Domino's New Specialty Chicken: A Taste Test

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image courtesy Domino's Pizza
"Hey, you got your pizza on my chicken nuggets!" "Hey, you got your chicken nuggets on my pizza!"

The Guilty Pleasure: Specialty Chicken
Where to Get It: Domino's Pizza. Locations everywhere, but you were getting delivery anyway.
Price: $5.99 when you buy another item from their mix-and-match menu
What it Really Costs: [opens box] Jeez, that's it for six bucks?

Domino's Pizza has me scratching my head lately. Over the last few years, they've done some hardcore marketing to say that their mass-produced pizza is less dismal than it used to be.

Then we saw a press release for their new four varieties of Specialty Chicken, boneless chicken pieces topped with sauce, cheese, and toppings. It's basically a pizza with chicken nuggets in lieu of crust.

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A Weird Pizza Topping Combo Might Become Your New Favorite

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JK Grence
Trust me. It rocks.
The Guilty Pleasure: Three certain pizza toppings.
Where to Get It: Your favorite pizza joint. Take your pick.
Price: How much does a three-topping pizza run at your favorite pizza joint?
What It Really Costs: If your friends aren't open-minded, nobody's splitting this pie with you.

Everyone has his or her own favorite toppings on a pizza. There are plenty of people who order just one topping, but what's the fun of that? As the adage goes, variety is the spice of life. And there are few better canvases for variety of the edible sort than pizza.

Even with dozens of toppings available on pizzas these days, it's all too easy to fall into a rut of a regular order. I mean, I'm not going to sneer at yet another pie topped with pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms, but every now and again, it's nice to shake things up a little.


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Kouign Amann from Trader Joe's Freezer Case Beats a Cronut Any Day

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JK Grence
Not pictured: The fourth one that was devoured before I could take the picture.

The Guilty Pleasure: Frozen kouign amann, caramelized buttery Breton pastries
Where to Get It: Trader Joe's, locations everywhere
Price: $3.99 for a pack of four
What it Really Costs: 340 calories each, 50 more than an Egg McMuffin.

The Cronut is so last year. Yes, I know I haven't had a real Cronut (tee-em) unless it comes from Dominique Ansel's bakery in New York. I know the knockoff versions (known by several names, usually doughssant or dossant) available everywhere from chichi patisseries to Safeway are apparently not even close to the real thing.

Unless you're going to fly me a few from New York (or fly me there all expenses paid to write about the experience), I don't want to hear it. All we have around here are the dossant me-toos, so I'm stuck with them for now.

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Taco Bell's New Waffle Taco: A Taste Test

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JK Grence
It looked so much better in the official materials.

The Guilty Pleasure: The Waffle Taco, and other breakfast novelties.
Where to Get It: Taco Bell, locations everywhere (participation may vary)
Price: $1.99 for the Waffle Taco
What it Really Costs: Greasy fingers and dismay.

Those wacky kids at Taco Bell are at it again. After lots of testing and refinement (including some a few years ago around here), they're the newest place on the block to pick up a turbo breakfast, this time with a full nationwide rollout.

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The Diamondbacks' Huge New Guilty Pleasure Food Is an 18-Inch Stuffed Corn Dog

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Twitter/@Dbacks
Oh, my God, it's huge!

The Guilty Pleasure: Two hot dogs and a freaking huge corn dog.
Where to Get It: Chase Field at Diamondbacks home games.
Price: Up to $25. But that one includes fries.
What it Really Costs: Putting up with your friends giggling about 18 inches of corn dog.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not much of a sports fan. I do, however, enjoy going to the occasional baseball game. This year, the Arizona Diamondbacks have given me all the more reason to head out to Chase Field sometime soon.

Along the third base line at Chase Field is Big Dawgs, a concession stand that specializes in elaborately topped hot dogs. While they're bringing back from last year a bacon-wrapped Sonoran-style hot dog (a ballpark-relative bargain at $7), and introducing a $10 foot-long habanero Venom Dog topped with guacamole and black beans, my attention is squarely on the colossal new D-Bat Dog.

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Pringles' New Walmart-Exclusive Sriracha and Bacon Flavors: A Taste Test

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JK Grence
The Guilty Pleasure: Two new flavors of Pringles.
Where to Get It: Walmart, locations everywhere.
Price: $1.50 a tube.
What It Really Costs: See "Where to Get It".

There are certain signs that a trendy food is getting long in the tooth. One of the surest signs is when fast food and snack food R&D departments finally figure out how to make something taste like what was massively popular last year.

Case in point: The folks at Pringles have created two new varieties of Pringles. One is every hipster's favorite condiment, Sriracha. The other is everyone's favorite smoked meat product, bacon. Compared to their holiday flavors that have no business being on chips, these seem downright brilliant.


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IKEA's Chocolate Toffee Spread Is Like Nutella, Only Better

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JK Grence
The Guilty Pleasure: Chokladkrokant Bredbar
Where To Get It: IKEA, Warner Road and I-10
Price: About three bucks a jar
What it Really Costs: You can't resist picking up a lamp and and end table while you're there, can you?

One of the best-kept secrets at IKEA, that titan of cheap yet stylish flat-packed furniture, is the little food market at the end of the labyrinthine store. No, I'm not talking about the restaurant upstairs with the Swedish meatballs. (Beaver Choice's meatballs are way better anyway). I'm also not talking about the stand with the cheap hot dogs and frozen yogurt, but you're getting warmer there.

Right next to the hot dogs is a little grocery store. Odds are good you've walked right past it without giving it a second thought. The next time you're at IKEA, take a look around in there, there's some pretty cool stuff.


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Wendy's Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger Makes Drive-Thru (Almost) Upscale

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JK Grence
The Guilty Pleasure: Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger
Where to Get It: Wendy's, locations Valleywide
Price: $4.79 solo, $6.79 combo (your mileage may vary)
What it Really Costs: Could be better, could be worse, clocking in at 670 calories.

It's long been said that if you want to get better bang for your buck, don't go to an industry leader; go to one of their closest competitors. Why? It's as rental car company Avis advertised for decades, "We're only #2, so we try harder."

Wendy's certainly fits the philosophy to a T. It's never been more evident than its new offering, the ciabatta bacon cheeseburger. Though ciabatta isn't new to fast food (Jack in the Box had one on the menu for several years), Wendy's ciabatta burger takes a different approach and upgrades the burger from top to bottom.

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Jack in the Box Introduces New Bacon Insider Burger

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JK Grence
For a fast food joint, it's a beautiful burger.

The Guilty Pleasure: Bacon Insider
Where To Get It: Jack in the Box, locations Valleywide
Price: $4.99 (your mileage may vary)
What It Really Costs: About 730 calories, almost 400 from fat.

For some time now, bacon has been almost fetishized by all manner of culinary folk. It's understandable. Bacon is delicious, end of story. I've seen it used in countless creative ways, from bacon brittle candy to Pig & Pickle's adding it to a vegan burger (sadly, no longer on the menu) for no extra charge.

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Oreo's New Cookie Dough and Marshmallow Crispy Flavors: A Taste Test

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: New limited-edition Oreo flavors.
Where To Get It: Your favorite grocery store.
Price: About $3 a box.
What it Really Costs: Can you resist the thought of cookie dough flavor Oreos?

I have to admit, the folks at Nabisco know what they're doing with marketing the century-old Oreo cookie. Over the past few years, they've developed more than a few new flavors for limited-edition seasonal release. Some of these are pleasant why-didn't-they-do-this-sooner flavors, such as lemon crème. Others were memorable for entirely different reasons. I still shudder at the thought of the watermelon-flavored Oreos.

The people in charge of such things have released a pair of new flavors based on other sweet snacks. One is a golden Oreo infused with the flavor of Rice Krispies Treats; since that's a trademark owned by a different company, Oreo gets to call them Marshmallow Crispy Oreos. The second is a little more straightforward, the classic Oreo with cookie dough flavored filling.

How do they taste? I cracked open a couple of boxes to find out.

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