Food and Drink Feed

Drink Review: Wild Turkey American Honey - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Wild Turkey American Honey
Rich and flavorful

Here's another fun shot to enjoy over the holidays!

Blended and flavored whiskeys continue to be red hot in popularity, consumer demand for brown spirits remains on the rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Ole Smoky Peanut Butter flavored whiskey.  It's BETTER than Skrewball!

Today's review is a taste of honey!

Bottled as a liqueur, here's the description of Wild Turkey American Honey from the bottle:  Exceptionally smooth liqueur blended with pure honey and bourbon whiskey.

With a proof of 71 and aged 4 years, this blend of bourbon and honey has a great, fragrant nose, you get that sweet whiff of honey right away in taking the cap off the bottle.  The mouthfeel is rich and flavorful, delivering the honey in front followed by notes of vanilla from the Wild Turkey finish. 

Costing me about $14 for a 350ml bottle, I'm giving Wild Turkey American Honey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's a bit pricey but it's quite delicious especially over ice.  A repeat buy, I also look forward to cooking with this, the blend of bourbon and honey will lend itself well to a number of dishes!

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related: Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey

Related: Drink Review: Jim Beam Honey Whiskey


Food Review: Wendy's has the cheapest breakfast in town - Bachelor on the Cheap

Wendy's Breakfast Biscuits
Best Fast Food Breakfast Deal in Town

By Mike Thayer

What?  A Sausage, Egg & Cheese or Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit for just $1?

It's true, quite tasty and truly satisfying!

Wendy's is currently offering their Sausage, Egg & Cheese biscuit or their Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit for just $1.  DEAL!

You would be hard pressed to make a hot breakfast at home that cheap!  Never mind the work and time involved...

Wendy's Breakfast Biscuits
You can't go wrong with either the sausage or bacon biscuit

So on Friday, I had Wendy's for breakfast, ordering both the Sausage, Egg & Cheese biscuit and the Bacon, Egg & Cheese biscuit for breakfast.

Total cost: $2.15.  Talk about Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly!

The biscuits were warm and flaky, quite excellent.  The meats were prepared well, a nice portion in each along with a whole egg and the cheese is melted nicely.  Either one is a VERY GOOD breakfast biscuit and only costs $1!

Which one was my favorite?  I'm a sausage guy, but I would order either again without hesitation.

Wendy's Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuit
bacon in every bite

I'm giving the Wendy's breakfast biscuit deal 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  These breakfast biscuit sandwiches are darn tasty and the cheapest fast food breakfast in town!  It's SO worthy of a repeat buy, but only available for a limited time.

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Wendy's Sausage Egg and Cheese Biscuit
A square sausage patty, OK, it's Wendy's after all, no matter, it's good sausage

The Wendy's visited on this occasion is located at 3601 E Harry St, Wichita, KS 67218.  I hit the drive through at about 8:20am, just a few cars ahead of me.  The service was fast, friendly and I had my meal in one classic rock song listening to 104.5, The Fox.

 


Food Review: Wendy's Classic Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Wendy's Classic Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken
The cheddar bun is nice, but unfortunately you don't get the toasted cheddar in every bite

Wendy's kicked things up a notch in August and took a step ahead of the competition by introducing their Cheddar Bun, featured in a Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger.  You can check out that review here.  The toasted cheese on the bun has been so popular, Wendy's now features the bun in select chicken sandwiches in addition to the burger option.

So with that cheddar bun in mind, today I'm reviewing the Wendy's Classic Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich

Here's the description from the Wendy's website:  A juicy, lightly breaded chicken breast covered in creamy cheddar cheese and bacon jam, topped with Applewood smoked bacon, crispy onions, and a slice of American cheese, all on a pillow-soft, toasted cheddar bun. If the world runs out of bacon and cheese, we’ll take the blame.

This my friends is a very nice chicken sandwich!  The chicken was fried perfectly, it was tender, juicy, the breading was seasoned well with a nice crunch.  There's A LOT of flavor going on with the bacon jam enhancing that Applewood smoked bacon, you get the notes of pimento in the creamy cheddar cheese. Despite the warmth of the sandwich, the sauces and melted American cheese, the crispy onions remained crispy.  Tying it all together was the toasted cheddar bun, which elevates the sandwich.

Wendy's Classic Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken
The under the lid reveal
Wendy's Classic Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken Sandwich
Not the thickest chicken breast in fast food

Costing me $9.99 for a combo meal that included Wendy's new fries and a drink, I'm giving the Wendy's Classic Big Bacon Cheddar Chicken 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's big on flavor, but the lack of a more complete cheddar coverage on the bun and a less than 'Big' sized chicken breast holds this sandwich back from being a 5 star sandwich.  Popeyes is still king.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related:  Taco Bell vs. Wendy's in a toasted cheese war


Food Review: Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito
Cheese on cheese flavor

There's been a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food for a couple of years now.  But there's another war developing...  It's a toasted cheese war!  With the success Wendy's has enjoyed with their cheddar bun, Taco Bell is playing off that success by re-introducing its Grilled Cheese Burrito. 

Wendy's kicked things up a notch in August and took a step ahead of the burger competition by introducing their Cheddar Bun, featured in a Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger.  You can check out that review here.  The toasted cheese on the bun has been so popular, Wendy's now features the bun in select chicken sandwiches in addition to the burger option.  Consumers are loving that cheddar bun!

Grilled Cheese Burrito
It looks like an ordinary burrito on the underside, but see those hints of cheesy deliciousness?

So not to be left out of toasted cheese market share, Taco Bell has brought back their version of toasted cheese on bread in the Grilled Chicken Burrito, which Taco Bell took OFF their menu in December 2020.  Hmm, perhaps Taco Bell outsmarted itself?

Here's the description from restaurant's website:  Seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, seasoned rice, red strips, creamy chipotle sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, and three-cheese blend wrapped inside a warm flour tortilla, with even more three-cheese blend grilled on the top. 

I liked the flavor the toasted cheese did for the Wendy's Bun, it wasn't picture perfect, but it was good.  Will Taco Bell's toasted cheese on bread also be good?

The answer is yes.

Grilled Cheese Burrito
This thing is stuffed with cheesy goodness

The Grilled Cheese Burrito is cheese flavor on top of cheese flavor.  The burrito is thick, stuffed full of tasty ingredients, not skimpy on portion at all.  Every flavor in this thing combines into a wonderful bite, the cheeses, the seasoned rice, the sour cream, the red strips which despite all that cheese and warmth going on, still had some texture and crunch to them but I suspect they wouldn't have, had I had a longer drive home.  The only knock I've got on the burrito is that the seasoned beef got a bit lost in all that cheese.  I should have ordered extra.  I could say the beef to burrito ratio was a bit unbalanced, but then again, there's no such thing as too much cheese.

Costing me about $3, the Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito is cheesy good, quite satisfying and very wallet friendly.  Enjoying the burrito for lunch, it will carry me to dinner.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and it's definitely worthy of a repeat buy!  Cheese grilled into a tortilla is a very good thing.  Ordering options are available, such as steak, chicken and black bean.  I look forward to trying them all.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Who will be next to put toasted cheese on bread?  Burger King?  McDonald's?  Arby's?


Food Review: Applebee's Original Cheetos Boneless Wings - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Applebee's Cheetos Boneless Wings Marketing Pic
Marketing Image

I saw the Applebee's commercial for the Cheetos Boneless Wings and said to myself, "Self, I have to try those!"   What's not to like?  Fried chicken and Cheetos in the breading?  It sounds like another dose of YUM!

Here's the marketing write-up on the Applebee's website: The Ultimate Collision of Flavor.  SAUCY BONELESS WINGS. CHEESY CHEETOS® GOODNESS.  Taking our Boneless Wings to the next level!  Introducing Cheetos® Boneless Wings, only at Applebee's! A tasty combination of our famous Boneless Wings and cheesy Cheetos®, they're available in both Cheetos® Original and Flamin' Hot®. Get ten saucy wings for only $9.99, and don't forget to try the Cheetos® Cheese Bites — they're available now for a limited time only.

I ordered the regular Cheetos Boneless Wings, I like heat, but opted for the regular version for this review.  My thought is, if I don't like the regular Cheetos Boneless Wings, then I most likely really wouldn't like the Flamin' Hot version.

Applebee's Original Cheetos Boneless Wings
Does NOT look like the marketing pic!

My plate was delivered within about 10 minutes, fast, fresh and hot!  But in looking at the plate and remembering the visual from the commercial on TV, I was more than a bit disappointed in the presentation.  This wasn't chicken completely covered in a generous dusting of Cheetos like in the marketing images, this was some rather roughly crushed up Cheetos randomly mixed in the regular Applebee's breading, almost like an afterthought...  as in...

Cook:  "Oh Shit, I almost forgot to toss in some Cheetos!"

The real product does NOT resemble the marketing picture....  It's not even close.  That's not a dusting of Cheetos blended in with and complimenting the Applebee's breading, that's a corn in your stool presentation.  I don't think the folks at Cheetos, or the upper management at Applebee's are going to be pleased with this pic.

So now that you have a corn in your stool visual in your head, "How does it taste?" you ask?...

Yes, in the name of food science, I proceeded to taste.

Cheetos Wings
Occasional chunks of Cheetos, rather than a blended breading

Served with some Ranch dressing to dip in, these are good, but not great.  The chicken nuggets - let's be honest, that's really what they are - the chicken was juicy and tender, the breading itself was seasoned well, had an overall decent crunch and I got the Cheetos flavor in the nuggets where the Cheetos CHUNKS obviously stand out, but make no mistake, this is not at all the kind of bite the marketing hype lures in you in for.  What Applebee's served me amounts to some decent chicken nuggets with some occasional cheesy Cheetos flavor, but it comes up well short in delivering Cheetos flavor in every bite.  Another downer, look at the grease with the presentation, note the color.  That's Cheetos chunks yellow, the chunks - rather than an even breaded coating like in the marketing pic - absorbed the oil which made the Cheetos a bit heavy and soggy, rather then adding crispness to the chicken.

Cheetos Boneless Wings
'Cheetos Grease' making the Cheetos soggy

Costing me $10 for 10 'wings', er NUGGETS, I'm giving Applebee's Original Cheetos Boneless Wings just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  What I was served does NOT live up to the marketing hype and for $10 I expected to be wowed a bit with what is supposed to be an elevated dish.  This is NOT a repeat buy.

2 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...


Food Review: Burger King Italian Original Chicken Sandwich - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Burger King Italian Original Chicken Sandwich
Burger King bringing back a classic in fighting the Chicken Sandwich War

When reviewing Burger King's New Ch'King Sandwich the other day - you can read that review here - I saw that Burger King has also brought back a classic from yesteryear, The Italian Original Chicken Sandwich.  Seeing it on the drive through menu, I knew I was going to make a return trip in the name of 'food nostalgia.'

The Italian Original Chicken Sandwich first appeared on the BK menu way back in 1979.  The sandwich consists of an elongated, breaded white meat chicken patty, dressed with marinara sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and served on sesame seed bun.   Burger King has rolled out this sandwich in addition to introducing their new Ch'King Sandwich in fighting the Chicken Sandwich War.

Italian Chicken Sandwich
Chicken Parmesan in a sandwich

I had a few Italian Chicken Sandwiches back in the day, it was a classic favorite from the pre-chicken-sandwich-war period, but Burger King took it off the menu in 2014.

I liked the sandwich back in the day and I still like it today.  Despite being a processed chicken patty, it is white meat, it was fried to perfection and the light breading provided a nice crunch in each bite before hitting the tender, juicy, chicken.  The marinara sauce is a good one and the mozzarella was melted nicely.  Topped with that sesame seed bun, this is Chicken Parmesan in sandwich form.

Italian Original Chicken Sandwich
The under the lid look

Part of BK's "2 for $6" lineup, which also includes the Whopper, Chicken Fries, and the Big Fish sandwich, I'm giving Burger King's Italian Original Chicken Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It is a chicken sandwich original, it's got the Chicken Parmesan flavor working, it very reasonably priced in the 2 for $6 deal and it's a repeat buy.  It's available now nationwide but only for a limited time.  It was fun to take a trip down Chicken Sandwich Nostalgia Lane, this sandwich is still a good bite!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

 

 


Food Review: Burger King Ch'King Sandwich - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

20211127_122621Back in June, I wrote about the Chicken Sandwich War going on in fast food and who makes the best chicken sandwich.

That sandwich war is still happening and Burger King has re-grouped on the battlefront with a new weapon.

Introducing the Burger King Ch'King

Burger King kicks things up a notch with a bigger chicken breast filet, better breading, bread and butter pickles, a nice mayo - a blend of mayo and honey mustard - and all served up on a potato bun.    

20211127_122636I reviewed what Burger King was serving up at the time back in June as part of the Chicken Sandwich War Challenge and I was NOT impressed.  The Burger King chicken sandwich was the second worst sandwich sampled.  But this sandwich?  MUCH IMPROVED!

Thank you for stepping up your game Burger King! 

20211127_122649The chicken was fried to perfection, it was crispy, tender, juicy and the meat to bun ratio was SO MUCH BETTER than what BK used to serve up.  It still wasn't chicken extending beyond the borders of the bun like Popeye's, but still, MUCH improved over what BK has served in the past. All the flavors on this sandwich were on point, with the breading delivering a nice crunch, the pickles providing some twang, the mayo has been elevated as well and bringing it all together is that potato bun, light and fluffy with a complimentary chew.  The only real knock I have on this sandwich was that it was a bit under seasoned.  Overall, a pleasantly robust chicken sandwich.

20211127_122653Costing me $5, I'm giving the Burger King Ch'King Sandwich 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  BK has 'upped' their game in this chicken sandwich war.  Their sandwich isn't as good as Popeye's, but it's a very respectable plan B and worthy of a repeat buy.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...


Food Review: Member's Mark Deluxe Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Member's Mark Deluxe Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt
A handy item to have around during the holidays

In another effort to get away from eating too many chip snacks, I recently picked up a 34 ounce (that's 2 pounds, 2 ounces for those of you who live in Haysville) canister of mixed nuts while shopping at Sam's Club.  Nuts are a nice alternative to chips because not only do they deliver some nice texture and a bit of crunch, they provide some protein and don't have near the volume of carbs that chips do.

The Member's Mark (Sam's Club brand) Deluxe Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt consists of cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts.  That's a nice blend and they're lightly salted with sea salt.  Some mixes available out there can go a bit overboard with the salt, not so with these, they're pleasantly salted, allowing the flavors of the nuts to shine.  This is a great snack, all the nuts are fresh and overall the mix is balanced with exception to the pistachios.  You get plenty of cashews, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts, but not so much on the pistachios.  I'll take that though, another downside to other brands of mixed nuts is they use peanuts as a 'filler' if you will, they go heavy on the peanuts and go light on the other varieties in their 'blend'. 

Member's Mark Mixed Nuts
5 grams of protein and just 7 carbs per serving

Handy to have around during the holidays, I paid $11.98 for that jug of nuts, which is under 36 cents per serving!  I'm giving Member's Mark Deluxe Mixed Nuts with Sea Salt 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They're tasty, wallet friendly with the only knock on the mix being a little light on the pistachios, but they're a repeat buy nonetheless!

4 stars

 


French Fry Battle: Wendy's new fries vs. McDonald's - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

French Fry Battle: Wendy's vs. McDonald's
French Fry Battle: Wendy's vs. McDonald's

When it comes to fast food, a lot of folks claim that McDonald's has the best fries.  I'm one of those people, when they're hot and salted correctly, they're tough to beat.  Coming out of the fryer, McDonald's fries are golden brown and you get the slightly crispy outside and fluffy potato inside.  When they're done right (a key phrase for McDonald's) the fast food king delivers what you're looking for in a french fry, it's a nice bite!

Well Wendy's has come out with "New" fries and in their marketing, are saying their fries are better than McDonald's fries. 

Here's the marketing hype from the Wendy's website: 

New Fries Are Here

And they're our best ever.

If you’re looking for cold and soggy French fries, you better look somewhere else. That’s because Wendy’s® new fries aren’t just hot and crispy...they’re guaranteed to be hot and crispy. Or we’ll replace them. We’re talking natural-cut, skin-on fries, sprinkled with a hint of sea salt. These fries are no afterthought. They’re ones you won’t forget.

French fry battle
Wendy's is a thicker cut fry

"Cold and soggy French Fries"...  That's a direct slam on McDonald's, notorious for filling their fry bin with staged servings of fries.

I like what Wendy's has done here, because natural-cut, skin-on fries are becoming the preferred kind of fry, the style you get in higher end burger joints, BBQ places and steak houses.  Why are they increasing in popularity?  Because this style of fry delivers better flavor and Wendy's is smart to recognize they need to up their game.

So how are the new Wendy's fries you ask?

I'm no longer saying "When McDonald's fries are fresh and hot, they're tough to beat."

In a side-by-side comparison, Wendy's has the better fry.  It's a bigger, 'meatier' fry, I got a better crisp on the outside and there's more fluffy potato inside.  They were perfectly fried and perfectly seasoned.  And it's not that the McDonald's fries were bad, I didn't get a staged serving, they were hot, but they flat out just weren't as good.  It's a thinner fry, a fry that's been the same style and fast food king for quite some time, but in my humble opinion, the skinny, not as much potato to be crispy on the outside, less potato to be fluffy on the inside has been dethroned.  Wendy's has a better product and comes with a hot and crispy guarantee.

French Fry Battle
McDonald's charges you more for an inferior fry

The Wendy's large fry cost me $3.21.  The McDonald's large fry cost me $3.54.  I did "just fries" orders for the purpose of this comparison, which is not exactly a wallet friendly thing to do.  Combo meals are they way to go if want bang for your buck.  But given the price, McDonald's charges more for an inferior fry.

5 stars I'm giving Wendy's new fries 5 out of 5 fast food Bachelor on the Cheap stars. 

4 stars McDonald's gets 4 stars and have been unseated as fast food french fry king.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

 

 


Food Review: Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza
Generous portion of cheese, but not so much on the pepperoni, mushrooms or onion

You've probably seen the TV commercials, Pizza Hut has brought back and is pushing their Stuffed Crust Pizza.  Originally introduced in 1995, the Original Stuffed Crust Pizza features a large pizza with your choice of toppings and a crust that's stuffed with mozzarella cheese.  It's like cheesy bread and pizza, all in one slice.

I remember ordering these back in the day and appreciating them, so in seeing the latest Pizza Hut marketing hype, decided to order one for a trip down Pizza Memory Lane.

I went with my favorite pizza toppings, pepperoni, mushroom and onion.  My delivery order took longer than you would think it should for a Tuesday night, taking more than an hour to arrive at my house.  The text updates you get on your phone... It was stuck on "Out for delivery" for a good 25 minutes and my pizza wasn't exactly piping hot when I got it.  Receiving a delivery pizza that was marginally warm enough knocks a few points off the score, but I had to wonder what the heck the delivery driver was thinking/doing, or was otherwise distracted by, allowing the temp to drop like he did.  If it was simply other deliveries, then this driver can't handle it.

Enough about the delivery, "How was the pizza?" you ask...

It was so-so.  A younger me remembers this pizza more fondly than what I got on this occasion.   Even with cheese in the crust, there's too much bread in this pizza, lacking enough toppings and sauce to balance things out.  And that temp, the cheese was not as ooey-gooey as it should have been.  You know how you're supposed to take that first bite with this kind of pizza from the crust and not the point, right?  Well I didn't get the stringy, pull away bite like you see on TV.  This was more like somebody who has never baked before threw a mozzarella string cheese stick in some pre-packaged pizza dough and didn't bake it long enough.  The cheese was firming back up thanks to a slow delivery time.  I was looking forward to stepping into the pizza time machine back to 1995, but I have to say this was a disappointing pizza experience.  Then again, it's Pizza Hut, which for the most part serves up average pizza considering all the stepped up competition around these days.

Stuffed Crust Pizza
A lot of bread, and cheese that wasn't so ooey-gooey thanks to super slow delivery

I'm giving the Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The pizza was marginally warm at time of delivery, Pizza Hut is less-than-generous with the toppings and trying to compensate for a lack of sauce and toppings with cheese just doesn't cut it.  This is NOT a repeat buy and the Pizza Hut delivery option is NOT wallet friendly.  They advertise a 1 topping Stuffed Crust Pizza for $12.99, but that price is only good if you order carry out and stick to one topping.  Who sticks to one topping?  My pizza cost me just under $25 after delivery fee and driver tip (which had I known the driver was going to take his silly-ass time, I wouldn't have tipped at all but you have to pre-tip for contactless delivery).

Pizza Hut continues to serve up very average pizza.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related:  Pizza Hut delivery is unreliable

Related:  Best Frozen Pizzas