REVIEW: Quiznos Prime Rib on Garlic Bread Sandwich

Quiznos Prime Rib on Garlic Bread

There are few things more appealing to a man than the prospect of a well-made sandwich.  An extra hour of sleep.  A come hither look from his wife or girlfriend, or casual female friend, or that woman who winked at him in a bar on June 18, 2003, who may or may not have had something in her eye.  A YouTube video of monkeys smoking and throwing poop.  Ladies, take a lesson. If you want your man to do something, be it overthrowing your brother or finally taking down those Christmas lights (plus light-up dreidel and menorah), be waiting in his bed with smoky eyes, a video of monkeys fighting, and a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich.  It worked for Cleopatra and it will work for you.

So needless to say, I was looking forward to Quiznos’ Prime Rib on Garlic Bread sandwich.  I don’t frequent Quiznos often because there’s only one nearby and they’re a bit on the pricier side, but I’ve always enjoyed their food when I’ve eaten there, and how can you go wrong with prime rib and garlic bread? Admittedly I was expecting it to be made with actual garlic bread, which I still maintain would be awesome.  Instead it’s regular bread with garlic aioli sauce liberally (depending on your server) spread across it.  This has the effect of giving the sandwich a garlic smell, and the flavor of the sauce is definitely in the garlic family, but not as bold or in-your-face as pure garlic.  More refined, if that makes any sense, a smoother garlic taste, like if you’re used to drinking IPAs and someone slides you a wheat beer.

Apologies to any non-alcoholics who don’t get that reference.

Note that it also comes with lettuce and tomato. They’re not pictured because Drew does not do healthy things.  Hilariously, as soon as I pulled out my camera to take the photographs, the woman who prepared the sandwich came over like eight times to make sure it tasted good and wasn€™t too burnt.  My fault, I guess, for not wearing a sign saying “I AM NOT A QUIZNOS CORPORATE SPY SENT TO EVALUATE YOUR SANDWICH-MAKING SKILLS, I AM A LOWLY FOOD BLOGGER WHO WILL NOT BE DISCLOSING YOUR SPECIFIC LOCATION.”  I still have a lot to learn, I€™m afraid.

Quiznos Prime Rib on Garlic Bread Innards

The amount of prime rib in the sandwich is what I would describe as perfectly adequate.  (Unlike the sodium, which is impressively obscene.)  At no point did I find myself biting down on nothing but
bread, like a teenager finding out his date’s bra is filled with Kleenex; but neither was I ever pleasantly surprised by the sheer quantity, like realizing she’s been wearing a sports bra all evening. You might be able to finagle a little extra meat if you’re more attractive than I am, or if you throw in a little hip shake or some free tickets to the gun show.  Still, what was there was flavorful, and they didn’t skimp on the cheese.  

The bread was, of course, toasted and made for a nice contrast with the creamy garlic sauce.  The edges got a little blackened, as you can see; I don’t mind a little char myself, but be on the lookout if you’re not okay with that.  I’ll offer that the sauce could maybe have been spread out a bit better — in some bites it overpowered the prime rib flavor, in others I could barely taste it — but again, that’s more attributable to your individual sandwich preparer.  (No, I will not call them “artists” until they use my tax dollars to create something that A) doesn’t look like anything, and B) is colossally ugly.  Veggie subs don’t count.)

Overall, the garlic sauce manages to complement the meat and cheese nicely to create a good sandwich. I’d like to give it a higher score, but that price is just ludicrous for the size of what you’re getting. I know Quiznos brands itself as the “high end” fast food sub joint, but while the sandwich WAS tasty and I’m presuming the meat was taken from only the most pampered, humanely euthanized cows, there is absolutely no way you should be paying $5.49 plus tax for a 6-inch sandwich.  (It’s also available in medium and large sizes, which undoubtedly come with paperwork for the mortgages necessary to buy them.) I reserve the right to change that score if I spontaneously start dropping gold nuggets in my boxers tomorrow, but until then, this is a yummy sandwich that I would suggest you let someone else buy for you.

(Nutrition Facts — 1 small sandwich — 560 calories, 245 calories from fat, 27.5 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of artificial trans fat, 0.5 grams of natural trans fat, 85 milligrams of
cholesterol, 1820 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)

Item: Quiznos Prime Rib on Garlic Bread Sandwich
Price: $5.49
Size: Small sandwich
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tasty garlic aioli sauce suitable replacement for garlic bread.  Made quickly.  Pleasant, non-overpowering smell.  Visually appealing when bread is closed.  Reasonable amount of meat.  Sports bras.  Attentive servers.
Cons: Given the price, apparently made with truffles and lobster. Sodium explosion.  Not actual garlic bread.  Reasonable amount of meat… if it was a $3 sandwich.  Burns easily.  Paranoid servers.

REVIEW: Whataburger Green Chile Double

Whataburger Green Chile Double

Whataburger restaurants are currently only located in ten states, all in the southern part of the United States, and I happen to be privileged enough to live in one of them. For those of you who live in the other 40 states, consider Whataburger something to look forward to when you take your cross-country road trip on the run from the Feds. For those of you living in Hawaii, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re on an island and Dog the Bounty Hunter lives there. There is no escape. You have no Whataburger to run to.

Another aspect of this product I’m reviewing, which, in case you have a handicap that prevents you from reading post titles, is the Whataburger Green Chile Double, is the green chiles. I live in a world where you can go to the grocery store and there’s a man outside roasting green chiles. He will give them to you straight off the grill, charred to perfection. I realize that many of you may not have this luxury. Instead of seeing this review as an act of torture as I dangle this hamburger in your face, consider myself an ambassador of Whataburger and roasted green chiles. As long as this burger doesn’t suck. In that case, consider yourself warned. And fortunate.

Whataburger is what I would consider to be high-end fast food. Way better than, say, McDonald’s, but not quite up to the quality of In-N-Out or Five Guys. You’ll wait a little longer at the drive thru, but it’s worth it. The hamburger patties are large and taste like actual hamburger, the ingredients always seem fresh, and the buns are tasty. Their fries are pretty standard fast food fries, but they make a country gravy I use as a fry dip that makes everything okay. Note to other fast food restaurants, offer a delicious country gravy on your menu and much will be forgiven.

We’re not here to talk about gravy, although I could probably write a disgusting amount of words about it. We’re here to talk about the Green Chile Double. Here’s what Whataburger had to say about it in the email they sent me:

“Whataburger’s new Green Chile Double stacks up two 100% pure American beef patties, two kinds of cheese and roasted green chiles. Come try one today. Hurry, it’s here for a limited time only.”

Whataburger Green Chile Double Halves

Limited time only. Three words I can never resist. Roasted green chiles, three more words I find difficult to ignore. I was more than ready to put my car in park at the drive-thru window to wait for this burger. I might have been more cranky if it had been summertime and 115 degrees outside. Living in green chile territory does have its disadvantages.

It was worth the wait, however, because the Green Chile Double is freakin’ delicious. Whataburger scores as usual for having great patties and fluffy buns. Fluffy Buns was my stage name back when I was a stripper, but that’s neither here nor there. Their burgers are already quite sizable, and making it a Double meant that I had almost half a burger left to enjoy the next day. Whataburger plays hard-to-get by not telling me what the two cheeses on the burger are, but I’m guessing American and Monterey Jack. They added a nice creaminess to go with the burger.

But that’s all pedestrian. The real star here are the chiles. They definitely didn’t skimp on them, which is good, because they add a nice little crunch and the perfect amount of heat. They’re roughly chopped, and you can actually see the char marks on the pieces, which means they really have been roasted. The crunch and that organic heat is what makes this burger stand out from just a regular burger. Whataburger does offer jalapeños on their regular menu as a topping, but green chiles have a different flavor and spice.

My one complaint would be that, while the green chiles do make the Green Chile Double different from other burgers, if you take them off, you’ve just got a standard Double Whataburger. They haven’t exactly reinvented the wheel. That said, roasted green chiles are a pretty unique topping, but they are just a topping after all.

After doing a little research, I discovered that the Green Chile Double is only available at restaurants in 2.5 of the 10 states that have Whataburgers. The rest get a Steak Sauce Double. I gotta say, I think we got the better deal. So when you’re cruising across the country using a fake identity in hopes of losing the fuzz, make sure to stop in west Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona. Make sure to commit that felony soon, though, since the Green Chile Double ain’t gonna wait around for you to hide that body.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 burger/382 grams – 1,020 calories, 570 calories from fat, 64 grams of total fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 165 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,867 milligrams of sodium, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars and 50 grams of protein.)

Item: Whataburger Green Chile Double
Price: $4.74
Size: 1 burger
Purchased at: Whataburger
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Roasted green chiles had char, added nice crunch and perfect heat. Fast food that serves country gravy. Big, juicy burger patties. Living in green chile territory. Creamy, melty cheese held everything together.
Cons: Definitely not for someone on a diet. Dog the Bounty Hunter. Take off the green chiles and you just have a regular cheeseburger. Fluffy Buns, stripper extraordinaire. Burger only available in 2.5 states.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Holiday Pie

McDonald's Holiday Pie

Of all the great rivalries we have in this country — Democrats vs. Republicans, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Edward vs. Jacob — there is only one that will truly last the test of time: Pie vs. Cake. Epic battles have been waged between these two desserts (I counted 120 on YouTube, alone), but it appears that this holiday season, McDonald’s has bravely attempted to bridge the gap, so that we may all bask in the glow of holiday togetherness. Behold, the Holiday Pie, a 250-Calorie hybrid for those who like a little pie in their cake and a little cake in their pie.

I bought mine for 69 cents PLUS tax, which is a travesty, considering they were sold for much less last year. It appears that McDonald’s may have come upon hard times and is scraping up every last nickel to spend on magical unicorn oil or whatever it is that they use to cook those awesome fries. Case in point, the McDonald’s where I purchased my Holiday Pie had been forced to hang old coffee cups from the ceiling as their Christmas decorations. Le sigh…

The presentation of this pie is a bit off-putting. First of all, there is a guy on the box who looks like he’s frantically trying to avoid having to kiss his amorous girlfriend who has most likely just polished off a limited-time-only McRib and now has killer onion breath. Second, the Holiday Pie is a “Special Order.” It says so on the sticker that someone lovingly placed on the box. How special? It’s special enough that it has sprinkles that remind no one of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or Boxing Day. Which holiday does this thing represent, exactly? Sugar Puff Glitter Ponies Remembrance Day? The man on the box seems to beg for answers through his twisted scowl. But there are none to be had.

McDonald's Holiday Pie Innards

A fairly sweet and crumbly “sugar cookie” crust encapsulates a nuclear yellow pudding, which tastes an awful lot like yellow cake. You’ll notice I put a space in between the words “yellow” and “cake” in order to differentiate between the tasty baked food and the uranium-derived powder used in nuclear reactors. Strange that they both produce the neon colors present in this menu item. Coincidence? Only Mr. Kissy-Face on the box may know for sure. Maybe his desperate expression is meant to be a warning.

The Holiday Pie isn’t terrible. It’s sweet without being too sugary, and it’s served warm without scalding your mouth (like their molten lava-style apple pie). On the downside, the texture of the crust is slightly silty… like fine sand. There is also a strange, chemical aftertaste that accompanies the pudding, which makes me think I’m going to go home later and suddenly develop super powers. I call dibs on X-ray vision!!!

What? I like to watch.

So, yeah, the Holiday Pie. I’m not hating it… but I’m not lovin’ it.

(Nutrition Facts – 260 calories, 120 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, and a single, solitary gram of dietary fiber)

Item: McDonald’s Holiday Pie
Price: 69 cents
Size: 1 pie (2.7 oz)
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Pie/Cake hybrid, sweet & warm, 69 cents, Glitter Ponies, Special Order, The Holidays, super powers.
Cons: Possible nuclear components, 69 cents plus tax, onion breath, inexplicable sprinkles.

REVIEW: Domino’s Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza

Domino's Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza

Full disclosure: I’ve never actually been to Wisconsin. But my parents are from Michigan and I have watched several episodes of That ’70s Show, so I assume I qualify as a part-time resident. However, I’m also from New Jersey, which means my standards for pizza are unreasonably high. This presents a dilemma because I want to give Domino€™s credit for experimenting just a little bit. Six cheese pizza isn€™t exactly cherpumple-level creativity, but it€™s at least a step outside their usual wheelhouse, so good for them. Doesn’t make up for unleashing the Noid upon humanity, but hell, it’s a start.

That said, I live on the PA/Jersey border. When there are four great pizza places within five miles of your house and another thirteen decent ones, it€™s hard to get jazzed about Domino€™s no matter how many improvements they make. I imagine it€™s akin to visiting Louisiana, stepping off the plane, and immediately asking where the nearest KFC is. It just isn’t done. But pizza snobbery has no place here, and I’ll admit I was curious about whether they’d successfully crafted a pizza with six distinct flavors, or if it’d be just one big gooey orgy of cheese, wantonly bumping and grinding on my palate. Don’t… picture that too vividly.

If nothing else, I think we can all agree that Domino’s nailed the exact right number of cheeses to slather on this thing. Seven would be ostentatious, and five? Five? Get fucking serious. No, it had to be six, and so it is. Now indulge me as I live out my secret dream of being a sportscaster and let’s break down this formidable Wisconsin lineup:

Mozzarella – The veteran. Classic, not flashy, just shows up every time and leaves it all out there.
Provolone – Highly heralded acquisition, known for solid play on a variety of other dishes.
Feta – Surprising pick. Not an anticipated “get,” but might be exactly what’s needed to plug holes in the flavor profile.
Cheddar €“ Coming off long stints with rivals like burgers and tacos, but has partnered effectively with mozzarella in the past. Look for a devastating one-two combo.
Parmesan – Perennial free agent. Rarely an integral member of the team, but proven ability to work well with others.
Asiago – The new hotness. Bold, crass, outspoken; could be trouble, but dammit, just so talented.

Upon getting the pie home, I immediately dug in because pizza waits for no man, woman or child; if you leave it alone long enough, it will actually eat itself. It was warm, a good start because it’s winter in the northeast and we’re keeping the heat low as a cost-saving measure. My pregnant wife, of course, is a virtual blast furnace and thinks the temperature is just fine; but meanwhile I’m chipping icicles off the thermostat and our daughter’s first complete sentence is “Mama, I can’t feel my legs.” So hot pizza was a welcome commodity. But that€™s not what you’re here for — you want to know how it tastes.

Domino's Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza SliceWell, it tastes like regular cheese pizza.

I mean, decent cheese pizza — give Domino’s credit, their new blend IS an improvement on what they used to offer. I’m not a foodie, but there was definitely a bit of tang attributable to the asiago. (Ironically, most of it seemed to come from the crust, which was crisp and quite tasty.) By concentrating I was even able to detect a very slight aftertaste that was almost certainly either provolone or my imagination. But, you know, that’s it. No feta chunks or discernible feta at all, really. Domino€™s press release claims “We€™re talking 40 percent more cheese than a regular Domino€™s pizza,” but I€™m talking you’d never know it. If you eat pizza the way I usually do, scarfing it down while watching TV or playing on the Internet, you are essentially eating a one cheese pizza. It’s like if the five Voltron lions flew up in the air and combined to form one and a half lions. Still cool, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

In the interest of giving a full and fair hearing, I even reheated some in the microwave to see if that changed the taste in any way. No, don’t thank me; that’s just the kind of journalistic excellence we strive for here at TIB. As expected, it didn€™t have much of an impact. There may have been a bit more bite to the asiago, but there€™s a 90 percent likelihood my mind was playing tricks on me. Or maybe it€™s just that I was eating it for breakfast. Either way, my initial impression remained the same: not bad, but just regular cheese pizza… no more, no less.

I think I walked away disappointed from Domino’s latest offering because I had built it up in my mind as something that was going to kick my tongue’s ass and convert me into a Wisconsin Badgers fan. It didn’t, but if what you’re looking for is a very slight variation on a familiar theme, it might be right up your alley. Otherwise, take the extra money you would have spent and get yourself a real topping instead.

(Nutrition Facts )one slice from 12″ pizza) 250 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, 11 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 6% vitamin C, 20% calcium and 10% iron.)

Item: Domino’s Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza
Price: $13.99
Size: 12″/8 slices
Purchased at: Domino’s
Rating: 6 out of 10 (apropos, no?)
Pros: Supporting my almost quasi-part-time state. Thinking outside the box. Improved recipe. Crisp, cheesy crust. Fights the winter chill. Avoids the Noid.
Cons: Shaming my actual home state. “Outside the box” remarkably similar to “inside the box.” Neutered Voltron. Missionary-style cheese orgy. Not as fun to say as “cherpumple.” Costs more than getting 3(!) toppings on the same-size pie.

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.