REVIEW: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Both

What are the Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos?

The new “sandwiches” with flatbread that wraps around the chicken like a taco are available in two varieties — regular and spicy. Both come with creamy chipotle sauce and crispy, white-meat chicken that’s marinated in jalapeño buttermilk, seasoned with Mexican spices, and have a tortilla chip coating. The spicy one also comes with pickled jalapeño peppers.

How are they?

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Size

Well, they’re fit-in-the-palm-of-my-hand small. They’re also very, um, well, let’s just say I don’t need a manual to make one if I got thrown into a Taco Bell prep line. With the regular one, it’s just flatbread, sauce, and chicken.

But while they’re small and simple, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

With the Flatbread Tacos on the menu a few months ago, I complained about how the flatbread can mute the other ingredients, but that wasn’t the case with these. The ample amount of smoky and peppery chipotle sauce provides a lot of flavor and, in doing so, makes sure the flatbread knows its role as a vessel and not much else.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Regular

But the chicken strips really surprised me. They had a decent thickness to them, the meat wasn’t too dry, the exterior was surprisingly crunchy, and what was even more of a surprise, they were seasoned enough that they taste good on their own. If Taco Bell ever wants to get into the chicken strips game, it could do so with these.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco Spicy

As for heat, the chipotle sauce brings some lower-level spiciness, while the jalapeño peppers in the spicy one takes things up a notch or two. Also, the brine-y flavors from the peppers add a vinegary bite, which I enjoyed.

Anything else you need to know?

There’s a conversation about whether a taco is a sandwich. It’s like how some folks ask whether a hot dog is a sandwich. I’m not going to share my opinion here because it would add 1,000+ words to this review. I’m just satisfied these are tasty.

These have an “online exclusive price” of $1.49 in most regions, which I think is worth it. But here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s $2.59, which is a bit too much for something so small.

Conclusion:

The flavors of Taco Bell’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich Tacos delight me, and because of that, I want to give them a higher rating, but their size makes it hard for me to do so. Definitely worth a try at their online exclusive price.

Purchased Price: $2.59 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 280 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Spicy – 290 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 710 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 13 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: Dunkin’ Apple Cranberry Coconut Refresher

Dunkin Apple Cranberry Coconut Refresher Tall

While pumpkin is the unmatched king of fall food, this year we’re seeing a push to bring an old favorite fall flavor back in the spotlight: apple. Dunkin’s Apple Cranberry Refresher is a very unique offering for those who seek a fall themed beverage, but don’t necessarily want coffee or pumpkin flavor.

The Dunkin’ Refreshers all start off with a green tea base mixed with a fruit concentrate and served over ice. While it has experimented with different Refresher flavors, this is the first seasonal/holiday version we’ve gotten.

When ordering the Apple Cranberry Refresher, you are given the option to add coconut milk. Normally, I aim to try everything “plain” first, but I had a suspicion the flavors would be strong and need the coconut milk to mellow them a bit. I am very glad I did this as I think the drink would have been nearly undrinkable for me without it. As the name would suggest, the predominant flavors should be apple (Honeycrisp according to Dunkin’) and cranberry with “notes of fall spices.”

Dunkin Apple Cranberry Coconut Refresher Top

The drink comes with a purple-ish tone when you opt for the coconut milk, but mine wasn’t nearly as purple as the advertised products. I noticed the bottom of the cup had almost a pulp-like look, and I guessed it was just the concentrate settling from its journey home. After a good stir, I took the first sip. The layers of flavors that I tasted were a little overwhelming at first. The apple and cranberry were very present but quickly overshadowed by the “fall spices.”

I am not sure if the recipe has those fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg were the flavors I mostly tasted) as a separate part from the apple cranberry concentrate, but they were borderline overpowering. Especially so towards the end of the drink where the bottom seemed to be almost entirely made of those dang spices. Despite my best attempts to keep swirling, the cinnamon flavor took over about halfway through and wouldn’t relent.

The coconut milk added no perceivable flavor but helped to dull the very sharp spices. The green tea was undetectable. What was frustrating was that every few sips the drink would be palatable and then I’d hit this pocket of cinnamon that tasted what those horrible cinnamon brooms smell like. I also got a large (remember: I bought a 12pk of a mystery flavor soda, so I am kind of a risk-taker), and I almost tossed the last 1/4th. As the ice melted, however, it mellowed the drink to a point where I could finish it.

Dunkin Apple Cranberry Coconut Refresher Napkin

While it was a noble effort to try and offer a fall item not pumpkin-centric, the unevenly strong cinnamon flavor made it hard to love from beginning to end. If the fall spices are a separate thing, I would absolutely order it again with WAY less of whatever the recipe asks for. Otherwise, this drink treads too close to tasting like what an apple cinnamon candle smells like.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Large
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 40 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein.

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.