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Braum's Bacon Mushroom Swiss Crispy Chicken Sandwich is a winner, winner, chicken dinner

Braum's Bacon Mushroom Swiss SpecialsBy Mike Thayer

For a limited time, Braum's has brought back their lineup of Bacon, Mushroom & Swiss sandwiches.

I didn't take advantage of these offerings last time around and regretted it, so hearing they were back on the menu, I jumped on the chance for a Sunday night dinner.

Braum's gives you a choice of grilled chicken, a juicy burger or crispy chicken to go with mushrooms seasoned and marinated to perfection, crisp strips of bacon and real swiss cheese, complimented by lettuce, tomato and onion. 

I went with the Crispy Chicken Bacon Mushroom Swiss Sandwich....  That's a mouthful to say and a mouthful to enjoy!

Braum's Crispy Chicken Bacon Mushroom SwissMy sandwich was loaded with flavor! The chicken was perfectly prepared, I got that good crunch on the outside and juicy, tender, nicely seasoned breast meat in every bite.  The portion of bacon was generous, the marinated mushrooms were spot on and that Swiss cheese is a perfect pairing for this sandwich.  Complimenting it all was the classic combination of fresh onion, lettuce and tomato all presented nicely on a toasted sesame seed bun.   One thing you can say about Braum's, they care about having fresh veggies. The only knock I have on this sandwich was that some of the bacon was slightly overdone, one slice in particular being a bit dark and having that slightly bitter taste.  After removing that half-slice, the sandwich was quite good, mouthwatering good. 

Braum's Crispy ChickenI paid $8.27 for the Crispy Chicken Bacon Mushroom Swiss Sandwich, which included a large order of fries (crinkle cut fries, YUM!) and a drink.   This sandwich is definitely worth a repeat buy and I look forward to sampling the burger and grilled chicken options. I'm giving this Braum's limited time offering 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. 

4 stars

The Braum's visited on this occasion is located at 1261 S. Rock Rd., Wichita, KS. 67207.

The service was courteous and I was in and out with my to-go order in about 5 minutes.

 


Food Review: Real Food From The Ground Up Cauliflower Tortilla Chips

By Mike Thayer

Cauliflower Tortilla ChipsTouted as a healthier chip alternative, a company called Real Food From The Ground Up makes a Sea Salt Tortilla Chip that's pretty darn tasty.

The company calls it a cauliflower chip, even though cauliflower is listed as the second vegetable ingredient behind cassava and there is a laundry list of other veggie ingredients.  I suppose it's a marketing thing, picking up on the cauliflower trend and far more people are familiar with it, than they are cassava.  What is cassava?  It's a root vegetable native to South America.

Here's the full list of ingredients:  cassava, organic sunflower oil, cauliflower, chia seed, sea salt, vegetable blend (spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, shiitake mushrooms), garlic, parsley, celery seed.

Sounds healthy, right?

The chips are indeed tasty and they hold up well to dipping in salsa.  I tasted them by themselves, with salsa, I used them to make nachos.  They do well in any classic tortilla chip preparation.

But are they really a healthier chip?

Not really.  A serving of these "cauliflower" chips actually have more carbs than many traditional chips at 19 grams.  Classic Lays potato chips come in at 15 grams, Fritos have 16 grams and Doritos also have 16 grams of carbs.  Cauliflower is indeed a low carb veggie, but there's the marketing manipulation by this company, all those other ingredients in that "cauliflower" chip drives up the carb count.  So don't buy this chip thinking you're eating a low carb alternative because you won't be.  And while the fat gram count is a bit lower at 6 grams vs. 10 grams in a traditional chip, other metrics such as sodium, sugar and dietary fiber are only marginally better or are in the same amount as regular chips.

Cauliflower Tortilla chipCosting me $5.99 for a 4.5 ounce bag, it's a pricey bag of chips and a small bag at that.  If you're a vegan, you'll be glad to know these are certified vegan, but real chip lovers could care less.  These chips are also certified gluten free, but there's more marketing gimmick, most potato and corn chips are gluten free.  Gluten is a wheat, rye and barley thing, not a potato or corn chip thing.  Overall, these chips score well on flavor and crunch, but they are NOT Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly so I'm giving Real Food From The Ground Up Cauliflower Tortilla Chips 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  They are not worthy of a repeat buy.  I'd rather get a much bigger bag of tortilla chips for less money and no marketing b.s.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 

 


Subway makes a better brisket sandwich than Hog Wild Pit BBQ

By Mike Thayer

In the battle of brisket sandwiches, it's Subway vs. Hog Wild Pit BBQ

Subway Pit-Smoke Brisket SandwichI'm not a fan of either one of these places, each can be dubbed as the "McDonald's" of their niche offerings.  Subway is the "McDonald's" of sub sandwiches, very convenient and available, but most everything on the menu is "eh".... it's average food at best. Hog Wild Pit BBQ - a regional chain - is the "McDonald's" of BBQ, they have a lot of locations in my neck of the woods, they are convenient for when you're in the mood for BBQ, but it's very average BBQ at best. 

I was motivated to write this particular article because:

  1. I'm a foodie 
  2. I'm a fan of BBQ and out of sheer curiosity I just had to try Subway's version of a brisket sandwich.  C'mon, a sub shop that supposedly pit-smokes brisket for 13 hours?
  3. After sampling Subway's sandwich, I concluded that while there was nothing "Wow!" about the sandwich, it was still better than the brisket sandwich made by Hog Wild Pit BBQ!

For a limited time - through November 7th - Subway has finally jumped on the brisket train of popularity by offering what they call a Pit-Smoked Brisket Sandwich.  My review of the sandwich can be read here.   To sum, the brisket was under seasoned and didn't give you the smoke flavor you're looking for in something supposedly smoked for 13 hours.  And while it wasn't a great sandwich, it wasn't bad either and it dawned on me while eating it and pondering the review write-up, that it was better than what Hog Wild offers!

So in the name of "Food Science" I went across the street from my neighborhood Subway and purchased a brisket sandwich combo from Hog Wild (sandwich, side, drink).  I got a side of mac & cheese and a lemonade.  As previously stated, I'm not a fan of Hog Wild, previous reviews can be read here and here.    And it was confirmed:  What I was thinking in eating the Subway brisket sandwich was true, Hog Wild's brisket sandwich is inferior - and they're a bbq joint!

Subway Brisket Sandwich Brisket ShotThe Subway brisket sandwich cost $6.99 for a 6 inch sandwich. That's just for the sandwich, I didn't get chips or a drink.  That's a higher price than Hog Wild, but you do get your choice of bread and how you can doctor up your sandwich with a variety of toppings which in my case was smoked cheddar, red onions, pickles and some mustard to accompany the bbq sauce.  In the price comparison, the Hog Wild brisket sandwich as a value meal cost $6.49.  It's not something you can really doctor up though, pretty much served as is, coming with a standard bun, brisket, some sauce, no frills.  I did go to the drink/condiment service area and picked up some pickles for the sandwich.  The only plus for Hog Wild, the meal does come with that choice of side and a drink.  Their mac & cheese isn't bad. 

But here's what makes the Subway Sandwich better than Hog Wild (and that's not saying much)....  Not only is the Subway sandwich a much larger sandwich, despite the brisket being under seasoned, it was tender meat and how you can doctor up the sandwich makes up for the lack of some smoky flavor.  Subway also slices their brisket, a HUGE plus over what Hog Wild does, which is to pull/shred the brisket.   In my book, that's a BBQ crime.  Modern brisket sandwich making is SLICED.  And you have to wonder if you're getting 100% brisket in that shred, considering what they try to pass off as burnt ends aren't really burnt ends.  The sauces used on the sandwiches were both Kansas City style sauces, on the sweet side, neither sauce being particularly better than the other.  Subway also gets the nod with better bread.

Hog Wild Brisket Sandwich
The no frills, pulled brisket sandwich from Hog Wild. Shredded (a.k.a. pulled)? Really?  In today's bbq world, people want SLICED brisket.

In the battle of brisket sandwiches, Subway vs. Hog Wild:  Subway wins.  Sliced brisket, Italian bread, smoked cheddar, large variety in choice of toppings takes Subway to victory.

If these two restaurants are your only choices for a brisket sandwich, go with Subway.

But don't take that to mean either of these sandwiches are a repeat buy, neither are.  I just thought that it's a sad statement.... that a sub shop can make a better brisket sandwich than a BBQ joint.

This was a fun challenge, but not the tastiest of challenges.

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Food Review: Subway's Pit-Smoked Brisket Sandwich

By Mike Thayer

Subway Pit-Smoke Brisket SandwichFor a limited time - through November 7th - Subway has finally jumped on the brisket train of popularity by offering what they call a Pit-Smoked Brisket Sandwich.

I'm into barbecue, a.k.a., BBQ, especially brisket, so even though it's Subway (I'm not a big fan), I thought I'd give it a shot.

Here's the description of the sandwich from Subway's website: New Pit-Smoked Brisket, naturally smoked for at least 13 hours, topped with smoked cheddar and barbecue sauce.  Layers of smoky flavor in every.single.bite.

Sauntering into my neighborhood Subway a bit after 11am on a Tuesday, there were a few patrons in the joint but no line at the counter.  The sandwich maker asked me what I would like to order and I let him know I was there to try the brisket sandwich, 6 inch, on the advertised Italian bread, with smoked cheddar and toasted.  It didn't take long at all to prepare the sandwich and along with the BBQ sauce it comes with, I added red onion, mustard and pickle. 

I wasn't really expecting to be "wowed" by this sandwich, we are talking Subway after all.....  In my book, Subway is the "McDonald's" of sub sandwiches, very convenient and available, but most everything on the menu is "eh"....  average food at best.  But in taking that first bite, I had to admit, the sandwich exceeded my expectations.  It isn't a bad sandwich, as in, not great, but not bad either.  In fact, Subway makes a better brisket sandwich than the BBQ joint across the street. 

Subway Brisket Sandwich Brisket ShotThe brisket, sliced (as it should be, NOT shredded) was tender but under-seasoned, and while the portion was neither skimpy nor generous, the meat was complimented well by the smoky cheddar, bbq sauce, onions, pickles and mustard.  I added the mustard because, not only is mustard a great pairing with bbq sauce, I added it because a lot of fast food restaurants use sauces that run on the too sweet side of BBQ and mustard helps to offset that sweetness, along with the tartness of the pickle.  That being said, the bbq sauce Subway uses isn't bad either, it is on the sweet side, but not overly so.  All in all, this isn't a bad sandwich, not a disappointment, but probably not something I would buy again.  Subway says there are layers of smoky flavor in every bite.....  Not so much..... The smoked cheddar carries it, but the brisket comes up short, especially for a supposed 13 hours in the pit smoked brisket.   And I would recommend getting the sandwich toasted, which warms up the bread and melts the cheese, but unfortunately doesn't really warm up the brisket, which would make for a better sandwich.  It did satisfy my curiosity though and the fact that Subway actually makes a better brisket sandwich than a regional BBQ joint located across the street, kind of cracked me up!  That doesn't say much for the BBQ joint, right?

Subway Brisket Sandwich inside lookCosting me $6.99 for a 6 inch sandwich, the price is a bit on the high end of what you would pay for a brisket sandwich at a BBQ joint (smaller sandwich, but would also come with a side).  With the brisket lacking in seasoning and the marketing hype of smoked flavor, I'm giving the sandwich 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.   If you don't have a good BBQ joint around, this sandwich isn't a bad alternative, but it's not something you're going to get addicted to.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

Subway Brisket Sandwich Bite

 


Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it AJ's Sports Grill?

By Mike Thayer

Pizza is my favorite food.  Burgers, steaks, lasagna, anything grilled and an assortment of other dishes are high on the list of favorites, but there's nothing quite like a good slice of pizza pie....  That slice of pie has that perfectly baked crust that's flaky/crispy on the outside, but tender and fluffy on the inside.  Then there's the marriage of toppings, the subtle spices of pepperoni and sausage, assorted veggies that are tender-crisp like onion and bell pepper.  The sauce, it's got to be a zesty sauce, providing those notes of garlic and oregano with each bite.  And bringing everything together is a generous portion of melted cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan, perhaps some cheddar or provolone that bubbles up in the oven to golden, brown, deliciousness!

No national chains will be included in this challenge.  Only the local, regional pizza joints qualify.  Besides, Domino's sucks, Little Caesar's really sucks (sucking SO bad they don't even deserve a link) and Papa John's and Pizza Hut are average tasting pizzas at best.  The fact is, the local/regional joints run circles around the national chains in dishing up high quality, great tasting pizza.

During the course of this challenge I'll consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance and of course, the most important thing, TASTE.

AJ's Pizza hot from the kitchen
Looks good, right?

A Monday Night Football taste test:  AJ's Sports Grill  - Located in The Alley on 13th (bowling, go karts, arcade & more)

The pizza 'foundation' for this challenge is a supreme style of pizza - meat and veggie toppings.  In order to do a fair evaluation of all pizza joints, the choice of toppings has to be as similar as possible.  AJ's version of a supreme pizza - They call it the Perfect 300, working that bowling theme  - features the classic supreme style of pizza toppings and a few extras, pork and Italian sausage, pepperoni, beef, Canadian bacon, green pepper, onion, black olive and mushroom.  

I chose AJ's to be a part of this pizza challenge for two reasons, 1.  Their pizza was recommended by a friend, and 2.  It was Monday night and it doesn't get much better than Monday Night Football, cold beer, pizza and two HUGE big screens for easy viewing at the bar.  I entered the place close to 7pm, I was surprised however to see how empty the place was.  A couple tables were taken and just a few patrons were seated at the bar. 

I found a seat with the aforementioned TV view and Erick the bartender was quick to give me the standard "Welcome, and what can I get you to drink" acknowledgement.  I ordered a 20 ounce Miller Lite which was properly poured and set on a coaster in front of me in short order.

Aj's Pizza with grease
The grease reveal.  It even puddled on the fork!  Click to enlarge, you can actually see how 'wet' the crust looks!

That's when the service went downhill.  I viewed the menu that was already sitting there on the bar, then placed it down and waited, and waited, and waited....  When my beer was about two-thirds gone and MNF underway, I finally had to wave the bartender over to place my meal order.  He took my order and went back to what he was preoccupied with, hanging out with what seemed to be a regular, sitting across from me at the bar.

My pizza didn't take long to arrive, Erick setting it in front of me, asking if I wanted Parmesan cheese or pepper flake, as he set a small plate and silverware by my beer.  I went with the Parm and asked Erick for another beer.  Another was poured and I took that first bite of pizza.

Looks are deceiving!  The "Perfect 300" was far from perfect.  It looked pretty on the paddle and while it is loaded with toppings and appeared to be perfectly baked, a closer look revealed that there was too much grease dripping off and I'm thinking that settled in under the crust during the baking process.  Instead of a crispy/flaky on the outside but tender/fluffy/airy on the inside bottom crust, I got a soggy, greasy crust in almost every bite.  It really kind of ruined the whole experience which is a shame, because I got the notes of the meats and veggies, highlighted by the Canadian bacon and tender-crisp green pepper, but that greasy crust just took all the yum out of the pie.  And while the cheese was generous in portion, the sauce was less-than-stellar, no real zest to it.  If it had any garlic or oregano notes, it got lost in the grease and soggy crust.  This little 6 inch "Individual" pizza was a sad entry in the pizza challenge, I've had a better pizza experience buying Red Baron Mini Pizzas and doctoring them up with extra ingredients at home! 

The little 6 inch "Individual" pizza is the smallest pizza I've had so far in this challenge.  The small in other joints is a bigger pizza and costs less.  I paid $8 for this disappointment.  Along with two beers at $4.50 each and non-attentive service - Erick never asked me how my pizza was, I had to ask him if I could order a meal, he didn't offer let alone suggestive sell, and I also had to ask for a second beer -I shelled out $20 I would have rather spent somewhere else.  I'm giving AJ's Sports Grill and their pizza just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.   The pizza is NOT a repeat buy and the place is not worth a repeat visit.

2 stars

The AJ's Sports Grill visited on this occasion is located at: 11413 E. 13th St. N. Wichita, KS 67206 (The Alley)

PH: (316) 636-1991

 

Additional location:  3232 N Rock Rd, Wichita, KS 67226 (Northrock Lanes)

PH: (316) 636-1991

 


Drink Review: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple

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 a 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.

My most recent review was of Royal Crown Peach flavored whiskey.  Good stuff!

Jack Daniel's Tennessee AppleToday's tasting is Jack Daniel's Tennessee Apple.  How will it stack up to my favorite flavored whiskey, Yukon Jack Jacapple?

Released just this week, the new spirit is the classic whiskey mixed with apple liqueur, which in my humble, flavored whiskey opinion is THE best spirit flavor pairing there is.

Here's the description from Jack Daniel's Master Distiller Jeff Arnett.  “Tennessee Apple couples the character of our Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey with the taste of crisp, green apples. It’s like a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.”

And he nailed it.  Sampling the whiskey in a straight shot and on the rocks, it's very clean and does indeed taste like a freshly picked apple in a glass of Jack.   You get a nice apple whiff in the nose, the swirl has enticing color and the swallow is crisp green apple, followed by the rich Jack Daniel's Whiskey boldness in the finish.  This is a very well balanced blend of whiskey and apple, perfectly smooth, nicely done Jack!

Costing me about $14 for a 350ml bottle, this 70 proof offering is priced at the higher end of flavored whiskeys but it's well worth it and is most definitely a repeat buy.  In fact, it may have displaced Yukon Jack Jacapple as my favorite, I'm not sure yet, I may have to do a side-by-side taste test comparison.......

5 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 


Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Po Boy?

By Mike Thayer

Pizza is my favorite food.  Burgers, steaks, lasagna, anything grilled and an assortment of other dishes are high on the list of favorites, but there's nothing quite like a good slice of pizza pie....  That slice of pie has that perfectly baked crust that's flaky/crispy on the outside, but tender and fluffy on the inside.  Then there's the marriage of toppings, the subtle spices of pepperoni and sausage, assorted veggies that are tender-crisp like onion and bell pepper.  The sauce, it's got to be a zesty sauce, providing those notes of garlic and oregano with each bite.  And bringing everything together is a generous portion of melted cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan, perhaps some cheddar or provolone that bubbles up in the oven to golden, brown, deliciousness!

No national chains will be included in this challenge.  Only the local, regional pizza joints qualify.  Besides, Domino's sucks, Little Caesar's really sucks (sucking SO bad they don't even deserve a link) and Papa John's and Pizza Hut are average tasting pizzas at best.  The fact is, the local/regional joints run circles around the national chains in dishing up high quality, great tasting pizza.

During the course of this challenge I'll consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance and of course, the most important thing, TASTE.

A Thursday taste test:  Po Boy Pizza in Wichita

The pizza 'foundation' for this challenge is a supreme style of pizza - meat and veggie toppings.  In order to do a fair evaluation of all pizza joints, the choice of toppings has to be as similar as possible.  Po Boy's version of a supreme pizza - and they call it that, a supreme - features the classic supreme style of pizza toppings, pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, onion, black olive and mushroom.  I was looking forward to this, not only the pizza, but this was also a date night!  I had talked to my date about this pizza challenge and she asked if she could participate.  Boy am I glad she did, this place was her recommendation and she was spot on with it! 

Po Boy's is a classic Mom & Pop shop, there's nothing fancy about it and there are no adult beverages on the menu but that's more than OK, because you can tell their focus is on the real prize, crafting excellent pizzas, sandwiches and pizza rolls.... Yes, pizza rolls!  The mark of a great pizza joint is getting that whiff of pizza parlor when you open the door, I love that smell and Po Boys has it!  The slowly simmering sauce, the oven baking that crust, the combined aromas of meats, cheeses, veggies and spices all working together in harmony to further induce pangs of pizza hunger.

This place has a reputation for making fantastic Pizza Rolls and that's what my date and I both ordered.  I went with the Supreme Pizza Roll, keeping in line with the foundation of ingredients for this challenge.   Enjoying good conversation and sipping on some sodas, it didn't take long at all for our pizza rolls to be delivered to our table.  They looked fantastic, smelled fantastic and I couldn't wait to dig in!  In full disclosure however, I took pictures, I really did, but I was so pleasantly distracted by my date that I didn't take the time to check and see if those pics turned out....  they didn't, they were blurry and in the name of "food science" (a'hem, cough), I am obligated to do the food and the restaurant justice with decent pics.

Po Boy Pizza Rolls
Image courtesy of Po Boy

The pizza rolls not only looked and smelled fantastic, they were indeed delicious!  The Po Boy crust is excellent (an image borrowed from the restaurant's Facebook page on the right and yes, our rolls looked that good), baked to golden, brown perfection, the roll wrapping those Supreme ingredients in a blanket of crispy on the outside, tender flakiness on the inside bite of pizza goodness.  Served with a side of a Mediterranean inspired Marinara, it's kind of food fun, dunking that next bite of roll in the sauce, as much or as little as you like.  The meats and veggies were all good quality ingredients and generous in portion.  Adding to the food fun, the cheese provided that ooey-gooey, stringy pull away look with each bite, I was using my napkin quite a bit. 

Here's how good Po Boy's food is.....  Because my pictures didn't turn out, I returned the next day for lunch, ordering a small Supreme pizza, taking better pics so I could complete this article.   The things I do in the name of "Food Science"....... 

Poor Boy Supreme Pizza
Cheese melted to perfection...

The Po Boy Supreme Pizza is some of the best I've had so far in this challenge.  The crust on both the roll and the traditional pizza is TOP NOTCH!  This is no run-of-the-mill dough, Po Boy puts some flavor in their product.  And while that crust is an awesome, perfectly baked foundation, what put this pizza over-the-top for me was the sauce.  Different from the sauce-on-the-side paired with the roll, the pizza sauce has some zest, delivering big time on the garlic and oregano notes. 

Po Boy Crust
A perfectly baked crust

The small Supreme Pizza cost me $9.50, a very reasonable price for some of the best pizza I've had so far in this challenge.  I'm giving Po Boy Pizza 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, this place is definitely getting a repeat visit.....  Ooops, it already did!   And a tip of the hat to my date, providing the awesome recommendation!  :)

5 stars

Po Boy Pizza is located at:  5619 E Lincoln St, Wichita, KS 67218

PH: 316-687-3737

 


McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich is a poor choice of weapon in Chicken Sandwich war

By Mike Thayer

There's a chicken sandwich war going on in fast food.

Shots fired!  Chick-fil-A made headlines earlier this year becoming the third largest fast food chain.  Popeyes reacted by putting a new chicken sandwich on the menu and consumers went crazy over it, so crazy in fact, Popeyes ran out of ammo. Already armed with a spicy chicken sandwich, Wendy's entered the battlefield by bringing back their spicy chicken nuggets, fans of the item went in a Twitter frenzy.  Showing up late to this war is McDonald's with a 'new' Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders.

McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Typical fast food 'assembly' of a sandwich

Today, I'm reviewing the chicken sandwich:

Here's the description from the McDonald's website:  Our Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich is full of flavor that makes you go “woo!” It's a crispy buttermilk chicken fillet made with juicy all white meat chicken and served with slivered onions, pickles and a mouthwatering, smoky barbecue sauce, all on a sesame seed bun.

A sandwich that makes you go, "Woo!" huh?

OK McDonald's, "Woo!, it's not very good!"

McDonald's has armed themselves with a pea-shooter.

McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich unveilIn taking that first bite, this sandwich is quite, "eh".....  The fillet isn't all that crispy, the barbecue sauce is quite average and not all that smoky or spicy and while there were plenty of slivered onions which I truly appreciated, there weren't near enough pickles on this sandwich.  Pickles are a perfect flavor combination with crispy chicken, they deliver that nice tartness that goes so well with a juicy, but crunchy chicken bite.  Pickles are also a great marriage with barbecue sauce.  I got like three pickles on my sandwich.  This sandwich won't win the chicken sandwich war for McDonald's.  Given how very average this sandwich is, I'm not sure I'll even try their Spicy BBQ Glazed Chicken Tenders.    There's no "Woo!" in what McDonald's put together here.

Costing me $4.50, the McDonald's Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich gets just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The price is reasonable but the sandwich is unremarkable and is NOT a repeat buy.

2 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

 

 

 


Winner, Winner, Taco Bell's Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Dinner

By Mike Thayer

Taco Bell Toasted Cheddar ChalupaUnveiled at participating Taco Bell restaurants on September 12th, this new menu item is being featured in a combo that pairs one Toasted Cheddar Chalupa with two crunch tacos and a drink for $5.

The price is right!

The Toasted Cheddar Chalupa includes seasoned beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and kicking this thing up a notch is 6-month-aged cheddar toasted right into that classic Chalupa shell!  THIS THING ROCKS!  This shell is SO good, I would eat it by itself.  The texture is perfect, giving you a bit of a crunch on the outside, a soft/fluffy quality on the inside and that nice note of aged cheddar with each bite. 

Toasted Cheddar ChalupaI didn't put any sauce on it in taking that first bite, I wanted to see just what kind of flavor this thing had and it did not disappoint.  The seasoned beef, the fresh lettuce, tomato, sour cream, shredded cheese, all classic Taco Bell flavors, but what makes this thing great is that shell!  I couldn't put it down and there was no need to doctor it up with any sauce.  To repeat, it's so good, I would eat the shell by itself.  Completing my dinner were those two crunchy tacos after inhaling the Chalupa.  Now those, got sauced....

Nicely done Taco Bell!  The Toasted Cheddar Chalupa tastes great and gets 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and the combo price of $5 is wallet friendly too! 

OK folks, now get out there and buy yourself a winner, winner Taco Bell Toasted Chalupa dinner!  Tasty, tasty!

5 stars

 


Pizza Challenge Update: Who has the best pizza in the Wichita Metro area? Is it Mulligan's Pub?

By Mike Thayer

Mulligan's PubPizza is my favorite food.  Burgers, steaks, lasagna, anything grilled and an assortment of other dishes are high on the list of favorites, but there's nothing quite like a good slice of pizza pie....  That slice of pie has that perfectly baked crust that's flaky/crispy on the outside, but tender and fluffy on the inside.  Then there's the marriage of toppings, the subtle spices of pepperoni and sausage, assorted veggies that are tender-crisp like onion and bell pepper.  The sauce, it's got to be a zesty sauce, providing those notes of garlic and oregano with each bite.  And bringing everything together is a generous portion of melted cheeses, mozzarella, Parmesan, perhaps some cheddar or provolone that bubbles up in the oven to golden, brown, deliciousness!

No national chains will be included in this challenge.  Only the local, regional pizza joints qualify.  Besides, Domino's sucks, Little Caesar's really sucks (sucking SO bad they don't even deserve a link) and Papa John's and Pizza Hut are average tasting pizzas at best.  The fact is, the local/regional joints run circles around the national chains in dishing up high quality, great tasting pizza.

During the course of this challenge I'll consider customer service, time to order, price, appearance and of course, the most important thing, TASTE.

Mulligan's Pub PizzaToday's taste test:  Mulligan's Pub in Wichita

The pizza 'foundation' for this challenge is a supreme style of pizza - meat and veggie toppings.  In order to do a fair evaluation of all pizza joints, the choice of toppings has to be as similar as possible.  Mulligan's version of a supreme pizza - they call it that, a supreme - features the classic supreme style of pizza toppings plus a few extras, hamburger (not typical), pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, tomato (not typical), onion, black olive and mushroom.  I was looking forward to this, after all, their website boasts of being famous for their "amazing" pizzas!

I arrived at Mulligan's a bit after 6pm on a Tuesday evening.  With only about 13 people in the joint, I found a seat at the bar.

A gentleman who seemed to be the manager welcomed me and asked me what I wanted to drink and I responded with, "A Miller Light please."  He promptly popped the cap off a bottle and gave me a chilled glass to pour it in.  He let me know who my server would be - the bartender - and she provided me a menu.  Sorry, but I didn't catch her name and given how slow her service proved to be, I didn't care to ask.  Henceforth, she's just, "the lady bartender."

I was enjoying that cold Miller Lite, but the menu I had long since put down as a signal I was ready to order was starting to collect dust.  The lady bartender was focused on texting......    When she finally broke from her phone and came over to take my order, I went with the small Supreme Pizza and I thanked her.   She didn't notice that my beer was nearly finished.  

The pizza didn't take long to arrive, it looked good, but I did have to prod the lady bartender for that second beer.  Oh, and I didn't get a fresh chilled glass......  'jus say'n.  Perhaps the lady bartender was fairly new? 

Mulligan's does a classic pizza pie presentation on a thin crust, and it's served on a traditional pan w/spatula at the table. 

Mulligan's Pub Pizza CrustIn taking that first bite, I was disappointed.  This was a below average pizza.  The crust was over-baked and bland with the flavor profile of a saltine cracker.  The toppings, which appeared to be plentiful at first glance, were actually very unbalanced, with veggies overpowering the less-than-generous portions of meat.  Look at how overloaded the diced green pepper is on that pizza, underneath that is a layer of onion, and then the layer of diced tomato, all hiding the skimpy meat portions.  The sausage was nothing to write home about and the few pepperoni slices that can be seen on the edges escaping the over-abundant coverage of the green peppers and onions was unremarkable.   This was more like a veggie pizza, than a true, classic, well-balanced supreme.  And the sauce...., well, it was less-than-stellar too, the pie was under-sauced and like the crust, bland.   It lacked the zesty notes of garlic and oregano you're looking for in a good sauce.  Oh, the cheese was good, but an afterthought.

I spent $20 for a small pizza, two Miller Lites, plus tip.  So the price was reasonable, but the pizza was disappointing and the service really kind of sucked.  I HATE it when a waitress/waiter/bartender asks if you want change back!  I think that's just flat out rude and a server worthy of their apron doesn't need to ask.  I paid as I went on this visit, paying for my first beer and the small pizza with a $20 bill, giving me $5 and some change back....  Then I ordered the second beer.  When I settled up that left $2 and some change which I was perfectly fine leaving on the bar (and if the food/service would have been better I would have pulled a couple more singles out of my wallet to put the tip at 20+%), but the lady bartender asked, "Did you want your change back?"  Shaking my head, I responded, "No, that's OK," while thinking, lady bartender, you didn't even deserve that 10+%.   Hey Mr. Manager, your welcome as I found a seat at the bar was great, but things went downhill after that.  Maybe spend some more time training your bartender on some customer service skills?

I was in and out for my pizza dinner, not wanting to hang around any longer than I had to.  I'm giving Mulligan's Pub Supreme Pizza just 2 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars and neither the pizza or the pub itself are worthy of a repeat!  NOT amazing.

2 stars

Mulligan's Pub is located at:

8343 E 32nd St N, Wichita, KS.

PH: (316) 636-2220