Jun 30, 2014

Review: Jack in the Box - Hella-peno Burger

Jack in the Box's new Hella-peno Burger features a beef patty, sliced jalapenos, cheese-filled jalapeno poppers, cheese sauce, and taco sauce on a sesame bun. It's part of their late night menu and is only available from 9 pm to 5 am.

I picked up the burger with 'halfsie' fries, two tacos, and a drink for $6.

News: Popeyes Debuts New Cracked Pepper Butterfly Shrimp

Popeyes' latest menu item is a peppery take on their Butterfly Shrimp in a new Cracked Pepper rendition.

New Cracked Pepper Butterfly Shrimp is marinated in the chain's signature Louisiana seasonings and battered with a mix that includes salt and cracked black peppercorns.

News: Carvel - New Nutella Ice Cream Treats

Carvel partners up with Nutella (pronounced "nu-tella") chocolaty hazelnut spread to offer new Nutella ice cream treats this summer.

Specifically, participating Carvel ice cream shops will offer four ice cream desserts featuring Nutella.

The four desserts are:

Jun 29, 2014

Review: Taco Bell - Taco Seasoning and Crunchy Taco Shells

Taco Bell's Taco Seasoning and Crunchy Taco Shells are licensed to and made by Kraft for at-home consumption.

The seasoning retails for 79 cents a packet and a 12-count Crunchy Taco Shell box goes for $1.59, but I received these courtesy of Kraft and decided to make it a taco night.

News: IHOP - Pancakes for 56 Cents on July 8, 2014

IHOP will be offering a short stack of their signature Buttermilk Pancakes on Tuesday, July 8th for only 56 cents to celebrate their 56th year in business. That's 4 cents less than the 60 cents they were selling for when the chain first opened.

News: Carl's Jr. - New Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Biscuits and Burritos

Carl's Jr. adds two new spicy breakfast items to the menu with new Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Biscuits and Chorizo, Egg & Cheese Burritos. Chorizo is a heavily-seasoned sausage popular in Spanish and Mexican cuisine.

Jun 28, 2014

Review: Lay's Pico de Gallo Potato Chips

Lay's Pico de Gallo Flavored Potato Chips was inspired by one of their employees, Samuel Oliveros (at least that's what it says on the bag). If you're unfamiliar with pico de gallo, at its most basic, it's chopped fresh tomato, onions, and chili peppers.

I picked up a 9.5-oz bag for $3.49.

News: Boston Market - Half-Off Family Meal on July 4, 2014

Boston Market will be celebrating Independence Day by offering any Family Meal for half-off the regular price on this Friday, July 4, 2014 via printable coupon.

News: New Wonka Randoms Gummy Candy

Adding some variety in shapes, colors, and more importantly, flavors to the candy aisle, Wonka offers up new Randoms gummy candies.

The new candies come in three textures, seven fruit flavors, and roughly 70 different shapes.

Jun 27, 2014

Frozen Friday: Haagen-Dazs - Peanut Butter Pie Ice Cream

Haagen-Dazs' Peanut Butter Pie ice cream is a limited-edition flavor featuring peanut butter ice cream with a peanut butter swirl and chocolate cookie pieces.

I bought a 14-oz container for $2.99.

News: Starbucks - New Grilled Cheese and Turkey Pesto Panini

Starbucks expands their lunch selection this summer with two new sandwiches: the Turkey Pesto Panini and the Old-Fashioned Grilled Cheese.

The new Turkey Pesto Panini features turkey, provolone cheese, fire-roasted peppers, and basil pesto on focaccia. It joins Starbucks' current sandwich line-up, which includes the Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella, Chicken Santa Fe, and Ham & Swiss.

Around the World: Pizza Hut Korea's Taco Pizza Looks Pretty Good!

Pizza Hut Korea's latest is the new Pork Taco Pizza, which looks and sounds pretty good!

It's a standard hand-tossed pizza topped with shredded pork, grated cheddar cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and tacos--basically everything you'd expect to find in a crunchy taco.

Jun 26, 2014

The Great Brand Eating Chocolate Shake Shake Off!

By request (from last month's Request a Review voting; don't forget you can still vote for this month's Request a Review!), here's the promised fast food chocolate shake round up AKA "The Great Brand Eating Chocolate Shake Shake Off!"

I ended up getting six shakes in all from the major fast food restaurants near me (in a single afternoon no less; don't worry I didn't finish any of them, but I did bring people to reduce wastage).

Here's how it all shook out (ranked from last to first):

News: Einstein Bros. / Noah's - New, Improved Bagel Dogs

Summer is prime hot dog-eating time, so it's no surprise that Einstein Bros. and Noah's Bagels choose this season to introduce a new and improved version of their Bagel Dogs.

News: Rally's / Checkers - Cheesesteak Philly Sub Returns Plus New Garlic Parm Fries & Stix

The Cheesesteak Philly Sub is back for a limited time at Rally's and Checkers restaurants, and this time around, it's also newly available with chicken in case you don't want steak.

Jun 25, 2014

Review: Rally's - Fry Lover's Burger

Rally's Fry Lover's Burger features a beef patty, seasoned fries, American cheese, pickles, ketchup, mayo, and mustard on a toasted sesame seed bun.

I bought one for $1.

News: Starbucks - Half-Off Any Fizzio Handcrafted Soda, 6/27 to 7/3, 11 am to 2 pm

Starbucks is promoting the recent launch of their new made-to-order sodas, which they call Fizzio, by offering them for half-off starting Friday, June 27, 2014 through Thursday, July 3, 2014, from 11 am to 2pm at participating Starbucks locations.

News: Long John Silver's - Free Fish & Fries on June 28, 11 am to 3 pm

Long John Silver's will be giving away free fish and fries this Saturday, June 28, 2014, from 11 am to 3 pm at participating US locations.

Jun 24, 2014

Review: Jack in the Box - Breakfast Monster Taco

Jack in the Box's new, limited time Breakfast Monster Taco features an extra long deep-fried taco topped with scrambled eggs, two half-slices of cheese, and taco sauce.

I picked one up (in the wee hours of course!) for $1.79.

News: Jack in the Box - New Fruit Coolers

Jack in the Box is offering new Fruit Coolers for a limited time this summer. The new drinks combine fruit juice with soda and are available in two flavors: Mango Mayhem and Twisted Strawberry.

Mango Mayhem features mango juice with lemon-lime soda, while Twisted Strawberry features strawberry juice with lemon-lime soda. They sound pretty similar to Taco Bell's since-discontinued Sparkling Limeades and Sonic's various Limeades.

News: Starbucks Testing Evolution Fresh Yogurt Smoothies

Starbucks is testing new "Evolution Fresh Cold-Pressed Juice Smoothies Inspired by Dannon" (and really long names apparently) featuring Evolution Fresh cold-pressed juice and Dannon's Greek yogurt in nearly 200 Starbucks locations in San Jose, CA and St. Louis, MO.

Jun 23, 2014

Fast Food Premium Chicken Sandwich Comparison

L to R: Wendy's, Jack in the Box, McDonald's, Carl's Jr., Burger King
With the recent debut of the Carl's Jr. New Big Chicken Fillet Sandwich, they generously agreed to foot the bill for a Brand Eating comparison of five premium chicken sandwiches from some of the biggest fast food burger chains.

Since tasting and evaluating five chicken sandwiches is a lot of eating, I enlisted two cohorts, T and R, to try them and proffer their opinions.

News: Carl's Jr. Testing "Bisnuts" in Southern California

Carl's Jr. is testing new "Bisnuts" at select locations here in Southern California. Spotted by a Brand Eater, a Bisnut is a donut made from Carl's Jr.'s "Made from Scratch" biscuit dough.

Around the World: Lobster Lands on the Menu at Subway Canada

While you can only find tuna or "Seafood Sensation" (in select stores) at Subway here in the US, over in Canada, the sandwich chain is offering Atlantic Canadian lobster all across the country with the national launch of the Lobster Sandwich.

Jun 22, 2014

Review: Turtle Chocolate Chex Mix

Turtle Chocolate Chex Mix features the signature combination of chocolate, caramel, and nuts in a snack mix of rice and wheat Chex cereal, unsalted mini pretzels, candy-coated chocolate-flavored candies (i.e. stand-ins for M&M's), peanuts, and popcorn.

I bought an 8-oz bag for $1.99.

News: Arby's - New King's Hawaiian Roast Beef BLT

Arby's has brought back their King's Hawaiian Roast Beef Sandwiches for a limited time this summer, but in addition to the version Roast Beef version and the Roast Beef & Swiss, this year they're also offering the new King's Hawaiian Roast Beef BLT Sandwich.

News: New Dannon Creamery Dairy Desserts

Dannon looks to carve out a new niche out of the dairy section with new Dannon Creamery Dairy Desserts featuring five cheesecake-inspired Greek yogurts and three puddings.

Jun 21, 2014

Review: Hostess - Hickory Sticks

Hostess' Hickory Sticks are a Canadian product with no relation to the US bakery brand. They're fried potato "sticks" flavored with hickory smoke.

You can buy a 90g bag for $2.98 online but my brother brought me back this snack-sized 65g bag from Canada.

News: Ben & Jerry's - Two New SNL-Inspired Flavors

Ben & Jerry's once again looks to Saturday Night Live for inspiration with the introduction of two new Scoop Shop-exclusive flavors: Lazy Sunday and Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch.

News: Pepperidge Farm - New Coffee Shop Line of Cookies

Following on the heels of their Dessert Shop Cookies, Pepperidge Farm adds new Coffee Shop Cookies to their line up with two inaugural flavors: Cinnamon Bun and Banana Nut.

While the Dessert Shop line looked to add traditional dessert flavors to large soft-baked cookies, the Coffee Shop line appears to be doing the same, but with baked breakfast goods.

Jun 20, 2014

Frozen Friday: Bertolli - Italian Sausage Italian Style Torta

Bertolli's Italian Sausage Italian Style Torta is basically a pot pie with lasagna-type fillings. Specifically, it's a flaky pie crust sprinkled with Italian seasoning and filled with sausage in marinara sauce layered with ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese.

A 10-oz pie was $2.47.

News: Del Taco Brings Back Bun Taco to Celebrate 50 Years

Del Taco is celebrating their 50th anniversary by bringing back a trio of old menu items as the limited-time Throwback Classics Menu.

Among the returning items is the Bun Taco, a hybrid of a taco and burger similar to Taco Bell's discontinued Bell Beefer. The other two items are the Small Taco Salad and Orange Shake.

Around the World: This KFC Fried Chicken is Marinated in Cheese?!

KFC Philippines is currently offering a new variety of fried chicken that's marinated in cheese and breaded with bits cheese-flavored chips. They're calling it "Crispy Cheese Chicken."

Jun 19, 2014

Review: Pizza Hut - Stuffed Pizza Rollers

Pizza Hut's Stuffed Pizza Rollers featured rolled up pizza dough filled with mozzarella and pepperoni, sprinkled with Italian seasoning, and then baked.

It was $5.50 for an order of four, which comes with marinara sauce or ranch for dipping.

News: Carl's Jr. / Hardee's - New Cinnamon Pull-Aparts

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's unveil new Made from Scratch Cinnamon Pull-Aparts as a breakfast item, available starting this upcoming Monday, June 23, 2014.

News: Pretzel Buns Back at Wendy's Starting Early July

Pretzel buns are coming back to Wendy's early next month and with them mark the return of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich.

Jun 18, 2014

Review: Taco Bell - Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze

Taco Bell's Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float Freeze is an icy slush beverage featuring the taste of Dr. Pepper Vanilla Float soda.

I bought a 16-oz cup for $1.99.

News: Jack in the Box Testing Cronuts

Jack in the Box is testing Croissant Donuts (AKA 'Cronuts') as a potential future dessert. The test item was spotted by Reddit user WoundedFork in Southern California.

If you've never heard of a Cronut, they're basically deep-fried donut-shaped croissants and it's interesting for a fast food chain is trying them considering that it's rare to find a donut on any fast food menu.

News: Bruegger's 2014 Summer Menu

Bruegger's adds three new menu items for their 2014 summer menu and also brings back a seasonal item.

New this year are the Jalapeno Bacon & Egg Sandwich, Edamame & Beet Salad, and Whipped Blueberry Greek Cream Cheese & Greek Yogurt.

Jun 17, 2014

Review: Quiznos - Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Sub

Quiznos' Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Sub features pulled pork, bacon, aged cheddar, cilantro-jalapeno slaw, and BBQ sauce on jalapeno cheddar bread.

A small was $5.79 but I received this one courtesy of Quiznos.

News: Jack in the Box - New Breakfast Monster Taco

Jack in the Box continues to offer new variations on their Monster Taco and this time around, they're offering a breakfast tilt with the new, limited-time Breakfast Monster Taco.

News: Carl's Jr. Testing New Mashed Potato-Topped Burgers

Carl's Jr. is testing new mashed potato-topped burgers that they're calling "Mashers" in at least one location here in Southern California, as spotted by a Brand Eater (that's right! All of you are now Brand Eaters!).

Mashers come topped with garlic mashed potatoes, brown gravy, and crispy onion straws (they had me at mashed potatoes...). There's the Big Chicken Masher and the Burger Masher (i.e. a chicken version and a beef version).

Jun 16, 2014

Review: Rally's - $2 Shrimp Box

Rally's $2 Shrimp Box features a small box of breaded, deep-fried shrimp and seasoned, battered fries.

News: Cracker Barrel - Campfire Meals Return

Campfire Meals are back at Cracker Barrel for the summer. Similar to what you might cook over a campfire, the meals feature either two-cuts of USDA Choice chuck roast or a half-chicken seasoned with Cracker Barrel's Campfire spice blend and slow-roasted in foil with corn on the cob, red skin potatoes, carrots, chopped onions, and tomato wedges. A choice of buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins comes on the side.

News: Domino's Launches Voice Ordering for Smartphone Apps

Domino's partners with Nuance Communications to launch voice ordering for their Android and iOS smartphone apps.

The new voice ordering platform features a virtual assistant that "delivers a human-like, conversational customer service" ordering experience. Basically, it sounds like it'd be like ordering by phone but with your screen showing you your order like at some at some drive-thrus these days.

Jun 15, 2014

Review: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Creme Oreos

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Creme Oreo cookies are a new, limited-time version of the iconic cookie that purports to capture the essence of the iconic candy with a half chocolate-, half peanut butter-flavored creme.

I bought a 12.2-oz package for $2.99.

Around the World: Domino's South Korea Offers Brazilian BBQ Cheese Roll Pizza for World Cup

With the World Cup well under way in Brazil, Domino's is offering the new Churrasco Cheese Roll Pizza over in South Korea.

Churrasco is more commonly known as Brazilian BBQ, and the pizza's key features are pieces of chimichurri steak and a ring of round cheese roll bread that seems a nod to Brazilian pao de queijo or "cheese buns."

News: Red Robin - New Colossus Burger

Red Robin offers up the new Colossus Burger as a movie tie-in with the upcoming Hercules movie. It's a bit of a confusing name since, it could also be mistaken for an X-Men: Days of Future Past movie tie-in as it shares the name of one of the movie's characters.

Jun 14, 2014

Review: Nabisco - Bacon and Black Pepper Ritz Crackers

Bacon and Black Pepper Ritz Crackers are flavored with bacon and cracked black pepper.

I picked up a 13.25-oz box for $1.99.

Around the World: Acai Makes a Splash at Burger King Japan

While the superfruit acai hasn't really made a mark in US fast food, it's making a splash in Japan, where Burger King offers the new BK Acai menu with a trio of items featuring the eponymous berry.

Featuring the tagline "Activate Yourself," the items are being marketed as an energizing pick me up for when your feeling lethargic, say, like in the morning.