REVIEW: Wendy’s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger

Do you like cheese? No, I mean, do you really like cheese? I’m not talking to those of you who have been known to daintily nibble on a wedge of brie at a party or put a single slice of cheddar on your backyard burger. I’m speaking directly to those of you who are so mad at your arteries that you want to punish them at every possible turn. Do you dip your pizza’s cheese-stuffed crust into a tub of cheese sauce? Have you ever made a sandwich using grilled cheese sandwiches in place of sliced bread? Well then, you might be interested in Wendy’s new offering.

Wendy’s new Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger is “a quarter pound of fresh, never frozen beef, covered in creamy cheddar cheese and bacon jam, topped with applewood smoked bacon, crispy onions, and a slice of American cheese, all on a pillow soft, toasted cheddar bun.” I mean… cheese, am I right? According to my calculations, you’ve got three entry points for cheese on this thing: in the “creamy cheddar cheese” sauce, as a rogue American slice on top of the meat, and melted into or on top of the bun.

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger  1

My first thought before getting this burger was, “Will I ruin my shirt, my pants, or both when I eat this thing?” But here’s the shocking part — it was extremely tidy. Oh sure, when I first unwrapped it, I was confronted with a few stray fried onion strands and some crisped cheddar cheese that’d melted off of the bun and turned into a crunchy cheese pond, but overall, nothing else squirted or fell out. This was a one napkin affair.

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger  2

And, truth be told, the neatness of the BBCC probably foreshadowed this burger’s biggest pitfall: it was dryyyyyy. Like a camelback-trek-across-the-Sahara dry. Like, kissing-your-grandmother’s-cheek dry. The creamy cheddar cheese and bacon jam components were both there, maybe? But the cheese wasn’t creamy (all I noticed were random shreds of damp, unmelted cheddar), and a tiny dollop of the jam was totally lost in the mix. The patty itself was dry. The fried onions? Same. The whole thing was very one-note. Okay, two-note. 1) Dry 2) Salty.

There was no flavor here of which to speak, only an arid mass of chewiness that felt more like a chore than a meal. For something being sold on its cheesiness, it was interesting to find that the cheese seemed to add nothing; this burger would have been no different without it.

Wendy s Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger Bun

The most unusual part of this burger (bacon jam isn’t exactly common, but Wendy’s has done it before, and so has Sonic) was probably the cheddar bun. Here are list of other things that are unusual:

  • The noise turtles make when they make love.
  • Extreme body modification like tongue-splitting.
  • Watching a seahorse give birth.
  • Women who love serial killers.

And like this bulleted list, I’m not sure I need the cheddar bun in my life. It too was — wait for it — very dry, and the cheese was barely noticeable beyond giving the bun a strange, slightly chewy texture.

All in all, this was a largely forgettable burger.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: Single patty
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 810 calories, 54 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1370 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 gram of fiber, 5 gram of sugar, 39 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Jack in the Box BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich

Jack in the Box BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich Full

What is the Jack in the Box BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich?

I’ll let Jack in the Box’s website explain. “If the cluck’s not enough, you gotta go deluxe. The BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich comes with our new 100% all white meat chicken fillet that is bigger, crispier and better than ever, crispy bacon, panko onion rings, American cheese and topped with BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. Don’t go hungry, go deluxe.”

So it’s basically the chicken version of the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Jack offered for a limited time before this limited-time offering.

How is it?

Jack in the Box BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich Top

Despite both bun pieces having a decent layer of BBQ sauce, I wish more of it was in this sandwich I received. I didn’t taste any BBQ sauce at all with several bites, even though I’m 100 percent sure I got some in every bite. Without the sweet and tangy flavors, the chicken and bacon’s saltiness comes through a lot more. Perhaps, too much. I’ve had the original Cluck Sandwich several times, and I don’t remember the chicken ever being this salty.

Jack in the Box BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich Split

But when I could taste the BBQ sauce, which cut through that saltiness, I was somewhat content with the sandwich. Although even then, I wish the sauce’s flavor stood out a bit more. It’s as if there’s too much between the two sauce layers.

The chicken has a decent crunchy coating, although the meat inside it was a bit dry. The onion rings’ golden brown exterior adds a bit more texture, and the onions within also help cut through the saltiness. Finally, I’m not sure what the cheese is doing there besides preventing the salty, smoky bacon from falling out. Even when I couldn’t taste the BBQ sauce, I still couldn’t notice the cheese.

Anything else you need to know?

I also ordered the regular BBQ Cluck Sandwich, but the one I got wasn’t made properly, so I’m just focusing on the Deluxe version. Instead of pickles and BBQ sauce, the sandwich I got had cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, and no pickles. So basically, it appears the person making the sandwich started to make a Deluxe version but realized it was supposed to be the regular one a bit too late.

Conclusion:

Jack’s BBQ Cluck Deluxe Sandwich is just okay. If you plan on ordering it, I’d highly recommend asking for extra BBQ sauce.

Purchased Price: $7.39*
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 770 calories, 33 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2450 milligrams of sodium, 79 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 41 grams of protein.

*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: McDonald’s Glazed Pull Apart Donut

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Full

When Dunkin’ dropped the “Donuts” from its name, I never would have guessed good ol’ Ronald would be the one to stumble over from the 2 am drive-thru line and try to pick it up.

Sure, McDonald’s added several baked goods to its McCafe menu last year, which is clearly competing with Dunkin’ and Starbucks for morning notoriety, but a donut at McDonald’s? It all feels a little too “dreams do come true” for my Standard American Diet heart to handle. But that’s exactly where we are with McDonald’s first Limited Time Only offering to its McCafe Bakery menu: the Glazed Pull Apart Donut.

The donut is described as light and airy and coated in a delicious, sweet glaze. Visually and conceptually, a bunch of donut holes all shoved together in a pull apart fashion, I love this donut. In terms of its execution, it’s just okay. Before I go any deeper, can we address the elephant in the room — why wasn’t this called the McDonut? Gold.

I asked the cashier if it’s served warm like the Cinnamon Roll, and she said they could warm it if I wanted, which I opted out of so I could try both ways when I got home. At room temperature, the donut is relatively firm but soft — it doesn’t give under the pressure of my fingers but has a gentle and slightly bouncy chew.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Innards

The fluffy texture of the yeasty dough reminds me of the bun on McChicken in the best way. It has that artificial squish akin to Wonder Bread, and I find it endearing in this context. The sweetness of the glaze is relatively mild with a vanilla flare and a touch of salt. I get much more of a fried bread flavor than I was expecting for a fully glazed doughnut; it’s kind of savory when compared to Dunkin’ or especially Krispy Kreme, and I wish it were a touch sweeter.

Warmed up, it tastes mostly the same but has a softer and almost melty texture that helps tame some of the more bready notes that jump out at room temperature. The heat helps activate the sweetness, and I found myself nodding my head in approval — this is what I was looking for. I’m not usually one to warm my pastries unless it seems absolutely necessary, and in this case, I 100% recommend it.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Center

The biggest point of intrigue is the center — is it the best part like a cinnamon roll? Yes, yes, it is. While it doesn’t reach the same ooey-gooey heights that the center of a Cinnabon does, it is softer and a bit more glaze-soaked than the outer wannabe Munchkins are and delivers deliciously sweet satisfaction.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Top

As fun as it was to devour an entire family of donut holes, picking them off one by one like a 90s slasher movie antagonist, I can’t help but wonder how much better it could have been if it were just a touch sweeter and softer. I enjoyed the McDonald’s donut experience, but unless I’m already in line with a massive craving for a donut on the side of my Big Mac, I have zero inclination to go out of my way to eat it again, no matter how fun the form factor is.

Purchased Price: $1.79
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 donut) 310 calories, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 gram of sugar, 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Cup

What is the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato?

Move over, Pumpkin Spice Latter, there’s a new fall drink in town. Recently added to the menu is the Apple Crisp Macchiato, available either hot or iced. Espresso is added to milk, with a spiced apple drizzle on top. You’ll also find the flavor of an Apple Brown Sugar Syrup.

How is it?

Let me start with a story. I’ve always understood that you do not stir a macchiato. After the espresso is layered on the milk, you let it naturally settle as you sip. A year or so ago, I mobile ordered an Iced Caramel Macchiato and sent my husband in to get it while I stayed in the car with our infant son. I gave him the explicit instructions NOT to stir the drink. Five minutes later, he walks out, and what is he doing? You guessed it. Shaking the drink around like it’s his job. Lesson learned: I go in and get the drink myself. (And he doesn’t live it down!)

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Cup

I share this story because it’s one of the reasons the Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato fell flat for me. When I got the drink, I could visibly see the Spiced Apple Drizzle and Apple Brown Sugar Syrup at the very bottom of the cup. And although that’s how macchiatos are constructed, unless I were to stir my iced beverage, there was no distribution of the flavor. I would have preferred the apple evenly distributed throughout the macchiato. I didn’t get a hint of apple until about 25% of the way through the drink. When I did get to taste the drizzle at the bottom, it was syrupy sweet. But overall, this really felt too similar in taste to the standard caramel version.

What I did like, though, was the hint of spice. It did make it feel like a fall drink that could be a nice alternative for folks who aren’t PSL fans. I’d like to try the Apple Brown Sugar Syrup in a regular iced caffe latte and see if that brings out more of the flavor.

Anything else you need to know?

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato Top

Two other cons for me: The Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato has A LOT of sugar (hello, 36 grams in a tall) and was A LOT of money for a tall. Just be prepared that your waistline and wallet may not like you if you’re a fan of these.

Conclusion:

Just meh. Had higher hopes. I’m curious to see if the hot macchiato translates the same way… I’ll just have to add it to my list.

Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: Tall
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 4 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 36 grams of total sugars, 7 grams of protein, and 75 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Life

For as many times as I’ve had a wallet-friendly Little Caesars pizza in the last two years, I have never once looked at Mr. Pizza Pizza to serve me some cake cake. Unlike other pizza chains that have dessert offerings all the time, Little Caesars doesn’t offer a full-time sugary staple to tempt me.

That all changes for now, with the addition of the eye-catching Cookie Dough Brownie. Will it be as short-lived as 2017’s Cinnamon Loaded Crazy Bites or go the distance to round out the menu for good? The cellophane-wrapped dessert is a chocolate brownie topped with cookie dough frosting and M&M’s Minis.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Cellophane

I’m glad I went to pick this up in the afternoon to have later on for a proper dessert because this new item is served COLD. Like straight out of the fridge and handed to me cold. Like, “damn, is that a fridge or a freezer?” cold. And I have a major pet peeve when it comes to baked goods: I don’t like them cold. Cake, especially something with frosting, cookies, brownies, etc., should all be at room temperature to enjoy their ideal texture and flavor. If I wanted stiff frosting, I would eat ice cream, and even that has to properly temper, or I lose my mind. I let this pretty package of four perfectly cut squares sit on my counter for four hours before eating, and they achieved peak softness.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Cuts

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Just One

The cookie dough frosting is the most unique component and by far the highlight of the experience. It has a pronounced brown sugar flavor with some of cookie dough’s essential granular sugar crystal grit that plays well with the generally smooth and creamy (properly tempered) frosting. It’s more firm than your average buttercream but softer and less dense than actual cookie dough. I’ve never had anything quite like it, and Little Caesars kind of killed it with the execution — I’m impressed.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Side

The brownie is much less interesting. Although still totally passable for a $4 dessert, the chocolate base is way more cake than a brownie, devoid of the heft and richness I associate with a brownie. It’s moist and fluffy but firm enough to hold up the frosting, very much like a thinly sliced sponge cake. A very close comparison in terms of texture and flavor is Little Debbie’s Cosmic Brownie, with a little less of an artificial preservative-heavy finish.

Little Caesars Cookie Dough Brownie Long

I tend to enjoy M&M’s incorporated into my desserts, and that’s the case here. They add a satisfying rainbow of color to the presentation, a nice little crunch to offset the creamy frosting, and another layer of chocolate to accentuate the milder cocoa in the brownie.

For those who prefer their sweets cold, I did try a square straight from the fridge the next day, and while it didn’t improve the experience, it didn’t take anything away, either. Little Caesars nailed two out of the three pieces of this sweet puzzle, regardless of temperature, and for the beyond reasonable price point, I would still recommend adding this unique treat to your next pizza night.

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: 4 pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 piece, 48g) 210 calories, 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein.