May 13, 2014
One thing I try to do for Sandwichtalk is keep things somewhat interesting and novel. I focus mainly on either new and limited time sandwiches from large chains, or I review small local places that readers may not have heard of. I don’t usually review the basic menu at most fast food restaurants because I assume most people already have a solid understanding of what they taste like, and various opinions on them. The maxim I always used to explain this was “It’s not like I’m going to post a review of a Big Mac or something.”
Burger King’s Big King, an absolutely shameless knockoff of the famous Big Mac, gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that. Let’s start with a quick overview of the Big Mac, for comparison. I like it. I don’t love it, and I much prefer the tried and true McDoubles if we’re going with McDonald’s, but the layers patties and bun set-up is interesting, and the combination of the sauce and pickles and onions is a cool alternative to the basic lettuce and tomato plan of most deluxe burgers. In short, I like the concept. But is Burger King’s execution an improvement on the original?
Not really. The patties are a little higher quality, probably, as are the buns. It is Burger King, after all. And actually, so is the lettuce. It’s sort of the intangibles that get me on this one. It doesn’t taste like a Big Mac, exactly, but that’s not for lack of trying. If it was a little closer in taste, to the point that they were indistinguishable, I might rate it higher. I’d also like the other option, adding an extra element or something to rise above. But as it is, it’s just kind of a curio.
I also tried the Chicken Big King, which does set itself apart by swapping out burgers for chicken. This isn’t too bad in theory, except that two processed chicken patties is way too many for one sandwich. The reason the Double Down worked (outside of wretched excess) is that KFC chicken is good. Burger King chicken is not that good, and this is too much of it. A chicken sandwich with lettuce, pickles, onion and sauce would probably work better.
All in all, I can’t fault BK for trying, but the Big King is more familiar than impressive. If you want two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese onions pickles on a sesame seed bun, just go with a Big Mac.
I’ve been a fan of Steak ‘n Shake since the earliest days of the blog, and their seasonal Oktoberfest Steakburger is among my favorite fast food burgers on the market. They’re pretty reliable when it comes to providing me with new and interesting burgers to try, and they’ve outdone themselves again with the Pepperoni Pizza Steakburger, an attempt to combine both pizza and burgers into a single gesalt pleasure. Well, let’s get to it!
The Pepperoni Pizza Steakburger is pretty obvious, in design. It’s two patties topped with mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni slices, and then served on a pretzel bun. It’s a nice idea, and executed decently well. The pepperoni is pretty good, and there’s plenty of cheese and sauce. It’s a little greasy, so the pretzel bun is a nice choice to help soak up excess grease. It’s also kind of heavy, with all the meat and cheese, so make sure you have a big appetite.
The Pepperoni Pizza Steakburger runs for about $5.50 with fries and a drink. I haven’t had a ton to say about it because it’s pretty average, overall. If you came up with this in your house, it would be the coolest thing you ever made, but as a restaurant offering, it’s inexplicably a little lackluster. Still, I’ve ordered it more than once, so I guess I enjoy it, so I’ll give it a recommendation.
May 6, 2014
As I’m sure most of you are aware, Taco Bell has recently introduced a breakfast menu, available from about 7:00 AM until 11:00 AM at most of their restaurants. You might be thinking “oh, that actually sounds cool. I wonder if they’ll adapt actual Mexican or Latin American breakfast dishes into something that can be easily reproduced in a fast food setting?” You’re right, dear reader, that would be cool. It’s also almost the opposite of what they did. Rather than adapting Mexican breakfast food into a fast food context, they adapted standard fast food breakfast fare into vaguely Mexican shapes and formats. This isn’t a super new idea, as evidenced by even McDonald’s having breakfast burritos, and the majority of their menu is pretty standard breakfast burritos and tacos. The signature ones, though, are the AM Crunchwrap, a variation of their standard Crunchwrap full of breakfast meats and cheese and an entire hash brown, and the Waffle Taco, which is you guessed it, a waffle folded over like a taco, full of eggs, sausage and cheese. It also comes with syrup to drizzle across it.If it sounds like I’m angry about this, I’m not. This is basically the kind of thing Sandwichtalk lives for, and my only regret is that it took me so long to try it and report back. A lot of it had to do with putting in the effort to get out to a Taco Bell before noon, to be honest. But enough chit-chat. Is the Taco Bell Breakfast menu worth it?
Actually yeah, I’d say so. I’m a fan of fast food breakfasts in general, with the McGriddles being my favorite, and it’s pretty standard, in terms of ingredients and quality. The AM Crunchwrap comes with choice of meat between steak, sausage and bacon, and I went with sausage, the most breakfasty of the bunch. It was all surprisingly competent, with the eggs, hash brown and sausage being pretty tasty and the right consistency. It also had a tangy sauce, which may have been the normal Crunchwrap sauce (I’m not overly familiar with the Crunchwrap) but reminded me of their quesadilla sauce. All in all, it was satisfying, and easier to eat than I remember Crunchwraps as being.
And now, for the main event. The Waffle Taco. Unfortunately for this blog, the Waffle Taco is both not as bad I might have feared, nor as good as I might have hoped. The waffle itself is alright, but much more akin to a thick flatbread than an actual waffle. It’s soft and a bit soggy, where I was hoping for a texture if not quite as still as a hard shell, then at least a little crispy. The sausage and eggs are fine, and the addition of syrup is a nice touch. This all probably sounds like damning with faint praise, but it’s really not a bad breakfast. It can be a little messy, so I’d probably go with the Crunchwrap in general over the Waffle Taco, but the WT is worth trying at least once.
It’s odd to say I was disappointed by the Taco Bell Breakfast, because it’s actually much better than I expected. Everything about it was tasty enough, and competently executed. It’s just that McDonald’s and Burger King have had the breakfast game locked up for years now, and without something truly revolutionary, Taco Bell can’t compete. But there’s nothing wrong with being acceptable, so if you’re looking for cheap breakfast (around $5 per meal) and a Taco Bell is nearby, give it a shot.