REVIEW: Wendy’s Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich

Why don’t more fast food chains utilize the croissant?

I mean, everyone loves croissants. From the buttery, flaky layers to that rich aftertaste and the feeling of international sophistication you get when rolling the “oi” to create what might pass as a French word, croissants are hard to hate on.

There is, it turns out, a lot of good reasons why croissants get shafted in fast food development. They smoosh easily, they’re incompatible with burgers, and their lineage is much more developed in the deli spectrum.

Perhaps that’s what makes Wendy’s new Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich so intriguing. Not only does it capitalize on the popularity of the sweet and salty fried chicken applications – pairing a maple glaze with Wendy’s homestyle chicken breast and Applewood smoked bacon – but it also uses a “flaky croissant bun” as the anchor.

Wendy's Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich 2

Forgetting for a second that the artistic representation of Wendy’s croissant bun looks like the emoji for dog poop (SORRY BUT IT’S TRUE), the bun fails to make the sandwich. More like a spongy brioche than a flaky croissant, it lacks the rich croissant aftertaste or light, airy texture. Perhaps most telling, it doesn’t stand out when paired with the heavy ingredients.

And yeah, those other ingredients are heavy. It’s not that Wendy’s homestyle chicken breast is terrible, it’s that its spice blend, extra crispy texture, and saltiness dominate the sandwich. The bacon and swiss cheese are, as they usually are at Wendy’s, on point as individual ingredients, but as a whole sandwich, they come together in a salty, somewhat meaty, and weirdly sweet way that gives new meaning to ambivalence.

Wendy's Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich 3

Weirdly sweet is, I think, an apt description for the maple glaze. The sweetness is muted, cut by a bit of butter and a dissatisfying bite of apple cider vinegar. What you’re left with is a viscous fluid that doesn’t know if it wants to be a salad dressing, a baste, or drizzle-on-pancake maple syrup. If a sweet and salty sensation is supposed to awaken your taste buds, this is more like hitting the snooze 4 or 5 times before stumbling out of bed.

Wendy's Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich 4

Ultimately, Wendy’s misses the mark when it comes to the Bacon Maple Chicken Sandwich. Heavy, salty, and without any relief, it’s not so much a guilty pleasure as it is a slightly underwhelming representation of chicken and waffles. And, let’s be real — a fast food croissant “bun” ain’t no waffle.

Purchased Price: $5.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 680 calories, 34 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 1450 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 41grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein.

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QUICK REVIEW: Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Burger

Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr Burger

What is the Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Burger?

Surely you’ve had a Sonic Jr. Burger at least once in your life, right? The Fritos Chili Cheese variation is precisely how it sounds: a small Sonic burger topped (or bottomed, I guess) with crunchy Fritos and mild chili, delicately ladled in a most un-Texas-like fashion for a moderately tasty burger.

How is it?

Growing up in the Lone Star State, just about every ballgame, birthday, and baptism had the opportunity to down a Frito pie or two. So it’s one of the rare things on this Earth that, sadly, I know all too intimately. And while yes, this is Sonic’s attempt to mimic it and call it its own, it isn’t quite there yet, at least when it comes to the whole burger thing.

Sonic Jr. burgers are always a delicious pick me up for just a couple of bites, and the Fritos and chili certainly don’t take anything away. But once you get a good look at how chintzy they are with the cheap chili con Fritos, you might ask why Sonic even bothered.

Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr Burger 2

Lightly dripped on the bottom bun with a small handful of Fritos, you’d do better to just order at Sonic Jr. Burger and go across the street to the convenience store and add a quarter bag of Fritos and some free cheese from the dispenser.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Even though the Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Burger is a slightly delicious dud, the chain is also offering, for 99 cents each, a small Fritos Chili Pie and a Fritos Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap. While they look a bit more suitable for the Frito/chili/cheese product, due to their low price point, it’s probably more than likely they’ll have about as much junk (or lack thereof) as the burger.

Conclusion:

Sonic Fritos Chili Cheese Jr Burger 3

For a $1.99, it’s mostly alright for the sparseness that you get. Sure, it’s something they’d kick you out of Texas for if the good ol’ boys in Austin ever find out, but until something with more Fritos and even more chili comes along, I guess it’ll have to do, partner.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Not available at press time.

QUICK REVIEW: Krispy Kreme Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut

Krispy Kreme Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut

What is the Krispy Kreme Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut?

This Krispy Kreme kreation kombines the khain’s klassic ring doughnut that’s tossed in cinnamon sugar and topped with cream cheese icing and a cinnamon swirl. So, yeah, it’s pretty much Krispy Kreme’s way of getting more cinnamon and sugar on its Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut.

And, yeah, I thought the whole K for a C thing got old halfway through the opening sentence, so that’s why “cream cheese” didn’t get swapped.

How is it?

I think Krispy Kreme was trying to make a cinnamon roll doughnut with this but without having to call it that because that would mess with peoples’ heads. If the chain did call it that, some folks might be expecting a pastry hybrid, like a cronut.

Of course, if somehow that was possible, cinnamon rollghnut would obviously be its name. Krispy Kreme (or Dunkin’), please make a cinnamon rollghnut (or in Dunkin’s case, a cinnamon rollnut).

Krispy Kreme Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut 2

The cream cheese icing is what makes this round treat taste like a cinnamon roll. But the weird thing is, the white-colored icing doesn’t have a strong flavor on its own, and it’s the same with the cinnamon swirl. But when eaten all together, all the flavors pop. I can’t explain it. Despite the double dose of the sweet spice, there’s no cinna-overkill.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Sliding a doughnut down your pointer finger and eating the circled pastry from the outside in, while using your other pointer finger to rotate it should be the default way of eating one.

Conclusion:

If you’re a fan of Krispy Kreme’s Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut, but wished it had more of a sugary punch, then the Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut is the right hook your sweet tooth will get hit with and like it. It pretty much takes one of Krispy Kreme’s classic, simple doughnuts and makes it better. If there was a vote to have this replace the classic version, I’d vote for it.

Purchased Price: Purchase as part of a $13.95 dozen
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 250 calories, 15 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s Arbynator

Arby's Arbynator

If there’s one thing I’ve always said loudly and proudly, when it comes to fast food roast beef, Arby’s Sandwiches are the best in the business. And the horsey-drenched souls there have unleashed the massive monster that is the Arbynator.

Composed of everything in a typical Arby’s combo meal – roast beef sandwich, curly fries, and cheddar cheese sauce – along with just about every sauce available over the counter including Arby’s sauce and Horsey sauce, this mammoth pile of meat is a two-handed mankiller sent from the bleak future to our bleaker present to destroy our collective hungers, if only for one solitary day. No fate.

Available in three aggrandizing sizes – the Classic, the Double, and the Lord-have-mercy Half-Pound – I stuck with the relatively responsible Classic variation for this outing.

Arby's Arbynator 2

Even though the sesame seed bun was mostly flattened, it pretty much did look like the promotional picture, with the scads of roast beef lazily flopping out as the hot cheese dripped down its side, mixing deliciously with the other assorted sauces. The fries, however, were tucked away like a surprise.

Just as immodestly thick as the pile of roast beef is, when you hit the curly fries, the sheer amount of them on the Arbynator seem a little bigger than a handful. The twirling tubers are a welcomed treat to crunch into as you began your dank voyage into this dangerous sandwich. The fries and roast beef are a delightful combination that kids have been doing for years much to their mother’s chagrin. The mixture of tart sauces pays off nicely with lip-puckering goodness.

Arby's Arbynator 3

If the sandwich has any flaw, it’s probably that it has far too much meat for one sitting, even in its Classic portion. There’s no way an Average Joe will down the Arbynator during his lunch hour, head back to the office, and not put his head down for a long winter’s nap. It’s too darn much.

Layer after layer of roast beef and stack after stack of curly fries and glug after glug of cheese sauce might sound like a great thing on paper, but when it’s right in front of you, daring you to devour it, this is where the decisions that follow us around for the rest of our lives are made.

So, I guess if I’m saying anything, have half for lunch and eat the other half on your way home from work. Unless, of course, your job is “professional napper” in which case, have two on me. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: Classic
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 560 calories, 25 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1630 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 25 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Sonic Sweet Pretzel Twist

Sonic Sweet Pretzel Twist

What is the Sonic Sweet Pretzel Twist?

Sonic’s convoluted menu has a new snack for those two dudes to ramble on about – the Sweet Pretzel Twist.

How is it?

Let me preface this review by stating that soft pretzels are easily one of my favorite foods in the world. I may very well be overrating Sonic’s new Sweet Pretzel Twist. That being said, this twist is pretty amazing.

The texture is spot on. It’s right where you’d want a soft pretzel to be. The outside is buttery with a mild crisp that makes way for a soft, warm doughy interior.

Sonic Sweet Pretzel Twist 2

It’s not BLASTED with cinnamon sugar like you’d think. It’s definitely less sandy than a cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne’s, but it’s just about as buttery, which makes for a delicious sweet and salty merger. Don’t worry though, it’s still sweet and you still get plenty of cinnamon, it’s just not complete overkill.

It’s also a perfect size. While it goes down in five bites max, it’s satisfying and you won’t feel like you just ate a lead doughball.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Sonic Sweet Pretzel Twist 3

The pretzel comes with Cinnabon cream cheese frosting. It’s good, but I found it to be unnecessary. Save the icing cup for something else and just enjoy the pretzel on its own.

Oh, and honestly, it kinda looks like Mr. Hanky. So, there’s that.

Conclusion:

If I were a God*, my ambrosia would be soft pretzels. Yeah, I may aim low, but I adore them. I consider them to be in the ballpark of pizza, where even the worst, not-so-soft pretzel is still satisfying. For me to rate these this high, they must be good. Right?

This is going to become a staple in my diet. While I’ll probably go for the regular pretzel most of the time, the Sonic Sweet Pretzel Twist is stellar, and well worth stopping for.

*Still waiting for my 23andMe results.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (NOTE: Sweet nutrition is unavailable for some reason. The following is for the regular Pretzel Twist) 250 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 gram of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 440 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: KFC Chicken & Waffles

KFC Chicken  Waffles

As I wiped the sticky syrup from my fingers using the convenient wet towelette included with my meal, I have to admit I cracked a deeply disturbing yet wholly satisfied smile. Chicken and waffles seem like such a decades-old bandwagon to jump on. The fact that KFC was actually able to create a seasonal masterwork like this has to be a minor holiday miracle, right?

Having sampled this famed coupling all the way from small local diners to the grandfather of them all, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in L.A., no two recipes are ever the same, with KFC falling completely in line.

KFC Chicken  Waffles 2

Combining two of the Original Recipe varieties of chicken — a drumstick and thigh, if you will — with a very thick and very heavy mini-waffle, KFC has shined its populous light on a rare dining treat that many people are curious about but might not ever a chance to otherwise enjoy.

Of course, we know that KFC’s chicken is usually tops in this mother-clucking business, so we’ll skip all that for now. The real surprise, the real focus here, has got to be the beautifully vanilla-sweet waffle, a delectable pill that tastes more like a pressed piece of sheet-cake than the archetypical breakfast side. All that’s missing is a heavy dollop of whipped cream.

KFC Chicken  Waffles 3

After tearing open my single-serve cup of Mrs. Butterworth’s, I coated back and forth the good-looking eats laid out before me. The runny guzzle of the much-loved pancake topping puddled at the bottom of the black container, letting the chicken and waffles soak in its sugars for a few mouth-teasing minutes.

The thick syrup made the dense waffle into something like a dunked doughnut, soft but sticky and ready to get your fingers dirty. And while that is expected when it comes to waffles, I wasn’t prepared for how the same chemical reaction — both mentally and physically — would work with the Original Recipe chicken. Who could or would have ever guessed just how much the toothsome syrup made a perfect marriage partner with the highly trademarked chicken.

While I ordered the two pieces with one waffle, there was a part of me that wished I had also ordered the delectable looking Hot Honey Chicken Tender Sandwich that uses the brave little waffles as a top and bottom. To Hell with you, Double Down! Leaving the KFC, maybe next time I thought, maybe next time. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 2 pieces with 1 waffle
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Unavailable at time of publication.