Friday, July 29, 2016

Papa John's XL Dual-Layer Pepperoni Pizza

Who you gonna call? No one. It’s 2016: no one calls anyone, anymore. But I DID order the new “Ghostbusters” themed pizza from Papa John’s online. No human interaction, and within 30-40 mins it was at my door.

I’ve been bustin’ ghosts since the 80s, the proof is there. The original Ghostbuster’s movies and cartoon were an important part of my childhood. And I’m excited to see this new one with the LADIES. I guess I’m a little more open-minded than some. But, this pizza made me feel like a SUCKER. There’s nothing Ghostbustery about it. And I pride myself on being one of those free-thinking, not-a-slave-to-marketing types. The box was just a pizza box, not green like ectoplasm, no sweet pictures of them busting a ghost and cramming it into “the trap.”  Nothing. I was immediately disappointed on delivery, simply because this gimmick was just a way to push crappy pizza on people. And Papa Johns isn’t the only side-piece this new Ghostbusters movie has, car insurance commercials, drink commercials, it doesn’t end. Besides, Ghostbuster’s is set in New York City, hello?! A city that never stops talking about how allegedly good it’s pizza is (that’s a rant for another time), nobody is ordering Papa Johns with a pizza shop on every corner. It’s like hearing a Queen song in a car commercial… I died a little bit inside when I got this pizza. 


Now, for the sake of fairness, I have to admit something before writing the rest of this. I don’t even like Papa Johns. I live in Boston, where there are also pizza shops on every corner, and I always opt for mom’n’pop. One of the main reasons for this is that you always spend more on these “fast food pizzas” than you do at a locally owned pizzeria. It’s baffling. This “Ghostbusters” Dual Layer XL Pepperoni pizza is advertised at $12 bucks. Yet somehow, pairing that with a 20oz soda, it comes to $25. If I wanted to spend that much on pizza, I could get top 3 of all-time level pizza. And I’m not picking on Papa Johns here, all those places are exactly the same, Dominos especially. Have you ever ordered from Dominos and not had it be $30? Personally, IF I’m in a spot and need to go with a chain pizza, I’ll go with Pizza Hut or Papa Gino’s… for some reason, they’re just better in their own ways. Now since I’m already a bit biased going in to this, I will list the pros and cons as they pertain to me, and I will let people think for themselves  (ooh scary).

Pros: Though I wouldn’t order it again, I’ve had worse pizza. Aesthetically it looked decent. And I did enjoy the top layer of pepperonis, which are the larger superball sized ones. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to pizza, though I enjoy the odd eclectic or adventurous topping, my go-to will always be pepperoni, and I like when places use the big ones. It was cooked well, and delivered in a timely manner.

Cons: One of my biggest criticisms for pizza chains (Dominos, Papa Johns, Little Ceasars) is their ingredients. It just tastes so bad for you, like chemically. The crust tastes like (and has a hint of a taste of) paper. Even if it’s doughy inside, the outside is a total bummer. The sauce is somehow a combination of bland, sweet, and acidic. It also never tastes fresh, it tastes frozen. Every bite was a disappointing, heartburn inducing, journey of regret. Also the size of it! HOW DARE they call this an “XL” pizza. I seriously wish I’d measured it. I’m 99% sure it’s smaller than a LARGE at Pizza Hut, and if not, it’s certainly no bigger. And at any self-respecting pizza place, it would be a medium. They should call this the “Ghostbuster’s False Advertising Pizza”, each pie comes with a free kick to your inner-child’s nuts.

The biggest disappointment here: the missed opportunity. This is a HUGE nostalgia piece. Where are the collectable glass cups with ghosts and ‘busters on them? Where is the fancy boxes that look like they’ve been slimed? Or all colorful and lazery? WHERE IS THE DAMN PESTO PEPPERONI PIZZA? SOMETHING?! All this pizza did was remind me that things were better when I was 8 years old, and it’s all been downhill from there. Thanks Papa Johns… you just crossed the streams.

Review by Dave James, who currently resides in Cambridge, MA and tames wild horses in his spare time.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MORSEL & Bean in Seattle! The biscuit kings of the Pacific North West!

As I prepare to depart Seattle I decided that I needed to do a review of my absolute favorite place to eat in here. I decided that the criteria to base this on was the place that I've gone to the most and never gotten sick of it once. Well, that place is easily Morsel & Bean in Ballard. They do biscuits, you see. Before I visited them that first time, I didn't really care one way or another about biscuits. But during my daily walks I passed the place and always saw it full of people so naturally I was interested. One day I decided to stroll through the door and my life was never the same. 

Morsel makes their own biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, and excellent coffee drinks. On average they will have their classic Buttermilk, Cheddar Chive and then usually a special flavor. I'm here to tell you this, it doesn't matter what you get, every single thing they offer is fantastic.

Remember Mike? He visited me in Seattle and I brought him to Morsel!
I'm going to tell you about a few of their offerings, but let's start with my absolute favorite. The "Fast Break." Bacon, egg, cheddar, and roasted tomato jam on the biscuit of your choice. I got it on a cheddar chive in this picture here. The biscuit itself is hearty and dense, yet also fluffy and flaky at times. Generous portion of egg and bacon, and then tomato jam. But if you're looking at this one, wondering why that tomato jam looks a little weird, it's because it's not tomato jam at all. It's bacon jam. Listen, if you don't know about bacon jam, at this point, you need to go spend a few minutes on Google educating yourself. Bacon jam comes in many different styles, I honestly have never had two that were the same, but I have liked them all. That being said, Morsel makes the best bacon jam I have ever tasted, hands down. 

I can't tell you what's in it besides bacon, but i can tell you it's delicious, sweet and has a nice spicy bite to it. Not only do I get it every time I visit Morsel, but most times I even get an extra side of Bacon jam to use later in the week. So believe me, while the tomato jam is good on the Fast Break, bacon jam takes it to the next level. 

Now if you're in the biscuit game already and bacon jam alone doesn't get you where you need to be, might I suggest adding some of their maple butter to the Fast Break in addition to the bacon jam. Gives it that burst of sweet maple flavor before the burn creeps in. Seriously, this is just about one of the most delicious things you will ever eat on planet Earth. 

Not sure the usual breakfast sandwich is quite what you're looking for? Perhaps try the Cheesy Biscuit. It's an open face biscuit topped with roasted garlic butter, Beechers Cheese Curds, and roasted tomato jam. Again, this is one amazing sandwich, but folks, when you're going head to head, bacon vs tomato, bacon is going to take it ten out of ten times. This sandwich is buttery garlic goodness. The melty cheese curds are creamy and burst with flavor. Pro tip, you can add crumbled bacon to this one if you're looking to roll like the FGFB crew. If a sandwich doesn't have Bacon squared, you probably aren't doing it right. 

But listen, I know there are some weird mutant freaks out there in the world who don't like bacon. It's a big crazy world and we're all different. For those of you, if you're looking to try something different on your Cheesy Biscuit, I suggest Morsels own Apple Butter. It's a sweet and savory treat that tastes like something way to fancy for me to be eating while watching Rick and Morty in my underwear on a Saturday.

While we're talking Apple Butter, one of the dudes at Morsel also introIduced me to putting it into lemonade. When he first suggested it, I recoiled as if he had suggested pouring battery acid into it. Which, a moment later made no sense whatsoever. He assured me it was incredible so I tried it and let me tell you, it's a summer drink you never thought of, but should have. The cinnamon & sugar in the apple butter makes for a nice swirl and the apple pulp you suck up through your straw gives the lemonade a whole new life.

Looking for something a little more tart? Give their Strawberry Balsamic Jam a try. I would usually get a Fast Break and then also get another biscuit with a side of this stuff. It's incredibly flavorful, in fact, most times if I don't use it all on the biscuit, I will just eat the rest. Big chunks of strawberries too. The "fixins" also include classics like Honey Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, and Herbed Goat cheese. But if you want to know my runner up behind the bacon jam, it's something I never knew existed before I hit up Morsel. FIG HONEY. It's just honey with fig chunks in it. It has also joined the ranks of one that I get an extra side of to use later in the week. Give it a try for sure!

They whip up all manner of fancy coffee drinks, hot chocolate, and Chai Lattes. As well as cold brew coffee, juices and much more. But you know what else they have? An awesome staff. The crew in their Ballard location are always friendly and incredibly nice. Even on a Saturday morning when the line is thirty people long, out the door and down the sidewalk. As someone who came to this city not knowing anyone, I found it really refreshing how friendly they were, because it's not always that way out here! The mood in the place is always upbeat and fast paced, but they never shy away from great customer service.

If you want one last indication of how much I loved this place, I hate waiting in lines and nine times out of ten if there was a line of thirty people before me, just about anywhere, I would bail on it and leave. I've waited in the line at Morsel on a Saturday morning when I thought I was going to beat the lines and go early. Guess what? Other people were way more dedicated to that plan. But I waited. Not just once, I waited in a line like that multiple times and didn't even worry about it once. And I'd do it again. It's that damn good. 

I'm giving Morsel an A+. Before them, I never knew that biscuits could be more than those powdery fake butter tasting ones that KFC deals out. It was always fun to try their flavor of the day, but even on the days when I went late and they didn't have any of those left, I was never disappointed, because the buttermilk are that damn good. Greatest Bacon Jam on Earth, and awesome staff, this place has it all. If you live in Seattle and haven't been, make the trip. If you visit Seattle and you're snapping selfies by the Fremont Troll, take a quick detour to Morsel. If you've never thought of visiting Seattle, well...Morsel is reason alone. I think that just about gets my point across.  

For more info on Morsel & Bean, check out their website!

Review by Rich Brunelle, who has written his last food review in Seattle for the time being. But that doesn't mean he doesn't still have a few Seattle reviews to send out when he gets back to the East Coast.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jack in the Box: Sriracha Curly Fry Burger Munchie Meal with a side of Panko Onion rings!

If there's one thing Jack in the Box knows about, it's that sometimes, late at night, people find one reason or another to need to chow down on junk food.  Sometimes it's due to late night cravings after following a strict diet for weeks. Other times it's because you're on the way back from a night of partying and need a belly full of fried to soak up all that beer. Or, you just plain have the munchies, and in this wonderful state of Washington where some things are more legal than in other places, that can happen quite often. 

Not to mention this is Microsoft ground zero, and gamers need late night junk food more than possibly anyone on the planet. What other fuel can carry them into that 14th hour straight of Rocket League?

Very often in these times, the people searching for this food have a hard time making up their minds, so Jack in the Box made it easy for them. Munchie Meals. One box, loaded with everything you could possibly need to put that late night hunger beast at bay. Today we check out the Jack in the Box Sriracha Curly Fry Burger Munchie Meal!

So I hit up a local Jack in the Box, rolled up to their drive through window and ordered this box of insanity, but then I spied those Panko Onion rings I have heard so much about, so I got an order of those too. All in a days work. But what exactly is in this Late Night Munchie Meal?

First up, you get your fountain drink. It's from one of those fancy new machines where you can add flavors to every kind of soda pop you can think of. I'll never complain about those machines because they are a fat mans vision of the future. I can pop some vanilla in root beer and make it instantly better? Or some strawberry flavor in my Sprite? DONE DEAL. Then, you also get two tacos.

I'm going to be honest with you. When I unwrapped this taco I tried to tell myself that there might be some way that it's at least passable. That a taco made at Jack in the Box might somehow at least be halfway decent. It's not. They are so bad on every level. I strolled into this wanting to give a glowing review but the first thing I take out is just...bad. The shell is like a soggy wad of cardboard that someone threw some strange meat, a few strips of lettuce and a third of a bottle of hot sauce into.

I finished this first one. It was my duty as a food blogger. However, I will let you know, one bite into the second one it met it's untimely end by plunging into the trash can But then I helped myself to a few curly fries, which were actually really good despite being thrown into this box without any sort of packaging at all. There are regular fries mixed in there too and they were also great. Cooked just right. They refer to this mix-up as "Halfsie Fries." I approve because I do often find myself having a hard time deciding between the two.

Then there's the main event. The Sriracha Curly Fry Burger. A cheeseburger topped with curly fries and a creamy Sriracha sauce. The picture of it on the display promoting it made it look like it was no less than eight inches thick, with at least as many fries pouring out of it as there are inside the box around it. Real life, it was a little different looking...

The tacos brought me down. The fries brought me back up. One look at this sad little burger and I felt like the Munchie Meal may have failed me. But then I took a bite...

And I was reminded that I should never judge a book by it's cover. This burger was actually really tasty! The bun was really fresh and chewy and the fries on the burger were still hot and crispy. The cheese made a nice creamy layer between the Sriracha sauce and the fries, keeping them fresh for longer. Someone up there in Jack in the Box HQ was really thinking when they put this together.

The burger ended up being a good time. There were lots of flavors and textures coming together that I really enjoyed. Curly fries on a burger should become a normal thing. If I had to deal out one piece of advice to the folks at Jack in the Box, it would be to abandon the tacos completely. Not just in this Munchie Meal, but everywhere. Just stop it. They aren't good! Replace them with literally anything and this meal would instantly be better. Think about it? Two Tacos worth of chicken nuggets? How about just more fries? Maybe some sort of desert item? Anything. But. The. Tacos.

But I also had to try these Panko Onion rings. We had a couple of readers write to us and ask us to give them a try so I was all about it. Especially when I realized that I could dip them into a Die Hard themed bbq sauce! The verdict? They are spectacular.

No lie. I was quite impressed with these! Panko breading is always so good and if you've ever had panko onion rings at restaurant, you realize that it's a flawless pairing, and Jack in the Box didn't cut any corners with these. Did I need them with the Munchie Meal? Probably not, but they definitely left me happy after the taco fiasco and left me wanting to go back and get more!

In the end I would say the Munchie Meal is a great deal no matter what. For the price you get a ton of food. The Tacos might have been god awful, but the rest was fun, quick and solid. Lots of enjoyable flavors and textures that a mind looking for a "Munchie Meal" should find quite enjoyable. I give the Sriracha Curly Fry Burger Munchie Meal a B-.

Panko Onion Rings get an A. So damn good. But be careful if you let them get cold and then decide not to chew them much, it's like swallowing a saw blade covered in broken glass.

For more information on these and other Jack in the Box offerings, check out their website!

Review by Rich Brunelle, who currently lives in Seattle but only for a very, very short amount of time.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ben & Jerry's NEW Coconuts for Caramel CORE

I know Ben & Jerry's.
You know Ben and/or Jerry.
We all know Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and how they've consistently found new and intriguing ways to sell us various flavored ice creams. I'm pumped to try this, as I'm sure we all are whenever we swipe a new delicious flavor out that ice cold freezer. So let's get to this, and see if this is worth you trading your hard earned, factory sweat soaked cash in for.

That's a hell of a roll call!
Caramel and Sweet Cream Coconut ice cream with fudge flakes and a caramel core. As soon as the plastic top holder thing started krinkling, I got a friend who was suddenly interested in what was in my hands.

Now with the top popped. We can see a giant glob of caramel. Remember this, this comes into play later. Jot it down in your official FatGuyFoodBlog Review Notepad™.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting, maybe I didn't fully read the pint print, but I was perplexed by the two different kinds of ice cream inside the thing.

digging under the first clump of caramel

then my eyes got wider

and then shot out of my head, killing the neighbors doing yard work next door

The Fudge flakes in this thing were flat out huge chocolate chips within a THICK coconut shaving filled ice cream. The caramel ice cream portion was smooth, and not as caramel flavored as one would expect, but they more than make up for it with that well of caramel thickness right there in the middle.  The coconut flavor and shavings were almost overwhelming if you didn't grab a scoop of caramel ice cream, and a healthy glob of caramel core. I often times sit down with a Ben & Jerry's and cap it after a good one quarter is gone, but this one, this one I legit had a hard time putting down. And I know what you're thinking "Josh, you're a hard hitting action food blogger with millions of hits a month living off the teat of google royalty checks, you're probably just saying that." All those things are true, however, I found myself scarfing this down and actually being kind of worried. In my foggy haze, blasted off of Ben & Jerry's, I found myself wondering, "is this what addiction feels like?" So I capped it after a good 3/4's before I ended up washing myself with a rag on a stick.

Hey remember that giant mass of caramel that basically filled the top of my pint like a good barista does with whipped cream on a latte? I also was trying to remember where it went, and it must have disappeared early, because part of my insane shoveling was due to me trying to find another caramel gold deposit.What was the promise of a giant, ever flowing spring of delicious caramel, ended up just being a weeping butthole of brown candy, which I was desperately digging at like I'd been locked up in prison for a decade.

Other than, what was clearly a factory mistake, Ben & Jerry's Coconuts for Caramel was fantastic and did exactly what it claimed it was going to do. Tease you with the promise of a good time, and you just go home with an under the pants handy. I'm not gonna complain, you rule, but, you know.

I give Ben & Jerry's a B. Delicious by all rights, 
but gets overshadowed by what possibly cannot be overshadowed.

Review by Josh!

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Thursday, July 7, 2016


Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned annual craft fair? It’s one of the only chances you get in life to stock up on homemade pot holders, amateur watercolor paintings, and jewelry made of rocks wrapped in sterling silver- all at the same time! Time to clear out your bank account! Then there’s always the fun game of trying to avoid eye contact with all the handmade clothing vendors peddling what looks like stitched together scraps of discount fabric from Joanne’s. So after you’ve walked the four or five aisles of homemade soap and windchimes, you may start to wonder why you didn’t just spend your Saturday morning at home watching cartoons instead of early Christmas shopping for your weird aunt. But then you smell something delicious and suddenly going to the local craft fair was the best decision you made all week.

not exactly what i was expecting

My lack of regret came courtesy of Daddy's Bonetown Burgers food truck.There was a block of trucks lined up, so I decided to make my pick by looking at the size of the crowd out front and Bonetown won that contest by far. The line at this no-name craft fair had at least a 10 person queue but I knew it was my duty to wait. Well worth it. I mean, how could you go wrong with eating at a food truck with a sexy devil woman painted on the side? Already, I knew if it could be, they'd be the source of all my nutrition until my fiery, eternal end.

I picked what tickled my fancy, which at 11 AM was rightfully a burger with a fried egg on it. How else does one justify a burger for breakfast? Go ahead and slap a fried egg on a chocolate lava cake topped with pork rinds and onion rings and I'll scream out "COCKADOODLEDOOOOOOOOO!"

My choice was the Die Munster (sic) Die- which is a burger with a soft fried egg, sriracha pickles, muenster cheese, and bacon aioli. If you didn't just say DAYUMN out loud, you may want to reconsider your blog reading choices.

When I tasted it, the advertised flavors weren't totally all there- a hint of spice but mostly just pickle, and the aioli was definitely overshadowed by the egg- I wish they had added bacon to it rather than attempt to lock its flavor within the aioli (although its a clever idea for leftover bacon grease).

Was it a delicious treat worth $9? Hell yea, absolutely. By far the most delicious item I'd tasted all day. I originally thought to make this a 3 food truck review, but instead one became a mini-review and the other main course wasn't even worth it. This Bonetown offering was satisfying enough on its own. I regret not trying all of their burgers and just making that the review. Next time I'm going to chase them down the street like the ice cream truck.

Bonetown Burgers' Die Muenster Die: a soft, fried B+. If I could detect all the advertised flavors more consistently, it would've been at least an A. But if I can eat a burger and love it without being tempted to slather it in so much relish, mayo, mustard, and ketchup that the bun disintegrates, it signals to me the flavors are on point.

doesn't get much better than that

Review by sl33zy
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Burger King's Mac n' Cheetos

Cheetos Puffs are my favorite chip. Although they're not actually a chip, are they? Are they a puff? That doesn't sound right either, although it's right there in the title. Let's call it a snack food-they are a food to snack on. Yes, Cheetos Puffs are my all-time favorite snack food. After the initial crunch of the Puff, they magically melt in your mouth. Leftover synthetic "cheese" dust envelops your fingers afterward. Go ahead, lick those fingers, you've earned it. The gaudy orange cheddar coloring and chemically induced cheesy flavor results in a transcendent experience. I love them.

Pretty much

I'm all for using the Puffs in unintended ways. I've used it as breading for fish and chicken more than once-definitely try this, they mush easily into powder. Taco Bell did the same thing with Doritos and the Locos Tacos. I've eaten several sandwiches topped with Red Hot Riplets-a fiery St. Louis delicacy. Adding snack foods to a dish works. It adds a little crunch and some extra flavor.

How did Burger King mess up deep-fried, Cheetoh Puff-crusted mac and cheese sticks?? Let's start with their appearance. In the print ads, they resemble your normal Cheetos Puff. Yum. Sign me up. As you can see, though, Mac n' Cheetos resemble bright orange clown turds. Unappetizing visual for sure, but I can move past that. These sausage-sized Donald Trump digits were quite hefty when picked up, and the promise of oozing cheesy pasta was almost too much to bare.

At this point, I was still excited. I was expecting that initial Puff crunch followed by a satisfying mac and cheese bite. Alas, the reality of BK's latest abomination-I'm looking at you black Halloween burger-did not line up with my expectations.
                                                              Paper tray liner = annoying 

It was squishy. Not squeaky like a cheese curd. Squishy like a used diaper. Despite that, I'm eager to try it-Cheetos are my crack! I bit into one and a wave of nostalgia hit me. The Mac n' Cheetos transported me to my parochial school cafeteria. Shuffling along in line, culottes up to my belly button, mouth salivating for the promise of some dino-shaped chicken nugs-it was all there, a bona fide time warp. I wish the flavor could've matched up with my nostalgia and my expectations. These little cheese sticks tasted like grade school cafeteria food. The macaroni inside was creamy, but it was also mushy and flavorless.On top of that, there was minimal Cheetoh Puff flavor. The taste was akin to a french fry-not a bad thing at all, but I was promised cheese dust!!

Burger King is having a dissociative personality meltdown. They're trying to ape the Bell with their slew of novelty items. That's not a problem, except they don't do it well. Be yourself BK, embrace your 2nd tier status and cook us something totally outrageous. Just make it edible.

Burger King's Mac n' Cheetos get a C for being more disappointing than Batman v. Superman.
Review by Mark

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