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May 2019

Royal Oak Charcoal - get some while supplies last

Royal Oak Charcoal
What a great deal!

By Mike Thayer

Don't pass up a great deal at Walmart going on this Memorial Day weekend, a twin pack of Royal Oak charcoal for just $8.88.

That's two 18 pound bags of quality charcoal.  There's no better price around and a lot of grill masters actually prefer Royal Oak over Kingsford. 

My trip to Walmart was to pick up a few fishing lures and some plants for my patio garden, but when I saw the stack of Royal Oak and the price.....  In the cart it went.  I was already pretty well stocked on charcoal but you just can't pass up a deal like that!

This "every day low price" has been going on for a bit and who knows how much Royal Oak your local Walmart has on hand....  It's while supplies last I'm sure.


Best Apple Flavored Whiskeys from worst to best

By Mike Thayer

Apple Flavored WhiskeysBlended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.

Apple and whiskey is a great pairing, so good in fact, if you're not into whiskey, you will be if you try just about any apple flavored variety.

Here are the best apple whiskeys, from worst (there's really not a rotten one in the barrel) to the best.  Worst in this case, is more like a "Plan B" kind of thing when you can't find what you were looking for.  Ratings are based on price, availability, notes and the all important tasting.  All whiskeys sampled were served up in a straight shot and on the rocks.

Crown Royal Regal Apple:   This was my least favorite, a.k.a. 'worst' apple flavored whiskey I've sampled.  You definitely get the apple right off the bat in the nose. The swirl and swallow is smooth but almost bordering on being apple forward.  You do get some nice undertones of cinnamon and oak. But the most important thing in what you want in a good flavored whiskey, getting the base whiskey in the finish.  It's there.  Costing around $20 for a 750ml bottle, the price is on the high end of the apple whiskeys, it's Crown after all....  But given the rank of this whiskey, you are paying an extra $4 or $5 bucks just for a name, oh, and a bag.

Piehole Whiskey Apple Pie:  It's not just apple flavored, but apple pie flavored, yes, really. When buying it I feared it might be overly sweet, but it's not. It's got the fruity apple note you expect, but bonus - Piehole kicks things up a notch with a very nicely balanced element of a baked pie, an image of a fresh out-of-the oven pie crust dusted with that touch of cinnamon dances in your head when throwing back a shot of this stuff. This is a very nice flavored whiskey with a smooth, warm finish. No chaser needed, best as a chilled shot, awesome over vanilla ice cream.

Revel Stoke Roasted Apple:   Enjoy this whiskey on the rocks, which is the aficionado thing to do.  The roasted apple notes are in your face in a very good way.  This is a so smooth it's a dangerous kind of smooth flavored whiskey.  It will sneak up on you. 

Jim Beam Apple:  You definitely get the apple sweetness in the nose, the aroma is quite noticeable as soon as the cap comes off the bottle. In the swirl and swallow the apple is pleasantly green apple tart but sweet. You also get the classic Jim Beam warm base bourbon in the finish. This whiskey is done right, with the apple complimenting the whiskey, rather than overpowering it. 

Bird Dog Apple: Of note, this whiskey is 80 proof. Most other flavored whiskeys are 70 proof, so this has a little more 'kick' to it. Bird Dog pretty much delivers on all the description on the company website.  The nose is fruity apple, the color is inviting and you get all as advertised in the swirl and swallow, the cinnamon notes come through. What I like best about Bird Dog is the finish, you get the base bourbon, very enjoyable. 

Yukon Jack Jacapple:  A blended whiskey with apple, spice and other natural flavors, Yukon Jack Jacapple is smoothly delicious. It's got the elements of a great cider, yet it's not too apple forward. There's that definite apple and spice nose when you swirl the glass and you also get those cider notes in the taste, but the finish and this is where Yukon Jack Jacapple is superior to other apple flavored whiskeys - It's a VERY smooooooooth and warm bourbon finish, the best of the apple whiskey barrel.  Serve as a chilled shot, on the rocks or neat.

Coming Soon:  Whiskeys yet to try.....

R&R Apple

Canadian Club Apple

Jack Daniels Apple


Drink Review: Jim Beam Apple Whiskey

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Yukon Jack Jacapple.

I've sampled five different apple flavored whiskeys in my tasting adventures so with that in mind, I've decided to go on an apple flavored whiskey run, to find out just who makes the best apple flavored variety, there are plenty of them out there.....

20190522_191706-1Today's tasting:  Jim Beam Apple Whiskey

As usual, I served this up in a straight shot and on the rocks. You definitely get the apple sweetness in the nose, the aroma is quite noticeable as soon as the cap comes off the bottle.  In the swirl and swallow the apple is pleasantly green apple tart but sweet.  You also get the classic Jim Beam warm base bourbon in the finish.  This whiskey is done right, with the apple complimenting the whiskey, rather than overpowering it.  Best enjoyed as a chilled shot, this whiskey is quite good.  Priced at about $15 for a 70 proof 750ml bottle, Jim Beam Apple Whiskey is reasonable priced and is a repeat buy.  I'm giving it 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's good, but not as good as Yukon Jack Jacapple.

4 stars


Coffee Challenge: Who makes the best hazelnut coffee? Ranking them from worst to first

By Mike Thayer

Cup of coffeeLike so many working stiffs, I've GOT to have my coffee in the morning to get jump started. Traditionally, I'm a Folgers Classic Roast kind of guy and I doctor my coffee with some hazelnut flavored creamer.  So no, I'm NOT a coffee snob.  I don't do the whole beans and a coffee grinder thing, screw that, buying ground coffee works just fine for me.

But in trying to eliminate some sugars from my diet, I've dropped the flavored creamer from my morning routine, switching to real, heavy cream. The various flavored brands of coffee creamer range 5-10 grams of sugar per serving, heavy cream weighs in at 0.1 grams.  But in making that change, my coffee was far less enjoyable. I missed the hazelnut! So during my next visit to the grocery store, I picked up some hazelnut coffee.  On that trip, I picked up a bag of Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut and you can read that review here.  To sum, it was OK, but I enjoyed the way I used to have my coffee, better.  A classic roast + hazelnut coffee creamer is better than the Dunkin' Donuts version of a hazelnut coffee doctored with some simple, heavy cream.  It left me wondering if there wasn't something better out there in a hazelnut grind.  Would such a coffee be Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly, or will I have to settle for something less-than-stellar, something just not as good as how I used to enjoy my cup of Joe? 

Here's the list starting with the worst Hazelnut coffee of the lot.  Figuring into the evaluation was price, aroma, availability and most importantly, taste.

20190214_151341Dunkin': Over-priced and disappointing.  The coffee delivers on the nutty flavor and it's a smooth taste, but I will say the coffee as prepared per the package instructions brews up rather weak. The instructions recommend 1-1/2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water, I recommend two.

20190225_063246Eight O'Clock:  This is good coffee. The medium roast is spot on, the hazelnut notes are there, good aroma, nice finish. The recommended measurement on the bag is 1 - 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water, leaving a little wiggle room for how weak or strong you like your coffee.  It's a good coffee, but not the best coffee.

20190221_074742Folger's:  With Folger's Classic Roast being my traditional go-to coffee, I expected the same reliability in flavor from the hazelnut version. It didn't disappoint.  The hazelnut is obvious, present in both the aroma and flavor.  The grind makes a good cup of coffee.  The directions call for one tablespoon of coffee for every six ounces of water and that's one thing I've always liked about Folger's, they're not bashful with their grind, a scoop is robust and doesn't brew up weak like Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut did. 

Green Mountain CoffeeGreen Mountain: Good coffee but a light roast, so the recommended 1 heaping tablespoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water will brew up a bit weak, you may want to adjust to taste. For a more robust cup of coffee, go with 2 tablespoons. Overall, this is a pleasant hazelnut coffee, not as aromatic as others, but each sip is good nonetheless.

20190222_185535-1Great Value:  This coffee is surprisingly good, delivering on everything in the package description.  All those notes are there and the recommended measurement of 1 heaping tablespoon per 6 ounces of water is spot on.  At just $3.99 for a 12 ounce bag, this coffee is most definitely a repeat buy.  It's better than Dunkin, smoother than Folger's and just a smidgen below......

And the top Hazelnut flavored coffee is......

20190218_064652-1Seattle's Best:  The package calls for a rounded tablespoon per six ounces of water and that is spot on, brewing to the strength I like. The grind was very aromatic in the package, everybody likes to take a deep inhale of coffee from a freshly opened package right? And while brewing you get a nice aromatic whiff permeating through the house. The taste delivers and is on par to how I used to enjoy my coffee, a classic, regular roast with hazelnut flavored creamer.

 

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


McDonald's: Refreshing the All Day Breakfast You Crave, with the All Day Convenience You Love

McDonalds EggMcMuffin FriesSince we introduced All Day Breakfast in 2015, we’ve been committed to offering customers the food they crave, all day long. As we sharpen our focus on reducing complexity in our restaurants and for crew, McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. will refresh their All Day Breakfast menu on a local level to better serve customers after traditional breakfast hours.

Giving local restaurants the ability to select the items they serve for their All Day Breakfast menus means an even better, faster experience for customers, day and night.

Menu changes will allow restaurants to offer the most popular items while also serving delicious food at the speed and convenience our customers expect.

Specifically, local markets will have the flexibility to choose which items they serve and at what times they serve them. For example, markets where McMuffins are most popular would focus on McMuffin sandwiches during All Day Breakfast. If a local market opts to simplify their All Day Breakfast menu, that market can decide to begin at 10:30am local time or continue featuring an expanded All Day Breakfast menu before shifting to customers favorites at 2pm local time, based on what’s best for their restaurants and customers.

Most importantly: 10:30 a.m. is still not the end of breakfast at McDonald’s!

We are proud of our breakfast, and it remains an important driver for long-term growth and momentum. This refresh follows a series of tests to improve kitchen execution and the overall experience for customers by focusing on local customer favorites. It also follows recent moves to further reduce complexity for our restaurants and crew, including simplifying our Late Night Menu and elevating our core and traditional menu items like the Quarter Pounder®.

This refresh may come as early as July and will be finalized by the end of the third quarter of 2019, as local restaurants determine what is best for them.


Chill Out: Wendy's 50¢ Frosty Is Back, Available Now

Wendy's FrostyDUBLIN, Ohio --

WHAT:
Wendy's 50¢ Frosty deal is back and just in time for fans to kick-off summer with a celebratory sweet treat! Whether you're having visions of vanilla or craving a taste of chocolate, Wendy's Frosty fans can snag this summer's coolest deal with just two quarters, for a limited time.

"The 50¢ Frosty offer is a certified fan favorite and we couldn't think of a better way to help our customers kick-off the summer," said Kurt Kane, Wendy's executive vice president, chief concept and marketing officer. "Everyone has their favorite way to enjoy our classic treat and really the only way you can go wrong is by not getting to Wendy's today to take advantage of this amazing deal before it's gone."

While every Wendy's Frosty is served chilled perfection, this deal could melt away soon. Change the way you look at change and get your Frosty fix today.

WHEN:
Wendy's fans can enjoy a small Frosty for just 50¢, available now

WHERE:
Available at participating Wendy's restaurants for a limited time.

HOW:  
Spoon, fry or straw, there's no wrong way to enjoy this classic confection. Just head to your local Wendy's to turn two quarters into a tasty treat!

ABOUT WENDY'S:
Wendy's® was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. Dave built his business on the premise, "Quality is our Recipe®," which remains the guidepost of the Wendy's system. Wendy's is best known for its made-to-order square hamburgers, using fresh, never frozen beef*, freshly-prepared salads with hand-chopped lettuce, and other signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty® dessert. The Wendy's Company (Nasdaq: WEN) is committed to doing the right thing and making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is most visible through the Company's support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and its signature Wendy's Wonderful Kids® program, which seeks to find every child in the North American foster care system a loving, forever home. Today, Wendy's and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across more than 6,700 restaurants worldwide with a vision of becoming the world's most thriving and beloved restaurant brand. For details on franchising, connect with us at www.wendys.com/franchising. Visit www.wendys.com and www.squaredealblog.com for more information and connect with us on Twitter and Instagram using @wendys, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wendys.

*Fresh beef available in the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Canada.

 


Around The World Is Now Around The Corner

 

Worldwide Favorites Lineup

Photo Gallery

McDonald’s Worldwide Favorites Menu is Cleared for Landing in the U.S.

This Summer, U.S. Customers Can Get Their Hands on Four Global Menu Items

It’s for real, or as our friends in the Netherlands would say, “Het is echt!” Pack your taste buds and save room in your travel itinerary for a journey to the nearest McDonald’s next month. We are bringing some of our most popular global menu items to participating restaurants nationwide.

Our food is at the heart of what we do and it connects us to our millions of customers that we serve around the world each day. Beginning June 5, McDonald’s Worldwide Favorites will be touching down at participating U.S. restaurants nationwide for a limited time.

“We know our U.S. customers are curious about McDonald’s international menu items. Because we are always innovating our menu, we are thrilled to leverage our global scale and offer popular flavors from around the world next month,” said Linda VanGosen, McDonald’s Vice President of Menu Innovation. “We are committed to creating everyday feel-good moments for customers no matter what McDonald’s restaurant they walk into anywhere in the world.”

Our American customers will have their pick of four craveable and delicious menu items from several of our international menus including:

Stroopwafel McFlurry (The Netherlands): Our creamy vanilla soft serve, mixed with a rich caramel swirl, featuring authentic chopped Dutch Daelmans Stroopwafel caramel waffle cookie pieces. Cookies and soft serve? Yes please.

Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger (Spain): A quarter pound* of 100 percent fresh beef** topped with thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, smoky McBacon Sauce, real Gouda cheese and slivered onions served on a freshly toasted sesame seed bun.

Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich (Canada): Made with a grilled or crispy all white meat, juicy and tender chicken, the Tomato Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich is topped with tomato & herb sauce, creamy mozzarella cheese, slivered onions, fresh lettuce and sliced Roma tomatoes served on a freshly toasted artisan roll.

Cheesy Bacon Fries (Australia): Look familiar? That’s right, Cheesy Bacon Fries are back! After such a positive customer reaction to Australia’s Cheesy Bacon Fries in the U.S., they’re taking a victory lap. Don’t miss our World Famous Fries topped with real cheddar cheese sauce and chopped Applewood Smoked bacon.

While rotating favorites from around the world are on the menu at McDonald’s global headquarters restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, this marks the first time Worldwide Favorites are featured on U.S. menus nationwide at participating restaurants.

These limited time additions are the latest step in continuing to build a better McDonald’s for our customers. We can’t wait to show customers more of the international celebration we have in store this summer! No passport required.

To learn more about our international offerings, check out our infographic below or download it here.

Worldwide Favorites Infographic


*Weight before cooking 4 oz.

**Available at most restaurants in contiguous US. Not available in Alaska, Hawaii and US Territories.


About McDonald’s USA 
McDonald's USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds.


Food Review: Lime flavored tortilla chips suck

By Mike Thayer

Craving some nachos one night, I stopped at my neighborhood grocery store to pick up some chips and cheese to make one of my all time favorite snacks.

20190414_180000By accident, I picked up a bag of "Lime" flavored tortilla chips.......   Mistake!

Always looking to save a buck or two, I usually buy store brand stuff, in this case Kroger, and they make quality food products.  Don't get me wrong, the quality of these chips were there, they were crispy, good sized chips with minimal breakage in the bag.....  It's just that flavor of lime in the chip, YUCK!

Lime flavored chips and nacho cheese do NOT go together, it's a TERRIBLE combination.  So after eating a few "lime" flavored nachos and hating it.  I broke out the salsa.....  The lime flavored chips were OK with the salsa, it was an improvement over the nacho cheese combo.   But still not satisfied with that, I broke out the knife, sliced open an avocado and whipped up a quick guacamole.

Tortilla Chips
Specs of "lime" flavoring

This was best flavor combo using the lime chips - with guacamole - and in my humble opinion the ONLY way to have lime chips IF you have to eat them.  I'd much rather have plain tortilla chips.  I really didn't even care for the chips without any pairing either, just eating the chips by themselves was unappealing, that lime flavor is just so artificial and "off" putting.

I paid around $2.50 for the bag of Kroger Tortilla Chips with a "Kick of Lime" and they are NOT a repeat buy.  They absolutely suck paired with cheese, they're "eh" paired with salsa and they're just OK with guacamole.  I'll look more closely at the bag to make sure it's simply a plain bag of tortilla chips I'm grabbing next time, because these lime flavored chips get just 1 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.   Lime flavored tortilla chips SUCK!

1 star

 


Wendy's Three New Chicken Sandwiches are Seriously Made to Crave

Wendy's ChickenDUBLIN, Ohio, -- Wendy's recently released the Made to Crave menu – a sandwich line dedicated to unlocking a whole new world of flavors. Now, Wendy's Made to Crave menu is bringing you a new chicken lineup guaranteed to satisfy those craveable taste buds. Introducing three new chicken sandwiches to Wendy's chicken menu: Avocado BLT, S'Awesome Bacon Chicken and Barbecue Chicken.

Made to Crave Chicken sandwiches takes Wendy's core menu that much further, driving more flavor variety to your go-to chicken sandwiches while never sacrificing quality. The best part? The Made to Crave Chicken lineup features each of Wendy's different fillets. We're talking the lightly breaded and specially seasoned homestyle, grilled and for when you want to raise the temperature a bit – spicy. Each sandwich is made with all white meat chicken with no artificial flavors, preservatives or colors from artificial sources.

"After seeing the customer response to our Made to Crave Hamburger lineup, we knew we had to continue the excitement and flavor creativity with chicken," said Kurt Kane, Wendy's Executive Vice President, Chief Concept and Marketing Officer.  "So why settle for basic when you can satisfy your cravings with any undeniably good, every day flavor from our lineup of new Made to Crave Chicken sandwiches."

In 2017, Wendy's made a significant investment in chicken quality which resulted in more tender, juicy and consistently delicious chicken. Building on that, the Avocado BLT, S'Awesome Bacon Chicken and Barbecue Chicken sandwiches are individually crafted and frankly, anything but basic – because let's face it, everyone deserves an upgrade.

  • Avocado BLT: Wendy's is introducing a creamy, fresh and crunchy take on the classic BLT. Made with a grilled chicken fillet, a slice of melted muenster cheese, three strips of Applewood smoked bacon, crisp lettuce, greenhouse-grown tomatoes, creamy avocado, lathered in a buttermilk ranch sauce, all in between a warm and fluffy premium bun. Purchase the Avocado BLT for $5.99.**
  • S'Awesome Bacon Chicken: Reminiscent of its burger counterpart, this sandwich brings those familiar flavors you love to satisfy that chicken craving within. Made with a lightly breaded and specially seasoned Homestyle chicken fillet, a slice of melted muenster cheese, three strips of sizzling Applewood smoked bacon, iceberg lettuce, greenhouse-grown tomatoes, and of course, Wendy's Side of S'Awesome™ sauce, all in between a warm and fluffy premium bun. Purchase the S'Awesome Bacon Chicken Sandwich for $5.49.**
  • Barbecue Chicken: Wendy's has long understood what makes barbecue taste so great, and now, those barbecue flavors have made its way to chicken. The sandwich is complete with a slice of melted muenster cheese, crispy fried onions, three juicy pickles and a spicy chicken fillet to crank that temperature up a notch. To top it off, it's smothered in a sweet and smoky Kansas City-style barbecue sauce that delivers familiar and comforting flavors, making it a top-contender for craveability. Purchase the Barbecue Chicken Sandwich for $5.49.**

To learn more about Wendy's new Made to Crave Chicken line, visit the Square Deal Blog.

About Wendy's

Wendy's® was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. Dave built his business on the premise, "Quality is our Recipe®," which remains the guidepost of the Wendy's system. Wendy's is best known for its made-to-order square hamburgers, using fresh, never frozen beef*, freshly-prepared salads with hand-chopped lettuce, and other signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty® dessert. The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ: WEN) is committed to doing the right thing and making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is most visible through the Company's support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® and its signature Wendy's Wonderful Kids® program, which seeks to find every child in the North American foster care system a loving, forever home. Today, Wendy's and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across more than 6,700 restaurants worldwide with a vision of becoming the world's most thriving and beloved restaurant brand. For details on franchising, connect with us at www.wendys.com/franchising. Visit www.wendys.com and www.squaredealblog.com for more information and connect with us on Twitter and Instagram using @wendys, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wendys.

*Fresh beef available in the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Canada
**Recommended Pricing; Participation may vary.

 


Product Review: Athletic Works Water Shoes

By Mike Thayer

20190501_200310-1Water shoes, a.k.a., aqua socks....  They're great for fishing, they beat any other foot gear when it comes to launching a boat or even if just bank fishing.  If you're stuck on the shoreline, water shoes give you the confident ability to wade out from the bank a bit and extend your casting range.  There's no fear of slipping on rocks and your feet won't feel like two anchors once you step out of the water because water shoes drain and dry so well.

So what kind of water shoes should you buy?

Last year, when taking a fishing vacation, I went cheap and while the shoes I purchased did the job intended, the quality was less-than-stellar.  What I bought amounted to a disposable pair of water shoes.  You can read that review here.

This year I spent a few more bucks and my focus was on buying a pair of shoes with a much thicker sole and hopefully, improved tread life.

I bought a pair of water shoes made by Athletic Works at Walmart for $10.

20190504_072015Athletic Works Water Shoes are easy to slip on and take off, they include a Velcro fastener for a nice, snug fit and most importantly, they're comfortable.  The mesh breathes and dries well and the tread held up nicely to three days of bank fishing, walking on rocky shoreline, on gravel paths, sandy beaches, through some muddy/grassy areas and side trips to town for gas and munchies.   Traction on multiple surfaces was never a concern with these shoes, they're solid.

Athletic Works Water Shoes gets 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They're priced right at $10, comfortable, dry well, and the tread holds up.  This is a quality water shoe at a low price.

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....