Food Fight: T.G.I. Friday’s, Part 3

Posted in Food Fight on January 25th, 2010 by bl1y

Here it is,the third and final installment T.G.I. Friday’s frozen food reviews.  [Read the first and second entries.]  This time we’re taking a look at three different chicken products, Honey BBQ Chicken Wings, Buffalo Chicken Wings, and Buffalo Popcorn Chicken.  Again, all the products are roughly the same size by weight, so the stats are for an entire small box, not per serving.  The popcorn chicken comes with a side of buffalo sauce (in addition to the buffalo seasoning already on the chicken); so the popcorn chicken will be listed both with and without the sauce.

Round One: Bad Nutrition

Calories

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 400

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 360

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 480 / 690

Fat

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 22g

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 22g

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 21g / 25g

Carbs

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 20g

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 8g

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 45g / 90g

Sodium

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 1100mg

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 2060mg

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 2010mg / 4090mg

Round Two: Good Nutrition

Protein

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 28g

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 30g

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 27g / 27g

Calcium

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 8%

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 4%

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 0% / 0%

Vitamin A

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 4%

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 16%

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 12% / 24%

Iron

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 8%

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 8%

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 6%

Round Three: Cost

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: $2.98

Buffalo Chicken Wings: $2.98

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: $2.98

Round Four: Convenience

Honey BBQ and Buffalo Chicken Wings: The wings had the same cooking instructions.  They could be, theoretically, microwaved, and while I am favoring convenience in products, wings are just something that really need to be baked.  They bake at 450F for 9 minutes, need to be flipped, and then baked for another 8 minutes.

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: These also had both baking and microwave instructions, but I went with the microwave on this one, at a quick 2:30.  Trouble with these is the extra sauce packet, which cannot be microwaved.  You thaw it by setting it in a pot of hot water for about 8 minutes.

Round Five: The Main Event – How Was It

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: Bad choice in sauce.  Barbeque is sweet enough as it is, no need for anything to ever be honey barbeque.  It wasn’t gross, just too sweet to be good.  The texture of the meat was fine, but baking it did not produce anything resembling a crispy skin.  The wings are too drenched in sauce to crisp up at all, but pretty much what you find in all second rate wings.  B-

Buffalo Chicken Wings: This sauce was actually pretty decent.  If you’re looking for something really spicy, this won’t be it, but I think that’s a good thing.  Too many wings go for heat over taste.  Buffalo describes a specific type of mild-medium hot sauce, and they produced that flavor pretty well.  And, despite not being as drenched in sauce as the barbeque wings, the skin on these still didn’t crisp up in the oven.  You’d be much better off buying the wings cooked by your local grocery store.  B

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: The processing, freezing, and microwaving really took a toll on the texture of the nuggets.  These probably would have benefited from baking (where as the wings would have been the same out of the microwave).  Otherwise though, they were pretty decent.  They got the same good buffalo flavor as the wings, and weren’t too hot.  As for the extra sauce…completely unnecessary.  It tastes exactly the same as the chicken.  B+

Results

Since the Buffalo Popcorn Chicken was ultimately eaten without the extra sauce, those numbers will not be considered in the results, except to say right now that 4090mg of sodium is INSANE.

Bad Nutrition

Worst Bad Nutrition: Mozzarella Sticks, not even close.  770 calories, 35g of fat, 63g carbs, and 1330mg sodium to boot.  I feel sick just thinking about it.

Best Bad Nutrition: Potato Skins?  None of these was remotely good for you, but the Potato Skins seem like they’ll kill you the slowest.

Good Nutrition

Worst Good Nutrition: Potato Skins?  Again, a tough thing to judge.  This one just ranks so much lower than everything else for protein that it’s the only thing to stand out.

Best Good Nutrition: Mozzarella Sticks just barely beats out Chicken Quesadillas.  Everything competing was high protein, but these two also packed in a lot of calcium.

Cost

Those of you who’ve been keeping up will have spotted this already: a 7 way tie!  Everyone one of these products came in at just $2.98 (which is why I was willing to buy so many).

Convenience

Least Convenient: Both of the Wings and the Mozzarella Sticks are pretty inconvenient.  All three bake, which slows the process down.  The Wings require being flipped halfway through, and the Mozzarella Sticks have a whole sauce thawing process.  Mozzarella Sticks are the least convenient, by a field goal.

Most Convenient: The two Quesadillas will split this victory with the Popcorn Chicken.  Sure, the Popcorn Chicken has a packet of sauce to thaw, but you’re better served throwing it away, making all three of these products about equally convenient.  (I still suggest baking the chicken.)

How Was It?

It Was the Worst: Mozzarella Sticks, without a doubt, hands down, one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve had horse.

It Was the Best: This isn’t much of a victory, since nothing stood out as great, but the Popcorn Chicken wins this one.

Final Verdict

What the hell, let’s give it to the Potato Skins.  If I went back and looked at all the data carefully, I might reach another result, but right now the Potato Skins are simply the only thing I could imagine buying again, and that basically makes it the white guy boxing against the black guy.  If you’re black, anything other than a knockout in the ring results in a loss.  Sorry, but there you have it, I’m a food racist.

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Food Fight: T.G.I Friday’s, Part 2

Posted in Food Fight on January 22nd, 2010 by bl1y

Yesterday I started a comparison of 7 different frozen T.G.I. Friday’s products, looking at the Potato Skins Boats and Mozzarella Sticks Travesties.  Today continues into the quesadillas, with both Chicken Quesadillas and Turkey and Bacon Quesadillas.  Each package contained two quesadillas, but to make the stats comparable, I’m again using the values for the entire box (as each box is roughly the same weight, though they list varying serving sizes).

Round One: Bad Nutrition

Calories

Chicken:520

Turkey and Bacon:560

Fat

Chicken: 22g

Turkey and Bacon: 24g

Carbs

Chicken: 56g

Turkey and Bacon: 60g

Sodium

Chicken: 1060mg

Turkey and Bacon: 1200mg

Good Nutrition

Protein

Chicken: 24g

Turkey and Bacon: 24g

Calcium

Chicken: 40%

Turkey and Bacon: 20%

Vitamin A

Chicken: 8%

Turkey and Bacon: 8%

Iron

Chicken: 20%

Turkey and Bacon: 20%

Round Three: Cost

Chicken: $2.98

Turkey and Bacon: $2.98

Round Four: Convenience

Both products had a microwave cooking time of 2 minutes.  Kinda.  2 minutes leaves the middle a little bit cold, and by then the tortilla on the edge is already over cooked.  They come with crisping sleeves, but that didn’t get them to heat evenly.  They can also be prepared on a skillet which takes a bit longer, but if you’re going to go to that effort, you might as well just make your own quesadilla.

The packaging on the two products needed some work.  Each box contained two quesadillas, and while you’re likely to just cook one and put the other back in the freezer, they were not individually wrapped.  I think keeping it in the open wrapper, stuffed inside the box will protect it, but it struck me as odd to put them in one bag.

Round Five: The Main Event – How Was It?

Chicken: Surprisingly decent.  The tortilla needed some work, and while the flavor was limited by the fact that it’s a microwavable quesadilla, it wasn’t at all unpleasant.  It’s definitely a step above a comparable Hot Pocket.  B

Turkey and Bacon: Given the Chicken’s adequate performance, I was surprised by the Turkey and Bacon.  The flavors were pretty similar, except this one had some weird, and very unappetizing onion bits in it.  Onion is the type of food that either has to be done very well or not at all, and you definitely don’t want to bite into it if you’re not expecting it.  C+

Remember to keep checking back so you won’t miss the final round of the T.G.I Friday’s Food Fight.  The final round will be between three different chicken products.

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Food Fight: T.G.I. Friday’s, Part 1

Posted in Food Fight on January 21st, 2010 by bl1y

This is the first of three installments in which I put any concern for my health aside in order to explore the quality of 7 different frozen T.G.I Friday’s products.  In this first segment, we’ll be taking a look at Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skins, and Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara Sauce.  Since all the packages are about the same weight but the serving sizes have a big range, the data will be for the entire package.  All of the contestants are the small, ~200g containers.  Info for the mozzarella sticks includes the servings of marinara.

Round One: Bad Nutrition

Calories

Potato Skins: 420

Mozzarella Sticks: 770

Fat

Potato Skins: 24g

Mozzarella Sticks: 35g

Carbs

Potato Skins: 34g

Mozzarella Sticks: 63g

Sodium

Potato Skins: 960g

Mozzarella Sticks: 1330g

Round Two: Good Nutrition

Protein

Potato Skins: 16g

Mozzarella Sticks: 28g

Calcium

Potato Skins: 12%

Mozzarella Sticks: 56%

Vitamin A

Potato Skins: 4%

Mozzarella Sticks: 14%

Iron

Potato Skins: 8%

Mozzarella Sticks: 0%

Round Three: Cost

Potato Skins: $2.98

Mozzarella Sticks: $2.98

Round Four: Convenience

Potato Skins: Cooks at 450F for 12 minutes

Mozzarella Sticks: Cooks at 450F for 8 minutes, and requires thawing marinara sauce (place packet in hot water for 8 minutes)

Round Five: The Main Event – How Was It?

Potato Skins: One of my pet peeves is that too many companies do not understand the difference between a potato skin and a potato boat.  A potato skin is a very thin slice of the skin of the potato, with a little bit of the flesh of the potato attached.  A potato boat is the same idea, but with a thick, substantial amount of potato.  These were potato boats, and like all potato boats, the texture was crap (unlike potato skins, which come out nice and crisp).  The cheese was very mediocre, but they did contain a fair amount of bacon pieces, which actually seemed to be genuine bacon.  C+

Mozzarella Sticks: As a whole, mozzarella sticks are a pretty disgusting food and are never very appealing.  These are the most retarded kid in the special ed class. While most mozzarella sticks have a cylindrical shape, these looked like they’d been flattened.  The firmness of the stick didn’t hold up.  The overall appearance was like a limp, deflated mozzarella dick.  The flavor was completely unappetizing.  I only ate a second one to confirm that the first was so awful.  The only saving grace here was the marinara, which comes in at average.  D-

There won’t be any winners until I’ve gone through all 7 of the products I picked up, so check back for updates as the food fight continues.

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