REVIEW: Harvey’s Nacho Cheese Sticks (Canada)

Harvey's Nacho Cheese Sticks (Canada)

I feel like I should be the target audience for the Nacho Cheese Sticks at Harvey’s.

If you’re going to deep fry something that’s not normally fried, I’m gonna want to eat that. No; I’m going to demand to eat that. I’m going to respectfully request that you take it straight from the fryer and put it directly in my mouth. Will I suffer severe burns? Probably. But I’ll drive to the hospital with a smile on my (horribly burned) face.

There’s even a place in my heart for nacho cheese –- you know, that gloppy, unnaturally smooth, vaguely jalapeno-tinged cheesefood that’s the approximate colour of an orange safety vest? I love that stuff. It tastes like nothing even resembling real cheese, but I love it all the same. I could eat it by the barrel.  
So as a connoisseur of unusual fried foods and neon orange nacho cheese sauce, I was all over these. I went to Harvey’s to buy them like a cartoon character floating towards a pie.

An order comes with five pieces, each about the size of a small mozzarella stick, along with a small container of zesty sauce for dipping.

I’m sure my high expectations didn’t help, but man… what the heck, Harvey’s? Seriously: now I know how Obi-Wan felt in Revenge of the Sith. How could something so awesome in theory be so middling in execution?

The main ingredient here — the cheese — is just not very good. It’s like someone decided to mix nacho cheese sauce with bottom-of-the-barrel supermarket cheddar. It tastes muddled, without the comforting, smooth blandness of real-deal nacho cheese, or the satisfying sharpness of real cheddar. It’s somewhere in between, in some kind of horrifying flavour limbo where deliciousness goes to die. No jalapeno flavour, either, which is unfortunate.

The texture, too, is somewhere between real and fake; more plasticky than smooth. It’s essentially the worst of both worlds: too fake to be real cheddar, and too real to be nacho cheese.

Harvey's Nacho Cheese Sticks (Canada) 2

The breading is okay. It’s crispy and fried, so it fits the bill on that level, but the taste leaves something to be desired. Despite its nacho appearances, it mostly has the same generic flavour that you’ll find on any number of frozen breaded chicken strips or onion rings. The tortilla flavour doesn’t stand out nearly as much as it should.

Harvey's Nacho Cheese Sticks (Canada) 3

They’re not even completely filled with cheese. A couple were stuffed from end to end, but the rest were mostly hollow, with a gooey coating of cheese lining the inside. This might have been a bigger issue, but since the cheese wasn’t even that great to start with, I didn’t really mind.

The dipping sauce could have helped to round out the middling flavour of these sticks, but it’s too zesty for its own good; it clashes rather than compliments. It tastes completely out of place.

I really, really wanted to like these. Instead, I got Fredo’d. Nothing about them was nearly as delicious as it should have been.

You broke my heart, Harvey’s. You broke my heart.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on the Harvey’s website.)

Item: Harvey’s Nacho Cheese Sticks (Canada)
Purchased Price: $2.99 (CAN)
Size: 5 pieces
Purchased at: Harvey’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Crispy and fried. Melty cheese.
Cons: Taste and texture of the cheese leaves a lot to be desired. Useless dipping sauce. Betrayal. Anakin Skywalker. Fredo Corleone.

REVIEW: Harvey’s Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich (Canada)

Harvey's Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich

Harvey’s, a popular Canadian burger chain, recently came out with an ice cream sandwich made with Strawberry Pop-Tarts; this is not to be confused with the Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich, also made with Strawberry Pop-Tarts (and thanks to Harvey’s’ lawyers, Hardee’s is actually not allowed to call themselves Hardee’s in Canada, and instead must go by Carl’s Jr., which is basically the same restaurant, just with a different name).

What was I talking about? Oh yes, Pop-Tarts, ice cream, and the sandwich born from their union.

It was actually better than I thought it would be. For one thing, I was afraid the sandwich would be made with untoasted Pop-Tarts. There are two types of people in the world: people who like their Pop-Tarts toasted, and people who are wrong. I don’t know what the afterlife entails, but I know that those raw Pop-Tart eating maniacs will never get there — they will be condemned to wander for all eternity in a horrifying purgatory, cursed with the terrible knowledge that it was their ill-advised opinion on Pop Tarts that brought them there.

Thankfully, the Pop-Tarts here are toasted — lightly toasted, but enough to remove that doughy flavour and texture that uncooked Pop Tarts have.

I thought that perhaps the sandwiches would be assembled on the spot, however they are actually created in advance and frozen, Pop-Tarts and all. A sandwich made with a warm Pop-Tart, with the ice cream starting to get melty, and with a satisfying contrast between hot and cold would have been nice, but alas.

Harvey's Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich Closeup

Though I was afraid that the freezing process would make the filling of the Pop-Tart unpleasantly hard, I was again happy to be proven wrong. The deep freeze actually gives the filling a pleasantly toothsome chew; this worked quite well in the context of an ice cream sandwich.

The ice cream itself was fine. It has a generically sweet, creamy taste, without much vanilla flavour. But it’s smooth and not icy at all, and honestly, if you were expecting much better than that from a Pop-Tart sandwich from Harvey’s, then you clearly have your own issues you need to work out. It is what it is. If you’ve ever had those budget ice cream sandwiches from the supermarket, you know what to expect from the ice cream.

The whole thing results in a dessert that’s actually fairly satisfying. It’s not overly sweet and there’s a little bit of tartness (Pop-Tartness?) from the filling. There’s a good contrast of textures between the Pop-Tart and the ice cream, and the price feels right at two bucks.

(Nutrition Facts – Nutrition facts not available on Harvey’s website.)

Item: Harvey’s Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich
Purchased Price: $1.99 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Harvey’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Contains a Pop-Tart that is toasted rather than raw. Decent quality vanilla ice cream. The frozen Pop-Tart has a satisfying chewiness. Only two bucks.
Cons: The ice cream isn’t exactly gourmet. A sandwich assembled fresh with a hot Pop-Tart would have been nice.