Oct 31, 2012

Review: Corner Bakery Cafe - Bacon Tomato Mac & Three Cheese

Corner Bakery Cafe's Bacon Tomato Mac & Three Cheese features pipette pasta (pipe-shaped pasta i.e. macaroni), applewood-smoked bacon, and diced tomatoes tossed with a blend of three cheeses, and topped with toasted bread crumbs.

$6.59 nets you a good-sized bowl and a piece of toasted garlic bread.

News: Jamba Juice - $1 Oatmeal Wednesdays Returns to CA and DC

Jamba Juice has brought back their $1 Oatmeal Wednesdays promotion at participating locations in California and Washington D.C.

During the promotion, any variety of Jamba's steel cut oatmeal is available for $1 (regularly $2.99 at my local Jamba Juice) on Wednesdays. The promotion runs through December 26, 2012.

 It looks like Jamba is hoping to draw in customers during the cold, winter months with some hot oatmeal. Fall and winter are generally a down time for the chain's mainstay smoothie business.

News: Papa John's - New Chicken Poppers

Papa John's now offers new Chicken Poppers. They feature chicken breast poppers that are lightly breaded and baked in the oven.

They come with 15 poppers to an order for $5.99 and replace Papa John's Chicken Strips (which were offered at the same price for 7 strips) on the menu. Each order comes with your choice of two sauces (choose from BBQ, Ranch, Pizza, Blue Cheese, Honey Mustard, Buffalo, and Special Garlic).

Oct 30, 2012

Review: Jack in the Box - Chili Cheese Curly Fries

Jack in the Box's Chili Cheese Curly Fries feature seasoned curly fries topped with beef chili and shredded cheddar cheese.

An order goes for $2.49 at my local Jack in the Box.

News: McDonald's - New French Vanilla Latte

McDonald's introduces a new French Vanilla Latte this holiday season to their McCafe menu, except it might not be "new" at all, but might be more like new to appearing on the menu.

According to an employee at my local McDonald's, they use the same vanilla syrup that they use for the rest of their McCafe beverages (it is also possible my local McDonald's jumped the gun and started offering it before actually getting the new syrup, if there is one). So basically if said employee was correct, it's just a Vanilla Latte, which technically wasn't on the menu before (they've always offered a latte with a choice of syrup if you so chose).

Update 12/1/12 - McDonald's confirmed that the syrup is a newly-developed syrup with a "sweet, creamy vanilla flavor."

Update 10/31/12 - I stopped by another McDonald's in my area. The menu board now only offers "French Vanilla" and "Sugar-Free French Vanilla" syrups with no mention of plain "Vanilla" syrup.

Around the World: Domino's UK Now Delivers Movies

Domino's UK has partnered with Lionsgate UK and now "delivers" movies with their pizza in a service they're calling "Pizza Box Office." The movies are actually delivered via online streaming to a PC/Mac, mobile, or tablet.

Basically, you order from a selection of pizza and movie deals and receive a code to stream the film. The rental period is good for 48 hours after the code is redeemed.
Oct 29, 2012

Review: Burger King - Gingerbread Cookie Shake

Burger King's holiday-themed Gingerbread Cookie Shake features vanilla soft serve blended with gingerbread flavored syrup and finished with whipped topping and crumbled gingersnap cookies.

A 12-ounce small-size cup cost me $2.49.

News: Del Taco - New Caramel Apple Crunch Bites

Del Taco introduces their own rendition of the deep-fried apple pie (turnover) with new Caramel Apple Crunch Bites. The bite-sized desserts feature battered and fried apple pie filling served with a side of caramel sauce for dipping.

They also brought back Mac 'N Cheese Crunch Bites which are bite-sized snacks of battered and fried macaroni and cheese.

Price and participation may vary.

Nutritional info not available.

News: Krispy Kreme - Free Donuts for When You Visit in Costume on Halloween

Krispy Kreme is getting into the spirit of Halloween by offering a treat of your choice of a Halloween or Pumpkin Spice donut for free when you drop by in costume on this Wednesday, October 31, 2012.

The offer is good at participating Krispy Kreme locations in the U.S. and Canada on Halloween only and is limited to one donut per person.
Oct 28, 2012

Review: Nabisco - Peanut Butter Creme Oreos

Peanut Butter Creme Oreo cookies combine the time-tested combination of chocolate and peanut butter with America's bestselling cookie.

A 15.25-ounce packages generally sells for about $3.79 at my local supermarket. On sale, it tends to range form $2.50 to $3.00.

Around the World: McDonald's UK and Germany - Tastes of the World

Perhaps to spite us here in the U.S., McDonald's restaurants in the U.K. have been offering a "Great Tastes of the World" promotion where each week a different burger is available inspired by the cuisine of a specific country. The promotion runs for four weeks and the four countries represented are Spain, Australia, Mexico, and India.

For week 1 (which started last week), McDonald's offered the Spanish Grande with Chorizo. The burger features a paprika topped bun, beef patty, chorizo, roasted red and yellow peppers, cheddar cheese, Batavia lettuce and a bravas-style sauce.

Oct 27, 2012

Review: Fresh and Easy - Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Fresh and Easy's Pumpkin Spice Muffins were the last of the pumpkin-based baked goods that my local Fresh and Easy started selling this year.

A 14-ounce box of four sells for $3.99.

Around the World: McDonald's Taiwan - Sesame Pork Chop Burger

McDonald's Taiwan has embarked on a world tour (not literally) similar to the ones their European counterparts seem to do every now and again.

First stop? Japan with the "Sesame Pork Chop Burger." It looks to be a breaded and deep fried pork cutlet ("tonkatsu") topped with shredded cabbage and what I think is Japanese mayo. The bun is dotted with the occasional black sesame seed along with the typical white ones.

Around the World: Mister Donut - French Wooler Donut

In what might be the cutest donut ever, Mister Donut (formerly of the U.S., but now with over 1,000 locations in Japan) currently offers for a limited time, the French Wooler Donut. That's the lamb's name by the way: French Wooler. It's one of the chain's mascot's "sweet friends" (get it? Because they're all donut animals!).

As for the limited-time donut, it's a French cruller donut that is commonly found at Mister Donut, but the hole is filled with strawberry whipped cream, atop which sits a white chocolate made to look like the French Wooler's head. The price tag per donut is 189 yen or about $2.37 U.S.

Oct 26, 2012

Frozen Friday: Healthy Choice - Modern Classic Sweet and Sour Chicken

Healthy Choice's Modern Classic Sweet and Sour Chicken differs from their Traditional Classic version in that there's no dessert, and more broccoli instead. It features chunks of battered chicken breast in a sweet and sour sauce over whole grain rice with a side of broccoli.

A 12-ounce box is normally around $3.99 or on sale for around $2 to $2.50.

News: Sonic - 50 Cent Corn Dogs This Halloween!

This upcoming Wednesday, October 31st i.e. Halloween, Sonic will be offering 50 cent Corn Dogs all day at participating locations. 

Each corn dog is covered in sweet corn batter and fried to a crispy golden brown. They normally go for $1.19 at my nearest Sonic restaurant.

No costume is required for this promotion.

News: Burger King - New Wisconsin White Cheddar Whopper

Burger King is just cranking out the new limited-time menus these days. Here's the latest: Burger King is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Whopper with two limited-time Whopper variants: the new Wisconsin White Cheddar Whopper and the returning Angry Whopper.

Additionally, Burger King is offering Seasoned Sweet Potato Curly Fries for a limited-time.

Collectively, the menu items are being called the "Whopper 55th Anniversary menu."

Oct 25, 2012

Review: Jack in the Box - Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt

Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt - side view
Jack in the Box's limited-time Sourdough Cheesesteak Melt features sliced steak, grilled onions, fire-roasted red and green peppers, melted cheese, and mayo-onion sauce on sourdough bread.

My local Jack in the Box offers them for $4.49, which is 20 cents more than the popular Sourdough Jack.

News: Popeyes - Crawfish is Back for a Limited Time

Crawfish returns to the Popeyes menu for a limited time in an offer they're calling the "4th Annual Crawfish Festival." Through November 25, Popeyes is offering a Crawfish Tackle Box featuring battered and fried crawfish with Cajun Fries, a biscuit, and creamy horseradish sauce on the side for $4.99.

News: Jack in the Box - Holiday Shakes Return

Holiday Shakes in Egg Nog and Pumpkin Pie flavors are back at Jack in the Box this fall/winter.

Made with ice cream (and not soft serve), the shakes are available in regular (16 oz) and large (24 oz) sizes and are garnished with whipped topping and a maraschino cherry. My local Jack in the Box offers them for $2.69 and $3.29 respectively.

They are not available in Bakersfield in California nor in the cities Portland, Bend, Eugene, and Medford in Oregon.

Oct 24, 2012

Review: Popeyes - Chicken Nuggets

Popeyes' Chicken Nuggets features bite-sized pieces of chicken breast that are battered and breaded before a dip in the deep fryer.

My local Popeyes has them at 6 pieces for $1.99, but as you can see I received about 8 or so pieces.

Neat! Coke Zero - 007 Skyfall Obstacle Course in a Train Station...

First there was the Coke "Hug Me" machine and now this: unsuspecting train passengers stopping to buy a can of Coke Zero at a vending machine were prompted onscreen with an offer for a chance to win exclusive tickets for the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall. All they had to do was get to Platform 6... in 70 seconds. 

News: McDonald's - 2012 Fall/Winter Holiday Line Up

McDonald's has quite a line up of holiday-themed desserts this year, but participation seems to vary a bit. For example, I've never seen pumpkin-anything here in the Los Angeles area, but I know they have/had the Baked Pumpkin Pie up in central California.

I've grouped the items from what I've been able to piece together. If you want to comment below if you've seen these items in your area, I'll update accordingly.

News: Hardee's - New Ribeye Steak, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit

Hardee's introduces their own take on steak and eggs with their new Ribeye Steak, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit. The sandwich features thinly-sliced ribeye steak, a folded scrambled egg, and Swiss cheese on a made from scratch buttermilk biscuit.

It's available for a suggested retail price of $2.99 for the sandwich only or in a combo with hash rounds and drink for $4.69.

Oct 23, 2012

Review: McDonald's - Daily Double

McDonald's Daily Double is a new Extra Value Menu item and McDouble variant featuring two beef patties, a slice of American cheese, slivered onions, a thick slice of tomato, shredded lettuce, and mayo on a plain toasted hamburger bun.

It's not nearly a value as the McDouble as it carries a price tag of $1.99.

News: Papa John's - Double Bacon 6 Cheese Pizza Returns

The Double Bacon 6 Cheese Pizza is back at Papa John's for a limited time. It is topped with Hickory-smoked bacon, julienne-cut Canadian bacon, mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, provolone and Fontina cheese.

As with Papa John's limited time offers, the Double Bacon 6 Cheese Pizza is offered for the promotion price of $11. With the return of the pizza, it looks like the Meatball and Pepperoni Pizza's roughly month-long run is nearing its end.

News: Taco Bell - Free Tacos for Stolen Bases During the World Series

It's not unusual for free food items to be given at sporting event to the audience if certain benchmarks are hit, like if one team scores 100 points or if the home team wins. But Taco Bell is taking it a step further this year and spreading the love by offering the opportunity for a free Doritos Locos Tacos to everyone in the U.S. if any player steals a base during the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series. They're calling it "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco."

Here are the details:

Around the World: First Indian Starbucks Store Looks Very Aladdin-ish

Starbucks recently opened their first location in India -- the flagship store in Mumbai with two other stores to open this week.

I have to say though, when I first saw a picture of the flagship store, I immediately thought of Disney's Aladdin; it looks more like something at a Disney resort than a Starbucks no? A firsthand account from Vogue India likened the interior design to that of the Taj Mahal Hotel (Isn't it the analogue to making the European flagship store look like a castle?)

Oct 22, 2012

Review: Boston Market - Turkey Market Bowl

Boston Market's limited-time Market Bowls feature a bowl filled with your choice of two sides, a sauce, and one of three meats: turkey, meatloaf, or the chain's signature rotisserie chicken. I recently tried the Turkey Market Bowl with the mashed potatoes and corn topped with gravy.

The price of each bowl is $6.99.

News: Jack in the Box - Chili Cheese Curly Fries Return

For a limited-time, Jack in the Box returns Chili Cheese Curly Fries at participating locations. The dish features seasoned curly fries topped with beef chili and shredded cheddar cheese.

Chili Cheese Fries are not available in Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho (I don't know why, but Jack in the Box always has the most random market non-participation in their promotions or maybe they're the only ones that bother to list it).

News: Domino's - Free Pan Pizza Slice for Lunch on October 23

Domino's will be giving away 100 free slices of their new Handmade Pan Pizza at each participating location this upcoming Tuesday, October 23, 2012 between the hours of 12pm and 2pm i.e. lunch time.

It's not a bad promo if you happen to work/live near a participating Domino's location during lunch time tomorrow, but I'm not sure many people would go out of their way for a slice of pizza.

Oct 21, 2012

Review: Fresh & Easy - Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Fresh & Easy's Pumpkin Pie Cookies are a limited-time bakery item this fall and are made with pumpkin puree as well as cinnamon and nutmeg (just like actual pumpkin pie!)

A 15-ounce box of 10 cookies is $3.99.

News: Jack in the Box - Limited-Edition Nut Cracker Ornaments

Jack in the Box is celebrating the 120th anniversary of the Nutcracker Ballet (and the holiday season) with new, limited-edition Nutcracker Jack ornaments.

The ornaments feature a Jack head adorned with a red shako that can be attached onto your car antenna via a pre-drilled hole or hung on your Christmas tree by its braided loop.

Oct 20, 2012

Review: Starbucks - Cinnamon Roll

Starbucks recently re-introduced Cinnamon Rolls to their baked goods display so I thought I'd give them a try. The new Cinnamon Rolls are pretty standard with pastry dough rolled up with cinnamon and sugar and covered with cream cheese icing.

Buying one cost me $2.45 at a local Starbucks.

News: Tastykake - New Kandy Bar Kakes

Tastykake teams up with Hershey's to offer you some of your favorite candy bars in "kake" form with new Kandy Bar Kakes.

A mix of candy and cake, Kandy Bar Kakes are available in the following varieties:  

- S'mores Kandy Bar Kake made with Hershey's Cocoa;
- Peanut Butter Kandy Bar Kake made with Reese's Peanut Butter and;
- Peppermint Kandy Bar Kake made with York Peppermint Flavor.

They each feature two pieces of cake sandwiching a creme center and covered in a chocolaty coating.

Oct 19, 2012

Frozen Friday: Healthy Choice - Classic Meatloaf

Healthy Choice's Classic Meatloaf meal features a meatloaf with brown gravy, whipped potatoes, a side of sweet corn, and an apple cranberry dessert.

A 12-ounce box retails for $3.99 at my local supermarket ($2.50 or so on sale).

News: Burger King - New Gingerbread Cookie Sundae and Shake

Burger King offers up the taste of gingerbread cookies this holiday season with new, limited time Gingerbread Cookie Sundaes and Shakes.

Leapfrogging the more mainstream pumpkin and egg nog flavors, Burger King goes with the lesser used gingerbread. I can't remember any of the major chains doing gingerbread really.

The Gingerbread Cookie Sundae features vanilla soft serve sprinkled with gingersnap cookie crumbles and topped with gingerbread sauce for a suggested retail of $2.49.

News: McDonald's - Cheddar Bacon Onion Sandwich

McDonald's new Cheddar Bacon Onion Sandwich is now available nationally for a limited-time. Previously tested in New York, the Cheddar Bacon Onion Sandwich comes with your choice of an third-pound Angus beef patty, or crispy or grilled chicken filet along with hickory-smoked bacon, caramelized grilled onions, two slices of white cheddar, and a creamy mustard sauce.

Around the World: Burger King Japan - New Pumpkin Burger

While pumpkin-flavored items are quite popular around this time of year, I've never heard of a pumpkin burger before... until now that is. Burger King Japan will be offering the BK Pumpkin burger for a limited time starting October 26, 2012.

The BK Pumpkin burger features two fried slices of kabocha (commonly known as Japanese pumpkin), bacon, lettuce, a beef patty and a creamy, savory nut sauce (with sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts). The sesame bun is meant to be pumpkin-shaped. The price per burger is 310 yen (~$3.90 US).

Oct 18, 2012

Review: Panera Bread - Pumpkin Cookie

Panera Bread's seasonal Pumpkin Cookie features a good-sized pumpkin-shaped shortbread cookie decorated with icing to look like a jack-o-lantern.

It's $1.69 for a cookie or discounted to $.99 if you buy a meal with a drink.

News: Little Caesars Offers Pizza Cones for Fundraising

Little Caesars now offers Pizza Cones nationwide, but not in any of their locations. Instead Little Caesars' Pizza Cones are only available for fundraising and are sold by non-profit organizations, including schools, churches, sports teams, etc.

The cones are available in four varieties (including sweet options) and come in kits for customers to assemble and bake the cones. Pizza Cone kits are available in: Pepperoni, Cheese, S'mores, and Apple Cheesecake.

News: White Castle - New Crave Pallet with 6,912 Sliders

For those of you throwing a really big party, White Castle now offers the new Crave Pallet of Sliders, a pallet (those things you need a forklift to move) with 6,912 Sliders.

You better hurry though because only two Crave Pallets are available. Each comes with any combination of  Original, Cheese, and/or Jalapeno Sliders. Not to worry about freshness though as the Sliders will be cooked onsite by White Castle and served fresh.

Oct 17, 2012

Review: Wienerschnitzel - Pretzel Bun Chili Dog

I've tried Wienerschnitzel's Chili Dog before, but not on a pretzel bun so on a recent stop at a Wienerschnitzel, I tried the Pretzel Bun Chili Dog.

The Pretzel Bun Chili Dog is simple enough: a pretzel hot dog bun, a turkey hot dog, and Wienerschnitzel's trademark chili. There's an upcharge of 40 cents for the pretzel bun so that my Pretzel Bun Chili Dog cost $1.89.

News: Papa Murphy's - Jack-O-Lantern Pizza Returns

The pizza with olives for eyes is back at Papa Murphy's. The novelty Jack-O-Lantern Pizza is once again available for the Halloween season.

The pumpkin shaped pizza is decorated with fresh-grated cheese and pepperoni slices to form the jack-o-lantern's face and, like most Papa Murphy's pizzas, generally takes 12 to 18 minutes to cook in your home oven.

Oct 16, 2012

Review: Boston Market - Meatloaf Market Bowl

Boston Market's Meatloaf Market Bowl is a limited-time item that seems a bit gimmicky. It's just a bowl filled with your choice of two sides and either meatloaf, turkey, or chicken plus a sauce. It's basically what they normally give you on a plate, but in a more portable bowl.

Regardless of what you choose, each bowl is $6.99. I went with meatloaf, the vegetable medley, and vegetable stuffing. For sauce, I went with tomato sauce.

News: Starbucks - New My Starbucks Rewards Changes

Starting today, Starbucks introduces some changes to their customer loyalty program, My Starbucks Rewards. Some of the perks are gone, but there are some new improvements as well.

 Here's a quick list of the changes:

News: Burger King - California Whopper Returns to the West Coast

Burger King's California Whopper is back for a limited-time, but only at participating BK locations in California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and, oddly enough, Colorado.

The Whopper variant features a ground beef patty, guacamole, thick-cut, hardwood-smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, sliced onions and mayo on a toasted sesame seed bun for a suggested retail price of $4.49.

Oct 15, 2012

Review: Wendy's - Bacon Portabella Mushroom Melt

Wendy's Bacon Portabella Mushroom Melt is a kinda new, limited-time burger ("kinda" because it just adds an extra slice of cheese to a previous limited-time offer). It features a quarter pound beef patty, two slices of American cheese, three slices of thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, and portabella mushrooms in a cheddar cheese sauce.

My local Wendy's offers them for $4.39, but I received mine for free courtesy of Wendy's.

News: KFC - New Dip'ems

KFC offers up new Dip'ems. Except, similar to Popeyes, the only new thing is three new sauces: Creamy Buffalo, Orange Ginger, and Bacon Ranch.

The actual chicken strips are the same standard Extra Crispy chicken strips (they're calling them "tenders" now) that KFC has been serving for a while now.

In sum, Dip'ems is the combination of Extra Crispy chicken strips tenders plus six dipping sauces: the existing Honey BBQ, Honey Mustard, and Creamy Ranch plus the three new ones.

News: Jamba Juice - BOGO Free Smoothie in NY and CA

Jamba Juice is doing another buy one, get one free coupon deal on their smoothies. It's valid at participating locations in California and New York (but also a few select locations in Washington D.C., Maryland, and New Jersey).

The deal is good through Sunday10/21/2012 and offers a free smoothie or equal or less value when you buy any smoothie.