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February 2019

January 2019

Food Review: Papa John's BBQ Meats Pizza

By Mike Thayer

I recently wrote about what to look forward to in 2019 from fast food.  Trending, are smokehouse/steakhouse style burgers and sandwiches and the meat of the year is predicted to be brisket.

Consumers are clamoring for something more, creations beyond the ordinary realm of classic burger and sandwich flavors.  People want smokey, they desire more than just ketchup and mustard, folks are calling for cheeses with deeper flavors and buns with a little more tease than run-of-the-mill sesame seeds.  And it's no different when it comes to other meat on bread options, a.k.a., pizza, consumers are looking for more, something beyond the traditional flavors.

After recently having some 'Spicy Brisket Flatbread' from Schlotzsky's, I decided to expand on that and venture into the world of BBQ pizza.  My choices of the major chains on the list to try are:  Little Caeser's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut and Domino's.  I went with Papa John's on this occasion.

20190131_162422Here's the description from the Papa John's website:  Smoky Southern-style BBQ sauce topped with pepperoni, sausage, beef, bacon, and Canadian bacon.

Sounds like it's loaded with meat right?

"Eh."

All those meats are indeed present and flavorful and my first bite was pretty darn good, but as I got into it, none of those meats were exactly generous in portion.  The meats were ample in the center of the pizza, but grew sparse as I worked towards the outer crust.  I will say I've never had pepperoni in a BBQ dish before or Canadian Bacon for that matter and they were both quite nice.  The BBQ sauce while descriptive in name was nothing special, the cheese was ample, golden, brown and delicious but that crust, it's still the Papa John's crust - it needed to be dressed with that complimentary garlic butter - making this.....  An average pizza.  It was good, don't get me wrong, but nothing wow about it.

20190131_162551It's a nice change of pace pizza if you're craving something a little different in a pie, but I'm giving the Papa John's BBQ Meats Pizza 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It cost me 23.39, including delivery fee + tip and so it wasn't exactly Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly either.  It's not a repeat buy.  I'd rather spend around $9 for a smoke house style burger and fries.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 

 


Food Review: Schlotzsky's Spicy Brisket Flatbread

By Mike Thayer

I recently wrote about what to look forward to in 2019 from fast food.  Trending, are smokehouse/steakhouse style burgers and sandwiches and the meat of the year is predicted to be brisket.

Consumers are clamoring for something more, creations beyond the ordinary realm of classic burger and sandwich flavors.  People want smokey, they desire more than just ketchup and mustard, folks are calling for cheeses with deeper flavors and buns with a little more tease than run-of-the-mill sesame seeds.  And it's no different when it comes to other meat on bread options, a.k.a., pizza, consumers are looking for more, something beyond the traditional flavors.

20190129_185212So today for dinner - and in a non-burger mood - I went to Schlotzsky's to check out their Spicy Brisket Flatbread. 

Here's the description from the website:

Hickory-smoked brisket with Swiss cheese, basil pesto, jalapeño chips, Schlotzsky’s hot sauce, blue cheese dressing and basil. Served on artisan flatbread.

Sounds good right?  And it is.  All the flavors Schlotzsky's puts together in this flatbread presentation are on point.  The brisket was seasoned nicely, it's tender and pairs well with the Swiss cheese.  The combination of the basil pesto, blue cheese dressing and hot sauce dances on the tongue, the jalapeno chips provide a nice texture element and that flatbread was baked to perfection.  Whoever crafted this concept knew how to partner flavor pairings.  And I even got a bonus in my carry-out order, they opened up a bag of their house jalapeno chips in the preparation of this sandwich - I got to keep the remainder of the bag with my order!

20190129_185236My only problem with this 'meal' is that it's not enough.  While the flavors are there and overall it's a nice flavor profile presentation, it's more of a 'light lunch' kind of thing rather than a hearty meal.  The flatbread - while tasty - is on the thin side and the portion of brisket is less-than-generous.  You don't get brisket in every bite.  That's kind of Schlotzsky's M.O., less-than-stellar on the meat portion, which is unfortunate. 

So that begs the question:  "Is this a repeat buy?"

No.  While the flavors were good, the meat portion was disappointing and so I'd rather dole out the $7.99 I spent on this flatbread on something else, somewhere else. 

20190129_185345The Schlotzsky's Spicy Brisket Flatbread gets 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Yes, the price is actually wallet friendly, but when it comes to spending $8 on something with brisket in it?  I'd rather have something a little heartier, a little more filling, something belch worthy, you know what I mean?

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Food Review: Firehouse Subs Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket

By Mike Thayer

I recently wrote about what to look forward to in 2019 from fast food.  Trending, are smokehouse/steakhouse style burgers and sandwiches and the meat of the year is predicted to be brisket.

Consumers are clamoring for something more, creations beyond the ordinary realm of classic burger and sandwich flavors.  People want smokey, they desire more than just ketchup and mustard, folks are calling for cheeses with deeper flavors and buns with a little more tease than run-of-the-mill sesame seeds.  And it's no different when it comes to other meat on bread options, a.k.a., pizza, consumers are looking for more, something beyond the traditional flavors.

20190124_120240So today I went to Firehouse Subs to check out their Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket Sandwich.

Here's the description from the website:  USDA Choice beef brisket smoked for up to 16 hours, melted cheddar, mayo, and Sweet Baby Ray’s® BBQ Sauce.

The description is short and to the point.  Brisket is a tough cut of meat, but when done up right, it packs a lot of flavor!  And when it comes to grading meat, know that a 'Choice' cut is NOT as good as a 'Prime' cut of meat.  Don't get me wrong, Choice is still a quality meat, it just has less fat marbling (flavor) than Prime.   A 'Choice' cut in general will be less tender, not as juicy and have a slightly more coarse texture than a 'Prime' cut.  But here's the dirty little secret, when prepared correctly, you can't tell the difference between a Choice cut of brisket and a Prime cut of brisket, especially in a sandwich. 

20190124_120457Firehouse knows exactly what they're doing in prepping their brisket.  It was tender, seasoned well, delicious and generous in portion.  In fact, it was falling out of the bun in portion.....  And while the Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce is a fairly standard sauce across the Fast Food Spectrum (a lot of restaurants use it and there's nothing special about it), but it's a good pairing with the mayonnaise, providing a nice creamy finish.  The toasted bun was on point and overall I enjoyed every bite of this sandwich.  The only knock I've got on it is the cheddar cheese.   While I did get the cheese note in the sandwich, it was a tease of cheddar.  I wanted more. 

I purchased my large sandwich for $11.28, a bit pricey but the flavor was there.  The Firehouse Subs Beef & Cheddar Brisket Sandwich gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's not exactly Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly but it is a repeat buy.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Starbucks Delivers expands in U.S. powered by Uber Eats

Delivery service begins today in San Francisco, will expand to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

Starbucks U.S. expansion joins delivery initiatives in China, Japan, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, tapping into global $95 billion online food delivery market*

Further international expansion of Starbucks Delivers anticipated in 2019, including upcoming pilot with Uber Eats in the United Kingdom

SEATTLE – Today, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced the expansion of its successful Starbucks Delivers pilot to an additional six cities across the United States. The expansion, in partnership with Uber Eats, begins today in San Francisco, the first of six new markets to offer the service to customers. Following an initial test in Miami, the company remains on track to bring Starbucks Delivers to nearly one-quarter of U.S. company-operated stores, with planned expansion to select stores in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks. In total, Starbucks Delivers will be available in seven U.S. cities this spring.

The U.S. expansion of Starbucks Delivers follows success of the test in Miami that began in fall of 2018. The test, also powered by Uber Eats, saw strong demand, including repeat business throughout the day and positive feedback from customers. This expansion coincides with the kickoff of a new pilot, due to begin later this month, which will see London chosen as the first European city to trial Starbucks Delivers, powered by Uber Eats.

Business Opportunity and Uber Eats Partnership

Uber Eats Delivery
 

The partnership with Uber Eats brings together the fastest growing meal delivery service in the U.S. with one of the largest food and beverage retailers. Starbucks will leverage Uber’s expertise as a quick and reliable delivery provider that is already well-established in offering customers a premier experience in a growing mobile and on-demand economy. The partnership will also allow Starbucks to reach new customers who are using the Uber Eats platform, as well as offer existing customers a new method for including Starbucks in their daily routines.

“We know we have untapped customer demand for Starbucks Delivers in the U.S. and starting today, we’re expanding our best-in-class experience to our customers both in and out of our stores,” said Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks. “We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us.”

The global online food delivery market currently represents a $95 billion opportunity and is projected to grow by more than 11 percent annually through 2023*. Starbucks now offers delivery service in eleven of the company’s global markets and expects to trial delivery pilots in other countries this year.

The Ultimate Convenience  

Customers will be able to access Starbucks Delivers through the Uber Eats mobile app, available on iOS and Android devices. Key features of the Starbucks Delivers experience include:

  • Quick, Reliable Delivery: Powered by the Uber Eats platform, customers can follow orders within the mobile app, tracking progress and location of their Uber courier to ensure proper delivery of their food and beverage items within 30 minutes. Starbucks has also developed packaging solutions to help ensure the quality of hot and cold menu items.
  • Customization: With approximately 95% of core menu items available directly from the Starbucks menu, customers will be able to customize their orders just as they would when ordering on Starbucks® mobile apps. Delivery orders will come with an initial $2.49 booking fee.

“At Uber Eats, we’re always looking for new ways to offer people the widest selection of food they love. That’s why we’re so excited to deliver Starbucks fans their favorite food and beverages in a way that’s as easy as requesting a ride,” said Jason Droege, Vice President and Head of UberEverything. “Be it breakfast delivered straight to the soccer field or afternoon lattés to the office, we know this partnership will delight our customers.”

Global Expansion of Delivery

Starbucks Delivers represents the next evolution of the company’s approach to delivery and expanding its digital relationships with customers. In addition to the pilot in Miami and a pilot in the Empire State Building, Starbucks previously tested delivery in Seattle in 2015 for members of the company’s Starbucks Rewards loyalty program. Since that time, the industry has seen a significant increase in demand for food and beverage delivery.

Starbucks Delivers was first announced in August 2018 in China through a partnership with Alibaba and on-demand food delivery service Ele.me. By the end of 2018, delivery services had expanded to 2,000 stores across 30 cities in China, while also being introduced to select stores in Tokyo and Miami. The limited pilot in London will be the first of its kind for Starbucks in Europe and will see a small number of company-operated stores to test and learn from the experience as it looks to scale this option to licensees. Additional global markets with delivery initiatives include India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

*Source: Statista (2009), eServices Report 2019 - Online Food Delivery


About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 29,000 stores around the globe, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit our stores or online at news.starbucks.com and Starbucks.com.

About Uber Eats

Uber Eats is an on-demand food delivery app and website that helps bring millions of people around the world the food they want, at the tap of a button. We partner with over 200,000 restaurants in 350 markets across 36 countries and six continents to offer meals for every taste and occasion. From specialty local favorites to everyday national brand names, Uber Eats offers millions of dishes, reliably delivered fast and fresh in as little as 30 minutes. 


Taco Bell Announces Return of Nacho Fries

By Mike Thayer

Taco Bell Nacho FriesBeginning January 24, Taco Bell is bringing back their Nacho Fries for a limited time.....  Which is probably a good thing because "Nacho Fries" ain't all that.....  They flat out don't live up to all the hype in my humble opinion.

This is the third time Taco Bell has put this item on its menu.  The fries first appeared on the menu in late January 2018 and the company boasted of big sales for the new offering, saying roughly 7,000 Taco Bell restaurants sold more than 53 million Nacho Fries in the first five weeks.  I chalk those numbers up to curiosity for the most part.  The fries were listed on the restaurant's Dollar Menu, but they pulled it soon after that brief unveil.  Hmmmm.....   Taco Bell then put it back on the menu in sort of a McRib fashion in July...... for a limited time and for $1.29, not a buck.  The company didn't boast of the sales numbers in that second release.  

They'll cost you $1.29 this go-around too, as Taco Bell has retooled it's now defunct Dollar Menu, which is now called the Cravings Value Menu, a menu featuring 20-plus items ranging in price from $1 to $5.

Here's my take on these fries: 

Bachelor on the Cheap Food Review: Taco Bell's Nacho Fries

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Get a Toll Pass

By Mike Thayer

Toll RoadsSo you're cruising down the Interstate needing to go somewhere 200 miles away, you're making good time when your progress gets slowed by a stop at a toll booth....  UGH!  Having to stop is a bit of a pain, sometimes there's a line of cars and trucks, more pain....  Stop to get the paper ticket when going on the toll road, stop to take cash out of the wallet to hand over to the attendant when getting off the toll road.....  And then there are the times when you arrive at an automated toll booth, you unknowingly got in the "Exact Change" lane and don't have exact change....   Ooops!  Or then there's the credit card payment processor isn't working in the lane you're in or the person ahead of you doesn't know how to use it right.....  More UGH moments.

Whether you travel on toll roads a lot or just once in awhile, get a toll pass, it's worth it.

Benefits:

  • Most tollway tag enrollment plans are free, there's no account or setup fee.
  • There's no stopping to get that paper ticket, no stopping to pay, just drive right on through.
  • You actually pay less in tolls.  Most tollway/turnpike pass programs offer a discounted toll rate for people that have passes. 
  • Most tollway/turnpike pass programs give you the flexibility of having the toll automatically deducted from your bank account or the option to receive a monthly statement.

Save yourself both time and money by getting a toll pass. 

$pend Wisely My Friends.....


Man, That’s Good – Celebrating 30 Years

To kick off its 30th anniversary, Goodcents debuted a new commercial today featuring Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes titled ‘Man, That’s Good’. The inspirational video addresses the sentiment that ‘Good things don’t come easy’. It showcases four individuals working hard to be good at what they do across Kansas City, including Mahomes training in the gym, a teacher with her students, a young baseball player, and a Goodcents employee baking fresh bread and slicing fresh meats.

“2019 is a special year for Goodcents as we celebrate 30 years since we were born and ‘bread’ right here in Kansas City,” said Mike O’Toole, Goodcents Chief Growth and Support Officer. “We couldn’t be more excited to work together with Patrick as he perfectly represents our Kansas City pride and our dedication to hard work and consistency.”

Goodcents was founded by Joe Bisogno in 1989 and has become one of the leading sub sandwich franchises with more than 70 locations across the U.S., with more than 33 locations locally around the Kansas City area.

For more information or to find a Goodcents location near you, visit goodcentssubs.com.


FIREHOUSE SUBS BRINGS THE HEAT WITH NEW SPICY CAJUN CHICKEN SUB

Fhs_cajunchickenTo kick off Firehouse Subs’ 25th anniversary year, the brand debuts its latest result of menu innovation, the Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub. Available now for a limited time in all U.S. and Puerto Rico restaurants*, this sub is a hearty serving of Cajun-seasoned grilled chicken breast with zesty cherry peppers, melted Pepper Jack cheese and house-made Cajun mayo, served steaming hot on Firehouse Subs’ signature toasted sub roll, available in white or wheat.

At $5.55 for a medium Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub**, Firehouse Subs guests can enjoy the brand’s newest menu item at an affordable price that delivers the unmatched quality, portions and flavor they expect and enjoy. Additionally, guests can make their sub a combo with the return of the guest-favorite Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked Farmhouse White Cheddar chips, also available for a limited time.

“The Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub includes bold flavors in a recipe unique to our brand that we are proud to debut during this milestone year for us,” said Firehouse Subs Director of Product Development Jay Miller. “We look forward to unveiling innovative new offerings for our guests this year, starting with this sub packed with Cajun spice and zesty medium heat.”

Want to turn the spice-level of your sub up a notch? Ask a team member at your local Firehouse Subs to help customize your sub by adding more cherry peppers. Additionally, each restaurant offers an assortment of 25+ complimentary hot sauces, ranked on a heat-scale of 1-10, including Captain Sorensen’s® Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, named in honor of the founding brothers’ father, Rob Sorensen, a 43-year retired fire captain.

To find your nearest Firehouse Subs location, to see if the Spicy Cajun Chicken Sub is available via third-party delivery, or to have your sub ready for pickup at the Rapid Rescue To Go station, visit www.firehousesubs.com or download the Firehouse Rewards app. 

*Excludes Firehouse Subs restaurants in Canada, airports and universities.

**Prices in Alaska may differ.


FredHead Feed: 8 Delicious Menu Items That Can Be Ordered as a Lettuce Wrap at Freddy’s

Freddy's Lettuce WrapLettuce, lettuce, lettuce . . . the new thing! Ok, well, not so new, but a great alternative to helping maintain a balanced lifestyle.

Check out all these Freddy’s favorites that can be wrapped in lettuce.

  • Original Double (or make it a triple!)

    *Add bacon!

  • Bacon & Cheese Double Steakburger (or make it a triple!)

  • Double Steakburger California Style (or make it a triple!)

    *Add bacon!

  • Original Double Patty Melt (or make it a triple!)

    *Add bacon!

  • Grilled chicken

    *Add bacon!

  • Crispy Chicken

  • Spicy Chicken

  • Veggie burger

*Oh and did we say “ADD BACON?” Yum!

Eating Keto, Paleo, Whole 30 or low-carb? We can help with that too – order a delicious steakburger or grilled chicken sandwich, ask for it as a lettuce wrap, add bacon and/or cheese (depending on your eating habits of choice), or if you are looking to spice it up a bit add jalapeños and enjoy! Check out a complete list of our nutrition information here.


TACOS WITH A SIDE OF PURPOSE – TACO BELL® UNVEILS NEW 2019 U.S. COMMITMENTS