Jan 31, 2013

Review: Foster's Freeze - Chili Cheese Dog

The Foster's Freeze Chili Cheese Dog features a Nathan's Famous hot dog inside a bun topped off with chili and cheese.

It cost $2.59.

News: Wendy's - Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich Returns

Wendy's Premium Fish Fillet sandwich makes its annual seasonal return to the Wendy's menu.

The sandwich features a hand-cut fillet of North Pacific Cod, breaded in a panko crumb coating and deep-fried. Like a lot of sandwiches of its kind, the fish fillet is accompanied by the obligatory tartar sauce and lettuce.

News: Dunkin' Donuts - $2.99 Bakery Sandwiches

Dunkin' Donuts offers Bakery Sandwiches for $2.99 all February long at participating locations.

The sandwich line was introduced last year as an expansion to their non-breakfast sandwich line up.

News: Menchie's - Free Frozen Yogurt on February 6

Like rival chain Yogurtland, Menchie's will also be offering free self-serve frozen yogurt in celebration of National Frozen Yogurt Day on Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

Unlike Yogurtland, Menchie's will be running the promotion the whole day, but you'll need to print out a coupon available on the chain's Facebook page here (you'll need to "like" the page to access the coupon).

News: Church's Chicken - New Baked Macaroni & Cheese, Plus Seafood Menu Returns

Church's Chicken introduces Baked Macaroni & Cheese to their menu. The dish features a creamy rendition of mac and cheese topped with shredded cheddar and baked until brown.

With many fast food chains breaking out their seafood dishes for Lent, Church's joins the party with the return of their seafood menu.

Jan 30, 2013

Review: McDonald's - Fish McBites

McDonald's Fish McBites are bite-sized pieces of Alaskan Pollock, breaded in a seasoned blend flour and corn meal, then deep fried.

A snack-size portion cost $2.29 at my local McDonald's.

News: Yogurtland - Free Frozen Yogurt on February 6

In celebration of National Frozen Yogurt Day, Yogurtland is offering free yogurt and toppings to their guests on Wednesday, February 6th, from 4pm to 7pm.

Along with the free yogurt and toppings, guests will receive a commerative cup and collectable biodegradable spoon (you know, to put the yogurt in and eat it).

News: Papa John's - Call Super Bowl Coin Flip Correctly for Free Pizza

Papa John's is inviting customers to call the coin toss for this year's Super Bowl, with a free large one-topping pizza in it for those who guess correctly.

They ran a similar promotion during last year's Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLVI) where Papa Rewards (their loyalty program) members collectively called the coin toss by popular vote and ended up each getting a free large one-topping pizza for their troubles when the coin landed "heads."

News: Sonic - Half-Price Footlong Hot Dogs on February 2

Sonic is celebrating Groundhog's Day on February 2, 2013, by offering their Footlong Quarter Pound Hot Dogs for half off.

Normally, you can only get the Chili Cheese Coney as a footlong dog, but for a limited-time, Sonic is making their entire hot dog line up available in footlong size.

News: McDonald's - New Fish McBites

Fish McBites have arrived at McDonald's! At least they're arrived at my local area McDonald's restaurants anyway. It looks like they're doing a staggered national rollout with TV spots and other various advertisements to come mid-February.

The fish version of Chicken McBites was tested around this time last year in select markets and did well enough to warrant a national launch.

Jan 29, 2013

Review: Carl's Jr. - Hand-Scooped Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich

Carl's Jr.'s Hand-Scooped Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich features a scoop of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies for $1.69 a pop.

They're also available at Carl's Jr. sister chain, Hardee's.

News: Panda Express - New Tangy Jumbo Shrimp

Panda Express arrives with new Tangy Jumbo Shrimp just in time for Chinese New Year (and not-so-coincidentally, Lenten season). The entree features deep-fried and battered extra-large shrimp, wok-tossed with sugar peas, red bell peppers, and a new tangy "Asian seafood" sauce.

To encourage customers to try the new dish, Panda Express is offering free servings of the dish on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. You'll need a printable coupon to take advantage of the offer and you can find it on the Panda Express website here. You can also display the coupon on your smartphone to redeem it.

News: IHOP - Free Pancakes on February 5th

National Pancake Day falls on February 5 this year and IHOP is once again offering free pancakes to their guests on the day.

Specifically, the chain will be inviting guest to enjoy a free short stack of those buttermilk pancakes they're known for.

News: Dunkin' Donuts - Heart-Shaped Donuts Return; New Dark Chocolate Drinks

Dunkin' Donuts returns their heart-shaped donuts for a limited time in celebration of Valentine's Day. In addition, they've expanded their dark chocolate offerings (first introduced last year with new Dark Hot Chocolate) to encompass coffee drinks.

New Dark Chocolate Mocha Coffees, Lattes, and Frozen Coffee Coolattas are now available for a limited time.

Jan 28, 2013

Head-to-Head: Burger King vs. McDonald's - Chicken Nuggets

Burger King has played second (and sometimes third) fiddle to McDonald's #1 for as long as I can remember. Most recently, BK has taken imitation to an art form with their new Chicken Nuggets, which are most remarkable in how much they resemble McDonald's Chicken McNuggets.

The two are very similar but which are the better nuggets? I decided to compare them and find out!

News: Popeyes Returns Butterfly Shrimp and Offers new Strawberry n' Cream Cheese Pie

As Lenten season rounds the corner, Popeyes returns their Butterfly Shrimp in what's become a seasonal event. But this year, they're also offering new, limited-time Strawberry n' Cream Cheese Pie.

News: McDonald's Packaging Now Sports QR Code to Nutrition Info

McDonald's has come up with a new global package design for their to-go bags and fountain drink cups that includes a QR (for "Quick Response") code that leads you to their mobile nutrition site in case you're wondering how how much Vitamin C is in that Quarter Pounder with Cheese you're just about to eat.

I came across the new packaging recently and to be helpful, I've put together a quick guide to using the code:

News: Sonic Introduces New 99-Cent Snack Happy Hour

For a limited-time, Sonic is adding another component to their 2pm to 4pm Happy Hour by offering snack-sized versions of some of their more popular sides for a discounted 99 cents each.

The items found on the new 99-cent Happy Hour Snacks menu are:

Jan 27, 2013

Review: Remington Trail Steaks - Maple Flavored Smoked Turkey Jerky

Remington Maple Flavored Smoked Turkey jerky (they call it "snacks" instead of "jerky") is an licensed product. The licensee is Trail Steaks, a company that specialized in steak snacks which is jerky made from premium cuts of steak cut into bite-sized pieces. The turkey is raised in the U.S. and features whole breast meat cut into strips and smoked slowly.

You can buy these online at $5.49 for a 3-ounce bag, but I received this bag courtesy of Trail Steaks.

News: Post - New Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch

It's official. Greek yogurt has made its way into cereal. Post's new Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch cereal plays on the yogurt's recent popularity by featuring two types of their distinctive honey-touched granola clusters with Greek yogurt to go along with whole grain cereal flakes.

Specifically, there are granola clusters with Greek yogurt baked into them and there are granola clusters with a creamy Greek yogurt style coating.

Jan 26, 2013

Review: Quaker - Chocolate and Almond Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

Quaker's Chocolate and Almond Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies are made with whole grain oats and embedded with chunks of chocolate and bits of almonds.

They cost $2.99 for a 8.8-ounce box of six individually-wrapped cookies.

Around the World: Pizza Hut Singapore - New Fortune Pizza for Chinese New Year

With Chinese New Year just around the corner (February 10), the folks at Pizza Hut in Singapore offer the new Fortune Pizza shaped like an old Chinese coin or "cash", which is to say it's round but with a square hole in the center

If you're wondering why the coins have a square hole, it's because they were used to string the coins together to make larger denominations.

The sauce on the pizza is a golden pumpkin paste with bits of taro to symbolize "gold and a good year ahead." It's topped with pineapples ("for prosperity"), diced barbecue chicken, pok chui (crispy dough) and mushrooms. The crust is sprinkled with cereal flakes for extra crunch and filled with cheese a la Stuffed Crust Pizza.

News: Popchips - New Flavor by Katy Perry

As a Popchips investor/brand ambassador and famous singer, Katy Perry gets her own flavor of Popchips. No, it's not candy cane rainbows, it's new "Katy's Kettle Corn." The newest flavor in the Popchip line up features the sweet and salty flavor of popped kettle corn.

The flavor is the first sweet foray for the brand. To further enforce the Katy Perry connection, the bag features pink and purple and a stylized heart to dot the "i' in "popchips."

Jan 25, 2013

Frozen Friday: Burnett - Beef Bourguignon

Burnett's Beef Bourguignon features slow-cooked cuts of beef in a burgundy wine sauce with baby carrots, pearl onions, mushrooms, and pieces of bacon.

A 18-ounce box was on sale at Fresh & Easy for $3.99 (it's normally $5.99).

News: White Castle Offers Valentine's Day Reservations

White Castle is once again offering Valentine's Day dinner reservations this year, complete with table service and themed decorations at select restaurants.

Apparently the event is popular enough among the chain's fans that reservations fill up pretty fast.

News: McDonald's Now Serves Sustainable Fish Only

McDonald's commits to serving sustainably-source fish at all of their U.S. restaurants and gets a nice label to show for it. They are now the first national restaurant chain to adopt the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) blue ecolabel on their fish packaging. The ecolabel denotes that all fish served at McDonald's restaurants comes from MSC-certified fisheries.

Jan 24, 2013

Review: Taco Bell - Spicy Cheesy Roll-Up

Taco Bell's Spicy Cheesy Roll-Up is part of their $1 Cravings Menu test. It is the same as the standard Cheesy Roll-Up, but with the addition of chipotle sauce for a bit of a kick. If you've never tried or seen one, it's a flour tortilla folded over melted cheese and chipotle sauce and then rolled up into a tube.

The Spicy Cheesy Roll-Up sells for $1 each.

News: Panera Bread Unveils "Hidden Menu"

Where a few chains have so-called "secret menus," Panera Bread now offers a "Hidden Menu," because secret menus are so passe.

Where some secret menus come about by consistent customer requests throughout the years, Panera just made this one up on their own (it was "developed" by Scott Davis, Panera Bread's Chief Concept Officer) and tested in New York last November.

News: The Coffee Bean Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Free Coffee or Tea

The Coffee Bean is 50 years old and they're celebrating next week on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 by offering all guests that come by to partake in a free cup of coffee or tea.

The promotion runs all day on January 30 at participating locations (stores hours tend to vary though so you might want to call ahead to check).

Jan 23, 2013

Review: Arby's - Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Arby's new, limited-time Chocolate Molten Lava Cake features warm chocolate cake filled with warm liquid chocolate and topped with cocoa crumbles.

It's priced at $1.99, but I received this one courtesy of Arby's.

A Look at McDonald's "Breakfast After Midnight" Test

McDonald's started testing a limited late-night breakfast menu last year in Ohio and apparently has expanded the test to my local 24-hour McDonald's here in Southern California. The test is also ongoing in certain locations in Utah and Massachusetts (I'm pretty surprised I was able to spell that in one try... I usually miss or add an "s" or "t").

I thought you guys might be interested in a closer look, so here we go:

The "Breakfast After Midnight" menu centers around the McMuffin (if you want biscuits, you're going to have to wait till after 4 am); probably because you just have to toast them.

News: Subway Offers Ordering App in California

Subway now has a free smartphone ordering app that lets you easily place your order ahead of pick up, but is only currently exclusive to California.

The app is available for both iOS (Apple) and Android operating systems and can be found at the Apple App Store and Android Market respectively.

Jan 22, 2013

Review: Burger King - Philly Original Chicken Sandwich

Burger King's Philly Original Chicken Sandwich is a limited-time offer featuring a long breaded chicken patty topped Philly cheesesteak-style with red and green bell peppers, seasoned grilled onions, American cheese, and a cheese sauce.

The sandwich sells for $4.49 at my local Burger King.

Around the World: Domino's France Bakes Goat Cheese with Honey Pizza

New at Domino's France is the limited-edition Sweet Chevre Pizza. "Chevre" being the French word for "goat cheese."

The pizza comes with a base of light creme fraiche and mozzarella, topped with goat cheese, smoked lardons, onions, and a hint of honey.

The price for a medium pizza is 6.99 Euros or about $9.32.

News: Domino's Expands $5.99 Pizza Deal

This year, Domino's expands their $5.99 medium, two-topping pizza deal (when you buy two or more) to encompass more items to show that they do more than just pizza.

Under the new deal, you can get any combination of medium, two-topping pizzas, 8-piece orders of chicken, Oven-Baked Sandwiches, Stuffed Cheesy Breads, and Pastas in a Dish for $5.99 each when you purchase at least two.

News: McDonald's SoCal Offers $1 Small Mochas and Lattes

For a limited time, McDonald's Southern California restaurants are offering McCafe Mochas and Lattes for $1 each.

A small McCafe drink typically sells for about $2.29.

News: Burger King - Original Chicken Sandwich BOGO Promo

Burger King is offering a buy one, get one free offer on their Original Chicken Sandwich as well as its two limited-time variants from now through February 17, 2013.

The Original Chicken Sandwich is a long version of your typical value chicken sandwich and features a long breaded and fried chicken patty with lettuce and mayo. It normally costs around $3.99.

Jan 21, 2013

Review: Carl's Jr. - Jalapeno Turkey Burger

Carl's Jr.'s Jalapeno Turkey Burger features sliced jalapenos, Pepper Jack cheese, creamy Santa Fe sauce, red onion, lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat bun. It's also on the menu at Hardee's.

My local Carl's Jr. had these at $3.99 a piece.

News: Panera Bread - Featured 2013 Winter Menu

Panera Bread tends to add limited-time/seasonal menu items every couple of months or so. They usually add a couple of new things and returns some seasonal items. New this winter are the Spinach Power Salad and Fat-Free Superfruit Power Smoothie.

Here's a more detailed list of what Panera's featuring this winter:

News: Auntie Anne's - New Whole Grain Pretzels

Auntie Anne's adds whole grains to their pretzel line up with new Honey Whole Grain Pretzels. Each pretzel features a hint of honey sweetness and whole grain dough. Nutritionally, each provides one daily serving of whole grains, six grams of fiber and just 300 calories

While prices vary, these should cost about $2.79 per pretzel.

Jan 20, 2013

Review: Pepperidge Farm - Garlic Parmesan Jingos

Jingos are a new line of snack crackers from Pepperidge Farm promising "bold flavor" and "snappy crunch." I recently tried Parmesan Garlic Jingos.

A 7.5-ounce box retails for about $3.29.

Around the World: MOS Burger - Focaccia with U-shaped Sausage

Japanese burger chain, MOS Burger, offers two limited-time Focaccias on the menu this winter.

The one of particular note is the Barbecue Focaccia, which features a U-shaped, grilled, smoked sauce cradling a mix of cabbage, onions, eggplant, and tomatoes stewed in barbecue sauce, served on a bed of crispy shredded cabbage, and folded inside a warm, toasted focaccia bread.

Around the World: Domino's Pakistan - Quesadilla Pizza

Since Taco Bell offers a Mexican Pizza, it's only fitting that Domino's offers a Quesadilla Pizza, albeit only in Pakistan.

Available since 2011, the Quesadilla Pizza is offered as a crust option and features cheese and your choice of various chicken, beef, or veggie topping combinations sandwiched between two thin crust pizza rounds and served with marinara and sour cream on the side for dipping. And, just to make sure you get enough cheese, it's topped with melted mozzarella cheese as well.

The pizza is offered in two sizes: an 11" medium and a 13" large. Prices are 845 rupees (~$8.65 US) and 945 rupees (~$9.67 US) respectively.

News: Kashi - New Garlic Pesto Pita Crisps

Kashi expands their pita crisps line with new Garlic Pesto Pita Crisps. Like everything else with the Kashi name on it, the new crackers features Kashi's signature blend of 7 whole grains (I wonder if a Kashi ice cream would also feature whole grains?).

Pita crisps are basically crunchy, puffy crackers. The Garlic Pesto version showcases a blend of basil with a hint of garlic. For nutritional benefits, there's 10 grams of whole grains and 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Jan 19, 2013

Review: Rhythm Superfoods - Texas BBQ Kale Chips

Rhythm Superfoods Texas BBQ Kale Chips are air-crisped, dried kale flavored with all-natural liquid smoke, organic veggie powders, and apple cider vinegar. For those of you with special dietary needs and/or concerns, these are organic, vegan, and gluten-free.

It doesn't come cheap though: a 2-ounce bag cost $6.54 at their online store. I received this bag courtesy of Rhythm Superfoods.

News: Lean Cuisine - New "Salad Additions"

Lean Cuisine now offers new Salad Additions in the frozen food aisle. Each box consists of everything you need to make your next salad except for the lettuce.

If you're like me, you're wondering, "How does that work?" or "Uh, why would you want a frozen salad? I don't get it." Basically the way these work is you heat up the chicken and fruits/vegetables, thaw out the salad dressing, and throw on the crunchy starch. What they don't include is the lettuce, you have pick that up yourself.

Jan 18, 2013

Frozen Friday: California Pizza Kitchen - Crispy Thin Crust BBQ Chicken Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen's Crispy Thin Crust BBQ Chicken Pizza for One is a square crispy thin crust pizza topped with grilled white meat chicken, reduced fat mozzarella, smoked gouda, red onion, and cilantro with barbecue sauce.

Each pizza is 6-ounces and costs $3.99 at my local supermarket.

Around the World: Starbucks Hong Kong - Winter Casseroles

Over in Hong Kong, Starbucks is offering something new you'd more likely find at a sit-down restaurant or at home: casseroles.

Offered as a meal option for the winter, there are two varieties: Signature Meatball Casserole and Alfredo Broccoli & New Potato Casserole.

The Signature Meatball Casserole consists of meatballs and new potatoes in a rosemary tomato sauce with melted mozzarella cheese on top. The price is $38 HK (~$4.90 US)

News: Chipotle to Test Tofu as an Option

Chipotle is planning to test a braised, shredded tofu filling as a protein option next month out in San Francisco according to this AP story. They're calling it "Sofritas" and it's cooked similar to the chain's barbacoa.

Now before you go thinking that's some Mexican dish you never heard of, it's not. While it is indeed an actual Spanish word (it's the past participle of "sofreir" meaning "to fry lightly"), Chipotle has filed a trademark registration for the word as a mark for "prepared vegetable-based entrees." There's a bit of irony there since the tofu will be braised and not fried. There's also the similar "sofrito" which is a base of slow-fried or simmered aromatics in Spanish cuisine.

News: Caribou Coffee - New Lemon Earl Grey Tea Latte

Caribou Coffee now offers a new, limited-time Lemon Earl Grey Tea Latte. The drink combines Earl Grey tea extract with a lemon creme sauce, and steamed milk. There's also an iced version if you're so inclined.

I know people drink Earl Grey with lemon or milk, but I don't think it's typical to drink it with both lemon and milk.