sandwich. Awesome source of sodium and fat. Cheese was hardly noticeable. Looks like what would happen if a KFC Double Down and a McDonald’s Big Mac hooked up.