REVIEW: Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips

Burnt or ominously seasoned?

Those were the two thoughts in my head when I opened the clamshell container holding my three-piece order of Jack in the Box’s new Spicy Chicken Strips.

After trying them, I realized it might be an equal amount of both as the 100% white meat chicken inside the coating was a little dry, and the menu item as a whole ended up being spicier than I thought it would be.

I expected these strips to be as peppery as Jack in the Box’s old spicy chicken sandwich, which I’ve consumed numerous times. But they’re hotter. Oh, I wrote, “old spicy chicken sandwich” because Jack has updated the menu item by using these chicken strips in it. I also think they do a better job at bringing the heat than Wendy’s spicy chicken. Don’t @ me.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips White Meat Chicken

These also have a nice taste and crunch. The coating is crispy, most noticeably on the edges. Their flavor reminds me of Jack in the Box’s tacos for some reason but enhanced and much spicier. They’re tasty enough that they don’t need a dipping sauce, but my order did come with a container of ranch dip.

Jack in the Box did a great job with these Spicy Chicken Strips. They’re hotter and taste better than I expected. But with all that said, I’m not sure I can wholeheartedly recommend these.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips Burnt

While I like them, the amount of trans fat they have is alarming. I got the three-piece order, which, according to Jack in the Box’s website while I was writing this, has 4.5 grams of trans fat, and the five-piece option has 8 grams.

Jack in the Box Spicy Chicken Strips Trans Fat

It might be a mistake on the website because Jack’s regular chicken strips don’t have trans fat and the updated Jack’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich that uses these strips also doesn’t have trans fat. But the nutrition for the sandwich might be for the old version, and no one changed it yet. I dunno. I hope it’s an error because I don’t want to go back to the early 1990s when the trans fat flowed as freely as crack cocaine.

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: 3 pieces
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 450 calories, 20 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 4.5 grams of trans fat (seriously?), 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1970 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein..

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll most definitely pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Jimmy John’s Frenchie

Jimmy John s Frenchie

What is the Jimmy John’s Frenchie?

Jimmy John’s vaguely problematically-named “Frenchie” sandwich contains salami, capicola, provolone, and salted butter on a thinner version of its standard French bread. They’re premade in limited quantities each day, so plan on an early lunch if you want to be sure to get one.

How is it?

As the name suggests, the Frenchie is Jimmy John’s take the popular French jamon-beurre sandwich. I went to a fancy culinary school, and speak culinary French, and so can tell you that jamon-beurre means ham-butter. (That’s not true. The only language skills I picked up during my time working in restaurants was to answer to “Oi! Pinche pendejo!”). As the name suggests, it’s a straightforward sandwich of ham and butter on a baguette, which requires all three elements to be of top quality for it to work.

Jimmy John s Frenchie Side

I’m a fan of Jimmy John’s, but its ingredients aren’t up to the task. The bread is soft with a nice bite to its crust, but it doesn’t have the chew and crackling crust of a great French baguette. The cold cuts and cheese are better than Subway’s, but you could find the same in your grocer’s deli. I’m not looking for the Frenchie to transport me to a café in Paris, but without really top-quality ingredients this is a fairly plain sandwich.

Jimmy John s Frenchie Meats and Cheeses

Jimmy John’s tries to overcome this shortcoming by replacing the traditional ham with salami and capicola, but neither stands out, neither adding nor subtracting from the sandwich, making me think they should’ve simply stuck with ham.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The only ingredient Jimmy John’s added to their menu for this sandwich is the salted butter. For some, this may not seem enough to justify a whole new sandwich, but as a Wisconsin native, I must disagree. The home of the Butter Burger knows that butter can improve any recipe. I had a friend in grade school who had peanut butter and butter sandwiches for lunch every day. We like butter so much that we once outlawed margarine. Though I was generally disappointed in the Frenchie, the butter adds a salted richness that serves to meld the flavors is a pleasing way.

Conclusion:

The Frenchie is a good option if someone is looking for a few simple ingredients combined in a satisfying arrangement. Fans of the franchise’s “Plain Slim” options with only meat and cheese may find something to like. Others will be better served by ordering something else, unless they really like butter. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for the annual butter sculpture eating contest.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Jimmy John’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 760 calories, 34 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 115 milligrams of cholesterol, 2130 milligrams of sodium, 75 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Caramel Cannonball Blizzard

Dairy Queen Caramel Cannonball Blizzard

What is the Caramel Cannonball Blizzard?

It’s the most vaguely named of the newest offerings on Dairy Queen’s 2019 Summer Blizzard menu. Yes, it has caramel, and a lot of it, with that word appearing three times in what DQ says is a mix of vanilla soft-serve with caramel-coated caramel truffles, toffee pieces, and caramel topping.

How is it?

Do you know how in fast food commercials the people eating are always smiling, laughing and generally looking a bit too overjoyed to be munching on a $5 value meal? That’s how I behaved while eating this Blizzard, which was a little strange since I was dining alone. But it was just that good, even great.

Dairy Queen Caramel Cannonball Blizzard Spoonful

The caramel topping brings a light brown color to the mix and a subtle flavor to the soft-serve, and the toffee pieces add a nice crunch and buttery taste that pairs perfectly with the topping. But the caramel-coated caramel truffles really complete the mix, even beyond their alliterative brilliance. The coating would have been good on its own, but when you bite into a truffle and release the gooey caramel trapped inside you’ll find yourself furiously digging around for the next one.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Another similar truffle, the chocolate-coated caramel variety, has been used sparingly by DQ in past Blizzard concoctions, including the Triple Truffle (along with fudge and peanut butter), and a salted caramel truffle was featured in the not-so-creatively-named Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard. This version appears to be the first time a caramel-coated caramel one has been thrown into the mix, and I hope it’s not the last.

Dairy Queen Caramel Cannonball Blizzard Caramel Truffle

I must admit that truffle is one of those words I’ve never been completely clear on and been too lazy to seek clarification. I know what the Truffle Shuffle is from watching “The Goonies” countless times, but I’ve always thought it was a type of mushroom.

It turns out they’re not, but they’re a mushroom-like fungus. Not being a fan of mushrooms or mushroom-like fungi, I’ve generally stayed away from them, only to find out that chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, etc. truffles are named simply because of their resemblance to the fungus. The point of that little story is to let any other linguistically-challenged readers rest easy in knowing that there are no mushrooms or fungi in this Blizzard, just sugary goodness.

Conclusion:

It’s always tempting to say the last great thing you had was the greatest ever, and with plenty of tasty Blizzard flavors over the years I’ll refrain from crowning this one king (or perhaps more appropriately, queen) of all Blizzardtopia. But for me, this one is a rightful heir to the throne, and with an untimely demise or two from above, I might bow down and say this is my favorite of all-time.

Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: Mini
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Mini) 470 calories, 21 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat,
0.5 gram of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 50 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Burger King Stacker King

Burger King Stacker King

What is the Burger King Stacker King?

The newfangled Burger King Stacker King, as the name implies, is the beefed up (literally) spiritual successor to BK’s fan-favorite Stacker. Indeed, the Stacker King is more or less the same concept as the decade-old mega meat sensation. It’s a combination of flame grilled beef, a deluge of crispy bacon, a hearty helping of American cheese, and a delightful dollop of the proprietary Stacker Sauce. And, depending on your appetite/lack of concern for your wellbeing, it comes in single, double and triple patty-stacked permutations.

How is it?

You know exactly what you’re getting into with this one. The Stacker King (I went with the double-patty offering) is an ultra-satisfying, no frills, no-risks-taken burger that’s about one thing, and one thing only — volume.

Burger King Stacker King Lots o Bacon

You have to give Burger King some props on this one because they did not skimp out on the protein; in fact, my Stacker King came loaded with no less than EIGHT strips of bacon, which is enough to qualify as a breakfast buffet legally. And the Stacker Sauce — something of a lite chipotle mayo medley with a teensy taste of relish and celery — is a plain fantastic condiment, which I’d love to see released as a retail product.

Burger King Stacker King Stacker Sauce

Is there anything else you need to know?

Something like the Stacker King is almost a review-proof fast food item. Right off the bat, you know whether you’d love it or flee from it in terror, so if the photos get your stomach rumbling or churning, I can promise you the actual product would have the same effect on your tummy. Two words of warning before you place your order, though: running the gamut from $5.49 to just shy of $8 (in metro-Atlanta, anyway) these sandwiches aren’t the cheapest burgers on the market, and they have nearly a full day’s worth of sodium.

Conclusion:

Burger King Stacker King Cheese

It may not be a terribly creative item, but the Stacker King is unquestionably a scrumptious and extremely filling fast food L-T-O. Sure, we could complain about the product being a little bit too basic (this thing would’ve been considerably better with Swiss or Havarti), and the lack of virtually any veggies might put a few would-be diners off. But on the whole, this is a yummy, unsophisticated, XXXL burger that does everything it has to and absolutely nothing more; obviously, the more artisanal fast food fans need not apply here.

Purchased Price: $6.29
Size: Double
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Double) 1050 calories, 68 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 3.5 grams of trans fat, 235 milligrams of cholesterol, 1879 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 61 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dunkin’ Peeps Marshmallow Flavored Coffee

Dunkin Peeps Marshmallow Flavored Coffee

What is the Dunkin’ Peeps Marshmallow Flavored Coffee?

Well folks, it appears the Easter season is upon us.

I mean, why else would Dunkin’ be selling Marshmallow Peeps flavored coffees?

How is it?

I fully expected the sweetness to be out of control, but I’m happy to report my worries were overstated. I guess I figured a syrup created to mimic a sugar dusted marshmallow would be overwhelming, but I really enjoyed the flavor.

Dunkin Peeps Marshmallow Flavored Coffee Top

Sure the “drop” of milk I requested (which was more like a cup) probably diluted the sweetness a bit, but if that’s the case, props to the Barista for the happy accident. (Are they called Baristas at Dunkin’?)

I picked up a pack of Peeps to compare the flavor, and I’ll say they got it about 75% there.

I wouldn’t necessarily say the coffee screamed “PEEPS,” but it definitely tasted like marshmallow and vanilla. I might even say I liked it a bit more in drink form than the sand and memory foam, I mean, sugar and marshmallow form of a standard Peep.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Dunkin Peeps Marshmallow Flavored Coffee Topped with a Peeps Chick

I floated a Peeps chick in the coffee just for the hell of it, and it added a whole lot of nothing to the experience.

The aforementioned Barista (?!) made me take a sip of the coffee in front of her and report if I liked it. I toyed with spitting it out in disgust, but just simply said, “it’s good” and pretended it wasn’t an odd request.

I skipped the Peeps donut because it just looked like standard sprinkled fare with a Peeps chick on top.

Conclusion:

This is a winner, and I’ll probably get it at least one more time this month.

It wouldn’t shock me if Dunkin’ just rebranded the flavor syrup as generic “marshmallow” and snuck it on their full-time menu once Spring has come and gone. It would definitely be a worthy addition to its flavor swirl lineup.

Purchased Price: $2.65
Size: Small
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small without dairy) 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and 178 milligrams of caffeine.

REVIEW: Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna Sandwich

Arby s Big Kahuna

What is the Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna?

Remember when Arby’s first released the Meat Mountain? Piling every one of its meats on a single sandwich, the “secret menu” item was the subject of articles written with equal parts awe and disgust. I saw it as more of a stunt offering than a real menu item, not fit to be ordered by a respectable gentleman of refined taste such as myself. I certainly did not order and consume one late one night from the nearby gas station-attached Arby’s near my house.

I mention the Meat Mountain only to highlight that the Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna sandwich features three types of meat: a fried chicken fillet, ham, and smoked brisket, as well as Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a pineapple habanero mustard on a sweet Hawaiian roll. It’s a hefty sandwich, and it’s on the regular menu without any particular attention. Truly, the arc of the fast food universe is long, but it bends towards gluttony.

How is it?

The King’s Sweet Hawaiian roll is something Arby’s has returned to again and again for good reason. Its sweetness complements the sandwich without overwhelming any individual element. By itself, it’s noticeably sweet, but that sweetness lessens when eaten as a part of the whole.

Arby s Big Kahuna Halved

The chicken remains crisp even after the drive home, and the ham and Swiss are natural cordon bleu-esque additions. The smoked brisket adds smokiness, but is a bit dry. It seems extraneous to me, but doesn’t subtract from the whole. The pineapple habanero mustard really tastes like sweet pineapple and adds a needed kick to the whole affair. Without it, the sandwich’s sweetness could have been overwhelming.

Is there anything else you need to know?

There’s been a trend in recent years for burgers and sandwiches to be piled so high that they’re too unstable to be actually eaten by hand. I certainly remember the Meat Mountain eroding into a hill of various meats and cheeses, forcing me to pick through them with my fingers in the harsh, judgmental dome light of my car.

The advertising photos of the towering King’s Hawaiian Big Kahuna sandwich made me think I’d be in for a repeat of my shameful late-night mountaineering expedition, but I was pleasantly surprised at the structural integrity of this sandwich. This is one time I was happy the actual product was smaller than advertised. The tomato caused a bit of slippage, but I was able to handle it and get a bit of each element in every bite.

Conclusion:

It’s a sandwich that will satisfy your inner gourmand without being too much. I mean, we’re through the looking glass now with eating contest-sized sandwiches becoming the norm, but I’m not complaining. I look forward to trying Arby’s Meat Continent in a few years.

Purchased Price: $6.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 860 calories, 39 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 2380 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 60 gram of protein.