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Drinks Fast Food What's New

Dunkin’ Is Testing Boba In Iced Tea And Coffee Forms

Boba and milk tea have become wildly popular across the entire United States. Chains featuring the drink and tapioca balls have popped up at locations just about everywhere, and there’s even creative versions like creme brûlée topped boba that have captivated the country.

In a sign that big brands are really starting to look at the popular beverage topping, Dunkin’ has begun testing a couple of drinks that contain boba on the East Coast.

Dunkin’ boba images courtesy of Dunkin’. Background image taken by Joan Oger // Unsplash

Available now through mid-August, according to Mass Live, two variations are being served: Bubble Iced Coffee, and Bubble Iced Tea. Dunkin’ confirmed to Foodbeast that these are made with brown sugar-flavored syrup, and the boba are brown sugar-flavored as well.

Dunkin’s description of the drinks are as follows: “Dunkin’s signature beverages are sweetened with brown sugar syrup and new brown sugar-flavored bubbles for delicious sweetness you both can sip and chew. Both tasty new beverages are served with a special, extra-wide Bubble paper straw.”

The drinks are part of a larger batch of different beverages being tested across the Northeast. Dunkin’s take on boba is offered at five locations in New York, as well as five locations in Massachusetts. Those locations can be found below:

4 Harding Ave.LudlowMA, 01056
112 N. Genesee St.UticaNY, 13502
1701 Black River Blvd. NRomeNY, 13440
751 Meadow St.ChicopeeMA, 01013
55 Maple St.East LongmeadowMA, 01028
694 Page Blvd.SpringfieldMA, 01104
1155 Erie Blvd., WRomeNY, 13440
81 Oriskany Blvd.WhitesboroNY, 13492
9221 River Rd.MarcyNY, 13403
568 Belmont Ave.SpringfieldMA, 01108

Dunkin’ is not the first major American chain to have sold boba in the US, as Panda Express has had it at their Tea Bar locations for a while now. However, this is the first time a major fast food chain is offering the drinks out of one of their regular locations.

Categories
Fast Food

Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito Officially Launches Nationwide

In late 2019, Taco Bell tested a Grilled Cheese Burrito, which consisted of a burrito wrapped in a shell of crispy, melted cheese. That test appears to have done well, as the burrito has now made its way onto menus nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

The cheese-crusted burrito is filled with rice, red crispy strips, a three cheese blend, reduced fat sour cream, chipotle sauce, and a choice of seasoned beef or beans.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s newest item may be inspired by the cheese-crusted breakfast burritos of Los Angeles, where spots like Burrito Bomba and Low Key Burritos have taken over social media for their own cheese-crusted renditions.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Grilled Cheese Burritos will be available for a limited time. They’ll be sold on their own for $2.99 each or as part of a $5 box that includes Cinnamon Twists, a crunchy taco, and a medium soda drink.

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Packaged Food Plant-Based

Vegan Bulgogi and Butter Chicken Bowls Arrive At Target

Every day, more and more vegan options of traditional dishes pop up in our favorite restaurants and local grocery stores. For those who live on a plant-based diet, we’re living in a renaissance of vegan options to choose from.

Vegan brand Sweet Earth Enlightened Foods has now added a few new ready-to-heat bowls that you can find the in frozen food section of your local Target stores.

Two new options include a Bulgogi Bowl and a Butter Chik’N Bowl.

The Bulgogi Bowl is made with Korean inspired plant-based Awesome Grounds and served with purple cabbage, carrots, bok choy and a sesame garlic siracha sauce on a bed of rice.

Fans of Butter Chick’n will find the bowl boasts plant-based Mindful Chik’n with a vegan buttery tomato sauce, chickpeas, carrots and green peas on a bed of rice.

While Sweet Earth offers products in many grocery stores, you can only find these bowls at Target retailers nationwide.

Categories
Packaged Food Sweets

Hostess’ New Limited Edition S’MORES Cupcakes Arriving At Walmart

Unfortunately with the state of the world right now, we won’t be sitting around a campfire with our closest friends sharing some freshly made s’mores any time soon this summer, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the flavors of the popular outdoor snack.

Hostess just released a limited edition line of S’mores Cupcakes that folks can enjoy from home.

The new snack aisle sweets are made with a graham cracker-flavored yellow cake, toasted marshmallow-flavored creamy filling, and is topped with a chocolate icing.

You can find these new S’mores Cupcakes exclusively at Walmart locations nationwide beginning July 9. While it may not recapture the magic of a campfire hang, it might tide you over until it’s safe to gather again.

Categories
Drinks Fast Food What's New

Del Taco Is First Major Fast Food Chain To Add Popping Boba To Their Menu

Popping boba, encapsulated pearls that burst when you bite into them, have yet to make it onto the menus of major fast food chains in America. While they’ve become popular at froyo shops — the concept of boba and its popularity have been a thing for a while now — it has yet to penetrate the biggest chains in food.

Photo courtesy of Del Taco

That all changed with Del Taco’s most recent introduction, Sprite Poppers. Made with popping boba topped over Sprite and ice, the new drinks mark the first time a major fast food chain has added the unique topping to their menu.

Del Taco’s offer consists of two flavors, mango or cherry popping boba, that are piled on top of the iced beverage. The drinks cost $1.29 each, roughly the same price as a small soft drink.

For those curious, popping boba is typically made by encapsulating a liquid, such as juice or flavored syrup, within a “shell” made from a calcium solution and sodium alginate, which is a gelling protein found in seaweed. It’s the reaction between the calcium and alginate protein that leads to the gel-like capsules to form.

They’re typically difficult to make at scale, making Del Taco’s addition of these drinks noteworthy. Whether it leads to more popping boba drinks coming to fast food, or even the addition of real boba itself, remains to be seen.

Del Taco’s Sprite Poppers will be available for a limited time.

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#foodbeast Celebrity Grub Fast Food FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Plant-Based Restaurants SPONSORED

Matthew McConaughey Just Won A Celebrity Burger Showdown, Here’s What He Made

May 28 was a big day for burger lovers.

In celebration of National Burger Day, Off the Menu, the LA-based food discovery app, teamed up with Uber Eats to host The Burger Showdown. The challenge paired more than 60 celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Paris Hilton, and Dwyane Wade with restaurants in 10 cities to create their ultimate burger, available exclusively on Uber Eats. Even better, the Showdown supported Frontline Foods, a grassroots organization that supports local restaurants while feeding frontline workers and impacted communities..

Each pairing created a video sharing their burger inspiration and recipe, which lived on theburgershowdown.com for fans and burger lovers to watch and vote on their favorite before ordering on Uber Eats from May 28-31. 

And, the winners are in: 

Best Burger (US):

The Best Burger in the US was awarded to The Jacobite, made by Scottish actor Sam Heughan and Boston’s The Haven. It’s made with a chuck beef patty smothered in bacon-infused marmalade, pickle sauce, arugula, tomatoes, Huntsman cheese, deep fried onions, and a hand-cut french fry wedge served on a milk bun to create a deviously rich burger. 

Best Burger (Canada):

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

The Best Canadian Burger was won by the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner and The Burger’s Priest. The Mitch One-Six Burger kept it simple, with a smashed patty, cheddar cheese, thick cuts of bacon, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, the famed High Priest Sauce, and a classic, soft house bun. Simple, to the point, and dependable. 

Most Creative Collaboration:

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

The winners of the Most Creative Collaboration, Shay Mitchell and NYC’s Flip Sigi, created the Filipino-inspired Shay Sigi Burger, which featured a three-meat burger that bonded longanisa, ground beef, and bacon. Seared on a hot pan, the amalgamation of a patty was topped with pickled onions, tomato, lettuce, a homemade banana ketchup, and a pan de sal bun.

Best Plant-Based Burger:

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

Max Greenfield and Chicago’s Busy Burger’s collab, the Busy Max Veggie Delight, won the Best Plant-Based Burger presented by Lightlife. Here’s the juicy deets: Two Lightlife Plant-Based Burgers topped with pepper jack cheese and cut with guacamole and sauteed veggies, were topped with butter leaf lettuce, tomato, pickles, and Busy Burger’s signature Busy Sauce. 

The Burger Showdown Hall of Fame:

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

Rounding out the awards by being inducted into The Burger Showdown Hall of Fame is Matthew McConaughey and Aaron Franklin of Austin’s Loro, who created a burger for those who hate when their patty slides out the back (or “slidie-out-backie,” as deemed by Mr. McConaughey) when bitten. Dubbed the “And…” burger, it is made with a brisket and chuck patty and brioche buns, then stacked with double-cut smoked bacon, American cheese, pickled jalapeños, butter leaf lettuce, thin-sliced tomato, mustard, and a jalapeño aioli.

The Burger Showdown was truly something to behold this year. Make sure to peep the builds of all the burgers mentioned, and more here.

Keep an eye on @offthemenu and @ubereats to see what they’re cooking up for their next tasty event, The Wing Showdown.

Created in partnership with Off The Menu.

Categories
Kitchen Gadgets What's New

MAC ON TAP: Stouffer’s Unveils Mac & Cheese Tap Pour Prototype

At bars and convenience stores alike, you can find some interesting things on tap beyond beer and wine. Kombucha, nacho cheese, and chili are just some of the dispensers out there today.

Stouffer’s has made an addition to that lineup of out-there food dispensing gadgets with a tap that pours mac & cheese on anything you can imagine.

The gadget appears to be in its final phases of testing and perfecting, but Stouffer’s has built one out that they’re ready to share with the masses. How they manage to get the pressure to dispense creamy, rich mac and cheese, I don’t know, but to be able to pour out something that viscous from a dispenser is quite impressive.

Stouffer’s has yet to announce where they will be rolling this device out at, instead calling on folks to let them know on social media where they should set one of these mac and cheese “taps” up at.

This is still a prototype that hasn’t been fully unveiled, so we don’t know exactly how viable it is yet. However, if it lives up to the hype, hopefully there’s an eventual at-home purchase option too. I could see myself smothering many a food item with some custom mac if possible.

Categories
Restaurants

Chuck E. Cheese Files For Bankruptcy In Hopes To Survive The Pandemic

After early reports from the Wall Street Journal that Chuck E. Cheese was looking to file for bankruptcy, the entertainment and restaurant chain has officially done so.

Photo: Mike Mozart on Flickr

A press release from CEC Entertainment, Inc., the parent company to the beloved chain, announced the entry into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. It hopes that in doing so, the company can restructure itself to survive the economic hit that the pandemic has levied.

Chuck E. Cheese had been doing okay before the pandemic, as AP reports that store sales went up 3% during 2019. However, the strain of staying closed during the pandemic was a tough pill to swallow for both Chuck E. Cheese and the restaurant industry in general.

Chuck E. Cheese had begun to reopen locations that were closed due to coronavirus, with 266 currently open and more to follow in the coming weeks. It’s hoped that these locations, plus the others Chuck E. Cheese plans to reopen, will stay that way throughout the bankruptcy process.

Franchised locations of Chuck E. Cheese aren’t affected by the bankruptcy filing.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows Chuck E. Cheese to keep running operations while restructuring its organization and financial model to get back on its feet. However, part of the bankruptcy plan, which is approved by a court, may include liquidating some of the company’s assets. This may mean that stores will close in the future, but it’s possible that won’t be the case.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chuck E. Cheese was looking for up to $200 million in loans to stay afloat earlier in the month, which may be enough to restructure and prevent store closures. We won’t know if that’s the case for sure, however, until the bankruptcy court approves a final plan that allows Chuck E. Cheese to emerge from bankruptcy.

The hope is, though, that Chuck E. Cheese won’t have to go the way of Souplantation, who closed all of their locations and began liquidating all of their assets earlier this year.