Dec 31, 2012

Review: Taco Bell - Beefy Nacho Griller

Taco Bell's Beefy Nacho Griller is one of three new, limited-time Loaded Grillers being offered by the chain. It features a flour tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese, and red tortilla strips and grilled for some crispy browning. It is very similar to the Beefy Nacho Burrito offered back in May.

These are 99 cents each.

News: McDonald's - New Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger

McDonald's Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger
ushers in the new year with a new, limited-time addition to their dollar menu: the Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger.

Borrowing a few cues from the CBO, the McDonald's hamburger variant keeps it simple with a beef patty topped with grilled onions and white cheddar pasteurized cheese product. It's pretty much a junior-sized CBO minus the sauce and the bacon. For $1, that's pretty nice.

Dec 30, 2012

Review: Frito Lay - Hot Wings Doritos Jacked Chips

Ranch Dipped Hot Wings is the latest flavor for Frito Lay's Doritos Jacked, a bigger, thicker, and more seasoned version of Doritos tortilla chips.

The flavor is described as the "burn of tangy hot wings" followed by a "blast of creamy ranch"

A 10.5-ounce bag retails for $4.29, but I picked these up on sale for $3.

Around the World: McDonald's Japan Uses Actual Hourglass to Time Orders

McDonald's Japan "60 seconds or free" promotion graphic.
McDonald's Japan
is offering a limited-time lunch-time guarantee from January 4 through January 31, 2013 where each customer's order will be completed in 60 seconds or less or they get a free burger of their choice.

The tagline for the campaign is "Enjoy! 60 Seconds Service."

To show their customers the elapsed time, McDonald's employees will flip an actual hourglass (minute-glass?) to time each and every order.

Around the World: The Apple Burger Returns to BK Japan

Because pumpkin and squid ink burgers weren't enough, Burger King Japan brings back the "BK RiNGO" ("ringo" means "apple" in Japanese; not sure why the odd capitalization though) burger for a limited time.

First introduced earlier this year in March, the distinguishing feature of the BK RiNGO is a grilled thick slice of apple sprinkled with cinnamon. It's accompanied by a grilled beef patty, spicy honey-mustard sauce, lettuce, and tomato, and served together on a Whopper Jr. bun.

Dec 29, 2012

Review: Starbucks - Salted Caramel Mocha

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha
Starbucks' Salted Caramel Mocha is a seasonal fall/winter drink first introduced last year. It features a blend of espresso, steamed milk, mocha sauce, and toffee nut syrup, topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, turbinado (i.e. raw) sugar, and sea salt.

It's about a buck more than a Starbucks Latte at $3.75 for a 12-ounce "Tall" drink. I got mine without whipped cream.

Dec 28, 2012

Frozen Friday: Stouffer's - Fried Chicken

Stouffer's Fried Chicken is actually a boneless white meat chicken piece that's been seasoned, breaded, and fried. It's served with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.

An 8.875-ounce box retails for $4.19 at one of my local supermarkets.

News: IHOP - All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes Return

A feast of pancake gluttony (and ruiner of New Year's resolutions) is back at IHOP with the limited-time return of "All-You-Can-Eat" Buttermilk Pancakes.

The offer is available as part of a combo or as an entree. Once you polish off the initial stack, you can keep it coming in stacks of two for as long as your appetite (or stomach) holds out.

Dec 27, 2012

Review: Taco Bell - Loaded Potato Griller

Taco Bell's Loaded Potato Griller looks to capture the taste of a loaded potato skin in a grilled tortilla wrapper. The limited-time item features crispy potato bites, nacho cheese, bits of bacon, and sour cream, wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled.

Like the rest of the new, limited-time Loaded Grillers, it's offered at 99 cents a pop.

Dec 26, 2012

Review: Taco Bell - Spicy Buffalo Chicken Griller

Taco Bell's Spicy Buffalo Chicken Griller is purported to offer the taste of buffalo wings in a portable appetizer for one. To achieve this, Taco Bell goes with their marinated white meat chicken, spicy lava sauce (from their Volcano menu), and (reduced fat) sour cream.

The price is nice at 99 cents per Loaded Griller.

News: Taco Bell Tests New $1 Cravings Menu

It appears Taco Bell is looking to scrap the current "Why Pay More" value menu by testing a "$1 Cravings" value menu. The move to a flat $1 per menu item is probably a response to rising food and labor costs.

I was traveling through California's Central Valley over the holidays and came upon the menu at a Taco Bell in one of the major truck stops.

The $1 Cravings gets its name because it's split into several different food cravings: "Beefy," "Cheesy," "Spicy," "Crunchy," and "Sweet."

Dec 25, 2012

Review: Starbucks - Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop

Starbucks Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop is a holiday-themed, portion-controlled dessert of peppermint chocolate cake (made with buttercream and candy cane pieces) dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with candy cane bits.

A single pop sells for $1.50.

Dec 24, 2012

Review: Pepperidge Farm - Milano Minis Candy Cane Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Milano Minis Candy Cane cookies are exclusive to Target and are miniature versions of Pepperidge Farm's sandwich cookies with a layer of candy cane flavored filling to go with the standard dark chocolate.

I picked up a 5-ounce package on sale for $2.50.

Dec 23, 2012

Review: Ben & Jerry's - Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream features red velvet cake batter ice cream with red velvet cake pieces, and a cream cheese frosting swirl.

I grabbed a pint on sale at Fresh 'N Easy for $2.50.

Around the World: Pizza Hut Hong Kong - Pizza on a Pizza

So while Pizza Hut Singapore offers pizza within a pizza this Christmas, not so far away in Hong Kong, the chain is offering pizza on a pizza: the Cheesy Opera pizza!

Each Cheesy Opera pizza features a base pizza with chicken, ham, beef, pork, tomato, oregano, and red onion on tomato sauce, plus Twisted Cheese crust (which is like Stuffed Crust but with partial dough coverage and two types of cheese). On top of this is stacked a smaller, crispy thin crust pizza with one of two topping combinations.

Dec 22, 2012

Review: Weissela - Chocolate-Covered Soft Gingerbread Cookies

I found Weissela's Chocolate-Covered Soft Gingerbread Cookies as I was waiting in line to check out from Trader Joe's.

They're imported from Germany and cost around $5 online, but in true Trader Joe's fashion, they were offered for about $2 for a 200g package of 7 cookies.

Around the World: Burger King Singapore Christmas Menu

Burger King Singapore
has two sandwiches from their premium King's Collection on tap this Christmas: The King's Christmas Tendercrisp and The King's Christmas Beef. Impressive names no?

The King's Christmas Tendercrisp seems a bit like a cross between a Hawaiian pizza and a chicken sandwich as it comes with a crispy-fried piece of chicken thigh, Batavia lettuce, mayo, honey mustard,  Swiss cheese, as well as turkey ham and pineapple, all on a Mediterranean-style panini bread.

Dec 21, 2012

Frozen Friday: Trader Joe's - Channa Masala

Trader Joe's Channa Masala is described as a "moderately spicy dish with chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) at its center. The beans are sautéed with onions, tomatoes, peppers and exotic spices like cumin and fenugreek. It's a dish that’s wildly popular in the Punjab region of Northern India, as well as Gujarat in the West of the country."

You can think of it as a garbanzo bean curry. A 10-ounce box goes for $2.99.

Around the World: Hong Kong Pizza Chain - Halo 4 Pizza

You might have heard of the Halo 4 Pizza from Pizza Hut UK, but back during the launch of the game in November, Hong Kong pizza chain, Pizza-BOX, really delivered on the concept with their very own Halo 4 Pizza.

News: Del Taco - New Primo Shredded Beef Burrito

Del Taco Primo Shredded Beef Burrito.
Del Taco
offers the new Primo Shredded Beef Burrito to their current limited-time shredded beef line up.

The burrito features Del Taco's new Fresca Lime Rice along with slow-simmered shredded beef, hand-made pico de gallo salsa, chipotle sauce, and spicy jack cheese.

Dec 20, 2012

Review: El Pollo Loco - Shredded Beef Bowl

El Pollo Loco's Shredded Beef Bowl is a hefty 22-ounce(!) seasoned rice bowl filled with pinto beans, Romaine lettuce, their new shredded beef, shredded Jack cheese, chipotle cream, pico de gallo salsa, flame-grilled corn, and cilantro.

It's a bit cheaper than a similar Chipotle bowl at $5.49.

Around the World: Pizza Hut Australia - Pizza Topped with Chips and Guac!

Earlier this year, Pizza Hut Australia introduced a new "Signature" line of pizzas as a more premium series of pizzas. Among the Signature pizzas was this little gem: the Mexicana Pizza. It's topped with steak, red bell peppers, jalapenos, a squiggle of sour cream and, get this... a glop of guacamole and corn tortilla chips on top!

News: Taco Bell Launches 99 Cent Grillers

Offering the tastes of popular restaurant/bar appetizers, Taco Bell created new, limited-time Loaded Grillers for 99 cents. Promoted as appetizers for one, Loaded Grillers feature a grilled tortilla filled with either the flavors of loaded potatoes, buffalo chicken, or beef nachos.

News: Sonic - Half Price Shakes for the Winter Solstice

Sonic Half-Price Shakes for Winter Solstice graphic.
Mirroring their Summer Solstice promotion, Sonic is offering half-price milkshakes for the Winter Solstice which is tomorrow, Friday, December 21, and the longest night of the year.

You have to mention the offer when ordering to take advantage of it though.

Dec 19, 2012

Review: McDonald's - French Vanilla Latte

McDonald's new French Vanilla Latte features a new French Vanilla syrup that replaces the plain vanilla syrup. The French Vanilla syrup is accompanied by fresh brewed espresso and foamed steamed milk.

A small goes for $2.29, but I got this one for free courtesy of a coupon provided by McDonald's.

Around the World: Pizza Hut Singapore - Double Sensation Pizza

Pizza Hut is offering something interesting out in Singapore for the holidays: the Double Sensation pizza.

Looking more like an edible party tray than a pizza, the Double Sensation is so named because it features not one but two rings of crust. The outer ring is stuffed with melted mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar cheeses which ooze out at intermittent holes in the crust, while the inner ring is filled with chicken sausage with bits of cheese inside.

News: Carl's Jr. / Hardee's - New Jalapeno Turkey Burger

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Jalapeno Turkey Burger
Carl's Jr.
and Hardee's are offering a little bit of heat this winter with the new Jalapeno Turkey Burger. Turkey burgers have become a bit of a thing for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's where they're offered as a lower calorie alternative to beef. Other fast food chains usually don't offer them.

Brand Eating Giveaway Drawing: McDonald's Holiday Drinks

McDonald's McCafe coupons.
sent me some coupons for free small Peppermint Mochas (or Hot Chocolates) and free French Vanilla Lattes and I'd thought I'd share with two lucky readers.

Here's what's up for grabs:

  • Two sets of 3 coupons for a free small Peppermint Mocha and 3 coupons for a free new small French Vanilla Latte (a total of 6 coupons per set, or basically enough to get your morning coffee for a week). The coupons expire on February 1, 2013,  because the Peppermint Mocha will be probably be off menu by then.

Dec 18, 2012

Review: Papa John's - Sausage, Peppers, and Onions Pizza

I decided to get something like an Italian beef pizza from Papa John's so I ordered a large original crust with sausage, green peppers, and onions for $10.

My Starbucks is Not This Festive: Starbucks Gingerbread House

I don't know how big Christmas is in Hong Kong, but having been there around the holidays, I do know that Christmas decorations are big around the city.

There are amazingly elaborate holiday displays at a lot of the many shopping centers and all along the waterfront (including lights on many of the high-rises facing the water).

Around the World: Burger Chain Goes with Edible Burger Wrappers

Over in Brazil, a burger chain called Bob's (named after it's American Brazilian founder, tennis pro Robert Falkenburg)  ran a marketing campaign that included edible paper-like wrappers for their burgers. The idea being that their burgers are so good that customers can't even wait to unwrap them before eating.

I'm going to guess it took a wee bit of convincing to get the customers to start eating burger wrappers, but they seem to be having a good time of it. You can see for yourself in the video below:

Dec 17, 2012

Review: Popeyes - Red Beans and Rice

Individual-sized Popeyes Red Beans and Rice.
Popeyes' Red Beans and Rice is a side dish that harkens to the chain's southern roots and features seasoned rice with red beans.

A individual portion goes for $1.99 in my area.

Around the World: Mister Donut Offers Snoopy Cupcakes in Japan

Mister Donut Snoopy-themed cupcakes for Christmas.
Out in Japan, Mister Donut offers Snoopy-themed cupcakes for Christmas in individual holiday-decorated Snoopy's house boxes.

You might ask why Snoopy? And be surprised to find that Mister Donut is an official sponsor of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, which counts the Peanut Gang among its properties.

News: Frito Lay - New Tostitos Cantina Tortilla Chips and Salsas

Frito Lay aims to give you the Mexican restaurant chip and salsa experience at home with their new Tostitos Cantina line.

Not sure how the new chips are different from Tostitos Restaurant Style chips, but the texture is described as "unique." The line includes two new tortilla chip varieties and two new salsas to pair with them.

Dec 16, 2012

Review: Trader Joe's - Candy Cane Joe-Joe's

A box of Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's.

Joe-Joe's are Trader Joe's version of Oreo cookies. The Candy Cane Joe-Joe's are a seasonal item similar to Candy Cane Creme Oreos, but without the food coloring.

They cost the same as Candy Cane Creme Oreos at $2.99, but you get a fair bit more (16 ounces versus 10.5).

Around the World: Burger King UK - Merry Cheesemas! Menu

It looks like Christmas menus are a bit of a thing at fast food chains in the UK. McDonald's has their Festive Menu and Burger King has this: the Merry Cheesemas menu.

As you can imagine, the Merry Cheesemas menu focuses on various cheeses. Specifically, the burgers go with UK-based cheeses that you aren't going to see at Burger King in the US anytime soon.

Here's what you'll find on the Merry Cheesemas menu:

Dec 15, 2012

Review: Pepperidge Farm - Peppermint Milano Slices

Pepperidge Farm's Peppermint Milano Slices are limited-time cookies here for the holiday season.

They've basically halves of your standard Milano cookies with crushed peppermint candies on the dark chocolate side.

These were $2.99 at Target for a 5-ounce bag, which amounts to 15 cookies.

Around the World: Pizza Hut - Halo 4 Pizza in the U.K.

Pizza Hut has been offering a Halo 4 Stuffed Crust Pizza in the UK since October!

Halo 4 is a recently-released, popular video game for the Xbox 360 and this is actually the second year that Pizza Hut UK has offered a pizza inspired by the game series.

Dec 14, 2012

Frozen Friday: Stouffer's - Salisbury Steak

Stouffer's Satisfying Servings Salisbury Steak frozen meal is a pound of food for those with a big appetite. It features a beef patty in gravy and onions with a generous side of macaroni and cheese.

There's a 9-ounce version as well, but seeing as they were both on sale at the same price, I went with the bigger one.

It retails for around $4.59 ($2.50 on sale).

Neat! Coca-Cola - "Sing for Me" Vending Machine

I have to say, Coca-Cola has their vending machine marketing down pat. Some of you might remember the "Hug Me" machine they placed at a university in Singapore earlier this year. Well, this holiday season, out in Sweden, Coca-Cola put a "Sing for Me" vending machine at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden during finals time.

Dec 13, 2012

Review: El Pollo Loco - Shredded Beef Taco

El Pollo Loco's Shredded Beef Taco features an artisan corn/wheat tortilla filled with shredded beef, chipotle cream, Romaine lettuce, shredded Jack cheese, and pico de gallo salsa.

It's part of El Pollo Loco's latest venture into serving beef (after a failed attempt with steak) and comes in at $2.79 a pop. At 5.75 ounces, it's just a little heavier than a Taco Bell Gordita.

News: Starbucks - BOGO Holiday Drinks, December 13 - 16

From now through this Sunday, December 16, 2012, Starbucks is offering a buy-one-get-one-free offer on their holiday drinks between the hours of 2 pm to 5 pm. 

They're calling it the "Buy One, Share One Event."

What's on the Menu: Starbucks Hong Kong Christmas 2012

While Starbucks' holiday drinks don't vary too much from country to country, the food offered in stores tend to cater more towards local norms and this year in Hong Kong, Starbucks offers quite the festive spread for Christmas.

Check it out:

Dec 12, 2012

Review: El Pollo Loco - Chocolate Nachos

El Pollo Loco's new Chocolate Nachos features fried chocolate flour tortilla chips topped with a chocolate fudge sauce, marshmallow creme, and a dusting of powdered sugar.

A roughly half-pound, family-sized plate comes in at $3.99.

Around the World: KFC India - Fried Chicken with Curry Leaves!

For a limited-time, KFC India is offering a localized version of the Colonel's chicken with new Curry Crunch fried chicken.

The preparation for the chicken included frying them in Indian spices (i.e. curry spices) and then sprinkling them with curry leaves before serving.

Dec 11, 2012

Review: Wendy's - Mozzarella Chicken Supreme

Wendy's latest limited-time sandwich, the Mozzarella Chicken Supreme boasts a crispy-fried chicken breast filet two slices of natural mozzarella cheese, lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a creamy parmesan sauce on a premium toasted bun.

My local Wendy's has them on the menu for $4.69.

News: Krispy Kreme - BOGO Free Dozen Donuts on 12-12-12

Krispy Kreme is offering a printable BOGO ("buy one, get one") coupon good for one dozen free Original Glazed donuts and when you buy one dozen Original Glazed donuts.

The coupon can only be redeemed tomorrow, Wednesday, December 12, 2012. They're calling the event "Day of the Dozens!"

You can get the coupon on the Krispy Kreme Facebook here.

Holiday Gift Guide - Giant Candies

Giant 3-pound gummy worms.
Because what better way to show your Christmas love than with ridiculously large candies, here's a Holiday Gift Guide to giant versions of some of your favorite candies.

I'm not talking about large boxes of your favorite candies, these are huge versions of the actual candy. They don't come cheap though. Most cost more than if you bought the same weight of the smaller versions. Check them out below:

Dec 10, 2012

Review: Papa John's - Five Sausage Pizza

Papa John's Five Sausage Pizza is their latest limited-time offer and is your typical Papa John's pizza, but topped with 5 sausages: chorizo, pork sausage, mild & spicy sausage, and smoked sausage.

A large is currently offered at $11 for the duration of the promotion.

News: El Pollo Loco - New Chocolate Nachos

One of the more novel items to come out this year, El Pollo Loco's new, limited-time Chocolate Nachos feature a feast of sweetness with chocolate tortilla chips covered in marshmallow cream and a Mexican chocolate sauce.