Fast Food Friday: Fish McBites at McDonald’s

8 Mar

fish mcbites

The day I heard about Fish McBites, I thought my late night, post-bar hopping eating was going to change forever. If you’ve been keeping up with Fast Food Friday, you know McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish is one of my all-time favorite fast food meals. The bread, the warm, soft and processed “fish” and the tartar sauce are enough to make my stress melt away for at least two hours before the walls start to close in again.

After playing a few hours of Tomb Raider and having a Bud Light Lime, the munchies set in. I knew it was finally time to try Fish McBites. I got them home, and I opened the box to see what looked like mini mozzarella sticks. These were not the mini clones of the McDonald’s fish I know. But, hey, that’s OK. I like to see some fast food innovation.

After I ate all of the McBites, I felt… nothing. The fish tasted like nothing, and they are just weird. I don’t understand what McDonald’s was trying to do with the McBites, but there are plenty of better choices on the menu. The french fries were a big upgrade from the fish. The simple verdict of Fish McBites is that I wouldn’t call them gross, but they’re a pale imitation of the Filet-O-Fish.

I do have to give McBites some credit; Their Weight Watchers PointsPlus value is borderline magical. Seven McBites are only five Points, which is a lot less than I thought. Why is underwhelming food always so low in Points values? Such is life.

Fish McBites (kids order): 170 calories, 9g fat, 15g carbs, 1g fiber, 8g protein (5 WW PointsPlus)
French fries (kids order): 100 calories, 5g fat, 13g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g protein (3 WW PointsPlus)
Total: 270 calories, 14g fat, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 9g protein (8 WW PointsPlus)

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporkspork (one of those sporks goes solely to the fries)
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purple


Fast Food Friday: Garden Veggie Burger at Backyard Burger (BYB Redux)

22 Feb

backyard burger veggie burgerIf you read my first Backyard Burger review, you know I was not a happy camper after that visit. In the interst of fairness and after learning that the most ethical food reviews should come after visiting a restaurant three times, I’m writing a new review about my awesome visit!

At the Memphis Airport, before a visit to see Mickey Mouse and my friend Dena in Orlando, I was looking for something meatless I could eat (I gave up meat for Lent). I saw Backyard Burger and thought it was the perfect place, because a friend of mine told me they have veggie burgers. I have long abandoned their regular burgers, but I was willing to give the garden burger a shot.

I used one of the cool airport self-ordering kiosks to play my order. I wanted the fries. I had them selected and almost bought them. Luckily, common sense set in and I flashed forward to thoughts about all the terrible food I would consume at Disney. So, I took them off my order (small victories!).

I got my veggie burger quicker than the people waiting who ordered a regular burger. I’m sure it’s a frozen patty in the back, but it was still good an better than a Boca burger. I’m a fan of BYB’s red onions, so add those  for fresher taste.

Only 10 points plus make it a great choice! Get it on you next visit – and leave off the fries!

Garden Veggie Burger: ?? calories, 8g fat, 57g carbs, 7g fiber, 27g protein (10 WW PointsPlus)

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purple

Homemade Garden Burger at Trolley Stop Market

13 Feb

Trolley StopUntil Easter on Food for Fat Girls, the only meat you’ll see is fish. That’s because I’ve given up all meat that has legs for lent. I’m giving up meat because I’ve always wanted to get into the Meat Free Monday campaign but have never got around to any realistic steps to participating. I love animals, but saving them isn’t the reason I’m participating. The environmental effects of so much meat consumption is crazy. I won’t preach, but you can read about the adverse effects here (although that info is probably pretty biased).

My first meatless review is the veggie burger from local restaurant Trolley Stop Market. It’s too bad this review is based on a to go order, because the inside of Trolley Stop is a super cute restaurant with all kinds of local food and products being sold. Trolley Stop is big on working with local farmers.

When I picked up the burger, I was concerned at first because of all the visible beans. I’m not a huge bean fan, but they gave the burger a fresh look and turned out not to be an issue for me at all. The burger tasted super fresh, and I wonder if it was made from scratch. I bet the burger would taste great on a wheat bun!

Generic nutrition facts tell me the burger and bun were only a total of 6 WW PointPlus. That seems a bit too good to be true, so it’s times like this when I wish I could get nutrition info from everywhere. However, if it is true, this may be close to the perfect veggie burger. I didn’t feel guilty at all after eating!

Where the guilt stepped in was the potato salad, but we’ll get to calories later. I love potato salad with the chunks still in, and this potato salad was plenty deliciously chunky. It had more of an eggy taste that your average potato salad but was still very good.

If the nutritional facts I found were accurate, the potato salad definitely was not worth it. It was a good potato salad, but not the best. And definitely not worth an estimated 9 WW PointsPlus. There are plenty of other side alternatives at Trolley Stop, with a fruit bowl being the best option. A coworker of mine got it and it looked like a very happy bowl of fruit. Maybe you could just get an extra pickle or two, because Trolley Stop pickles shouldn’t be missed!

Trolley Stop Market does not provide nutritional information, so I am using generic info:

Homemade Garden Burger: 230 calories, 5g fat, 39g carbs, 5g fiber, 9g protein (6 WW PointsPlus)
Potato Salad: 360 calories, 21g fat, 28g carbs, 3g fiber, 7g protein (9 WW PointsPlus)
Total: 590 calories, 26g fat, 67g carbs, 8g fiber, 16g protein (15 WW PointsPlus)

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purplesweats purple (would be two if I left off potato salad)

Spicy Chicken Fillet Sandwich at Wendy’s

8 Feb
Wendys Spicy Chicken

Thank you for my chicken, doo doo doo doo doo… (anyone else remember that ad?)

I was really thinking about you guys on this one. I can’t say I made y’all proud, but this Fast Food Friday definitely wasn’t the glutinous occasion it had the potential to be.

As I pulled up to the Wendy’s drive-through (drive-thru?), I considered a spicy chicken wrap and chili, a hamburger and baked potato or going overboard with a spicy chicken sandwich, a frosty and a caesar salad. The first two combinations turned out to have about the same points as one spicy chicken sandwich. And I couldn’t let myself let go and order the third. So, I comprised with just the spicy chicken sandwich. OK FINE, I definitely leaned more toward the bad side. And, hey, I asked if they make a grilled spicy chicken sandwich! (They do not.)

This was a damn good spicy chicken sandwich.

Elements of the sandwich weren’t overpowered by mayo, and the chicken had just the right amount of crunch. I haven’t had a problem with freshness of ingredients at Wendy’s in a while, so there isn’t any reason to be fearful of soggy tomatoes or lettuce. At home, I had a few strawberries and pineapple slices on the side. Remembering I had fruit on hand kept me from ordering a side of fatty “natural-cut” fries or a potato.

This is a case when I would advise you to give into your craving and get it out of the way. It’s true that you don’t get a lot of value out of one sandwich being 530 calories, but at least there isn’t any cheese involved. If you aren’t as obsessed with the spicy chicken as I am, a junior cheeseburger looks to be a good alternative (8 WW PointsPlus). To be honest, there aren’t a lot of low WW point combos at Wendy’s, and it may not be your best bet if you’re looking for variety on your tray.

Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich: 530 calories, 22g fat, 55g carbs, 3g fiber, 31g protein (14 WW PointsPlus)

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purplesweats purple

Sante Fe Chicken Salad Sandwich at Local Gastropub on the Square

2 Feb

LocalLocal Gastropub opened in Overton Square in November(ish), and it’s one of the first visible steps in revitalizing the best known district of Midtown Memphis. It has quickly become one of my favorite bars in Midtown – and not just because it’s the only reliable place in Memphis to grab a Sam Adams.

When you visit local, ask for a seat upstairs. If you’re there for a drink, there are plenty of comfy couches. If you’re hungry, it’s nice to sit by a window and have a second-story view of Madison Ave. For ambiance, I much prefer Overton Square to Local’s original downtown location.

I made my first lunch stop to Local thinking I would get my usual Thai Noodle Steak Salad. But that choice is not always reliable, so I headed in a different direction: the Sante Fe Chicken Salad Sandwich. It comes with a side caesar salad, which I can rarely resist.

I like Local’s twist on the chicken salad. The menu said it’s made with roast chicken, sliced avocado (yuck), red onion, corn, cream cheese, lettuce, tomato  black beans and chipotle aioli between a baguette. The chicken was made with the perfect ratio of all of these ingredients. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with a lot of chicken or like a fatty because of excessive cream cheese. I actually hate black beans, but they didn’t bother me in this recipe, because there weren’t a lot of them. The downside to the sandwich is that while I liked the bread, there was too much of it and not enough chicken salad. I don’t have much to say about the caesar salad except that it’s your standard side salad.

The Sante Fe chicken salad isn’t good enough to keep me from trying other things on the menu, but I was happy with my lunch. In nutrition, the sandwich is average and far from the worst thing you could order on the menu. The meal carried an estimated total of 19 Weight Watchers PointsPlus, which is about what I expected. I felt satisfied and didn’t feel gross after eating the meal. Because there’s so much baguette going on, it would be a good idea to order crackers on the side, instead of bread. Making this exchange could save a few calories.

Local Gatropub does not provide nutritional information, so I am using generic info:

Chicken Salad: 420 calories, 32g fat, 3g carbs, 1g fiber, 30g protein (11 WW PointsPlus)
Baguette: 175 calories, 2g fat, 33g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g protein (4 WW PointsPlus)
Side Caesar Salad: 160 calories, 12g fat, 8g carbs, 1g fiber, 5g protein (4 WW PointsPlus)
Total: 755 calories, 46g fat, 44g carbs, 4g fiber, 41g protein (19 WW PointsPlus)

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purplesweats purple

Hot Dog and Bud Light at FedEx Forum

25 Jan

FedExForumFor today’s Fast Food Friday, I’m reviewing a fast food place that may not be a chain, but that everyone has by a different name: the sports arena.

FedEx Forum is Memphis’ largest sports venue and the home of the Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Tigers. When I watch the Grizzlies at the Forum, I pick up at Bud Light draft and hot dog with mustard, onion and relish. Only after I have these two items can I really dig in to the stats in the game program.

On a menu of a sports venue filled with french fries, burgers and BBQ (hey, it’s Memphis!), a hot dog always seems like the best choice to me. It’s not overly greasy, and I don’t get the foot-long hot dog. Of course, many of us dream of a day when turkey hot dogs are an available alternative in more restaurants. But until I see more grilled chicken or turkey dogs, I’ll stick with the regular hot dog as the best choice at a basketball game.

There’s nothing special about this little hot dog, and the cold draft beer is just as refreshing as anywhere else. But I need the mustard-infused energy to cheer on my Grizz! And it’s just enough food to give me that energy and not make me feel lethargic. Do you develop food routines or traditions when you watch your favorite sports teams? What do you think are the healthiest choices?

FedEx Forum does not provide nutritional information, so I am using generic info:

Hot Dog with Bun: 440 calories, 30g fat, 28g carbs, 1g fiber, 14g protein
22 Oz. Bud Light
: 180 calories, 0g fat, 22g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g protein
Total: 620 calories, 30 fat, 50g carbs, 1g fiber, 14g protein

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purplesweats purple

Veggie-Tofu Pad Thai and Sticky Rice with Mango at Jasmine

16 Jan

Oops, forgot to take a picture before I dug in!

Pad Thai is a favorite of mine. I usually prefer it plan and without any peanuts, veggies or any kind of meat. So when a plate of Pad Thai that looked like it was made with more veggies than noodles was placed in front of me, my mood dampened a little. All those veggies were about to mess with my mostly-noodle mojo.

But Jasmine’s Pad Thai became an exception to my plain Pad Thai rule. Jasmine’s version was made was some of the freshest and most delicious vegetables I’ve had. And not the standard puny, carrot and snow pea stir-fry ones. It included my beloved snow peas and a full mix of Asian-style veggies.

Aside from the amazing vegetables, the flavor of the noodles and the tofu was pretty standard. This version probably won’t replace my go-to Pad Thai, but when I visit Jasmine in the future, it’s definitely something I’ll order again.

When our waiter offered us dessert, I had to say yes because the Pad Thai didn’t leave me stuffed jasmine-dessertor feeling gross. The dessert that was brought to us was perplexing: rice and mango?

I am so glad I didn’t let the appearance of the combination keep me from trying it. It was amazing! The warm, sweet rice mixed with the sweet mango makes a great, healthy snack. The dessert alone will keep me going back to Jasmine.

Jasmine is a local restaurant and does not provide nutritional information, so I am providing generic info:

Pad Thai with Veggies and Tofu: 325 calories, 18g fat, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 14g protein
Mangos and Sticky Rice
: 150 calories, 9g fat, 40g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g protein
Total: 475 calories, 27g fat, 68g carbs, 2g fiber, 15g protein

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purple

Whopper Jr with Fries at Burger King

11 Jan
Burger King

The one time when I will say not to let the disgusting look of this burger fool you

Happy fast food Friday, everyone! If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m very picky about my sides and burgers. Either I like the sandwich or I like the fries – it’s rare for me to like both. At Burger King, I don’t have that problem.

I think condiments were made for the Whopper, Jr. The mayo/ketchup combination is perfect on this burger (wonder if they have light mayo? Doubt it). Burger King’s lettuce is also very fresh, and it’s one of the only burgers I can handle onion on.

But don’t waste calories on the cheese! Because of calories, I always try and avoid cheese. The times I’ve had it on a Whopper, Jr., I’ve felt the cheese throws the taste off, anyway. The burger is also a good size. I’m not full afterward, and I’m not hungry and wishing I had ordered a Whopper, instead. BTW, the Whopper is freaking massive, no?!

Fries: They’re awesome, salty, tasty and the best in fast food. Trust me. I don’t even need ketchup with them. Just pray to the french fry gods that they don’t overcook your fries.

I do have one fry caveat: One of the reasons I started this blog is to help people learn from my food mistakes. Today, the advice I’m giving is if you want fries, always order the small! I seriously need to count how many of the meals I’ve reviewed that would have been fine, nutritionally, if it weren’t for the fries.

Also, I recommend checking out Burger King’s nutrition info page. It’s one of the best I’ve seen! The only downside is that they do not include dietary fiber. You’ll have to go to the nutrition information PDF to find that.

Whopper Jr without Cheese: 340 calories, 19g fat, 29g carbs, 2g fiber, 14g protein
Medium French Fries
: 440 calories, 22g fat, 56g carbs, 5g fiber, 5g protein
Total: 780 calories, 41g fat, 85g carbs, 7g fiber, 19g protein

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purplesweats purplesweats purple

Stuffed Shrimp with Grilled Asparagus at Jim’s Place Grille

3 Jan

Mood lighting: Good for mood, not so good for iPhone photography.

Once in a while, I do like to step in to a more formal restaurant (believe it or not). Unfortunately, the financial realities of working entry level keep me away from finer dinning. But when I get to visit, the payoff is usually high.

A few former co-workers and I recently dined at Jim’s Place Grille, a subsidiary of a Memphis classic – Jim’s Place. There were so many delicious-looking options on the menu that it took an unusually long amount of time to decide what I wanted to order. I finally decided on the stuffed shrimp with a side of grilled asparagus.

All the time I spent with my menu paid off. The stuffed shrimp was a blend of shrimp and crab cakes – two of my favorite kinds of seafood. The taste was very rich so I couldn’t make it through the stuffed shrimp in one sitting, but leftover quality was fine.

Asparagus is my favorite veggie and Jim’s Place Grille grilled them well. They weren’t mushy, they weren’t crunchy and they had a great flavor.

One question, though, for all the educated foodies out there: why do chefs always leave on the tail of shrimp? Especially when it’s in a salad or a dish like these crab cakes?

Jim’s Place Grille is a local restaurant and does not provide nutritional facts, so I am providing generic information:

Stuffed Shrimp: 400 calories, 34g fat, 18g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g protein
Asparagus: 50 calories, 0g fat, 10g carbs, 3g fiber, 3.5g protein
Total: 450 calories, 34g fat, 28g carbs, 6g fiber, 9.5g protein

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporksporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purple

Filet-o-Fish and Fries at McDonald’s

28 Dec


And now we come to the review of the most infamous fast food restaurant of all: McDonald’s. There are about a thousand horrible possibilities to choose from on the McDonald’s menu, but I chose my favorite: the fish filet (or as a friend often corrects me, it’s officially called the Filet-O-Fish).

Whenever I order this sandwich, the people I’m with always seem to gawk at me. It’s true, there’s not much to say about a thawed, fried fish patty on a bun, except that the tartar sauce makes this sandwich. It’s delicious enough that I don’t usually stray off to McDonald’s more common items, like their cheeseburger.

When I looked up the nutrition information for the fish filet sandwich, I was very surprised. Not for how unhealthy it is, but for how reasonable the calories and fat are. 380 calories and 18 grams of fat for a fast food sandwich really isn’t bad. It’s the french fries that made me feel terrible about myself.

People, these fries are not that good. Especially when they’re soggy eight times out of ten (you know it’s true!). If you must order the fries, take my usual advice and get a kiddy size.

Filet-O-Fish Sandwich: 380 calories, 18g fat, 38g carbs, 2g fiber, 15g protein
Medium French Fries
: 380 calories, 19g fat, 48g carbs, 5g fiber, 4g protein
Total: 760 calories, 37g fat, 86g carbs, 7g fiber, 19g protein

Sporks (out of 5): sporksporkspork
Sweats (out of 5): sweats purplesweats purplesweats purple