Of all the fast food burger joints, the one I like most is Wendy's. Not necessarily because their burgers are better than their competitors', mind you, but for a number of factors combined. Their value menu has an excellent array of choices when you want something cheap, including the winning combination of a real, honest-to-goodness baked potato and a cup of acceptable chili (whose real, honest-to-goodness-ness I choose not to dwell on). Slice open potato, pour on chili, enjoy. They have both batter-fried and roasted chicken sandwich options. Most importantly, I like their fries-- thicker than Mickey D's or Burger Kings, less crispy, but heartier and less salty.

Really, the only thing missing is dessert. I know lots of people who swoon over the Frosty, but chocolate dairy treats aren't my thing. I like dark chocolate, and any ice cream concoction will have more of a milk chocolate flavor. When it comes to shakes and the like, I'm a vanilla guy. Songs of praise for the Wendy's Frosty fall on deaf ears.

So last night I found myself at a Wendy's, and a decal on the menu caught my attention: "Chocolate or Vanilla". I did a double-take. The Frosty machine stared back at me from behind the counter as it always did. It looked no different. It still had only one spout-- a spout that heretofore always dispensed a chocolate dairy treat. "Excuse me," I asked the cashier, "do you guys have Vanilla Frosties now?" She confirmed that they did, and so I ordered my first 99 cent Frosty-- dispensed as if by magic from the formerly chocolate-spewing machine.

And you know what? Meh.

It was basically a cup of vanilla soft-serve. A perfectly fine soft-serve, but too firm to be sucked down with a straw. Certainly nothing to replace McDonald's old hot caramel sundae-- I used to ask my dad to stop at the golden arches just for that. With extra caramel on the bottom, please. Ooooooh, yeah. But this? Nothing to get excited about whatsoever.

Blizzard, your throne remains secure.


Peter, the next time you're on the east coast, look for a Five Guys.

Heavenly burgers and fries.

The entire point of the frosty is not as dessert, but as dipping sauce for the fries!

Hey Peter,

Thought this might interest you - this weekend (8/26 &8/27) there is a Sweet Fest (i.e. a celebration of dessert, everyone's favorite meal) going on at Marymoor Park. Check it out -


As a former Wendy's employee, I can tell you that the chili contains only normal, all-natural stuff. It's made from "scratch" at each Wendy's location, from a combination of chopped up cooked hamburger patties, a packet of spices, and a large can of tomatoes, beans, onions, etc. that is made for Wendy's according to their recipe by Heinz.

The Frosty also contains pretty basic stuff. The ingredients are something like milk, sugar, cream, buttermilk, cocoa, flavorings, plus some emulsifiers and thickeners. It's essentially a chocolate soft-serve, but with a slightly tangier flavor from the buttermilk.

In general, the food at Wendy's is made from identifiable ingredients you would recognize. What we were told was Dave Thomas believed in simple, uncomplicated recipes, and his wife was into "healthy" eating. The lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. are all prepped on the premises. The hamburger patties are made on the premises from "lean" (meaning normal) ground beef. The chicken breasts are breaded by hand. The potatoes are scrubbed by hand, wrapped in individual foil wraps, and cooked in a convection oven for an hour.

Now, the fries come from Ore-Ida in frozen bags, and I assume the chicken nuggets come pre-made. We didn't have chicken nuggets when I was there.

And I can't begin to tell you how many times I had to say the following phrase to a customer: "I'm sorry, we don't have shakes. Would you like a Frosty? It's like a thick chocolate shake you eat with a spoon."

It must have been at least a dozen times a day. And it's not even correct - the Frosty is a dessert. It's not remotely like a shake. Usually, the customer would then ask for a vanilla Frosty, and I'd have to explain that we only offered chocolate. Then they'd ask for onion rings and a fish sandwich. Sigh.

Peter, I recommend trying a Frosty at least once. I can't guarantee you'll love it, but I do think it's distinctive, and not exactly like regular chocolate soft-serve. The buttermilk is the difference, I think.


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