Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Taco Bell Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco

I tell ya, when I ordered Taco Bell's new Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco this past Sunday, I felt like I was ordering a mouthful. Could there BE any more syllables or words in Taco Bell's newest creation? (I encourage you to say that in Chandler Bing's voice from "Friends"). It's pretty much the Cool Ranch Doritos shell, stuffed with chicken, a spicy sauce, lettuce and cheese (or for all you overachievers who like to get the supreme version like me, it will come with the addition of tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream). It looks delicious in the pictures and in person, and it resembled the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos I've gotten in the past.

However YIKES. Spice alert! If you can only eat Taco Bell mild sauce before the fire alarms start going off in your head, then this taco will most likely be too spicy for you too. I had to get out a half gallon of milk and start chugging after my first two bites of this taco. The spice factor definitely comes from the spicy sauce layered on after the chicken, but I kept trying to figure out if this was the same sauce that Taco Bell puts in their quesadillas, or if this sauce was brand-spanking new and created specifically for this taco.

Everything else about this taco is fantastic minus the sauce. No wonder I'm still so thirsty and dehyderated today, it's the spice!


  • If you like spicy, by all means order the Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco.
  • If you have a similar spice threshold like I do, the order the Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco without the spicy sauce. Or honestly, order a different menu item that you may be craving more. My Taco Bell oldie but goodie favorites include the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, the Crispy Potato Soft Taco, or even the traditional Crunchwrap Supreme

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: Chicago q

I'd never been to Chicago q until I had their weekend brunch recently. And I still don't understand why it took me so long to try this place out!? BBQ joints are right up my alley. This restaurant is in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, not far from late night bar/where bad decisions are made/dance club Hangge Uppe and Chicago's Clark/Division Red Line Train.

I think the restaurant on the exterior looks like a little Greek white house, like what you'd see on the island of Santorini. It's very quint and surrounded by the Gold Coast high rises.

But enough about the exterior. I'll cut straight to the chase, and let you know the highlight of the meal was the carrot cake pancake I ordered as a side. It literally tastes like a carrot cake in pancake form - all you'd need is the cream cheese frosting and you'd be set! It's definitely sweet and could easily substitute as a dessert, so you should try the side version first before deciding if you could eat the carrot cake pancakes as an entree.

For my main dish, I chose the pulled chicken sandwich with fresh, fluffy honey butter cornbread. There was also a side of pink stuff on the plate, but I can't tell you what it was because I thought it looked like pink slimy worms and I didn't try it. The waiter brings out an assortment of barbecue sauces ranging from mild to hot that you can put on your sandwich, and honestly the mild sauce was amazing. It was a mildly sweet barbecue sauce, which paired perfectly with the sweet bun that housed the pulled chicken. I thoroughly enjoyed the sandwich, with the exception of one bite which tasted like chicken fat and I had to spit that piece out. However this was one of the better pulled chicken sandwiches that I've had in the city, so even with the fatty piece I still approve of this sandwich.

Chicago q also has unlimited mimosas for $20 until 3 pm, so if you're looking to extend your Sunday Funday this would be the place to do just that! I unfortunately had a commitment later in the afternoon that prevented me from doing unlimited mimosas, however I'm sure I'll be back to try this soon because there are a lot of menu items I still want to order!

  • If you enjoy carrot cake, then you must try the carrot cake pancake!
  • If this is your first time trying the carrot cake pancake, I'd recommend getting it as a side order to see if your sweet tolerance could potentially handle the pancakes as an entree
  • The pulled chicken sandwich was a good mix of a sweet bun and mild bbq sauce. Be mindful that the chicken may have a bit of excess fat on some pieces.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Kinder Happy Hippo Candy

I bet you are hungry for dessert or a snack, so if your grocery store has an international foods or an international candy section, check out Kinder Happy Hippo candy! I'm pretty sure the first time I tried this candy was in Europe, and I was ecstatic to see it sold in a pack at my local US grocery store.

It's a wafer shaped like a hippo, and filled with two types of cream filling. One of the fillings is milk-flavored, and the other is hazelnut-flavored. I'm a huge fan of Nutella, so if you feel the same way about Nutella as I do, you'll most likely enjoy this candy. Plus, I mean, come on. This candy is cute and shaped like a hippo, who wouldn't want to eat it!? It's also small, so if you have guilt eating dessert, you shouldn't fret about having this.

With that being said, it doesn't have a strong chocolate flavor so keep that in mind if you have a chocolate craving.

  • If you like the taste of hazelnut, try a Kinder Happy Hippo!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: Chick-fil-A

I am a humongous fan of Chick-fil-A's food. Even before Chicago got a Chick-fil-A, I heard great things from multiple people who'd been to a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the southern United States. Honestly, I think my favorite part about Chick-fil-A, besides the taste of the food, is I don't feel completely gross and full after eating a meal there. It's probably because I'm eating chicken instead of a giant beef hamburger with slabs of bacon, a fried egg, and twenty different cheeses (I mean, that still sounds good, don't get me wrong).

Danielle's Dish recommends that you order the Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich for a lunch with lots of flavor, but it won't bog you down during the day and you won't feel like you need a nap right after. It's a piece of Chick-fil-A's famous grilled chicken topped with colby-jack cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, all served on a multi-grain bun. If you think it sounds too healthy, trust me the addition of the bacon and cheese really makes the sandwich what it is. I'm pretty sure it comes with pickles too, but since the taste of pickle juice makes me cringe I always ask the cashier to please keep the pickles off. The sandwich also comes with a packet of this amazing honey mustard dressing that's more sweet than mustard-y, and it is a perfect combination with the chicken and the fluffy bun. Actually, if for some reason you have honey mustard dressing left over, you should use it for your waffle fries.

That gets me to the next best part about Chick-fil-A. The waffle fries. Why don't more fast food restaurants decide to include waffle-like fries as part of their fry selection? The waffles create a much better dipping mechanism so you actually get a decent amount of sauce on your fry. Note if you get a small-size waffle fry there won't be tons of waffle fries in the box because the fries are so big and the container is so small. So upgrade to the next bigger size to get more fries and more bang for your buck. Also you want to get PLENTY of Chick-fil-A sauce for your waffle fries. It's this mouth-watering combination of what I think is ketchup and honey mustard that once again isn't too mustard-y and you'll probably end up licking the entire container of sauce clean (disclaimer: Danielle's Dish may have licked sauce containers clean in the past).

  • For a meal that won't weigh you down during the day, head to Chick-fil-A and try the Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
  • Definitely order a side of waffle fries, and you MUST try the Chick-fil-A sauce with your meal

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Blaze Pizza

There's a new-ish pizza joint that opened in Chicago - Blaze Pizza. I like to think of it as the Qdoba or Chipotle of pizza - because instead of building your own burrito, you build your own individual thin crust pizza! You go through the line with your pizza crust and you tell the nice person behind the counter what kind of toppings you want on your pizza. Then they bake the pizza in one of those awesome ovens where you actually see the fire, and then about 3-4 minutes later you get your pizza.

My story to get Blaze Pizza started when a new location opened in Chicago this past week. Apparently if you liked Blaze Pizza on Facebook, you got a free pizza on opening day at their new restaurant. Silly me, I thought no one would be in line for free pizza after work. Unfortunately the line was twice as long in the evening as it was during the lunch hours. I was still interested in trying out this new pizza concept, so I went to the second Chicago location that's been open for a few months on Belmont Avenue.

I decided to try the gluten-free pizza crust with the traditional sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, chicken, bacon, onions, green peppers, and garlic. This was my first time trying gluten-free crust, and I couldn't tell the difference between gluten-free crust and a regular pizza crust. Granted, I haven't tried Blaze's regular pizza crust, but the gluten-free crust definitely didn't taste any different than the normal pizza crusts I've had in the past.

It was a delicious pizza, don't get me wrong. It's great if you are with a group of friends and everyone wants something different on their pizza. I.e. you could make yourself an extra cheesy pizza or an extra meaty pizza if you really wanted (I'm pretty sure I counted 5 different cheeses you could get on your pizza)! That's probably why I'd go here again. However, I felt Blaze was a bit on the expensive side if you went with the build your own pizza option with multiple toppings (and price goes up if you add a gluten free crust or vegan cheese to the meal). I also wasn't completely full after the meal, hence why I maybe felt the price was a bit much. It's a better deal if you only wanted a 1 topping pizza or a simple mozzarella cheese pizza, but really who wants to do that when all those toppings are sitting right in front of you at the counter?

  • I recommend you try Blaze Pizza at least once for the experience! It is delicious, although I felt on the expensive side for what you get (it would be around $8 with Chicago tax for a regular crust pizza with multiple toppings, and add an additional $3 to that cost for a gluten free crust or an additional $2 for vegan cheese).
  • Great place for anyone who has food allergies, with Blaze's gluten-free crust option and vegan cheese!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Panda Express

Orange Chicken. Chow Mein. Those are the two menu items you must try at Panda Express! The best times to go to Panda Express include: when you want fried Chinese food from a fast food/chain restaurant, when you are hungover, when you want some Orange Chicken because you're craving the taste, or because you want some Chow Mein because you had it once before and it was fantastic.

I'm not going to lie to you and say any of this food tastes authentic. I got the Orange Chicken at a local Chicago Chinese restaurant and was surprised that the Orange Chicken actually tasted like oranges! Actually, a coworker got the beef from Panda Express and the beef tasted almost exactly like the chicken so I can't tell you what's going on there. All I can say is, it's fried goodness and I'll probably be going there for lunch again tomorrow.

  • If you are in the mood for some fast food Chinese food, come to Panda Express and you won't be disappointed! Especially if you order the Orange Chicken and Chow Mein.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Food News Fridays - 5/2/2014

Your favorite day of the week is BACK! It's all the food news you may have missed during the week, and you can get caught up on it right here on Danielle's Dish!

Review: Houlihan's Breakfast Buffet

If you have a Houlihan's in your town, I recommend you stop by their breakfast buffet! At the Chicago location I went to, the buffet only cost $9.99 (not including beverages) and lasts until noon on Saturdays and Sundays. This is a steal compared to other breakfast buffets I've been to in the city.

You'll find scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, french toast, fruit, yogurt, pastries, cereal, and an omelet station where a chef will make you a customized omelet. The omelet was by far my favorite part of the whole experience.

All in all, the buffet's delicious and gets the job done, but like most buffets it's not the highest quality food. However for $9.99, I thought it was as good of quality as any breakfast buffet I've been to before. Houlihan's also only serves breakfast food at the buffet, so if there's anyone in your party who's looking for a burger or sandwich, you'd need to order it off the menu.

  • If you're looking for a cheap brunch, head to Houlihan's and get your fill on breakfast food!