This May, Subway has selected their Orchard Chicken Salad sub to be the latest $5 Footlong of the month.  The timing of this one is interesting, because Arby’s just added a Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad sandwich to their Market Fresh menu.  I thought it would be an interesting, unique idea to review them side by side and see which one is better.  Then I visited Arby’s Facebook page and saw that they had the same idea.

They even made a graphic for it. Sirs, I am outdone!!

 Still, I doubt any of their Facebook fans have the dedication to sandwich quality I’ve demonstrated, so hopefully this becomes the definitive review of the two.  These sandwiches are a bit outside of the usual fare I cover here on Sandwichtalk (for more on my usual fare, type “bacon” or “BBQ” into the search field on the right and see what comes up).  I’ll admit that the combination of fruit and mayonnaise is kind of a turnoff for me on a conceptual level, but I can get past it.  I’ll be comparing the two in a couple different categories, so let’s get started!

The Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Sandwich

First, and most importantly, I’ll begin with taste.  Both salads were made up of pretty similar ingredients, including chicken, apples, and celery, mixed with mayonnaise.  The Arby’s version, which I had in the Whole Wheat Wrap iteration, includes grapes, pecans, and leaf lettuce, which is actually really nice.  It tasted alright, although the celery was cut a bit thick and it threw the texture off.  The Subway recipe, on the other hand, included raisins and cranberries, and I got mine on Italian bread with lettuce, although I removed most of it halfway through.  The celery was cut thinner, which was nice, but the real win here were the cranberries, which added an interesting kick.  The pecans were a nice touch on the Arby’s side, but not enough to win.  Walnuts would’ve been better.

Winner: Subway

Subway Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich

Next up is nutrition.  I don’t usually cover nutrition info on Sandwichtalk, because my assumption is that you understand that eating at a fast food restaurant is by definition not going to be as good for you as a home cooked meal or eating at a nicer, more upscale venue.  However, given that the main thrust of these sandwiches is as a light, healthy alternative to mainstream fast food, I thought it was worth a look.  According to Subway’s website, the Orchard Chicken Salad contains 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 560 mg of sodium.  Compare that to the Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad, which according to Arby’s contains 630 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 1020 mg of sodium as a wrap, and 840 calories, 44 grams of fat, and 1220 mg of sodium on the honey wheat bread.  Neither seems like an ideal choice for a diet, but Subway is the clear victor here.

Winner: Subway

Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Wrap (this is the version I had)

 Finally, we have value in terms of price.  This one is a bit more complicated.  Arby’s is offering a free sandwich with purchase of a drink via a coupon on their Facebook page.  If you use this coupon, Arby’s is far and away a better deal, since a drink is only about a dollar and a half.  Without the coupon, the Arby’s sandwich is about $4.79 for the sandwich and $6 for the combo, which includes fries and a drink.  For just the sandwich alone, Subway is a much better deal, being a footlong.  However, if you want a meal, and I would suggest getting one since both sandwiches aren’t hugely filling, Arby’s is probably a better bet, since Subway combos will run up to around $10.

Winner: Arby’s

Given the nutritional facts and all around taste, I have to give the title of Best Fruity Chicken Salad Sandwich Special to Subway.  Both have their pros and cons and neither is quite what I want (hint- cranberries and pecans would be an amazing combination), but I’d eat the Orchard Chicken Salad again much sooner than I’d have the Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad.  If you disagree, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!

P.S.  No matter who you side with, be sure to vote on the Arby’s Facebook page.  They’re donating $1 for every vote to the charity No Kid Hungry, so that’s pretty cool.

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Arby’s  has just introduced a new Angus beef sub, one of the inaugural menu options of their new “good mood food” slogan.  It’s interesting that they’re pushing Angus as a brand (they advertise on the website that they have at least three more Angus products coming soon), since they themselves have a roast beef they’ve been pushing for years.  Regardless, the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sub is here, and let me tell you, it’s not that great.

Don't make me Angus. You won't like me when I'm Angus.

 

The main problem I have with this sandwich is the Angus roast beef.  Regardless of how you feel about Angus beef, it tastes different from Arby’s regular roast beef.  I personally think the regular stuff is better, but more than that I think it’s better suited to the kinds of sandwiches Arby’s makes.  The other ingredients don’t fit quite as well with the flavor of the beef as they should.  The combination of cheeses (swiss, cheddar, and parmesan) feels kind of arbitrary, like they picked out the three cheapest cheeses they could find.  The sauce and bacon are fine, but unlike the other subs, the roll isn’t toasted (or at least the one I had wasn’t, and I’m inclined to think that’s how it’s supposed to be), which I never realized was important until it was gone.

I don’t think the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon was worth the trouble.  It might work with a little tweaking, but as it stands now, it’s definitely not worth the price (a little over $5 for the meal).  Arby’s has plenty of good subs and sandwiches, get something else instead.

Considering that tomorrow, June 12th, is the one-year anniversary of Sandwichtalk, I decided to go a bit further in my latest review.  These days, most fast food restaurants have value menus, where you can get burgers, drinks, desserts etc. for around a dollar.  In light of the myriad options, I’ve put together a guide to where you can find the best burgers for one dollar or less (plus tax).  Here goes!

6.  White Castle Cheeseburger

Starting from the bottom.  White Castle is known for their “buy in bulk” approach to food, with the Crave Case, a box of 30 burgers, being the most infamous.  I’m unhappy that this is my first White Castle review, because I actually don’t have much of a problem with them in general.  However, from a dollar menu standpoint, they’re really dropped the ball.  One White Castle hamburger is 69 cents, and a cheeseburger is 82 cents.  The burgers are about as thick as a slice of lunchmeat, and most of the mass is taken up by the large, pillowy bun.  It’s topped with pickles, mustard, and onions, the latter of which provide most of the flavor.  It’s an interesting experience, but seeing as you only get one, it’s not nearly worth your dollar.

5.  BK Buck Double

Burger King recently added a $1 burger to their menu, which they claim is now the most popular dollar burger on the market.  There’s really not a lot wrong with the Buck Double, which includes 2 patties, cheese, ketchup, mustard and pickles, but it tastes like something’s missing.  It lacks the feeling of completeness that its more expensive brother, the Double Cheeseburger ($1.29) has.  Not a terrible bet for your dollar, but it’ll leave you wanting more.

4.  Taco Bell Beefy 5-Layer Burrito

I know, I know.  There’s a big difference between a burger and a burrito.  I’ve said I want to branch out a bit on here, and I figured this is a good way to start.  If you’re a serious sandwich purist, just skip to the next section.  For everyone else, Taco Bell has a number of beef and cheese items for under a dollar, although their prices fluctuate often.  One standby is the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito.  At 89 cents, it’s inexpensive, and quite filling, with ground beef, beans, sour cream and two kinds of cheeses.  It may not be a burger, but it’s still not a bad choice for your dollar.

3.  Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger

Wendy’s certainly wins the variety award for value burgers.  Their menu includes the Double Stack, the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, and the Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe, all for 99 cents.  I selected the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, which included lettuce, tomato and mayo in addition to the titular bacon, cheese and burger.  It was delicious, with the high-quality ingredients Wendy’s is known for.  You really can’t go wrong at Wendy’s with a dollar.

2.  Arby’s Jr. Roast Beef

Again, not exactly a burger, but still a $1 beef sandwich.  Arby’s Jr. Roast Beef is deceptively simple.  With a decent portion of Arby’s top-notch roast beef, it’s pretty good when eaten plain, but where it really shines is in combination with a sauce.  The Arby’s I visited had no less than 5 different kinds of sauces, and most stock at least Ketchup, Arby’s Sauce and Horsey Sauce.  When applied to the Jr. Roast Beef, they transform it into something new and magical.  I recommend the Spicy 3 Pepper sauce, if available.

And the best value for your dollar is…

1.  McDonald’s McDouble

Yes, the classic McDouble.  It’s only $1, and comes with 2 nicely sized patties, cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles.  You get a lot of meat for a good price, and the whole sandwich really comes together in a way that most don’t.  The McDouble really is the Cadillac of one dollar burgers.

If you notice a fast food chain not represented, it’s probably because there isn’t one near enough to me for me to visit (Jack-In-The-Box and Sonic, among others).  Obviously, the prices and offerings on these value menus are subject to change without notice.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the guide, and please, spend your dollars responsibly.

Another of Arby’s Market Fresh offerings, the Steakhouse Sub is a variation on their usual roast beef sandwich.  In addition to the roast beef, the sub includes swiss cheese, crispy onion straws and a cracked peppercorn sauce, all toasted on a ciabatta roll.  I’m not exactly sure what makes it a steakhouse sub, what with it being roast beef and all, but that’s beside the point.

Yeah, "Roast Beefhouse" does sound a bit off...

The sub is actually pretty good overall.  As always, Arby’s roast beef is delicious, and the onion straws are an interesting choice.  The cracked peppercorn sauce wasn’t as “zesty” as I expected, but I felt that actually worked to the sandwich’s advantage, as it complemented the cheese well.  My main complaint was that the roll was closer to burned than toasted, which kind of took away from the experience.  All in all, the Steakhouse Sub was a worthwhile buy, not quite as good as their Philly Beef, but worth trying while it’s available.

I discussed Arby’s major folly earlier on this blog, and I figured I owed it to them to review a sandwich which better displays their talent at crafting meals.  Arby’s is famous for their roast beef sandwiches, which as their motto states, are “delicious”, but I wanted to review something people may not have tried yet.  In addition to their classic menu, Arby’s serves Market Fresh sandwiches, which are deli style sandwiches, and Toasted Subs, which are made on a sub roll and toasted (obviously).

The Toasted Sub line.  The Philly Beef is the one on the lower right.

The Toasted Sub line. The Philly Beef is the one on the lower right.

 The sub I tried, the Philly Beef, is inspired by a favorite of mine, the Philly Cheesesteak.  It consists of Arby’s roast beef, Swiss (I think) cheese, red and green peppers, and mayo on a sub-type roll.  The roast beef is the same as any other Arby’s roast beef, which means it’s tasty and served in a good sized portion.  The cheese is decent, if unremarkable.  The peppers, which had been cooked, were soft, and while understated, added quite a bit to the sandwich, as did the addition of mayo.  The roll was a bit of a mouthful and seemed somewhat artificial, at least compared to the bread of Jimmy John’s or Subway, but didn’t really hurt the sandwich overall.  It was great, a nice change of pace from the usual fast food choices.  A small Toasted Sub combo is $5.79, which is slightly more expensive then the average meal but not ridiculously so.  I sprung for a medium, which with tax came to the ominous sum of $6.66.  All things considered, I would definitely recommend this sandwich, it shows Arby’s usual quality and variety quite well.

Hopefully most of you are familiar with Arby’s.  Arby’s is a fast food chain, specializing primarily in roast beef sandwiches.  Arby’s also serves chicken sandwiches and nuggets, various deli and sub sandwiches, and curly fries and other sides.  I love Arby’s, and their sandwiches are almost always satisfying and well-priced.  However, Arby’s recently launched a new line of sandwiches called “Roastburgers”.  Arby’s apparently defines a burger not as a sandwich made of hamburger meat, but a sandwich with little meat and lots of filler.  I’d tried a Roastburger previously and didn’t feel much drive to repeat it, but a new summer deal on them seemed like an invitation.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!!

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!!

Let’s begin by looking at the press release.  The “official sandwich of summer,” the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Roastburger features “oven-roasted, thinly sliced roast beef topped with cheddar cheese, pepper bacon, crispy onions, pickle slices and smoky barbecue sauce” as well as shredded lettuce and sliced tomato.  The biggest differences between this and any other roast beef sandwich at Arby’s arethe beef and the bun.  The roast beef is seasoned with something extra (you can see it if you look closely in the picture) to make it taste more hamburgery.  It’s actually kind of gross.  The bun is different from a usual fast food bun.  It’s somewhat more bread-like, but also more bland, and the texture is sub-par as well.  Other than that, most of the sandwich is just filler, without much flavor.  The lettuce, tomato, and cheese were all average, and I couldn’t taste the pickles or onions, for better or for worse.  The bacon was good, but it’s easily available on other superior Arby’s sandwiches (the Chicken Bacon Swiss comes to mind).  The barbecue sauce was probably the best part, better than that on the stackticon but below that of the western bbq n bacon.  Overall, a substandard meal.  But were not done yet…

Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

The first time I had a Roastburger, I felt more bloated than I had in my entire life.  My stomach ached, and I felt nauseous.  This time my reaction wasn’t as severe, but it still upset my stomach.  I don’t really know why this happens.  I hope I’m allergic to something in the Roastburger, and that my reaction is unique to me, or at least uncommon.  If this isn’t the case, my second choice is that both times I’ve ordered the sandwich, it has been improperly prepared/cooked/something, causing my sickness.  However, it is entirely possible that Roastburgers contain ingredients which upset stomach and cause sickness in the general population.  I’m not making any claims that this is true, but is that a risk you really want to take?

In summation, the Roastburgersandwich is a substandard sandwich at best, and a potential health hazard at worst.  While this sandwich is an abomination, please don’t let it influence your overall opinion of Arby’s.  They have an amazing track record in terms of sandwiches as well as sides and milkshakes, so I for one believe they can be afforded one misstep.

P.S.  If you decide not to heed my warnings, let me at least offer you the deal I bought mine on.  Text your zipcode to 27297 and you’ll receive a coupon for a free BBQ Bacon Cheddar Roastburger with purchase of any size drink.  You may have to try a couple times, I did.  The texts can be sent through July 16th, and the coupon can be redeemed through July 19th.  Godspeed.