Monday, November 06, 2017

Wendy's First Kitchen, Tokyo

When I travel, I like to explore the local versions of fast food.  Usually this comes in the form of McDonald's (like in Paris where they have the kinda awesome Croque McDo or in Lisbon with the mediocre local soups), or Burger King (swoon, the waffles in Munich),  but when I was recently in Tokyo, something else caught my eye.
Yup, Wendy's.

I was drawn in by two things.  First, the sign said "Wendy's First Kitchen", but, it was clearly the Wendy's brand I knew.  Second, they seemed to have interesting desserts.

Now, I had a list of actual dessert shops I planned to visit, but, several mishaps lead us to miss the closing time of the one we had trekked across the city to, and I didn't have the energy to keep going.  So, Wendy's it was, even though I had done virtually no research on this particular concept.

What I do know, now that I did research, is that there was a chain called First Kitchen, and Wendy's acquired them, merging the concepts together.  Hence, "Wendy's First Kitchen".
English Menu!
The merged concepts yields ... quite the menu.

It has plenty of regular Wendy's burgers, chili, and chicken nuggets.  It also has Japanese additions like breaded fried chicken and shrimp burgers.  And ... pasta.  Yes, you can get spaghetti with eggplant and bacon (or, cod roe if you prefer), alongside your burger and fries.  And speaking of those fries, you can get them all sorts of flavorings (chicken consomme fries anyone?)

But I was drawn in by the final 3 sections of the menu: Dessert Smoothies, Floats, and Sweets.

The smoothies and floats all boast that they are made with Hokkaido milk soft serve, and, the dessert cafe we had been trying to get to was indeed a Hokkaido milk soft serve place (don't worry, we made it the next day, and it was great).  I still wanted to get my soft serve, so I zeroed in on these.  Mango floats, blueberry, banana caramel, matcha, orange, cocoa, coffee, cream soda, tapioca ... a huge list of choices.  But the sweets were even better.  French toast with soft serve and red beans?!  Soft serve with matcha green tea mochi and red bean?  Where was I?
Sweet Rice Flour Dumplings with Soft Serve, Sweet Beans, & jelly. ¥350.
I was really excited by the little ice cream sundaes, combining so many things I like, classic soft serve and asian dessert toppings, all together?  Yes!

I was very surprised to see that my little bowl of ice cream was served in a real glass bowl.  Wasn't this a fast food place?!

The soft serve was actually pretty decent.  Creamy, good flavor, although it did have some chunks of ice in it.  It wasn't icy exactly, but, it had ice bits.

The sweet red beans were fine, soft, sweet.  The jelly cubes were very boring, but there was nothing wrong with them. Mochi were soft and pliable.

Overall, the ingredients were all fairly high quality, and this was a decent treat, particularly from a fast food restaurant.
Tapioca Blueberry Yogurt Float (N1 lactic acid included). ¥400.
Two of us decided to share two items, so we could try both a sundae and a float.

So many of the floats sounded interesting.  Tapioca banana caramel?  Tapioca mango?  I knew I wanted tapioca in the mix, so that narrowed it down slightly.  And then I saw that some had NI lactic acid included.  I assumed this meant they'd be kinda fizzy?  That sounded fun!  What I failed to notice was that those ones also had yogurt.

My float was handed over, and initially, it looked like something I'd like.  Tapioca in the bottom of the cup.  Soft serve.  Fruit sauce on the sides, fresh (?!) blueberries on top.

I took a spoonful of the ice cream, and indeed, it was the same nice ice cream as the sundae.  I stuck in the provided large straw, took a swig and ... eww!

It was tart!  So very tart.  It tasted like yogurt.  Doh.

The mix was ice cubes (uh, what?), fizzy lactic acid, and yogurt.  I did not like this.  The sweet berry sauce was also just way too sweet, although that didn't help mask the yogurt.

On the plus side, the tapioca was again a decent ingredient, soft, not too mushy, not too hard, not clumped together.

This was really just a poor ordering job on my part, I wouldn't have ordered it had I realized it had yogurt.   Whoops.
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