FOOD: Taco Bell – Dare Devil Grillers [Discontinued]

Taco Bell Dare Devil Grillers 01

Taco Bell has been on a roll recently! We didn’t get a chance to review the Bacon Club Chalupa, but we thought it was very good and an excellent bargain in its $5 meal deal. Their latest offering is the Dare Devil Loaded Grillers, a set of three “loaded Grillers” with super-spicy sauce in three heat levels.

Each Griller is wrapped in a grilled burrito and includes Taco Bell’s seasoned ground beef, nacho cheese, and crunchy red tortilla strips. The primary draw is the Dare Devil sauces, however: Chipotle, Habanero, and Ghost Pepper (from least to most hot).

The sauces for the Grillers are all mayonnaise based, with the Habanero sauce also including sour cream. As the sauce for the Chipotle Griller was an already established sauce on their menu, we decided to only review the two new sauces.

After the jump we’ll take the dare and see if these Grillers are red hot or stone cold.

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FOOD: Popeyes – Rip’n Chick’n [Discontinued]

Popeyes Ripn Chickn 01

Popeyes is back with another resurrection of one of their previous monthly limited time offerings: the Rip’n Chick’n. We last saw the Rip’n Chick’n in 2011, but the premise has been seen again in 2014’s Beer Can Chicken. As of late July 2015, they’ve brought the concept by itself back.

Popeyes seems to be taking a bit of a hiatus from new concepts: we saw that next month’s offering will be the Bonafide Big Box, which has already happened back in April. This is probably for the best, because their last few offerings (like the Smoky Garlic Chile Chicken and Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp) have been less than stellar. Will this semi-retro offering give us a tasty blast from the past, or is it resurrecting what should’ve been left in the grave? Find out after the jump. (more…)

FOOD: Popeyes – Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp [Discontinued]

Popeyes Hushpuppy Shrimp 01

Although Popeyes is a fast-food chain mainly noted for its famed chicken, seafood has always been a prominent sidekick on its menu. A Louisiana themed restaurant wouldn’t be complete without a fried seafood po’boy, after all, and shrimp is the quintessential Gulf of Mexico seafood.

And though shrimp plays its part in Popeyes’ menu, hushpuppies do not. To our recollection, hushpuppies have never been a part of Popeyes’s menu. Maybe this is because hushpuppies are more of a Deep South thing than a New Orleans thing? Who knows.

But what about both shrimp and hushpuppies combined? Could a combination of two classic Southern dishes be greater than the sum of their parts? Popeyes’s Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp (their limited time offering for July) attempted to fuse these two classics to create a Frankenstein-esque monster of deliciousness. Combined with a new Cajun Cocktail sauce, and we may have had a winner on our hands – we’ll find out after the jump.

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FOOD: Arby’s – Jalapeño Hushpuppies [Discontinued]

Arbys Jalapeno Hushpuppies

Arby’s is in a very confused place. With the price of beef being sky-high, Arby’s has been trying to develop a greater range of pork, poultry and fish offerings to balance out their menu. The addition of new fish sandwiches on their menu had necessitated the addition of a fish-focused pairing: hushpuppies.

Released in late December on the cusp of the new year, Arby’s Jalapeño Hushpuppies were an attempt to create a side dish specifically for Arby’s latest fish sandwich offerings.

After the jump, we’ll put these puppies on the show circuit and give them an official judgement… Or just see if they tasted good.

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FOOD: Taco Bell – Grilled Stuft Nacho [Discontinued]

Grilled Stuft Nacho

In December of 2013, Taco Bell came out with one of its most… innovative limited time product offers in a while: the Grilled Stuft Nacho. Promising to be all the goodness of a plate of nachos that could be held in one hand, it became a minor sensation fulfilling Taco Bell’s typical promise of cheap food that was easy to eat. It was discontinued rather quickly, before we could give it a try.

It was reintroduced for a brief period at the end of May, and we got our hands on it then – but did it live up to the expectation of a full-fledged nacho experience in the palm of your hand? (more…)

FOOD: Little Caesars – Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza

Little Caesars Pretzel Crust 01

Hey, when was the last time you had something with pretzel in it? Not like, actually eating a pretzel, but when was the last time you ate a pretzel bun, or pretzel crust, or anything made with pretzel? Months ago, right? Right. So why is it, on June 29, 2015 on this dear sweet planet Earth, that Little Caesars decided to re-introduce its Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza?

Don’t get us wrong – it’s not a bad pizza, at least in our opinion, but the pretzel fad is over. Their last limited time offer was a bacon-crusted deep dish pizza, which was sensible because bacon will never die as long as Americans continue to love making their hearts suffer (as Wendy’s has recently proven with their Baconator Fries), but the Soft Pretzel Crust Pizza got a lukewarm reception the first time it was around when the pretzel fad was actually relevant. We can’t claim to read the minds of the Little Caesars corporate brains, but this just seems like a bad idea.

Regardless, we missed out on an opportunity to review the pizza proper the first time it came around and figured we’d jump on it while it was still (moderately) relevant again. We actually adored the pizza when it was new, so we really wanted to see if a few months off the menu would change it much.

After the jump, we’ll give this out-of-date fad cash-in another try and see if it’s gotten any better… or worse.

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RETRO: Taco Bell – Tasty Temple Challenge

Tasty Temple Challenge 01

Hey kids! Do you like Taco Bell? Do you like Duke Nukem 3D? Of course you do? Well, what if I told you there was a way you could enjoy Taco Bell and Duke Nukem 3D at the same time Wait, did we do this already?

Taco Bell: Tasty Temple Challenge was an advergame given away with Taco Bell’s kids meal in 2000. Even for advergames, the concept is pretty inane: You play as “Baja Bill”, an adventurer exploring deep into a lost jungle temple to find an imprisoned Grande Meal. Yes, you’re on a quest to rescue precious Taco Bell food from an ancient faux Mayan-Incan-Aztec-Racist Caricature temple. As you battle your way through the temple, you combat snakes and scorpions by… lighting them on fire?

After the jump, we’ll explore the Tasty Temple, discover its secrets, and figure out how some free games demand their own kind of payment.

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FOOD: Wendy’s – Baconator Fries

Wendys Baconator Fries 01

Wendy’s has been in a pretty odd place with regards to its menu, recently. While McDonalds presses on with its “premium” burger selection and Burger King tries to cater to a value market with 2 for $5 sandwich deals, Wendy’s has been taking the healthy tack. They’ve been emphasizing the freshness and healthiness of their menu by pushing strawberry salads and fresh chicken sandwiches.

In this context, Wendy’s latest limited time offer, Baconator Fries (released on June 25th, 2015), is a little surreal. Neither healthy nor constructed out of premium ingredients, and still being sold at a ridiculous mark-up, it’s… trend-bucking? But not necessarily in a good way.

After the jump, we’ll find out if the newest member of the Baconator family can live up to the lofty standards set by its kin, or if this family reunion will just be awkward.

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RETRO: Chex Quest

Chex Quest 01

Hey, kids! Do you like Chex Cereal? Do you like DOOM? Of course you do! Well, what if I told you there was a way you could enjoy Chex and DOOM at the same time? No, no I’m serious – wait – no, don’t leave – hold on –

Chex Quest was an unusual entity in the world of video games, namely because it was one of the few games ever used to promote a brand of breakfast cereal. Released in 1996, it was packaged in with boxes of Chex for free and given nationwide distribution. It’s doubly unusual because the game in question is a commercially sold DOOM mod – a total conversion of the first DOOM game, completely done over with new graphics, sounds, and gameplay.

A second Chex Quest game was made hot on the heels of the first one, but promises of a third never realized. Although fans made plenty of mods to fill in the gap, it wasn’t until 2008 when Charles Jacobi, one of the lead artists on the original Chex Quest, made his own official Chex Quest 3 with the first two games bundled in.

Get out your bootspoons, because after the jump we’ll dig right in and discuss the history, gameplay, and our thoughts about all three games.

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RETRO: Dazzeloids

Dazzeloids 01

The city of Compli City is under attack! Not by giant monsters, or terrorists, or anything so simple as that, but one of the greatest threats known to man – Boredom! Our only hope? The Dazzeloids!

Dazzeloids was a 1994 children’s CD-ROM created by Rodney Alan Greenblat (better known for his contributions to the Parappa the Rapper series of rhythm games) and published by Voyager. This was before Rodney achieved the level of video game fame that Parappa had provided him, and was mostly known as an up-and-coming young artist with some children’s books and two other PC games under his belt.

Dazzeloids has never achieved much notoriety outside of people interested in Rodney’s more significant works, but we feel that in this day and age a work like the Dazzeloids deserves a special notice.

After the jump, we’ll go in-depth into the gameplay, development, and our opinions on the Dazzeloids. (more…)