In a somewhat puzzling move, Del Taco has rolled out what they are calling a "New Buck & Under" menu. The email I received included this ad with what appear to be all the usual items that are already less than a dollar on their menu:
Upon closer inspection, there are some new items which I can only describe as smaller portions of regular items. For 50 cents you can choose between the Mini Cheddar Quesadilla (a shrunken version of their existing cheese quesadilla), a Value Bean & Cheese Burrito (which I think was the kid's burrito before) and a Regular Taco (which is actually a price increase from 49 cents.)
For 75 cents, you can slap bacon on that Mini Quesadilla, try the Jacked Up Value Bean, Rice & Cheese Burrito (Jack cheese), or a Chipotle Beef Taco.
Rounding out the menu, a buck gets you nothing specific. Instead, they say "starting at $1" (sneaky!) and the listed choices are a Grilled Chicken Taco (up from 99 cents), a 1/2 LB Bean and Cheese Burrito (also up from 99 cents), a Double Beef Classic Burrito (I think this was also 99 cents and was previously just called the classic, if I recall correctly). or a couple of beverages: The Real Strawberry Lemonade or a 30oz Iced Tea.
All in all, nothing to get excited about. We always counted on Del Taco to have a good selection of items for under a dollar. I do feel a bit deceived by the subtle 1-cent markup on some of my favorites like the chicken soft taco and the basic taco. But if these are the prices we will live with this year despite the impact of last year's drought then I am happy.
McDonald's and chicken are at it again. This time, they have packaged their premium strips by wrapping them in a tortilla with some fresh veggies and different sauces and come up with three different varieties of Premium Chicken McWraps. The choices, Chicken & Bacon, Sweet Chili Chicken, and Chicken & Ranch, all use the same base fried chicken strip. I opted for the Chicken & Ranch.
My first impression as I hefted the wrap out of my bag was "Whoa, this thing is heavy." Make no mistake, this is one big-ass chicken wrap. The second thing that struck me was the innovative, almost out-of-our-way packaging that McDonald's devoted to this new set of entrees. The box, which you unzip in the middle like a giant Hot Pocket, is truly unique.
There are little tags on the side to indicate what sandwich you ordered (mine weren't used) and the whole eating experience is very much like the aforementioned Hot Pocket. My only complaint about the handling experience is that the unzipped box reveals about 3/5 of the entire wrap, making for a very top-heavy balancing act when you first dig in.
The ads for this wrap feature nicely sliced chicken strips amongst various fresh veggies. Well, the veggies were there, but the chicken was unsliced, making for gigantic mouthfuls of just chicken every few bites. Still, the toppings, sauce and garden items all tasted fresh and very un-McDonald's. If I wasn't looking at the bag, I'd think this wrap came from somewhere else.
If the other two wraps are as tasty as this one, I think McDonald's has a winner. It would be nice to have a grilled chicken option, but the base offering is strong. Check it out!
Reader Deborah M. provides this reaction to the Carl's Jr. Atlantic Cod sandwich: She says it "Doesn’t really look very appetizing" but it "tastes like a fish sandwich should taste...Has sauce, lettuce and one slice of tomato. No cheese standard; sure you can add."
Deborah was surprised by the caloric content of the grilled fish sandwich though, "Is 420 calories a good reduction for no breading? Did the fat drop down?"
Try it yourself and let us know if you agree.
Last night, my wife and I sampled two of the variations on the Arby's Reuben sandwich. The sandwich comes in both regular and double stacked. The double meat version offers two additional choices: all corned beef or corned beef and turkey.
Both sandwiches arrived in appropriately-labeled wrappers, indicating that while these items are advertised as being available "for a limited time" they might just stick around a bit. My wife had the standard Reuben, sans cheese, while I opted for a double-corned beef version without sauerkraut. Here's my sandwich:
And compare that with hers:
First off, you can clearly see the difference between the regular and double meat. My wife, a big Reuben fan, thought my sandwich more closely approximated the level of meat that one would expect when ordering a Reuben from a deli, which is the way Arby's marketing department has been positioning the sandwich.
Despite the size shortcomings of the regular sandwich, it did live up to taste expectations. The meat was appropriately salty and savory, and the dressing and toppings were in just the right proportions. Also, the marble toast is a nice touch and makes this Reuben different enough from other things you might order at Arby's to make a second trip the same week not feel repetitive.
One beef (pardon the pun) is the price. At $5+ for the regular and $7+ for the double, we are getting into a pricey tier for a fast food restaurant. In fact, our two combos, including my subbing onion rings for fries, rang up at $18 and change. That's Denny's territory.
Nevertheless, the Arby's Reuben is worth checking out. Again, not sure if the "limited time" tag is a tease or a real thing, but if you happen to find yourself nearby and don't want the same old roast beef or Market Fresh item, check it out.
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