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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

Subway Sidekicks: Are they really worth it?

Gracie Gioiosa
Eat Fresh. The iconic Subway logo hangs on the wall inside the location on 25th Ave. This location offered the foot-long churro and pretzel but unfortunately were out of the cookies.

In December, Subway unleashed “the world’s first” foot-long cookies at select locations in major cities like Chicago, Miami, New York and Dallas in honor of National Cookie Day. On Jan. 22, the popular hoagie chain added the foot-long cookies to Subway menus nationwide. The new menu, known as the “Subway Sidekicks”, also includes a foot-long pretzel and a foot-long churro. On Feb. 24, two of the Mountain Echo reporters went to Subway on 25th Ave and reviewed the new additions to the menu.

Before meeting at Subway, we called around to make sure they were stocked up. Out of all the Subways in Altoona, only one had one foot-long cookie left. We asked them if they could hold onto it for us, but that was not possible, so unfortunately we did not get to try it. 

“We get a truck of supplies on Wednesdays, so we might get more of them. They’re probably a 9/10, so you’ll have to come back to try one,” one Subway employee we spoke to said. 

We walked into Subway around 5:15 p.m., and the person in front of us ordered a foot-long churro along with a sub. Because there were no cookies available, we just ordered a foot-long pretzel and churro which made our total $5- the pretzel was $3 and the churro was $2.

It only took about five minutes for both to be ready, and a worker brought them to our table. We decided to try the pretzel that came with a honey mustard sauce first, but before doing so, we measured it to make sure it lived up to its name. Thankfully for Subway, we did not have to file a lawsuit because it was in fact 12-inches. The website describes the pretzel as “a twist of Auntie Anne’s”; here is our review if it lives up to its hype… 

Charlie’s review: I have never eaten a soft pretzel and thought it wasn’t average; this one was no exception. I mean, of course, it was cool it was a foot long and was easily split into smaller portions, but it just didn’t live up the standard. It had a nice amount of salt and was chewy and soft when we first opened it, but after about five minutes of sitting there, it started to dry out. After a few minutes, it wasn’t as enjoyable and honestly I was expecting more out of the foot-long pretzel. The honey mustard sauce was a bit odd and not the flavor I was expecting. Overall, I have to give the foot-long pretzel a 5/10. (Also they advertise it as having a “twist of Auntie Anne’s”…didn’t taste anything like it.) 

Pretzel. The soft pretzel quickly dried up after it sat out for a few minutes. The foot-long pretzel was best dipped in the honey mustard sauce. (Gracie Gioiosa)

Gracie’s review: When I eat a pretzel, I’m not looking for anything wild, honestly, I prefer it to be simple. To satisfy my pretzel eating experience, I’m only asking for a few things – it has to be salty and have a distinctive crust with a soft, chewy interior without being overly dense. From what I could gather, it seemed like the salt was put on them after they were baked. I think the workers knew this would cause salt to not stick to the pretzel, which made them put on a bunch of excess salt that inevitably fell all over the place and wouldn’t be as necessary if the salt was baked on. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think all this salt was a ruse to distract from the fact there was not even a hint of that iconic “pretzel taste” that you get by boiling the dough in baking soda or lye. Especially after the initial wow factor wore off, the pretzel just tasted like some dense bread drenched in salt mixed with can’t believe it’s not butter. My final qualm with the foot-long pretzel is you had to eat it really fast, or it went dry. To do away with some of the dryness, we used the free honey mustard sauce provided. My first impression of the sauce was quite promising – it smelled quite mustard-y and I was hopeful the little mustard seeds in the sauce would add a redeeming quality. Unfortunately for my taste, there was more of a honey than of a mustard taste that I cannot get behind. Even though I didn’t like the sauce, if it’s free it’s for me, so overall it’s a net gain. Also on the plus side for Subway, the little divots in the pretzel made it really easy to pull apart and portion in a group setting. Combined with the fact that it’s a foot-long pretzel (so fun) for two dollars I rate the foot-long pretzel a 4.5/10. 

The next thing up on our menu was the foot-long churro. Using our extremely precise measuring tools of Charlie’s knuckles and Gracie’s measuring app, we found the churro was only 11 inches (what a disappointment that was). Even with this false advertising, we still gave the churro that’s “baked to perfection, served warm and topped with Cinnabon’s world-famous Makara® cinnamon and sugar,” a try. 

Churro. The churro was not as wide and did not have as much volume as the pretzel. The churro ranked higher for quality. (Gracie Gioiosa)

Charlie’s Review: I love myself a sweet treat with a meal, and the churro definitely provided something sweet to end a meal. When you go to Subway, you usually look for a classic cookie if you’re in the mood for dessert. By adding this churro to the menu, they are adding variety and letting customers have more choices. If you have ever had the foot-long churro from Sam’s Club…I’ll let you know they taste pretty much the same. It had a nice, sweet cinnamon flavor and a buttery aftertaste. I liked the churro as a fresh perspective on the stereotypical cookie at Subway. Overall, I feel it deserves a 7/10. 

Gracie’s Review: As a lover of all things cinnamon, it may surprise you that I’ve never had perhaps the most infamous cinnamon-y thing out there – a churro. I had no clue what to expect from this “Cinnabon inspired” churro but  to my untrained taste buds, this churro was very good. It was served warm, and I hate it when there’s not a mountain of cinnamon-sugar on cinnamon-sugar foods. This churro did not disappoint on that front. Even though a good amount of seasoning fell off and stuck to our fingers, because they put on a lot there, there was still a respectable amount of seasoning left on the churro, so I was not mad about it. In the actual seasoning concoction, I would have preferred a higher ratio of cinnamon; however, the cinnamon they had felt quality so it evened out. The inside of the churro reminded me of a French cruller doughnut because it was almost eggy and spongy (in a good way). Same with the pretzel though, I do have to say this churro got that stale feeling quickly after we ripped into it. Again to fix the dryness and just to make sure we did a fair comparison we made the decision to sample the sauce with the churro. I must say that because the honey mustard had so much honey it didn’t taste all that bad, but by no means was it good. I think the churro should be offered with a special sauce like the pretzel. Now I am no connoisseur of churros, but I must say I thought this foot long one was quite tasty. I rate Subway’s churro an 8/10.

Wafting. Reporter Charlie Kephart holds the honey mustard sauce while Gracie Gioiosa wafts it. Reporter Cider Ayala tagged along to help try the Subway Sidekicks. (Cider Ayala )

Since we were all familiar with the delight that is a Subway chocolate chip cookie, we were thoroughly disappointed they didn’t have the foot-long version in stock. This shortage was not unique to the Subway location we went to either. Prior to going, we called around to all the local Subways and none had the cookie available. However, the sandwich artist that we were able to speak with said they usually restock every Wednesday. The lack of arguably the best Subway menu item definitely affects our overall rating of our foot-long experience. So taking this into account, our overall rating is a 7/10.

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About the Contributors
Gracie Gioiosa
Gracie Gioiosa, Reporter
After enjoying the intro to pub class so much last year (especially when we got into opinion writing!), I decided to join the news staff this year as a junior. Other than writing, I love reading, biking, running, listening to podcasts and being outdoors. After high school, I hope to go to college and law school and move to Pittsburgh. Until then, I can't wait to have a fantastic year writing for the Mountain Echo!
Charlie Kephart
Charlie Kephart, Associate Editor
Hey everyone! My name is Charlie, I'm a junior and Associate Editor of the Mountain Echo. I was on the Livewire staff in Jr High and Mt Echo staff since 10th grade. I have had a passion for writing since 4th grade and even promised my 4th grade ELA teacher that I would publish a book some day. My main goals in life are to go into the medical field at Pitt. Whenever I am not at school, I enjoy watching Netflix, reading and hanging out with my boyfriend. I'm super excited to write stories to keep you guys updated on everything going on here at our school!
Cider Ayala
Cider Ayala, Associate Editor
I am in my third year of working on the Mountain Echo publication staff. I am a junior and an associate editor this year. I focus on opinion based writing and work on a blog all about dealing with change. I am hoping to also make a podcast this year with a friend on staff. Outside of journalism, writing is a big part of my life. I love reading and writing poetry, and I want to be a technical writer someday. I also enjoy listening to music, playing with my two bulldogs, and spending time with my friends.

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