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.

Oh my God... I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it. [falls to his knees screaming] YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL! (camera pans to reveal the half-destroyed Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand)

Oh my God… I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. [falls to his knees screaming] YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL! (camera pans to reveal the half-destroyed Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand)

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.

The little lumps on the left are Cinnabon Delights. They're kind of beyond this blog's purview, but they're delicious little doughnut holes filled with icing and served warm. They might be the best part.

The little lumps on the left are Cinnabon Delights. They’re kind of beyond this blog’s purview, but they’re delicious little doughnut holes filled with icing and served warm. They might be the best part.

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.

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A couple of years ago, I had a pancake-wrapped sausage and it blew my mind.  Although I had spent years dipping sausages into maple syrup, it never occurred to me how wonderful this combination could be.  On the advice of a couple of friends, I decided to try the McGriddles, a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich with a pancake-like bun.  However, I was blinded by my love for bacon, and essentially forgot why I had come.  While the Bacon, Egg and Cheese McGriddles isn’t bad or anything, I thought it was high time I reviewed the McGriddles the way God intended it.

And let me tell you, the Sausage, Egg and Cheese is fantastic.  Although the concept of combining sausage and a sweet bun may sound strange, the combination of salty and sweet is one of my favorite flavors, and I wish more sandwiches would go out on a limb like this.  The eggs add some body, and the inclusion of cheese, while subtle (it is McDonald’s American cheese, after all), rounds out the meal.  My only complaint is that the ingredients taste a little bit too industrial.  I know this is an odd complaint to levy on the world’s biggest fast food producer, but part of it is that I’m not quite used to fast food eggs yet.

Still, it’s a delicious, quick, and cheap breakfast option, especially for those of you like me, who have been somewhat underwhelmed by the average biscuit or bagel breakfast sandwiches.  A combo runs for around $4, and the fact that it’s a sandwich means that unlike most pancake, egg and sausage breakfasts, you can eat it in your car on the way to work.  Win-win!!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  That was the idea when McDonald’s introduced the Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich a few years ago.  The Southern Style is a variation on Chik-Fil-A’s famous chicken sandwiches, which consist of a crispy fried chicken breast with pickles on a bun.  It’s delicious, but as Chik-Fil-A isn’t a nationwide franchise, it’s somewhat difficult to come by here in the Midwest.  McDonald’s made the wise move of marketing it nationally around the same time they introduced their Sweet Tea, another Southern standby.  But how does it stack up?

The official sandwich of wayward sons sipping Arnold Palmers in white linen suits. (That is a somewhat obscure reference, and I apologize for it.)

Pretty darn well, actually.  The Southern Style has been a favorite of mine for a while now, and I was surprised to find I hadn’t already reviewed it.  It’s simple and distinctive, and the combination of chicken and pickles provides a very different flavor from the standard lettuce and tomato framework.  It’s also available for breakfast sans pickles on a biscuit, but since I don’t usually frequent McDonald’s before noon, I haven’t yet had the pleasure.

The other nice thing about the Southern Style Crispy Chicken Sandwich is that it’s comparatively cheap.  Although it’s not on the Dollar Menu, a la carte it usually runs for only 2-3 dollars.  It’s well worth checking out, especially if you’re in the Northern of Eastern parts of the United States where it’s not otherwise available.  (I just realized I have no idea if it’s available internationally; if anyone knows, let me know in the comments.  Thanks.)

Sorry for the impromptu hiatus, between classes and work I haven’t had a whole lot of free time to review sandwiches.  A number of you indicated in the poll that you wanted to see some breakfast reviews, and I’m planning to work in that direction for a little while.  It’s a bit difficult because breakfast is usually only served until about 10:30 or so, and the Subway on campus doesn’t actually offer breakfast sandwiches (although they do offer the Seafood Sensation).  However, I was able to track down a Subway at around 10:00 this morning, so I tried the Double Bacon Egg and Cheese omelette flatbread.

Fun Fact: This is the first Sandwichtalk picture taken on my professional Photojournalism class camera. Woo!!

Being a Subway sandwich, the recipe is variable, but the basic ingredients are bacon, eggs, and cheese (I went with cheddar).  The eggs are of a scrambled patty type composition, which is actually way more tasty than it sounds.  The bacon and cheese were fine as well, and the whole sandwich came together in a very filling way.  You can add any of the regular Subway veggies or sauces, but I wanted to keep it basic the first time around.  The flatbread was a nice morning option, and the breakfast line is also available on an English muffin or regular sub roll.

The sandwich was also inexpensively priced at $3.50.  The cost for the breakfast sandwiches varies, but it’s generally between $2.50 and $4.00.  You can add juice or coffee for a quick breakfast on the go.  I’d definitely recommend trying Subway’s breakfast line, I’ll probably check out the Western omelette or the Steak and Egg sandwich soon.

Again, sorry for the sandwich drought, I’ll try to have another post up this week.  Burger King just introduced a new breakfast line as well, and that breakfast club sandwich has my name on it.

Breakfast sandwiches haven’t been discussed on Sandwichtalk yet, mainly because I have a hard time making it out to a restaurant before the 10:30-11:00 changeover to the lunch menu.  However, now that Sandwichtalk is nearly a year old, I want to branch out a little bit, and what better way to start than with one of the strangest breakfast sandwiches around, the McGriddles?

Not a hoax!! Not a dream!!

The McGriddles (yes, the ‘s’ is part of the name) is a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich which includes scrambled eggs, american cheese, and either bacon or sausage (they also serve a sausage-only variant).  What sets it apart from other sandwiches is the bun, a pancake-like creation with maple syrup flavoring baked in.  I was as skeptical as any of you, but in the name of Sandwichtalk I decided to try one.

I had the Bacon Egg and Cheese McGriddles.  It was actually quite a bit smaller than I expected, but that didn’t keep it from being delicious.  The buns were sweet, but more subtle and less processed-tasting than I expected.  It may seem counterintuitive, but think of it this way: people have been eating eggs, meat and pancakes for centuries, this just takes a few extra steps out of the process.  I think the sausage McGriddles might have complemented itself better, but I’m a sucker for bacon, and I don’t regret it.  Overall, a pretty good, relatively inexpensive breakfast.  Obviously, it’s got a lot of sugar and fat and whatnot, so I wouldn’t recommend it on a daily basis, but try it once in a while to shake up your morning routine.