REVIEW: Wendy’s Peppermint Frosty

Wendy s Peppermint Frosty Cup

My gym’s cardio room stares directly at a Wendy’s – dead central, right in your face, can’t miss it.

There’s no better cardiovascular inspiration than accepting that you’re almost certainly getting fast food the minute your workout is over. It’s embarrassing how many times I’ve tricked my brain into pretending a 6-piece nugget is just as good as a protein shake.

It’s all good, though, because staring at that building has propelled me to run* 12 miles** at a time in preparation. (*walk **1.5 miles.)

Anyway, a few days ago, while plodding along at breakneck speeds upwards of 4, and fighting the inevitable call of that redheaded siren, I noticed Wendy’s had an entirely new seasonal menu. There were new burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and the pièce de résistance – a Peppermint Frosty.

That’s… kinda like a protein shake. There’s milk, right? Naturally, I immediately fired up my app and had one ready and waiting.

While I found Wendy’s recent Strawberry Frosty to be “mid,” I gotta say, its Peppermint Frosty is a Yuletide miracle. Whereas “mid” meant “meh” in Strawberry’s case, I’ll use it here as the ultimate compliment. The Peppermint Frosty is a perfect middle ground between vanilla and mint-flavored ice creams.

I’m a mint ice cream lover, but I feel it can sometimes start to taste like you’re chewing gum after a couple of scoops. This had just enough peppermint flavor to balance off the vanilla base.

Wendy s Peppermint Frosty Top

The texture was everything I wanted a Frosty to be – not quite shake, not quite ice cream, with enough tiny ice crystals for that distinctly gritty Frosty consistency.

The faint pink color is even a midway point between a Vanilla Frosty and the Pepto-esque Strawberry.

This Frosty is perfectly balanced, as all things should be. If Thanos had one, he would’ve never snapped. I genuinely think everyone will enjoy this. Some might say the peppermint flavor isn’t big enough, but ya know what I say? If you want a mint bomb, brush your teeth!

Wendy s Peppermint Frosty Spoon

Actually, brush your teeth anyway. Proper hygiene is always encouraged, and this is so good even the 5th dentist agreed he enjoyed it.

I’m ready to put the Peppermint Frosty on my Wendy’s Mount Run-more. There’s no doubt I’ll have a few more of these after my rigorous sprints (slightly inclined walks), but I won’t even feel guilty about it.

Wendy s Peppermint Frosty Bottom Cup

This will almost certainly be a limited holiday release, which is a shame, but the recent new Frosty flavor drops are very encouraging. I hope Wendy takes a cue from the Oreo and Kit-Kats of the world and puts out a unique Frosty flavor every month moving forward. I know international Wendy’s have dabbled. Give us a Peanut Butter Frosty. Salted Caramel. Banana! Whatever! Just keep ’em coming.

Add a topping bar while you’re at it. I’m still waiting for Wendy’s HQ to hit me up about my brilliant “Wendy’s Blendies” idea. This Peppermint Frosty is an all-timer, but it may be even better with little crunchy candy cane bits.

Ok, time for me to get back to “the gym.”

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: Small
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 330 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 35 mg of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of total carbohydrates, 50 grams of sugars, 0 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Garlic Fries

Wendy s Garlic Fries Tray

Garlic can be a tricky ingredient to work with. First, you’ve got to peel off all the pieces of that weird, paper-thin husk that never wants to separate, and then you have to try not to lose all the incredibly tiny pieces you get when you mince it, then you have to decide how much of it will complement your dish without blowing out your taste buds. This is kind of a shame because garlic is supposedly very healthy — not just useful for keeping away vampires — and, of course, it’s quite delicious. Now, with Wendy’s Garlic Fries, I can let little Miss Wendy put on a chef’s hat over her little red pigtails and handle all the garlic wrangling herself.

Come to think of it, do you ever wish we knew more about Wendy? I would totally rock a comic strip all about Wendy and how she passes the time waiting for fries to finish cooking. Wendy’s, if you’re listening, I can put together a package of concept sketches at a moment’s notice. I will accept payment in the form of chocolate Frosties. Not vanilla.

Wendy s Garlic Fries First

ANYWAY, the fries come in one of those attractive little covered trays to keep the fries hot, which I appreciate; all fries are better hot, but that is especially true for these, because no one wants cold garlic. The taste begins with a note of parmesan -— not surprising considering that Wendy’s lists three different cheeses in the recipe for the garlic sauce. Then the garlic takes over, and it’s assertive. I kept thinking of garlic knots, but that association actually started working against my enjoyment of the fries.

Garlic knots are usually soaked with oil — or at least that’s how my local pizza joints prepare them. So the knots are, above all, moist; these fries were not. Even though the garlic seasoning (with some cheese seasoning included in the mix) was plentiful, I felt like I was missing the moisture of a garlic knot, or even of a slice of pizza, another food where I generally consume garlic as part of the experience.

Wendy s Garlic Fries Second

Puzzled and sure I must be missing something, I tried the fries another day. This time, the fries were thoroughly enrobed in the sauce, and the whole thing worked the way it was meant to: with copious amounts of grease. I’m glad that these are good, but it’s obviously not such a great thing that I had to come back and order them again to get a version that was prepared properly.

If anything, I would like a version of these that’s even more greasy, sending these things into Garlic Knot Nirvana (Knotvana?). What would really be amazing would be if Five Guys came out with a version of garlic fries, because the chain’s substantial fries are often already greasy with all the peanut oil they’re fried in. Is it weird that I’m complaining that a fast food item isn’t greasy enough? I’m not the only one who actually likes greasy fries, right?

I asked my husband about this as he was enjoying his own order of garlic fries.

He said, “Yes, (munch) you are the only one (munch) who likes greasy fries. You are a freak.”

These new fries are winners. Just make sure you pick them up on the right day.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: n/a
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 450 calories, 30 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 730 milligrams of sodium, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich

Wendy s Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Whole

Wendy’s is typically not the fast food place that comes to mind when I think of Italian food, but with its new Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich, it must be trying to change that. I was pleasantly surprised by its heft. That’s because it consists of essentially two patties – the to-be-expected breaded chicken breast and a circular slab of fried mozzarella that is just as substantial as the meat. A slathering of marinara coats the top of the fried mozzarella, while clinging to its bottom is an additional slice of cheese (Asiago, to quote Wendy’s website, though mine was so melted that I assumed it was just surplus mozzarella oozing out from the fried hunk, and its taste didn’t do anything to make me question that assumption). Of course, there’s the bread, which, thanks again to the site, I know to describe as a “garlic knot bun.”

Wendy s Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Bun

Unfortunately, that bun did not work for me. Flecked with ambiguous dark splotches and appearing a little jaundiced, it read more “multigrain” than “garlic.” Of course, we’ve all been taught not to judge a book by its cover, so I was willing to put my preconceived notions aside… until one bite showed me that my preconceived notions were a lot kinder than my post-conceived ones. The bun tasted stale and had an unpleasant gritty texture; the outside was as dry and flaky as it looked, and the inside was disappointingly airy. It felt like eating cardboard and tasted like, well, eating seasoned cardboard.

Wendy s Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Sauce

Tackling this sandwich from the top down brings me to some more bad news -– the sauce, about which my first thought was, “Did they accidentally give me buffalo sauce?” It was simply nothing like the rich, tomatoey red sauce I know, love, and was (quite reasonably!) expecting. This was something much harsher, tangy and vinegary, and plain weird. At least there wasn’t THAT much of it.

Wendy s Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Mozz Patty

Thankfully, I can take off my Debbie Downer hat to talk about the fried mozzarella. The cheese was mild and melty, and while I must admit it had a strange, slightly sour aftertaste, since this is fried mozzarella, I must also add plenty of points for the perfect crunch with which the crisp breading gave way to the satisfyingly soft, luscious center.

Wendy s Italian Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich Chicken

The chicken gets a rave review from me as well. Joyously juicy, thoroughly thick, and fully flavorful, it looked, tasted, and felt like a giant chicken nugget, and I consider that to be a massive compliment.

Taking into consideration all the ingredients together, chowing down on this tall tower of meat and mozzarella felt pretty epic, mostly because the tastes of the chicken and cheese held their own admirably against the less lovely elements. There’s a lot going on with this sandwich, and I wish that all of it was equally good, but with the bummer bun and sad sauce, it’s only the hearty fillings that win my chomp of approval.

But then I thought that maybe this would be better eaten like a high school cafeteria chicken parmesan, ditching the bun and digging into chicken patty topped with the fried mozzarella and a smattering of sauce with a fork and knife. But then I realized that even a smattering of sauce would still be too unappealing. Maybe next time I’ll just order nuggets, find some other takeout joint offering a side of mozzarella sticks, and mash them together in peace. Maybe you should too.

Purchased Price: $7.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 780 calories, 31 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 2310 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, and 45 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Homestyle French Toast Sticks

Wendy s Homestyle French Toast Sticks Sleeve

French toast occupies a nebulous space in the breakfast continuum. On the one side, you’ve got muffins, doughnuts, and pancakes as sweet breakfasts, then you have eggs, hash browns, and bacon/sausage over on the savory breakfast side. Then you have French toast in this kind of no-man’s-land, some kind of breakfast purgatory, where it’s sort of savory because of the egg flavor, but then you drown it in syrup, and it becomes sweet. Make up your mind, French toast!

Obviously, as a French toast skeptic, I had concerns going into Homestyle French Toast Sticks, the new breakfast item from Wendy’s. However, Wendy’s got around this identity crisis by frying the crap out of these things to the point where classifications like “sweet” and “savory” become lost in an oily confection that makes deep-fried Oreo cookies look healthy. Harsh words? Perhaps, but notice I did not say that I didn’t enjoy it.

According to Wendy’s, this new menu item “delivers a mouthful of flavor, striking the perfect texture balance of a soft custardy interior and crisp, golden-brown crust.” Okay, I will give them that: the texture contrast is really nice. The very deep-fried tasting sticks have lovely little caramelized edges that clash wonderfully with the lightly egg-flavored bread. However, texture and flavor are two different things, and flavor balance is where Wendy’s might have stumbled a little.

When I ordered these, Wendy’s staff told us to move aside from the drive-through line so they could make them to order. Now, I have faith in the Wendy’s work ethic, but I’m pretty sure this did not mean cracking eggs and cooking the sticks in the pan. They are likely fried to order, which is why the overall feeling of “fried” is so strong. Four or six piece sizes are available; I got the six because of course I got the six.

Wendy s Homestyle French Toast Sticks Closeup

When I dipped my nose into the bag containing these little guys, as one does, the smell actually reminded me of carnival funnel cake, which is weird because I don’t think I’ve had funnel cake in a decade. These treats are a good size too, more like long wedges as opposed to sticks. When I bit into one, the decadent flavor of carbs fried in oil went to work on my tongue while my brain tried to remember that I was still looking for other flavors. There is an egg flavor in there, but it’s a little subtle; this likely does not taste like your grandma’s French toast because it’s just not eggy enough. When you dip these sticks into the syrup provided, the sweetness overrides everything, and the egg flavor is no longer discernible.

That said, these things are hella addictive. I had been planning to save the last strip for my husband, except I got lost in a kind of sugary breakfast haze and inhaled every single one. I was left looking at an empty plate with a few dots of syrup on it, wondering how I got here. It was quite enjoyable, but I think I’ve used up my allowance for fried foods for the rest of the month.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 6 sticks
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 490 calories, 25 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 175 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Strawberry Frosty

Wendy s Strawberry Frosty Top

It’s the most anticipated new Wendy’s menu item since breakfast was unveiled! That’s right, folks. Wendy’s has a Strawberry Frosty.

Yup, it took over fifty years for the chain to add a Strawberry “shake” to its menu. Let that sink in.

Like breakfast, Wendy’s has always been pretty late to the desert game. Sure, the Chocolate Frosty has been a fast food staple for decades, but it didn’t even add Vanilla to the menu until 2006. Now, sixteen years later, Vanilla is getting the temporary boot during the big Strawberry rollout.

So, is it worth all the buzz?

I’d say, yeah… tentatively.

Actually, I’m not entirely sure.

I love a good Chocolate Frosty. I’ve always categorized it as its own entity – not quite a milkshake, but also not quite ice cream. It kinda exists between the two, and it has a texture all its own. The Strawberry Frosty I had just reminded me of a decent strawberry shake.

At no other time would I be disappointed slamming a “decent strawberry shake,” but I guess I expected a little more here. In what might seem like a huge nitpick, I actually think it was too creamy. Also, you’ll rarely hear me say this about anything like this, but I wish it was sweeter.

Wendy s Strawberry Frosty Spoon

The Frosty tasted like Strawberry Nesquik, a childhood favorite, but it was as if they released something called “Strawberry Nesquik Lite.” Say you were mixing it yourself and only used 75% of the suggested amount of syrup. That’s where I landed on the flavor. That might be right up your alley, but I was mildly bored.

To be fair, Wendy’s is pushing the idea that it has the flavor profile of “freshly picked strawberries,” so it’s probably not supposed to be the super artificial sugar bomb I was anticipating.

Don’t get me wrong that would be just fine overall, but I also noted a very faint medicinal aftertaste. Did you ever have chewy Tums or Rolaids antacids that look like candy? I swear I tasted a similar faux fruit taste and the accompanying chalkiness, and that was all I could think with every spoonful.

It sounds like I’m ripping on it, but it wasn’t that bad. I think most people are gonna like it more than I did. If I had to rank it against the other Frosty flavors, it’d be third. If I had to rank it against (my vague memory of) fast food strawberry milkshakes, it would probably be last.

I loved the color. I loved the aroma. I semi-enjoyed the taste.

I didn’t get fries to dip, but it did a great job neutralizing the heat of my Spicy Nuggets, so I certainly wasn’t upset about my meal.

Wendy s Strawberry Frosty Cup

Overall, Wendy’s Strawberry Frosty is not a hit, but it’s also not a dud. It’s a “decent strawberry shake.” There’s a place on the menu for a decent strawberry shake. In fact, I think Wendy’s should bring Vanilla back so people can order a Neapolitan-style mix. I also think it should add toppings and try to make a McFlurry rival called… ready for this obvious gem? Wendy’s Blendies. Let’s chat, Wendy’s R&D.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: Small
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 350 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 40 mg of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 61 grams of total carbohydrates, 52 grams of sugars, 0 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein.