Sunday, February 4, 2018

Review: Taco Bell Nacho Fries

I've been on this health kick lately (well - I'm trying to be healthy, anyway) and I feel like I still need cheat days outside of eating healthy.  I have some personal favorite junk foods that fill my cheat days, which range from Olive Garden, Asian food, Pizza (Lou Malnati's is a local favorite) and Taco Bell.

Taco Bell recently came out with their new Nacho Fries, so for my latest cheat day I had to try these along with my other Taco Bell favorites.

I had low expectations for these french fries.  I mean, it's a taco joint trying to get into the french fry business.  However, I'm telling you right now, I was totally wrong.

I'm going to tell you the real reasons why the Nacho Fries are delicious.  1.  The seasoning on the fries.  It tastes like a taco seasoning, which is why these fries feel like a compliment to the taco and not like it's completely separate from the taco offering.  2. The nacho cheese sauce.  Again I was hesitant about this, but the fries dipped in the nacho cheese sauce tasted glorious.

Cons of the Nacho Fries included: the workers didn't fill our fry box to the top (I think we got the leftover scraps of the latest Nacho Fry order) and they weren't fresh and hot.  Even with these cons, the fries were still awesome and a perfect compliment to the tacos.

I also got the $5 Nacho Fries box, which is a really good deal for what you get: it comes with a Cheesy Gordita Crunch, a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco, Nacho Fries, and a Drink.  You pretty much get the Nacho Fries and the Drink for free.

  • Just try the Nacho Fries from Taco Bell.  You have to.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Review: Taco Bell by the Beach

So there's a Taco Bell along Highway 1 in Pacifica, California (just south of San Francisco) - which isn't just ANY Taco Bell - but it's a Taco Bell with the most iconic view.  And tacos definitely taste better when you are eating them on the beach.

So when you are eating a cheesy gordita crunch, it's always better in the sand and when you have sandy feet.

I'm telling you all about this since I didn't know it existed until we went here for a trip recently.  It's probably the best view I've ever had eating at a fast food restaurant; and it makes the tacos taste that much better.

  • If you find yourself in Pacifica, California, stop by the Taco Bell along the ocean.  Even if you don't want Taco Bell, it's worth it to take in the view.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Review: The Experience at Ichiran Ramen

Japan is known for a ton of amazing foods, including ramen.  I've had ramen in the states at 'authentic' restaurants but honestly didn't have high hopes for the ramen we'd have in Japan.  Plus, ramen reminds me of cheap college food.

Good thing I was wrong.  We found Ichiran Ramen on TripAdvisor when we were in Tokyo, and it was literally the best ramen I've ever had in my life.

Let me break down how you order ramen in Japan at a place like Ichiran.  First of all, if you go there at a prime eating time (i.e. lunch, dinner) you are going to wait in a single file line.  I have mad respect - they are so organized in Japan that if the line to get in the door is too long, they set up a SEPARATE line so you wait in 1 line, to wait in another line, to ultimately get in the door.  And when you are waiting in line, you take in the sights of Tokyo (complete with brightly colored lanterns).

Once inside, you order your ramen from a vending machine.  You might be like...wait, what?  Let me explain.  

It's a vending machine with buttons that you push to pay and get a receipt for your ramen.  We put our money in the vending machine, and I pressed the button for the traditional pork ramen (noodles, pork broth, pork, onions).  Then I pressed another button because I wanted a salted soft boiled egg on my ramen.  Then I pressed another button for extra noodles.  Then boom - we got a receipt for our order.

Then you wait in another line to get seated.  From there, you fill out a sheet of paper with how you want your ramen prepared.  Want extra garlic?  No garlic?  Want spice?  Extra extra spicy?  It's all there.  

This last line that you stand in is the line to get seated.  You are seated in individual booths with dividers, so while not ideal for large groups it's a cool individual experience (plus you don't have to worry about others judging you for slurping your ramen).  Your ramen is handed to you through a little window at your seat, and if you wanted a soft boiled egg they hand you the egg in a separate little bowl.

Doesn't the below look awesome?  I'm salivating over the broth.

  • Ichiran Ramen = best ramen I've ever had.  Only downside is it's in Tokyo (yes, it's a far flight - but an absolutely amazing bowl of ramen)
  • I also see there is an Ichiran Ramen in New York, but people didn't seem to excited about it.  Maybe it is the price, maybe it is the individual booths, etc.  But I'm 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review: Taiyaki

First of all, what is taiyaki?  It's a fish shaped cake, without any of the fishy taste.  The taiyaki batter reminds me of a Belgian waffle batter, and it's poured into fish shaped molds.

Two of the fish shaped 'cakes' are sandwiched together, and in the middle is a filling.  The traditional Japanese filling is red bean paste, but they also have versions with whipped cream, vanilla cream, milk chocolate, etc.  They either come in a hot or a cold version; the cold version traditionally had whipped cream in it.

I've seen pictures of taiyaki posted on Instagram (as well as taiyaki ice cream cones that you can find in major cities in the US), but I got a chance to try the real, authentic thing - and dang it's good.

I'll be honest, it also may have been so good since I was starving and craving a sweet, snacky carb, which to my surprise wasn't super easy to find in Japan (home of the taiyaki).

While my husband tried the authentic red bean paste taiyaki, I was 'meh' about it since it tasted like sweetened beans and in general I'm not a bean person.

My go-to was the milk chocolate taiyaki.  The only place I found these cute little milk chocolate guys was in the anime/electronics district, and probably because of this, they were shaped like Pokemon Magikarp - so kawaii (cute)!

In general things tasted 'healthier' in Japan.  Reason I say this - the milk chocolate filling tasted like a milk chocolate pudding (and it probably was!)

I also tried the strawberry and whipped cream taiyaki, which reminded me of a strawberry pop-tart!  Very light and airy.

  • You MUST try taiyaki if you have the chance - I know I miss it!  Next thing I want to taste is a taiyaki ice cream cone in New York or California (I've seen them grace my Instagram page, and it makes me have food FOMO!)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Review: Big Mac Sauce

Yes, you saw that right.  I'm reviewing Big Mac sauce!  Straight from Canada!

Right now, you can only get Big Mac sauce in bottles to take home at Canadian grocery stores.  I'm not sure why they don't have it in the United States because I know it would be a hit (but for real)!  

Luckily I have some amazing co-workers who knew I wanted to try Big Mac sauce and McDonald's other sauces for Danielle's Dish, so they brought some back home to the United States so I could give you all a full review!  In full disclosure, I wanted to try Big Mac sauce on the vessel it is known for - a burger!

So I'll be completely honest, and I think we all already know this, but Big Mac sauce, including the Big Mac sauce in this bottle, tastes exactly like Thousand Island dressing.  Maybe even a bit more mild than some brands of Thousand Island dressing.  

While it was delicious on my burger, I don't need to go completely out of my way to snag another bottle (if, let's say, I haven't been to Canada in awhile to get another one!)

Also stay tuned.  There are also Filet-O-Fish sauces and McChicken sauces at the Canadian grocery stores which I will also be reviewing for you as well!

  • The Big Mac sauce truly tastes like Thousand Island dressing, but it somehow feels better to know the Thousand Island dressing you are eating is coming out of a Big Mac bottle.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: Jar Bar

So Jar Bar recently opened in Northbrook, IL, and I was primarily interested because they have cake in a jar.  Yes, you heard me right - cake - that's in a jar!  The reason it's so cool is they dye the cake - by layer - into different colors to stick with a 'theme.'  Like Pride for the month of June.  Or pink and green to celebrate 'watermelon,' the fruit of the summer.  Or red, white, and blue for the 4th of July!  See?

The cake is actually super moist between the layers of creamy frosting.  I actually have no complaints about the cake in the jar, it was much more moist and fresh than I had anticipated so that left me happy.  I will pay for novelty so even though the price was more than a traditional slice of cake, I'll take it to get the Insta.

But for real, this stuff tasted good.

However, if you are going to order breakfast, I would refrain from ordering an acai bowl.  As you've seen in earlier posts and photos, I tried acai bowls on a vacation at the end of last year and loved them ever since.  But the acai bowl I had, the Mermaid, while pretty, did not have any flavor at all.  My friend had an acai bowl that was supposed to have a shot of coffee in it, but we did not taste coffee or much flavor at all.  Don't let the pretty look of the bowl fool you:

So disappointing for such a pretty bowl!  Next time I come in, I want to try the oatmeal.  That's what I saw the locals eating.

  • Get the cake in a jar, but not an acai bowl.  Next time I'd try a different breakfast item if I need something more substantial than cake.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: Singing Donut

So I went to a place this weekend called Singing Donut - it's a bit out of the way from most major cities (Door County, WI - in Fish Creek, to be exact) but I wanted to review this place because it's a super cool concept and they make delicious, hot and fresh cake donuts.  And the name is amazing, I mean, it's called SINGING DONUT for crying out loud.  It's just pricey.

The concept is simple.  You can buy a single donut, a half dozen, or a dozen.  And that's where the fun begins.  You get to pick out the frosting for your donut (i.e. chocolate, vanilla, caramel, powdered sugar) and the toppings for your donut (ranges from marshmallows to sprinkles to Oreo pieces), and they actually make them fresh right in front of you.

Or you can choose from one of their specialty creations.

I chose a Scooby Doo donut, which was vanilla frosting with Fruity Pebbles cereal and a chocolate drizzle.  My husband just wanted a donut with chocolate frosting.

But you actually see a guy in back making the donuts with a donut machine, and then they actually dip the fresh donut into the frosting you want and sprinkle on the toppings right in front of you.

What will be awesome is when they expand I hope they get additional frosting types and toppings.  Like Nutella.  Peanut Butter.  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

But really the biggest let down is the price - and I know it's in a touristy area but for my husband to get a single donut (they are sized fairly small, even smaller than a regular Dunkin Donuts donut) with just chocolate frosting the donut was a little under $1.50 USD.  So my reco would be to stagger out the pricing so if you didn't want a ton of toppings (just wanted frosting) it would be closer to $1, for example.

  • It definitely makes for a cool concept.  But bring your wallet because it's one pricey donut.