Fast Food Review: “Sidekickers” Jalapeno Bites with Bronco Berry Sauce from Arby’s
Have you ever been to a really mediocre New Year’s Eve party where the alcohol flows OK but there are some gnarly appetizers going around? I have, and with Arby’s line of side items dubbed “Sidekickers”, I feel like I’m waiting for the ball to drop so that I can just go home. While not the worst thing in the world, the Jalapeno Bites at Arby’s left me once again yearning for something that is no longer on the menu.
Arby’s describes their Jalapeno Bites like this:
Spicy jalapeno halves with melted cream cheese, battered and fried for a fiery treat. Served with our delicious Bronco Berry Sauce.
While I would describe them like this:
Barely spicy super deep-fried morsels of pasty goo with a sliver of weak jalapeno inside. Served with an oddly named, sweet reddish slime.
Maybe I’m being a little harsh but what an odd little side item. The melted cream cheese filling is a tongue-coating mess of paste. The heat is laughably mild. The texture is pretty strange too. Imagine something like a Fruit Gusher. But thickly breaded and fried, with a gush of warm cream cheese filling. The Bronco Berry sauce is sort of reminiscent of the brightly colored sweet and sour sauce you’d find with your take-out Chinese food. It’s a color that no human should ingest. On a positive, I can see it being a decent cooling agent to the jalapeno, but the ones I had were so mild that I don’t think it really matters. It’s a fruity, funky berry sauce that probably glows in the dark. I’ll give credit to Arby’s for making an effort to expand their side item menu line, but at the same time, with these poor newer offerings, my old faves get pushed away. Case and point, Arby’s Onion Petals with Tangy Southwest Sauce. I can’t find you. Just another to add to the list of missing favorites.
At a price of $2.99 for a 5count and $4.29 for an 8count, these “sides” seem to be priced in sandwich territory. They do seem to have some popularity though. While waiting for my order, two separate people upgraded their curly fries to Jalapeno Bites. I didn’t have the best experience with them. They really aren’t anything you wouldn’t find in your grocer’s freezer. I bet some sort of variant of “Jalapeno Bite” is waiting in a freezer right now just waiting to make it’s appearance at a mediocre get-together.
Pros: Arby's is trying. Bronco Berry Sauce is weird/funky but surprisingly not horrible.
Cons: Pasty, mouth/tongue coating goo of cream cheese. Not much heat. Super breaded/fried. Not a great value.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.25/10
Price: $2.99 for 5, $4.29 for 8
Overall GrubGrade: 4.50/10
More Info: Arbys.com
5 count Jalapeno Bites sans sauce
Calories - 305
Fat - 21 grams
Saturated Fat - 9 grams
Carbs - 29 grams
Cholesterol - 28 milligrams
Sodium - 526 milligrams
Sugars - 3 grams
Dietary Fiber - 2 grams
Protein - 5 grams