I should have taken a picture. I really should have. The thing was fucking magnificent. It is probably the first time in my entire life and all of my many, many experiences in fast foodery that I have seen such a thing. The burger looked exactly like the advertisement. Right out of the box.
I FUCKING KNOW – IT’S CRAZY BUSINESS TO EVEN SUGGEST THAT SUCH A THING IS POSSIBLE!!!
Alright everyone, let’s calm down here.
I went to Burger King last night. I know that I said I was going to do some kind of head-to-head BK vs. Wendy’s vs. Nick Cage Face Off shit, but that never happened. One part lazy, two parts, “the fuck did I think that would be a good idea?” I still think I want to try the Wendy’s offers before I go whole hog on my next weight loss shizzy, but less so than the BK stuff. I mean… I don’t really like Wendy’s to begin with. But that’s for another time. Today, it’s all about BK.
In the most recent episode of Three Guys Walk Into a Bar, I revealed that BK is my number one fast food joint (very specific rules). As Jackie mindfully pointed out, BK is bold. It tries new things all of the time and isn’t afraid to have some crazy new promotion fall flat. That’s where this whole magnificent burger comes in.
Last night I drove out to visit the King of Burgers and requested two of their fine, new offerings. Every fast food aficionado has some strong opinion on the issue of French fries. More specifically, we all have something to say in regards to differences between the fries of BK and McDonald’s. Who’s are the best? Why? Will bad fries keep you away from a place even if they have a better burger? You’ve probably had this conversation yourself. Most people that I know have been of the opinion that Micky D’s fries are the bee’s knees and that BK’s are awful shards of salty yuck. I have always tended to like the BK fries, but would agree that Mac and Don’s were probably better – though that is an opinion that I flip-flop on. It seems that the Burger King higher-ups have been well away of the poor opinions that so many have of their fries, and have decided to change them. It’s been a pretty huge campaign. Not as big as the whole Domino’s “We know our old pizza tasted like cardboard with shit on top, here’s some new recipes.” campaign, but pretty big. Since they’ve come out, I’ve heard even more opinions. Between friends, family, blogs, review sites, and podcasts the opinion is almost resoundingly negative. Some people say they’re just as bad and others say they’ve become worse. Yet there have been a few people that I know who actually seem to like them more. As such, I had to find out for myself.
On top of that, BK has been winging out new and fascinating burgers at a very high rate over the past few years. Sliders, stackers, chipotle, mushrooms n’ pals, the list goes on. The latest offer is called the BK Chef’s Choice Burger, and the picture of it on the company website makes it look fantastic. I felt compelled to try it. So when I pulled up to the drive-through and poorly ordered a “Value Fries and that… um… what’s it… Chef’s Pick Burger?”, I was already geared up to have an awesomely interesting meal. The voice on the other side took a few beats to try and decode my horribly executed order and replied with “Value Fries and a BK Chef’s Choice Burger? Anything else?” I paid dat man his money and pulled away undeterred. I hauled ass home to in an attempt to keep the food stuffs as close to fresh as possible. Once there, I dropped my bag, hung my jacket in the closet, and kicked my shoes off. I slowly approached my burger and fries like a wolf stalking his prey.
I first removed a fry from the slightly grease-stained paper sleeve and took a bite.
Pretty good. Not great. Not terrible. I kind of don’t agree with anyone and all of this fervor, but maybe I just don’t like fries as much in general. I like these new ones a little better than the old BK fries, but they certainly didn’t blow my skirt up. Dipping them in ketchup helped a bit more, but I guess that’s where I have to bend to the McDonald’s fry lovers – those things don’t need ketchup. Back to the BK joints, I like that they are crispy and potato-y, I don’t like how unevenly they held salt. The insides were moist, but not as much as I would prefer. But the star of my meal was the burger.
The burger comes in a box – as most of the fancy and bigass burgers do. I opened it up like I was open the box used to propose to me. To my surprise, I found the burger was double-wrapped. Inside the box, the burger was wrapped in paper. But not just straight-up wrapped – it was wrapped for function. Only about two thirds of the thing had paper around it with the remaining third thoughtfully poking out and ready to eat. Brilliant. I carefully picked pulled it from the box and immediately had to stop. The burger was incredibly picturesque. It looked exactly like the add. The bun was intact and un-squished. The lettuce was visibly crisp. The sauce was just barely peeking out between the lettuce and top bun. The tomatoes were thick, solid, and looked fresh. The red onions looked like they just picked the onion this morning and sliced it when I ordered. The cheese looked real and just barely melty over a burger just slightly hued from actual, real seasoning. I should have taken a picture. I mean, I really should have. I have never pulled a burger from a box or unwrapped a sandwich to find it looking even marginally like the advertisements and this thing looked so perfect it might as well have been one of those fake stage burgers. Mind fucking blowing.
But I didn’t take a picture. I should mention that today’s featured picture comes courtesy of the Brand Eating website and as good as it looks, mine actually looked better. I went in for my first bite and was quite happy. I got just a bit of every ingredient and was totally surprised by how good it was. Not only did everything look fresh, but it all tasted fresh. The bun had a bit of crispness and firmness to the crust and gave to a nice, soft, moist inside just the way I like it. The sauce complimented the veggies just as well as the cheese complimented the juicy, seasoned meat.
The second, third, and fourth bites were not as soul satisfying. They were actually kind of disappointing. Regardless of whether I took an “everything included” bite or just sampled an individual bit of the bun or the burger, it just wasn’t so great.
Thankfully, it wasn’t from lack of freshness, some weird gross spot, or anything like that. I’ll even say that the burger was structurally sound. Unlike most of the worlds super-delicious burgers, this stayed together for every bite, even when I removed it from the wrapper for the last few. The only burger I know that has that much going on and doesn’t separate into a million pieces on its way to occupy your lap and your tie is the Big Mac – the gold standard by which all fast food burgers are judged. Instead of the usual suspects for the failures of BK’s wacky new offerings, it was three fairly unexpected things and very clearly those three things.
The Onions: The onions were great. Fresh, thick, and crisp. I happen to love onions and I find that they are good compliment to most burgers. This would be no different except that they were just too much. Like way the fuck too much. They were so overpowering that they started to dick with my sinuses and I eventually had to remove them from the burger.
The Sauce: At first blush, the sauce was awesome. It reminded me of that Thousand Island variation that McDonald’s pretends is “special”. A lovely blend of mayo, vinegar, spices, and pro’lly ketchup or some other bullshit. But the more I tasted the less I liked it. There was too much of some ingredient that I can’t place. I think Jackie mentioned a similar problem with the Wendy’s contender and placed it as too much vinegar, but the BK sauce isn’t a vinegar problem. You know, it’s actually kind of like a non-zesty version of the BK Zesty Onion Ring sauce. Either way, it was too much something and not enough something else and while it worked pretty well with the lettuce, tomato, and overpowering onion, it was not a good match for the seasonings in the meat. Which leads me to the final and greatest problem with the burger.
The Meat: Or more specifically the seasonings. And even more specifically that they used way the fuck too much seasoning. On the first bite it tasted perfectly seasoned, and I had a mouthful of well balanced beef, produce, bun, sauce, and seasoning. On the rest of the bites I felt like I had a mouthful of salt and spices with a light dusting of meat. Okay, to be fair, “light dusting of meat” is a pretty big exaggeration. Still, I stand by the my statement that it was way the fuck over seasoned. It hit a point were even though I had the mouth-feel of juicy meaty lovin’, my taste buds couldn’t reconcile the very though with the dryness that should occur with that much spice. Did they forget that burgers are delicious because beef is delicious? Because I want to taste beef and beef occupied the very lowest rank of “quantify of flavor” that I received when rolling that burger around inside of my face.
It doesn’t make my list of major problems with the burger, but it does need to be mentioned. It’s expensive. At $4.99 for a fast food burger, every bite needs to taste good. They don’t all need to be that first, Earth shattering bite that I was so lucky to have, but they should at least be half as good as that. My heavily spiced, over onioned, and off-sauced experience didn’t even beat a $0.99 Whopper Jr., so they can fuckoff with that price.
tl;dr – Fries were better than okay but less than great – 6 out of 10. The Burger King Chef’s Choice Burger left me with mixed feelings. When you factor in cost, it’s bad – 4 out of 10.
Such a huge disappointing. On another note, I think I’m about to say that I was wrong about the Black Keys. I think they just might actually be awesome. That Lonely Boy song really fucking good and completely captures the spirit of Rock AND Roll, not just one or the other.