August 6, 2014


Carlís Jr. Texas BBQ Thickburger

cjtexasbbq.jpgYup, Carlís at it again - going places that no other large burger chain dares to go. The Texas BBQ Thickburger is a bold combination of hamburger, smoked brisket, BBQ sauce, cheese, fried onions, and fried jalapenos. I made the mistake of eating one of them while driving. Because I could only (safely) use one hand to eat the burger, I couldn't give it the support its large size required. So, I ended up with BBQ sauce-covered brisket on my shirt. Oh well, it was worth it. There was a surprisingly generous amount of brisket on the burger, the BBQ sauce was tasty, and it came on one of those ďfresh bakedĒ buns, which are a huge improvement over the regular buns. Some may really like the fried onions and fried jalapenos, but I thought they kind of distracted from the other flavors that were going on. However, they did give the burger some nice crunchiness. I got the Ĺ pound version of the burger (itís also available with two smaller patty options) and it was plenty big enough to fill me up. I can easily recommend the Texas BBQ Burger to Phoood readers. Just be sure to eat it with two hands. Get it while you can, as it will likely be on the menu for only a few months.

Phoood rating: Good.gif

Posted by Jim | Comments (0)

December 30, 2013


Burger King Satisfries

bksatisfries.jpgIs it possible to make a delicious French fry with 40% less fat and 30% less calories? Maybe it is, but Burger King hasnít figured it out yet. Donít they know that fat and calories are what makes French fries so delicious? Burger Kingís new Satisfries have the aforementioned reductions in fat and calories, but they donít taste nearly as good as regular French fries. Satisfries are crinkle-cut fries that may just be the thickest ones Iíve ever seen. The Satisfries that I ate recently were crispy on the outside and moist, the way a good fry should be. The potato flavor was okay. The fries had a lot of salt on them. Iím no saltophobe, but I thought they were a little bit too salty. Sadly, the fries also had a subtle, odd aftertaste. Itís hard to describe the aftertaste that my fries had, other than to say it made me think that there was something artificial about them. Maybe there was an issue with the specific batch of fries that I ate, or something about the oil that they were cooked in. Itís possible, I guess. Giving Burger King the benefit of the doubt, and because the name ďSatisfriesĒ is so clever, they earn a ďSo-soĒ rating.

Phoood rating: So-so

Posted by Jim | Comments (1)

August 8, 2013


Carlís Jr. Strawberry Pop-Tarts Ice Cream Sandwich

cjpoptart.jpgI was very skeptical when I heard that Carlís Jr. was going to have the Strawberry Pop-Tarts Ice Cream Sandwich on their menu. Even I, who love all things sugar-filled, fattening, and unhealthy, thought that it went a bit too far. Carlís Jr. is trying too hard with this one, I said. It will be too sweet, I said. The Pop Tarts will fall apart when you try to eat it, I said. But, it was too intriguing just to ignore so I bought one. Honestly, I think itís one of the most delicious ice cream treats I have ever eaten. The flaky Pop-Tart crust, its semi-fluid strawberry filling, and the hard vanilla ice cream make a delicious and interesting combination of flavors and textures. Surprisingly, it isnít overly sweet. Itís not big; I could easily eat two of them. But, for most people it will be just the right size and at $1.49 itís a great value. It gets my highest recommendation and I suggest that you get a couple of them while you can.

Phoood rating: Outstanding!

Posted by Jim | Comments (2)

June 8, 2013


Jack in the Box Chicken Nuggets

JIBchickennuggets.jpgI like the hamburgers at Jack in the Box so much that they are just about the only thing I ever order there. Occasionally, Iíll get a couple of tacos or a chicken sandwich. Recently, I broke tradition and ordered some Chicken Nuggets. Wow, are they delicious. How come I didn't know about them? Honestly, I donít recall a fast food chicken nugget that even comes close. Sure, McNuggets are iconic and are pretty tasty. But, Jack in the Boxís Chicken Nuggets are on a whole different level. I was impressed by the quality of the white meat chicken inside the nuggets. It was juicy and delicious. Even better, however, was the crispy outer coating. Itís a bread crumb-type coating that is nicely seasoned with herbs that you could see and taste. The herb seasoning really differentiates these nuggets from those of the competition. If you think that chicken nuggets are just for kids, or if you think your fast food palate is too sophisticated for chicken nuggets, I encourage you to get yourself some of Jack in the Boxís Chicken Nuggets to see what you are missing. If you already like chicken nuggets but havenít yet ordered them at Jack in the Box Ö what are you waiting for?!

Phoood rating: Outstanding!

Posted by Jim | Comments (2)

May 4, 2013


DiGiorno Pizzeria! Primo Pepperoni Pizza

digiornopizzeria.jpgIn their never ending quest to create a frozen pizza that is as good as you get in a restaurant, the folks at DiGiorno have introduced their Pizzeria! line of pizzas. I recently ate the Primo Pepperoni pizza. Despite itís name, itís not as good as the pizza you would get at a pizzeria. Not even close. But, that doesn't mean that it's not a really good frozen pizza. The crust, in particular, is outstanding. Itís crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside, and has a nice flavor. Itís similar, but not as heavy or as chewy, as the crust on DiGiornoís popular Rising Crust line of pizzas. Itís the best frozen pizza crust that Iíve eaten, by far. The pizza's toppings are good, but do not stand out. The pizza sauce and pepperoni, unfortunately, are not nearly as flavorful as they could be. I get the feeling that DiGiornoís is trying to be really safe with the toppings so as not to distract from the excellent crust. Itís too bad, because with more flavorful toppings, the pizza would really be outstanding.

Phoood rating: Good.gif

Posted by Jim | Comments (1)

August 13, 2012


Red Baron Pepperoni Deep Dish Singles Pizza

redbarondeepdish.jpgAnyone who knows me well knows that I love pizza. I used to say that thereís no such thing as bad pizza, but I stopped saying that after I ate an especially bad Pizza! Pizza! from a certain pizza purveyor that will go unnamed. But Iím no pizza snob. I like frozen pizzas almost as much as I like the delicious pizza at the old-school Italian pizzeria near where I live. And one of my favorite frozen pizzas is Red Baron Pepperoni Deep Dish Singles. To be honest, the pizzaís toppings are only average. The sauce, cheese, and pepperoni are okay, but nothing special. Itís the pizzaís crust that really stands out. When the pizza is cooked in a conventional oven (please, please do not cook them in a microwave ovenÖ), the crust is crispy and golden brown on the outside and buttery tender on the inside. It reminds me more of a pastry than a pizza crust. Itís definitely the best crust of any frozen pizza that Iíve ever eaten. The pizzas are small, but fortunately they come two to a box. One box makes a mighty nice meal, with plenty of room for dessert (or more pizza!).

Phoood rating: Outstanding!

Posted by Jim | Comments (0)

June 25, 2012


Burger King Bacon Sundae

baconsundae.jpgBacon has become all the rage in recent years and is showing up in places you would never expect to find it, like bacon olive oil, bacon soda, bacon vodka, bacon jam, bacon floss, and bacon toothpaste. Burger King is the latest fast food company to come to the bacon party with their new, limited-time only Bacon Sundae. Itís made with vanilla soft serve, chocolate fudge sauce, caramel sauce, bacon pieces, and a slice of bacon. I was surprised by the quality of the vanilla soft serve. I guess I was expecting it to be like the soft serve you get at McDonaldís (in their sundaes and McFlurries). But, it was much smoother and creamier, like what you find at Dairy Queen. The bacon had a nice flavor and was very crispy Ė a nice contrast to the soft ice cream. As strange as it may seem to some, bacon really is a great accompaniment to ice cream, chocolate, and caramel. Trust me. Unless you just donít like bacon, it would be hard not to enjoy the sweet and salty flavor combination of the Bacon Sundae. Too bad itís only a limited time item. It really deserves to be on the menu permanently, or at least until the bacon fad fades away.

Phoood rating: Outstanding!

Posted by Jim | Comments (2)

February 9, 2011


Eggo Thick & Fluffy Waffles

eggothick.jpgEggo has some new frozen waffles on the supermarket shelves, called ďThick & Fluffy.Ē Essentially, they are Eggoís version of a Belgian waffle. The waffles are pretty much what you would expect a frozen, Belgian-style Eggo waffle to taste like. There not nearly as good as homemade or what you can get at a diner, but taste fine considering how easy it is to prepare them. One difference I noticed with the Thick & Fluffy compared to regular Eggo waffles was that they have a pronounced vanilla flavor. In fact, when toasting them in the toaster, a strong smell of (imitation) vanilla filled the kitchen. I guessed there wasnít any real vanilla in the waffles. The ingredient list confirms this Ė thereís only ďartificial flavor.Ē Fortunately, the waffles tasted okay when I ate them and while their vanilla favor may not have been the best, it wasnít bad either. Otherwise, the waffles were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Theyíre a bit larger than regular Eggo waffles, which is nice because two of them make a nice breakfast whereas two regular Eggo waffles really arenít much more than a breakfast hors d'oeuvre. I enjoyed the Thick & Fluffy waffles enough that Iíll probably make them my frozen waffle of choice in the future.

Phoood rating: Good.gif

Posted by Jim | Comments (1)

March 18, 2010


Sonic Ched 'R' Peppers

sonic-logo.jpgSonic Drive In is a recent discovery for me. Being a Michigan native, I would drool over the commercials every time they would air. Now that I have one just up the street, I am making it my goal to try everything on the menu. Today's experiment is the Ched 'R' Peppers, Sonic's take on jalapeno poppers. I can hear you now "jalapenos? No, no, no ... too spicy." Not true! You get a fantastic pepper and cheddar cheese flavor without the blistering heat you would normally expect. They come 4 to an order, a perfect amount for either a snack, or to add a little extra to your order. Plus they were piping hot, right from the fryer.

Phoood rating: Outstanding!

Posted by Bryan M | Comments (4)

October 31, 2009


Marie Callender's Pasta Al Dente

mcpasta.jpgLet's start this review off with some background. I don't like frozen meals. Most of them just leave me unsatisfied, at best, or disgusted, at worst. That being said, when I'm pinching pennies and I buy some to avoid going out for lunch at work, I try and find some that at least look moderately appealing. Marie Callender's new Pasta Al Dente line seemed interesting. The claim on the box is that the heating method causes the pasta to "steam to perfection" (hence the "Al Dente" name). I grabbed two varieties, Beef Bolognese Rigatoni and Chicken Carbonara. As I pulled out the first meal (Beef Bolognese Rigatoni) to cook it, I saw how the heating process worked. The meal comes in a large bowl that holds only the sauce. Set inside the bowl is a steamer which holds the meat, veggies and noodles. The first thing I noticed is that you don't have to cut a slit into the plastic while the meal cooks, as the meal self vents. This is great because it saves you an extra step. When you place the food in the microwave, the sauce heats up which causes steam to rise and cook the rest of the meal. When it's done cooking, you simply pour the stuff in the steamer down into the sauce and mix it together. It's actually a pretty ingenious method, and I'm happy to report that the pasta prepared with it has by far the best texture of any frozen meal pasta I've ever had. As far as taste goes, the Beef Bolognese was OK. Aside from the great pasta, the sauce was good, but uninteresting, and the beef had slightly better-than-average consistency for frozen food meat. It certainly was a bit better than your average frozen food dish, overall, but not spectacular. As I was expecting it to be the better of the two, I had little hope for the Chicken Carbonara. Surprisingly, it was in fact the Carbonara that exceeded my expectations. The smokey, flavorful carbonara sauce was very tasty, and blended well with the chicken, peas and uncured pieces of bacon. When mixed with the great pasta, I must say that it was quite good. I doubt it will cause a culinary revolution, but it is great by frozen food standards. It's my humble opinion that Marie Callender's Pasta Al Dente line is above average in both taste and quality for frozen food. Though I was a bit disappointed by the Beef Bolognese, it was certainly not bad, and the Chicken Carbonara ranks amongst the best frozen food I've ever tried. If you like pasta and are on a budget, I can certainly recommend this line. I'm sure I'll try more Pasta Al Dente varieties in the future, which hopefully will be as good or better than the Chicken Carbonara.

Phoood ratings:

Beef Bolognese Rigatoni: So-so
Chicken Carbonara: Outstanding!

Posted by Edgar | Comments (12)

August 19, 2009


DiGiorno Italian-Style Meatball & Four Cheese Flatbread Melt

flatbreadmelts.jpgThis probably has the longest name of any product ever reviewed on Phoood, so Iíll just abbreviate it as DISMFCFM. Longtime readers know that I love everything DiGiorno. Until now, that is. The DISMFCFM is not worthy to carry the name DiGiorno. The flatbread is not very appealing and when cooked, doesnít look anything like the delicious, golden-brown picture on the box. But, I donít expect much in this regard as the DISMFCFM is intended to be cooked in a microwave (in fact, the cooking instructions say not to cook it in a conventional oven). Itís the filling that really kills the DISMFCFM. There just isnít any flavor. Each bite was a mouthful of bland. I thought that I had lost my sense of taste when I was eating it, because there wasnít anything there. Fortunately, my sense of taste is intact and it's the DISMFCFM that is the problem. Stay far away.

Phoood rating: Don't Waste Your Money

Posted by Jim | Comments (4)

November 12, 2008


Bob Evans Sausage Gravy & Biscuits

bobevansgravy.jpgA few years back, I was on a business trip in Ohio and ate at Bob Evans. I was surprised to see a bowl of sausage gravy on the menu. I live in California, and itís common to see biscuits with gravy on a menu. But I had never seen an entire bowl of gravy on a menu. I ordered it, of course, and ate it like an Ohioan would. I recently found Bob Evans products in the frozen food section of my supermarket. Now, I can enjoy Bob Evans sausage gravy and biscuits whenever I want. The gravy is very tasty, with lots of pieces of sausage. I thought that the gravy should have been thicker, but this is just a personal preference. I was less impressed with the biscuits, which didnít have the tenderness and flakiness that a biscuit should have. I cooked the biscuits in the microwave according to the directions in order to save time. They probably would have tasted much better if I had cooked them in the oven. With the nearest Bob Evans being over halfway across the country from me, their frozen gravy and biscuits will do until I once again have the pleasure of ordering a bowl of gravy in one of their restaurants.

Phoood rating: Good.gif

Posted by Jim | Comments (9)

October 22, 2008


Claim Jumper Chicken Fried Beef Steak

cjbeefsteak.jpgThose who have had the opportunity to eat at a Claim Jumper restaurant know that they are known for extremely large portions of food. My last visit to Claim Jumper was one of the few times in my life where I left with a doggie bag. I simply could not eat all of my dinner, Country Fried Steak. Eating way too many appetizers may have had something to do with this, but itís still a rare occasion that I leave food on the plate. Claim Jumper also has a line of frozen entrees that are sold in grocery stores. I recently tried the Chicken Fried Beef Steak, which included mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn on the cob. Both the meat and mashed potatoes were very tasty, and the gravy was pretty good too considering it came from a plastic pouch. The meat, however, did not have any crispiness at all (and I cooked it in an oven rather than a microwave). This is one of the best things about chicken fried steak and I really missed it. The meal was also smaller than I thought it would be, given the Claim Jumper name. Overall, it is a pretty good meal but those with big appetites may want to eat two of them Ė or just go to a Claim Jumper restaurant instead.

Phoood rating: Good.gif

Posted by Jim | Comments (2)

August 28, 2008


Hot Pockets Pepperoni & Three Cheese Calzone

hpcalzone.jpgHow good can a frozen meal cooked in the microwave taste? When you only have three minutes to heat something up, you could certainly do much worse than Hot Pockets Pepperoni & Three Cheese Calzone. At 8.5 ounces, itís a good size for either a large snack or a small meal. To cook it in the microwave, you use a crisping sleeve, which is supposed to give it a crispy crust. It didnít work so well Ė the crust wasnít soggy but it wasnít very crispy either. Those crisping sleeves never really seem to work as well as advertised, do they? Anyhow, the pepperoni and cheese filling tasted good, and there was plenty of it. The herbed cheese crust was also very tasty, even if it wasnít as crispy as I would have hoped. All in all, itís a good choice when you want to eat in a hurry.

Phoood rating: Good.gif

Posted by Jim | Comments (4)