Summertime and the Eating Is Easy

The latest summer-themed food and drink rollouts

By  Elliott Krause, Freelance writer

Wendy's Berry Almond Chicken Salad

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- Memorial Day has passed, and quick-serve restaurants have shed their cozy, comforting limited-time offers (LTOs) to make way for lighter, more refreshing rollouts. ’Tis the season for summertime specials.

Out from the wintertime reserves is Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad, an LTO available only for the summer months. True to its season, the salad is filled with summer ingredients, such as handpicked strawberries and roasted almonds, both of which come from California (location, particularly as a marker of quality, is a trend that continues to trickle from fine dining to quick serve).

Popeyes is bringing back its own LTO, the popular Rip’n Chick’n. Marinated in a blend of cayenne, habanero and white and black pepper, the chicken tenders are then hand battered, breaded and cooked in Popeyes’ signature crispy batter, ready to be pulled apart and, to cool them down, dipped in a Ranch Dipping Sauce--but only through June 24.

Cooling down is another theme, with Taco Bell adding a Mountain Dew breakfast drink for the summer. The drink, a mixture of Mountain Dew and orange juice (which, for this correspondent, makes it a Mountain Dew mimosa), is another piece of Taco Bell’s push to offer breakfast items, which it has been slowly rolling out around the country since January. If you prefer coffee to soda in the morning, Taco Bell also brews Seattle’s Best.

If you prefer coffee shops to fast-food restaurants yet still want your sweet summer fix, Caribou Coffee has launched a large line of sparkling teas and juices. Made using all natural ingredients, varieties include green tea lemonade, peach black tea, lemon ginger pomegranate juice, berry black tea, mint lime white tea and very berry juice.

Adding to its own expanding beverage line, Krispy Kreme is now offering fruit-themed chillers to keep customers cool throughout the summer. Known for its doughnuts, Krispy Kreme started offering a signature coffee last fall, and the summer line of chillers is another way of enhancing its brand beyond the core product line.