Food and Drink Feed

Plan your menus - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Meal planning is like a game of checkers or chess - you need to be thinking a couple moves ahead.

Sure, there are times when you'll need to be impromptu, to adapt and overcome when life isn't going particularly right on a given day, but make no mistake, winging it and time management don't go together over the long term.

When you're making dinner, cook more than you'll need, then you'll have something to eat for lunch the next day.  When you're making a mid-morning snack, think ahead to what you'll snack on that afternoon and prep it right then and there.  Doing little things like that can help overcome whatever might interfere with your day....  You're already prepped and ready because you were thinking a couple moves ahead.

Another way to meal plan is to prep a bunch of meals for the coming week.  I love to grill, so on my days off from work, you'll probably find me lighting the charcoal, not for just one meal, but several.  I don't just grill a few things, I grill in big batches, why not, the charcoal is hot!  I'll grill up chicken done a couple of ways, some pork chops done in different marinades, a few burgers, perhaps some fish....  Some of that will go in the freezer as a base for future meals, some of that will go in the fridge for the upcoming week. 

A good way to keep variety in your meals is to just alternate your days with different proteins.  What do you feel like, beef, chicken, pork or fish?  Start off with what hits you first, then alternate, pairing proteins up with a complimentary veggie.  Grilled chicken and broccoli, pork chops and asparagus, steak and mushrooms, fish and green beans....   There, boom, four meals!

This isn't for everyone, but I have a white board in my kitchen, for menus and a grocery list.  The point here though, is to jot ideas down.

Look in the freezer, peak in the fridge, check out your pantry and see what you have.  Start writing it down in meal planning fashion, if you don't do this kind of thing already, you'll see how really easy it starts to flow - it's easier to craft a shopping list this way too!    It's thinking a few moves ahead - checkmate!


A Bachelor on the Cheap Restaurant Review: Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Fuzzy's Taco ShopFirst appearing on Berry Street in Fort Worth, Texas in 2003, cravings since then for Fuzzy’s Taco Shop has turned into a cult-like following and more than 100 locations across the country. 

The Iowa City area was introduced to Fuzzy's last year and another location is opening up in the Iowa River Landing this month. 

I stopped in my local Fuzzy's today at about 2pm for a late lunch and the place was hopping!  There was a line waiting to order, something I was hoping to avoid mid-afternoon.  But like me, everybody wants to eat at a good restaurant, so the time apparently, really doesn't matter, it's going to be busy if it's good.

Not wanting to stand in line to order my meal, I sauntered over to the bar and found a comfy seat, right in front of Kansas vs. Penn - March Madness - on TV.

In no time flat, the bartender asked me what I wanted to drink and offered up meal and drink menus.

"I'll take a Corona," I replied.

The beer was quickly served and it was good and cold.  I proceeded to review the menu.  Having checked out the food options online, I was already leaning on either the Grilled Shrimp Burrito or the Tempura Battered Shrimp Burrito, but I gave everything on the menu a quick glance-over just to be sure shrimp was the ticket I wanted to punch and also to see if the menu matched up with what you can view online.  It did.  They have A LOT of choices, in fact, I was almost tempted by the Brisket Burrito - I've never had one - but I did end up going with the Grilled Shrimp Burrito.  Just as stated on the menu, this thing is of Jumbo size and along with the grilled shrimp there's guacamole, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, garlic sauce, cilantro/lime rice and black beans wrapped in a large flour tortilla.   The great thing about Fuzzy's, is you can customize your order, I could have gone with a different flavored rice or another type of bean for example.

Enthralled with the Kansas vs. Penn game, it was mere minutes I think when my burrito arrived.

It was a Jumbo dose of YUM!

The shrimp was grilled perfectly, the guacamole had a perfect, creamy consistency and all those other great flavors wrapped in that fresh tortilla was just fantastic, bite after bite.  And about that, I got all the ingredients in every bite - that's important.  I've had my fair share of burritos, tacos and the like from other joints where you get all beans in one bite, meat and cheese in another bite or just the veggies in yet another.  I truly appreciate the fact that whoever prepared my burrito, didn't just slop things in there.

Rita drinksNot only does Fuzzy's have great eats with a lot of options - something to please everyone, they've got a fun drink menu as well.  While I was busy munching away and enjoying the game, a couple of ladies at the bar next to me ordered some 'Rita' drinks.  One was a 'Beerrita' a standard margarita with a Dos XX or Corona dipped into it.  The second drink was a 'Sexyrita' made by dunking a champagne split into a Fuzzy’s house margarita.  The ladies had fun sampling each and really liked the bubbles created in the mixes.

The restaurant atmosphere is fun, the service was friendly, food/drink delivery fast.  My Jumbo Grilled Shrimp Burrito and two Coronas cost me $15.75 + tip.  This was a fun dining experience. I visited with some nice folks, enjoyed a great burrito along with a couple of cold beers and Kansas won their first round game!  I left the restaurant quite content.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner - there's a kids' menu too - Fuzzy's Taco Shop gets 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  I'll be trying that Brisket Burrito on my next visit!

5 stars

If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out a Fuzzy's near you!

Why Papa Murphy's is better than Pizza Hut - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I'm one of those people that if you ask, "What is your favorite food?"  I'm going to respond "PIZZA!" without hesitation (Burgers are #2 and anything grilled or BBQ'd #3).  But I have a dilemma, I'm not a fan of Pizza Hut (they have become so inconsistent with delivery AND product), Domino's sucks and Papa John's is so-so. I'm in need of a pizza joint that can provide consistently great pizza and I haven't found that place in Wichita yet.  I really like the local Gambino's, but they're a bit pricey unless you are able to take advantage of the limited coupons they offer.  

The other day while out-and-about running some errands during the lunch hour, I decided to stop at a Papa Murphy's.

Papa Murphy's Cowboy Pizza Thin CrustBoy am I glad I did!  It's been a long time since I've picked up a pizza at Papa Murphy's.  It's not that I had a bad experience with them back in the day, just chalk up the long time between visits to getting too comfortable with delivery pizza.  Shame on me!

Let me bullet point why Papa Murphy's rocks, why they are better than Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's (YUCK) and yes, even Gambino's:

  • Generous with ingredients, especially the cheese!
  • Made to order, right in front of you when walking in.
  • Fast service, friendly staff
  • I can stop in a Papa Murphy's, order; take that pizza home; pop it in the oven; bake it; pull it out of the oven and slice it; before Pizza Hut finally shows up with a delivery.
  • No tip necessary!
  • Save money over what you would pay for a pie at one of the main delivery joints
  • Delicious!

I ordered a large 'Cowboy', thin crust.  I LOVE thin crust pizza!  For those of you not already in the know, the Cowboy is:  Red Sauce, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Olives, Herb & Cheese Blend.  It's DELICIOUS! 

While the pizza was baking and filling my apartment with some FANTASTIC aromas, I had time to melt some garlic butter infused with Parmesan to brush on the crust.....  Talk about another dose of YUM!

The Papa Murphy's pie cost me $15.11 after tax.  That same large pie, with all those ingredients and a delivery tip would have cost me at least $20 coming from the delivery joints.  Did I mention how DELICIOUS Papa Murphy's pizza is?

Papa Murphy's is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly and gets 5 out of 5 stars, without question a repeat buy.

5 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

Which fast food joint has the best value meal menu? - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I recently did a fast food value meal challenge, challenging myself to eat nothing but fast food value meals for a week with a budget of just $50. 

Were there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that fit in that budget? Was there enough variety?  Did I stay full enough, no snacking between meals?

While that challenge started out well enough, it ended in epic fail.  I didn't blow the budget, but I did find that there really weren't enough restaurants offering enough meal choices, nor was there enough variety.   The options were few.  And yes, as a result, there was snacking between meals.  Eating just a small salad for lunch for example made sense for the budget, but it didn't make sense to the stomach.

I purchased 21 meals during the course of this challenge - a standard breakfast, lunch, dinner thing - eating at 14 different restaurants.  I could have broadened the variety of meals and options by eating at regional fast food chain restaurants, but my focus was on just the nationally recognized joints.

So what restaurants have the best and worst value meal menus?

Let's start with the worst.

14.  QuikTrip:  Some would argue that QuikTrip does not qualify as a Fast Food joint, but I say it does.  It's a convenience store with a kitchen, it doesn't get much more 'fast food' than that.  QuikTrip's menu is affordable, but it's also the worst food of the lot, or what they do decently, often isn't available.  Their 'Hotzi' breakfast sandwiches and burritos are dry and sit in the warming bin longer than they should.  QuikTrip says they make food to order, but that's not the case more often than not.  All meal options are available here, breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Eat here as a last resort.  If you refueled your vehicle and the stomach is growling, grab a bag of chips to tide you over until you can find a better place to feed.  

13.  Arby's:  The Roast Beef King of fast food doesn't have a value meal menu, but you can take advantage of the limited time offers.  The restaurant is always running a two sandwiches for $5 or $6 kind of deal.  There's a downside to that though.  Arby's does roast beef really well, other meats or fish......  not so much.....  Of the nationally recognized fast food chains, this restaurant is one of the more expensive ones.  Arby's serves up lunch and dinner, breakfast is only available at select locations.

12.  Popeyes:  Comparable to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Popeye's also features fried chicken but unlike KFC, has fish options on the menu as well.  Popeye's doesn't have any kind of value meal on their board, but does currently offer a $5 Shrimp Tacklebox which comes with eight butterfly shrimp, a regular side, biscuit and cocktail sauce.  Next month, the 'box' might feature some kind of chicken instead of shrimp.  I'm not a fan of Popeye's, I'd rather have KFC.  They serve lunch and dinner.

11.  Chick-fil-A:  They specialize in chicken, period.  That's no surprise right?  The name says all you need to know.....  It's good chicken too, but they have no value meal to speak of.   They really don't run any special offers either. You can find some inexpensive items on their lunch and dinner menus but Chick-fil-A does run on the higher end of fast food pricing.  Their breakfast menu is competitive though and you can get meals cheaper than the listed menu price by using their coupons and promo codes, downloadable online.  Chick-fil-A serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

10.  Hardee's:  Of the burger joints, Hardee's has the worst value menu with a total of just eight options with two of those items being over $4.50.  Their 'Red Burrito' menu is competitively priced, but then again, if I'm in the mood for Mexican, I'm going to go to a taco joint.  My favorite sandwich is the classic Ham & Cheese priced at about $4.50 for just the sandwich and I recently enjoyed the Frisco Burger, but overall Hardee's is NOT a go-to place if you're looking for a value meal.  Hardee's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

9.  Wendy's:  Meal deals at Wendy's is a focus on '4 for $4'.  You get four items for $4, a sandwich, chicken nuggets, small fries and a drink.  It's a pretty fair deal but then again, you're limited to a sandwich, chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink.  Wendy's has other low priced items like a baked potato, a small bowl of chili and some salads, but overall, their value menu is a bit limited and there's really not much variety to it.   Wendy's doesn't serve breakfast, only lunch and dinner.

8.  Dunkin Donuts:  They don't have a value menu, but their entire menu is competitively priced and you can spend less than $5 on the breakfast menu and walk to your table with a very good morning meal.  They serve breakfast anytime too, even for lunch or dinner.  The Egg and Cheese Wake Up Wraps are pretty darn tasty and as a result of this challenge, I'll be eating at Dunkin Donuts more often!

7. KFC:  If you're in the mood for chicken, this is the place to go.  Their $5 Fill Ups Menu is pretty good, if you're in the mood for chicken and there's the Colonel's Value Menu with some budget-minded items all under $3 featuring yes, you guessed it, chicken.  Make no bones about it (pun intended), KFC specializes in chicken and they do it well.  That's the only downside really to KFC, you're limited to options of chicken.  The upside to that is they do chicken better than most everybody else.  They serve lunch and dinner.  The chain is currently experimenting with breakfast menus overseas. 

6. Sonic:  I'm not really a fan of drive-up eating, but Sonic deserves some kudos here, they have a menu with a lot of variety featuring something to please just about anyone.  If you're into hotdogs, you'll really like Sonic and the prices for sides are very reasonable as well.  Overall the prices on the entire menu are budget friendly and it's filled with options.  It's too bad Sonic is such a fair weather restaurant, because they have a menu that competes with any other fast food joint.  All meal options are available here, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

5. Subway:  The sub sandwich shop is currently offering their $5 foot long deal on selected sandwiches at participating restaurants.  That's a great deal because that's really two meals.  Even the six inch sandwich option is reasonably priced with many choices at around $4.  I contend you feel fuller eating a six inch sub vs. a tiny cheeseburger and fries for about the same price and you can put a lot of variety between two pieces of bread at this place.  Subway serves all three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, but their breakfast prices run higher than most of the fast food competition.

4. Dairy Queen:  You can eat well at DQ for lunch, taking advantage of their $5 buck lunch.  This offering features your choice of Three-Piece Chicken Strips, Deluxe Cheeseburger or their A.1. Bacon Cheeseburger.  You also get crispy fries, a 21 oz drink and a sundae for dessert.  You can upgrade your sundae to a small Blizzard treat for $1 more.  The downside to that price is that it's limited to lunch, only offered from 11am - 4pm.  You can find some decent items on their combo menu (entree includes fries and a drink) for under $4.   They don't have an official value menu, but the prices are reasonable and the food is quite good.  Dairy Queen is another restaurant I'll be eating at more often as a result of this challenge.  DQ serves breakfast (did you know that?), lunch and dinner.

3. Burger King:  They have a decent variety on their value menu, burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fries, onion rings, apple pie, ice cream and more.  The most expensive item on their value menu is the Bacon Double Cheeseburger, a bit over $2.  Their dessert menu is pretty decent too with all of it competitively priced.  For breakfast, I'm a sucker for their Sausage, egg & cheese Croissan'wich.  As the name implies, Burger King specializes in those - burgers - but they are to be considered an 'all-purpose' fast food joint with a nice variety of meal options.  If you're not quite sure what you're in the mood for, Burger King is a nice Plan B.  Burger King serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2. Taco Bell:  I ranked it #2 just for the sheer number of cheap eats they have.  I've sampled many of them, most are decent, some just fair.  They have a dozen items on their dollar 'Cravings' menu alone.   Taco Bell is always running a $5 box deal of some kind featuring their latest new product offering and they have all kinds of meal deals and combos on their board that you can customize, most all in the $5 and $6 range.  I like their Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos, but their new venture into french fries, not so much.....  Taco Bell has the most cheap eats, but you have to be in the mood for Americanized Fast Food Mexican.....  It is a taco joint after all.   Taco Bell serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1.  McDonald's:  I have had some unpleasant dining experiences at McDonald's over the years, but they get the top ranking on the value meal chart for two reasons.  Reason One:  Their new 1-2-3 Dollar Menu offers the most variety and the most food value.  McDonald's revamped their value meal options with the debut of the 1-2-3 Dollar Menu in January of this year and it's a good menu.  Reason Two:  After slipping sales resulting from customer complaints of slow/bad service and cold food, the restaurant seems to have gotten its act back together.  Mickey D's finally starting listening to their customers instead of taking it's top dog status for granted.   The revamped value menu includes a variety of burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a breakfast burrito.  Heck, you can get a Happy Meal for just $3!  The Bacon McDouble is the best $2 burger in town.   During the course of my Fast Food Challenge, I ate McDonald's for seven of the 21 meals consumed, the budget I set for the challenged dictated it.  If that's not an indicator of food value...... The rest of the McDonald's menu is competitively priced with perhaps the most options of any other fast food restaurant.   They're still King of the Fast Food hill.

Spend Wisely My Friends.....

Coming Soon: A Fast Food Value Meal Menu Review - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

I recently did a fast food value meal challenge, challenging myself to eat nothing but fast food value meals and/or 'meal deals' for a week with a budget of just $50. 

Were there enough restaurants out there offering value meals that fit in that budget? Was there enough variety?  Did I stay full enough, no snacking between meals?

While that challenge started out well enough, it ended in epic fail.  I didn't blow the budget, but I did find that there really weren't enough restaurants offering enough meal choices, nor was there enough variety.   The options were few.  And yes, as a result, there was snacking between meals.  Eating just a small salad for lunch for example made sense for the budget, but it didn't make sense to the stomach.

I purchased 21 meals during the course of this challenge - a standard breakfast, lunch, dinner thing - eating at 14 different restaurants.  I could have broadened the variety of meals and options by eating at regional fast food chain restaurants, but my focus was on just the nationally recognized joints.

So what restaurants have the best and worst value meal menu options?

Stay tuned.....  The breakdown of those 14 restaurants is coming soon.......


Don't waste money on vitamins and supplements, eat better food instead - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Simple Truth:  If you eat a balanced diet, you don't need bottles of vitamins and supplements.

I'm not writing something you haven't already read..... getting the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins and good carbs in a regular diet eliminates the need for pills, powders or those gosh-awful chewables.  Besides, your body is smart.  It flushes the excess intake of vitamins and supplements anyway (the water soluable ones).  Think about it logically, it makes no sense to virtually flush money spent on vitamins and supplements down the toilet.   If you are the taker of vitamins and supplements, you know what I'm talking about, look before you flush.  If it's yellow, your intake of whatever supplement is too high, your body is getting rid of it.

Replace those pills, powders and/or chewables with better food.  Enjoy the intake of vitamins and minerals with the real thing - FOOD!  You'll save money to boot!

Even if you have a condition you are trying to treat, look for foods that help out with that issue, rather than rely on a costly supplement.

Glucosamine is a typical example.  Marketed to manage joint pain, the manufacturers of the supplement largely target what group of people?  You guessed it, people suffering from arthritis.  The U.S. glucosamine market is expected to reach beyond $227 million in sales by 2022, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc.  That's a lot of $8 - $25 bottles of supplement, depending on the brand.

I used to buy the stuff myself, I am an arthritis sufferer.  But instead of researching food and the treatment of arthritis, I went with the trend in 'managing' arthritis pain.  It was the 'easy' thing to do.

BroccoliAfter a period of time and tired of shelling out money for a bottle of pills I didn't want to take and not truly satisfied with what those pills were or weren't doing for me, I finally took the time to do some homework.    By increasing my intake of certain foods, establishing a regular exercise routine and simply drinking more water, I started feeling much better.  The glucosamine went into the trash can, there was no need for it and truthfully, never was.

The change in my routine, eating more broccoli, cabbage, fish, garlic and any fruit/veggie with vitamin C helped reduce my arthritis pain, along with exercise and drinking more water.  I put the money I was spending on glucosamine into the grocery budget.  And seeing the success in eliminating that supplement, I no longer buy multi-vitamins either.  There's no need for them!

Eating/enjoying a bowl of quality cereal with a 1/2 cup of berries is better for you than a multi-vitamin or some supplement. And here's kind of a 'gross' fun fact: Eating too much cereal and berries can make you pee yellow too.

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


Arby's Miami Cuban Sandwich doesn't deserve "Legend" status - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Arby's debuted some "Limited Time"(a.k.a. marketing hype) sandwiches they call "Sandwich Legends" in mid-February.  The Sandwich Legends line up includes:

- New Miami Cuban sandwich - Thick-sliced roast pork, pit-smoked ham, mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese on a toasted roll.

- New Texas Brisket sandwich - Smoked brisket, crispy onion strings, "Texas-style" barbecue sauce and pickles on Texas toast.

- New York Reuben - This is the chain's regular menu Reuben sandwich that was debuted last year, but with a double portion of corned beef.

I decided to check out the Miami Cuban sandwich while out-and-about running some errands during the lunch hour and seeing, "Try our new Miami Cuban Sandwich" on the Arby's restaurant marquee board, so I pulled in.   Yes, Marquee boards work.....

20180302_123128A great Miami Cuban Sandwich is made with smoked or slow-roasted ham, pork loin, Swiss cheese, a generous handful of tart dill pickles and a slathering of yellow mustard.  All that goodness is served up on a crusty Cuban bread and lightly pressed.

So how is the Arby's version?  It's not legendary.  A good Cuban is hard to put back down on the plate, you want to keep going after it, bite after bite.  But what Arby's puts out, got put back down on the plate quite a bit in reaching for more potato cake instead.....  The meats in the sandwich were average, slightly under-portioned, with the smoky element Arby's promises in the pit-smoked ham is big miss and the roasted pork juicy but under-seasoned.  The Swiss cheese provided that mellow, slightly nutty  taste you're looking for and the pickles and mustard were generous in portion but to the point of overpowering the sandwich.  The tartness and tang of dill pickles and classic yellow mustard is a great combination but the ratio to the meat was too much.  This is supposed to be a Cuban, not a mustard and pickle sandwich.  Then there's the bread.  There was nothing crispy or crunchy about it.  It was a soft roll.  If you look real close, you can tell my sandwich was put in a press (for maybe 2 seconds?) - there's an ever-so-slight crease on the top - but there was no 'toasted' visual to the bread and you couldn't tell it was pressed by touch.  Again, it was just a soft roll. That's a shame to, because putting some crispy texture on the outer crust is what helps make a Miami Cuban sandwich, a Miami Cuban sandwich!


IHOP's Bacon Temptation Omelette = Delicious - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

IHOPI did a bit of traveling through the Midwest recently and having some time for a sit-down breakfast, I ventured into an IHOP in Iowa.

It's been quite awhile since I've eaten at an IHOP.  I'm not a big pancake or waffle kind of guy so that's the main reason why it's been so long between visits, but IHOP is a specialist at the breakfast thing so why not check out the current menu, right?

I was seated without wait after entering the establishment at about 9am.  The restaurant wasn't busy as I took a seat but it wasn't empty either, with a sprinkling of folks enjoying their first meal of the day and a few more trickling in as I opened the menu.  The waitress asked what I wanted to drink.  "Coffee please," I replied and off she went to fill up that IHOP traditional tableside pot of java.  In checking out the menu and coming as no surprise, everything in the first couple pages featured pancakes or waffles.  It was in-your-face unavoidable and I had to remind myself that I was at the Ihop Bacon Temptation OmeletteInternational House of Pancakes after all.....  But I am a bacon and eggs for breakfast eater, so to my pleasant surprise, towards the back of the menu, IHOP now features what they call the Bacon Temptation Omelette.....  I had to have it!

The waitress returned with the pot of coffee, took my order and I then proceeded to doctor up my cup of Joe with some cream and sugar.  Shortly after stirring and enjoying a few slugs, my order arrived.

What a delicious breakfast!  The omelette was perfectly prepared, the eggs were fluffy and I got hickory smoked bacon in every bite.  The Jack & Cheddar shredded cheese coupled with the White Cheddar cheese sauce was another dose of YUM and topping everything off with the diced tomato complimented it all quite nicely.  IHOP's Bacon Temptation Omelette rocks!

Ordered with a side of whole wheat toast the bill for my breakfast came to just over $13.  That's not exactly Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, but on this occasion, I'm OK with it.  You just won't get something like this at a fast food joint.  It's OK to splurge once in awhile.

The restaurant was clean, the service was friendly and fast, and most importantly the food was excellent!

IHOP gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap Stars

4 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends.....


The Frisco Burger from Hardee's delivers premium, gourmet taste - Bachelor on the Cheap

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Needing some lunch while on the road and traveling through the Midwest, I pulled into a Hardee's for a burger.  It's been awhile since I've had a burger at Hardee's, I usually order the ham & cheese combo.

I went with the Frisco burger on this visit to the nation's 15th ranked fast food restaurant chain based on sales.

20180223_145508The Frisco Burger has a long on-the-menu, off-the-menu history at Hardee's dating back to the early 1990's.  The current form is a 1/3 pound, charbroiled Angus beef patty, combined with bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato, a unique onion-flavored mayonnaise, all served on a buttered and grilled sourdough bread.

The burger was served up hot and fresh, along with fries right out of the fryer.  Part of the Hardee's 'Thickburger' menu, the Frisco delivers on flavor, it tasted great!  The burger was juicy, the bacon was crisp, the Swiss cheese was melted just right and the tomato combined with that onion-mayo was a perfect compliment.  Whoever developed this burger did a really nice job marrying all those flavors and the Hardee's restaurant I visited prepared both the burger and fries perfectly.

I enjoyed my to-go meal, but it came at a fairly steep price for a fast food restaurant.  My Frisco Burger, medium fries and medium drink cost me $9.53.  And while that Frisco provided premium, gourmet burger taste, for that kind of money I'd rather be enjoying it at a tavern or a place like Red Robin with a cold beer to wash it down with. 

This burger is not Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, nor is it a smart eat while driving down the interstate.....  There was shirt spillage involved.....

The Hardee's Frisco Burger gets 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.

3 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends......


Arby's Two Fish Sandwiches for $5 deal - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

This 'fishy' deal is something I've been wanting to try since the Roast Beef King announced it about a month ago. 

Fish sandwichesI'm a sucker for a good fried fish sandwich, so I asked myself, "Self, how well do they do fish?" 

For a limited time, Arby's is venturing into the fish sandwich world with its Crispy Fish Sandwich and a spicy version of that called the Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich.   Simply named (and what else would you expect, it's a fried sandwich....), the Crispy Fish Sandwich is a classicly prepared Alaskan Pollock fillet crispy-fried to a nice golden brown, topped with tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and served on a sesame seed bun.​  The Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich also features the crispy, Alaskan Pollock fillet, but it's coated in a spicy seasoning.  Also served on a sesame seed bun, the sandwich includes dill pickle slices, lettuce and Parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce.

So does Arby's do fish sandwiches as well as they do roast beef?

Nope.  You know how their new slogan is "We have the meats?"  They don't have the fish.

I tried the Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich first.  I was disappointed.  To repeat, I love a good fried fish sandwich and I also like a little heat, so I was really looking forward to that combination....  Winner, winner fish dinner, right?

Nashville Hot FishNope.  While that Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich did provide that little kick I was looking for, it lacked that crispy crunch.  Maybe it wasn't in the fryer quite long enough, the preparation wasn't quite right, but nonetheless it lacked that definitive crunch.  The restaurant wasn't all that busy at 1:45 in the afternoon, my sandwich was made to order, not already under a heat lamp.  The pickles and lettuce were nice texture accents to the fish, but the Parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce actually took away from the fillet.  When I eat something like this I really want to embrace the heat infused into that breading.  Arby's should have kept things simple with just a straight tartar sauce for that cooling-of-the-heat effect.  That flavored Ranch just complicated the heat, rather than complimenting it.  It's a big sandwich, the fish fillet to bun ratio is good, but overall, this sandwich comes out flat.

Arby's version of a classic crispy fried fish sandwich is a nice attempt, but the sandwich is just a good, average rendition, rather than an extraordinary one.  This sandwich provided far more crunch than the Nashville Hot, so the preparation was spot on with this fillet.  The tartar sauce, lettuce and sesame seed bun all complimented the fish nicely.  Again, this was a good sandwich, but I've had better.   For fast food, Dairy Queen puts out a better fish sandwich.

Arby's gets 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars for its attempt at fish sandwiches.  You get full on just $5, but the flair, just isn't there.  You don't have to mix and match the sandwiches to take advantage of the Arby's deal.  If I had to do it over again, I would get two of the regular crispy fish sandwiches, the Nashville just doesn't deliver.  Bottom line, I'm not going back to Arby's for a fish sandwich.

Three stars

Crispy Fish

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