Bachelor on the Cheap

Food Review: Papa John's Papadias - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Papa John's Buffalo Chicken Papadia
The Buffalo Chicken

Regular readers know that I'm not a huge fan of Papa John's pizza.  To me, it's average pizza.  But they've been teasing us all with their Papadias, the flatbread sandwiches which look delightful.  You've no doubt seen the commercials and with dinner to think about on a Monday night I decided to give these Papadia things a try.

Here's the description from the Papa John's website:  A Papa John's Papadia isn't just any flatbread sandwich. It's a hot, beautifully balanced meal that's everything you do love about a hot, flatbread-style sandwich, but taken to the next level with generous portions of all your favorite Papa John's ingredients and flavors. Think real cheese melted to perfection, juicy meats, and mountains of colorful veggies, all nestled snugly into fresh-baked flatbread made from Papa John's own signature dough. Each Papadia features its own flavor profile and comes served alongside the ideal Papa John's dipping sauce for a perfect series of bites from the first to the last.

That's a good read, but the visual on a TV commercial is damn near a mouthwatering experience and if smellivision existed, it truly would be.

Papa John's has a variety of these flatbread sandwiches on the menu to choose from:  Buffalo Chicken, Philly Cheesesteak, Grilled BBQ Chicken and Bacon, Meatball & Pepperoni, Italian and a new offering, Double Cheeseburger.  There's also an option to create your own!

Papa John's Double Cheeseburger Papadia
The Double Cheeseburger

Shoving my Papa John's has average pizza experiences aside, I ordered two of the flatbread offerings for this delivery dining occasion, going with the Buffalo Chicken and the Double Cheeseburger.

The Buffalo Chicken description:  Flatbread-style sandwich made from original fresh dough and loaded with grilled chicken, onions, our signature cheese plus our 3-cheese blend, buttermilk ranch sauce, and buffalo sauce. Served with ranch dipping sauce.

The Double Cheeseburger descriptionOur meatiest Papadia ever. Flatbread-style sandwich with zesty burger sauce, 1/4 pound of seasoned beef, dill pickles, and signature cheese baked to a toasty perfection. Served with zesty burger dipping sauce.

Ordering on the Papa John's website is easy and I was able to take advantage of a promotional coupon.  These sandwiches normally cost $6 each, or $12 for two, I got them both for $9.  After delivery fee and tip, I shelled out just over $15 for my Monday night meal.  Delivery was on time as well, the Papa John's tracker they send you in the confirmation email is accurate.

I bit into the Buffalo Chicken Papadia first.  Nice!  Delivering classic Buffalo sauce flavor, the grilled chicken was tender, I got chicken and onions in each bite, the 3-cheese blend was melted to perfection and complimenting it all of course was the ranch dipping sauce.  But what puts this sandwich in the YUM category is the great foundation of that flatbread!  Papa John's has done a nice job with this, the bread is crispy on the edges, but warm and soft at the same time.  If there's a knock to be made on this particular sandwich, is that it wasn't toasted quite enough though, the flatbread on the Double Cheeseburger had a better toast to it.  Inconsistent preparation.....

20201124_085155The Double Cheeseburger Papadia was also quite good.  You get the good burger flavor you can really sink your teeth into, with that zesty sauce making it and you get the tartness from the pickles. Topped with that melted cheese and combined with that flatbread, it's quite tasty!  I ate a half of each Papadia for dinner, saving the remaining halves for a leftover lunch.  Of the two, I'm giving the flavors of the Buffalo Chicken the preferred nod, even though the flatbread on the Double Cheeseburger was toasted better. 

I'm giving both of these Papa John's Papadias 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, they are repeat buys and very tasty cheap eats!  I'm looking forward to trying the other Papadia options!

4 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....

For more food, drink and other reviews, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com

 


Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey Challenge: Bird Dog vs. Skrewball - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

20201118_112339Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun until recently, has been Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey .  But replacing that was a new flavor offering from Bird Dog and their Chocolate Flavored Whiskey - what a great pairing!  Bird Dog has also released a Peanut Butter Flavored variety, which I've been anxious to compare to Skrewball and it's what I'm reviewing today.

The description from the Bird Dog website: 

Creamy or crunchy?
Whatever your preference, our Peanut Butter Bird Dog goes down smooth. Aromatic vanilla and caramel undertones round out the nutty flavor for a slow, warm finish. Pair with our Strawberry Bird Dog for a PB&J shot straight from the lunchbox.

Potency
80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color
Golden-Reddish Amber

Nose
Warm peanuts with a hint of wood char

Body
Uniquely smooth peanut butter flavors are presented with traditional caramel and vanilla notes

Finish
A slow, warm, whiskey fades with sweet caramel

Once again, Bird Dog nails it!

At 80 proof, the Bird Dog has a bit more kick than the typical flavored whiskeys which usually come at 70 proof.  That extra alcohol means this whiskey doesn't taste too sweet, nor is it harsh.  I'm a HUGE fan of Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey but Bird Dog is on par with Skrewball, with my former favorite getting just an ever so slight edge in flavor. Skrewball is a bit sweeter, but both the Skrewball and Bird dog whiskeys whether in a chilled shot, served on the rocks or neat, have a nice peanut butter nose, you get notes of vanilla and caramel and the finish is very pleasant and warm. 

Why Bird Dog wins the day:  It costs less, quite a bit less!  We're talking about $30 for a bottle of Skrewball vs. about $19 for the Bird Dog.  That's a no brainer for me, saving $11 for a very good peanut butter whiskey that's going to give you everything you're looking for in one whether enjoyed by itself or in mixology. 

Mixology suggestions:  Pairing the combo of the chocolate and peanut butter flavors for a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup shot!   You could pair the peanut butter with the strawberry flavored whiskey as suggested by Bird Dog, but I'm not a fan of the strawberry.  Bird Dog has released a new Black Cherry flavor, I might give that a try for a PB&J shot.

Next Up (after the Black Cherry review):  Bird Dog has released yet another flavor, Jalapeno flavored whiskey!  Oh my!

The Bird Dog line up of flavored whiskeys is pretty impressive and with their Peanut Butter flavored whiskey comparing so favorably to Skrewball's version - which set the bar for that flavor - I'm giving Bird Dog Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It tastes just about as good as Skrewball for a lot less money!

5 stars

For more food, drink and other reviews, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com


Drink Review: Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Blended and flavored whiskeys are red hot right now, consumer demand for brown spirits continues to rise with American Whiskey in particular seeing some phenomenal sales growth.

Regular readers know that I am a fan of flavored whiskey, I've always got a bottle of something in my freezer for a chilled shot or a flavored specialty in the liquor cabinet to enjoy on the rocks.  My favorite in all this tasting fun so far, has been Skrewball Peanut Butter Flavored Whiskey with Yukon Jack Jacapple coming in a close second.

After today's tasting, that may have changed....

Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored WhiskeyEnter, Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey.

Shared with my Lady Friend, this was the best on the rocks flavored whiskey I've ever had....  We sampled it doing shots as well, VERY smooth!

Good whiskey and chocolate is an OUTSTANDING pairing! 

The description from the Bird Dog website: 

Chocoholics rejoice. A comforting fragrance of smooth milk chocolate awakens the senses at first encounter. Notes of rich cocoa highlight the quintessential notes of vanilla and caramel without overpowering the classic bourbon flavor. Swap out dessert for our signature Chocolate Martini, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been ending your meals this way all along.

Potency: 80 PROOF / 40% Alc/Vol

Color: Golden Amber

Nose: Rich chocolate scents with the hint of bourbon

Body: Smooth, velvety chocolate flavors infuse with natural bourbon notes of vanilla and caramel

Finish: Light chocolate touches layer into a gentle cocoa and warm finish

That is absolutely, 100% correct!

At 80 proof, the Bird Dog has a bit more kick than the typical flavored whiskeys which usually come at 70 proof.  That extra alcohol means this whiskey doesn't taste too sweet, nor is it harsh.  Bird Dog did it right, a nice balance of the chocolate followed by a nice, warm, bourbon finish.   Bird Dog has introduced a number of new flavored whiskeys, to include a peanut butter flavored version which I'm anxious to try and compare to Skrewball.  And then there's the combo of the chocolate and peanut butter flavors for a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup shot! 

Priced at about $22 for a 750ml bottle, it costs a little more than your average flavored whiskey, but it's WELL worth it.  I'm giving Bird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  It's my new favorite!  What a fantastic flavor pairing!

5 stars


Food Review: Marie Callender's Chicken Alfredo Bake Bowl - Bachelor on the Cheap

20201110_073121By Mike Thayer

When on the go, or for those nights when you just don't feel like cooking something from scratch after a long day at work, having a convenience meal in your freezer is a very good thing.

I recently did a review of a Marie Callender's Beef & Broccoli Bowl which I bought on a whim a week or so ago at my local grocery store for $2.49.  I also picked up the Chicken Alfredo Bake bowl for the same price.  I like Marie Callender's pot pies, so why not give this version of dinner in a bowl thing a shot, right?

Here's the description from the packaging:  A Big Bowl of Delicious.  Premium chicken breast and farm grown vegetables with freshly made pasta from scratch.  Sauce made from scratch with a blend of Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella and White Cheddar cheeses combined with real cream.

Sounds pretty tasty right?  I nuked the bowl per the package instructions and in less than six minutes, dinner was ready!

20201110_073233In taking that first bite, making sure to get some chicken, veggies and pasta on the spoon, the description on the box delivered.  The chicken was tender and nicely seasoned.  The pasta was nice - not mush like you can sometimes get in a microwave/boxed meal preparation - the veggies provided a nice balance and bringing everything together was that cheesy sauce!  It was pretty tasty.

But here's the thing, like the Beef & Broccoli Bowl, this Chicken Alfredo Bake Bowl was less than generous in meat portion.  Despite the nice flavors going on, you don't get a lot of chicken.  Take a look at the pic, do you see much chicken?  This is a bowl of pasta and cheese sauce, the chicken and even the veggies, not so much......  Marie's claim that this is a "Big Bowl of Delicious" is a bit of a stretch.  All in all, this was a tasty bowl but in order to be truly satisfying more chicken would be required. 

I'm giving the 11.6 ounce bowl of pasta, sauce, a sprinkle of veggies and some chicken three out of five Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The price isn't bad at $2.49, but it's a borderline repeat buy.  It's cheaper and "meatier" to go with Marie's pot pies.

3 stars

For more food, drink and other reviews, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com


Food Review: Marie Callender's Beef & Broccoli Bowl

By Mike Thayer

20201104_075807When on the go, or for those nights when you just don't feel like cooking something from scratch after a long day at work, having a convenience meal in your freezer is a very good thing.

Not feeling like cooking the other night, I pulled a Marie Callender's Beef & Broccoli Bowl from my freezer, I bought it on a whim the other day at my local grocery store for $2.49.  I like Marie Callender's pot pies, so why not give this version of dinner in a bowl thing a shot, right?

Here's the description from the packaging:  A Big Bowl of Delicious.  Juicy USDA Choice beef, garlic and ginger combined with tender broccoli florets - yummy!

I nuked the bowl per the package instructions and in less than six minutes, dinner was ready!

In taking that first bite, making sure to get some meat, rice and broccoli on the spoon, the description on the box delivered.  The beef was tender, I got the garlic and ginger notes in the sauce and the broccoli florets were tasty.  It was indeed a mouthful of "Yummy!"

Marie Callender's Beef & Broccoli Bowl
Prepared as directed, it's not exactly as pretty as the box pic

But here's the thing, despite the nice flavors going on, you don't get beef in every bite from this bowl, not even in every other bite.  The meat portion is a bit sparse, as in less than generous, with most mouthfuls being rice, sauce and broccoli.  Marie's claim that this is a "Big Bowl of Delicious" is a bit of a stretch.  All in all, this was a tasty bowl but in order to be truly satisfying more meat would be required.  To borrow a line from the old Wendy's commercials, "Where's the Beef?"

I'm giving the 11.8 ounce bowl of broccoli, sauce, rice and some meat three out of five Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The price isn't bad at $2.49, but it's a borderline repeat buy.  It's cheaper and "meatier" to go with Marie's pot pies.

3 stars

For more food, drink and other reviews, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com

 

 


A burger so flavorful, you don't need a bun

Grilling Good Eats 2By Mike Thayer

A bun doesn't make or break a great burger, the meat does.

Here's a recipe that makes for a great burger, a patty so full of flavor, not only is the bun not required, neither is lettuce, tomato or other toppings.....

Sweet Heat Burgers

Ingredients:

  • One pound of Sweet Italian sausage
  • One pound of 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Buffalo Wing cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  If you can't find shredded Buffalo Wing cheddar cheese at your favorite grocery store, regular sharp shredded cheddar and some Louisiana Hot Sauce is a nice substitute.  Form meat mixture into patties.  When your grill is ready to receive, place the patties over the hot spot to get those great grill marks and a good sear. Keep the lid off and watch for any flare ups. When you see red juices flowing to the top of the patties, flip those burgers over to the lower heat side of the grill and get ready to put the lid on. Before ‘lidding‘, place some butter and garlic in a grill safe dish to melt down on the low heat side of the grill next to those great smelling burgers. Check after about five minutes. The garlic butter should be melted and the burgers should be about ready. For well done burgers, wait to see the juices run clear.  Top burgers with the garlic butter just before plating.

It's another dose of YUM!

For more burger and other grilled fare ideas, go to www.grillinggoodeats.com


Wine Review: Broadmoore Estates Red Trails from WineShop at Home

By Mike Thayer

This is another excellent red blend from WineShop at Home and a new offering in the Broadmoore Estates brand.

From the website:

This new 79% Ruby Cabernet, 11% Ruby Red and 10% Syrah blend of Broadmoore Estates Red Trails is very fruit-forward.

This sweet red wine displays blueberry, blackberry, strawberry and raspberry aromas, as well as light notes of pepper and toasted oak toward the end. The star of the show is the sweetness, which bursts out of the glass and onto the palate. The attack, the mid-palate and the finish are rich with fruity characters. Hiding behind this wine’s sweetness is a fair amount of fruit tannin for structure.

Serve chilled, suggested pairings are pizza, savory pastries, tacos, spicy pasta, smoked gouda and pepper jack cheeses.

The Broadmoore Estates Red Trails is an EXCELLENT red and it's available exclusively at WineShop at Home!  Contact Lori and get some great wines today!


Papa Murphy's on East Central crafts a fine pizza

By Mike Thayer

Out running errands one evening last week and not feeling like cooking dinner, I stopped at a Papa Murhpy's to pick up my favorite from the joint, a Cowboy Pizza.  I've never been to this particular Papa Murphy's location and I wasn't disappointed.  I didn't pre-order, I just walked in, placed my order and walked out with my pizza in about five minutes.  The place was steady busy with other customer coming in and picking up orders.  The staff was polite and on top of things in cranking out the pies.  Nicely done Papa Murphy's on Central!  They get 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars!

5 stars

I wrote the following back in 2018 and it still rings true today - Papa Murphy's is better than Pizza Hut! 

By Mike Thayer

I'm one of those people that if you ask, "What is your favorite food?"  I'm going to respond "PIZZA!" without hesitation (Burgers are #2 and anything grilled or BBQ'd #3).  But I have a dilemma, I'm not a fan of Pizza Hut (they have become so inconsistent with delivery AND product), Domino's sucks and Papa John's is so-so. I'm in need of a pizza joint that can provide consistently great pizza and I haven't found that place in Wichita yet.  I really like Gambino's, but they're a bit pricey unless you are able to take advantage of the limited coupons they offer.  

The other day while out-and-about running some errands during the lunch hour, I decided to stop at a Papa Murphy's.

Papa Murphy's Cowboy Pizza Thin CrustBoy am I glad I did!  It's been a long time since I've picked up a pizza at Papa Murphy's.  It's not that I had a bad experience with them back in the day, just chalk up the long time between visits to getting too comfortable with delivery pizza.  Shame on me!

Let me bullet point why Papa Murphy's rocks, why they are better than Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's (YUCK) and yes, even Gambino's:

  • Generous with ingredients, especially the cheese!
  • Made to order, right in front of you when walking in.
  • Fast service, friendly staff
  • I can stop in a Papa Murphy's, order; take that pizza home; pop it in the oven; bake it; pull it out of the oven and slice it; before Pizza Hut finally shows up with a delivery.
  • No tip necessary!
  • Save money over what you would pay for a pie at one of the main delivery joints
  • Delicious!

I ordered a large 'Cowboy', thin crust.  I LOVE thin crust pizza!  For those of you not already in the know, the Cowboy is:  Red Sauce, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Olives, Herb & Cheese Blend.  It's DELICIOUS! 

While the pizza was baking and filling my apartment with some FANTASTIC aromas, I had time to melt some garlic butter infused with Parmesan to brush on the crust.....  Talk about another dose of YUM!

The Papa Murphy's pie cost me $15.11 after tax.  That same large pie, with all those ingredients and a delivery tip would have cost me at least $20 coming from the delivery joints.  Did I mention how DELICIOUS Papa Murphy's pizza is?

Papa Murphy's is Bachelor on the Cheap friendly and gets 5 out of 5 stars, without question a repeat buy.

5 stars

Spend Wisely My Friends..... 


Food Review: Papa Luigi Homestyle Meatballs - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

20201006_071801When money is tight or you're just looking for something for the sheer convenience of it, grab a bag of Papa Luigi Homestyle Meatballs from the Dollar Tree for $1.

They're not WOW good, but they're decent, especially when coupled with some marinara or a BBQ sauce for dipping.  I've had them in a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish as well, not bad.

You get a generous portion, 7 ounces of meat for $1.  You really can't beat that.  I've oven baked them, warmed them up in a saute' pan, threw them in the crock pot with a little olive oil - easy in all preparations.  It's so convenient to have a bag on hand that you can just pull from the freezer and put an easy-peasy meal together with.

I'm giving Papa Luigi Homestyle Meatballs 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, they're not the best frozen meatball out there, but for $1, you can't go wrong.

3 stars

For more food and drink reviews, go to www.bacheloronthecheap.com


Family Ranch California Heritage is an excellent off-dry to sweet white wine from WineShop at Home

Family Ranch Heritage is the product of a winemaker’s favorite activity: blending. This off-dry to sweet white wine showcases a pale yellow blend of 40% Colombard, 35% Chenin Blanc and 25% Muscat Canelli in the glass.

Beginning with lime and lemon aromas, grassy notes then emerge. Pear, honey and apple characteristics are present in the finish. The aromatics and citrus notes extend to the front palate and behind its light sweetness, this wine is refreshing and crisp on the mid-palate.

Chilled, this light to medium-bodied wine will pair well with egg bites, pasta with seafood or light desserts.

The Family Ranch California Heritage is an EXCELLENT white and it's available exclusively at WineShop at Home!