REVIEW: Wendy’s Orange Dreamsicle Frosty

This is how I imagine the inevitable ad for Wendy’s new Orange Dreamsicle Frosty is gonna go:

Kathryn – “Ever since Wendy’s introduced the new Orange Dreamsicle Frosty, Tyler has been dreaming up some new squad names.”

Tyler – “Hey Willie, since nothing rhymes with ‘orange,’ we should be the ‘Cream Team.'”

Then Willie just Jim Halperts to the camera and continues helping a customer.

Toby – “What about me? I wanna be on the Cream Team. It’s my CREAM DREAM! Haven’t you guys ever had a cream drea–”

Willie – “DON’T say it again.”

Then Toby awkwardly eats an Orange Dreamsicle Frosty before you realize you’re watching the DVR and can fast-forward through the rest of the commercials.

Tell me you don’t want an Orange Dreamsicle Frosty now! I had one, and it’s good!

Wendy’s is killing it with their Frosties lately. Vanilla was a winner, naturally. I really liked the Pumpkin Spice, and I gave Peppermint a 10! The only newer flavor I didn’t love was Strawberry. I thought it needed to be sweeter.

Well, sweetness is where the Orange Dreamsicle Frosty excels. I’m sure you’re familiar with Good Humor. You’re not getting any of that from my review, but you’ve probably had a Good Humor Creamsicle at some point in your life. I think Wendy’s has improved on that iconic flavor.

They nailed the balance of orange and vanilla here. The orange is vibrant and candylike but not citrusy or sour. It’s very pronounced on the nose, but it soon melds with the really soft vanilla flavor that chases it. It’s just the right level of sweetness, definitely less cloying than the ice cream bar that inspired it.

There’s also something about these two flavors that works so well with the Frosty texture. I’ve gone over it before – it’s not a shake, it’s not ice cream, it’s just an icy grainy concoction that lives somewhere in the middle. I don’t know how they do it, but even the temperature is perfect. I took a big spoonful and then a couple swigs and never even worried about potential brain freeze.

I got a Dave’s Double for $2 because of a March Madness promotion in the app and compensated by only getting a Junior Frosty. I wish I got a medium instead and opted for a $1 Dave’s Single. Either way, it’s a great pairing.

So yeah, this is an ideal flavor to usher in the spring. Next time you’re in the mood for ice cream, a shake, or an ice cream and shake-adjacent modern marvel of food science, just go to Wendy’s.

I’m already bummed this won’t be a permanent menu item. While I clearly love these seasonal Frosties, I need more than two options at a time. I’m not telling Wendy’s to retrofit all of their restaurants with a 10-tap Frosty machine… no, actually I am. Do that, Wendy. I want a full range of Frosty flavors at my disposal at all times, and don’t forget the Wendy’s Blendies™.

Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: Junior
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 20 mg of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of total carbohydrates, 31 grams of sugars, 0 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Cinnabon Pull-Apart

Okay, let’s play a word association game. Ready? When you say Wendy’s, I say… Cinnabon! What, you don’t understand why Cinnabon would be associated with Wendy’s? I don’t really get it either, but nonetheless, these two fast food giants are collaborating on a new treat that can only be found on Wendy’s breakfast menu, the Cinnabon Pull-Apart.

As the “Pull-Apart” in the name suggests, this isn’t one big treat like the rolls Cinnabon is best known for; instead, it’s a monkey bread-esque cluster of smaller dough nuggets clumped together, which you eat by simply breaking off each bite-size component.

Or that’s how it’s supposed to work anyway, but I didn’t find the experience quite so seamless. My piping hot Pull-Apart was actually pretty hard, so liberating the chunks required way more effort than was probably intended. I guess that’s why it’s not called the Cinnabon Gently-Fall-Apart (and I guess that’s also why a fork comes with it), but I do think it’s fair that I expected my fast food breakfast to be a little more convenient to consume.

The huge glob of congealed cream cheese frosting on top didn’t help with that either; the archetypical Cinnabon frosting is way more liquidy, so it doesn’t impede your mouthful, but this solid glob was so ginormous that the only way to even get to the Cinnabon bits seemed to be either eating the whole frosting blob in a couple big bites (no thank you) or expending yet more effort to attempt to distribute it more evenly, a graceless task as its thick consistency wasn’t exactly spreadable.

By this point in the review, my frustration with this dish is surely apparent, but you might still be hoping that it ended up tasting amazing enough to be worth all the hassle. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I’ll have to go ahead and dash that hope.

Apparently, my Pull-Apart’s reluctance to do its first job, pulling apart, was a signal that it would also fail at its second job, tasting good. The first sentiment that came to my mind after managing my first mouthful was “dry” (actually, it was more like “dry, dry, dry, dry, dry”; I didn’t love or even really like the cream cheese frosting and its too-tangy sickly sweetness, but I was at least grateful it made me feel a little less like I was eating sand). The second sentiment that came to my mind was “yeasty.” The very distant third — like, this afterthought didn’t occur to me until maybe a full minute after my first bite — was, “I guess there was a whisper of cinnamon in there too.” There’s, of course, a handy visual cue for which bites of this ‘bon will be more flavorful — the dark cinnamon swirls are slightly softer and sweeter than the rest of the stiff, bland dough — but even they’re lackluster.

Granted, if you’re a diehard Cinna-fan you might find more to enjoy than I did, but if you’re on the fence about whether to try this, trust me that it’s not worth waffling over. In fact, I think a waffle would be a much better way to get your sweet breakfast fix.

Purchased Price: $3.69
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 550 calories, 26 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Breakfast Burrito

“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” my girlfriend said, starting down at my lap. But before you get any weird ideas, we were leaving the Wendy’s drive thru, and she was referring to the new breakfast burrito I’d recently procured. And to be fair, she was right.

While Wendy’s entry into the crowded world of breakfast burritos isn’t necessarily akin to the infant-sized behemoth you might find on a working person’s local food truck, it is close to twice the size of a McDonald’s burrito, and maybe 25% larger than oh, say, Sonic’s. (I’ve never had a Burger King breakfast burrito, provided they sell one, and it’s been a decade or more since I had Hardee’s version, so I can’t speak to that one, either.)

Unlike its closest fast food competitors — and really, unlike most other breakfast burritos in general — Wendy’s sets itself apart in a few ways. First, it’s using two “fresh cracked eggs.” Think “fried” egg instead of the scrambled you typically find in most burritos. If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll love this; personally, I found myself missing the consistent bite provided by the scrambled kind.

Second, it’s including its “seasoned breakfast potatoes” in the mix. If you haven’t had the chain’s answer to the standard hash brown, you might be pleasantly surprised. The right amount of seasoned, the right amount of externally crispy, and the right amount of internally fluffy, these wedge-like tubers fill up space within the burrito normally occupied by scrambled egg. Without them — due to the flat nature of the fried eggs — this burrito would be quite thin.

And finally, Wendy’s is setting itself apart by employing a “Swiss cheese sauce.” The idea of a Swiss cheese sauce is pretty intriguing, don’t get me wrong, but I was hard-pressed to notice it in the mix. All I really noticed from a cheese perspective was the American. It did what American cheese always does — it got melty and gooey and served its purpose well.

Same goes for the bacon. Wendy’s uses “Applewood smoked” bacon, which are oven-baked. Wendy’s bacon is pretty good, if you’ve never had it. It comes across as less genetically engineered than McDonald’s, and thicker than Burger King’s. Wendy’s claims there are six strips in the burrito, but that wasn’t my experience. Either their strips are an inch long or they’re fudging the numbers, but I don’t know that I believe mine had anything close to that number.

It’s also worth noting that Wendy’s is including a Cholula hot sauce packet with your burrito. I’m not normally a “hot/taco/picante sauce on my burrito” kinda guy, but I tried it for the sake of science, and predictably, it didn’t really do much to elevate my experience. If you’re a Cholula on your breakfast burrito person, though, this is a thoughtful inclusion.

While this burrito was fine, I’d only eat one again if I found myself requiring a fast-food breakfast and there was nary a McDonald’s in sight. It wasn’t good enough to make me seek out another one, and when it comes to a new product, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Purchased Price: $4.99
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 40 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2210 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 32 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Pretzel Baconator

Over ten years ago, I was driving back to Tallahassee with my boyfriend, and we decided to stop and grab a bite. Wendy’s had just introduced a new burger with a pretzel bun, and I wanted to try it. I remember it being fine. The bun was a little tough, making biting through it hard. A decade later, that boyfriend is now my husband, and we, once again, shared a pretzel bun burger from Wendy’s.

Wendy’s has released various burgers and chicken sandwiches with the pretzel bun, but this is the first time pulling its wildly popular monster menu item, the Baconator, into the mix. Since its introduction in 2007, the Baconator has remained an in-demand item. For me, it shines in its simplicity. With so few ingredients (beef, cheese, bacon, mayo, and ketchup), the burger has to stand on its own and not hide behind special sauces or wild toppings.

In fact, there has only been one official variation of the Baconator (Spicy Baconator) in its 16 years of being on the menu. Before you grill me in the comments, I personally do not consider the Son of Baconator or Breakfast Baconator variations of THE Baconator. I consider them to be more in the “spin-offs of TV shows you know are spin-offs, but stand on their own,” like Frasier and Mork & Mindy. Also, some people list the Big Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger as part of the Baconator Universe, but it doesn’t seem to be canonically accepted by Wendy’s.

The Pretzel Baconator simply swaps the standard bun for a pretzel one. As mentioned before, the bun was extremely tough when I tried it a decade ago. I would bite into it, and it was like bread taffy. Initially, I hesitated about trying the Pretzel Baconator, but it’s been a decade, and a lot can change.

The bun was soft but held firm. I was able to get a whole bite of burger without issue. The intense flavors of the savory beef and salty bacon, followed by the sweetness of the ketchup and tangy mayo, dominated the bite. I took a sip of Sprite to cleanse the palate and dove in for my second try. Again, the bun offered a great textural addition, but the pretzel flavor was non-existent. The familiar yeasty flavor was there when trying just the bun, but it was extremely subtle. What it lacked in taste, it made up for it with its structural integrity, as it did hold up to the sloppy fillings better than the standard bun.

If you want a strong pretzel flavor to accompany your Baconator, you will be disappointed. It’s still a solid menu item, and dare I say, the firmer bun serves the burger better than its standard bun. I enjoyed it, but it just doesn’t deliver the pretzel taste in the way I expected.

Purchased Price: $9.29
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 1050 calories, 71 grams of fat, 27 grams of saturated fat, 155 milligrams of cholesterol, 1630 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 61 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Pumpkin Spice Frosty

As someone who loves ice cream and novelty flavors but can’t eat chocolate, Wendy’s has really had my back this past year. Its classic vanilla Frosty has been on vacation and in its place we’ve been blessed with a different topical (but always still vanilla-based) flavor for each season, starting with strawberry last summer and peppermint in the winter and now leading us to the champion of fall, pumpkin spice.

New flavors like these often have one of two problems: they either taste too much like plain vanilla with just a sprinkle of the specialty flavor or go the opposite direction and overdo it with a flavor that’s too intense to enjoy. But pumpkin spice squad, rejoice — both of those pitfalls are avoided here!

I do have to start by mentioning that the color initially gave me a Halloween-level fright. I would typically associate pumpkin spice with a deep, bright orange or perhaps even a rusty brown. This light orange Frosty, on the other hand, is a hue that only reminded me of spicy mayo. Fortunately, if you can abstain from judging this book by its cover, you’ll soon notice that the flavor is just what it’s supposed to be.

Right off the bat, the aroma was pumpkin spice-y but not overpowering, which set the tone for the sophisticated subtlety that this flavor would bring. It was a wonderful blend of sweet and spiced, combining the simple creaminess of vanilla with a lively pumpkin spice flavor whose notes of cinnamon never felt syrupy or artificial. On the scale of autumnal sweets, its mild, balanced flavor reminded me more of pumpkin puree than of the sugar bombs that often occur with pumpkin spice desserts. I was afraid it’d be indulgent to the point of queasiness, but I didn’t feel that way at all.

I also need to shout out the consistency, which, in typical Frosty fashion, was soft enough to melt in your mouth but also held its form well enough to avoid dripping everywhere. This velvety, not-quite-liquid, not-quite-solid state was so intriguing to me that I dared to forego my spoon and try slurping it through a straw instead. Even as someone who loves thick shakes, I admit it was unfeasible right off the bat, but after five or so minutes, when my Frosty had softened a bit, I was able to sip it with ease and really enjoyed the experience.

Perhaps the thing that excited me most about this Frosty, though, is the seasonal potential it made me dream up. What if you dolloped some on top of a slice of pumpkin pie or whipped it into an apple cider float? Of course, it’s absolutely delicious on its own, but the flavor is so clean and well done that I imagine it’d be a perfect complement for any number of creative combos.

If you like pumpkin spice even a little, I’d strongly advise catching this flavor before it falls away like the leaves. Though if you do happen to miss it, you can always join me in making bets for the likely-inevitable spring Frosty… Peeps, anyone?

Purchased Price: $4.24
Size: Large
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 550 calories, 13 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 94 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 83 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein