REVIEW: Starbucks Red Velvet Loaf Cake

Starbucks Red Velvet Loaf Cake

What is the Starbucks Red Velvet Loaf Cake?

It’s one of Starbucks’ new winter food items, vanilla cake meets red velvet cake in this bakery treat, with a white chocolate icing. It’s served by the slice, and I was not disappointed with the size. The cake slice was even larger than I anticipated.

How is it?

I love red velvet, but I’ve always felt it’s something people either really like or don’t like. So as someone who adores it, this loaf cake was pretty darn good. On first bite I made sure to get the vanilla, red velvet, and icing all in one, and the red velvet was definitely the most flavorful. It was rich without being too sweet. I also appreciated the denseness of the loaf cake. But I will say the density makes it more of a dessert than a quick snack.

Starbucks Red Velvet Loaf Cake Icing

Now let’s talk about the white chocolate icing: A thin layer with nice flavor. I do wish there was more – my husband and I agreed we wish the icing-to-cake ratio was the same in every bite.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I would have a beverage on hand, because the loaf cake was just a teeny bit dry (hence my 8 out of 10 rating). Not enough for me to make a stink about it, but I was hoping it would be super moist. The red velvet portions of the cake were more moist than the vanilla. (Side note: My apologies for using the word moist. I know people dislike that almost as much as red velvet.)

Conclusion:

I would definitely order again – this was a nice treat that paired well with my latte for my afternoon pick-me-up.

Purchased Price: $2.95
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 370 calories, 16 grams of total fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 470 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 29 grams of total sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star

Carl s Jr Beyond Famous Star

I realize it may not look like much, but the Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star is probably the fast food burger of the year.

Yes, it may be only January, but God bless Carl’s Jr. for unleashing this wonderfully unknowing beef-substitute on their many meat-weary fans and, even more so, those just looking for something not only a bit healthier, but deliciously different in the new year.

Beyond Meat has been making a bit of a wave lately in fast food, making different partnerships with places like Del Taco — if you can find them — to live out its wholly utopian dream of replacing meat with a fully plant-based foodstuff. If its faux-beef patties taste this good — better even than the real thing, if you ask me — don’t ever wake me up. Allow me to forever slumber in this world.

The basic skeleton of the Carl’s Jr. burger is all here: the buns, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, secret sauce, and so on, with the option of cheese or no cheese to make it a bit more tangibly vegan. And while the smell is different than a usual slab of burger beef on the grill — think of it more like a wafting scent of Sunday morning on the busy farm, if you will — the Beyond Meat taste is quite like anything I know I’ve had, at the very least inside a Carl’s Jr.

Carl s Jr Beyond Famous Star Patty

You may expect something like this Beyond Meat to be remarkably dry, but it is actually the perfect balance between perfectly juicy and properly flambéed, the signature Carl’s Jr. mess running down the front of your shirt. Is it actually grilled? Who knows? But, like so many other things in this world, does it really matter when it tastes this good?

You’d really think that more fast food joints would offer the Beyond Meat as an option — or at least bring it to my town, won’t you Del Taco? — easing the usual vegetarian-phobics, at the very least, into a solvable Meatless Monday solution, like Paul McCartney and PETA routinely says.

I gotta say, this burger worked for me.

However, while the calorie count is not as terrible as the chain’s standard burger, the sodium is well over 1500 milligrams, giving people trying to cut that back a small pause for concern. Still, if you’re only eating one a week — that seems about fair, eh? — you should probably be fine. Just don’t substitute these for an everyday meal, usually on your lunch break, especially when detrimentally paired with fries and a Coke.

I’m thoroughly surprised with Carl’s Jr. latest endeavor for the vegetarian community — and the wannabe one — applauding its decision to go above and, yes, Beyond, with this latest call to a most tasty form of positively edible action. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 710 calories, 40 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1550 milligrams of sodium, 61 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Cinnamon Shortbread Latte

Starbucks Cinnamon Shortbread Latte

What is the Starbucks Cinnamon Shortbread Latte?

Starbucks has a new winter beverage up for grabs – the Cinnamon Shortbread Latte. The name just makes it seem cozy! The drink adds a vanilla shortbread sauce to espresso, and it is sprinkled with both cinnamon and nutmeg.

How is it?

Oh Starbucks, you’ve done it again. The minute I saw it added to the menu, I had to try it and was not disappointed. Consider the Cinnamon Shortbread Latte the love child of a Vanilla Latte and a Cinnamon Dolce Latte. – why didn’t Starbucks think of this sooner?

There’s a distinct cinnamon smell right off the bat thanks to the toppings of cinnamon and nutmeg. I will note: The cinnamon smell was definitely stronger than the taste. At first sip, the drink was smooth, warm, and not too sugary sweet. I enjoy the classic Vanilla Latte, and what I loved about this new drink was the extra pizazz the vanilla shortbread sauce added. I’d be interested in trying the sauce in an iced coffee as well – I’m hoping it sticks around beyond the winter.

Is there anything else you need to know?

If you enjoy vanilla and cinnamon, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try this drink. It’s also offered as a Frappuccino or an iced drink. I’m hoping to try both. And since it’s Girl Scout Cookie season, I’m tempted to pair this with the Trefoil cookies for an epic shortbread treat.

Conclusion:

Run, don’t walk to your nearest Starbucks. Trust me.

Purchased Price: $4.45
Size: Tall
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Tall 12 fl oz) 270 calories, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of sugars, 10 grams of protein and 75 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: KFC Spicy Famous Bowl

KFC Spicy Famous Bowl

Mamma mia! That’s a spicy… um, Famous Bowl?

While at a broad glance, a big bowl full of KFC’s famous brown gravy doesn’t look like it would or should mix with a moderate size drizzle of its new-ish Nashville Hot sauce all that well, but good God almighty if they don’t make quite the sexy pair of tongue-searing bedfellows.

The Famous Bowl has long been the much maligned trough of just about everything on the menu that, against all odds and most expectations, has managed to stay on KFC’s famed menu for quite a while now despite it being a heaping helping of a dystopic future. And, for $3 bucks, that’s really some budget-friendly mass caloric intake that most of America seems more than comfortable to ease our downfall with.

Like a few of its other, more recent menu additions, KFC is adding a straight bit of heat in the form of said Nashville Hot sauce on the tops of these famous bowls. It creates a unique source of tangy hotness that feels like the exact element these bowls have been missing for so long, freeing it and us from downing basically a big bowl of sodium-heavy mush.

KFC Spicy Famous Bowl 2

Each plastic bowl, loaded to the hilt with, of course, creamy mashed potatoes, firm sweet corn, and crispy chicken bites, as well as the comforting gravy and three shredded cheeses of varying flavors, are taken to a newer level. Not a proud level, but at the very least, a higher one. Each crunchy chicken bite now has a great kick to it, mingling the gritty pepper with the smooth capsicum, a little bit going a very long way.

It’s a nice little burn that’s totally unexpected and morbidly welcomed, the burn quickly diffusing however with the warm gravy and the warmer mashed potatoes providing a different kind of incandescence.

The heat stays for just a couple of self-torturing beats, the uncomfortability leaving when you’re ready. It’s a nice change of sweltering pace from the usual item of fast food burritos and so on. Not that there’s anything wrong with burritos, of course.

KFC Spicy Famous Bowl 3

The addition of Nashville hot sauce is such a deserving landmark, one that I honestly would like to see them try in the near future with its Georgia Gold additive as well. Really, KFC, anything you can do to make the body-polluting bowl into a more pleasant diversion of taste, here’s my three dollars, have a prototype on my desk by Monday.

And yes, the irony isn’t lost on me over the fact that the Nashville Hot sauce isn’t as great on the individual chicken bearing its name. However, though it took a few trying months, I think we have a purely Southern victory of taste and flavor that would even make the Colonel stand up in his coffin and give a postmortem salute. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 720 calories, 34 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 2370 milligrams of sodium, 79 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Grande Burritos

Taco Bell Grande Burritos

It’s a new year at Taco Bell and to kick 2019 off right, here’s a pair of grande dollar menu burritos to shove greedily in your eagerly awaiting mouth!

A new spin of the usual combinations and recombinations of meat, cheese, and tortillas, the Bell is seemingly eager to win our hearts (and our stomachs) early this year with these cost-effective and comically large — or grande, if you will — additions that, of course, are for a limited time only. Introducing the Three Cheese Nacho Grande Burrito and, to lesser effect, the Chicken Enchilada Burrito, both worth a taste or two.

Three Cheese Nacho Grande Burrito

Taco Bell Grande Burritos 2

The Three Cheese Nacho is composed of the always-welcomed seasoned beef, lovingly ladled reduced-fat sour cream and those crunchy red strips, but is additionally smothered in a vaunted mixture of the three-cheese blend and the beautiful nacho cheese sauce. Plump the way a fast food burrito should be, this triple queso meat shaft is the bomb, each bite exploding in your mouth.

A particular point of interest, as usual, is the nacho cheese. Ain’t nobody, especially in the world of corporate tacos, that does the electric yellow paste any better. Here, it mixes with the mélange of sexy meat and red strips for a cost-effective fiesta of faux-Mexican delights.

Chicken Enchilada Grande Burrito

Taco Bell Grande Burritos 3

Not ringing my Bell as much, however, is the Chicken Enchilada one. I know the name sounds more than appealing, but this combination of spicy shredded chicken, tangy red sauce, stand-by cheese and, of course, sour cream, has one dastardly downfall in abundance — make that overabundance — of TB’s bland “seasoned” rice.

If I were to order it again, I’d ask them to hold the handful of rice kernels, because the sheer amount of them makes for a very dry, very flavorless competition with the delightful shredded chicken and red sauce. No enchilada I’ve ever downed — chicken or otherwise — has ever had this much rice dumped in it and, if it did, it was either on the side or in the garbage, take your pick.

But, I understand some of you like that; here you go, you can have the rest of mine. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.

Taco Bell Grande Burritos 4

As for me, I’ll just order an extra Three Cheese Nacho Grande Burrito next time, basking in the ancient rays of a cheesy sun, the queso spilling out and waterfalling down the front of my shirt, where it will be undoubtedly scooped up and devoured by an errant red strip or two. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Three Cheese Nacho)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Chicken Enchilada)
Nutrition Facts: Three Cheese Nacho – 420 calories, 18 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 910 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein. Chicken Enchilada – 370 calories, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starbucks Black & White Mocha

Starbucks Black  White Mocha

What is the Starbucks Black & White Mocha?

Starbucks has brought back its Black and White collection, which includes a Mocha, Hot Chocolate, and Frappuccino. The Black and White Mocha, which I tried, has both dark mocha and white chocolate mocha, whipped cream, and chocolate “sequins” (read: chocolate pieces).

How is it?

I consider this the regular Mocha’s older sibling who is all dressed up for New Year’s Eve. It’s trying to make the Mocha fancy, but it just tastes the same – with a fancy description. The chocolate taste is super prominent, with no real white chocolate traces. And although it has 80 milligrams of caffeine in a tall, you’re not getting any coffee taste (which might be a draw for those who don’t like coffee but still want a caffeine hit!).

I do appreciate how smooth the taste is – it’s a decadent drink that’s more like a special dessert. It’s definitely a calorie bomb at 350 calories for a tall alone. I wouldn’t add this into my morning rotation, but make it more of an afternoon sugar rush.

Is there anything else you need to know?

I enjoyed the drink, but the reason I have it at a 6 out of 10 is that it doesn’t separate itself from a good old Mocha. I was hoping for something a little more exciting, but it fell a bit short. So it has a good taste, but it’s a bit of disappointment in the build up.

Conclusion:

If you’re a sucker for specialty drinks, it’s worth a try. But if you’re looking for an advanced Mocha, you might not find it.

Purchased Price: $4.45
Size: Tall
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Tall) 350 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 42 grams of sugars, 12 grams of protein, and 80 milligrams of caffeine.