Tag Archives: Food

Fish Friday Review Wrap-Up

For the last 6 Fridays we have brought you fast food reviews from the sea.  The Lenten season is coming to a close so let’s get these reviews ranked…here they are…from worst to first.

#6  Deep Sea Double from CheckersGrubGrade: 4.75/10 (Poor)

  • Pros– Compared to other fast food fish sandwiches, you get more for your money (2 for $5 for a limited time)
  • Cons– Not much flavor in the fish except a little bitter taste.  Lettuce wasn’t very fresh.  High in calories and fat.

Deep Sea Double from Checkers

#5  BK Big Fish Sandwich from Burger KingGrubGrade: 5.50/10 (Mediocre)

  • Pros– As advertised, BK’s”Big Fish” is big.  Not too pricey at $3.09, especially for the size.  The corn dusted bun fits the size of the fish patty well, preventing a mess of a meal.  Decent tartar sauce.
  • Cons– Bun is too dry.  Fish patty is pretty bland.  Limp lettuce.  Bigger isn’t better when it isn’t the most appetizing fish sandwich in the fast food world.

BK Big Fish from Burger King

#4  Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’sGrubGrade: 6.00/10 (Average)

  • Pros– I like the simple, soft steamed bun.  Tasty tarter sauce with pickle relish.  It’s a classic.
  • Cons– Terrible value at $3.09.  Seems to be getting smaller.  Lower quality than Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich.

Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's

#3  Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich from Wendy’sGrubGrade: 8.25/10 (Very Good)

  • Pros–  Great corn dusted bun holds in everything nicely.  More filling and better quality than the McDonalds Filet-O-Fish sandwich.  Good crunch to the fish patty.  Includes fresh lettuce and tasty tartar sauce.
  • Cons– A bit pricey for the sandwich alone at $3.69.  Although the tartar sauce is tasty, there was just too much of it (this obviously is expected to vary from experience to experience).  Might be a little awkward/messy if you are eating on the go as the bun will shed it’s dust and you’re bound to stain something.

Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich from Wendy's

#2  Butterfly Shrimp Tackle Box from Popeye’sGrubGrade: 8.75/10 (Very Good)

  • Pros– Delicious cajun spices on everything.  Plump, flavorful shrimp.  A lot of food for $4.99.  Nice, sturdy, portable, ventilated box.  
  • Cons– Some shrimp have tails still on.  Shrimp can be a tad over-breaded and spicier than others.  Very fried, very greasy box of food.  860 calories and 49 grams of fat according to the Popeye’s website nutrition facts.  A ton of fries, could have been replaced some with a couple extra shrimp although it would have increased the price.

Butterfly Shrimp Tackle Box from Popeye's

#1  Fish Sandwich from Arby’sGrubGrade: 8.75/10 (Very Good)

  • Pros– Really good sized fish.  Great bun.  Nice thicker than normal breading.  Best tasting fast food fish sandwich I’ve encountered so far.  At a price of $2.99, it’s a better value than McD’s, BK and Wendy’s.
  • Cons– Fish is too odd-shaped to fit the bun perfectly.  Shredded lettuce could get messy.

Fish Sandwich from Arby's

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Fast Food Review: Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King

Written by John, GrubGrade Contributor

The “Home of the Whopper” is also known to offer up some hefty chicken sandwiches as well.  While driving by my local BK, I noticed a poster on their window for a new sandwich.  Introducing the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King.

Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King

The Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich is something totally new to me.  I didn’t realize that this sandwich was featured on the BK menu some years back.  Anyone recall the commercial featuring Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish?  Trippy.  This sandwich was something I had to try.  I have to say, this sandwich is pretty darn good.  The sandwich consists of a crispy chicken breast patty, bacon, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato all inside a corn-dusted bun.  The chicken has a nice flaky crust on the outside and is tender and moist on the inside.  Had I not been in a car driving, I may have actually taken the chicken out of my sandwich and peeled the crust off just to enjoy it by itself.  The ranch sauce was your typical ranch dressing, but what I liked was the amount that was on the sandwich.  It was just the right helping of the dressing.  It wasn’t too much where it overpowered some of the other ingredients.  The ranch was applied in a way that it complimented the meal rather than taking it over.  

Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King (close)

The cheddar cheese was just ok and a few bites had me thinking of those individually wrapped Kraft singles.  Obviously, the lettuce wasn’t much to get excited about but it was nice to have some thick slices of fresh tomato on the sandwich.  What I found somewhat disappointing was the lack of flavor coming from the bacon.  The bacon was definitely there, but the flavor wasn’t.  If the name of the sandwich features bacon in it, you’d think the flavor of the bacon would be more memorable.  

Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch in hand

While the BK Burger Shots have gotten all the publicity as of late, I’m glad to see something new on the Burger King menu.  Chicken sandwiches may be overlooked in favor of the burgers at BK but you should check out the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch.  Overall, this was a very good chicken sandwich that I’ll definitely get again.  I just hope next time I’ll notice the bacon.

  • Pros– Great chicken flavor.  Nice crust on the chicken.  With the exception of the bacon, all the ingredients go great together.
  • Cons– Lack of bacon flavor.  A bit messy.  If you’re driving and eating, make sure you have plenty of napkins.  I consider it a bit pricey at $4.69, but that’s probably because I enjoy the dollar menus!

Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich from BK (open)

Taste:  8.00/10

Value:  5.00/10

Grubbing on the Go:  5.00/10

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GrubGrade:  8.00/10  (Very Good)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price:  $4.69

BurgerKing.com

Nutrition Facts- Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich

Calories – 990

Total Fat – 58 grams

Saturated Fat – 17 grams

Trans Fat – 1 gram

Cholesterol – 125 milligrams

Sodium – 2190 milligrams

Carbs – 71 grams

Fiber – 4 grams

Protein – 47 grams

Where did you go Arby’s Chicken Salad Sandwich?

One of the best chicken salad sandwiches has gone missing.  The Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich, from the Market Fresh line of sandwiches at Arby’s, is no longer on the menu.  I guess this was done to make room for more roast beef with the Roastburgers.  I’m sure this pains maybe 3% of the GrubGrade audience but it’s a sad day for me.  It’s no longer on the Arby’s website menu and I tried 3 locations recently and they are no longer carrying it.  This is terrible news.

Fast Casual Review: Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros.

Written by Adam, GrubGrade Contributor

I typically go to Einstein Bros. Bagels two or three times per week.  With a vast assortment of 99-cent bagels and bottomless refills on five different kinds of coffee brewed daily, you really can’t beat this place in terms of value, selection, or quality.  Yet Einstein’s has ventured out from the world of just bagels and coffee in recent years, and introduced an expanded menu that features all kinds of sandwiches, salads, and non-traditional breakfast treats.  After receiving a free coupon for their new “Bagel Poppers” via their email club I decided to check out the company’s latest innovation, which comes in three flavors; blueberry, cinnamon sugar, and sweet cream cheese.

Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros

These “bite sized bagels” actually come in a pre-packaged cup which will set you back $2.99 without the aforementioned coupon.  I went for the blueberry and there were 15 flavored poppers total in my cup, ranging in various sizes.  The first (and most prominent) thing I noticed about the poppers was the glaze.  They had a thick and shiny glaze that you’d expect to find on a donut, not a bagel.  It was so thick that many of the poppers were stuck together when I opened the cup.  They were sticky as well, so much so that I found eating these in my car to be problematic, and actually had to wait until I got home to really dissect them.  

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (4)

As for taste these were ok but nothing special.  Yes they were sweet and there was a fair distribution of blueberries amongst the poppers, but the sweetness is really limited to the glaze and comes across as cheap and corn syrupy (although to be fair, that’s not always a bad thing in my mind).  Normally I like my blueberry pieces to compliment the warm and soft interior of the bagel dough, but these just felt like they took a backseat to the sweet exterior.  Still, it’s nice to get real blueberry pieces in a product like this, and they had a fair amount of blueberry flavor.  The biggest problem with these is the absence of that signature bready interior I’ve come to expect in Einstein bagels, as the small amount of interior dough takes a definite backseat to the outer glaze.  Also, aside from being too sticky and not very practical as a breakfast item, these “poppers” strike me as being nothing more than a sugar bomb, which is probably the last thing I should be eating in combination with all those bottomless cups of coffee.  A regular bagel may not be a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit and flaxseed, but it’s ain’t horrible for you either ya know. 

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (wide)

Einstein Bros. Bagels are famous for the hard “crusts” on the outside and for their warm, chewy interior.  Unfortunately these “poppers” do the company’s trademark product an injustice by trying to be a mix between a donut hole and slightly stale bagel from just “any” bagel store.  Still, as long as the company continues to offer its normally delectable assortment of bagels (my personal favorite is Pumpernickel) and fantastic seasonal coffee flavors they can count me amongst their loyal patrons, despite a disappointing showing with their latest non-bagel innovation. 

  • Pros– Good alternative for kids or “non-bagel” patrons.  Put the cup in your cup holder.  Degree of snackability for sweet-tooth minded customers.  Free with coupon, so why the heck not?  Hey, real blueberries!  
  • Cons– Too sticky.  Sweetness is superficial and limited to glaze.  Doesn’t have the usual Einstein bagel “crust,” nor the pick-me-apart bread “feel” of a fresh bagel.  Would be better if served warm.  Glaze is way too heavy.  Would have liked to see a “Pumpernickel Popper” if for alliterative effect alone.  

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (close collage)

Taste:  5.50/10

Value:  4.00/10

Grubbing on the Go:  4.75/10

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GrubeGrade:  5.25/10 (Mediocre)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price:  $2.99  (Free with drink purchase coupon from  Einstein E-Club)

EinsteinBros.com

No Nutrition Facts Available

Fast Food Review: Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee’s

Rarely can I pass up a western-style burger.  The Rodeo Cheeseburger from Burger King is a personal favorite of mine.  So when Hardee’s added to their line of Thickburgers with a western version, I had to make the stop.  Introducing the Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee’s.  

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's

Padma Lakshmi and I might be soul mates.  She was all over the Western Bacon Burger in that Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. commercial.  You won’t be seeing me in a sexy dress having BBQ sauce spilling all over the place, but there’s just something about onion rings and BBQ sauce on a burger that makes it extra special.  So I can definitely relate to Padma’s “love affair” with food.  On a recent road trip, I drove passed at least 8 signs pointing towards a Hardee’s restaurant.  Only on my return trip did I decide to stop by and sample the Western Bacon Thickburger.  This burger is billed as, “A 1/3 lb. 100% black angus beef Thickburger topped with beer-battered onion rings, spicy sweet BBQ sauce, melted cheese, diced onion and strips of bacon.”  

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's (close side)

The Thickburger beef patty is definitely hearty clocking in at a 1/3 pound.  I was happy it wasn’t overly greasy and had a “real burger” taste.  A lot of fast food burgers to me seem to get their flavor from being overly greasy.  This burger was able to maintain a nice burger flavor without dripping with grease.  The BBQ sauce, on the other hand, was definitely dripping from this beast.  It made the burger extra sloppy and the fact that the BBQ sauce wasn’t that great made it even worse.  The BBQ sauce is supposed to be “spicy sweet” and that’s just the way I like it.  What I got, in fact, was just a BBQ sauce taste which was neither spicy or sweet.  The strips of bacon on this burger overlaps everything and sticks out from the rest.  It was decent but didn’t really add or take away from the meal.  The cheese was melted well over the burger but really did nothing to add to the taste and just added to the calories and fat (warning this thing is 900 calories with 53 grams of fat!).  On the bottom of the burger there are a couple of pretty thick beer-battered onion rings.  The onion rings had a nice crunch to them but I couldn’t find their specific taste.  Where the onion ring lacks in flavor, the diced onion provides the backup.  Too bad the diced onion flavor overwhelmed the entire burger and I found myself scraping off some of them.  I think the diced onion really worked against the other flavors of the burger.  The sesame seed bun struggled to keep all the ingredients intact.  The Western Bacon Thickburger carried a price tag of $4.19 for the burger alone and $6 and change for the combo.  I must say, it’s a really nice sized burger but not worth $4.19.  I actually got sick of it three quarters of the way through and didn’t finish the entire thing.

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's (open)

If I were to ever get this burger again, I would hold off on the diced onions and get a better idea of the flavors from the other ingredients.  I just hate when a meal is almost completely dominated by one of the ingredients, and that ingredient turns out to be your least favorite.  So I’m going to say that with a little customization, this burger holds some potential.  I won’t go as far as saying it was poor, but it’s really close.  As is, it wasn’t very impressive and had me longing for a Rodeo Cheeseburger from the BK value menu.

  • Pros– Nice crunch to the onion rings.  Hearty and big.  Has potential if you hold the diced onions.  Burger not overly greasy.
  • Cons– BBQ sauce wasn’t very spicy or sweet.  Too much onion taste.  Not cheap.  Sloppy.  900 calories and 53 grams of fat!

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's (close side)

Taste: 5.25/10

Value: 5.00/10

Grubbing on the Go: 4.25/10

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GrubGrade:  5.00/10  (Mediocre)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price: $4.19

Hardees.com

Nutrition Facts: Western Bacon Thickburger

Calories – 900

Total Fat – 53 grams

Saturated Fat – 20 grams

Cholesterol – 100 milligrams

Sodium – 2040 milligrams

Carbs – 72 grams

Sugars – 19 grams

Dietary Fiber – 3 grams

Protein – 34 grams

First Impressions: Midnight Truffle Blizzard from DQ

Just sampled the “Blizzard of the Month” for April over at Dairy Queen.  The Midnight Truffle Blizzard is overwhelmingly chocolaty.  I figured by the pics released on the DQ website that it would be chocolate ice cream and chocolate truffles.  Well it’s vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and a TON of small chocolate truffles.  The fact that the ice cream was vanilla and not chocolate does absolutely nothing to cover up the fact that this thing is so packed with rich chocolate taste.  It seems like with each bite there were at least 2 small truffles/truffle pieces.  So rich…if you are in to chocolate you will look passed the fact that there isn’t chocolate ice cream in it.  Here are some pics.

Midnight Truffle Blizzard from Dairy Queen (closeup)

Midnight Truffle Blizzard Collage

Food News: Boston Market Crispy Country Chicken Commercial + Coupon

Boston Market has recently expanded it’s menu with Crispy Country Chicken items.  Actually it was back in February but I’m just now starting to see TV spots for it.  

The Crispy Country Chicken meal is a breaded and baked chicken breast topped with gravy and served with cornbread and a choice of two sides for $7.29.  The Crispy Country Chicken sandwich comes with a creamy Dijon spread, lettuce and tomatoes on whole-grain bread or a white baguette and is $6.49.  This new Crispy Country Chicken can also be added to a Caesar or chopped salad.  

Crispy Country Chicken Sandwich from Boston Market

Crispy Country Chicken in a sandwich

While the self-proclaimed “chicken experts” at Boston Market are primarily known as a rotisserie chicken place, I’m liking this expansion into new territory.  

Here’s a coupon if you’re interested

Buy One, Get One

Buy One, Get One