REVIEW: Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich

Wendy s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich Top

I thought that the hardest part of eating Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich would be weathering the habanero hot honey (or saying its name three times fast). As it turns out, the actual hardest part was just getting to the honey.

Prying the top bun off to take a picture of the sandwich’s contents required some legitimate elbow grease, for which I was rewarded with an extremely strong aroma of pickles. I had known the sandwich would contain “pickle chips,” but honestly, I’d assumed that that was just a synonym for a couple of thinly-cut pickle slices, so I was pretty puzzled to discover a hearty heaping of what looked like straight-up potato chips, just a bit green (that’s more or less how they tasted, too). Delving into the “What’s on it” menu on Wendy’s website helpfully specified that these were actually “Crunchy Dill Chips” (as opposed to the more traditional experience of “Crinkle Cut Pickles”). Mystery solved, I sampled each of the other components in turn, a supporting cast consisting of:

“Premium bun”: Soft, airy, and inoffensive. Not immediately clear how it was different from the alternative option that the website has labeled “sandwich bun.”

Applewood smoked bacon: Thick and chewy, striking an impressive middle ground between too fatty and too burnt.

Pepper jack cheese: So creamy and mild that I mistook it for White American at first, though it finally left a whisper of peppery spice in its aftertaste.

Chicken: A typical breaded chicken breast (I opted for the “Classic” version of the sandwich, rather than “Spicy” or “Grilled”). Basically, one giant nugget.

And the titular hot honey?

Wendy s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich Under the Bun

My impression, frankly, was that it was difficult to locate, even after performing bun surgery. I expected the honey would be coating the chicken, so it took a while to realize that it was actually applied directly to the top bun, almost entirely obscured by pickle chips. On its own, the taste made a pleasant impact, with a spiciness that was noticeable but didn’t cross the line into painful, tempered as it was by a simultaneous rich sweetness.

Unfortunately, the sandwich as a whole ended up somehow tasting like less than the sum of its parts. The plump, juicy chicken dominated the experience both in terms of texture and taste. I guess it’s a positive sign that Wendy’s doesn’t skimp when it comes to meat, but you’d hope that the promising array of other ingredients would be way more prominent, and they simply did not deliver. After a few bites, I started to pick up on a bit of tanginess from the pickle chips and some sweetness from the honey (plus after swallowing, the roof of my mouth had a telltale tingle from the heat), but if I’d been taste testing this blind, I wouldn’t have even known the cheese and bacon were there.

Wendy’s also offers a dipping cup of hot honey that you can order as a side, so adding more might help the exciting-on-paper flavor to seriously shine. I did ultimately enjoy my meal, but that might just be because I really like basic chicken sandwiches. If you’re looking for something more exciting, this offering will probably not have you calling out, “Honey (Chicken Sandwich), I’m home!”

Purchased Price: $6.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 31 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2040 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of total carbohydrates, 18 grams of total sugars, 2 grams of fiber, and 37 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Wendy’s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal

Kellogg s Wendy s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal Box

I love Wendy’s Classic Chocolate Frosty, but I have no idea how to explain the treat to the uninitiated. With its mild flavor and a texture that will make you doubt your choice of a spoon, try a straw, then realize that’s somehow even worse than the spoon, it almost seems intentionally ambiguous. So, when I saw someone tried to capture its essence in a cereal, I thought I may finally have some answers.

Kellogg’s Wendy’s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal is described on the box as a “chocolate flavored multi-grain cereal with marshmallows.” Hmm, none of Dave Thomas’ secrets revealed there. I opened it up and gave the cereal a whiff. It smelled like a packet of instant hot chocolate, but there was something indescribably Frosty-like about it. There’s that ambiguousness again.

Kellogg s Wendy s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal Dry

I needed to crack this code, so it was time to try each component separately without milk. The cereal had a pleasant cocoa taste, but it was very light on the corn-forward puff. The marshmallow was where things started to get interesting. A bit more cocoa, but notably some vanilla and… some malty goodness? My mind began to race. Have Frostys been malted this whole time?! A quick check of the ingredients on the Wendy’s website showed no mention of malt. Wait, there was no malt in the marshmallow ingredients, either. What the heck was going on?

Kellogg s Wendy s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal Milk

I poured a bowl, added some whole milk, and took a bite. It was exactly what you want from a chocolate cereal but was lacking in Frostyness. I finished the bowl and I took a sip of the leftover milk. I’ll be darned, the milk tasted like a Frosty! How? The marshmallows! I investigated the bag of remaining cereal and noticed many of the little mallows had fallen to the bottom, not making it into my bowl.

I tried again. Marshmallow by marshmallow, I made a more evenly distributed serving (the first time I’ve ever eaten what could be called a balanced breakfast) and followed the box’s advice I had previously ignored. I froze the bowl of cereal for five minutes and ate it with mittens. Well, gloves, because mittens are the worst. Sure enough, it started to taste a little like a Frosty!

Kellogg s Wendy s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal Mittens

Despite the exciting development, it didn’t taste enough like a Frosty and I was left with more questions than answers. If you’re less concerned about such things, it was a somewhat basic but extremely eatable cereal. Chocolatey, a little vanilla-y, a perfectly crunchy yet puffy textured cereal, and just the right amount of sweetness from the marshmallows.

Kellogg s Wendy s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal Box Back

If you’re more concerned about such things, well, I found that a quick internet search will give you the answers to your Frosty questions. But, having done both, I can say eating a whole bunch of Kellogg’s Wendy’s Frosty Chocolatey Cereal in the hopes of finding them is a lot more fun.

Purchased Price: $4.29 (on sale, originally $4.49)
Size: 8.3 oz box
Purchased at: Shaw’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 1/2 cups without milk) 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 17 grams of added sugar, and 2 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: Wendy’s Spicy Black Bean Burger

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Full

Being a vegetarian in the early 2000s sucked. Dining out meant either sad garden salads clearly meant to be a vehicle for grilled chicken or, worse than that, freezer burnt veggie burgers that would always be both overcooked AND still frozen. Most places just didn’t see a reason to offer meatless items, especially fast food restaurants. Fast forward to 20 years later, and the market for meatless is thriving. While I am no longer a strict vegetarian, my diet usually consists of 50%-75% meatless or “plant-based” foods, so I’m always looking for new veggie items. Enter Wendy’s.

The chain has been slow to join the plant-based trend. It tested a black bean burger (non-spicy from what I’ve seen) in late 2015 that was never heard from again. This go around it’s testing out a Spicy Black Bean Burger in Jacksonville, FL (that’s me!), Pittsburgh, PA, and Columbus, OH. We rarely get to be selected as a test market, and all the better that it’s for a meatless item.

The Spicy Black Bean Burger consists of a seasoned plant-based black bean patty, romaine lettuce, onion, tomato, pepper jack cheese, crispy chipotle jalapenos, and spicy chipotle sauce served on a premium bun. I was fascinated that Wendy’s would opt to go a more traditional route with a black bean patty instead of the popular Beyond or Impossible items. Generally speaking, people trying to swap for meatless enjoy the faux meat experience instead of the more “traditional” veggie patty.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Jalapenos

I always like to try the special components separately before taking the “perfect” bite. The crispy chipotle jalapenos weren’t what I expected in the best way possible. I hoped they would be similar to the crispy onions one might see on a green bean casserole (dry and crispy). While they were in that same vein, they were more like pickled jalapenos breaded and fried. The spicy chipotle sauce had a deep smokiness with a sweet heat. Finally, the patty had a predominately cumin flavor with various other “Southwest” flavors (onion, paprika, garlic, cilantro). The patty was also square-shaped, continuing the Wendy’s tradition.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Patty

Taking a bite, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the layered spicy flavors worked together. The chipotle’s warmness came through with the Southwest blend in the patty and spiciness of the fried jalapenos. The pepper jack cheese felt sort of a take-it-or-leave-it element. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment, but it didn’t really add either.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Split

The patty itself was soft. Not soggy or mushy, just soft. The outside could have used a few moments longer on the grill to get more crust. I was taken aback by the high quality of the patty itself. Normally black bean burgers are (more or less) just a mushed blend of veggies in the form of a patty with no discernible vegetable pieces. Absolutely not the case here as whole black beans, corn kernels, brown rice, and wheat berries were easily seen and felt when biting into the patty.

Wendy s Spicy Black Bean Burger Layers

I was impressed with this sandwich. Even though I went in with a low bar, I was blown away by the freshness of the product. The spicy black bean patty was on par with the fresh, handmade ones I’ve had in sit-down restaurants. I would like to note that the item isn’t vegan/vegetarian as served, but like with the Impossible Whopper, the audience isn’t vegans/vegetarians. I think it’s interesting that Wendy’s is taking a chance with a black bean patty instead of faux meat.

The Wendy’s Spicy Black Bean Burger is a unique and flavorful item. But I wonder if the patty might end up being a skip for the more casual meatless diner or people looking for that meaty meatless experience.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 sandwich) 580 calories, 27 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 1560 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Pringles

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Can

My Dear Impulsive Buyers,

I’ve now lost count of my days spent embroiled in the chicken sandwich war.

Whenever I feel they are close to an end, another challenger enters the fray. New culinary battles ensue.

I’ve seen some good sandwiches come and go by the wayside. Young. Fresh. Barely out of the test kitchens. KFC. McDonald’s. The Ch’King – all basically forgotten before they even had a chance.

While Popeyes remains the world superpower, I have a burgeoning respect for a chicken sandwich so battle-tested, so decorated, it has now transcended the sandwich itself – Wendy’s Spicy Chicken.

We can all learn something from Wendy’s Spicy Chicken. To survive the wars, you must adapt. Days may become months, and while boys become men, chicken sandwiches must become potato crisps… ?!

——–

That’s right, folks, Pringles has a Wendy’s Spicy Chicken flavored crisp, and I’m pretty jacked up about it.

I couldn’t even tell you how many Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwiches I’ve had in my life, but I’m pretty confident no other fast food item even comes close. So I knew I had to write this review.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Compare

After picking up my can of Pringles, I swung by Wendy’s so I could really see if they would… stack up.

I have to say, at first, I was a little bummed.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Closeup

The crisps tasted like poultry seasoning and heaps of black pepper, but it wasn’t distinctly Wendy’s. I cleansed my palate between alternating bites of Pringles and the sandwich, but it just wasn’t clicking like I’d hoped.

Don’t get me wrong, the crisps were delicious, but on a flavor mimicry scale of 1 to Jelly Belly, they came in at about a 6.

I think the main problem for me was the fact that they were missing a little tang of the mayo, which is a key ingredient of Wendy’s sandwich. I also think the crisps tasted like they had a slightly different tasting pepper, but the heat levels were about the same.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Topping

I guess you lose a lot in the flavor transfer when you’re biting into a juicy chicken fillet versus a crispy potato chip, and I couldn’t get past that. I did stack some Pringles on my sandwich for a couple of bites to create a Chick-inception just for fun.

All in all, I enjoyed the Pringles, but next to the sandwich, they were only pretty good… That was until I ate them on their own the next day.

I guess the sandwich being there put too much pressure on the Pringles and my dumb brain because they tasted spot on this go around. I was blown away. The aftertaste was especially similar to Wendy’s, and I ended up polishing off the rest of the can. It was essentially like eating the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and fries at the same time.

So, my recommendation would be to just enjoy the chips as their own thing, and I guarantee you’ll notice just how much they remind you of the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

This was a great effort by Pringles, and I hope Julius Pringle and Dave Thomas keep their collabs rolling. I want a line of Spicy Nugget Pringles that come in different dipping sauce flavors. Spicy Nuggets with BBQ. Spicy Nuggets with Honey Mustard, etc. Whatever. I bet those would be excellent.

——

Perhaps this crisp is what we’ve been waiting for all along. The one that will bring an end to the great chicken sandwich war. I write to you, hopeful that we will find common ground and see rise to more such chicken-based snack ingenuity.

I hope this review finds you well.

Wendy s Spicy Chicken Pringles Top
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Purchased Price: $1.59
Size: 5.5 oz can
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 15 Crisps) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of total sugars, less 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of protein.