REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich

Wendy s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich Full

It doesn’t get much better than a jalapeno popper with fried breading giving way to the heat of jalapeno and the perfect balance of cream cheese. While I’m a fan of the classic cream cheese version served with a side of ranch dressing, I also appreciate popular variations that add in cheddar cheese and bacon.

So when Wendy’s unveiled its new Jalapeno Popper Sandwich, it instantly had my attention. In addition to the choice of either grilled, classic, or spicy chicken breast, the sandwich is loaded with jalapeno cream cheese, shredded pepper jack cheese, jalapeno slices, applewood smoked bacon, and cheddar cheese sauce.

To my surprise, no actual jalapeno poppers were harmed in the making of this sandwich. While the flavors are all present, if your tongue, hand, face, and shirt are not all at risk of getting burned by spraying jalapeno juice or cream cheese napalm with each bite, does it really deserve the name “jalapeno popper”?

Wendy s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich Top

I was somewhat in disbelief when I opened my sandwich to find only three jalapeno slices, especially since Wendy’s has specifically mentioned that the sandwich comes with six jalapeno slices. Wendy’s also promised I would be exclaiming, “Oh, jal, yes!” from the first bite, but my first bite did not even contain jalapeno, so I was luckily able to remain composed and exclamation free. Its jalapeno slices are crunchier and spicier than most fast food places, so when I did reach them in the sandwich, they brought a strong burst of flavor and heat.

The cream cheese spread on the top bun contains a few small jalapeno pieces and gives a slightly sweet, slightly tangy flavor that dominates the sandwich. Wendy’s would be better served by adding more of the cream cheese spread in place of the shredded pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese sauce which are dominated and forgotten by stronger flavors.

Wendy s Spicy Jalapeno Popper Sandwich Split

The three bacon slices were thick and crunchy while adding a slight smokiness that works beautifully with the jalapeno and cream cheese. The spicy chicken was juicy with the spices in the breading occasionally coming through in an already flavor packed sandwich.

The overall heat of the sandwich built up to a noticeable but not noteworthy amount by the end. Shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese work only to muddle the flavors, the amount of jalapeno slices needs to live up to its promise, and the size of the sandwich seems small for the price. But the jalapeno cream cheese spread is a winner that enhanced many of the other components of the sandwich and will keep you craving that next bite.

Purchased Price: $6.49 (small combo is $8.99)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 600 calories, 26 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1660 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 37 grams of protein.

Click here to read our previous fast food reviews.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Pretzel Bacon Pub Chicken Sandwich

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Top

If we can agree on anything in these divisive times, it’s that pretzel buns are one of the greatest food inventions since Jakob Gareth Food created food in 1295.

We can agree on that, right? I know you’re nodding your heads, “yes,” so I can just move on.

In 2013, Wendy’s released the Pretzel Pub Sandwich, and it instantly knocked the Bacon Mushroom Melt out of my Wendy’s gold medal spot.

The combination of that iconic chicken, two types of cheese (Muenster and cheddar), and honey mustard on a perfectly tender pretzel bun had me coming back at least once a week. I would throw those bad boys down faster than you can say, “Sir, this is a Wendy’s,” but alas, just as the employees were memorizing my name and face, it was gone.

I’m pretty sure Wendy’s dabbled with other pretzel bun fare in the years since, but nothing ever came close to that Pretzel Pub Sandwich. Well, guess what, folks? It’s a miracle. Pretzel Pub Sandwiches are back, but this time along with the cheese and honey mustard, there’s bacon, pickles, and fried onions along for the ride.

So that’s it. That’s the review. I gushed about the OG Pretzel Pub, and this is the same sandwich with three awesome additions. It’s a 10 out of 10, right?

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Flipped Lid

No, and I’m bummed beyond belief. There is just way too much going on with this sandwich. Each ingredient is great on its own, but once plopped on top of each other, none really stood out, and it made for a buzzkill of a meal.

I remember the original sandwich being a compact, tasty, and harmonious masterpiece. Here, the two gloopy ingredients (beer cheese and honey mustard) mixed with the lightly melting muenster make a gross texture with a flavor I could only describe as…warm?

I got a spicy chicken filet, and even that familiar flavor ended up being bland and masked. Honestly, the pickles had the most dominant flavor in the sandwich and kinda didn’t belong.

Now, while I’m pretty mad, it wasn’t all bad. I didn’t hate it.

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Middle

The pretzel bun was still God-tier. I just love a soft pretzel’s taste and texture and believe any sandwich instantly improves with them as bread. Wendy’s cooks the best bacon in the fast food game, so no complaints there. Crispy fried onions are the most underutilized burger topper in the world, and should replace every raw onion moving forward.

Wendy s Pretzel Bacon Pub Spicy Chicken Sandwich Bite

Again, these are all good ingredients on their own, but combined? What a mess. There were too many cooks in the kitchen when they came up with this updated sandwich.

You can order a Pretzel Pub Burger, and I suspect all these ingredients might work better with beef. But I think the move might be to customize your own variation in the app.

I’m not even positive that’s allowed, but I’m going back to try this with two fewer ingredients. I think I might just cut the “Pub” out entirely and lose the beer cheese. Two sauces were just too messy.

I’ve probably romanticized the 2013 Pretzel Pub too much over the years, so you may like this much more than I did. It’s worth a shot, but just make sure you’re parked or at home while you eat it, because it’s a big sloppy experience.

Purchased Price: $6.19
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 840 calories, 42 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1780 milligrams of sodium, 71 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Summer Strawberry Salad

Wendy s Summer Strawberry Salad Dressing

Summer is often a terrible time for many people, including me. As the uncomfortably cruel and rigidly taunting sun beats down on me, salty sweat drips down my head as I desperately try to find a cooling balm to bring my core temperature back down to a normal range, oftentimes failing miserably.

But this is when I raise my sunburned hands to the sky and thank the equally-heliophobic Wendy’s for its yearly berry salad. For 2020, it’s the Summer Strawberry Salad.

On a cool bed of crisp green lettuce — mainly romaine — sits a Tuscan cheese blend dusting, cuts of applewood smoked bacon, succulent grilled chicken breast, and surprisingly candid candied almond slivers. The salad’s complete reason for being, the sliced bits of strawberries, lay in the leafy shade, giving the entrée its summer branding and doing it remarkably well.

Gently spritzing the large helping of zesty champagne vinaigrette over the top of the salad, it managed to slide down into every nook and cranny, guaranteeing a savory experience. The strawberries are plump and notably firm, not a bruised berry in the bunch.

Each juicy bite, like a fruity fire extinguisher, cools me down internally as I nibbled carefully, enjoying the salad wholeheartedly. The tangy dressing, with its olive oil feel and garlicky taste, offers a decent counterpoint to the abject sweetness of the strawberries and, even more so, the candied almonds.

Wendy s Summer Strawberry Salad

The romaine lettuce leaves were also surprisingly fresh. Bits of the Tuscan cheese — featuring a blend of Parmesan, Asiago, and Fontina — tantalizingly resting on them with the vinaigrette acting as a delectable glue keeping them in their place. The bacon, though predictably salty, mixes well with the grilled chicken, the candied almonds giving a sweet aftertaste that was definitely needed.

Wendy s Summer Strawberry Salad Berry Close

But what it all comes down is to the strawberries in the nomenclature. While I would have liked more of them, they held this summer salad together perfectly, especially in the half-salad I ordered, the large size only about two dollars more.

In these cruel summer months, Wendy’s has gifted us with a berry-good meal-deal that has me counting down the heated days to next year’s salad unveiling. But, until then, this will definitely do.

Purchased Price: $5.69
Size: Half
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 410 calories, 21 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 45 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Baconator Pringles

Wendy s Baconator Pringles

Like many of you, I imagine, going to the grocery store is one of my absolute favorite things to do. When I turned 30, I got a birthday card that said on the inside, “You have a favorite grocery store now” as though I hadn’t had one since my 20th birthday? Ha!

Anyway, there I was this past Tuesday, strolling along the aisles of the Skokie Jewel-Osco (an Albertson’s chain, for anyone eager to find these crisps) when I spotted an endcap display wall of glowing Wendy’s signs. Okay, they weren’t glowing, but the bright illuminated red Wendy’s sign graphic on the black tube of Pringles made it LOOK like they were glowing. This store had the new Limited Time Only Wendy’s Baconator Pringles.

Pringles has pulled off some pretty complex flavor combinations before, and I was eager to try these out. The image on the front is the classic, original Baconator with two quarter-pound patties, six strips of bacon, cheese, ketchup, and mayo on a bun.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 2

Wendy appears on the pop-top lid and there’s a code printed on the underside of the lid for an offer for a free Baconator, Son of Baconator, or Breakfast Baconator with a purchase when you order using the Wendy’s app.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 3

I was ready for this tube (can? cylinder?) of Pringles to have an overwhelming bacon smell, but it actually was balanced from start to finish, and the crisps were visibly seasoned with a light orange powder (I always prefer it when I can see the seasoning, don’t you?).

There are an awful lot of artificial bacon flavored and scented items out there, and some of them are offensive – this isn’t one of those items. These crisps have tangy sauce flavor, onion, and a great balance of bacon and charred burger.

Compared to the Baconator itself, the crisps could have used a little more bacon flavor, but I appreciate that they didn’t just make a bacon-flavored chip. These crisps taste like meat.

Wendy s Baconator Pringles 4

The aftertaste is slightly sweet, almost like Cheerios. Maybe they were going for bun flavor? But if you don’t like the aftertaste, just shove more meat crisps into your gob, you goof.

Overall these are a surprisingly balanced crisp that do taste like all the elements of a Baconator. Maybe Pringles will bang out a fried egg-flavored crisp next and we’ll have an excuse to eat Breakfast Baconator Pringles in the morning.

I’d try it.

I sincerely hope you’re able to locate these Baconator Pringles. If you’re in the Venn Diagram of people who love Wendy’s and people who love Pringles, these are a little slice of heaven just for you.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 5.5oz can
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 crisps/28 g) 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit

Wendy s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit

What is Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit?

The less-is-more approach to Wendy’s nationwide breakfast rollout that features a crispy chicken fillet topped with maple honey butter on a “fluffy buttermilk biscuit.”

How is it?

Better than McDonald’s and Burger King, but not as good as you-know-who.

The chasm between fast food biscuit sandwiches is vast, with Chick-fil-A, Hardee’s, and Whataburger leading the way, and McDonald’s and Burger King’s ubiquitous biscuits bringing up the absolute rear (unless you count the likes of 7-Eleven and other convenience stores).

Wendy s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Chicken

Wendy’s is somewhere in-between. The chicken component is good – meaty, juicy, and slightly peppery – and a step above the “value” McChicken that McDonald’s recently slapped between their frozen-and-thawed biscuit halves. But the chicken isn’t as good as Chick-fil-A, the honey butter isn’t as good as Whataburger’s, and the biscuit isn’t as good as Chick-fil-A or Hardee’s.

Wendy s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Halves

In fact, the biscuit was the biggest letdown. It was neither flaky nor spongy, and it was bland and doughy. The only real flavor came from the chicken and lightly applied honey butter.

Is there anything else you need to know?

The biscuit could have been much better if there was a more liberal application of the honey butter, which was applied only sparingly underneath my chicken patty. Given the dry and dense biscuit, more of it (especially a biscuit wash) would have helped.

Conclusion:

I didn’t dislike Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, but it wasn’t as “yummy” as one of my similarly fast food-obsessed coworkers claimed. Unless McDonald’s or Burger King is your only fast food option, I’d stick with the tried and true chains that have been doing chicken biscuit sandwiches for more than two seconds.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 500 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of fiber, 9 gram of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.