REVIEW: Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake and Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Shake

Wendy's Caramel Frosty Shake

Wendy’s and I have an interesting relationship with each other. I don’t mean to sound like an old man, but when I was growing up, there wasn’t a Wendy’s to be found in New Jersey, lending it a mystique not found in your more prevalent chains like McDonald’s or Burger King. I remember the only one I knew of was on the way to Snowvania, which is what they called Vermont in those days. We would go there on our annual ski trip. You couldn’t get real skis because of the war, so we had to buy two snowboards and tie them to our feet.

Now, we’d stop at the Wendy’s on our way every year or so, and my sister and I would each get a Frosty, or as we called them in those days, thickshakes. “Give me five thickshakes for a dollar!” you’d say, and a smiling Ella Fitzgerald would bring them out to your motor car. Oh, did she have gams, that Ella! Anyway, once we finished our thickshakes, my sister and I would hollow out the bottoms and wear them on our ears, which was the style at the time.

But the point is, I’ve always liked Wendy’s, partially because of their scarcity when I was a kid, and partially because they actually make their burgers plain in the first place instead of what McDonald’s used to do; i.e., making them with the works and then just scraping that shit off when you dare to ask for a plain burger. Like that’s the same thing, jerks. Anyway, Frosties have always held a special place in my heart due to my childhood memories, so when I heard they were rolling out new Frosty Shakes, I was all over that like reality show stars on professional athletes.

But then I learned something that tempered my enthusiasm: Frosty Shakes were actually replacing my beloved Twisted Frosties, where they would blend M&Ms or Butterfingers in. I have mixed feelings about that, because those things were seriously damn good, yet are also the reason I can no longer comfortably fit into 28-inch waist jeans without my Strippercize DVD. But it does create some pressure on the Frosty Shake, because if you’re not as good as what you’re replacing, well, SOMEONE is in for a few curse words muttered into my dashboard and a scathing blog review. I’m just saying.

Wendy's Caramel Frosty Shake 2

This isn’t the first time Wendy’s has offered Frosty Shakes, but they have added two new flavors — in addition to the original chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, you can now get your fill of caramel and wild berry. As always, I will be reviewing the one that doesn’t even play at being healthy. It does, however, aspire to a higher class of caramel by name-dropping the Ghirardelli brand. I sort of question the wisdom of that — you don’t go to Wendy’s expecting kobe beef and watercress on your burger, so are you really going to care that the caramel in your two-bucks-and-change shake is associated with the finest chocolatiers in the world? I’m not sure it was worth shelling out for the brand name, but that’s the ghost of Dave Thomas’ business, not mine.

For starters, I have to give Wendy’s credit for sheer visual appeal. You know how fast food always looks great in the ads and then like a lump of reheated turds when you pull it out of the bag? Well, I’ll be damned if this shake didn’t look nearly as good in real life as it does on TV, which is impressive. This probably varies by the server, but the whipped cream on mine was plentiful and even had criss-crosses of caramel covering it, a nice touch. (Mind you, it’s summer, so that’s going to last about 3 minutes before it melts into a blob of goo.) But taste is what really matters, and this… this tastes good.

It’s thick enough that I initially had trouble getting some through the straw, though this would likely be substantially less difficult for groupies, congressional aides, and certain Jersey Shore cast members. But once I did, I was impressed by how vivid the flavor was. This isn’t watered down in the slightest — that’s pure caramel.

Wendy's Chocolate Frosty Shake

It’s almost a little overwhelming, and I can see people who are just kind of “enh” about caramel thinking it might even be a bit too strong, but I really dug it. It’s rich, very sweet, and lingers on your tongue like a dog who won’t go away after you feed him scraps, but it’s okay because he’s pretty cute and doesn’t look rabid. Also, the whipped cream melts into the shake and dilutes things a bit while lending an extra little creaminess to the whole thing. I would’ve ordered another if not for the fact that it’s so filling, and also because there’s a warning label cautioning that two will cause instant cardiac arrest.

Though the caramel Frosty Shake is the main attraction, I also sampled the chocolate variety just so I could give you a broader accounting of the overall line. I know, I really spoil you guys. Though not quite as impressive, it’s still pretty good. It’s nearly as thick as the caramel variety and has copious whipped cream with chocolate sauce drizzled over it. Also very creamy, but while it’s not quite as sweet as the caramel, it tastes very distinctly of chocolate syrup. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like it quite as much — familiarity breeds contempt and all that, and it’s almost like someone just emptied half a bottle of Hershey’s syrup into a vanilla milkshake.

I don’t know that I’ll ever stop mourning the loss of my Twisted Frosties (you could mix M&Ms into a chocolate Frosty!), but the shakes go a long way toward healing that rift. It’s convenient to be able to expand the size of your ass without having to burn all those precious calories lifting a plastic spoon to your mouth again and again. Assuming you’ve got belt notches to spare, pick one up with your next plain cheeseburger — I don’t think you’ll regret it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 small shake – Caramel – 680 calories, 15 grams of total fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 330 milligrams of sodium, 126 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 102 grams of sugar, 11 grams of protein. Chocolate – 610 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 109 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 98 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein.)

Other Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake reviews:
On Second Scoop

Item: Wendy’s Caramel Frosty Shake and Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty Shake
Price: $2.39
Size: 12 oz.
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Caramel)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chocolate)
Pros: Five different flavors. Ella Fitzgerald’s gams. Fast food places that make your burger plain. Visually-appealing whipped cream. A milkshake that brings me to the yard. Copious quantities of caramel. Rich chocolate syrup.
Cons: The war. Sacrificing Twisted Frosties. Pointless corporate name dropping. Difficult to get any through the straw unless you work in the entertainment industry. Ridonkulously unhealthy.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad

Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad

Upon hearing about the subject of my latest review, a friend said to me, “fast food salad = irony.” I didn’t know how to react to that because, despite my zealotry for good grammar, I still have no sense as to when something is actually ironic. All I know is, A) every time I use the word irony, someone is sure to tell me I’m wrong, and B) calling something ironic and calling someone Hitler are somehow equally effective at starting internet comment board flame wars.

So is it ironic that a fast food place makes salads? Would it be ironic for a fast food place to make a really good salad? What if the fast food place were called “We Make Terrible Salads”? And all they played for background music were Alanis Morissette songs, but never “Ironic”?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that Wendy’s new Berry Almond Chicken Salad is absolutely delicious. I recently ordered the full-size salad for lunch. A pre-made serving of greens and berries had been sitting in the fridge in the back, but the chicken was freshly cut and added, and I received the almonds and dressing in separate packages.

Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad Dressing

As you can see from the photo, the salad included hearty servings of strawberries and blueberries, and the fruits’ texture and color suggested that they were fresh and never frozen. The greens were crisp and seemed to have a solid assortment, though I have no idea if there were truly 11 varieties, as the Wendy’s website claims. Asking me to pick out a dozen types of greens is like asking me to name a dozen Alanis Morissette songs. (Actually, I might be able to do that. It’s more like asking me to name a dozen Alanis Morissette ex-boyfriends. Ryan Reynolds, Uncle Joey from Full House… you know what, let’s just say I can’t name that many greens, OK?)

The warm and appropriately-sized chicken wedges were juicy and flavorful, which was to be expected since the chicken was just a diced up breast from one of Wendy’s regularly tasty chicken sandwiches. The asiago cheese shavings added some sharpness without being overpowering, and the almonds contributed much-needed crunch and a subtle nuttiness to the salad. I thought the only thing that didn’t really work was the raspberry vinaigrette; it wasn’t tart enough to bring a new taste dimension to the table, and its sweetness just sort of distracted my attention from the real stars, the strawberries and blueberries.

Another complaint: the salad container was packed to the brim, and I imagine most people will have a very difficult time tossing this salad without spilling anything. Also, by not addressing this salad-tossing problem and thereby compelling me to mention it, Wendy’s has forced me to use a lot of self-restraint in not making any salad-tossing jokes. Luckily, I’ve managed to get to this paragraph’s back end without any slips of my tongue. (…goddammit.)

On the positive side again, the Berry Almond Chicken Salad contains only 450 calories and 16 grams of fat. $6.99 might feel pretty expensive for any item on a fast food menu, but it is tasty and filling enough to be worth the price. I would definitely recommend you go out and try it. And if a normally salad-phobic, fast-food-burger-loving guy strongly recommending a fast food salad isn’t ironic, then I don’t know what is. (No, but seriously. I really have to figure this irony thing out.)

(Nutrition Facts – Full size – 450 calories, 150 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1300 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 31 grams of sugar, 38 grams of protein, 80% vitamin A, 70% vitamin C, 30% calcium, and 15% iron.)

Item: Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad
Price: $6.99
Size: Full size
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Lots of fresh strawberries and blueberries. Crisp and varied greens. Chicken was warm, juicy, and flavorful. Asiago cheese added sharpness and almonds added crunch. Only 450 calories and 16 grams of fat. Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” was about Uncle Joey.
Cons: Raspberry vinaigrette didn’t really work. Pretty pricey. Salad was hard to toss. I have no self-restraint. Not understanding irony. Comment board flame wars.

REVIEW: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets

Prior to the creation of chicken nuggets, the only nuggets I’d ever known were those that have either the word “gold” or “nose” attached to them. When chicken nuggets first appeared on my sectioned school lunch tray, I was confused because I was told, unlike gold and nose nuggets, one didn’t need to do any digging in order to obtain them.

Since then, I’ve seen chicken nuggets more often than the others. This is probably due to nose nuggets being contained in Kleenex and gold being mostly seen in rapper chain/tooth form than in nugget form. As for chicken nuggets, I see them every time I walk through the frozen food aisle and, recently, whenever I pass by a Wendy’s, thanks to the huge window decal for their new Spicy Chicken Nuggets.

The Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets are made from white breast meat chicken, coated with Japanese-style breadcrumbs (panko) and packed with a number of spices like red peppers, chili peppers, turmeric, paprika and ground mustard seeds.

This orgy of spices may sound like the result of a McCormick spice factory explosion or Remy the rat from Ratatouille cooking while high on heroin, but the combination does give these chicken nuggets a nice amount of spice.

The heat didn’t immediately hit me, but instead slowly built up as I chewed my way through the carton of deep fried panko-ed goodness. If you’ve had Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwich, you’ll know how spicy these chicken nuggets can get. I was hoping the spices would provide the nuggets with enough flavor so that I wouldn’t need to use a dipping sauce, especially because of the use of ground mustard seeds, but that wasn’t the case.

The spices may not provide much flavor, but their heat does complement well with the variety of dipping sauces Wendy’s offers. They also have great crispy outside texture and were tender on the inside, much like their regular ones.

While I still personally prefer McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets with Hot Mustard Sauce when it comes to spicy chicken nuggets, I have to say these Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets are a tasty second option.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 pieces – 230 calories, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 690 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 4% vitamin C and 2% iron.)

Item: Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets
Price: $1.49 (Paid with a gift card I received from Wendy’s)
Size: 6-pieces
Purchased at: Wendy’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice amount of heat. No trans fats. Crispy exterior. Tender interior. Kleenex. Finding gold nuggets. Eating chicken nuggets.
Cons: Spices didn’t provide flavor. Remy high on heroin. Spice factory explosions. Eating nose nuggets.