Wendy’s Flatbread Giveaway!

Wendy’s is giving away $1,000 to a lucky customer who has tried their new flatbread sandwiches with their new #twEATfor1k campaign. I can’t give away $1,000 right now, but I can give away a few gift cards to Wendy’s!

Have you tried the new flatbread? I have reviewed it here. I’m curious to hear what you guys think, so comment here and you’ll be entered to win one of three $5 giftcards to try it yourself, or buy one for a friend. I’ll pick a winner next Monday, May 6th and announce them here.

To see how I liked my tour of the Wendy’s corporate headquarters, click here!


Noshette: What I’ve Been Eating

The last round of random shots from day-to-day eating had a good response, so I’m going to try it on the weekends and see if it sticks! Lately, some of my favorite food blogs have been falling off the face of the earth, so I’m trying to fill the void with my own content, ha ha.

I’ve been on a brunch kick lately. (Above: bagel, poached egg, chicken sausage patties, jalapeno cream cheese, maple bacon cheese, hot sauce, and maple syrup) People often ask how I eat when I’m not reviewing weird food. The truth is, I’m pretty basic. I stick mainly to meat and yogurt, and tortillas or pasta for shelf-stable carbs. I’m not great at keeping bread around- I can’t eat an entire loaf before it goes bad! I’m also without a microwave, so that somewhat limits the choices for what I can cook.

My favorite thing to do is to make a large quantity of meat and eat it throughout the week. This is shredded pork tenderloin with labne cheese, Valencia hot sauce, and raspberries in tacos.

Then, I just eat it in whatever I please. Sirloin tacos with guacamole, Yancey’s peppadew cheese, and jalapenos becomes…

Marinated steak chunks in cheddar grits with poached egg.

This was another favorite that I snacked on for a few days. My dad came up last weekend to help me run errands and we had wasabi orzo with mustard and brown butter grilled chicken. Perfect with the Vouvray- had it not been corked!

More brunch delicacies, buttermilk doughnuts from the new doughnut shop in town, Glazed Doughnuts. Maple buttermilk and Chai tea. 

Finally, my latest and greatest favorite appetizer, sriracha roasted chickpeas! They get very, very crispy and are poppable and crunchy like popcorn. I hope you liked this peek ‘behind the scenes’ of Foodette!

Smari Blueberry Icelandic Yogurt

Lo and behold, like the transformation of a boy to a man, or a man to a Transformer, my refrigerator has grown the hell up. The moment another live, human being stepped over the threshold of my smelly apartment and asked for a snack, I suddenly grew a pair- of avocados, that is. And duck thighs, and whole-grain mustard, and fresh steak, and smoked gouda. I now have a fridge that a normal adult would be proud of. Foodette is back, and she came with condiments. One of my new favorite things is yogurt. I realize that most of the adult world discovered this as soon as they entered college, but blame my developmental disability and quirky childlike whimsy, please. And now I have sixteen kinds of yogurt! The latest and greatest variety is Smari, an organic Icelandic yogurt made by sassy cows from Wisconsin.  (Angie looks like Amanda Seyfried!!)

Smari is twee in the best possible way. It’s a crash course in excellent marketing, graphic design, and quality control. I’m enamored with the bold linear label design, more approachable than Siggi’s Hieronymous Bock imitations and sleeker than Chobani. The slogan- “the brave yogurt of Iceland!” is adorable, as is their horn-hatted spoon logo. And each cup has four cups of milk. We’re coming out on top already, which, of course means the expectations are even higher for the product inside.

Smari does not disappoint. With 130 calories and a whopping 17 grams of protein per cup, it’s my new favorite way to start the morning or end the day- whenever I feel like I need the most energy. Of the four flavors Smari sent over, blueberry was my favorite. It has a rich, jammy flavor with a natural sweetness that the high acidity of the yogurt brings out marvelously.
The milkiness is concentrated in this particular brand- perhaps a little too much, as the flavor eventually starts to taste very rich and cheesy after a few bites, more like sour cream with some blueberries thrown in than yogurt. I am curious to try this in a miniature cheesecake, as its flavor packs quite a powerful punch. Flavor-wise, Noosa is still preferential, but this has a better all-around package.

HannahMax Baking Sea Salted Peanut Butter Crunchy Cookie Chips

Peanut butter cookies! For my day off. And by ‘day off,’ I mean, ‘day to do more work,’ and by ‘work,’ I mean, ‘drink and halfheartedly peck out a paper on feminism and cookbooks.’ But I’m drinking responsibly, MOM, by eating as I sip. And I am eating these cookies from HannahMax. I do not recommend pairing them with gin. Also, if you’re like me and have repeatedly confused HannahMax with Ashley Madison, you’ll be pleased to discover the former is about as wholesome as the latter is not. All natural ingredients and delicious flavors. The only obvious flaw is that cookies that are as thin and easy to eat as chips are potentially life-destroying.

Sea salt and peanut butter almost takes on a savory flavor. It’s the least sweet of the four flavors I tried, and was my personal favorite. While as with most products advertising a salted component, I would have liked to see more salt, this was still a solid cookie, especially with the addition of salted chopped peanuts.

The packaging is the only flaw I personally had trouble with. While I enjoy the concept of dessert as chips, roughly 60% of each package was cookie crumbs. I feel as if this had less to do with the cookie itself as it did with the container, a malleable, resealable bag. Something similar to a Pringles can would allow the cookies to stay within their concept of chips and not get so frustratingly mashed up in the process. It just made it messier and a little more shameful to eat in one serving while watching Twin Peaks. I mean, sitting around in a sweatshirt. I mean, working?

Snap Infusion Mel Naturally Designed Supercandy

My life is so busy. I am such a busy, important person. What does someone with such a jam-packed, watch-checking life need? A new candy! A new candy because I am perpetually bored with life, filled to the brim with existential ennui as my special, paper-free Generation Next smartphone-delivered horoscope would have me believe. Right now, or at least, until the next popular Buzzfeed article, that candy is Snap Infusions, a naturally designed supercandy that appeals to my busy and important life because it is also moving too quickly to do silly things like type out the word “caramel,” choosing instead to label it “MEL.” We’ll come back to that. The package is covered in more holographic noise than your favorite sweat-stained Pokemon card, and even features jizz-like blobs on the surface. It’s also filled to the brim with keywords like “energize,” “protect,” and “balance,” making it the confectionary equivalent of NeuroPassion.

MEL is small and turd-like in appearance, and tastes like poorly made Milk Duds. The chocolate coating is scuffed and has a crumbly, cheap flavor to it. The caramel would be inoffensive if each penny-sized piece wasn’t packed with more additives than a Flintstones vitamin. I can almost smell the freshly ground B12. The pleasantly salty nugget quickly transforms into a bitter-flavored chew, making each bite like eating a protein bar, torturous piece by piece.

Snap Infusions employs four catchy IM-style titles for its products that range from asininely short to all-caps words bordering on Inception. Reading the descriptions for GUM made me wonder if GUM was an automatic replacement for another, non-GenNext sanctioned activity. “I use GUM day and night. GUM gives me the energy I need. I like to take GUM the old-fashioned way, with a rolled-up BFranxxx and AmEx card. Amirite? Amirite? GUM, ladies and gentlemen!” It sounds like an old Robin Williams sketch.

Speaking of things you take up the nose, ounce for ounce, MEL may cost more than cocaine in a glam-packed neighborhood. $2 for ten candies puts them at 20 cents apiece, a steep price for boiled sugar and the hopes and dreams of innocent athletes. Then again, Snap Infusion’s website would argue that it’s a small price to pay for not “ending up a dried-out shell of [your] former self.” As someone who may or may not have modeled for the “before” side of weight-loss scamvertisements, I take liberty in quoting from the late Roget Ebert (Houston, I sense a trend) in saying that someday, I may be thin, but Snap Infusions will forever be known for creating this awful candy.

Agua Enerviva Maté Lemonade

My drink preferences change about as often as my hair style, which is to say, never. Yes, as long as the sun shines down on my queercut, so shall I gladly guzzle down a gin and tonic or an Arnold Palmer. The rest can go screw. Or dump themselves down a drain, whichever diss is more injurious to inanimate beverages. Agua Enerviva, a new energy drink designed by two of the higher-ups at Vitamin Water, sent me their line of beverages and I gladly picked this one out of the bunch.

First, a disclaimer. These are technically not Vitamin Waters, but they do have the same bottle shape and design, very similar flavors, and similar nutritional content. That being said, what AE has that Vee-dubs does not is the addition of guarana, for energy and the ability to sound very, very extreme when you mention it in passing to your coworkers.

“Hey, Jess, can you cover my 1PM appointment?”
“Noperino, fellow coworker, I’m too busy siz-ipping on my guarana beverage.”
      – cordially brought to you by the department of Things that Have Never Been Said

The other four flavors of Vitamin Water didn’t compel me like this one, as I love both maté and lemonade. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as well-conceived as I wanted it to be. Maté, as a flavor, is typically strong and earthy, not unlike a good coffee or green tea, with a grassy aftertaste. With lemonade, I figured it would have a sweeter flavor, again, not unlike a gourmet riff off the Arnold Palmer.

This has the right idea, but it’s terribly bland with a monolithic sweetness. The tea flavors are condensed to a mild wheatiness at the end of each sip, the predominant flavor is that of Crystal Light with extra sugar, peevishly acidic and persistent as the commentary of one Mr. Roger Ebert, may he rest in peace. Agua Enerviva has potential, but for now it’s simply playing the role of Affectionate Parody and is missing the mark.

A few little bites…

I know things have been hectic for me lately, so I thought I’d give you a peek of some of the treats I’ve been noshing on over the last few weeks. Some of these have been basic dinners, some have been enjoyed with friends and family.

The last of my Wendy’s lust, the Double Stack, made a neat transition to…

A torta! A new Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant in town, El Comalito, hits it out of the park. This was filled with pulled pork, jalapenos, black beans, cheese, avocado, hot sauce, onions, and tomato on a housemade bun. Messy? Indubitably. Amazing? Hells to the yes.

Meeting up with close friends for dinner yielded a whirl of Jamie Oliver’s mint, asparagus, and lemon risotto along with some blackberry-lemon mojitos. Our highest weather has been 52 degrees thus far, and I’m determined to drag nice spring weather in if I have to haul it in myself.

The fresh ingredients, ready to be prepared.


We also had some sea salt, pecan, and dark chocolate cookies for dessert. They made great breakfast cookies, too, as they were soft and chewy.

Of course, breakfast can’t always be sweet. Sausages, mango sorbet with mint and raspberries, and coffee also made an appearance.

Homemade pasta with vodka sauce, peppers, and onions was perfect for the chilly evening.

And blueberry cornbread pudding from Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Guilford, CT, is a personal favorite of mine.

Nachos finished up the weekend- and what a weekend it was! A great ending to Spring Break and the perfect way to greet the weather.

Foodette Reviews Tours the Wendy’s Headquarters in Dublin, OH

Last week, Foodette Reviews was invited, along with a host of other awesome bloggers, to travel to Dublin, Ohio, and tour the Wendy’s corporate headquarters to celebrate the launch of their newest product, the Grilled Chicken Flatbread sandwiches. (We were actually a test market for these and reviewed them HERE, but will revisit them to tell you how they’ve changed since their testing.) The trip was a wonderful look at the Wendy’s brand, its innovations and challenges as it strives to set itself apart in the fast food market, and of course, the food.
We arrived on Tuesday and got settled in, and kicked off the event with a dinner and cocktail reception with members of the Wendy’s corporate and PR team. On Wednesday, we woke up bright and early to catch a shuttle to the headquarters for our tour. We started with breakfast and, of course, coffee from the Redhead Roasters themselves, and listened to an introductory talk by Vice President of corporate affairs. From there, we started our tour with the head of R&D.
Our tour started with a peek inside the research and development tester room. These testers are different from consumer testers—they spend four hours a day on iterations of one product, comparing it with these jars here to get a base of the levels of sour, sweet, salty, flavors and types of texture, too. A rigorous job as they are not allowed to specify any sort of preference and must remain objective in their analysis of whatever they are tasting! They looked like they were having a good time, though.
From there, we toured the test kitchen and model restaurant kitchen – the difference being that the latter replicates the scale and equipment found in a Wendy’s restaurant, the former for development and product tweaking before trying it out in the model restaurant kitchen. And yes, all phasers were set to “fry”.
This is the window through which the consumer test samples are served. It was here that we were given our first taste of the day, along with a pop quiz—but it was the sandwich, not us, being graded. We answered around 34 questions per sandwich, ranging from the preferred amount of one type of ingredient to the crunch and texture of another to the “level of messiness.” Ultimately, our group was fair, but strict- we gave the new sandwiches an average of a “B”.
Remember these? It’s the flatbreads, made with five types of grains and some damned good chicken. The first, Smokey Honey Mustard, features a whole-grain honey mustard sauce on grilled chicken with greens and tomato, and the second, Asiago Club, has grilled chicken, shavings of asiago cheese, bacon, and a ranch sauce with greens and tomato. The ingredients haven’t changed, with the exception of the honey mustard. 
With this version, there were many more whole mustard grains and a far more pronounced smokiness, which I vastly appreciated. The packaging may also be tinkered with, though I’m not sure what will be nationally rolled out. Again, both are delicious and I love the flatbread base, it’s still chewy and slightly sweet and I imagine it will be a fantastic addition to the menu with plenty of flavor variations to be found.
From there, we went back to the main conference room where we tried a few more tasty treats. Wendy’s is bringing back the Almond Berry Salad, my personal favorite salad of…all the salads, actually. Seriously, see my write-up: it’s the only salad I’ve eaten in its entirety. Because I’m six years old and hate vegetables. But really, it’s excellent and I’m so glad I’ll be able to pick one up again. While we munched, Wendy’s registered dieticians spoke to us about the ways they try to incorporate healthy, seasonal ingredients into their food without compromising flavor. The salad is certainly testimony to that philosophy, that’s for sure.
Of course, we had to get a reminder of Wendy’s famous product – cheeseburgers! (Not pictured, I was stuffed and sleepy.) At this point, only one bite of the Double Stack was possible, but the iconic flavors and fresh ingredients definitely stuck out. The Double Stack, chili cheese fries, and a large drink are available for a mere $5 after 10PM as part of the Moonlite Meal Deal, which started yesterday. 
After all that food, we realized we hadn’t yet had dessert. Oy! So we hopped back in the shuttle and went to one of Wendy’s first image-activation restaurants, which will hopefully be popping up all over the country. These are very cool, and feature fireplaces, stainless steel accents, awesome customized Coke Freestyle machines, and WiFi throughout the restaurants. They look awesome. 
And that was our visit! It was a whirlwind, and the Wendy’s team made sure we had a wonderful time and saw as much as we could. It gave us a great idea of the philosophy behind the corporation, filling in the blanks other restaurants leave behind when it comes to consumer relations, and it was great to hear the story behind my new favorite sandwich. Thanks again, Wendy’s!
(FTC Disclosure: Wendy’s flew me out and compensated me for my time and effort diligently writing about their latest rollout. I’ll always be transparent with you about matters like this, and trust that it doesn’t change the content or style of my website.)