Popeyes’ “Twisty” Wicked Shrimp gets it twisted on the wickedness

Popeyes is one of our favorite restaurants for limited time offers. Back in the day, we practically survived off of their amazing $4 monthly deals, all of which were interesting and completely different from what other fast food restaurants were offering.

Nowadays, Popeyes is in a pretty good position and doesn’t do “weirder” LTOs anymore. Most of their monthly offers have been more bargain oriented instead of experimental. We chalk this up to The Sandwich, a menu item that has completely changed how Popeyes does business. They’re a sandwich restaurant now, you know. You don’t need to be convinced to try their food anymore.  You go there to eat a sandwich.

That’s why when we saw their latest monthly offer was a five dollar Surf and Turf Basket, we didn’t think much of it. We were hungry, it was getting late, and some cheap shrimp and chicken sounded fantastic. It seemed like an LTO Popeyes would do nowadays. We had no idea what we were getting into. We had just ordered a basket of… Twisty Wicked Shrimp.

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Dunkin’ Donuts’ Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut: a hateful donut

“Ghost pepper” is a phrase that should not be used lightly. When you claim that your foodstuff has ghost pepper in it, we expect some serious fucking heat levels. The ghost pepper is one of the spiciest chile peppers in the world, with a scoville scale that reaches into the millions. It’s tough stuff. 

But ghost pepper has become pretty vogue in the past years. America’s love of spicy food continues to grow, and only show-stoppers like the ghost pepper can stun us anymore. We’ve looked at plenty of ghost pepper foods in the past: the ghost pepper chips from Trader Joe’s, the ghost pepper wings from Popeyes, and the Dare Devil Grillers from Taco Bell. Some of these were surprisingly spicy, and some were major letdowns, but they were all savory. Dunkin’ Donuts is introducing, to our knowledge, the first sweet ghost pepper offering.

Introducing the “Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut”, a doughnut promising serious heat levels just in time for Spooky Scary Halloween. Can the Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut scare us with its heat? Hit the jump and find out.

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The Checkers Experience

Have you ever eaten at a Checkers? Or have you ever eaten at a Rally’s? What if I told you that these are the same restaurant??? Madness, you’d tell me, those are two different names they must be two different places! But no. They are the same restaurant. With different names depending on where you are.

Wait, you’re telling me now. Isn’t that the same thing that Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr has too? Yes… that’s right. It’s the same gimmick. It’s also the same gimmick as restaurants Green Burrito and Red Burrito, a pair of places that we didn’t really know about until we started investigating this. And you want to know the real kicker? All of these restaurants are owned by the SAME PARENT COMPANY!!! What kind of gimmick is that? You get six properties for the price of three, I guess. 

Where we live, we’ve got Checkers, Hardee’s, and neither Green or Red Burrito. We’ve been interested in eating at Checkers for a long time because the people who eat there seem to really like eating there. The fries are pointed out repeatedly as a high point of the menu, and there’s nothing we like more than hot starch. A trip was inevitable. 

The thing was, the nearest Checkers to us was over half an hour of driving away. That’s fine, we like to drive, we love driving long distances, but this is something that you still don’t just do for fast food. We kept putting it off, and off, and off, but one day we were just so hungry and so bored we decided driving so long for some burgers would be worth it.

Then we kept going back. We couldn’t seem to stop. It was a waste of gas and time but it was… well, was it worth it? Let’s find out.

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New brew Mountain Dew VooDew Two, woohoo?

We like to drink Mountain Dew, but we’re pretty neutral on the regular Mountain Dew itself. Much more interesting is their large selection of flavors – the classics like Game Fuel, LiveWire, Code Red, and so, so many more. Plain Mountain Dew seems flat in comparison. Sure, sometimes there’s nothing you’d like more than the fresh taste of Green, but then you can just have a crisp Sprite or something. Why settle for less? Give me a glass of White Out and I’ll be happ- oh right, they discontinued White Out, and discontinued so many other limited-time flavors because we can have nothing good in the world for more than a moment.

In that vein, Pepsi has seen it fit to bring back the VooDew, the “mystery flavor” soda that was released last year for the Halloween season. With Fall somehow having come back again, VooDew has come with it as surely as the changing colors of the leaves.

The gimmick of VooDew, as we already defined, is that it is a “mystery flavor” which means it doesn’t taste like much at all. Last year it was revealed to be candy corn, an obviously Halloween flavor that is so flavorless that it probably could have been anything. What flavor could it possibly be this year??? Let’s find out!

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McDonald’s finally catches up with Spicy Chicken McNuggets

Finally, the last and greatest of the Big Three falls to the world of spicy nuggets. Spicy Chicken McNuggets are now available nationwide, after so many spiceless years. It’s hard to imagine that McDonald’s has never before offered a spicy variant of their nuggets, even when they’ve done the very popular (and sorely missed) Spicy McChicken.

The Chicken McNugget has been one of the biggest items of the McDonald’s menu for years. When it first was introduced, it caused a massive chicken shortage in McDonald’s supply chain because every single franchisee wanted them! The McRib was invented solely to function as a stop-gap special item until more chicken could be ordered. McDonald’s messing around with the Chicken McNugget is bonkers to consider, and here we are.

Wendy’s has always been the boss of the spicy nugget scene, and even Burger King stepped in to fill the void after Wendy’s briefly discontinued them. In hindsight, the idea of McDonald’s not doing a spicy nugget seems ludicrous. But here we are, the Spicy Chicken McNugget is here, and we’re gonna find out if McDonald’s should have bothered.

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Can KFC’s fries jump the bar that 2020 buried?

When we started writing this article, we were going to be very, very harsh on KFC. We were fans of the potato wedges, and upon hearing that they were replacing them with fries, we grew very upset. How could they do this? Potato wedges were one of the cornerstones of the KFC menu. Fries are… Nothing. Generic. Bland. They are everywhere, and potato wedges were a delightful way to separate KFC from the rest of the fast food world.

KFC’s appeal wasn’t that it was just “fast food”. It felt like a meal, a real meal that you eat with your family as a thing. KFC has offered quick service meals for our entire lives, but having the platonic idea of “getting a bucket for dinner” is inseparable from KFC as a concept. The wedges illustrated this. They weren’t french fries like what you’d get at a McDonald’s, they were home-cooked wedges just like what you could cook at home. Total difference.

We felt that KFC getting rid of the wedges was the latest awful move in a series of terrible decisions. KFC has been on a sharp and steep decline since the mid-2000s, and nothing seems to be turning their image around. They rely on tacky gimmicks like the new Colonel commercials and outlandish promotional stunts like VR video games and Crocs that smell like fried chicken, but can’t get past the simple fact that their food is not as good as it used to be and their atmosphere is a dump.

We haven’t properly eaten at KFC in what may be years. Them switching to fries seemed like justification that it was the right decision.

But then we decided we had to give it a chance.

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Five Dollar Pizza is so much more than five dollars of pizza

Pizza is too expensive! We’ll just say it! It costs too much money to buy a pizza! Having to pay so much damn money for a simple bread, sauce, and cheese is exhausting. In the quarantine environment we’ve been living in for the past seven months minimum, pizza has evolved from an “easy meal” to “life-saving necessity” for us. We know that pizza isn’t cheap – the costs of cheese and toppings adds up quickly, and the margins are razor-thin even in the largest markets. 

Still, there’s a saying about bad sex and bad pizza: it’s still pretty good. Sometimes the cheapest pizzas are the best ones, not just for their quality, but for the experiences they provide. Some of our best pizza memories take place in parked cars at Little Caesars, at gas stations, in college cafeterias, getting the Pizza Hut personal pan at Target. Cheap pizza is something that’s worth hunting down and going out of your way for.

When we found a place called Five Dollar Pizza in Minneapolis, we really thought it was too good to be true. Ever since Little Caesars had shut down completely in our area, we had resigned ourselves to pizza costing over twice as much from now on.  We didn’t really mind, because Little Caesars pizza really tastes like it was made with five dollars worth of ingredients, so we willing shelled out for our local Domino’s “$5.99 for Two” deals and made do. Seeing that there was another place, an independent place, that offered pizza at a Little Caesars price seemed impossible. But, one day we were up in the area, and decided we simply had no choice but to drop in. For five dollars, what could we lose?

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Do Us A Flavor and stay inside

It’s that time of year again! In case you haven’t been out to get groceries in the past, oh, ten or so years, Lay’s has regularly done more “interesting” flavors as limited-time promotions. It all started with the “Do Us A Flavor” contest in 2012, where you could submit your ideas for chip flavors online and the winners would be made into real chips. This ended up giving us such strange chips as Cappuccino and Wasabi Ginger, which were utterly divine and need to come back. 

Now Lay’s has released a line of five “Flavor Icons”, chips inspired by famous restaurants around America. No contest here, just five bags of good ol’ American sit-down taste: Chile Relleno from Cocina Azul in Albuquerque; Wavy Carnitas Street Taco from El Torito in Los Angeles; Kettle Cooked New York Style Pizza from Grimaldi’s in New York City; Philly Cheesesteak from Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia; and finally Nashville Hot Chicken from Party Fowl in Nashville.

We only ended up trying the former three flavors, because grocery shopping sucks. We would have loved to try the hot chicken flavor, but you can’t get everything you want, especially in this hell world we live in nowadays.

So hey, let’s crack open these bags and see what kind of weird shit Lay’s is doing this year.

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Taco John’s Meat & Potato Breakfast Burrito has meat and potato indeed

Taco Bell may have betrayed us, but it’s a good thing they aren’t the only pseudo-Mexican-style food restaurant in the business. One of our personal favorites is Taco John’s, a distinctively Midwestern brand of ground meat slop shoved into tortillas that has managed to capture our heart. 

It’s no secret that our number one favorite fast food item is Taco Bell’s Breakfast Crunchwrap, which was definitely the reason we were distracted from noticing Taco John’s breakfast menu for so long. Though Taco John’s was our first stop if we wanted shitty tacos, Taco Bell had our hearts for shitty breakfast. With Taco Bell announcing that they’re going to be making unforgivable changes to their menu, we’ve been in the market for a new tortilla-wrapped breakfast delight.

Most of Taco John’s breakfast items were the standard ‘breakfast burrito’ kind of thing, but one caught our eye: The “Meat & Potato Breakfast Burrito”. With just good old meat, potatoes, and eggs in it, it was a potential challenger to the Crunchwrap throne.

So can the Meat & Potato Breakfast Burrito dethrone the Breakfast Crunchwrap in our eyes? Hit the jump and find out.

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Trying goat at the Tandoor Restaurant

You may have heard of the Gandhi Mahal, an Indian restaurant in Minneapolis that was burned down in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. They now have a fundraiser for the rebuilding fees you can donate to, and have stood in support of the protests.

We had eaten at the Gandhi Mahal before, and found the food there excellent. It was a sobering reminder for us of just how real the whole event was. It was also a reminder for us that the Gandhi Mahal is actually really great. We don’t eat at our local Indian restaurants as often as we should, which is a huge mark of shame for us. This train of thought is what brought us to an even more local place in Bloomington: equal parts ‘a desire to help’, and ‘a deep anxiety that local food will be lost in the pandemic’.

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