Archive for Food

In n Out Chicken Sandwich

In n Out is known for their secret menu.  While their regular menu is simple and straight forward, their unspoken items, like Animal Style Fries and Neapolitan Shake are all staples that really set the fast food chain apart from others.  Still, nothing has really changed on either of these menus for many many years, until now.
The Chicken Sandwich, the newest addition to the secret menu, is here!  After months of grumblings about the sandwich on the internet, I was able to get my first bite today.  The item is rumored to be developed by In n Out to compete with Chick-fil-a, and in my opinion can stand up to the chicken sandwich giant.
I forgot to take the fries out of the bag for this picture...but can you blame me?

I forgot to take the fries out of the bag for this picture…but can you blame me?

Essentially, if you have ever ordered a regular hamburger from In n Out, you can imagine what you will get when you order a chicken sandwich.  It is, for the most part, the same thing, with your choice of fried or grilled chicken in the place of your beef patty.  The fresh ingredients and the buns are all the same, and I honestly think they compliment the chicken sandwich much better than the beef option.
My wife and I tried to order the chicken sandwich animal style, but In n Out will not make the sandwich that way.  This was disappointing, but all-in-all, it was pretty awesome as it was.  Another thing that was a let down was the cheese.  They stick with the same cheese that comes on a burger, and it doesn’t really work with the chicken.  Next time, I’ll get it plain.


Provolone might have been a better bet, but plain will be fine, I'm sure.

Provolone might have been a better bet, but plain will be fine, I’m sure.

There really isn’t much more to say about In n Out’s Chicken Sandwich.  Honestly, it’s one of the most tasty things on their menu.  With a side of fries and a shake, I don’t think you can beat it.  I give the Chicken Sandwich an A+.

Eating During the Holidays

Steve asked what I like to eat during the holidays…this isn’t really a review…but I guess you could call it an opinion…

Turkey Sandwiches.  Cold thick slices of turkey between two pieces of white bread with some ketchup.  I don’t know what it is about this kind of turkey sandwich, but it really hits the spot.  I love it.  It’s really what I look forward to most about the holidays.  I see my family all year long and as I get older, gifts get less and less interesting.  But this sandwich takes hold and doesn’t let go from around Halloween until I sink my teeth into one.

I’m convinced that if God ate sandwiches, this is all he’d eat.  And he’s wash it all down with some Vanilla Milk from Nestle.  Seriously…why did they get rid of Vanilla Milk?  I LOVED Vanilla Milk.

And Crunch Tators…

Now I’m depressed…

It's been a long time, old friend. But perhaps we'll meet again some day...some how.

Vanilla Milk...where are you?!


Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers

Yeah, it's healthy. But does it TASTE healthy?

So, as some people might have seen on my Claim Jumper’s TV Dinner review, Jeena recommended I try “Healthy Choice Pasta Instant Meals.” Well, they’re not called that. Believe me. I stood in the frozen food isle for a long time staring into the freezers, digging behind the ice cold boxes.


On a tip from my girlfriend, I took a walk over to where they display the pasta. Bingo.


Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers are different mainly due to the fact that you can cook the noodles and everything else separately. They’re about $3.50 each and come in a variety of different styles. I choose two. I picked up the Rotini and Zesty Marinara Sauce because my biggest complaint with the Claim Jumper meals was that the past wasn’t cooked all the way. Since this meal has a lot of pasta in it, I thought it would be a good idea to try it out. I also picked up Tuscan Style Chicken. I’m Italian, and this was one of the only pasta based meals with meat. There were also rise based meals, but I wanted to make a fair comparison to the Claim Jumper meals.


look for packages that look like this in your pasta isle. Not the frozen food section.

Both meals are set up the same way. You put water in the pasta container, microwave it for three and a half minutes, and then use the strainer-lid to strain out the water. Then you get the pack of sauce (or sauce and meat) and mix it all up. Eat. Enjoy.


First up was the Rotini. It was good. The pasta wasn’t anything special, and they’re pretty small pieces. But the sauce was definitely zesty. In comparison to Claim Jumper and Marie Calendars, it’s much better. It was better than some stuff I’ve had at Olive Garden or places similar. It was flavorful and thick.  It went well with the pasta.  There was lots of it, too. I like that I get to choose how much sauce is on my pasta. Too many times TV dinners and instant meals smoother their food in sauce or gravy to prevent dryness. Guess what? It’s still dry. So lay off, guys.


The chicken meal, was strange. These meals aren’t stored in freezers and the chicken was mixed in with the sauce, so you don’t HAVE to heat it up. I still did, a little bit, for piece of mind. There’s just something a little weird about eating chicken right off the shelf.


The sauce wasn’t horrible, but I still needed to wash it down when it was done. It wasn’t nearly as good as the rotini. The chicken didn’t have a weird texture, it didn’t taste bad, and honestly, that bothered me. It’s kind of crazy to wonder what they did to that chicken to make it taste so…normal. The aftertaste was also less than desirable.


I looked for frequent flyer mile promotions, but I found none.

All in all, they’re not bad, but they are kind of expensive. Each is only 300-350 calories, so that’s kind of nice, I guess. They don’t really taste like health food, but the portions are kind of small. The chicken freaked me out, but I guess it’s safe…some how.


I’m giving these things a B. Better than Claim Jumper’s TV dinners, but the price was a little steep. Only try these if they’re on sale. The portions are small and judging by these styles, they can be pretty hit and miss as far as taste goes.

Claim Jumper TV Dinners: Cheap Price, Taste

Claim Jumper had a sale on its TV dinners at Ralphs.  I love Chicken Alfredo, so I picked one of those up. I also got the Spaghetti and Meatballs dinner because everything else seemed to have mushrooms on it and I’m very opposed to eating fungi.


Both dinners suffer from the same issues that plague all TV dinners. First, the sauces ended up watery, The thin sauces don’t coat the pasta well and you’re left with the chore of trying to scoop up the flavor with every bite. The tastes, however, are pretty good. The Alfredo sauce was cheesy and bold, while the meat sauce in the spaghetti was actually pretty vibrant in flavor. I think there were some serious herbs in there.


Portions this size don't come for $2.50.

Another problem with the dinner was the pasta itself; it was undercooked and kind of chewy. Since I love Chicken Alfredo, and since I’m too lazy to cook it up as much as I’d like to eat it, I have tried a number of TV dinners and their versions of the dish. This is not the first time I’ve come across this problem. I don’t know how this problem comes about or what can be done to avoid it, however I’m pretty sure it has to do with how long they cook the pasta before they seal it all up. Whatever does case this issue, many companies can’t seem to fix it.


The meatballs were small. Now, normally I wouldn’t expect anything on par with a restaurant’s portions, but we’re talking about Claim Jumper. They’re known for their large portions. So, was I wrong in assuming these meatballs might be, at least, average in size? They were small. Larger than most, perhaps, but still nothing near average.


The texture was a little off here as well. The meat was a bit rubbery. To me, texture makes a meal, and when the meat makes a rubbery sound against my teeth when I chew it, it kind of ruins things for me. The taste of the meat wasn’t anything special either.


Overall, the TV dinners get C‘s. Not because they tasted well, but because they were filling and they did the job they were supposed to do. For only $2.50 a pop, don’t expect quality anywhere near what you respect as Claim Jumper standards, but if you just need something to fill you up, go for it.


If it’s quality you want, however, I recommend the Chicken Alfredo dinner by Marie Calendars. In my opinion, the best bang for your TV-dinner buck is anything by Marie Calendars.  It seriously almost tastes as good as in the resturant.