Oct 28, 2009

Review: Little Caesars - Italian Cheese Bread

My Favorite "Cheesesticks"

Little Caesars is a pizza chain that uses a different model than most of the major chains. Like Papa Murphy's, they generally don't deliver. Unlike Papa Murphy's, Little Caesars bakes the pizza for you. 

Oct 27, 2009

Review: Papa John's - Cheesesticks

Sometimes I get a hankering for cheese sticks that stems from back in my undergrad days when a local pizzeria would deliver to the dorms. Fortunately, some pizza chains now stock cheese sticks as a menu item including Papa John's, where they're sold at $4.99 for a 10-inch order and $5.99 for a 12-inch order.

News: Boston Market offers Coupon for $1 Real Chicken Meal

Boston Market is offering a great deal via coupon on their website here. The coupon is for a "$1 Real Chicken Meal" which you can print out. According to the coupon a $1 Real Chicken Meal contains your choice of a quarter white or three pieces of dark meat chicken along with mashed potatoes and cornbread. The coupon expires on 11/01/2009 and is valid for one meal per customer per visit along with the other standard legalese.
Oct 26, 2009

Review: Taco Bell's Cheesy Roll-Up

Taco Bell's Cheesy Roll Up is a part of Taco Bell's "Why Pay More?" Value Menu. It's pretty much a quesadilla rolled up.

That's about it. It actually does not taste as good as a quesadilla which usually has a slight crispness where it's pressed or grilled. The Cheesy Roll-Up is more like a steamed quesadilla that's slighly folded up, making it soft with more cheese in each bite.

I didn't really care for Taco Bell's Cheese Roll-Up with it's soft mushiness and prefer their quesadilla's more varied textures.

Nutritional Info - Taco Bell Cheesy Roll-Up (57g)
Calories - 180 (from Fat - 80)
Fat - 9g (Saturated Fat - 5g)
Sodium - 430mg
Carbs - 15g (Sugar - 1g)
Protein - 9g
Oct 25, 2009

News: Taco Bell: Free Black Jack Taco on Halloween After 6PM

From 6pm to Midnight on October 31, 2009, Halloween, Taco Bell is offering a free Black Jack Taco to all customers who stop by. You are not required to dress up, do a little dance, or anything like that. The Black Jack Taco is like Taco Bell's regular crunchy taco except the shell is black, there are a blend of three cheeses (mozzarella, pepper jack, and cheddar) instead of just cheddar, and it has a squeeze of zesty pepper jack sauce). Normal legalese applies (at participating locations, one per customer, yadda yadda yadda...).
Oct 21, 2009

Review: KFC - Chicken Little Sandwich

The KFC Chicken Little Sandwich is a relic of the KFC of old when fried chicken, sides, and biscuits were the only thing on the menu.

Oct 20, 2009

Review: Arby's - Bacon Cheddar Roastburger

Billed as Arby's answer to the common hamburger, the Roastburger is more or less like a hamburger except with seasoned thin-sliced roast beef instead of a hamburger patty. It still tastes like a sandwich though. I tried the Bacon Cheddar Roastburger. The seasoning gives the meat a bit more "oomph" but part of a hamburger's flavor comes from the coarse texture of the patty itself and roast beef can't replicate that. Also hamburgers don't tend to be that seasoned anyway; a lot of the flavor is plain old hamburger fat.
The Arby's Bacon Cheddar Roastburger makes for a nice sandwich though. It has a slice of cheddar cheese, peppered bacon (an upgrade from the thin slices of mini-bacon most fast food chains sport), crisp lettuce, onions, and a slice of fresh tomato; the usual stuff you find in a traditional hamburger... as well as a sandwich.
I don't know how much healthier eating a Arby's Roastburger is than eating a greasy hamburger though. Compared to say a Burger King Whopper, it has about roughly half the fat but almost twice the sodium. Choices, choices... It does taste better than a Whopper though, sandwich and all.
Oct 19, 2009

News: Free Dipped Fruit Sampler from Edible Arrangements

Fresh fruit bouquet maker Edible Arrangements is offering a free sampler of chocolate-dipped fruit to the first 100,000 Facebook fans who sign up: Edible Arrangements Facebook fans who sign up will be emailed a coupon for a free sampler. The sampler is free to pick up in stores or can be delivered for $12. I'd recommend picking it up in stores but that's just me.

The sampler has a stated value of $15 and comes with six dipped fruit (whichever six they choose to give you). The promotion runs until 11/16/09 and is limited to the first 100,000 participants. The coupon itself is valid until 11/21/09.

Review: Burger King - Chicken Tenders

Burger King's version of the chicken nugget is called the Chicken Tender. I tried it recently off of Burger King's value menu at four pieces for $1. The tenders are breaded and lightly seasoned rather than battered like McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. While the chicken tender comes in a interesting crown shape, the meat itself is quite thin and, as a result, was dried out from the deep frying.

Oct 16, 2009

Review: Carl's Jr. - Bacon Ranch Cheeseburger

I tried Carl's Jr.'s Bacon Ranch Cheeseburger because it was 99 cents and a limited-time item. I have to say it was very blah. It features a charbroiled beef patty, two slices of bacon, a slice of swiss cheese, an onion ring, and ranch dressing. It was pretty bland.

Oct 15, 2009

Review: Green Burrito - Beef Taco

I was always curious about the Green Burrito growing up but I never actually tried it and then the local Green Burrito closed. It wasn't until recently that I finally tried it when I walked into a Carl's Jr... Apparently, CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's , bought out the Green Burrito in 2001. Since then they have been co-branding them with Carl's Jr restaurants so that you can get American and Mexican Fast Food under the same roof much like Yum! Brands, Inc. does with Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut.

Oct 14, 2009

Review: Chipotle - Chicken Burrito

Since I posted yesterday about Chipotle's Free Boo-rito Halloween Promotion yesterday, I thought I'd review the fat foil-wrapped monster today. For roughly about $6 give or take, Chipotle has a rather simple menu where you can choose from an order of tacos (soft or hard), a burrito (regular or fajita style), a burrito bowl, or a salad. The only side is chips with the option of guacamole. Unlike Baja Fresh, chips are not complimentary with your order. They do offer margaritas and beer in additions to the regular soda fountain.

One of their selling points is that their meats are "naturally raised" meaning were humanely raised free of antibiotics and growth hormones and were fed a vegetarian diet.

The Chipotle regular burrito comes in a flour tortilla with cilantro-lime rice, pinto or vegetarian black beans, meat (braised carnitas, barbacoa, adobo grilled chicken or steak) or guacamole (the vegetarian option), salsa, cheese, or sour cream. Barbacoa is slow-cooked meat, in this case, it's beef braised until tender.

I chose to go with the grilled chicken with rice and black beans and roasted chili-corn salsa. Chipotle's roasted chili-corn salsa is super great! It has a nice blend the sour tartness normally associated with salsa with the sweetness of corn and medium heat from chopped chili.
I have to say Chipotle makes a good burrito. The chicken was well-marinated and wasn't dry. All the ingredients have their own distinct flavors and are well blended when wrapped so that each bite gives you a taste of those flavors. Burrito Wrapping is important! I hate when all the ingredients are separated in the burrito and you can't get a good bite.

One note of warning that I've noticed, Chipotle food isn't very hot temperature wise and ends up being just warm when you eat it.
Oct 13, 2009

News: Free Boo-ritos at Chipotle on Halloween

In celebration of Halloween, on Saturday, October 31, 2009, from 6pm to close, customers who visit a Chipotle dressed up as anything Chipotle-related (wrapped in foil, a burrito, taco, etc.) will get their choice of a free burrito, order of tacos, bowl, or salad (hence the Free Boo-rito).
Oct 12, 2009

Photos: Ramen Arrangement: Instant Ramen with Braised Pork

Ichiban Ramen Original Flavor with Braised Pork Belly, Bean Sprouts, and Green Onions... in a pot!
And again!
Shin Ramyun with Braised Pork Belly, Poached Egg, Bean Sprouts, Green Onions, and Carrots!
Oct 9, 2009

Homemade Recipe: Braised Pork Belly for Ramen

Just a simple braise for pork belly to serve with ramen (goes great with instant or otherwise). Feel free to experiment to taste but I used (roughly):
  • 1 pound of pork belly
  • 1 part soy sauce
  • 1 part mirin
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 sprig of green onion (chopped into inches)
  • 2 inches of ginger (crushed)
  • sesame oil
Trim the skin from the pork belly. Then brown the pork belly in a pan.

Mix the other ingredients in a bowl. Taste the mixture and adjust according to your tastes. (Next time, I would add more garlic and ginger and less soy sauce. It turned out a bit too salty, so keep in mind when you taste the mixture, that the it will reduce and the flavors will magnify as a result. I might also try some apple or pear juice next time.)

Put the pork belly in a pot and add the mixture. Add enough water (or you can add canned broth if you like) to surround the meat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer uncovered for about 3 hours till the meat is ready to fall apart. Add more water or broth as necessary to keep the pork belly surrounded but not covered. Slice however you like and serve.

If you want a more intense flavor, you can let the pork cool and store it in the fridge with the juices (after you strain it) overnight. This will allow you to skim the fat and let the pork absorb the juices. Freeze what you don't use and reheat to serve.
Oct 8, 2009

Review: KFC - Original Recipe Chicken Strips

Not too long ago, the Colonel (Sanders that is) replaced his Crispy Chicken Strips with the more seasoned Original Recipe Chicken Strips. The result? A blend of Original Recipe flavor with a more crispy batter than KFC's Original Recipe Chicken. The ones I got were juicy and chock full of Original Recipe flavor.
The downside is since it was chock full of Original Recipe flavor, it was no good for dipping. Dipping the Original Recipe Chicken Strips made them too salty. Since the regular Crispy Chicken Strips had more of a neutral flavor, it complemented the dipping sauces well. The Original Recipe Chicken Strips? Not so much.

They do however go great stuffed inside one of KFC's delectable biscuits. Mmmm... chicken in a biscuit...

KFC Store Locator
Oct 7, 2009

News: Free Small Breakfast and Coffee at IKEA - Sat., Oct. 10 to Mon., Oct. 12, 2009

IKEA is offering its customers who show up on Saturday, October 10th to Monday, October 12th, 2009, a free small breakfast (which includes scrambled eggs, two strips of bacon, and home fries and normally sells for 99 cents) and a free cup of coffee (also normally 99 cents).

The offer is limit one per customer and is not valid in IKEA Hicksville, IKEA Houston, and IKEA Direct. See IKEA store for details.
Oct 6, 2009

Review: Daphne's Greek Cafe - Gyro and French Fries

A Greek gyro, similar to the Turkish doner kebab, the Middle Eastern shawarma, and Mexican al pastor, is characterized by ground meat shaped into a chub, cooked vertically on a spit, and sliced thin for serving. Daphne's Greek Cafe makes a pretty good gyro. The meat is carved fresh off the spit to order and is wrapped with lettuce, diced red onions, sliced tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce (a yogurt sauce usually blended with cucumber and other stuff) in a soft, pillowy, warmed pita. I really enjoyed the warm pita and the veggies are pretty fresh.

The fries were decent, not memorable but okay.

Oct 5, 2009

Spotlight On: McDonald's Japan

With McDonald's considered by many, for better or worse, as the embodiment of the West, or rather more specifically, of American cultural imperialism abroad, it's worth taking a look at how the menu differs in other countries as McDonald's caters to its newer audiences. And so, I thought I'd taunt myself with pictures of limited-time, featured McDonald's food abroad (taken from their respective websites) that I'll probably never get a chance to try.

Oct 2, 2009

Review: Baja Fresh - Mexican Torta

Baja Fresh has their own version of a Mexican Torta (i.e. sandwich) with grilled seasoned chicken, leafy lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados on a telera roll.
I found it a bit lacking, while the roll had a good texture to it, the strips of chicken tended to shift around in the sandwich making it hard to get a good bite. Also without a sauce, cheese, or beans, which are also sometimes found in other tortas, the sandwich suffered in search of flavor although it's probably a little healthier for it.

Like most Baja Fresh Menu items, the Mexican Torta comes with chips but for the price (around 6 to 7 dollars) I wouldn't get it again.
Oct 1, 2009

Review: Popeyes - Mashed Potatoes and Cajun Gravy

Probably my favorite mashed potatoes are the Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Gravy at Popeyes. Although, the gravy is a lot greasier than your typical brown or chicken gravy, it has little bits of meat and a blend of spices that give it an extra kick of flavor that's quite enjoyable.
As for the mashed potatoes themselves, they're probably whipped or instant as they contain no lumps. It's not too heavy and complements the gravy well.

So long as you're not turned off by oily gravy, you should definitely give Popeyes' Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Gravy a try.

Popeyes Restaurant Locations

Nutritional Info - (142g)
Calories - 120 (Calories from Fat - 36)
Fat - 4g (Saturated Fat - 2g)
Sodium - 570mg
Carbs - 18g (Sugar - 0g)
Protein - 3g