Sandwiched between Fresh Grocer’s alcohol and produce sections is a hot bar that offers prepared food at fairly reasonable prices. In the spirit of taking one for the team, I tried a a few options to determine the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here’s how it went.
Mac & Cheese, $4.55
- First impression: This Mac & Cheese was reminiscent of Wawa’s, which is a huge compliment considering that Wawa’s Mac is basically a national treasure. It was that familiar shade of strangely–comforting–yet–almost–concerning–neon–yellow. The pasta was plump and the cheese—or should I say, “cheese”—looked creamy. Coming in, expectations were relatively high.
- Dining experience: This Mac was medium quality; the pasta was a little mushier than preferred, although the consistency was the right level of creamy. Overall, Wawa–esque, but not quite on target. Frogro Mac is solidly in the middle of the pack.
- Takeaways: The taste was elevated with the addition of some Old Bay Seasoning. Any seasoning, really, would help—black pepper, red chili flakes, oregano. There are endless possibilities.
General Tso’s Chicken & Fried Rice, $6.45
- First impression: Out of all of the options, this dish seemed the most appetizing. The chicken glistened in the exact way a steaming hot plate of sweet, crispy, glazed General Tso’s chicken should. The rice, honestly, looked bomb. I was ready to dig in.
- Dining experience: The chicken was the star of the show. The sauce was tangy and sweet. The rice was just okay; think along the lines of day–old Beijing.
- Takeaways: That being said, there’s nothing wrong with some day–old Beijing. Frogro’s Chinese food started and finished as the favorite. The portions were large and the taste almost met food truck standards.
Shepherd's Pie, $6.55
- First impression: This Shepherd’s Pie looked like it had seen better days. In all fairness, I bought this dish at around 8 p.m., so it had probably been sitting at that prepared bar for hours. Regardless, I wanted to be adventurous. So, I opted for a hefty portion of what truly looked like something between your worst elementary school cafeteria nightmare and above–par prison food.
- Dining experience: There didn’t seem to be a clear plan of attack. On one side there was a much higher proportion of raisins oozing with meat juice and on the other, the beef had started to crust a little bit, which was concerning. I opted for the middle, which consisted of a sort of conglomerate of mashed potatoes, ground beef, and meat–juice raisins. It tasted stale and strange.
- Takeaways: I went back in for some more General Tso’s Chicken to get the taste out of my mouth. You might think the Shepherd's Pie could be one of those dishes that isn't particularly good, but you keep eating it anyway. This was not one of those situations.
Chocolate Cake, $3.99
- I searched for the most delicious, picturesque slice of chocolate cake I could find. Mind you, this is pre–sliced cake. Not the large sheet cakes, which, I can assure you, are delicious. This piece of chocolate cake looked straight out of a movie—perfectly proportioned frosting, layered just so. I was pumped.
- Dining experience: This is the first time I have EVER spit out cake. I took a much anticipated bite and immediately ran to the trash to dispose of it. I was sorely, painfully, disappointed. The cake itself was dry. Since it had been sitting around in the baked goods case for so long, the emulsifying chemicals had started to break down and it just tasted like garbage.
- Takeaways: Hard pass. It’ll probably take me some time to recover from this letdown. Let the records show, however, that I highly encourage the purchase of Frogro sheet cakes.
- Frogro sushi, $7.45: Frogro sushi is underrated. Yes, you read that correctly. I was starving when I was shopping for this haul, and, worried that the suspicious–looking Shepherd’s Pie just wouldn’t do it for me, I panicked and grabbed a tuna avocado roll with brown rice. Okay, it wasn’t the best sushi I have had in my life. But it definitely wasn’t the worst. The rice was the right sticky consistency, the avocado wasn’t brown, and the tuna tasted normal. For that, shoutout to Frogro sushi.
- Jumbo dill pickles, $0.99: Hear me out. There is an entire barrel of pickles hidden in plain sight right by the baked goods section. Each pickle is probably as thick as my forearm and half as long—the perfect balance of juicy and crunchy. If you’re a pickle person, go for it.